Tag Archives: lessons

“Broken, broken”

That’s what he said multiple times as he carefully handed me each piece.

Our grandson is 1 and his vocabulary is growing like crazy, so are his fine motor skills.

As this toy is evidence.

I’d handed him the toy a bit earlier and had noticed the bottom of the van was loose in one place.

If Bubba had simply driven it on the floor it would have been fine.

If he’d simply carried it around the house, as he often does with cars, it would have been fine.

The toy was simply old and had come loose in one small place.

But that one tiny area grabbed his attention and he pulled on it until it gave way.

Without the base there was nothing to hold the wheels in place, so he removed them too.

With these things done he looked it over and said, “Broken broken!”

I chuckled, “Because you broke it.”

He couldn’t understand me, but wasn’t upset.

It was soon forgotten as he went off to play with something else.

I put the pieces out of reach and out of sight.

This morning I scooped up the pieces to throw away.

But my heart pricked me and I took a picture of them instead.

Isn’t this a perfect example of what happens when I focus on the one thing which isn’t perfect rather than enjoy the opportunity?

Too often I’m robbed of the joy or the time with others because I’m focused on one thing which isn’t quite right.

I want everything to be a certain way, and when it isn’t I can fall into the trap of the enemy.

Allowing the enemy and my own sinful desires to rob me of what the Lord has given.

And if I choose to pick at the problem, take it all apart, I might even mess up what God had given in the first place, because instead of rejoicing in the gift, I’m complaining about what was given.

The book of Numbers shows clearly why complaining is a bad idea and how God feels about it.

I don’t want to ruin the blessings He gives by my poor attitude or sinful perspective.

I don’t want to miss the gifts of the Lord.

I don’t want to pull apart something He gave me and hand it back with the words: “It doesn’t work, it’s broken” all because I broke it.

Instead, I want to use the things He gives me with joy and gratitude.

I want my words to bring Him glory.

I want my perspective to be based on God’s Word and walking in faith.

After all, He’s in the business of using those who are broken, weak, and insignificant in the eyes of the world.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NKJV — But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
that no flesh should glory in His presence.

Truly, everything we have the ability to do or make is because God Himself gave us the ability.

It is truly folly to glory in ourselves or other creations when all honor, all glory belongs to the Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:30-31NKJV — But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for this reminder. Thank You that although I’m not always quick to be thankful for things, I know You are teaching me how to be. Lord, please continue to help my tongue to speak words that edify, that I might benefit those who listen. Lord, I thank You and praise You for all these things, both the lessons and the ways You teach my heart. Please continue to hone me into Your likeness, that I might bring glory to Your name. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

*Just because we think something is “broken, broken” doesn’t mean God can’t put it back together, just like my son repaired the toy.

Learning in today

The paths of life are an opportunity.

God uses circumstances to teach.

Especially, when we humble our hearts.

He’s been using this season, the holidays as well as unpacking, to teach and remind me of truths.

One day, He showed me an error in my perspective.

It was while taking a picture.

I was unhappy with one thing after another.

Nothing was “looking right” and it hit me, I was trying to make our everyday look like a fake magazine photo.

I needed to get my perspective correct: life isn’t a photo op.

Rather than trying to make my own “ideal”, I needed to relinquish every part of myself into His hands and be thankful for what He has given.

Once these things were done, through prayer, I was able to take a photo and move on with joy and gratitude.

Through this season the Lord has reminded me to focus on people, not things.

We had people come by on more than one occasion and due to our “under construction” things weren’t put away or finished.

Each time I opened the door, the Lord reminded me: simply love.

A good hostess is one who loves others.

It’s an outpouring of the love she receives daily from the Lord.

So, I could smile and enjoy my guests, while warning them to not trip on the old flooring we hadn’t gotten to yet.

The Lord has taught me that it’s not about forcing things, but rather doing the task at hand while resting in His love.

It’s a lesson I have learned before and will probably continue to learn for the rest of my life.

Because it doesn’t come naturally for me to wait on the Lord.

My nature says things which are not founded in scripture like: “God helps those who help themselves.”

