Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What Are You Thankful For?

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

I am thankful for so many things.  I am thankful for the wonderful man that I am married to, and my dear sweet kids.  I am thankful that we have a place to live, and a car to drive.  I am REALLY thankful for a hand-me-down stove to replace the one that was not working when we bought this trailer over two months ago.  And of course I am thankful for tasty food ;)  In fact, I am grateful to have food at all.

I am especially grateful for the little things, in part because I now know personally so many that have far less than us.  Oh, we've had our financial bumps in the road, but visiting with the homeless and needy that come to our church each Sunday reminds me just how much I am blessed.

Those that come to our church are not just "guests", they are our friends, and we love them very much.

It is for this reason that we are sharing something with our friends on the Sunday following Thanksgiving that is very special to us as a family.  And that is my husband's grandmother's famous pumpkin pie.  It is unlike any other pumpkin pie we have ever had.  In fact, it is SO GOOD that last year a volunteer at our church (that shall remain nameless) couldn't quit eating it!  Now that is quite a compliment!

So while Thursday is the day everyone else celebrates Thanksgiving, the most special Thanksgiving we will share as a family is the Sunday after.  And we will all be eating Anna Katherine's Famous Pumpkin Pie, made by none other than my husband.  I love you Honey! And I love you my friends!  See you for our special Thanksgiving ;)

Oh, and this year Christmas day is a Sunday, which means that it will be a VERY special Christmas indeed!  We get to spend it with our buddies, sharing God’s love.  And we wouldn’t give that up for all the presents in the world.


Anna Katherine's Famous Pumpkin Pie

1 ½ cups Sugar

2 tsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Ginger

½ tsp. Ground Cloves

1 tsp. Mace

4 Large Eggs

1 29oz can LIBBY's Pumpkin

3 cups Whole Milk

2 Nine Inch Deep Dish Pie Shells (or 3 Regular Nine Inch Pie Shells)


-Mix ingredients, pour into two 9 inch deep dish pie shells.

-Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 15 minute, reduce heat to 350 degrees for an additional 40 to 50 minutes.

Hint: You can get three pies from this if you have regular pie shells instead of deep dish.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Poor In Money Does Not Have To Mean Poor In Spirit

My mother-in-law has commended me multiple times on finding ways to do what we would not should not be able to do on our income.  I can’t take the credit for this.  God blesses us abundantly when we put ourselves in the position to be blessed.  God blesses those that seek righteousness, that is those that strive to live a life for Him. 

Having said this, I am still far from perfect, and I am not claiming to be perfect.  I am simply striving for His will, and praying that He is able to take my fumbled and imperfect offerings and make them something more than I am able to offer on my own.  And in doing this, I keep reminding myself of the words of an old friend of mine who said, “God does not call the equipped, but equips the called.”

I just have to "run the race" and leave the results to Him, the one who created me.  For us, that means not engaging in the trappings of this world, as much as possible, and setting ourselves apart for God.  We don’t care about the big beautiful house.  I would like the home we have to look nice, but I am more concerned in having safe shelter these days then having the best of everything.  If the big screen TV, cable TV, fancy cell phone or tablet, and brand new furniture, etc. help me in my service to God then so be it.  So far they are not necessary to God’s calling for us, and so I could care less if I have these things.  Satan has no hold on me in the envy of these things.  This is not meant to be judgmental.  I was once in bondage to the credit card and the fancy new leased car.  Now I’m not, and it’s freeing.  That’s just the blunt truth, and no more.

Instead I am trying to focus on the race God has called me to.  For me, that is the education and health of my family, and the building of relationships with those God has entrusted to me.  I am far from being perfect at this, but still I run the race, and leave the results to God.

And you know what?  The more intentional I am for Him, the more He blesses every aspect of my life. 

He has surrounded me with wonderful spirit led friends who bless me every day, and whom I hope I bless. 

He leads me to creative ways to build the relationships around me, simple things like just taking the time to listen and pray with someone. 

This week my son and I will share a low cost outing at Red Robin.  We have birthdays less than two weeks apart, and will be able to redeem our free birthday meals together.  Just need money for a tip, and we have a special mother/son night out.

