There are days that waking up on the wrong side of the bed is an understatement. I stumble into the bathroom in the morning, step on the scale and "oh great, I gained 3 lbs overnight" then I put on my glasses and look in the mirror and... "I'm 50, wear bifocals, have wrinkles AND have a huge zit on my chin. How is this fair?? HOW???????" 😩😩😩😩 I honestly don't know what gets into me, but everyone and everything gets on my last nerve. And what do I do to stop it? Oh, I immediately pray and get things right with the Lord. NOT. It's like there's this hormonal monster inside me that takes complete control and all rational and spiritual thinking goes out the door~ except I don't really have a whole lot of hormones left due to a partial hysterectomy. 😂😂That little tiny bit I do have? It's small but deadly and it wallows in it and even enjoys it. Why do we get this way ladies? We let our emotions or our hormones control us and we turn into the wicked witch of the month and think it's ok, but it's not. We expect people to put up with our awfulness and even justify it. By the end of the day, after taking it out on my innocent husband who looks at me like I've lost my mind and wonders what in the world he did this time, I usually feel better. Unfortunately, that little monster left a path of destruction (and ate all the chocolate on the way there). Times like this I know God is nudging me all day. I can feel it in my heart, so I dig in deeper instead of changing my ways. I feel sorry for myself. I think about how absolutely wonderful I am and so unappreciated and pretty soon I believe the lies that I can't help it and I'm right and everyone else is wrong. But the nudging continues. And I realize deep down that I'm not filled with the fruits of God's Spirit~love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. I'm filled with Charisse. Oh ladies, aren't you so thankful for our wonderful Savior and His forgiveness, grace and mercy? Because, boy do I need forgiveness on those days. I also need forgiveness from everyone that came across my path that day. Make sure to apologize ladies. Don't justify your behavior. Remember, there isn't any behavior that's acceptable if it isn't Christ like. He was beaten beyond recognition. He was mocked. He was crucified, and yet He forgave. I'm not saying it's easy. It's not. It's almost crazy to think about the fact that I can feel like my walk with Christ is so close one day then wake up the next and flush it all down the toilet. So, I ask forgiveness, I pick up my chocolate wrappers and I consciously make an effort to remember~"let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." Tomorrow is a new day. Thank God.
Can you imagine the feeling of giving birth to a son, knowing that there was a law that all male babies were to be killed? Put your mind there for a minute ladies. Trying to hush your newborn's cries and hold them close as long as possible until you realized you couldn't hide them anymore. And then watching as that precious, helpless infant was placed in a tiny boat and floated down a river, out of sight. To have faith in God at that point would be an understatement. What about seeing rain for the first time as you sit in a massively huge boat, wondering what will become of you and your children as the waters rise higher and higher and everything you have ever known has disappeared under them? I can't imagine being barren for years and begging God for a child and when He answers, having the faith and trust to leave that child with someone else, believing God would take care of the treasure I had prayed for for years. How about having my young son tell me that he was about to go fight against a giant two times his size (that every other man in the army was afraid to fight) but not to worry, because God had his back? And the biggest awe moment for me is trying imagine being told that I was going to give birth to a Son who would be the Savior of the world. God is still God. He is our great God, the God of the Bible. He is in control. Yes this election has to be the very worst in our country's history. Does our future seem scary? Yes, it does. I'm not going to sugar coat it. My heart wants to worry and fret about the future of these precious grand children and what they will be faced with ten years from now. I want to hold them tight just like BaPa is in this picture, and never let go. But my God is still on the throne. He is my God of miracles and I will continually pray that He gives me the faith I need to trust in Him and the future He has for me and for my kids and for my grandkids. Moses mother, Noah's wife. Samuel's mom and David's. Mary. How did they do it? They knew their God. Their Heavenly Father. They talked to Him, they spent time with Him and in turn He gave them the peace that passes understanding and the comfort to know it would be ok. That doesn't mean they weren't scared. I'm sure they were scared out of their minds, but they believed. They had faith. I often hear the phrase "now more than ever we need to pray for our nation". Honestly, why haven't we been praying all along? From that first joyful moment we learn our child is on the way, our prayers should be fervent for them. In the book The Practice of the Presence of God, the writer speaks about the amount of sin and unhappiness in the world and the extremes to which the enemy is capable of going. But what spoke to me most was in this statement~ ....he had a peace because he knew that God could rectify the situation in a moment if He willed it. Whatever our future holds, our prayers should be lifted up to the One who held that tiny boat, the One who made an ark float. The One who cared for a tiny child and helped a young boy defeat a giant. The One who gave us His only Son. The One who holds that future in His hands.
