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I woke up this morning, too early of course, and was feeling the same uneasy anxiety I’ve been feeling for weeks.  Tomorrow is my second total knee replacement surgery.  I do not yet know what time my surgery will be.  They’ll call me some time today and let me know.  That doesn’t help the anxiousness!  When talking to hubby about how it would be nice to know, we decided it really doesn’t matter.  Not for this day.  We’ll know before it’s bed time tonight and that’s all that really matters.  My little bag will be packed and ready whether I have to get up at 5:00 a.m. or I’ll be able to sleep for a while.

While getting ready for work this morning I was listening to KLOVE Radio.  As I usually do.  I’ve heard the particular set of songs many times, but today the meaning of some of the peace-signlyrics meant so much more to me than usual.  The words of the song writers were so comforting and encouraging.  If you listen to Christian music, you know that many of today’s writers are inspired by Scripture.  So it feels as if it’s God’s Word in song, touching my heart.  I’ve had the radio on all day at work too.  Which is also the norm.  Songs I’ve heard every day forever… hearing in a new light today.

Peace.  I’ve got peace today about my surgery.  God is so good!  I know what I’m going to go through.  But I also know that a few things will go differently.  Because I know what is coming and I know what to say to the nurses and doctors tomorrow.  I know what I need to speak about…loudly if need be.  And I know what to expect once I get home.  Do I WANT to go through any of this?  Heck no!  But I still have a peace today that passes all understanding.  God’s Peace.

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4: 6-8 The Message

And that’s that.  I doubt I’ll be blogging for several days.  I look forward to touching base with you all again soon!  Remember to find me on Facebook for updates until then!

Also, a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have left me encouraging messages.  Your kindness means so much!

Blessings!

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I’m the secretary for my church.  Each week one of my jobs is to produce the Sunday bulletin.  Included in that bulletin is always a page with sermon notes that the Pastor provides.  It’s a great tool for those who like to follow along, take notes and reflect upon them later.  Having that page actually helps me keep my attention on the sermon and not what the kids across the aisle are doing! 🙂

Today while printing the notes for Easter morning I noticed that the scripture selection is Romans 5: 6,7 & 8.  Not a big deal, but the number sequence was noticed.  So, I looked it up:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5: 6-8

Wow!

I’ve heard and/or read this scripture dozens of times.  And after years of living as a Forgiven Child of God you’d think this would just be something I give a quite “Amen” to. passion_of_the_christ_by_saviourmachine But it still hits me HARD!  WOW!

God didn’t wait until I got my crap together and started leading a good life.  God didn’t wait until I stopped doing stupid things.  God didn’t tell me “when you get it figured out, I’ll be there”.  No.  He was there before I even had a clue!

Jesus DIED for ME knowing I did not deserve that kind of sacrifice.  Overwhelming and powerful Grace.  That one section of scripture sums it all up.  It’s the reason I’m “all-in” this God thing.  All or nothing baby.

Thank you Father that you loved me while I was…WHILE I AM…still such a mess!

Today is Maundy Thursday.  Which is the Christian observance of the Last Supper of Christ.  Tonight I will attend a traditional Maundy Thursday Communion Service at my church.  It’s one of my favorite traditions.  And with the thought of His sacrifice fresh in my heart, it will be a time of thanksgiving as well.

Have a Happy Easter everyone!

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The word of the day kiddos is “BLESSED”.

This morning my husband proclaimed that he had “bad news”.  He, of course, followed that proclamation with a dramatic pause.  Irritated already I urged him to tell me “What?!”.  It seems that we had no hot water and the water heater was leaking.  Therefore, it must be immediately replaced.

Naturally, I was concerned about the financial burden and the fact that he would have to do this laborious project.  NOT!  I had not yet taken my shower and was not happy at the prospect of getting under ice-cold water so early in the morning.

Hubby assured me that we have the money in our “emergency savings” so it won’t be too bad of a financial burden.  (Thank you Dave Ramsey!)  He also had a flyer from a local home improvement store that has what he wants to buy on sale.

