Friday, May 30, 2008
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
I will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!"
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper,
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge.
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day,
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
You will only look on with your eyes,
And see the recompense of the wicked.
For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.
For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
They will bear you up in their hands,
Lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.
"Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him,
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
He will call upon Me, and I will answer him.
I will be with him in trouble,
I will rescue him, and honor him.
With a long life I will satisfy him,
And let him behold My salvation."
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Beginning in the fall of this year, some of the older brothers and sisters began asking for help every few months. The first time I was asked I thanked God and was so grateful He had sent someone to me that needed something I could give. However, over time I found myself growing distrusting of the sincerity of their need.
One evening a few months ago, I was praying that God would give me and my teenage daughter something to bring us together and give us some common ground. I received a phone call from one of the girls asking if she could borrow a few dollars to buy some feminine items she needed. My immediate response was to turn away, not wanting to be taken advantage of. I decided to ask my daughter what she thought we should do.
Tears filled her eyes and she said "Oh, Mom. How sad that she had to call someone she hardly knows to ask for something like that." She found some of what the girl needed and said she wanted to give them to her. I drove them down to her house and left them at the door when I received no answer. Later on that evening, my daughter and her friend went to Walmart and bought 19.00 worth of shampoo, soap, diapers, etc. for this family. She said they cried while they were shopping and thinking about what they might need. I hung the bag on the door knob the next morning on my way to work, hoping they would find it and know they were cared for.
God works in such wondrous, mysterious ways. He opens doors we don’t know how to open, only He holds the key to our heart and to the hearts of those we love. He showed me that day through my tender hearted daughter that my heart, though I think I’m looking at life with God’s perspective, had become cynical and wary of being made the fool, being taken advantage of.
Me? After the years of pouring my soul out to God for help? After searching under couch cushions for change to buy a little gas or milk? Me? After praying to God to help me provide better for my family, to find ways to be responsible for the needs of my children…Me? If not for the generosity of friends and family at times I might be without a house or a car, or I might be working 3 jobs and have no time at all with my kids. Me?
Once about 10 years ago, my kids and I arrived home tired and hungry, to find we had no electricity, no phone and no water.
Another time my car had broken down and when I went to pick it up from the shop I was told "The Lord loves you and someone has paid $500.00 of your bill". I was in a small group Bible study at the time and my friends had all pitched in to help. That same afternoon, a man came by to give me an estimate on repairing my fence. He ended up mowing my yard and before he left, he pointed up to the sky and said "All good things come from God".
There was the day when my paycheck was about $200.00 short. When I got home from work that day I found an envelope in my purse with 200.00 in it with a note that said "God loves you".
One cold December just a few years ago, my heater went out and was unable to be repaired. I was trying to get by with some space heaters until the temperatures dipped way below freezing.
My precious friends found out and they rounded up my faithful small group and the owners of the business I had worked at for about 5 years and paid for a brand new heater. I had it the next day!
Each time I felt so honored and humbled that God would help me through my friends. God has restored my life and brought me to a place where I want to be the one to help others.
Tonight, my son's friend and his sister came to the door and asked for 10.00 to buy diapers. I didn't have any cash but my son said "I have 10.00 in my wallet. Can I give it to them? The word "No!" was out of my mouth before I could even think about a response. My son's face fell and my daughter looked at me with disappointment in her eyes. Realizing my hard heartedness too late, I told my son to go try to catch them and if he wanted to give them his 10.00 he could. He raced down the street on his bike until he caught up with them and came back with a smile on his face and warmth in his heart.
Finances were an area that God really used other people to bring healing into my life. While feeling unworthy because of my struggles, He provided friends who reached out to me and communicated God's love to me through their loving actions. They showed me what it is to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
Dear Lord, make my heart like new. Tender and responsive to the needs around me. Thank you for the joy in giving and for placing people in our lives who need you and need the small gifts we are able to give. Forgive me for putting up walls to protect myself and for being so quick to forget.
