Category Archives: Uncategorized

Because, sometimes I make mistakes.

I knew we had to go get some flowers for a project.

Sis needed me to watch our sweet grandbaby during her doctor appointment.

It’s also my shot day.

So, I was in a bit of a hurry at the store.

To my chagrin, my card was denied.

“Try it again, probably just your pin. The machine just got up and running.”

Denied

Then it hits me.

The envelope from the bank which is sitting on my dresser.

It contains my new bank card, because the old one just expired.

I got out of line with an apology to the clerk.

Anne opened her purse.

“Mom, I have some cash.”

I looked and had some as well.

We went through our purchases and figured out what we could buy with the money we had.

The clerk was very nice as we went through the line again.

I apologized again for the inconvenience.

As we drove to the allergist, I thanked Anne for her help and promised to repay her.

She tried hard to console me, thinking that I was embarrassed and upset.

Funny thing.

I wasn’t.

Yes, I verbally admitted my error of not replacing my old card with the new one.

No, I wasn’t upset.

“Sometimes, I make mistakes.”

I used to think my mistakes told things about me.

That in making an error I was somehow less of…you name it, mother, wife, friend, person,…

Walking with Jesus has taught me that isn’t the case.

Mistakes are opportunities.

Something to learn from.

Something to grow in.

Something to keep me humble.

Because the truth is, I make mistakes all the time.

I’ve misread directions.

I’ve missed my turn on the freeway.

I’ve been clumsy and broken things.

And the list goes on.

None of this has any impact on my importance or value.

Jesus loves me.

And that is all I need.

He loves me.

He loves me enough to teach me, at times painful lessons, through my errors.

Which is why I can admit to a stranger, “I just realized it’s my card. The new one is at home, my old one is expired.”

The truth is, the Lord reminded me more than once about my card and I responded, “Right, I’ll do that later.”

So, this morning I knew my moment at the store was a direct consequence of my putting off His direction.

Guess what I’m no longer putting off!

(Yes, my bank card is getting dealt with, but something much more important.)

I’m learning to listen and respond with appropriate action to that gentle leading, especially when it seems like I could do it later.

Just because I made a mistake, doesn’t mean I have to repeat it.

Not if I’m willing to learn from it.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for teaching me and being so very patient with me. Lord, I do ask Your forgiveness in putting off something You told me to do. But I thank You for providing a lesson from it. Lord, please teach my children to listen to You and to learn from my mistakes. Help them to be gentle and easily led by Your Holy Spirit. Lord, thank You for humbling my heart and walking with me through another mistake. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Answers

It’s been several days.

I’ve been seeking the Lord for direction and guidance for our family.

My prayer: “Lord let us know what Your will is.”

The answer came yesterday.

But it didn’t look like what I expected.

It wasn’t a comfortable circumstance.

Yet, our direction was clear.

As I went to bed, I thanked God for His direction, although was still a little emotionally prickled by the form.

I hadn’t realized it until this morning.

Without really thinking about the words my emotions were asking God, “Why did the answer have to come that way?”

With my first thoughts this morning He answered.

You wanted direction and I gave it.

I chose that tool to make it very clear to you and your husband.

And my response had been to be focused on my own discomfort, rather than praising God for answering.

I had to wonder.

Would my husband and I have accepted His guidance if He’d used a different circumstance?

I can say, my perspective changed in that moment.

I began to praise God for His direction and guidance.

My heart thanked Him for His Sovereignty.

I looked at my life and began to see a long series of circumstances which were uncomfortable, some very painful, and I could look back at how God’s hand of direction was in each.

Although I didn’t enjoy walking through those things, I am praising God for them.

He has used trials, pain, and all manner of life’s struggles to direct, guide, and hone me.

As difficult as those things were, I am praising God for them.

As uncomfortable as some things are, I’m praising God for them.

I don’t want to live without Him, and He said to take up my cross and follow Him.

