I was upstairs brushing my teeth when I heard it. My husband was still downstairs, and as he left the den he said~
”Alexa, turn off the lights please.”
He said “please” to Alexa. 😂
In case you aren’t aware, (according to Google) Alexa is a ‘virtual assistant technology smart speaker.’
My rough and tough husband said please to a little, non human speaker.
(I love him so much 🥰)
I started laughing so hard that I had to sit down. I wasn’t sure he even realized he said it, so I didn’t bring it up. The next night as we were both heading upstairs, he again asked Alexa to turn off the lights. I stopped and looked at him~
and I knew he knew.
He was trying to hide the smirk on his face. He innocently asked “what??” Trying not to laugh I responded
“you forgot to say please.”
And we both burst out laughing.
The whole Alexa incident got me thinking about our lives and all the technology and answers that are right at our fingertips. You can Google anything nowadays and get an answer in minutes. As long as it is plugged in, I can ask Alexa a question and get an immediate response.
Somehow this need for immediate results has crept over into our
We want answers from God right NOW.
Technology has wonderful benefits, but when it comes to the way we think and perceive life, it can have its downfalls. The news is constantly bombarding us with the horror this world throws at us~ all within minutes of when it happened. We fear. We self diagnose. We binge watch. We covet. We buy more. We fear more. We get depressed. We worry.
Mental health has spiraled downward.
And then we end up questioning God’s love for us.
My daughter and I were having this conversation a few weeks back. She made the comment that she didn’t think God ever intended for us to have this much information at our fingertips 24/7.
I remember responding that ‘back in the day, all a woman had to think about was taking care of her family and Jesus.
Eyes and heart always on the Lord, because nothing else was around to take His place’.
It’s time for us to get back to loving God. A tender, fervent, personal love. Get back to digging deep into His word. Get back to seeking Him with our whole heart. Get back to giving our families to Jesus and raising them to love Him with their everything. Get back to talking to Him continually. Asking Him for the answers. Trusting Him for the outcomes. Being still in His presence and having faith in His unbelievable love for us. A love that is ALWAYS for us and NEVER against us. A love that can’t be measured or bought. A love freely given because of His Son.
(John 15:10, Romans 8:31-39, Ephesians 2:8-9, 3:18)
We are too wrapped up in today. (Revelation 2:4) ‘Loving God with our everything’ has become a passing Christian phrase with no real meaning. And because our love has waned, our laughter has been lost. We often treat God like He’s Alexa, and quite often we don’t even say please. We have forgotten that the joy of the Lord is our strength and in His presence is fullness of joy. (Nehemiah 8:10, Psalm 16:11)
Today I want to encourage you to take a sabbatical from technology. From our phones and laptops and kindles. From the 24 hour news. From binge watching. From Amazon and Google. From Alexa.
This summer focus on being still in His presence and growing in our love for our Savior. When we are plugged into His power, He will give us all the answers we need. We will find rest in His presence, comfort and peace.
And our laughter will return.
When I think about that night my husband spoke to Alexa, I smile when I recall his words but I laugh when I remember the laughter we shared together. When I look back on my life I don’t want to remember all the bad. I want to remember my soul being filled with laughter. My greatest happiness being loved by my Savior. A life completely filled up with the joy of the Lord. (1 Peter 1:8)
Long summer days await us my friend.
Feed your soul. Fill those days with the love of God and with laughter.
(Psalm 16:8-9, 11, 89:15-17, 94:19, 126:2-3, Romans 5:5, 8:38-39, Ephesians 3:16-19, Philippians 4:4, )
It has been an emotional week.
My dad has been gone for a little over a year and yet, thoughts of his passing have come to the forefront of my mind for no particular reason. At times I can hardly wrap my mind around it. My dad went home to heaven the day after the funeral of one of our dearest friends, who had unexpectedly passed away just the week before.
The friend whose birthday would be this Monday~the day before my dads. They entered this earth a day apart and left this earth a week apart.
Thoughts of the trials my children have faced, and continue to face have also weighed on me. Thoughts of missing my sister-in-law as I watch her son get married tonight have brought tears of happiness mixed with tears of sorrow.
And then, thoughts of the horrors other countries are facing have been a constant, even as I write this.
I have struggled with what to post this week. I have prayed and asked God for words to encourage, and yet He has been silent.
And I couldn’t understand why.
I wondered if perhaps he didn’t want me to write a thing. Certainly I don’t want to post some cliche story that God never intended I share.
Sometimes you may wonder why continual “bad” hits you from every direction and God seems to remain silent.
Here’s the thing.
For me, He hasn’t been silent. He has been speaking to my soul, but my mind was screaming too loud to hear Him. My eyes were focused on the emotions I was feeling instead of on Him.
My scripture reading landed on Job this week. I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to read it. I complained. I told God I needed something uplifting, but He knew exactly what I needed.
Quotes that I had scheduled a month ago popped up on my Holding Hope page all week, and it still didn’t hit me. Quotes suggesting I pray about what my mind wanders to. Quotes reminding me to keep praying, even if all I have left is a whisper.
(1 Thessalonians 5:17, Philippians 4:6)
Quotes that told me to just Be Still.
My mind was anything but still. My thoughts were running a marathon inside it. But today in the tiny moments of quiet I had, I prayed again.
I finally heard Him.
His whispers through the cracks of distractions touched my heart.
