I have always enjoyed driving! I guess that is why when I was blessed with a job about 30 minutes from home, I really didn’t mind. Most of the time I listen to music when I am driving along, but that was not the case today. Silence reigned in the car and I was very deep in thought on my drive this morning. As I focused on the road ahead I noticed it looked like mountains in the distance. Now I know there are not any mountains in Southwest Georgia at least not since last Thursday. The clouds were arranged in the sky in a way that made it look like the Great Smoky Mountains in the distance. For a moment in time my eyes were playing tricks on me. My perspective was tainted; I was seeing something in a different way.

In my walk with God, I often see things differently than the way that He wants me to see them. I often view God from the perspective that I have heard others share about Him. When they tell me how God has been working in their life, I get a glimpse of the essence of God’s character. Then I get into the Word of God and study His nature, I begin to learn even more. The deepest lessons I have learned about God however have come through experience.  When I have been betrayed by a friend,  I have come to truly know Him as the “friend that sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Through brokenness and sickness, I have come to know Him as the Healer. In Financial lows, I have come to know Him as God, my provider. Recently, when my husband went through a health crisis, I came to know God as the Comforter and God of Peace. People may wonder how I was holding it all together. Well, I wasn’t. God was holding me together. We stand and sing in Worship, “I want to know you(God) more, I want to know you more”, but I wonder if we are willing to go to the hard places and be put in uncomfortable circumstances in order to really get to know God in the way He wants to be known.

Often trials and tribulations comes into the life of the believer. It is the world in which we live it. A perfect creation was broken by man and his sin (Genesis 3). We have been living in a broken world ever since then. God has made a way to restore us back to Himself and it is through the person of Jesus Christ. God wants to have a deeper relationship with you. When we receive Him into our heart and life at salvation, we receive all of God that there is to get. The thing we need to realize is God may not have all of us. We may not even realize there is something we may be holding back from getting to know God more. He wants to reveal Himself to us. Are we ready to let God put us in a tight spot where the only place we can look is up? Perspective sure can be an interesting thing. Thankfully God is willing to take my perspective and turn it toward His way, and walk every step along with me until I am closer to Him than I ever thought possible.

I Peter 5:10-11

10  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

A Kind Word

Someone once said, “You don’t know what’s missing until it’s gone!”, and in a sense I guess that is true. However, some things in life you don’t realize how much you have missed until you begin to experience them again. A kind word from someone is one of those things. Often we may find ourselves in a rut of going to church, putting on our “happy face”, putting in our God time, and leaving without really interacting and having fellowship with those around us. When was the last time you really took the time to give a kind word to someone, and encourage them in their walk with Christ? There is a point when so much is going on in our lives that we hit survival mode and are only able to go to church, and meet with God and that is all we can handle at that moment. The cares of this world may have driven you to a place that you barely can put one foot in front of the other. When we find ourselves in this place, God may use someone to speak a kind word or offer a prayer on our behalf that will help us to see that God has not left us and we still have christian friends that are there for us as well. One of the best things about being a part of the body of Christ and in a God filled church is that you can be there for each other.

In the last month when my husband was so sick, I was so encouraged by all of the kind words, prayers, texts of encouragement, cards, support of our church friends & family, and even people I had not met but who heard about our situation and responded with encouragement and blessings. Some will never know this side of Heaven the extent of the joy that brought to me. Though I tried to express my thankfulness, It has meant so much more that a mere, “Thank you” can cover. Those of you who have ministered to us, you have shared fellowship with us that caused our joy to abound. (I John 1:3-4)

For the last two weeks, my husband has been interim pastor at a new church. One of the things I have really enjoyed has been getting to know the new people and sharing our lives with them.  As I look how far God has brought us in the last couple of months and all He has taught us, I can’t help but try to pass on the encouragement I have experienced. I have again realize the importance of sharing a kind word with someone. Many in this world are carrying burdens and are hurting. You never know that your word, prayer, text, card, etc. will be the difference that will turn them once again to the Heavenly Father. You have a wonderful opportunity to share a kind word that will produce ripples of encouragement throughout someone’s life. Don’t hold back! Give a Kind Word!!!

