Category Archives: personal

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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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.

God’s answer

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Thursday was setup day for our church’s children’s camp.

I woke up that morning with a terrible headache.

Not long afterwards I began to be sick.

My husband was very concerned.

Our prayer team was texted with the request to pray and I went back to bed.

As I lay trying to rest, trying not to feel discouraged,  I remembered all the times God had taken care of me in the past.

I missed all of the setup.

Despite the days upon days of planning and work I had to simply rest and allow others to take over.

I knew God was in control.

By 6pm I was up, eating, and my headache was gone.

When I arrived at camp everyone was concerned about my health and well fair.

I kept telling them it was Jesus.

Camp began early the following day and was full of all kinds of things.

There were some bumps in the road but overall the children had fun, learned,  and ate.

As we loaded the vans their faces were full of smiles.

Saturday was also a blessing ending with skits and songs which were both sweet, funny, and taught a lesson.

Sunday afternoon saw two of the campers baptized.

It was a full weekend and blessed.

It was a testament to God and His power, mercy, love.

I am so thankful for all the Lord did.

Praise God!
For He answers the prayers of His people!

What is love?

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I love these people!

How can I not?

They are my children.

(Okay,  God’s children He’s placed in my care.)

Yet from the moment I held each one I’ve had this deep emotion for each.

Yet I know love is so much more than an emotional feeling.

True love is deeper than anything made up in the movies.

Love is a choice.

A choice to do the hard things.

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This is love.

Allowing our oldest girl to move on.

Now love is remembering we have not just an adult married daughter, but a son and daughter who are married and designed to make their own home, their own lives, their own choices before God.

Dear Father,

Please help us to learn how to love in a new way. Please help us to be constantly listening for Your voice and follow where You are leading. Teach us how to walk in this. Bless this marriage and let them stay centered on You all their days. Thank You. All of this from birth through the wedding has been You. May those around our family see and praise Your Name!
Amen.

(Dear reader, Please forgive me not posting this sooner. I thought I had!)

God answers His people

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This is where we live.

Like other places it has a story.

One of my favorite stories is about a Circuit Riding Preacher who felt called to settle in this valley.

His name was John Standley.

My husband and I were asked to be the directors of our yearly children’s camp.

My husband prayed and felt led to theme it around the Circuit Riding Preachers.

We are using Elisha’s life to teach important points.

This being the weekend for camp I’ve been very busy with details.

At one point I found we were short two counselors.

Since I had only 3 days to fill the positions I was feeling anxious.

I prayed.

God reminded me of all the things He is able to do.

He reminded me of His recent help.

The week before our daughter’s wedding our main dish was suddenly unavailable.

I went to prayer because with 200 people invited I wasn’t sure what to do next.

God came through and we had delicious Tri-tip.

I knew He could fill the counselors.

After praying I made two calls and had both positions filled.

Tuesday I found our transportation to get the kids to camp had fallen through.

I spent most of the day praying.

I asked others to pray.

God answered.

By mid afternoon we had transportation.

Today is setup and tomorrow is camp.

I went to bed early last night with a headache.

This morning I feel worse.

I’m praying.

I know God has an answer.

It may not be the one I want to hear, but I know that God answers His people.