He wasn’t walking to a picnic when He carried His cross.

I shouldn’t expect one either.

Following Christ, carrying His cross, brings so much reward.

His path broke the chains of sin and death forever!

Then He rose, and He walked a little longer with mankind on the Earth.

And now He is preparing a place for all who believe in His name, what He did, and who He is, God’s Son.

Part of that preparation is a wedding feast, the marriage of the Lamb.

Yes, I want to carry my cross and follow Him.

For the days of struggle, trials, and pain are few compared to the joy which eternity holds.

I praise God for His path for me.

And I’ll take a wedding feast over a picnic any day!

Psalm 16:11 NKJV — You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Handmade cards

Because it’s a season where everyone can use a little encouragement.

Today, I’ll make a couple handmade cards.

I doubt I’ll get as many done as I want to send out, but even one is a blessing to me and hopefully the person I send it to.

I want to reach out to our friends and extended family.

I can’t do it in person and talking on the phone wears me out, but I can write.

In every season of life, there’s always two sides: things which can be and those which can not.

Focusing on the can helps me remain open to the Lord’s leading.

When my heart remains grateful and thankful, I’m much better at being useful and loving.

Even when my abilities are very restricted.

Because God is so much bigger than my limitations.

He can use even the things I think are insignificant.

That’s why He’s God.

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for always being our help. Lord, You know each heart. You understand every struggle, each one’s personal trial, and we know throughout them all You are our help. You are our Comfort, our Rock of Salvation, our Refuge in the storm. You hold truth and peace and You give freely mercy, forgiveness, and love to those who seek You with their whole heart. Lord, You alone are the answer to the questions. You have all wisdom and knowledge. Please grant us the ability to be discerning, to follow in Your example of love and brotherly kindness. To be lights which shine brightly. Lord, help us to remain diligent in prayer, steadfast in faith, and honorable in all things before You. Please Lord Jesus, comfort the hurting, restore the lost, and bring the hearts of mankind back to a knowledge of You. For the glory of Your name, Jesus, we humbly ask these things. Amen.

Beyond my expectations

Last night at the concert.

It’s been incredible,

Sis’s college and university years.

She’s not finished yet,

due mostly to time needed for motherhood.

However, I’d never expected her to be singing at this level.

As I held my first born, moments after delivery, I couldn’t imagine God’s plans for her life.

Even if I’d guessed what He might do, the truth is far beyond my expectations.

She is a wonderful mother and wife.

She’s a good student and a gifted musician.

Not only can she sing, she also plays piano and guitar.

She plans on adding more instruments as time allows.

And best of all:

She’s a lovely Christian lady.

After a performance last week, I told her how proud of her I was.

She smiled while responding,

“It’s all the Lord. I was messing it up in practice, but today it just came.”

During my pregnancy with her, when I was so very sick, I’d tell myself, “This is so worth it.”

As toddlerhood brought surprise difficulties and daily challenges.

I’d say it again.

Sometimes with tears.

One season in her life was particularly difficult, she seemed to be the target for multiple people.

I’d pray.

I’d do my best to encourage and speak correction on how to better handle the trials.

The Lord would remind me,

It’s so worth it.

Now, I’m seeing the fruit of years of toil.

And I can say,

It is so worth it.

She’s not just our daughter.

She’s also my friend.

Praise the Lord!

Finding my voice

I could hardly believe it.

As the truth dawned,

tears

formed

and then

rolled silently down.

As I sang.

I didn’t sing just one line.

It wasn’t only the chorus.

I sang the whole song.

And the truth came like a revelation.

“God, I’m worshipping again!”

It’s been one of the hardest parts of this illness.

I’ve been unable to sing.

Which has been very sad for me.

I’ve loved singing since a young child in Sunday school.

To surrender my heart’s longing

of lifting my voice in praise

has handicapped me more than

when my voice is completely gone.

As I stood

in church

voice raised in song

my heart swelled.

