Without being too graphic, anyone who knows babies understands: sometimes it gets messy.
I grabbed two old towels and wrapped him in one.
As she handed him over he spit up.
I left her to cleaning herself and carried the baby to the other bathroom.
I put another towel on the floor and began to remove soiled clothes.
I changed his diaper.
In a fresh diaper and clean from all mess, he was laying on his back looking up at me.
Of course I smiled back.
We had several minutes of smiles and babytalk before his mom and dad came in with fresh clothes.
Much later I was blessed to sit in the rocking chair and rock him to sleep wrapped carefully in a blanket.
This morning I was reflecting upon our day yesterday.
And the Lord brought to mind this moment I shared with our grandson.
As a baby he’s completely unaware of the fact that he stopped all other activities with his mess.
He wasn’t embarrassed by his mess.
He was completely oblivious.
He’s not old enough to understand how his life suddenly stepped in and made our lives change.
What he was aware of was the love.
His little face when I was talking with him up held joy and security.
He obviously also felt better, but his smile said so much more.
His little smile said, “I’m happy to see you”.
Later, as he drifted off to sleep, his little face held peace and comfort.
And I see a beautiful picture of God’s love.
He loves me so much, that He cleaned me up from the stains of sin and death.
And it’s a continually thing, because I am a sinner and I need His cleansing daily.
As our grandson grows, he will become aware of his messes, like our granddaughter already has.
And when she’s made a mess she runs for the loving arms of her parents.
I too get to run to my Savior.
His arms are open.
His Word is ready to clean me, to shine truth into my mess and teach me how to put off those things which lead me to sin.
His voice is speaking to me, honing my heart, changing my perspective of the circumstance, and giving me guidance to live by.
And I can smile at Him, because I know He loves me.
Despite the mess I might have made, He loves me.
Because my favorite place to be is clean and warm, wrapped safely in His grace, resting in His peace.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your salvation. Thank You for shining Your truth into my heart and mind. Lord Jesus, please continue to teach me and hone my heart that I might not sin against You. Let nothing stand between us, but remove whatever would hinder our relationship, because You alone are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory. I never want to miss a moment with You, nor to have my walk with You hindered. Thank You for our family and the lessons I’m learning. Thank You for Your faithfulness and unending love. Lord Jesus, You alone are worthy. I praise Your holy name! Amen.
In January, I couldn’t possibly imagine what lay ahead for our family or our nation.
As October winds to a close, I can not imagine what these last two months of 2020 will be like either.
Even without the constant change due to the virus, our family has encountered constant change.
It’s been a year of adjustment.
A year of learning for all of us.
The year has held incredible pain.
This year has brought us unmeasurable joy.
It has truly been a roller coaster, where my knuckles have been white.
Gripping my own hands in prayer.
Prayer for our family.
Prayer for our friends.
Prayer for the church.
Prayer for our nation.
Prayer for our leaders.
Prayer for our world.
Many prayers for those who have yet to know Him.
Prayer for myself.
This year has been a whole new way to learn surrender.
Never before have I learned in this way, this lesson.
And I’m still learning it.
Learning to let go of expectation.
Learning to live for today.
Learning to relinquish my ideas of what I want to do, what I can do.
Learning to endure.
Learning to draw closer to God in all things.
Learning to allow praise and thanksgiving to permeate my perspective.
Learning to love His Word even more.
Learning to trust.
And it’s just the beginning.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for Your patience with me. Thank You for teaching me so much through sorrow and through joy. Lord, thank You for providing for our family in unexpected ways. Lord, thank You for friends and fellow believers who have blessed and encouraged me. Thank You for Your Word. The treasures within are astounding. Thank You for Your love. It is amazing! How great and mighty and worthy You are of all praise, all honor, all glory! I praise Your holy name, Jesus. Thank You. Amen.
For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord , As the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14 NKJV
I’m having a difficult time not wanting to stick to my plans.
But God has better ones, and it only takes a moment for me to realize such when I’m willing to stop and look at it through prayer.
The Lord has been stretching me.
Ever since our Bell moved her dresser out of the spare bedroom, I’ve had a pile of homeschooling papers sitting on the closet floor.
Obviously not a good plan.
With moving I’ve had to change many of my past ways of organizing including the homeschooling papers.
I currently have a place for recent work or needed documents, but the past years’ work no longer has a home.
So, I’ve been praying about what to do.
Coupled with this prayer, I’ve been praying for Anne’s bedroom furniture.
Her dresser was old and very used when I bought it over seven years ago.
It’s now missing more handles and the drawers are less than easy to open.
So, I figured God would want me to set aside some time to refurbish her dresser.
These two things have been a topic of conversation with me and the Lord often of late.
As the days grow closer to autumn, my window of opportunity to work on anything outdoors is coming to a close.