It’s crazy how God’s truth can be twisted into something which leads to sin.

I can almost picture the hiss from the forked tongue as Eve stood near the tree, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Genesis 3:1b

Leaning on my own strength is an old sin of mine, but I praise God for His patience with me and His lessons.

He has helped me walk forward into His truth and to rejoice in what He has for each of my days.

Some days, it’s easier to rejoice than others.

Some days, it’s easier to trust than others.

On Christmas day we were looking forward to having Bell and her husband here, as they only live about 40 minutes away.

Our oldest daughter and family had gotten snow on Christmas Eve, so we didn’t know if they were going to be able to come.

Bell’s husband rang up my husband with news that another storm was predicted and snow was probable for the entire region.

After some discussion, the two men decided it was safest for them to remain home.

I was deeply disappointed.

If they weren’t coming, I felt sure our oldest daughter and family wasn’t coming either.

Through this, the Lord reminded me of something He’d told me days before: let go of tradition.

Because the Jewish people of Jesus’s day clung to tradition they actually missed God in the flesh.

I knew I didn’t want my tradition or my expectations to be more important than my Lord.

After all, we had two of our children with us, and so much to be thankful for.

The Lord then reminded me of several people who find the holidays especially difficult due to the loss of loved ones.

God reminded me to pray for those whose disappointed traditions would never be the same.

My heart was completely overwhelmed when, a few hours later, all of our children arrived.

The storm wasn’t supposed to hit until evening, so both sons-in-laws had individually chosen to come early and leave before the storm hit.

Words can’t express my gratitude to the Lord for giving me back what I had given up.

God is truly amazing.

I am so thankful for each day, each lesson He has taught me through this season.

We don’t have as much finished with either the house or unpacking as I was wanting to get done by now.

However, God has used it and I wouldn’t change a thing.

I look forward to seeing what else God is going to do through this season.

As we look forward to the new year, I’m full of anticipation.

Because each day is an opportunity, each year a gift from God.

Psalm 92:2 KJV — To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for today. Thank You for the lessons of this season we are in. Lord, thank You for Your Word. Please continue to teach my heart and mind, that I might continue to draw closer to You. Lord Jesus, please show me anything which is not lining up with You and Your ways. Please help me to be full of gratitude and praise in every circumstance. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your sacrifice. Thank You for today. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Something personal

God is a God of details as well as the big picture.

He has attention for all things and He does not miss anything.

His faithfulness has been incredible and I have learned so much each and everyday.

It humbles and blesses me.

This weekend I had a moment of learning.

It was something small and personal to me, but it reaffirmed God’s loving care.

We have white dishes we keep set out on the dining room table for meals.

Years ago when everyone had the responsibility of dealing their own plate it made sense to place them back on the table where each person sat so I could easily tell who had followed through on taking care of their dish and who had forgotten.

After living here for a bit Anne began to make a pot of tea and set it on the table for breakfast.

Jase and I thought this very nice and we all enjoy drinking tea each morning.

We have been using my Grandmother’s china cups for our morning tea and although I enjoy using them I have found myself wishing we had an everyday set of tea cups.

Each time I caught myself thinking along that line, I tried to make sure I was turning that desire over to the Lord and thanking Him for the tea cups we already have and enjoy.

Because tea cups are not a need and I do not want to waste time wishing for those things God has not given me.

Thus, when we were unpacking a box from a unit my husband had recently purchased and there were six white tea cups and saucers I was hesitant.

They matched our everyday set of white dishes, but God had not told me if I was to sell them, give them away, or keep them.

Days went by and I kept praying about what to do with these tea cups until one morning this weekend.

I had gotten up and walked toward the tea cups with the intent of using them for morning tea and the Lord spoke to my heart.

You have not asked Me

“Oh dear! I am so sorry Lord! You are right! I did not ask. Please forgive me!”

I turned around and went about getting breakfast without the tea cups.

Later, I was in my room praying about this.

“Lord, I am so sorry about almost using those tea cups! I feel awful!”

You have not asked Me.

