Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Love The Shepherd (Continued)

An article posted on liberate.org about a Pastor's experience in opposition:

 January of 2012, Megan Fowler ofbyFaith, the online magazine of the Presbyterian Church in America, interviewed Pastor Tullian about his then-new bookJesus + Nothing = Everything. Here’s their conversation:

In 2009, the Rev. Tullian Tchividjian transitioned from pastor of a church plant in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian, a church whose only other pastor had been Dr . D. James Kennedy. The task proved challenging. Not long after his arrival, Tchividjian encountered opposition. After a petition for his removal gathered enough signatures, Tchividjian and the church’s session were forced to hold a congregational meeting to vote on whether or not to keep him as pastor.
Ultimately the church upheld his call, but the months of strife exhausted Tchividjian. In his new book, Jesus + Nothing = Everything, Tchividjian shares how God used the conflicts at Coral Ridge to expose his heart’s idols and rekindle his understanding of the gospel.

You speak candidly in this book of the conflict and ministry discouragement you experienced in your first year at the church you currently serve, with the summer of 2009 being the lowest point. Did you find it hard to write about and publish such experiences?
It was easy only because God taught me so much during that time, and I emerged from that very painful, trying season of life a different person, a different preacher. For years I had always preached the gospel with great passion and with theological capability, but it wasn’t until God brought me through the crucible of pain that everything I had been preaching years earlier became functional for me. It’s one thing to stand up when things are going well and tell a large congregation that Jesus plus nothing equals everything. It’s another thing when you come to a point in your own life when everything seems to have been completely stripped away, and you’re really faced with the fact that, wow, it’s true. Jesus plus nothing really does equal everything.
I say throughout the book that God helped me to see during that time that I had become very dependent on human approval and human acceptance to make me feel like I was important. God showed me, when human approval and human acceptance were stripped away for a season, how dependent I had become on them. So as painful and as difficult a season of life as that was, God used it to expose my own idols and set me free from them.
Since the summer of 2009, things have been much better. It was the reality of the gospel that gave me a sharp mind, soft heart, and steel spine to make it through that season. This was not me conjuring up some internal power. This was God, by His grace, because of what Jesus has already secured for me, just emboldening me. It changed me as a leader. It made me fearless because there’s nothing anyone in this world could take way from me that really mattered.
I did fear that if I go through with this and take a strong stand, I could lose my job, and how would I support my wife and kids? But there again I had to go back and realize God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He loves my children and my wife more than I do, and He’s going to take care of me and take care of them. So it makes you fearless to whatever financial setbacks you might have. It makes you fearless to whether you should compromise your beliefs because you don’t have the support to do what you believe. It makes you able to say crazy, counterintuitive things like, “To live is Christ; to die is gain.” It changed me forever.

What can this book offer to other pastors dealing with conflict and discouragement?
The book was born out of my own struggle and pain, and I am hoping it will be a great service to pastors. One of the great blessings that came out of all of this has been the number of pastors who have come to me and not only shared their own war stories, but thanked me for sticking it out and being a light to those who are in the trenches. I come from a well-known family at a well-known church, but there are a ton of guys from all denominations going through this very thing. I came to the realization that this is so common. There are so many men who have struggled, and I think about their wives and think about their children.

The only antidote to that kind of pain and fear is the freeing reality of the gospel. That’s not just some theological maxim or some lofty spiritual catchphrase. If Jesus plus nothing—and I mean nothing—really grips your heart and sets you free, you can walk into a difficult meeting and be bold, humble, and courageous because even if they pick you up and throw you out, ultimately you’ve lost nothing. Your worth, value, significance, and security are not at stake. All of that has already been secured by Jesus, and there’s nothing you can do to lose it. And there’s nothing anyone else can do to take it away.  (Read More)


Saturday, March 28, 2015

~Songs Of Our Faith~

Growing up in church and with parents who sang together I learned so many wonderful songs that I taught my own children. They are now passing on those beautiful songs to their own children.

Music is our way of expressing joy, good times together and worship of our God. Some times a song is a good reminder that we are being "held" in the midst of all circumstances, no matter how dark or how difficult. Through joy and sorrow a song can penetrate the soul deeply in many ways. 