Thus, I have had to put my own opinions and ideas into God’s hands multiple times about this.
So, when I felt like God was talking to me about looking for used furniture on Craigslist I was a bit apprehensive.
“Lord, is this me or You? Am I just trying to force something to solve this instead of waiting?”
Instead of hearing an answer, I just felt like I should punch dresser into the Craigslist search engine.
I did so, and then stopped to pray again.
Something the Lord had spoken to my heart at first came back to mind.
It will be in the city nearest you.
So, with that I began to scroll.
I found something which would work for the spare room.
It was hideous and obviously “well loved”.
The price didn’t sit well with me, but it was in the city nearest me.
I figured I could email and see if they’d come down on the price.
I asked the Lord to make it clear if He wanted me to buy this.
Their response was my answer, “no”.
So, back to the search engine on Craigslist.
“Lord, I really don’t want to do this today, I’m so worried I’ll make a mistake and buy the wrong thing.”
I’m teaching you faith.
Two more dressers.
Two more emails.
Two more closed doors.
Of course, I was working on other things so all of this was poked in between math lesson, history, reading assignment, and cooking.
By the early afternoon, I was ready to give up.
But I still felt like I was supposed to try another search.
This time I found not one dresser,but two and a bedside table.
The posting said, “$50”.
Well, that wasn’t super clear.
And at first I thought this couldn’t work at all, but I stopped to pray.
Through this moment of quiet I realized we could use one dresser in Anne’s room and the other in the spare room as well as the bed side table.
They need painting, but Anne’s been asking me if we could do another project ever since we painted the living room furniture.
I emailed the seller.
I was surprised at the answer: $50 was for everything.
Of course now I had to get some help picking up all this.
I prayed again, that if this wasn’t God’s will it would be obvious.
I knew our son-in-law’s day was busy with taking Bubba and family to the doctor.
I dropped a quick text and after a conversation over the phone we worked out a plan.
Then it occurred to me, if they were heading down after the doctor’s appointment, they’d be hungry, so I invited them for supper.
I was about halfway through cooking supper when I realized this was definitely God’s plan.
My husband’s work has him on call 24/7 and he had come home late the night before only to eat and return to work, arriving home some time after 11.
When things are like that, I know better than to expect him home at any particular time.
But halfway through supper preparations he called me.
He was off work and on his way home.
And he was thrilled to hear our family was coming over for supper.
When he arrived, I told him about the furniture.
He smiled and said, “Sounds great!”.
Not long afterwards he and our son-in-law drove together out the cul-de-sac to pick up the furniture.
Anne was so excited when it got here.
She can hardly wait till we can begin sanding it down and painting it.
I praise God for His guidance in it all.
I’ve already told Anne all this furniture belongs to her.
I’ve tried to make sure each of our kids have some furniture of their own to take with them when the time comes.
As we were all sitting around the dinner table eating, God had one more surprise in store.
My phone started buzzing with several texts all coming in at once.
It was the same family we got the furniture from.
They had forgotten another piece of furniture that was part of the set, a window seat with drawers.
They were texting to let me know we could have it too, no extra charge.
Of course I let them know we would have to get it today, but they were fine with that.
I’m still amazed at how God took a small desire I had and turned my day into a blessed lesson.
Because buying furniture wasn’t in my schedule.
Sending emails and searching Craigslist wasn’t in my plans.
But God reminded me that my ways are not His ways.
His plans are perfect.
His ways are best.
And all of this was more about teaching me to listen and trust and obey than it was furniture.
Because I could have gone out and bought Anne a new dresser anytime.
I could have ordered something to store the homeschooling papers in online and had it delivered to the door.
But instead of either of those things, God has taken me through days of prayer and heart checking.
He has shown me my tendency to want to solve every item I see as a need in my own strength.
He has used this to teach me to listen and be willing to be wrong, to be willing to say, “I don’t know what I’m doing yet, I’m still praying about it.”
And hopefully He is using my life as an example to my children that waiting upon the Lord is the best way, no matter how insignificant the “thing” is.
Because furniture is not a forever thing, but the lessons I learn through dealing with the temporary are.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for providing this lesson. Thank You for stretching me in an area I thought I’d already completely surrendered to You. Lord, thank You that things and items are all temporary and yet can be used by You. Lord, I want to honor You with all that I call my possessions. Thank You for reminding me that nothing is actually mine, it all belongs to You. Please help me to be wise and generous with anything and everything. Lord, You alone are worthy of all honor, glory, and praise. Thank You. Amen.
So much so, I’d almost given up on the idea completely.
Back in 2011, I had a difficult period.
My physical body was struggling, but the lessons I learned were so worthwhile.
During that season I felt the Lord ask me to draw.
I was surprised when He said, Sailboats.