“Yes, Lord! I know I didn’t ask and I will sell them or give them away. Just please tell me which You want me to do.”

Silence.

After praying for other things I went back to the kitchen for something and my eyes feel on the tea cups.

The Lord spoke so clearly to my heart.

Child, you have not asked Me for them.

-blink-

“Wait…Lord, do You want me to have these? Would You be willing to give these to me?”

Would you give them to your child if they asked?

“Yes, of course.”

Then ask Me.

“Lord, may I have these tea cups?’

Yes, of course.

I set the table with the white tea cups and brewed a pot of tea.

My shortsightedness almost caused me to blush, but my God’s love and care for me brought me to tears.

Happy tears of realization that I still have so much to learn.

Not long later we all sat around the table eating breakfast and drinking our tea.

Our son was thoughtful and quiet for a time and then looked up at me.

“Mom, when I grow up and leave the house can I have these tea cups? I love them.”

I smiled.

I am sure God was smiling too.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your patience with me. I am so amazed at how You know exactly what I need to hear and You speak straight to the real issues inside my heart. Lord Jesus, thank You for Your loving care. Thank You for walking with me in so many things and guiding my life into a closer walk with You. Lord, I want to be a reflection of You to all those around me. I want other people to know You and to experience the incredible love You have for them. Lord, You alone are worthy of all praise, all honor, all glory. May Your light shine brightly to those who have yet to see Your truth and even brighter to those who have put their trust in You. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Simply praying

I love to pray.

Spending time with the Lord is probably my favorite thing to do.

And prayer time continues to grow and change.

When our children were small I spent a lot of prayer time seeking wisdom.

I would lift up each of our children, their individual struggles and success, their future, their gifts and abilities, and even their future spouses.

I also spent a lot of time sorting through my emotions, my past, my fears, and my daily struggles.

While we lived overseas my prayers were for direction, understanding, endurance, and to lift up the daily things.

When you live in a different culture you see things about yourself you didn’t know were there, so I spent a lot of time getting my heart right before God.

As we returned prayers changed again.

Reentry was extremely difficult.

Housing, job, and our future were challenging.

To add to that my husband was sick, so sick he wasn’t sure how much longer he would have.

The strain was nearly unbearable, so my prayers were often desperate, pleading, and full of pain.

Yet, there was a certainty of God’s faithfulness which carried me through and it was in prayer where I heard the voice of the Lord giving me strength for another day.

Then came my own illness.

9 months of being sick with an unknown which only increased with time.

It all culminated in surgery which was the turning point.

During those days prayer became my heartbeat.

Nothing else mattered.

No physical pain could hinder my special time with Jesus.

Nothing was or ever shall be as precious, not even life, as my time in prayer.

With healing brought busy.

I was able to do and I did.

I said yes to every need.

I stretched myself beyond any request God had called me to.

In those days I prayed, but without understanding.

I truly thought God was calling me to it all since He had healed me and in my mind it was my responsibility to do everything.

Until one day.

The very memory shames me.

I was driving from one “to do” to another and saw a sign on a church.

“My burden is easy and My yoke is light.”

Huh!

Was my emidiate response.

“Then why am I so overwhelmed? Lord, why have You given me so much to do?”

-silence-

Then slowly, like a bud opening to sunlight, my heart realized the truth.

When I’m carrying only what the Lord has given, my burden is light.

I am the reason I am over worked and overwhelmed.

My prayers became full of apology, and seeking His path for my weary feet.

Then came heartache.

A season of grief.

My prayers were full of anguish, anger, frustration, and sorrow.

Through it all I knew He was leading, He was speaking, He was guiding, but it hurt.

Another moment of lesson which is almost as embarrassing as the first.

I remember it was dark and I was outside in the rain gathering firewood.

I was angry.

And my prayers were questioning, almost accusing the Lord for the circumstance I was in.

And His answer was so gentle.

Child, why are you angry?

It stopped me in my tracks.

I sputtered.

I squirmed.

I surrendered.

“Because I want things to go a certain way and they are not.– I’m sorry Lord.”

And my prayers turned to humble confession.