The songs of faith that I grew up with are a reminder to me even today of God's goodness and love in everything. Some days when nothing else makes sense a song carries the message of hope and healing.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.


Friday, March 27, 2015

~Inconvenienced~

My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word. 
Psalm 119:28

Every day we have some type of interruption we don't plan or expect. Our life is filled with things that are out of our control. Sickness, accidents, death, emotions, rudeness, incompetence,  forgetfulness, misunderstandings, weather, etc. There are so many things that become life inconveniences! 


For anyone with a planning type of personality like my own, it can cause a bit of stress, okay let me be real ~ MAJOR STRESS. These are those moment that I know I should trust God but so hard for me to do. If God allows these inconveniences in my life then there must be something I cannot see in the big puzzle of life. I know I do not have the capacity of being able to protect myself from all the terrible things that God protects me from each day. Yes, I do see some of what life throws at me but I believe there is so much more that I do not see that God is guiding me through without my even being aware. Some days I get it dreadfully wrong and I have only myself to blame...some days I get it right and know I have God to thank....

Last year  there was a man killed by a passing truck on the exact location I walked 15 minutes prior and I was reminded again of God's protection for my own life. Next time I take a wrong turn I must remind myself of the possibility of danger had I taken the right turn. I need to trust God in everything including all the inconvenience life may bring each day! This lesson may be more for me than for you.....



This picture was taken when I took my grand~kids to see some beautiful butterfly gardens, March 2015.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

~Simple Things~

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I Thessalonians 5:23

God is constantly ministering to our spirit in some way. A touch, a sentence, a scene, a flower, an animal, a person, a sunrise, a sermon, a sunset, the ocean, a lake, a stream, a sweet memory and the list goes on. There are so many ways that God lifts our spirits and fills us with joy each day. I seem to find His touch in the small and simpler things of life!

One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized. ~Oswald Chambers

I want to take time to notice how God is speaking to me today and may it guide my day differently! The scriptures describe that God speaks in a still small voice which I believe can be drowned out in the clutter of my every day life. Where will God reveal himself to me today? 

I took this picture of my husband and grand~girl last week during their play time together....I love watching these two.....they are soul mates and understand each other....

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

~Ready Or Not~

Ready or not here I come.....we all said as children when playing hide and seek! It's a reminder to me when change comes unexpectedly. Change was always difficult for me when I was young and even more difficult for me now that I am older. Life changes on a dime. Some changes are good and some are not so good. I would think that it would get easier each time but I don't find that to be true. Change is still difficult and often frightening.

Change happens to everyone in many ways. It could be a death, an illness, divorce, job, misunderstandings, accident, prison, etc. Every day someone's life is going to be changed whether we are ready or not. I know that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose." according to Romans 8:28. So what does that mean to me? It means that change is coming and I have to trust God in that change.

Do I fear? Of course. ~ Do I trust? Some days. ~ Do I get emotional? Always. ~ Do I let it get to me? Yes, unfortunately. ~ Do I start again each day? I want to. ~  Do I overcome it? Not really. ~ Do I fail? Constantly! 

Life can certainly dish up some tough stuff, and we can find ourselves reeling from unexpected news or disappointment.  In those circumstances, don’t be shy and hold back.  God really wants us to pour out our emotions.  In fact, it’s the healthiest choice. The Daniel Plan info@saddleback.org


This picture was taken at Loon Lake Michigan in the 1990's
 while traveling with my mom and family from Spain.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

~Love The Shepherd (continued)~

During our most difficult days when my husband was suffering from renal failure. It was our Pastor, his wife and family that were able to embrace our grief along with us. There were others who had good intentions but could not handle our situation, then there were others who wanted us to rise above it. Most days we were lucky if we were able to rise out of bed much less rise above our circumstances. People are not always equipped to handle each others emotions especially when it comes to something life threatening and we understood. 