By Appointment To H.M. Queen Elizabeth
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
A friend loves at all times
This is in honor of friendship. . .
my childhood. . . growing up years. . . high school . . .and college friendships. Our friendships span over 47 years, 7 marriages and 16 children. Even though our lives have taken us in different directions and to different places, when we come back together again, the common memories are more than enough. It's as if who we were then becomes intermingled with who we are now. It occurs to me that friendship over time is like a river running through all of the mountains and valleys of our lives, weaving a common thread that if followed long enough, will always bring us back.
"It takes a long time to grow an old friend."
On first glance there's always the familiar sparkle of the eyes and a smile, and then the laughter, always laughter. We laugh because the people we were then are still behind the eyes of the people we are now! We laugh at the stories, we laugh at the fact that we're still laughing at the same stories we've laughed at for 30 something years!
"A friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway!!!"
We laugh until we cry and have to catch our breath. We laugh because in spite of how many struggles and crises we've lived through, in each other's eyes, we can still find something of who we were back when. Back when there was innocence and a childlike belief in prince charmings and happily ever afters, and knowing we are far better off now, seeing the strength the years have given us. Realizing how short life is. We were together this time for a funeral, for the mother of my childhood friend, a mother who warmly welcomed me into her home on a daily basis for many years. I pray that our time together was a comfort to my friend and her family and that God will surround them with His comfort when they return back home.
"Though our communication wanes at times of absence, I'm aware of a strength that emanates in the background."
It was a reminder for me of how much time I have let go by. Every moment I have let go by thinking my friends are probably busy with their own lives and the times I allowed myself to be too busy. Those moments turn into weeks, then months, and then years. I'm writing this out of love for my friends, out of gratefulness for our memories and laughter, for my friends who are the glue that hold us all together.
So. . . just as the past intermingles with the present, I want to share my blog, this aspect of my new life, with my old friends.
"A friend is a gift you give yourself."
So, pick up the phone or grab a pen and paper, even send a quick email.
Keep the river flowing. . .
Dear Lord, I pray that you would hold my friends and their families in your arms, that you would draw them close to you and bless them with your love and care.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
We continued driving and before too long I started sneezing and found myself in the middle of a severe allergy attack which lasted the rest of the day. After about seven more hours of driving, we were in the middle of Louisiana. It was almost the middle of the night, and my older son called to see when we wanted to stop and find a place to stay. We were getting pretty weary by then, and since the next town we would come to was Lafayette, I told him we would stop there. The roads kept getting darker, and I was starting to feel lost and anxious even though I was following the route I had planned. My son started looking up hotels in the area and started making phone calls to find the best place for us to stay. He called me back and said he had told them that his mom and his little brother were driving through the area and needed a safe, comfortable place to stay the night.
The feeling his words gave me was one of being loved and valued. In the middle of a dark, strange place his concern was very comforting. He gave me specific directions to get there, and in fact stayed on the phone with me as I was driving through town until I found the hotel. It was in a well lit part of town and was an older, elegant hotel.
I pulled up to the brightly lit front entryway. I decided to button my yellow sweater over my t shirt to hide the coffee stain. I tried to straighten my hair and put it up in a clip. I stepped into the beautifully furnished lobby. As I approached the front desk, the clerks looked at me warily. I told them my son had called ahead and booked my reservation. They looked at each other and said they hadn’t spoken with him. I thought to myself, “well, I guess I don’t look like the mom who needs a nice hotel room”. However, they found my reservation and I was able to get checked in. The clerks looked relieved as I took the key and walked back out to the car.
We drove around to the back of the building and carried our suitcases into the hotel. We took the elevator up to our room, walked in and relaxed in our wonderful room with a king sized bed. I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I walked across the room. I was an absolute wreck! I looked even worse than I had imagined. The coffee stain I thought I had covered up was still visible. My sweater that I thought would make me look more presentable had been buttoned lopsidedly. Mascara was smeared under each eye, my nose and eyes were red and my hair was a mess.
My son’s words ran through my head again. I am loved and valued in spite of the mess I am in at this moment.