The truth is beyond this Sunday.

It happened last Sunday

and

the Sunday before.

I’ve been able to sing,

to praise,

my Heavenly Father

for weeks.

And it didn’t occur to me until today.

The truth has blessed me beyond

anything I could

imagine.

And He did it

by helping me

to find

my

voice.

One step after another

(This is a guest post from Bell.)

Run!

Run faster!

Strong!

Those words are the ones I hear when I run in a race.

I have always run in almost everything I do.

In school, in track, in softball, in basketball, it’s what I have always done.

Yesterday I went to my best friend’s graduation.

I was so proud for her.

We have been best friends since 2nd grade.

As I sat in the back row watching the slide show. I realized that time is very fleeting, it comes so fast that I don’t even notice.

I realize that I have run in my life so much I have not stopped and looked at what is happening now.

What is God saying to me now?

What will God say later?

Instead of running to the next thing that happens in life I need to take the first step and live in the time I have, now.

God has a wonderful life for us. We just need to take step by step and live the life, now, giving it to Him.

My father said this to me once.

“Bell, I know you want to live your life but you are living it now! Your life is now, not ten years later or after school but right now.”

Live the step you are taking

now in God.

Take life step by step.

Three steps…

In March and April, nearly our entire house was packed and moved out so my husband could paint and tear out carpet.

Since then I’ve been going through boxes, trying to find things.

Most of our stuff will remain packed.

But I’ve been in need of some school books which I thought I’d left out.

In searching I found this book my mom gave me years ago.

I’ve intended to read it many times.

Something about the title crystalized the feeling of our house and my health.

I’ve been reading it.

I’m not finished, but I have been encouraged.

Pastor Chuck Swindol has been a familiar voice throughout my childhood as Mom listened regularly.

Many Sundays when I’ve been too sick to attend our fellowship I’ve watched him on YouTube.

And I’m thanking God for his insight in this book.

He uses Job as our example of how to handle life-tragedies-trials-pain.

He’s spot on too.

Job has inspired me many times.

The days of broken-confusion when my heart threatens to burst, and my mind is left with few comforts, my example is Job and Jesus.

Job is a hero of faith.

He lost everything.

And he praised God.

Jesus is our Savior.

He put down everything.

And then He died,

for me!

As well as every single person created in God’s image.

When I look around at the state of my house or yard or schedule, I can feel like I’m taking more than two steps backwards.

But when I look at Scripture and my family and my Father,

I realize…

It is all worth it.

I will praise the LORD

“I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness, And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.” Psalm 7:17 NKJV

How righteous is God?

Start by looking at the ten commandments.

Think about how holy God truly is.

The angles themselves never stop crying out how holy He is.

They are in the presence of Almighty God and all they can cry is:

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Rev. 4:8b NKJV

Think on Jesus.

God-made-flesh.

Never did he even once sin.

His life was spotless and clean.

He was and is our perfect lamb Who paid for all the sin, completely.

Jesus is Holy.

What great righteousness!

How boundless is such holiness!

Truly, God deserves all praise and honor.

Truly, He is worthy of constant worship and thankfulness.

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for being the perfect spotless holy lamb. Thank You for showing such love to this sinner. You are holy and I am nothing on my own. Thank You for bending down to rescue me from the unrighteousness which I live in; this fallen broken world. As well as the unrighteousness I make through sin. Jesus, thank You for being righteous and for giving all mankind the hope we have in Your salvation. May Your name be glorified, for You are worthy of all praise.

42

Well,

I’m no longer 38.

I’m 42,

today.

Praise the Lord!

With this birthday I wanted to look over what I’ve learned.

To open myself before the Lord.

How am I doing with my list of lifestyle changes?

I needed to go back and look at them again:

1. My age is nothing to be embarrassed about. Because it’s a testament to life, a gift from God.

2. Each day is a special gift. No matter what happens, Jesus is with me and has something in each and every day.

3. People are far more important than tasks. No task, chore, or accomplishment will ever be as important as one soul.

4. Each person’s value was complete at their conception. God, Himself creates each individual and the worth of one person is so precious Jesus died for every single one.

