Wednesday, May 20, 2015

In Thy Sight

I just about lost explosion of sarcasm, attitude and anger simmered up quickly.   It wasn't an earth shattering event, just a few teenagers, hanging out, finding some shade on a sweltering hot afternoon.  The issue was, that they were taking up the entire sidewalk as hubby and I were on our walk. The closer we got to them, the more apparent it was that they were not going to move.  They saw us coming up the sidewalk (designed for walkers!!) and simply sat there with no inclination of moving to let us pass.  

Sweet hubby, in his wisdom, sensing my ire rising said, "Just pass to the right".  I did, but not before looking and expressing some emotional gestures (waving hands to move)  to them while making a comment about the sidewalk....very mature for Christian women in her 40's huh???   While finishing my walk and simmering down, I reflected, why do I let things like that bother me?  But most importantly, why do I respond like I do.  Does that represent a Christlike attitude?  They didn't see the goodness of Christ in my actions!

One the powerful things about God's Word is that it goes deep.  Beyond examples of faith, comfort in hard times, strength to carry on, God's Word is sharp.  It can cleanly divide those attitudes of the flesh that rise up from the grace that God has poured in our hearts to pour into the lives of others.

Following my little attitude episode, I thought this verse prefect for today...

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." Psalms 19:20

What a power filled dividing line for all my words, thoughts and attitudes.  May God find them acceptable.  Is there anything greater than that?

Friday, May 15, 2015

I Just Love Weddings!!

Weddings are happy events! A place to get a first hand view of love, hope for a new life joined together and a promise and commitment in front of God, family and friends.  Even as a 'mature' married couple, I always leave a wedding inspired to love more, serve more and be a better wife!

Wedding fervor has hit our family and circle of friends.Our oldest son got married last year along with a few of his closest friends.  What a joy it has been watching these boys who grew up together celebrate and take part in each other's weddings.  My mama's heart cried tears of joy at each wedding, so happy for the new life they are beginning.

My picture taking fanaticism has dimmed some, boys still are not overly interested or see the importance of cherishing the moment with a photo.  BUT....I pulled the mama card out at this last wedding and rounded my bunch out for a few pictures!

My handsome groom of 25 years!!

My 2 oldest sons and daughter in law were part of the wedding party...I just happened to match, so they let me blend in!!

Getting the youngest in on the photo action!!

Yes, I love weddings and getting some photos to help cherish the joy!

Monday, May 11, 2015

My Hope Is Crooked

Pretty words, positive words, powerful words...those are the things I am purposely putting around my home as decoration.  In the place where my family and I relax, renew and get real, reminders of faith, hope and love help restore my peace!

This is the top of my refrigerator.  I added a piece of greenery and adjusted the plaques.  I stepped down to look at a distance....

and while walking back, spoke to myself..."my hope is crooked."  Simply meaning to adjust the middle plaque. After the words were spoken out loud,  that stirring of the Lord began working in my heart.  

What would that hope is crooked?  I reflected on one of my all time favorite Scriptures, which happens to be all about HOPE!  "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

"As you trust in Him".  God is to be the source and focus of my hope because He is "THE GOD OF HOPE"!  When things don't go according to plan, when circumstances and solutions fall out of my hands, He is hope. Nothing is impossible with God, He is bigger than anything we face.  

It has been said that the object of our focus impacts what we trust and put faith in.  If I focus on situations, circumstance, trials of life, they magnify and grow larger and threaten to consume.  But, focusing on the God of Hope, fills a heart to overflowing with joy and peace by His power. 

Although there are many times when my hope can  be a little off center or crooked.  But God's Word is able to pull my around and get my focus back!  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Getting Your Morning Started Right

It has been said that each person is either a 'morning person" or a "night owl", mainly referring to the time of day they are most effective. Morning people wake up alert and ready to tackle the day, night owls wake up slower and as the day goes by gain their energy and momentum. 

Regardless of which group we find ourselves in, each day we must get up and face each day.  We usually develop a morning routine that works well for us. Being a morning person, I get up early enough to have 2 hours before I get out the door. And alot can get accomplished in that time!!  Coffee and devotion are first followed by exercise, household chores, breakfast, dinner preparations and getting ready to leave for the day.  It is not uncommon for my family to wake up to the dishwasher and washing machine running, breakfast cooking and their mom a blur, moving from task to task in between hair and make up!  Plans for the day are set in my mind and the day gets off to a great start.

I recently came across an article that started with the thought...“How you start your day is how you start your life.”  I was all in after reading that!!!  There were 7 suggested questions to ask yourself each morning. Let's take a look!

1,  If I could only get one thing done today, what would it be?
This question can help scatter distractions and get our focus on the biggest priority of the day.

