The gift of service

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These two dear people are husband and wife.

Last week my hubby took them fishing.

Everyone was excited they both caught fish.

Yet the comments which filtered home had little to do with the catch.

“She just served him the entire time, ” my husband said.

You see our friend is nearly deaf, and he struggles with getting around so doing things on the boat was far from easy.

His wife helped him at every turn.

She did it all with a smile.

It was obvious she never felt put upon or frustrated.

It was her gift to serve her husband.

How often such gifts are missed.

In our me centered world it seems so many things are being misrepresented.

The joys of serving others at my own sacrifice is beyond anything I’ve ever done for myself.

The blessings of seeing another person be helped or advanced at ones on loss is often misunderstood.

I see it with children every day.

The children who serve others, take their turn and look out for what is best for those around them are the ones who ard happier, have more friends, and are successful.

Those who are constantly out to be first at everyone else’s cost, are loud and demanding are often the most unhappy and least welcome by their peers.

So, as I start my day I’m praying to be able to give the gift of service to those around me.

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1867

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Today was memorable!

I was blessed to be able to tag along as a group of students were taken back in time.

The teacher waited at the door, ringing the bell.

She was lovely in a long blue skirt, blue patterned waist and a soft yarn shawl.

Her hair was up and she wore wire glasses.

She taught the children as if it were 1867.

They left brimming over with excitement.

The last thing the teacher taught was how this old school came to be sitting next to a modern-day school and how it had been rescued and restored thanks to some girl scouts and lots of volunteers.

I thanked the Lord for those people and the ones who keep the history alive by teaching others.

Just last Saturday I was doing the same thing.

I was thanking the Lord for the people who were working tirelessly to keep another piece of history alive.

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This is the oldest house in our area.

The Applegate House was built by Charles Applegate and his family.

He, his family and his two brothers and their families were the first whites to move here.

They had asked permission from the local Native American tribe leader.

Charles and the chief became good friends and their families never forgot it.

To open the day of activities there was an Indian welcome song sung.

Afterwards the great great granddaughter of Charles explained the Native American lady who sang the song was the great great granddaughter of the chief.

Then we were able to tour the house and step back in time.

Charles was a blacksmith and they still have some of the tools he made.

His wife was an herbalist and they’re working at restoring her garden.

A phonograph was wound and played for us.

A drum from the Revolutionary War was sitting in the corner.

Paintings and drawings and old old photographs.

Stories of joy and hardship, tragedy and great blessing.

Yet, throughout both visits into history I kept smiling at the similarities.

Family is still very important.

Teaching our children is still a priority.

No matter how, we have to work to make a living.

Respect must be taught, but it’s also well worth the lesson.

Integrity is a noble quality, and should be taught as well as lived.

How valuable it is to savor these things and to work at passing them on.

How grateful I am that others value them and taught me their value.

How good God is!

Underneath it all I can see He’s hand guiding, restoring, preserving.

He is the One who created it all.

He’s the One who loves us enough to teach us the value of self sacrifice, work, the gift of wisdom,  and so much more.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for these two places and all the people who have made them possible. Thank You for the lessons of love and giving. Thank You for walking with me and showing me these things. Thank You Jesus, this was so special!

(This post was written last Thursday. I’m sorry I missed getting it published sooner!)

20

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20 years ago.

I married the guy in this picture.

(The big one, not the little one,  he’s our son!)

It was the opening weekend of rifle deer season. (Which I heard lots of complaints about from those gents who wanted to get up early the following morning to hunt!)

My own gent was a bow hunter at the time and didn’t care at all!

We’ve seen much in these 20 years.

My dad was killed in an accident almost exactly a year later.

Our four beautiful children were born.

We bought a house.

My husband lost his grandmother and then a few years later his grandfather on his Dad’s side.

My hubby worked full time night shift for years while going to college to earn his mill wright journeyman card.

We sold our house and moved overseas.