And we were blessed last week with a group field trip with some friends of ours.  They both had memberships and ride passes to a local attraction.  We were able to enjoy with them what would have normally cost us about $90 between admission and ride costs for FREE.  And again, we were building relationships.

When we didn’t have proper beds for our kids, he has blessed us with FREE, practically new beds offered to us out of the blue by friends.  And as a special bonus, there was even a bed for us that was on our wish list.  They were almost like new!

Last spring we were offered “garden school” with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law.  It was a valuable educational experience for my children, and an even more valuable relationship building experience for all of us.  We may be taking another sister-in-law and brother-in-law up on “horse school” in the future.

Sometimes His blessings are an answer to a prayer, and sometimes a sweet surprise.  God is never late, but always right on time.

It is for Him we are running this race, and there is no one else we’d rather run with!  And even when the road is rough, still He provides in so many creative ways!

Praise you God for those around me!  Thank you for the relationships that you have given me.  Thank you for the provision that you give me through those around me.  Thank you for the grace that you give me when my offerings are imperfect, and thank you for giving me the strength to try again tomorrow.  Praise you Lord for giving us release from the bondage of this world.  We love you.  Amen

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Every Neighbor Loves A Good Cook Out

Yesterday was SO MUCH FUN!  It was the 3rd celebration of what is one of our favorite days of the year. 

It was a day of food, friends, and fellowship at our church.  My husband and I set up the grills near the entrance to our church and fired ‘em up.  Then he threw on the sausage, hot dogs, and burgers just as people were coming out after the service.  Many coming out of the service wondered if it might be for them . . . but no.  It was for our buddies . . .  the homeless and needy arriving soon after they left.

Is this cruel and unusual punishment?  Last year we had started early, and those in the service had actually smelled the food cooking during church, and came out drooling.  That was fun ;)  They looked at us eagerly, wondering if this wonderful smelling food was for them.  “It’s not for you.  It’s for the community supper later."  Mean?  Maybe.  Am I sorry that they got they’re hopes up only to be disappointed?  No, not really, and I’ll tell you why.

Think about it this way.  Let’s live in the holey, worn out shoes instead for a moment, shall we?  Everywhere you turn, there is disappointment.  You lose a job, or maybe you are underemployed, or underpaid.  You are forced to give up many of the things that you have grown accustomed to.  You can no longer eat out, in fact if you have a meal today, you’re lucky.  Some weeks you may not eat for two and three days at a time.  Pantries full of food, treats like coffee from the coffee shop, a car (much less a car that runs well), clean clothes fresh from the dryer, a long hot shower, maybe even a bed to sleep on . . . all pipe dreams that are about as sure to come true for you as the tooth fairy paying a visit. 

You are forced to live without regular medical care, dental care, and other basic needs.  If you are homeless you become used to not only the ravages of severe weather, but of those in law enforcement and society that treat you as if you have a contagious disease that must be quarantined from the rest of us.  No one understands, and no one cares.  Don’t bother asking for anything from anybody other then those at a charity.  One look at you, and the answer is ALWAYS no.  There is almost no pride or dignity left, only humility as far as the eye can see. 

Why?!  Are you not still a person?  Are you worth any less then any of the rest of us?  Do you not have dreams and hopes, even if you may have stuffed and buried them to protect what little you have that’s valuable and precious to you?

If you have any of the things listed above, congratulations, you are doing well.  Whether you believe it or not, you are.

But for those that are without all of these simple pleasures, for those that endure disappointment after disappointment in their lives, it is for them that yesterday happened.  For at least one day of each of these three years, when they ask, “Who is the cookout for?”, I can say “It’s for you!”  “And like the love that Jesus so freely gives to ALL of us, it’s free of charge.”  You should see the smiles as they fully realize the wonderfulness of this!  That this is THEIR meal.