It took weeks for me to confess all the ways I had tried to manipulate circumstances in my past.

But it was so incredible.

With each instance reviewed and confessed came such grace and mercy.

It was the beginning of healing.

My heart’s hurting was being removed by each instance to be humble and repent.

I learned what surrender to my ideas really looked like, at least a beginning, it’s a lesson I’m still learning.

Unspeakable joy began to prevail into every area of my life.

My prayers were filled with thanksgiving and praise.

The Lord’s voice was easily heard and obediance was pleasant.

When the nightmares began, I was surprised.

Not one or two a night, but many.

I would wake up screaming or crying, over and over.

It lasted for four months.

During this time my prayers were seeking.

I truly felt God was training me.

This was not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers.

This was spiritual warfare.

And I remember the last dream so vividly.

Awful, horrible things were occurring when suddenly my husband stepped into my dream.

I turned and looked at him.

He said, “I have had enough of this. I’m putting a stop to it right now.”

He took my hand and walked us away from the evil.

I woke up.

And I realized my prayers needed to be covering my husband.

So I pray for him every day, many times.

I pray specifically and generally, but I pray often.

Months pass.

And my prayers changed again.

I got sick.

I’m still sick,

but I’m learning so much!

My prayers are my breath.

Talking with the Lord is what carries me through day after day.

I’m still praying for my husband, our children, our future, and our daily lives.

I’m still praising and thanking God, especially now as I’m never sure what a day might hold.

I’m still listening for those moments when God needs to humble my heart and teach me to surrender in a new way.

I have peace like never before.

My prayers are sweet, no matter the circumstances.

I am filled with love for so many people.

My heart is steady, no matter the challenges.

I have assurance of God’s goodness like never before.

My emotions still vary, but never like the sea calm and then turbulent, as in the past.

And I’m expectant.

What might the Lord teach me next

by simply praying?

38

image

Okay…

Here it goes.

I’m 38 today.

It’s a little bit startling,
but I’m super thankful.

You see about four years ago my life changed dramatically.

And I made a few promises to the Lord which I intend to hold to for the rest of my life.

One of these is to rejoice in His grace each of my birthdays.

The reason being,
I wasn’t certain four years ago I would have another one.

Being aware of your frailty brings a few things into view which would otherwise go unnoticed.

1) My age is nothing to be embarrassed about.

I am always going to speak my age with joy (even when it seems odd) because I have no guarantee of reaching another.

2) Each day (even the difficult ones) are a special gift.

How I choose to look at my circumstances, react to my neighbors, even in how I spend 15 min can reflect on whether or not I’m leaning on the Lord. After all each day is from Him, I should rely on Him to direct it.

3) People are far more important than tasks.

I know I’ve stated it before and there are those who know this naturally. I’m not one of them. I get all wrapped up in my lists and scheduling and miss the people all around me.

4) Each person’s value was complete at their conception.

My worth to God will never depend on what I do. He paid the value long before. So in each way I am able to serve Him is actually for my benefit as it draws me ever closer to Him. The only thing I can ever do that changes anything is to believe in Christ Jesus as my Saviour. Even when I’m so ill I can not care for myself, He values me.

5) You can never be too thankful nor too loving.

As I lay on my back, being wheeled into the operating room full of strangers, with exception of my doctor, I tried hard to thank each one. It was tough because I kept crying. But I desperately wanted them to know I appreciated what they were doing for me. In my eyes they were saving my life.

As I received visit after visit from so many people both in our home and at different church functions I felt the enormous love and concern of others. At one point the kitchen was full of teenage boys who had brought over a banquet their mother had prepared for our family. I was amazed as their own home has more than 8 members.

As I have lived day in and out since recovery I’ve been impressed at the need to be loved all around me. The lady at the grocery store, the girls on our basketball team, the friends I’ve had for years, even my own children and parents and siblings. Saying a heartfelt “I love you!” never gets old.

So,
I’m 38 today.

And I wonder what the future holds.

And I thank God for what He’s taught me this far.

And I pray
He will help me
live out the lessons
He’s given.

And I praise Him
for today.