The Better End

As this year is closing and a new one is beginning, I found myself in a place of reflection. At the beginning of every year, I always try to start right. I have a list of things I want to accomplish during the year, but taking a long look at it all, I realize there were many things on my year’s to do list that I didn’t do. Some lost momentum early in this last year, and some I strived to accomplish right up to the very end. Like my daily to do list usually runs, I didn’t finish it all.  I would have liked to have done a better job, but, alas, in many areas I failed.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 was brought to my mind this morning, Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”  The end is better. The patient in spirit is better. I caught myself in a cycle of focusing on the negative. So in my reflection, I am going to alter my focus from what I did not accomplish this year to what I did accomplish. This year was a good year. My health was so much better than the year before, and I am so thankful for that. What else was accomplished this year? I was more active, due to the fact I could walk without pain. I drew closer to the Lord this year. (That was one of the best things.) I experienced the love of family and friends. I grew closer to our members in our church family. I experienced joy. I laughed often. I hugged my kids every day. I fell deeper in love with my dear husband. All in all this year was lived well. First half of this verse accomplished. Second half of this verse I will have to work on. I surely do not want to be known as prideful, and I want to be more patient with myself and others. Sometimes I push myself too hard to do things rather than just be who God wants me to be. I think this might have to be up there on my list of “Things to Work On” this next year.

Also in my quest to come up with a 2012 to do list, I need to stop and realize though another year is closing it is not the end of it all. Until I leave this world or the Lord comes back to get us, I will still be moving forward. My work on earth is not yet completed; there is more to accomplish for Him. So no matter how I started, I can definitely finish strong with God’s help. I can be a better Christian with God’s help. At the end of 2012, may the end be better than the beginning.

Compassion Meets Opportunity

When I turn on the news, I am amazed at the amount of stories focused on people doing unthinkable acts to others.  Adults hurting other adults, Parents hurting children, Children hurting other children are all apart of a vicious cycle that does not seem to have a conclusion. Hurting people are lashing out at those closest to them.  When I look at all of these terrible things, I see an absence of compassion for others.  I thought to myself, ” Where are the stories of the heroes?  The ones who not only thought of others kindly, but also took it upon themselves to go the distance in showing compassion to someone else. Where are those who saw an opportunity to take compassion to the next level from thought to action?”

I may not see many in the news, but as I look around me, I see heroes who show compassion. I see it in my family members, in my friends, and in my church family. It reminds me of Jude 22, “And of some having compassion, making a difference.”  When a need arises they don’t just think about doing something for someone  else, They do it.  These heroes do not just say, ” I sure do care about you, buddy.” and move on. They have a compassion that inspires.  I have seen them give when they had little to give. They sacrifice their time in the midst of a busy schedule.  People who go beyond meeting someone’s needs with compassion they minister to their hearts.  They are ones who take the meaning of Jude 22 literally. They make a difference. 

 I can testify about these dear people because in a time not to long ago, I was a first hand witness to this compassion they showed. Last year, I had a badly sprained ankle that turned very serious very quickly.  Because of the severity of the sprain, I could not put even the slightest pressure on my foot for three weeks.  Due to my inactivity while recuperating, I developed a  severe blood clot in my leg. I had to undergo some aggressive medical treatment in the days following the finding of the clot. During this trying time in my life,  my church family and friends rallied around my family and me. They fervently prayed for us, they brought us meals, and  they went out of their way to comfort and love on my kids.  Without asking anything in return, they showed me  the lengths that compassion can go when faced with opportunity.

A few minutes ago, My boys and I watched  as Sgt. Dakota Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor. Sgt. Meyer is the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.  On September 8,2009, Sgt. Meyer saved 36 of his fellow soldiers by going back again and again under heavy fire to save those to which he refered to as “his brothers”. Even after being wounded, He returned to the battle.   I am sure if given the opportunity He would do it again.   Finally, a news story that shows compassion in action.

I am so thankful that in my need God showed compassion to me. He went beyond the call of duty.  He was wounded in showing his great love and extending compassion to me. In all these things, He made a difference. I pray that in some small way, I will in my life be able to pass on a portion of the love He has given to me to someone else. I pray I will make a difference.

Before You Ask…

Have you ever found yourself in a situation when you wanted something badly? It is not a big thing, or something that will make the world a better place.  It’s just a “it would so nice if this would happen” moment. Let me share such an experience with you.

I had been saving some money toward a new dining room table and chairs. One by one my chair were breaking beyond the point of repair and my table top contained a permanent maker doodle by a young man who will remain nameless (because it was done accidentally, of course). So whenever I had a little extra, I put it in the dining room fund envelope. I was looking at furniture stores in my spare time trying to decide which one would look the best and be the most affordable. I scoured every sale paper waiting for just the right fit for my room and to match the cabinet that my husband and dad had built for me several years ago. The week after Christmas several stores were having end of the year sales and I had invited my sweet in-laws for an after Christmas celebration. I found the perfect set and Gordon and I had saved enough to purchase it. (Great deal, by the way!) I did think and pray on it for a day or two just to make sure I had peace about this one because it was an important purchase for me.  I felt I could go forward with this so I stopped by the store to buy it and have it delivered to my home. After the transaction was complete,  the saleslady said that my table and two chairs would be delivered. I had purchased 6 chairs, but she said that they only had two in the warehouse and the other 4 chairs would not be delivered for two weeks. She asked me if I wanted to go through with the purchase. I was disappointed, but told her to go ahead and then wait and deliver everything  together when all the chairs were in and ready to go. 