As I drew, studied pictures, and prayed I learned something which comes to mind everytime I look at these boats.
My experience with physical problems has taught me that often emotional hurts will join the pain.
It actually makes sense.
If you are hurting, you’re going to struggle at seeing anything from any other perspective, but your own pain.
There will always be people who mean well, but actually hurt you simply by not understanding what you are going through.
Unfortunately, there will be others who will drop you completely, because you are no longer any use to them.
And on top of it all there are relationship struggles as the people closest to you work through their own pain and fear.
What does this have to do with sailboats?
Simply put, although a sailboat is made for sailing: its designed to be in the water, all will pickup some unwanted debris or go through a storm.
Whether it’s barnacles, scrapes from floating objects, or some other wear and tear, at some point it will need to be cleaned and maintenanced.
The same is true for us.
There will be seasons which will mar us, leave us feeling in need of repair.
That’s when we should head for the dock.
Only Jesus can heal our souls.
Only in God can we find the renewal and repair for the hurting heart.
Only His hands can restore.
This truth comes to mind whenever I see one of these pictures.
I’ve moved twice since drawing these sailboats.
For some reason, I’ve never framed them.
Last night, as I prayed about something else, the Lord reminded me of two frames.
They’d been given to me because they were in need of repair and our busy daughter didn’t have time to deal with fixing them.
I couldn’t understand why God was talking to me about the frames.
“Lord, I don’t know what to do with them after I fix them.”
My heart filled with gratitude at His answer.
Now they’re hanging where I’ll look at them everyday.
A wonderful reminder to take all my cares and worries to Him.
1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV — Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for caring for every detail of our lives. Thank You for helping me draw these and now getting to enjoy them each day. Lord, so many are hurting and damaged, my heart aches for those who have yet to turn to You for healing and restoration. I so want people to be touched as You have touched me. Like the woman who reached through a crowd desperate for healing, You healed her and restored her. I am that woman. Thank You for Your touch. Please, let the hearts of the hurting reach out to You. Thank You. Amen.
With the heat, I’ve been watering as early as possible.
So far the garden is rewarding my efforts.
I’m writing from the patio this morning.
My tea beside me and a few whisps of wind ruffling my hair.
The sun hasn’t gotten beyond the apple trees and the robins are hopping about the lawn.
One in particular seems to have figured out that when I water the worms are easier to find.
It often trails behind me as I move the sprinkler.
I don’t always see it, so pretty often I scare it, causing it to fly away, because I was focused on my own thoughts.
God’s creation causes me such times of reflection and wonder.
To see His handiwork in something so temporary as flowers.
Yet, He chooses to.
Matthew 6:30 KJV — Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Jesus’s words come alive in the garden.
Where is my faith if I allow myself to worry over needs?
Where is my heart if I allow myself to worry over anything which isn’t a need?
Where are my thoughts if I’m feeling worried?
My life is far more precious to Him than these flowers are to me.
And I find so much joy in caring for them.
How much joy does the Lord find in caring for me?
Psalm 139:17 KJV — How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
To know the Lord is providing for my every detail.
To rest securely in His sovereign hand.
To walk with joy at just being loved by my Heavenly Father.
These are the things I’m learning in the garden this morning.
Praise the Lord!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for these lessons. At times I forget how to lean on You and why I don’t need to worry. I look at other things rather than focusing upon You. Please continue to patiently teach my wayward heart to have faith and trust. Please continue to speak to me through Your Word. Lord thank You for Your provision in all things. Please help me to hold life lightly, not setting my heart upon anything but You. Guard my desires and let them reflect Yours. Jesus, You are amazing. Thank You! Amen.
I hope, dear Reader, you don’t get weary of my rose pictures.
It’s my favorite and I never get tired of looking at it.
One of the convictions I have is to be as real in my posts as possible.
To safely and appropriately allow you to see what the Lord is doing in my life and my family.
Frankly, it doesn’t always come easily.
But I am convinced that through my transparency, the Lord will be given all the glory.
I never want someone to see my life and say, “Well that’s just you. It’s easy for you because…”
I’m so far from being the reason I can do or have done anything at all.
Yesterday was another example of that truth.
I’d been struggling with being very tired for a while.
But honestly, thought it was just due to the extra things I’ve been doing.
I’ve always struggled with pushing myself too hard.
So, it’s common for me to wear myself out.
However, yesterday morning I knew I was more than just tired.
It was a humbling experience.
It began with calling the doctor’s office.
The receptionist was very kind and pretty soon told me to go to the lab and then be at the office at 10:30.
Due to my extreme discomfort, I was unable to keep my voice smooth.
She was very nice about it, which I appreciated.
I can hear the question: “What was going on?”
Well…-sigh-…I have another UTI.
One of the side effects of my daily inhaler is the possibility of developing a UTI more easily.