Once past the shock of a cold (quick!) shower, it occurred to me…we are so blessed!  We live in a

Thank you, Father, for blessing me so abundantly.

country where we can literally drive a short distance and buy a new water heater and have it up and running by days end.  The realization of this hit me hard.  I was not born into a country where I have to walk half a day to get a jug of muddy water for my family and carry it home on my head!  I simply turn on a faucet and there it is.  Day after day I rely on fresh hot water at my fingertips.

As my morning progressed the abundant blessings became more and more apparent:

  • I drove my car
  • To the local coffee drive thru
  • Where I was greeted by a friendly face
  • And purchased fresh water coffee beverages.
  • I dropped off said beverage to my daughter
  • And got to see my granddaughter’s smiling face.
  • I ate my purchased bagel
  • On the way to my job.
  • I drove on our town’s riverfront dike
  • Enjoying the amazing Mississippi River view as I do many days.

You get the idea.  Every step of my morning was a reminder of how abundantly blessed I am.  By the time I got to work this was all a bit overwhelming.  The emotion of it all was upon me.  The things I take for granted every day are blessings!  In the midst of all the yuckiness of life, the hardships and the pain, I am STILL blessed!

I shared some of this with my friend at the drive-thru coffee place.  She says to me “you’re awesome”. “No”, I say, “I have an awesome God.”  She looks at me agreeingly (is that a word?) and I drove off.

Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses, But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea. Psalm 106:7 (NASB)

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)

AND ANOTHER THING…

Earlier this week I had one of those days where something I read just struck me wrong and I was going into that whoa-is-me-boo-hoo pit.  Felt sad, felt the tears coming.  I’d already written down a list of names of a few people I wanted to call that day.  I felt led to just touch base with a few friends from our church to see how they were doing.  Thankfully, I picked up the phone and made these calls.  After a lot of good laughs with my church family members I felt much better.  It took the focus off me and put it where it belongs.  On others, on God.  Calling others when you’re sad and asking about THEM will bless YOU!

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. Proverbs 11:25 (NIV)

How has someone blessed you recently?  How have you been a blessing to others?  How has God blessed you in every-day ways?!

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Hello and welcome to all my new subscribers.  Thanks for sticking around as I took an extended break from blogging.  This little story has been stuck in my head for over a month now:

In early June my husband and I took a wonderful vacation to Colorado.  On our way there we stopped and visited a few days with dear friends in Kansas City.  They have been our friends for a long time and each time this military family of six moves we try to go visit them at their new home.  Whether we go there, or they come here, we manage to see each other at least once a year.  Social networking helps a lot.  Facebook allows us to “see” each other.

I’m almost to my point…I promise! 🙂

One early June evening as we sat visiting with our friends in their living room, she got out a box of photos.  You see, their oldest son had just graduated from high school and we did some reminiscing.  This story is based on one photo.

It is a picture of a little boy, maybe a year old, sitting on the floor with a big bunch of fallen balloons around him.  Got a visual?  Good.  Now, here’s why this is so special…

When this young family (of only three at the time) moved to my town they didn’t know anyone.  She was scared and away from “home” and her family.  She was sad and felt alone.  The church secretary from her home town knew this and called the church with the same name in our town.  (Good ol’ First Baptists!)  After that secretary talked to our secretary, our secretary ordered a bunch of “welcome” balloons and sent them to the little family of strangers on behalf of our church.  (Are you following me?)

Because of that simple gesture, that this now retired secretary of our church doesn’t even remember, this little family came to the new town’s First Baptist Church.  And, as God had planned all along, bonded and became an instant and forever part of our family!

There we sat, 17 years later, looking at this photo of a little boy surrounded by fallen balloons.  Deep sighs and hugs to express our love for each other and our gratitude to God for working His will through two church secretaries.  These ladies never hesitated to do a simple thing that made all the difference in many lives.  One made a phone call to a stranger.  The other sent balloons to strangers.

