There are times that I am scrolling through Facebook and am just amazed at the things people post. This year seems to be bringing out the worst and it's very sad to me. We aren't showing the light and love of Christ in some of the words we choose to post or some of the topics we choose to rant about. We are not God and we have no right to force our opinions onto others with words that are hateful. From the very beginning in the garden~God Himself, our creator and the Lover of our filthy souls, gave us a choice. Even then when we chose wrong, He loved us still. His amazing love and grace and mercy were so great that He sent His only Son to die for us. And yet, I continually read words that are downright hateful and bitter. Our choir will be singing The Power of the Cross tomorrow and oh does it speak to my heart. Sometimes we can look at others and condemn them and neglect to look inside at our own hearts. One of the first things listed in God's Word that displeases Him is a proud look. Christ didn't just die a horrible death for the wickedest person you can think of. He died for us all. For every bitter thought that we have ever had. We are no better than anyone else. In the months to come, especially Tuesday morning when everyone is tempted to let the world know how right they believe they are and how wrong everyone else is, think before you post. Are we showing the love of our Savior, the One Who gave His life for our proud hearts and bitter thoughts? Will someone read what we write and think~"I can see the Love of Christ in them"? It shouldn't be our goal to make people mad. It should be our goal to show them The Power of the Cross.
Lately I have been praying and asking God for joy. Pretty much every time I do, I feel a bit of shame that this old flesh can lose it so quickly. In light of the fact that other ladies are going through horrific circumstances and heartache, shame on me for not having joy. Shame on me for allowing the petty little things of life steal my joy. There are weeks and sometimes months that are so full of running and activities and late nights and early mornings and crying grand babies that all the little things can become overwhelming. I remember reading once about people who get depressed at Christmas due to the build up and then let down because it is over so quickly. When I was younger I thought that was ridiculous. Now that I'm older it is very believable. Fall is one of my favorite times of year and Christmas my favorite holiday. I have found in the last 5 years that once September is here, I barely take a breath and it's Christmas. It seems like it was just yesterday that I snapped this picture and just like that, a year has gone by. I want to savor every single moment from September 1 till December 25 but the activities are endless and there aren't enough hours in a day and I fall in bed at 1am each night dreading the early morning and more "to-do's". I lose my joy. There are so many good devotionals on the subject. Many reminding us that Jesus is the reason for the season or give us "The Answer to Having a Stress Free Holiday". This year, through our Java Joy fellowships, God has shown me my answer. It's that little fruit of the Spirit called JOY. And that's where I mess up every year. I always try, in my own strength, to make it my fruit. I don't ask the Holy Spirit for help. I beat myself up for not being more joyful, for feeling overwhelmed and I try harder and harder but I always come up short. I can only have true joy by asking my Father for it on a daily and sometimes hourly basis if needed. And today, amidst the already crazy chaos of the fall/winter season, my Jesus is giving me joy. I am taking the time to love on my grand babies and at times just sit and stare at their precious, beautiful faces as they play and soak it all in, knowing that "to-do" list that I put down will get done, because my Father has it covered. As I write this there are just over 85,000 seconds until Christmas and I want to glorify Jesus with every single one of them and have His joy shine from me. Whatever circumstance you find yourself in, whatever heartache~ the answer can be the same for you as well. Just ask Him for that joy. It's His to give and something you can't ever fully have on your own. Let's stop trying to prove to the world how strong and capable we are as women and just give it all to Jesus and let Him be the source of our strength and of our joy. Then put that calendar (that's filling up so quickly) aside and savor every moment in His beauty.
"There is no sweeter manner of living in the world than continuous communion with God."
A while back a friend of mine asked for my thoughts on starting a private Facebook group specifically for prayer. I thought it was an awesome idea and throughout this year, week after week with each devotional I share, my heart has become even more burdened about our need to pray for one another. As I scroll through Facebook day by day and read the posts of so many of the people I hold most dear to me, my heart is almost bursting at the desire to pray continually for all of you. I know that I have posted about prayer before but I truly feel God laying this on my heart. WE NEED PRAYER. We need to pray for each other. Knowing that others are praying for your needs or your heartache, your health concerns or your future~ that brings a peace and a comfort that nothing else will. Because of HIM. Whispering a loved ones name up to God as you scroll through your feed would not take any time at all, imagine if we all did this? I have been reading a book called The Practice of the Presence of God. That's where my quotes have come from today. It's just a small book but has such a huge message. "During your meals, or during any daily duty, lift your heart up to Him, because even the least little remembrance will please Him. You don't have to pray out loud; He's nearer than you can imagine." That's just so amazing to think about. The God who created this huge world, down to the tiniest detail loves us with a love that is indescribable and wants us to talk to Him. So ladies, let's start today. Let's lift each other up to our Savior. My desire would be that we can start on this page. There are 146 of us. If you have a burden, a heartache, a health issue, whatever it might be~ just comment below. No scrolling through Facebook needed if we share our needs with each other here. Don't ever think your burden is silly and please don't ever carry your burden alone dear friend. "If the vessel of our soul is being tossed by winds or storms, we should wake the Lord who has been resting with us all along, and He will swiftly calm the sea."
No request is too big or too small for my God. How can we pray for you? 💗
I was sitting in my bathroom last night at 2am (one of the joys of giving birth to four kids and being 50) and in my sleepy state talking to God. He put a thought into my head that made me chuckle out loud. My new master bath used to be my son's bedroom, but before that it used to be our bedroom. When we moved here 22 years ago, we moved into this parsonage with the previous pastor and his wife. We lived in the small upstairs for 5 months with all our belongings packed into one end of the garage. (This was after living with my parents for a year and having all our things packed into their garage) All my kids slept in one room and Mike and I in the other. It was crammed and miserable. It was very hard keeping four young children quiet upstairs so they wouldn't bother the pastor. It's so easy for us as women to focus on the "now" and struggle with it in our own strength. We feel sorry for ourselves and don't give our problems to God and ask Him for help. At that time I felt like it would never end, we would never have our own home, I would never see my belongings again. BUT GOD KNEW. He knew that someday down the road I would be so humbled to have this home, His home, featured in a magazine. He knew that someday down the road that bedroom that seemed so tiny that Mike and I slept in, and shushed baby Kathryn to sleep in, would be our master bathroom. A bathroom that seems so big to me now. And I'm sure He just smiled. I'm reminded of Paul telling us in Philippians that whatever state we are in, we should be content. I can hear myself 22 years ago, whining and complaining and saying "I know I should be content, but...". We can feel sorry for ourselves over the silliest circumstances and use that saying so flippantly, forgetting that Paul was actually in prison when he wrote it. I was talking to a dear friend this week about our children and how it's easy for us as parents to look at the choices they make when they are younger and see a future ahead for them that could be good or bad because of those choices. We have been through it as parents and we have a hard time understanding why our children won't listen to our advice, because we can see what is ahead. Then God showed me my own heart and how I do that to Him all the time. I'm His child but I don't always trust that He is in control and I make wrong choices and I worry and fret and have pity parties about my circumstances, when all along He knows my future and that master bathroom that will someday be mine. Whatever circumstance you might be facing right now, just know that your Father knows what is ahead and He loves you, because you are His child. A master bathroom might not be in your tomorrow but if you are His child, streets of gold are. Trust your Father, give Him your circumstances then take His hand and walk with Him into that awesome future He has waiting just for you.