I take a supplement everyday in an effort to combat that.
However, it’s still something I have to deal with.
I was very thankful for my doctor, who got me right in.
As I stood at the lab, I was not feeling well, at all.
Despite all my efforts, I couldn’t keep the tears from coming to my eyes as she asked me questions.
She too was very kind.
Her parting words were: “I hope you feel better soon.”
My uncontrollable emotions were embarrassing me.
I hate crying.
So, I really can’t put into words how I felt when my doctor came in and sat down.
My discomfort was obvious and my frustration at being sick with this again ( I was just in last month for the same thing) couldn’t be held in check.
Tears began to spring from my eyes as my voice cracked.
Inside myself I was more embarrassed about my lack of self control than anything, but some part of me was pleading: “I just want to get well!”
I didn’t say any of that, but just that I woke up and was experiencing a lot of discomfort.
I apologized for my emotions.
Thankfully, my doctor is amazing.
He didn’t turn away or act embarrassed.
He gently offered me the tissue box.
I took one and worked hard at pulling it together.
His voice and manner were exactly what I needed and I was able to contain myself.
I left shortly afterwards.
Anne drove us to Sis’s house where we could wait for my prescription and of course to tell her what the doctor said.
As we traveled, I thought back through it all.
I realized my biggest issue isn’t my physical problems.
It’s my attitude.
Yes, I can be honest and say I get sick of being sick.
However, when that creeps in, I know I’m looking at the wrong thing.
So, I began to praise God.
Starting with thanking God for the perspective adjustment. and then on to the huge numbers of people I’m so thankful for.
My doctors and nurses. (You get blessed with more if you have to see a specialist.)
My friends who pray for me.
My pharmacist and the people who work there.
It’s such an overwhelming blessing to be treated with such care and love.
I truly don’t deserve any of it.
But Jesus blesses me anyway.
Because of His boundless love.
I’m doing better today.
Both with my physical and my emotional self.
As I spoke with the Lord this morning He talked about transparency.
I wasn’t excited about writing a blog and sharing my struggles.
Yet, His gentle voice spoke deeply to my heart.
You need to be transparent about this.
“Yes, Lord. Whatever brings You glory, even my weakest moments.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. II Corinthians 12:9 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for yesterday. Thank You for walking with me even when I’m struggling the most. I know I can always trust You and that Your ways are perfect. Thank You for reminding me that life isn’t about what I can or can’t do. It’s about learning to lovingly trust You in every detail. Lord, for those people who are struggling just now, please help them to learn this same lesson. Let their hearts be turned to You. Let them find comfort in Your Word. I love You, Jesus. Thank You. Amen.
Jase is studying Botany right now so when my Mom found this she made sure I was able to get a picture.
Yet, this winter I’ve been learning the lessons far more than I’ve taught.
These past months have stretched me, pulled me, broken me, and refined me.
Each trial would bring questions.
Many of which I didn’t have the answers to.
“What are we going to do?”
“I have no idea. Let’s pray.”
“How are we going to make it work?”
“I’ve no idea, but I’m praying about it.”
“This isn’t going well and I’m really tired of it.”
“ME TOO! Uhg. Can we stop and pray?”
And although we were seeking the Lord, His answers seemed absent.
It felt like I was continually going to Him and hearing only one thing.
“Lord, I’m trying to but I have no idea what to do next! Please help!”
Not what I was wanting.
I wanted: Do this… or The answer is…
Instead the Lord has spent a lot of time showing me myself.
“Okay Lord, I am. Please fix me. Please teach me how to be flexible.”
So He did.
He sent a test.
The night before we were to have a party at our house for our daughter’s birthday our water quit, completely.
After I cried.
(I had spent part of one entire day just decorating and the rest cleaning.)
I knew God was asking me to let go of my plans and my ideals.
I phoned my Mom the next morning and then drove to her house to set it up instead.
We had a lovely party and no body cared that it had been moved.
This morning was another test.
I got up very tired and went to prayer because I had a,long list of things I wanted to do today.
It’s Easter and I wanted to make it very special.
As I prayed for strength and ability to work the Lord spoke to my heart.
Why are you trying to do everything?
“I want this to be a special day. I want to help the kids remember what Easter is.”
None of my plans would actually make any impact on our children other than that fact that I would be stressed out and tired trying to get it all done.
I had to let it go.
And it’s been a wonderful day.
We began and ended it with people we care about.
What better way to remember the love of Jesus Christ than to follow through on loving others.
What is a better way to teach my children about Jesus, food and fancy dress or by loving them and spending time with them?
Please continue to show me the truth about myself and the way I should go. Help me to be willing to trust You in everything. Help me to listen to You about everything. Thank You for Your patience with me. Thank You for Your sacrifice. May my life be a reflection of Your great mercy and love.