I truly believe that THIS grilled meal is an “aroma pleasing to the Lord”.  After all, who doesn’t love a cook out? ;)

Praise you Lord for all of the blessings that you so freely offer us every day.  So many things we take for granted, and we forget that they are a gift from you.  Those around us are also a gift from you that we must never take for granted.  May we never look upon another human being again in disgust and shame, but give us all the eyes to see the beautiful creation that you have made in them.  Allow us to look past what is undesirable to us and love them for who they are even in their imperfections, as you love us even as we are imperfect.  We love you Lord.  Thank you all you are, and all you do.  Amen

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Devil Really Is In The Details

Ominous CloudI have been struggling with this post for some time.  You see, it’s easy to go on and on about God’s goodness when things are going your way.  But no one wants to acknowledge the spiritual battle that we all fight.  It’s easier to pretend that Satan and his fallen angels, also known as demons, just aren’t there.  Interestingly I have actually known people that were working in church schools that had that attitude.  “If I just pretend he isn’t there, then he’ll leave me alone.”

Most spirit led people know very well Satan’s presence.  Spiritual warfare is happening all around us, whether we acknowledge it or not.  However spirit led people tend to get “picked on” a lot.  You see, when you are an enemy of Satan, he fights harder.  It’s when you are apathetic or stagnant in your faith that his job is the easiest.

Unfortunately, our family has been a target of Satan’s for some time now.  God is using us more and more, and the battle is heating up.  This is not the time to back down however.  It’s the time to dig down deep and choose to see God’s goodness in all that is happening.  It’s the time to use the authority that is given us by Christ to rebuke Satan.

If you authoritatively say out loud, “Go away Satan, in the name of Jesus Christ I command you to go away!”, he has to flee.  Try it, and see if you don’t physically feel God’s love and protection.  But we forget that we have this gift from God, that we can call on him.  We do not have to fight in our own power, but we MUST call upon the power of the one with authority over Satan . . . we call on God, in the name of Jesus Christ.

This is not just a message for all of you.  This is a reminder to me.  Today I call on the power of our Heavenly Father in battle with the evil one.  Satan has been attacking fiercely.  He has attacked through deception on the part of the former homeowner concerning mold in our bathroom.  He has attacked us through financial responsibilities that we weren’t expecting.  He is attacking through a long list of necessary work to this house and the house we had been renting that has exhausted us emotionally, physically, and financially.

Where is God in all of this?!  He is in the company that offered me a big box of delicious, fresh produce in exchange for some freelance writing work.  He is in the prayers of those around me.  He is in the protection of our health during this mold remediation.  He in the wonderful friends, and family, that encourage and support us. 

The devil may be in SOME of the details and how these things affect us, but God created the details, oversees the details, and uses the details . . . TO HIS GLORY!  All we have to do is rebuke Satan, take on the full armor of God, and call on the power of God in ALL things.  The trick is not to “stuff it down”, “suck it up”, and do it ourselves.  We have to give it ALL to Him, even four times a day if necessary.  That’s when the true power and healing begins!

Thank you Lord for your gentle reminder.  It’s not about me and, Lord God, with you I can do anything.  Without you, I can do nothing.  I give you all of my “junk”, anger, and anxiety today.  Please forgive me for all of it.  Take all of my fumbled and imperfect offerings and make them work in your will and to your glory.  Help us through this time, and give us your peace again!  Thank you, and I love you!  Amen

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Too Much Of A “Good” Thing

JunkWell, we are finishing our move into the trailer . . . I HOPE!  It has been a LONG journey, stalled by school starting, and many other distractions both joyful and frustrating.  And ya know what?  WE HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF!!!

Is this a complete and utter shock to me?  No!  Although, the scary part is that we have actually gotten rid of a lot the past couple years.  Glad we did that ;)

So, again we go through the process of deciding what we REALLY need as opposed to what we don’t need and can pass along.  Do we really need the shish kabob skewers that we have never used other then maybe a couple of times as (really sharp) marshmallow toasting sticks?  No.  Pass them along!  Do I really need like three world maps?  No.  Pass them along.

And then there is the box that remained packed the whole 2 1/2 years that we lived in the last house.  I CONQUERED IT!!!  Receipts from three years ago?  GONE!  And guess what?  I even found a $50 grocery gift card that we haven’t been able to find all during that time, among the worthless receipts and other stuff fit for recycling.  Yay!  I really needed that right now!  Thanks God!