 My Pastor requested many to pray for us during that time and so they did. Pastor and his wife took time to pray with us and for us. I requested prayer from everyone I could think of because I believe so much in prayer. Praying became difficult for me personally after so many years because I had lost the strength and didn't know what to even say anymore. I would pray, Lord, you know who and what we need today more than we do. I was grateful to know prayers were being lifted up in spite of me and there were many days we felt those prayers.

Now I pray for many others who are going through their own difficult circumstances because I know they too may not feel up to praying some days. Our own journey through the valley of the shadow of death has opened our eyes to the hopelessness and fears people are facing during those dark times. Pastors have to take care of many in their congregations who are suffering from all types of serious health issues. We want to remember to pray for our Pastors and their wives as they come along beside others and as they have their own situations with health issues. Let's consider that our Pastors, their wives and their families walk through the valley of the shadow of death with all of us so let's make sure we are continuously praying for them, encouraging them and walking along with them in their own personal valleys in life.

My Prayer: Thank you Lord that you sent others in to our life to be the hands and feet of Jesus. You brought us hope and joy when and where we least expected during every hard and difficult moment. Thank you for loving us through others and through your Son who bore the cross for our sin and all our shortcomings.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Monday, March 23, 2015

One Moment At A Time

And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

This is advice I often give that has helped me during those difficult days where you feel you cannot handle one more thing. Some days we can only handle one day at a time. Some days it may only be one hour at a time. During a stressful life event it may only be handled 15 minutes at a time.

Don't look too far ahead when times are difficult because it can be too crippling. Instead break life into small pieces that can be handled and asking God to take care of the rest. Stress can exacerbate any physical or emotional problem and make us feel we are defeated before we even begin. Planning in our minds only moments at a time as we are going through any difficulty will ease up the pressure and worry of the future.


This may not be something we need today but we may know someone who does and we can pass it on....

 This is an old barn in Tennessee when I visited January, 2010.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

~My Southern Roots~

Ephesians 6:14-17 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

There is a book that I was reading that described southern women as being strong as oaks but sweet as honeysuckle! The author also described them as confident, strong, keepers of tradition and history. That is what I love about growing up in Tennessee. You are taught to stand up for yourself, be proud of who you are and not compromise your beliefs. Those are just a few things that I inherited from the South but there are many more.

Growing up in the South, especially the Bible belt of the country gave me a wonderful Christian heritage. I was able to hear some of the greatest preachers such as my own pastor Dr. Lee Roberson and others such as R G Lee and Billy Graham. Wonderful memories of great sermons and seeing so many decisions being made for Christ in my own lifetime.


Traveling with my uncle, Evangelist Darrell Dunn and watching hundreds of souls coming to know Christ a long the way to Colorado, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Teaching me the importance of courage in a godless world. God lead my young life so precisely to prepare me for the road ahead in my adult life! I can look back and see how God was training me each and every week as I grew up under the preaching of His word to give me what I needed for today! God thinks of everything!





Saturday, March 21, 2015

~Love The Shepherd! ~ (continued)~

When I was a young girl the world that I knew, blew up! We all have those defining moments in our past where our lives are impacted negatively and life is never the same again. I don't want to focus on the negative in this blog but instead the positive that came from that experience. As my world unraveled and was changed forever I had a pastor (Dr. Lee Roberson) in my life that guided me through God's Word. I had an Uncle (Evangelist Darrell Dunn) who was a preacher in my life that also guided me through God's Word. I did a million things wrong because of my own personal circumstances but God's Word still penetrated my sin-filled heart.

Because of that experience in my own life I have a passion and love for ALL Pastors & their families. I know that is not the experience some may have had growing up but that was who God used in my own life when my world became dark and bleak. We all have those life defining moments that change us forever and I was fortunate enough to have two wonderful Pastors to guide me through the good news of the gospel!

It doesn't mean that I look at all Pastors as being perfect people. These two men also taught me Romans 3:23 There is none righteous, no not one.  I am sure there were people who had issues about one thing or another with my pastor and my uncle. There could have been theological issues, personal issues or a million other things that seem to become front and foremost in our churches. The sheep have a tendency to become more interested in methodology than in a little girl like myself who just needed to be led through the "Good News" of the gospel.  