2.  Have I set aside quiet time with God to pray, reflect and read His Word?
To me, this is the most important thing of the morning.  During times of prayer, our worry is released, our hearts receive peace and our faith is increased.  Reading God's Word can equip us with God's power to face the day.

3.  Is there any unconfessed sin in my life that I should confess?
That unsettled issue/attitude  that always seems to come up, could it be something we need to confess and move on from?

4.  Are there any relational issues with others that need rectifying?
Ouch!  Another area that may be difficult to deal with, but will be well worth it in the end!
5.  Am I eating a healthy breakfast with plenty of protein and healthy carbs?
I've been practicing this and can tell a huge difference by adding more protein to my breakfast.  Turkey bacon, turkey sausage, oatmeal with a scoop of peanut butter, yogurt, cottage cheese or protein smoothies are my favorite healthy breakfasts. 

6.  Am I focusing on the positive, good things in life and ministry, or do my thoughts immediately turn negative?
So much of our day depends on our attitude and what we focus on.  May we be diligent to practice and keep our thoughts positive.  For the Christian, it is powerful to claim Bible verses that remind us of God's greatness and unlimited power.

7. Do I have a consistent routine like getting up at the same time, eating at the same time, taking a shower at the same time, etc., or is each morning dramatically different?
A good routine is of great benefit!!  My 2 hour morning routine is divided up and I know what should be done by what time.  If it gets off, it is easy to re balance!

What we do first thing in the morning will dramatically affect the rest of your day. The Psalmist offers great advice with these words.

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul". (Ps 143.8, NIV)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Day I've Dreaded All of My Life

My family tells me I'm a worrier.   They inform me that I always think the worst about what can happen.  I can't help it, I get it  honest!  I still remember being a teenager and my mother giving me grave warning about 'what could happen' in almost every circumstnace of life!! Now that I am a mother the preferred explanation is to help them to 'be prepared'. 
As a Christian, I understand about faith, trusting in the Lord and knowing that He is ultimately in control.  Age and maturity have taught me that most of the time what we worry the most about never happens, but it is the little things that sneak up on us is what we are unprepared for.
I've debated about writing this post for 7 years now, as it is a sad post, but as each year passes, the continual glimpses of God's grace through it all is something I want to cherish in writing.
March 2007 found us preparing for my husband's neck surgery on a Thursday.  The Saturday before, my mother became ill.  Early Sunday morning she went by ambulance to the hosptial diagnosed with first pneunomia, then a blood clot in her lung.  She was transferred to a hospital an hour and a half away from home. Through the week she continued to decline with infection in her blood and host of other problems. 
Thursday came and my husband and I headed one hour in the oppostie direction for his surgery.  While seeing him off to the operating room and getting on the elevator, the call came that they would have to put my mother on a respirator.  Hubby came through surgery fine and while in the recovery room waiting for a regular room (8 hours later!), another call came in that mom's hands were turning blue, she may be having a heart attack.  Talk about stress....and the midst of these days, many prayers were felt as God's strength carried me along with the encouragement of pastors in the waiting room and a very special phone prayer from my sister in law.
Friday got us home and on the road to recovery.  Saturday was back to mom and a conference with the doctor.  We had been in touch all week, but mom was getting worse.  Septic shock had set it, emphysema, infection and now her kidneys were shutting down.  She was on life support and in an induced coma.  They had done all they could do and needed a decision from the family about whether to remove life support.   Only those who have walked in the valley of the shadow of death understand about the intense struggle to keep the loved one here with us while realizing they would not want to stay in this condition.   The pain of releasing them to go while knowing this is a moment you have dreaded all of your life - losing them.  The family knew she would never want to live in that condition and made the decision to remove life support.  She quickly passed peacefully away.  The day had come - the day I"ve dreaded all my life - losing Mom.
Looking back at the whirlwind of a week, God sent so many blessings to uphold us.  From church family who prayed, called, sent food, cards and visits to family who gave so freely of their time to drive the long drive to the hosptial several times.  In the midst of sorrow, God always provided just what was needed.
There will have to be a part two to this, because God worked so mightily in the following week.  But as I write this on the 8th anniversary of Mom's death, a friend shared that she had recently been to a funeral of a friend's mother and it was stated "this is the day I have dreaded all my life", no truer words have been spoken.  A mother holds such a special place in our hearts and to try to imagine life without her is almost impossible.  But although there is no way to prepare for such sorrow, pain or loss, Christians have a Heavenly Father who is a God of compassion and mercy.  There is no limit to the comfort He gives.  He is beside us as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  He gives strength to face uncertain days, He gives hope that we can continue on despite our pain.  He matches grief with grace.  He takes the day that has been dreaded all of our life and reveals Himself in ways we have never seen before.