Two verses come to mind right now for me that deal specifically with this.  They are Matthew 6:19-21 and 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

If I have a house full of stuff, but cannot use my gift of hospitality in my own home, then I have let Satan lessen my effectiveness as a follower of Christ.  And while I can keep every kitchen tool and clothing item I own, one can definitely have too much of a “good” thing.  But the best “thing” is the peace that God offers when I let go of the rest.

Thank you God for providing all that I need . . . and more.  Please help me to know when to hang on to something and when to let go, and bless others.  I want to give my life to you in service in ALL areas of my life.  I want peace for my family, and especially my husband when he comes home from work.  Thank you for your guidance in this area.  I love you Lord.  Amen

Thursday, September 22, 2011

If God Is The “I AM”, Who Am I?

This is a question that I’ve had so many times on my journey to adulthood spiritual maturity.  (Read 1 Peter 2:1-3)

Who am I?  I know that I have a purpose, but what is it?  As a young adult of about 20, I had a moment of calling.  It was a day like any other day, but at the same time beautiful and sunny.  As I drove down the road, in the car by myself, suddenly something felt different.  I felt called to do something great for God, but I had no idea what.  The feeling was weird and amazing all at once.  And my reaction was much like Moses’ reaction when called to lead the Israelites.  “Me?!  But I’m broken!”  I didn’t feel qualified to do something great in my own life, let alone something great for God.

In that moment He gave me the vision of men’s work boots pulverizing glass on a concrete floor.  Then the glass was loaded into a furnace and formed into the most beautiful and colorful vase that I have ever seen.  I felt that God was telling me that any brokenness that He was to allow in my life was simply a means of making me into the beautiful work of art that He’d meant for me to be.  I wouldn’t fully realize the true meaning of this until I had gone through the first 12 years of marriage with my husband.

We have now run the gamut of our original marital vows to each other.  We have been richer, poorer, better, worse, sick, and in health.  We’ve had a lot of the good, some of the bad, and a little of the ugly in our life and marriage together.  However just as “a cord of three strands is not easily broken”, so a marriage with God as the third strand will be able to find growth and learning even in adversity.  Even after 12 years of marriage, depression, post-partum depression, two lay-offs, bankruptcy, and other financial challenges, I can still say honestly that my husband is my soul mate, best friend, and partner in ministry.  We are a team, my hubby, God, and I, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

After 11 years of marriage my husband and I decided to join a push to involve more church members in a small group bible study.  Needless to say God’s plan was a little different.  We have now hosted a bible study for the homeless and needy in our church for over a year now, and are loving it!  We spend time with our friends there during the study, and afterwards during dinner.  And our three beautiful children join us, and are not afraid to say hi or talk to someone that is homeless.  Everything we have been through in the 11 years before this has trained and prepared us to serve in “such a time as this”.

Thank you Lord for all of the experiences, details, and plans that help to create the masterpiece that you see in me.  Please guide me in times of stress or trouble during my “training”, and help me to glean whatever wisdom you wish for me to learn and use to grow for you.  I love you Lord!  Thank you for being my guidance and provision in everything that comes my way. Amen

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Parallels, Prophesies, and Other God Stuff

Parallel and perpendicular

God amazes me!  I have heard Him described as many things artistic.  He is everything creative, and complex, and beautiful.  He is love.  He is justice and righteousness.  He is . . . everything!  In Exodus 3 Moses even asks God who He is.  And God refers to Himself as “I AM”.

God has His hand in everything.  He uses the good.  He uses the bad.  In all circumstances He is there, and He uses all people for His purpose.  Even Satan reports to Him for permission in all things.  (See Job 1)  God orchestrates every last detail to work within this symphony of His creation and purpose.  Think about that!

Interesting, but have you noticed the parallels in the bible and in life?  Events in the Old Testament parallel events in the New Testament, and Heavenly concepts parallel things on Earth.  Truths are revealed in the study of these parallels.  This is so complex, yet so simple.

For instance, there is the story of Abraham and Isaac and the life of Jesus.  Abraham was called on by God to sacrifice his only son, whom God has given him after decades of his wife being barren.  Because of Abraham’s willingness to obey, even to the point of lifting a knife to kill his son, God stopped him and provided a ram (or male lamb) instead.  Generations later God provided the lamb of God, Jesus, as a substitute sacrifice for His children here on earth.  And in doing so, God sacrificed His only son.  Wrap your brain around that one!