The one thing I have heard most from working alongside my own Pastor is that he is the first to admit he is not perfect. Working with my Pastor and his family has been the only time I have ever felt that I myself was not expected to be perfect either because only Christ is perfect. The world may not have accepted me and all my failures but my Pastor and his family loved me in spite of them. It makes the working environment more motivating to be working alongside people that are loving, transparent and real.

Romans 5:8 tells us that God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Yes, Christ died for us, all of us because of our sin. He died for me, for my Pastors and for everyone because of all our sin. We are all in the same boat, each and everyone of us and yet the grace extended to us from God is not always easy to extend to each other. I was and still am fortunate to have people in my life who understand God's amazing love and extent of grace. 

Our Pastors are up against so much and so many..............all I can think of is how many young children, teens & adults like myself need the good news of the gospel. I don't know about you but I still need the reminder! Let's face it there is an entire world that needs to hear it so come alongside the Shepherd, put away the pettiness and extend the same love and grace to them and to others. We need to serve in our churches in a way that shows we truly believe that we are sinners in need of a Savior!

~No One Cares~



I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true;
I would tell you how He changed my life completely,
He did something that no other friend could do.

No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There's no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me.
written by Dr.Charles Weigle

Jesus did something that no other friend, parent, spouse, child or family member could do. No one can care for us like He does. We are always let down by those around us. Even more heartbreaking, we always let others down around us.

We are not capable of caring like God does 
but with His help we can be His love to others. 
 
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us
. Romans 5:8


 This is a picture of flowers I picked in my garden
 and put on my dining room table, May 2013.

Friday, March 20, 2015

~Love The Shepherd~

The main thing that I noticed when I worked as a church administrator was the lack of thankfulness from the people of the church. There were a few notes that would come through but nothing like the praises I had seen from being an administrator in any other business before or since. I think people believe that Pastors have such a close connection with God or they are some type of celestial being that needs no praise or gratitude. Like it would be some sin to edify him and give him any sense of worth. There are people who believe that a pastor and his family are in such a prestige position in our society that they have it made by being in the perfect job. 

Working at a church was the most difficult job I have ever been involved in personally. Ministry has the potential to exhaust & crush the soul. Every day the offices of our pastors are filled with the wrecked lives of their own congregations. Then there are the extended families of the congregation who don't attend the church but come to a point in their life where they need God and need a pastor to do or say something to bring them some hope. There are folks who come off the streets to find a safe harbor at the church and also again need to hear something from the Pastor so that they are able to handle another day. Every day is filled with the every day devastation of life that happens from living in a fallen world. 

In some cases I would have to sit in these counseling sessions and heard things that I never imagined was possible. There were moments where the person needing the help would have to reach over to give me a tissue because I was so overwhelmed with grief at their circumstances. What always amazes me about Pastors is how they manage to still have time to study for their sermons, run the business of a church, and have any time to enjoy their own families.

Pastors are the same as all of us ~ sinners saved by grace! Every human emotion we feel, they feel. We need to encourage & love our Pastors and their families. I have seen first hand the work life of a Pastor and the devastation they have had to clean up for the sheep. Taking care of church people is a difficult task especially when there is no one taking care of the shepherd. 

"I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6


This picture was taken on a walk in February 2015.

~Practice Makes Perfect~

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

written during Hurricane Season 2006:
When tropical storm Alberto formed in 2006, I thought it would be a good time for a practice drill to be sure we have our hurricane preparedness plan at home working. I asked Jim to show me how to work our new shutters which all we needed to do was close, pack and leave. I like the sound of that, don’t you? Anyways, we pulled the shutters together, easy, easy, easy and then I asked, why is there a lock on the handles? He said, because you need a key and then I asked, where is the key? He looked at me as if to say, I thought you had it. When you have been married as many years as we have, you don’t have to speak because a “look” speaks volumes. I looked back at him and I said, "No, I don’t have the key so where do you think it might be?" Oh brother, we failed miserably our first hurricane practice drill and a few weeks later when the next tropical storm formed we still had no key.