We lived for a year in the country our girls refer to as “home” and then moved back.

We walked through extreme physical problems.

(I can’t express the emotion of dropping my spouse at the ER because he thought he was having a heart attack, but not being able to stay because he wanted me to wait with the children a good 45 minutes away.)

Then his health improved.

We walked through owning a business.

We walked through my extreme physical issues.

We walked through the slow process of physical rehabilitation.

We walked through closing our business.

We walked through buying another house.

We walked through another job change.
(Praise the Lord!)

We walked through our children growing and starting sports.

We walked through my hubby working full time and going back to college.

We walked through our first high school graduate.

We walked through our first child getting married.

There is so much more.

So many things.

Over and over and over God has worked and been so present in our daily lives.

Yet, I don’t want to spend too much time looking backward.

I want to look forward to what God has for our future, our family.

I have learned much.

But I know there is so… much more.

More for me to grow in, for me to understand,  for me to learn.

It is good to live in today for the Bible makes it clear.

Today is a gift from God.

Jesus, thank You for my husband. Thank You for 20. Please continue to teach me how to be a godly wife and mother. Please bless our family. Thank You.

Hungry

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I know,

I’m not a food photographer.

However, I was hungry when I sat down to this: my supper.

I was more than physically hungry.

I was spiritually hungry as well.

So, I read my Bible while pacifying my tummy.

I read the gospel of John.

To be exact I reread the section beginning just after Christ is raised till the end of the book.

It struck me.

Mary was far more than hungry for a glimpse of Jesus that morning at the tomb.

She must have felt bewildered, frightened, and possibly even desperate.

Her sorrow at the loss of her Lord was made even worse by what she thought was the theft of His body.

-sigh-

She sees the angels in the tomb and then turns to see Jesus Himself.

She failed to recognize Him, mistaking Him for the gardener.

At this I closed my eyes and prayed:

Lord, how often have I missed You in my every day? How often do I allow the circumstances which cause me sorrow and pain to distort my vision to the point of being blind to Your face? How might I change so I never again miss seeing You?”

-sigh-

“Because you have been using your eyes to look for Me. Look with your heart instead.”

Hunger subsided.

I felt my spirit overflow with the beauty of God’s truth.

I can choose to look for Christ in ever piece and bit of each day.

I can continue to hide His word in my heart. As I walk with Him I learn ever more Who He is.

I can lean on the Lord to fill even my most basic need and trust Him that He’s working even in the bleakness of wretchedness.

How great is our God!

May His name endure forever!

Jesus Christ, of Nazareth.

Unwanted

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This is Rose, our Golden Retriever and Grace our cat.

For some reason the cat wanted to snuggle the dog,

to love on the dog,

to rub herself back and forth under the dog’s nose.

This is a never before witnessed occurrence.

(Our cat isn’t known as a snuggly, lovable pet to put it nicely.)

Yet, here she was trying very hard to love the dog.

It was decidedly UNWANTED.

Rose put up with it, but didn’t like it at all.

How interesting to see so clear a picture of life’s circumstances.

How often have I been unwilling to experience the love of God through circumstances simply because it didn’t come in the form I wanted?

Rose loves to be petted and played with and snuggled by our daughter, but the cat, NO.

How often have I missed a blessing because it wasn’t packaged according to my personal comforts?

Honestly, I don’t know.

I do know God doesn’t love only one way.

He isn’t a vending machine Who waits for the list and then pumps out my requests.

He is all powerful and all knowing and He’s always working.

As I explain to my kids that I’m not going to give them the answers to their school work, because learning and growing in knowledge is effort, I know it doesn’t feel like I’m loving them, but I am.

How willing am I to search, study, and learn who God is through His Word?

Or do I just want the answers given to me so I can go on to other things?

I admit that sometimes I just want the answers.

This morning was one of those moments.

I have a full schedule and I don’t want to do any of it.