Then there's the parallel between our marriage relationship to our spouse, and Jesus’ relationship with his bride, the church.  Or what about the parallel between our relationships with our children, and the relationship that God has with us as His children? 

What about the connection that we have with nature?  Not mother nature, but nature as in God’s creation.  Did you know that pineapple is a natural decongestant?  Or that many natural or whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, contain phytosterols which naturally help regulate cholesterol?  God is in every detail of all of His creation!  Which begs the question, “Why do we keep looking to chemicals, scientists, and companies to keep us healthy?” 

God, the I AM, has it ALL handled!  This truth has been revealed to me time, and time, AND TIME AGAIN!  God IS and I am NOT!  Phew! What a relief!

But in the meantime,  you’ll find me continuing to study His word while listening for that “still small voice” of His ;)

Lord God you are in all things, and you ARE ALL THINGS!  Thank you for your truths.  Thank you for your guidance and your word.  Please continue to reveal to me the things that you see fit to reveal, and help me to follow you and continue to live in your will.  Thank you for taking care of all the details in my life, and thank you for the gentle reminder that I need not worry about it.  You have it all handled.  Amen.

God Bless ;)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Always With Us

The Road

It is hard to say goodbye to those we love, especially when they have been with us most or all of our lives.  They are special, and they leave an enormous void when they leave.

My Uncle Johnnie was one such person . . . his wife another.  Not only did they mean a lot in their own right, but they filled a void left by two people that I had never even met . . . my grandparents.

So understandably, we were all sad when we knew that he was going to die.  But I think we were much more sad for us then for him.  He lived a good long life.  His wife was already gone.  His health was starting to fail. The one time butcher who made the best kielbasa around, and the man who loved golf with a passion, could no longer enjoy either food or golf.  However he played his jokes and pranks almost until the very end. 

And then Uncle Johnnie was gone . . . or was he? 

I saw him as relatives recounted all of his famous jokes and pranks at the visitation, and there were more laughs than tears.

I saw him in my son’s story of the hand he saw waving out of the stained glass during the funeral.  That sounds like something that he’d do.

Then there was the time that we passed the golfer teeing up on a green on the way to the cemetery, while in the funeral procession.  Turning to my husband I commented on what a nice place “that would be to golf”, and then turned back to realize that we were actually driving past part of the cemetery that we were headed to. 

And last but not least there was the pigeon that we saw actually using the crosswalk on the way from the dinner after the funeral.

Is Uncle Johnnie gone?  No, I believe he’s made it perfectly clear that he’s still with us. His body, like all of our bodies, was just a tent.  His soul and spirit live on.

Lord, it is hard to not be able to see and talk to the ones we love here on earth.  We love so many of those that you have put into our lives, and we miss them when they are gone.  Help us to see them living on in our lives.  Thank you for always being there for us when we need you.  Amen

Blessings ;)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

God Keeps His Promises


We finally did what I wasn’t looking forward to doing again.  We bought the trailer.

God has given me a peace about this move.  You know that peace that transcends all human understanding? (See Philippians 4:4-9)  Got it!  Even when the woman selling the trailer started threatening to drive me nuts in the whole process of buying the trailer, there was a measure of peace.  Mild annoyance at times, yes, but peaceful annoyance . . . if that even makes sense.

But never the less, through it all, the biggest fear through all of this was still in the back of my head taunting me.  Satan likes to do that, you know.  “Don’t do it, you’ll be stuck.  You know that you don’t want to do it, so don’t do it.  God wouldn’t really ask you to do this, would He?”

Then I would remind myself of all of the prayers that my husband and I have offered up together throughout all of this.  I was reminded of the provision that God gave us when the trailers that we looked at became nicer as they became less expensive.  I was reminded of the extreme and overwhelming peace that He gave me when I truly gave this all to Him in submission to His will.  And I was reminded of the time that He led me to look up the name of the street that we will be moving to and found out that it meant “Of God”, “Lord”, or “Of the Lord”.  How can you argue with that?!  I believe my response to that one was, “Well alrighty then!”