5. You can never be too thankful or too loving. There’s such selfish ugliness in the world due to sin, that it’s a constant surrender to the Lord of oneself to be loving and thankful.

I can say there are days I’ve walked in these lessons.

And honestly, days I’ve not.

With this reality comes God’s mercy. He has helped me come back to them. He has taught me them again and again, with each lesson bringing out their beauty.

As I’ve learned new ways to surrender due to my health and learned to rest in His Sovereignty with all that is occurring I’m becoming more pliable.

And He’s added new lessons.

6. God is good, all the time. Nothing evil is of God, so when all I can see is evil, I’m looking at the wrong things.

7. Surrender is a daily, sometimes minute-by-minute choice. Many things in life which I’ve clung to have actually hindered my walk with Christ. I have to cling to Jesus and His word before holding on to anything else.

8. Thankfulness is a lifestyle which must be chosen, but brings amazing rewards. As I’ve learned to be thankful, no matter what is occurring, it’s opened up a clearer perspective of God.

9. What I think is best rarely is relevant. Too often my opinions are based on my shortsighted views and when I come at life with a willingness to love instead of get my own way God is able to help me find His best for me and those around me.

10. Life is too short and too valuable to waste on what is temporary. True riches are godliness, mercy, grace, integrity, love, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, thankfulness, and peace. They are not easily added to one’s character but they are so much more rewarding than trophies, pleasure, or stuff.

And I still have so much more to learn!

But the most important lesson I’ve learned is this:

11. Time spent with Jesus in prayer and study of the Bible is the most valuable and eternal time. It has been so very sweet to spend more time with my Savior. It has showed me where true blessings are found, has increased my understanding, and has been the place I’ve found rest and peace.

No matter how sick I have been, Jesus has carried me through.

No matter what physical or emotional pain I’ve endured, Jesus has carried me through.

No matter what tomorrow holds, Jesus will be there too.

What a wonderful gift to receive this birthday!

And every day.

When God says, “no”.

This is an old photograph.

Both my parents, my sister and myself are in it along with my niece and nephews.

Looking at it brings a little sting with the joy.

My father has been gone a long time.

My niece and nephews were visiting, the only time their Mom (my half-sister) brought them out.

Their father had died and she was having us all meet.

And she’s been gone many years now also.

Death has never lost a sting of pain.

But it’s never held the poison of hopelessness.

I have a great deal of hope that my father is waiting for me in heaven.

Although I never met my half-sister’s husband and I only met her once I hold on to the same hope for them.

I know my father knew Jesus and I am confident that knowledge is even greater today as he lives with the Lord.

And today I was reminded again of the sweet hope of heaven.

It’s eternal and so many things are not.

Today’s reminder came in the form of a text.

“The baby girl died today.”

My chest tightened and my heart lurched and I almost felt sick to my stomach.

This text was referring to a little baby girl we and others have been praying for.

Her condition had been very bad and the family had asked for prayer months ago.

And we had prayed.

Recently another cry had come to us to pray: she’s not doing well.

We did.

We put her on the prayer chain.

We asked others to pray.

Then yesterday we heard the baby’s infection was gone.

I was so excited as I texted the good news.

I felt so encouraged as I prayed again for her and her family.

Then this afternoon I heard of her death.

God had answered.

It just wasn’t the one I was expecting.

I texted the prayer chain.

I texted our friends.

And one response was the reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness:

These are the days I realize that the only thing we can really look forward to is eternity. Where there will be no more pain or death. Praise the Lord for salvation and eternal life with Him. Praying for God’s peace and joy for the family as they mourn the loss of their baby girl.

Amen.

Salvation is our comfort.

Heaven is our home.

May God be glorified even in this.