I will admit I went home with a heavy heart. I really wanted to use the new set for the special dinner I had planned with Gordon’s parents. I had been experiencing all kinds of emotions since Christmas Eve when Gordon got so sick and I had been trying to keep upbeat and encouraging. I prayed and asked the Lord to strengthen me and to help me not to be disappointed, but to be happy to share this special time with my family. He really helped me when I needed Him that day. I got out a special tablecloth and began to plan my dinner. It would be OK.

Imagine my surprise when on the morning of the day my in-laws were coming, I received a knock on the door at 8:30 a.m. A furniture truck was in my driveway and the workmen were pulling out a table and not two chairs, but all six chairs. I was so excited. God gave me a wonderful blessing that day. God showed me that even the small thing that I did not ask Him for, He gave to me anyway.  God heard my heart’s cry and showed me that the desires of my heart mattered to Him. I felt the love of my Heavenly Father in a very real way. In all that was going on in my life, He gave me an extra ounce of his goodness and love. He took the time to say, “I love you, my child.” In this moment, He whispered, “I just care so much about you.”

The verses that came to my mind are in Ephesians 3:17-20, “That Christ may dwell in you hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love. May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”  He loves us so much and wants us to experience the fullness of who He is. God wants us to know His love in such a real way that it overcomes us, and we just have to stop and bask in his goodness. I feel He also wants us to share this love with other believers. I know He is a God who can do “exceeding abundantly above”.  He responded to my heart before I could ask or think. He is ready to do that for his children. God loves us just that much.  I have trouble comprehending that kind of  love, but He still wants me to try to comprehend it. Christ wants us to know that He offers this kind of love to us all.

What are you thinking of, but are afraid or reluctant to ask God for? Go ahead and ask Him!

 He knows what you are thinking anyway. 🙂

It’s My Choice

Over the past several weeks I have been making a conscious effort to “Get Healthy.” I  began by making changes in my diet and also by joining the gym to get some much needed exercise. I have been reading articles, began to drink only water, green tea, and juice, and eating foods that are grilled or roasted.  These changes were hard for the first week or two. As I got used to the changes, I began to feel better and found that I had more energy. I even have shed 18 lbs. which my clothes have said, “Thank you”, to the extra room I have given them.  🙂  Physically, I have felt that the choices I have made are good for me. I think however that the choice I make with my time is the most important I will ever make. Just as I only have one body and I need to take care of it to the best of my ability. My day, just as yours, only has 24 hours in it. We all have the same amount of time.

The choices we make with our time will impact us and our surroundings. It is our decision on what to do with the time we have been blessed with. *(I was thinking along these lines when I was responding to my friend, Dionna, over at Emphasis on Moms as she commented on It’s my timeWhen I realized my comment was getting longer and longer, I decided to continue along these lines here. If you are looking for a great site for Moms, check it out!) 

As a mother, my choices not only affect me but also my family.  When my children were babies, they needed my constant attention. My every moment surrounded their every need. Even when they were sleeping, I always had at least one ear alert to every change in breathing, hiccup, snore, or cry. When I was sleeping, I slept lighter than I ever had before ready to answer all cries or calls. As they grew older, you would think that things would change. They were growing and maturing and able to handle more things on their own. Still, I am ready. Do I still hear them in the middle of the night? Yes. I choose to watch over them and be there to take care of them.

I have made the choice to teach them about God and the Bible.  Like Joshua in the Old Testament, I want those within my house to serve the Lord. It is so important to invest the time that was needed to teach them the ways of God.  I was thinking about the families in the Old Testament. They were directly responsible for teaching what God said to their children. They did go to the temple to worship. They had the priests and their leader, but they were commissioned by God to teach their children. In Deuteronomy 6:6-7, we read, “And these words, which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”  This teaching of God’s commandments was and is a 24/7 responsibility.  The Old Testament saints were diligent.

The choices that we make as parents today will impact the future of a nation. We do need to make a difference by witnessing in our communities, towns, states, nation and around the world yet,  let us never forget that the children in our homes need to be taught the ways of God from us. We can not rely on any one else to do it. Do we sit around with our children and grandchildren, and talk of the ways of God and his commands for us as the saints of old? or do we talk about everything else?  Are we sharing daily with our children the things we have learned at the feet of Jesus?

It is our Choice!