The irony is that it was shortly after we began this journey into buying a trailer that my husband was called in to interview for a job.  But this wasn’t just any job, it was a job that would pay enough to allow us the freedom to live somewhere other than this trailer.  Interestingly enough, three different people asked me during this time if I would move somewhere else given the chance to be able to afford more.  Three times I answered the same.  “We would still buy the trailer.  This is what God wants, and that is the important thing.  He has His reasons for wanting us here.  I just need to work through my feelings about this.”  Within a few days of the third person asking my husband got the job!  It didn’t occur to me until later that Jesus did much the same thing in speaking to the apostle Peter after his resurrection when he asked three times, “Do you love me?”  And then Jesus called him to follow him. (Read about it here in the book of John.)

So we have acted in obedience, even when it didn’t make sense.  We have bought another trailer, when I swore we would NEVER buy one again.  And wouldn’t you know it, we hadn’t been home more than a couple hours when it started to rain.  But it was still bright and sunny!  “I wonder if there is a rainbow.”  And there was!

“Do you remember why God made a rainbow appear to Noah?”, my husband asked.  The rainbow had appeared as God’s promise that He would never destroy the earth with a flood again.  Was this His promise to me that He would never allow our finances to be destroyed because of the foolish purchase of a trailer?

Maybe you think the connection is kind of a stretch, but this one’s between me and God.  And He ALWAYS keeps His promises!

Lord, we thank you again for your provision.  We thank you for your guidance, and we thank you for your confirmation when we choose to do things in obedience to you.  You are God, and I am not.  Your ways are not always my ways, but they are ALWAYS for the best, in your understanding of the greater plan that you have for all of us.  I praise you Lord that you take care of us.  I praise the fact that the God that you are in the bible is the God that you still are, you are unchanging.  Thank you for ALWAYS keeping your promises, even when we as humans sometimes fail to.  Amen.

Blessings ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Trusting God

Trailer Park

Why is it SO hard to trust God?  We blindly trust so much in this world that we live in, right?  But then we have been let down by this world in so many ways.  We may not understand God’s way, but He never truly lets us down.  And yet we have a hard time just being what He made us to be, don’t we?  If we are honest, we want what WE want, and we want it how WE want it, don’t we?

As I write this I am struggling with trusting God.  Within the next month we will be leaving the nice home that we have been living in with the big yard and move into a 1985 singlewide trailer with the aluminum siding in a trailer park. 

The trailer isn’t disgusting or falling apart, it’s perfectly livable as is.  It can be paid for in cash easily, and it’s in a nice park that’s safe and clean.  The problem isn’t the trailer, or the park, the problem is me.  I’m scared.  I’m honestly scared that we won’t be able to get out of  this trailer after we are in it.  What if we can’t even give the trailer away when we are done living in it?  What if we are stuck paying lot rent on something we no longer want when it’s time to move?  What if we have to pay to get rid of it? (Read the message God sent through Moses to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 31:6)  

These are valid fears for me.  You see we lived in a doublewide in a trailer park a few years back.  We bought it new.  We were paying about $900 a month between the house payment, lot rent, and water.  And then my hubby lost his job.  Suddenly our finances began to make a horrible downward spiral.  Eventually he found another job, but even so we still couldn’t afford all of the financial commitments that we had made.  Something had to give.  The “mortgage” company made it clear.  Sell it, give us the same payment that you always have, or get out and give us the home. 

It became more and more apparent that bankruptcy was our only option in this circumstance.  We needed to give back the house.  For us it felt like failure in it’s truest form, and we are still working through emotions connected to that.  That and the SLOW recovery of our finances have changed the whole dynamic of our family.  It is a slow healing process, but it’s happening.  And now we are moving back into a trailer again, in a trailer park. 

Fortunately for me, God is showing me that He IS GOOD!  He is patient in my healing.  He is compassionate in my pain.  He is working to give us “a hope and a future” (Read Jeremiah 29:10-14).  The problem is not the trailer.  It just may be part of my healing process.  The only thing making me miserable right now is me.