My life is a lot like this story, I can have a plan on how I think it should be but if the main "key" is missing then I am left feeling stressed instead. I personally always make the mistake of trying to plan my own life because I become so wise in my own eyes. Then I realize when I can’t get it right that I just need to stop looking to myself but instead look to my Heavenly Father. 

We had to have new keys made for our shutters so hopefully the next practice drill will be smoother.....

This picture was taken at "Vizcaya" when we visited in 2012. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

~My Journal: It Just Feels Good~

I wrote this in my journal when I was a stay at home mom raising 3 children, on July 11, 1995: In the midst of a storm in our life our 5 year old daughter Deena asked, Mommy is Jesus here? I answered, "Yes!" She saw that her parents were struggling emotionally and asked, "Where?" I replied, "Deena, pretend you are mommy and daddy okay? Now I will be the part of Jesus." I then picked her up in my arms like a baby and carried her around the room. She giggled!

Later in the car, she asked, "Mommy, is Jesus still carrying us in the car?" I said, "Yes, He is!" Deena replied, "I like that." I asked her why and she answered, "because it just feels good."

The Lord is my keeper......Psalm 121:5a

Even though our little girl could see that her mom and dad were struggling with a lot of sadness, I was able to reassure her that we were trusting God to carry us through this storm and all life's storms in our future.

This picture was taken of my youngest daughter Deena around 1995 when we were at Chucky Cheese.

~Negative Emotions~

And the king took an oath and said, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress, I Kings 1:29

Looking back on King David's life we know that God had delivered him from much anxiety, sorrow, pain, anguish, suffering, agony, torment, heartache and heartbreak. These are many of the same emotions we all experience in life at one time or another. We can trust God as David did with all of our emotional stresses. If anyone had a right to nurse a grudge it was David towards Saul who attempted to kill him. He trusted God with his life and knew that it would only do harm to himself and God's purpose in his life.

The root of anxiety and stress in my own life is always my own lack of faith. I am constantly repenting to God for my unbelief. Sure I have blamed a million and one other things or other people but when I finally am honest with myself it is always by my own doing, my own sin, my unbelief that God has taken care of everything for me. 




Wednesday, March 18, 2015

~Need Some Joy~

Job 8:21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. 
 

We all need joy in our life in order for life to make sense, right? Otherwise, how miserable it would be to just exist and feel no joy at all. We have all met people from time to time that have been robbed of their joy due to life's circumstances. I think it is disheartening  when I meet people who rob themselves of their own joy. No matter how much you try to help them see the good in life they see the negative, always complaining and in a state of major self pity. Let's be honest, we are all guilty!
 

There are people who should not have any joy because of life's circumstances and yet they do have real joy.  That is amazing to me because they manage to enjoy God's blessings in the midst of it all.
 

Joy comes from God and He gives it to anyone who wants to receive it and even when life happens and bangs us up, it will be where we least expect it.
 

Joy has come to me in many forms....some times from a scripture, a child, a friend, a flower, a butterfly, the ocean, artwork, etc....and when I least expect it!
 

In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag. - W.H. Auden

 This picture was taken on one of my walks on March 31, 2008.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

~My Prayer~

1 John 3:18-20 My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.

I read this today, "Your children need your presence more than your presents!" How true and something I would love to pass on to my own children for my grand-children's sake. I pray my children will know what is best for their kids and do for them in a very special way. I hope they learned from all of my mistakes what "not to do." If only it were that simple!

My prayer Lord is for you to undo all the harm I may have done in raising my kids. I didn't have a clue what I was doing. It's by the grace of God they have turned out as well as they have. Lord, thank you for them all, the joy, the grief, the good, the bad ~ yes all! I love them each so very much. I hope and pray I have given them more good memories than bad. They have so much to look forward to in growing up and growing old. Age brings wisdom....


God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer. ~Mother Teresa

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3


 This picture was taken in 2011 of my youngest daughter 
and her husband expecting their first child.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

~Opposites Attract~

Let all that you do be done with love. I Corinthians 16:14
 
My husband and I are extreme opposites in every way. We think completely different in just about every single thing. What he notices, I don't and vice versa. We were brought up different. We are wired and think different too.