I’m trying not to focus on myself, but I keep finding my attitude degrading.

So I stopped and opened my Bible.

I’m in Psalms just now and this is what I read:

“I LOVE the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my supplications,  Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1 NKJV

It’s TRUE.

I love God because He has heard me, over and over and over and over and…

Yes, there are things which are unwanted.

But my prayers today are that it never happens that I’m unwilling to feel the love and blessings of God no matter the package He sends them in.

Virtue

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At times it seems as distant as the mountains  on the furthest tip of the ridge.

“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.” Proverb 31:10

It has been almost 20 years since I became Mrs.

Yet I still seem to find it elusive to be a virtuous wife.

It’s so much easier to get angry when things go wrong, than to speak with wisdom and kindness.

It’s so much faster to just “do it myself” , than wait patiently for the plans of my husband.

However.

I must learn to be virtuous, for it is a rare and highly valuable thing. To love my husband and children, plus the neighbors, family, and friends God places in my day does not come by chance.

Instead, it’s like a gemstone.

It has to be saught, searched for, desired.

When it is uncovered it is cut and polished and given a setting of gold or silver.

It is treasured and taken measures to protect.

And so must I continue on the hunt to be a virtuous wife.

It isn’t always easy.

It won’t always be quick to surface.

It will be worth while.

It will be a value beyond the average.

Dear Jesus,

I have not always been the wife I want to be. I’ve sinned against You, my husband and my children more times than I’d like to admit. Please forgive those things and cut away those things which would tend to draw me into selfish and prideful living. Those things bring only pain and brokenness. I want to be a woman who is full of wisdom, kindness, joy, and love. Please teach my heart how to be a virtuous wife. Thank You.

Up close

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The details.

The beauty.

The focus.

All those things are easier when I’m up close.

It’s easier to focus on God when I’m as near as possible.

It’s easier to see His beauty in nature and in people when I’m dwelling in His shadow.

It’s easier to see the details of life and how He is constantly changing evil into good and preserving us from even worse when I’m leaning into Him each day.

You see I’ve been struggling.

Our year has been filled with change.

And to be frank I’ve been morning.

I miss my school and the staff and the kids.

Although I’m rejoicing at the hand of God and all the good I’ve seen come from the changes, I’m sad sometimes.

I miss my daughter.

I love our son-in-law and watching them love each other.

I love the new family which has sprouted and is taking root.

But it’s not easy to let go and simply say “good bye! “.

I’m heart broken over changes in personal relationships.

I can see God’s hand and He told me they were coming.

He made it clear that He was allowing this change and I needed to step away.

But I’m watching my dear friend be hurt and I’m powerless to stop it.

I love and encourage as much as I can, but it has nothing to do with me and I am unable to bridge the gap between those people involved.

Because sometimes people choose things which cause pain and brokenness.

I’m scared.

At least I was, until God broke through the lie.

I was cowering with fear from the weight of homeschooling our three.

Until Jesus reminded me of the truth.

Their future is His responsibility.

Mine is to do what He tells me each moment.

Until I drew near, up close to Him with my fears, failures,  pain ,and loss I was pretty depressed.

Life had become tasteless and futile.

But I heard Him calling my name.

I learned from Adam and Eve, don’t hide when called, run towards Him with all my junk.

He embraced my heart and brought peace to my mind.

He revealed His truth and shattered my fear.

He reminded me that sin hurts and people will sin, but He heals and shall always be there to comfort and guide.

He pointed out that He is working and I was failing only because I was trying to do it myself.

An ant wasn’t designed to be an accountant and I wasn’t designed to strive on my own.

He brought me comfort and hope to mend my sad and morning heart.

And He’s still working.

As I have been leaning towards Jesus, doing all in my ability to get up close He has been faithful.

He has listened to my hurting, He has comforted my sorrow, He has guided me in my prayers.

And I can see the beauty, the details and my focus is on Him.