What simple thing can YOU do to make a difference?  You may never know if you have been a part of a long-term blessing.  Just knowing you’ve touched a life and done what God is telling you to do is your reward.

P.S.  I am now the secretary at our church.  My prayer is that when (not “if”) God tells me to do a simple thing, I will hear Him and do it!

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I do not have a good relationship with my mother.  Never have, probably never will.  She’s said a lot of painful things to me since I was 17 years old.  She literally disowned me, “as far as I’m concerned I no longer have a daughter.”  She disapproved of every decision (whether right or wrong) I’ve made as an adult.  She told me that my children’s mistakes would be judged by others by saying “what do you expect with a mom like that”?  She refused to hold my newborn baby girl over 30 years ago.  In my eyes, she withdrew.  She made the choice.  I do not talk to my mom much. Nor do I go visit.  She lives only one hour away in my hometown.

I have been trying to reach her by phone for a week and finally left a message for my aunt or uncle to call me and let me know what’s going on.  Turns out mom has been in and out of the hospital and a nursing home for SIX WEEKS!  Her lungs were so full of fluids that she was in ICU and almost died.  No one called me.  Perhaps it was her choice, perhaps theirs.

So today I went to visit her in the nursing home, even though she’s supposed to go home tomorrow.  I dreaded the visit!  Figured I’d have the finger pointed and be questioned.  Feared confrontation. Feared judgement.  As I drove through my hometown, passed the old house, the high school, the hangouts,  I felt myself slip into a surreal place.  It’s changed so much and then suddenly it’s so familiar!  I felt God holding my hand, guiding my emotions even as my heart pounded.

And then, God gave me a very personal gift.  While visiting with mom I was reminded NOT of the judgemental conditional-love I’d remembered, but of a time when I was much younger.  When I had a stay-at-home mom who cooked, cleaned, sewed my clothes, baked cookies, lead my Camp Fire Girls group for several years. And ENJOYED doing these things!  She talked endlessly about leading the girls and  how she loved it and what a good job she had done.  And she had!  She talked a few times about how “we may not have had much financially”, but that she managed to have a well balanced, good home-cooked meal on the table every nice when my dad came home from work.  Not easy on a tight budget. And how when she’d have vegetable soup waiting for him he’d say, “How did you know I needed that?”  (Why didn’t I ever hear that?)

She talked about a trip they took before I was born.  They went with dad’s parents and his brother and wife to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl.  She hated that trip!  I’d heard the story before, but that’s OK.

The gift I received?  Truth.  Memories.  Light.  Relief.  Not the adult memories that I carry daily and have passed on.  But the memories of a very normal, pleasant midwest childhood.  Why is it that I take with me the garbage and not the good?  Does anyone else do that or is it just me?  I left home at 17 and never looked back.  And can only seem to remember the garbage that followed.  Granted, it was BIG STINKY ROTTEN GARBAGE!  But why can’t I focus on the pre-garbage era of my life?  

After I left her I drove by the three houses where I’d lived in town. Proud to say I didn’t get lost once!  🙂  That was very surreal! (I hate that word, but there’s none other to describe the feeling).  The old houses are all much smaller than I’d remembered.  Especially the first one.  The street was so narrow, room for only one way traffic. Drove by my first elementary school, middle school and high school.  If you haven’t seen where you grew up lately, I highly recommend it.  Humbling and eye opening.

But…

Can you go back?  I don’t know the answer to that.  Can you erase years of bitterness you’ve carried?  I don’t know that either, but I do know that my God is bigger than the pain and those scars and can make me whole again!

I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But You love me anyway
(You Love Me Anyway by Sidewalk Prophets)

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It’s one of those days when the moment you wake up you feel the weight of sadness.  Sadness of Real Life circumstances that just feel heavier than usual.  You get on with your morning, but just can’t shake that feeling.  You think “maybe if I just have a good cry I’d feel better”.  When in reality what you need is to do that crying at the feet of Christ!