There are times in our lives when regardless of all of our planning, we end up on a dark road, feeling lost. When we turn to God and begin seeking Him, He knows we’ve been on a long journey. Our lives are a mess and we are a mess. But God doesn’t care how the world sees us or even how we see ourselves. We are valued and loved by Him. He will provide a safe, comfortable place for us to rest in His presence when we turn to Him. He even gives us directions and will guide us every step of the way.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
2 Corinthians 1:3
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
So, how is your Saturday going?
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
One scene in my dream had my mother in law, who passed away over 15 years ago, sitting beside me, stitching the hem on a quilt that was covering the bed in a guestroom. It was navy blue and white. I remember thinking, she must have made it at home and brought it to our new house to help us out. She always had so much love and strength. Then my sister in law was there and she was holding a baby. My mother in law said "Oh, did you hear, she's getting another baby soon." I thought to myself, "she must be either taking in foster children or adopting, since her children are grown.
I was aware in my dream of a trip to Nicaragua that my mother in law and sister in law were planning to take for a mission trip of some kind. I asked" Did you ever go to Nicaragua?" My mother in law replied, "No, I didn't go. Let me tell you why. Listen to the words of this song. She then began to sing a Keith Green song, with all of her heart. I began to sing with her because I love the song and knew the lyrics. As we were singing, a man walked by who I knew to be her pastor and just looked curiously at me.
"Thank you Oh My Father, for giving us your son
And leaving your Spirit till the work on earth is done.
Thank you Oh My Father, for giving us your son
And leaving your Spirit till the work on earth is done.
Before my divorce, or before the end of our marriage, my husband's family were so much a part of my life. I loved them and their children so dearly. When I walked away from my husband, I felt I had to walk away from them as well. How could they be his sisters and mine at the same time? We've spoken a few times since then but not often. I keep up with my nieces and nephews through my kids and hear about marriages and births. But I've always felt that I needed to write a letter to each of my sister in laws and maybe they could pass it on to their children sometime.
Was my mother in law communicating to me from heaven? If so, what was she trying to say to me? or better yet, what was God saying to me through this dream? It made me realize what a constant presence and strength she was before her death. I pray that I am that strength in my own children's lives or at least showing them the way to the One who is their strength.
This has really reached deep in my heart, as I'm sitting here in tears as I write. I feel desperate to know the meaning. I had a mission to accomplish leading up to and during and after my divorce and I have always felt as though I ran from it. Now it seems too late.
I think I will write on forgiveness next. It's been on my heart to write about for awhile and I've learned so many new truths that would have changed my life 12 years ago, had I known then.
Lord, I give to you the things left undone on this earth, the words left unsaid. Thank you for leaving your Spirit with us to accomplish your work. Let me be a part of that work.
2 Timothy 1:6-8 (The Message)
5-7That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.
8-10So don't be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner. Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus.
If you are reading this, you are witness to a miracle. As I was writing my last paragraph, I thought I wanted to include the verse in the Bible that talks about a gift of power, love and self control, but couldn't remember where it was. I looked it up in Bible Gateway.com and read it in several versions.
My Mother in law's name is Lois. . .
All my love and prayers to you as you go about your day. Thanks for visiting my blog and allowing me to share with you.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ
that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not shouting 'I'm clean living''
I'm whispering 'I was lost, Now I'm found and forgiven.'
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.
When I say.. 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain..
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner Who received God's good grace, somehow!'
Pretty is as Pretty does... but beautiful is just plain beautiful!
Saturday, May 3, 2008
First of all, what are some things that we assume when we sit down in a chair?
* it will give us rest
* it will provide comfort
* we can renew our strength
* it can hold all of our weight without collapsing
* we just assume all these things without even
thinking about them
* we trust it will hold us up
Webster's definition for chair : any of various devices that hold up or support
My friend's analagy compared sitting in a chair to trusting in God. My son is reading over my shoulder. He just told me that he heard this in his class at church!
* when we trust God, we can know He will hold us up
* when we trust God we can know we won't fall
* if we only trust God halfway, or sit on the edge of a chair, we can fall and lose trust in God (Chad)
* we can still trust God, even if we're halfway on, God is still there to hold on to us (Chad)
So. . . the next time you sit down in your favorite chair, or any chair for that matter, think of trust. Trust that doesn't require worry or thought.
Just simply trust.
"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;