When we were younger we did not appreciate those differences. Our pride and immaturity caused us to argue over those differences more than appreciating our differences. Fortunately, because of God's mercy and grace, we have learned over the years to trust and respect each other with our opposite approaches. We have learned each others strengths and to put aside our foolish pride. To allow each other to make choices and do things that are contrary to our own response. 

It is by God's mercy & grace that we ever get it right - it is by our own human frailty when we get it so painfully wrong.

 This is a picture of my husband that I took October 14, 2012.

Friday, March 13, 2015

~This Message Is Liberating~

Take time to listen to a great message about God's amazing love and grace for you and for me.....


Thursday, March 12, 2015

~Madness Of The Mind~

 Where can we go up? Our brethren have discouraged our hearts, saying, “The people are greater and taller than we; the cities are great and fortified up to heaven; moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakim there.” Deuteronomy 1:28

In the verse above the people of Israel were being discouraged by rumors of giants in the land. Instead of trusting God they were trusting the rumors of man. The words of men began to rule their minds instead of the Word of God. 



It's our choice who we listen to ~ God or Man?

I don't know about you but when I am discouraged by what others say or life's circumstances I feel like crawling in my bed and pulling the covers around my head. No matter what is going on in our lives my husband continues to move forward on whatever plans we have together and I have learned to just follow. When I look back in pictures I have taken of our times together I see what we have been able to do with God's grace. I am truly grateful for those memories instead of giving in to the madness going on in my mind!

This song is a wonderful reminder that we are not alone....


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

~Good Resources~

There is a sermon series that I listen to each day that I would like to pass on to those who follow my blog. These sermons are by Pastor Tullian Tchividjian http://www.crpc.org/media

He also writes a blog that I want to encourage you to read today ~ http://www.pastortullian.com/2015/02/27/christ-is-deeper-still-2/



This is a book Tullian Tchividjian has written that I wanted to recommend as well to those who are going through difficult times...




Monday, March 9, 2015

~Love And Forgiveness~

Now the Lord called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying,  “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of the livestock—of the herd and of the flock. Leviticus 1:1-2


God laid out the specifics for the people of Israel to atone for their sins. The sacrifice of animals were to symbolize their atonement. An action used for forgiveness. Love is an action and so is forgiveness. Jesus died for our sin so that we no longer need to sacrifice an animal. God still shows us all through the scriptures that love is an action and so is forgiveness.


I like to hear from my husband that he loves me. When he hurts my feelings or offends me I am grateful he has always apologized and asked my forgiveness. Where would any relationship be without those two actions? Easy to answer, there would be no relationship!

Our relationship with God is to be the same way in our showing our love in action and need for forgiveness in action. 


This is a picture of my youngest daughter and her husband when they were expecting their first little one, taken September 10, 2011.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

~Looking For Sunshine~

Many times as a young mother I would plan a fun-filled day for my kids. The best of plans would go awry with just one of them waking up in a mood. It's difficult to expect 3 children to all wake up pleasant. Maybe it would be an accident where one of the kids would have an injury or we all woke up to an epidemic of illness.

By the end of the day I would just want to sit and cry from my own disappointment and that of the kids. It would be one of those days that would be so out of my control leaving me feeling helpless and questioning my ability as a mom. To say I was discouraged and frustrated would be an understatement.

There were a few things I would do to help us turn our awful and depressing day into a good one: Singing silly songs with the kids would always make them laugh and laughter changes everything.
Building a fort in the middle of the living room for everyone in the family to sleep and bringing all our mattresses to lay on. Makes the fort more comfy! Reading stories together as we all lay in my bed and having the older kids read aloud too. Baking something fun and festive that makes it feel like a holiday. Creating crafts always seems to be something kids find stimulating and enjoyable. Even a simple trip to the library together made the day brighter.

There are so many ways to make a day pleasant even though it didn't work out as planned. Keep looking for the sun on your next cloudy day!