I got to work, late of course, and drank my coffee while checking email and Facebook messages.  I’d posted earlier that:

We are approaching the 6 month mark already. Not sure anyone else is counting. I probably shouldn’t be.

You see, next week it will be six months that my husband’s oldest daughter and her three little children have lived with us.  Shame on me for counting!  Shame on everyone else for NOT!  Yes, that’s me… whining again.

I was having private message Facebook conversation with a friend and had just said that I need to pull out my iPod and listen to some Joyce Meyer podcasts when my phone rang.  It was God calling me directly!

Yes, that’s what I said.  It was God calling.  As He has done many times before (Being Used).  Ever faithful “Grandma” Ruth called me at the very moment I was seeking God’s voice by way of Joyce Meyer.  The moment I heard her voice on the line tears came to my eyes.  After she had told me the reason for her call there was a pause and then she asked me, “How are you and your family doing?  Is your daughter still living with you?”  Oh maaannn!  The tears came, and this wise woman of God so understood my emotion.

God nudges her to call me at just the right moment time and time again and for that I continue to be grateful and amazed! I wouldn’t ever compare a person to Jesus, but she’s just got that certain Christ-like something.  Where she can just relate.  She understands.  She KNOWS!

Playing on KLOVE radio as I write this blog, the chorus of a new song, Blessings by Laura Story:

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

Amen Sister!

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Haven’t blogged for a while, and when I have it’s been pretty much just fluff.  Sorry about that.  Everyone has a dry spell I guess.  Here are a few Bits and Pieces thoughts on this bloggers birthday:

  • Yessss, it’s my birthday.  And no, Facebook did not tell you.  haha  If you know me well enough, you knew.  And if you forgot… SO WHAT?!  Life is far too busy.  It’s not as if I’m five-years-old.  I know you love me because you tell me on REGULAR DAYS!  That’s what counts.
  • Don’t even ask about my age cause you won’t get the truth! 😀  However, it did occur to me that I have lived in this old house for half my life!  When I moved here I had three small children.  My oldest was only in first grade, the others not yet in school.  I was younger then, than my Baby Child is now.  Oy vey!  Next subject…
  • It’s been a typical winter in the Mid West, USA.  We’ve had it all.  Record cold, big snow, thunder snow, a hint of spring.  There have most certainly been worse winters!  Let’s not complain.  But yeah, we’re all ready for real spring. 
  • I use the UberTwitter app on my BlackBerry phone.  Love it! It’s even better than the actual online Twitter.  Last weekend it was shut down by Twitter for some kind of violations.  Now it’s back under the name UberSocial.  It’s all good.  Except, it’s still not working quite right.  That Twitter to Facebook connection is making me crazy.  It either posts only to my FB wall, or it posts two or three times all over Facebook.  Or not at all.  #frustrating (little Twitter hashtag joke there folks)
  • When can a dreaded thing like diarrhea sound cute?  When a precious two-year-old who has been sick tells you “I have di-a-reah.”  Awww, poor little Mia!  Another round of the cycle-of-illness makes its way through my oldest’s household.  When has there ever been such a “sick winter”?!
  • Speaking of illness…Hubby is so sick!  He usually manages to fight off the colds etc.  But this one has got him big time.  Sinus infection for sure.  Poor guy is at work as we speak just suffering.  Factory work sucks, I don’t care who you are.
  • I don’t know about you all, but there are a lot of people to pray for in my corner of the world.  I have a deal with a few friends which goes like this… “I’ll pray for you and yours and you pray for me and mine!”.  Sound like a good plan for blog readers too? 
  • We’re excited to see some great concerts in the next few weeks.  This Friday it will be Sanctus Real and on March 12th it will be Third Day.  Yes, Third Day AGAIN! haha 

It’s late.  Probably past this old woman’s bedtime.  Have a great end to your week blog friends!!  Leave me a comment and let me know how you are REALLY DOING!  Even list a prayer concern!  It’s all about being the Body of Christ right?  Right!

Have you seen this girl?!  I want to be this faithful child of God!

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