· As most of you know by now, my husband had retinal detachment surgery done back in August. He just recently stopped wearing his eye patch, but his vision has not returned. Praise the Lord, he does have some vision, but it is very distorted. When his retina first detached, all he could see was blackness. Now as he looks at words, he can see the first and last letter but nothing in between. And here's a fun fact, when he looks at me, apparently I look like a funny Snap Chat or fun house mirror reflection. Before our souls are united with Christ, everything seems black. The Bible can seem so hard to understand. Prayer seems like we are talking to a wall. But then, our Saviour heals our hearts when He enters in and the blindness disappears. That doesn't mean that we automatically understand everything the Bible says or that prayer automatically becomes easy. It takes time. It can seem distorted and hard to understand. So, we go back to the Great Physician and ask for help. Mike's surgeon told him last Friday that it was time for the patch to come off. To work his eye muscles so that they can focus and hopefully in time, see a little clearer. That's what we need to do as christians. Take off the patch of "I don't understand", "I don't feel like God hears me", "this seems too hard", etc. and ask your Heavenly Father for help. Ask him to help your focus so that you can better understand his book of comfort, the Bible. It's simply God's love letter to us. Ask for help as you pray. Prayer is simply talking to God as a child talks to a father. We don't know how long it will take before Mike will be able to see clearly out of that eye. It might not ever happen, but that doesn't mean he's going to give up trying. Understanding the Bible may take a long time. Don't give up. I haven't. I learn something new every single day and God opens my eyes and helps me to focus. So...back to that fun house mirror effect. Am I happy that's how my husband sees me? With a huge body and tiny head? Nope~ gotta be honest~not. one. bit. But he loves me regardless, because he is seeing through eyes of love. We can see ourselves as failures, as worthless, as a complete fun house mess at times, but that's not what God sees because God is looking through the eyes of His Son who died for us. What He sees is love. When Mike tells me that I'm beautiful and that he loves me, I tease him now and respond, "you think that because you are blind in one eye and need glasses for the other". God is not blind though. He sees us just as we are and yet, He thinks we are beautiful and He loves us still.
This precious picture is my granddaughter Ellie at school, holding mommy's hand close to her heart. The preschool had all the moms decorate their "hands" and they give them to the kids at rest time. Even though Ellie can't physically hold her mama's hand, this little laminated piece of paper can take away her hurts, her scared feelings, her restlessness. It is her source of comfort. All of us who are moms can relate. We look at this sweet picture and it touches our hearts and the yearning to be a comfort for our children is felt deeply. We understand. Can you see where I'm going with this? God understands. God yearns to comfort us. God wants us to know His hand is holding us up when we are restless, hurting or scared. He tells us~"I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee." Isaiah 42:6 And as David talks about God, he tells us this~ "Thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great" Psalm 18:35b. God's gentleness. Think about those words. His gentleness. He is holding us and He is gentle. Just as Jessica poured all her love into decorating that hand for Ellie, knowing how much comfort it would bring her, God has poured His love into a book just for us. The Bible. Our source of comfort. In it He tells us that He is holding us. He tells us in Psalm 139 that He is acquainted with all our ways, that there isn't a word we speak that He doesn't know about. There is no where we could go that God isn't there. His hand will lead and hold us. Even when we are scared in the dark of night, He will make it shine like the day. Gods thoughts toward us are precious and if we could count them they would be more than the sand. And when we awake~ He is still with us. Let God's Word be your source of comfort. Turn to it when you have lost your way. Soak in the peace it gives every day. Take a moment to think about the gentleness you have toward your children and how very precious they are to you. That cannot compare to how our Father feels toward us. Today~whatever you might be going through~ reach out and hold His hand a little tighter. You may have lost the grip, but He never has and never will. Let Him hold you up, then rest in Him~with your hand tucked safely in His.
Death can be a scary thing. It's something we don't ever want to think about, especially the death of someone we love, but at some point we all have to face it. Whether it was expected or not, it is crushing when a dear loved one dies. It is crippling and takes the breath out of you, making you feel like you don't have the strength to make it through another day. My former pastor, Blaine Farley, recently went home to be with Jesus. He touched my heart for eternity. He was always joyful and truly showed the love of Jesus to everyone he came in contact with. My heart breaks for his family, as I know that light that shone so brightly is no longer present. And even though it was expected, it is crushing. When we got the phone call that my sister in law Amy died, it was such a shock that my feeble heart did not want to believe it and when I got the call from my dad that my mom had unexpectedly passed away the crushing shock was present every single day. Each morning when I woke, my heart cried. But it did not cry without hope, as it doesn't cry without hope now for Pastor Farley. I KNOW that my loved ones are in the presence of Jesus, because of HIM and the love HE has for us. Because they accepted His gift of salvation and knew in their own hearts that they had a home in heaven one day. When I think of my dear Pastor Farley, I can't help but think of the words to a song I learned while I was under his ministry..."there is no peace, no joy, no thrill, like walking in His will, for me to live is Christ, to die is gain" That was my Pastor. He shone Christ's love and joy and the thrill of being God's child. I am so thankful for him and all he taught me and I'm so thankful to my Heavenly Father for loving me so much that He sent His Son to die for me so that I can have a home in heaven one day too, and see my loved ones again. My heart might be heavy, but I know that the death of my loved ones was only gain to them because of God's gift. I know that the peace and the joy and the thrill that Pastor Farley had here on earth cannot ever compare to the peace, joy and thrill he has in the presence of His Savior. That is our comfort. It can be your comfort too.