A picture I took of a storm approaching the coast and
 the sunshine and blue skies just beyond those clouds.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

~Listening~

A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. Proverbs 18:2

... a man of understanding holds his tongue. Proverbs 11:12b


So what does this mean? Well for a start, people are more likely to listen to us, if we have first taken the time to listen to them. 


I told my son one day, "you never listen to me!" He replied, "I do mom, it's just you have so much to say!" Lesson learned.... 

 This picture was taken in Charleston, South Carolina when we visited March 21, 2013.


Friday, March 6, 2015

~Life's Losses~

Therefore David took hold of his own clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son, for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. II Samuel 1:11-12

David experienced great grief in the loss of Saul and Jonathan in this passage. David had spent years running from Saul who wanted to kill him. He did not rejoice in the death of an enemy.

Today death is so trivial because people are watching it every day on television or reading about it in the news. Experiencing losses comes in many forms: death, moving away, broken relationships, loss of a job or health, etc. A defense mechanisms that many people use in handling loss is to minimize its significance. We convince ourselves that the loss is not a big deal or get into some busyness to forget.

Others are going to hurt us intentionally or unintentionally and we will do the same to them. It is so difficult to not dwell on the pain that causes us emotionally and physically. David was able to grieve not just for his best friend, Jonathan, but for Saul who had been trying to kill him for years. David refused to get stuck in the past hurts that Saul had caused him.

This picture was taken on one of many walks I shared with my youngest daughter 
and my nephew James after school in 1996. James was killed in an accident at the age of 21.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

~Life Chapters~

Each time I finish up a book I become a little sad when I know it is the final chapter. The book I am reading becomes like a friend that I enjoy spending time with each day. I always think to myself that I hope I am able to find another one soon that is just as enjoyable. I always tell my family that I feel myself grieve each time I finish up a good book.

Our life has many final chapters in our friendships, marriages, children, grandkids,  jobs, homes, health, finances, etc. Death may bring a final chapter we didn't expect. We feel we may not recover many times from the loss or the ending. The human spirit is stronger than we realize and with God any and all endings can be the beginning for a new chapter that we have not even imagined.

We need to trust God with our future in the midst of all the tragic losses of life. We don't know what God is going to do with our circumstances but in faith we have hope for our future. As we find ourselves at the end of a life chapter don't forget to turn the page to the beginning of something new. 

Psalm 18:28  “You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”

 
 This picture was taken when I visited Sevilla Spain in 2012.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

~Land Mines Of Life~

When I was a young woman, I remember fearing certain losses or death of a loved one. Wondering if I had enough faith and trust to endure the land mines of life that I would see others having to deal with themselves. I would imagine some scenario in my life and think that I would not be able to go on if.......and filled in the blank. 

Looking back, some of those things did come to pass but many did not happen. Other things happened that I didn't or couldn't possibly have imagined and I realize that God did and will sustain us. It is difficult to imagine the grace that God has for us in the middle of what we would have thought would have destroyed us otherwise.

He will not let your foot slip. He who watches over you will not slumber. Psalm 121:3


This picture was taken of an art project I recently did on a table 
in my living room February 2015.

Monday, March 2, 2015

~Leadership~

These were chosen from the congregation, leaders of their fathers’ tribes, heads of the divisions in Israel. Numbers 1:16

God spoke to Moses in this chapter and orchestrated the first census to prepare them for battle. It describes exactly how they were supposed to go about it to see what each family was capable of doing. Tribes of people were chosen for battle and tribes of people were chosen just to protect the tabernacle. The leader was Moses and then there were leaders of each tribe and family. Everyone knew their position and their job to do in order for victory.

This is how I see the church, the role of our pastors and the leadership. If people believe that God has ordained them with the future and decisions of the church and don't follow the leadership of the pastor then it will not lead their church to victory. Our job is not to conjure up our own ambitions and missions for the churches we attend. We are to follow our pastors and his leadership. If we feel they are wrong then it's our job to pray for them because I believe God can make any wrong be right.

God has given us political leaders, parents, bosses, etc. and if this same truth is applied it will bring blessing!  

 This is a picture of a young girl leading the elephant at the circus that I
 attended with my grandkids on November 9, 2012.