I will, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  His love endures forever!” (Read Psalm 136

Thank you Lord, for a reasonably priced place to live, and a roof over my head.  And thank you for the love you freely offer all of us, even when we struggle with our own fears and doubts.  Please continue to help us to trust in you, even when the way that you have for us doesn’t make sense.  Amen

Blessings ;)                     

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Heaven and Real Life


“ . . . it’s like going to the playground and never having to come home!”  -our almost 9 year old son explaining heaven to our 3 1/2 year old daughter

This was one of those “Wow!” moments, when you get a glimpse into the faith of a child and you realize that they get it!  They really understand . . . at least in part . . . something so complex and beautiful that most adults don’t get it.  They are in true faith in God.

My son made something that we can make so complex simple again.  Heaven is a real place.  It is a wonderful place.  It’s where God is.  And for those of us that believe in God, and Jesus as God’s son, we have a future home there.

Real life is not pretty all the time.  In fact sometimes it is downright ugly!  As I write this there is a whole lot of ugly threatening to overshadow the blessings and provision that God has for my own family.  But still I will trust Him.  He’s never let me down before.  And for that I give Him thanks and praise.

Lord, thank you for reminding me that the situations and things of this world are temporary.  My hope is in you, and you will not let me down.  And not only that, you have a home for me greater than any home here on earth.  You, Lord God, are my perfect parent and the source of all that I need.  Thank you everything that you do for me. Amen

Blessings to you all ;)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Road To Emmaus

Road- Ink Sketch

Emmaus?  What is Emmaus?  Actually Emmaus is not a what but a where.  It was on the road to Emmaus that Jesus appeared to two believers after he died, appearing as another traveler.  (Read the story here in Luke)

You see, Jesus had just been crucified and had risen from the dead.  It was amazing and truly beyond belief.  And these two were so focused on Jesus’ death and their disappointment over what they expected him to be, that they couldn’t see him for what he truly was.  They failed to do this BOTH literally and figuratively.  Think about that for a moment.  So Jesus quotes the scriptures concerning who he is all the way through and opens their eyes to the fact that he is who the scriptures say he is.  And then he reveals himself as Jesus later as he gives thanks and  breaks the bread.  They see him as he is in scripture, and then they see who he is physically, and then he disappears!

Flash forward to 2005 . . . it is Easter and I cannot see Jesus and celebrate his resurrection through the horrible week that I’ve just had.  To top it off I am sitting one of the “overflow seats” along the back wall of the church, one of the few left.  I say a simple prayer that I might be able to focus on Jesus and his resurrection and lay my head on my husband’s shoulder with a sigh. 

Suddenly I hear a gentle male voice say, “I love you.”  Who said that?  I look at my husband, and he says, “Huh?”  He didn’t say it.  There was no one else around me that would say that.

Instinctively I turn to look behind me, and a tear falls down my cheek as I come face to face with the gigantic print hanging right above my seat.  It’s of Jesus on the cross, and it is a close up of his upper body at an angle.  His right hand extends toward the viewer and seems to be saying, “I love you” in sign language.  (You can view the print here.)

I was so focused on my disappointments that I couldn’t see him.  I couldn’t see that he was there the whole time, loving me.  So he physically told me.  He revealed himself to me and then disappeared.

Two weeks after that Easter I became a member at that church.  The reading was the story about the believers on the road to Emmaus.  Now I could relate!  Now it was personal!  That day God called me, someone that was deathly afraid to speak in public, to share this story in front of almost 600 people after the service.  God spoke through me to tell of a love that he offers to all of us in abundance. 

Through others, he offered me encouragement that day, including a person that I barely knew that said that she was happy that others were encouraging me because “she would hate to think this (me sharing in front of others) was a one time thing”.  And then, as I walked out of church, God healed me.  He healed me of the anxiety and lack of confidence that had crippled my ability to share His love with others.

God is patient.  He keeps His promises.  He loves us deeply.  He blesses obedience to Him when He calls for us to do something.  He continues to reveal Himself to me when I earnestly seek Him.  This is my Emmaus Awakening.

I welcome you to seek yours, with the One that loves you infinitely more than any one on earth. The One that offers more than anything this world has to offer.  God.

Blessings ;)