(I Kings 19:11&11, Matthew 14:28-30)
He kept telling me to be still and as much as I argued that I was being still, I knew deep down I wasn’t. So I stopped. I stopped trying to figure out all the answers on my own. I stopped and I just sat. I sat on my bed and I asked Jesus to sit with me. Just to sit there and hold my hand and still my heart. (Matthew 28:20, Jeremiah 29:11)
And He did.
And He told me to tell you to do the same.
How easily I allow circumstances to weigh me down and steal my peace and joy as I wonder what’s going to happen. How easily I miss my loved ones and fall into a sadness I don’t want to climb out of, instead of realizing the comfort and hope of heaven.(1 Thessalonians 4:13) How easily I try to control situations and find myself in continual unrest. How easily I focus on the bad and miss all the good.
I miss Him.
We’re all looking for hope. For answers.
We scroll through social media looking for that quote or devotional that will give us those answers we’re seeking. We even open our bibles, as if a verse will magically appear to answer our “whys”. God often uses all of these things to help those in need, myself included, but sometimes in the looking we are striving in our flesh to find the answers that only God knows. Sometimes the answer is simply Him, and that’s all we need to know.
(Hebrews 6:18 & 19)
Once we get to the place of that realization our eyes are opened. We see life through Him and in His stillness, everything is changed. We suddenly understand that we don’t have to know all the answers, we just need to be still with Him. (Ephesians 1:18)
Don’t stop praying sweet friend, even if it feels like God is silent. He is not. Keep seeking Him in the stillness until His stillness pushes out all the distractions and it is just you and your Savior~
And through faith, you once again see your life through His eyes. The eyes of of Him who loves you and gave Himself for you.
(Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 4:17 & 18)
Our sweet uncle David went home to glory on Thursday evening. As I prayed about what to post, this particular one came to mind immediately. I had written it a few weeks back as an encouragement for those who might be going through a personal darkness. For those whose mind is racing when the rest of the world is fast asleep. And for those who might not be able to sleep, even though they are physically exhausted. It is something that I often practice. Instead of counting sheep, I go through the alphabet. As I think of each letter, I sing a wonderful, old hymn of faith to each one. I praise God for the words and for who He is and for the peace that only He can give. Sometimes I will go letter by letter and quote verses to match as well. Every time God allows me much needed slumber.
Our uncle David loved music. It was his life~and what a beautiful life it was. I will never forget a particular song that he had picked for the choir to sing one Sunday. I had never heard it before and it moved me beyond words. Years later, I still weep when I hear it~
”Were You There When They Crucified My Lord.”
Today I weep for my Aunt Cindy, for their daughter Chelsea, for our hurting hearts~
but I also weep tears of joy~
for uncle David is now in heaven shouting~
“GLORY! GLORY! GLORY!!”
I pray that these old hymns of faith and the simple prayers of praise that accompany them will help you focus on praises to your Savior and will bring comfort, peace and much needed slumber to a tired soul today.
All Hail the Power of Jesus Name~I praise you for the power in your name.
Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine~I praise you for the assurance I have that nothing can pluck me out of your hand. You are mine! What a thought!
Calvary Covers it All~I praise you that your blood shed for me at Calvary covers every sin. Past, present and future.
Day by Day (and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here)~I praise you for the strength I find in you through prayer and reading your word.
Every Day with Jesus is Sweeter Than the Day Before~I praise you that when I am walking with you, every day becomes sweeter.
Face to Face~ I praise you for the day I will see you face to face. When grief and pain are banished, and replaced with rejoicing for eternity.
Great is Thy Faithfulness~I praise you that you are faithful, even when my faith is lacking.
Have Faith in God~I praise you that even when I feel the darkness winning, you whisper to my tired soul “Have faith in Me”.
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus~I praise you for leading me beside the still waters.
Jesus Is the Sweetest Name I Know~I praise you that I can call upon your sweet name at any time and in any place.
Keeps Me Singing As I Go~I praise you for the song of deliverance you have placed in my heart.
Love Lifted Me~I praise you that your love lifted me out of the depths of hell.
Make Me a Blessing~I praise you that I get to share your blessings on my life to bless others.
Nothing But the Blood~I praise you that your blood washes away every sin. If my eternal destiny were in my own hands, I would utterly fail.
Oh How He Loves You and Me~I praise you for a love that transcends any human idea of love that I have ever had.
Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace~I praise you for the peace you give me that passes all understanding.
Quiet Rest (Near to the Heart of God)~I praise you that you are not a far away God, but a loving Father who is right here with me in the darkness.
Revive Us Again~I praise you that I can call upon your name and lift this country that I love so dearly in prayer to you, asking you for revival.
Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus~ I praise you for the freedom to stand up for you daily, despite the wickedness this world may throw at me.
Take Time to Be Holy~ I praise you that even among the chaos, I can get alone with you and take the time to be in your very presence.
Under His Wings~ I praise you for the shelter, love, protection, comfort and peace that is found under your wings.
Victory in Jesus~I praise you for every victory I have in your name and for the victories yet to come.
WERE YOU THERE~ I praise you that you rose up from the dead, that you conquered death and that for all eternity I will shout “GLORY, GLORY, GLORY!”
eXpress (My Tribute)~I praise you for all the undeserved things You have done for me. The voices of a million angels could not even express my thankfulness.
Yesterday He died For Me~I praise you for dying for me, but also for living for me.
Zions Hill~ I praise you that one day I will run to you. I will hug you. I will weep for the burdens that have been taken off my shoulders and the freedom I find in your presence. I will fall at your feet on Zions hill in praises to you.
I found her there, all alone.
Joy filled laughter echoed from the other room. The room she had just left.
It didn’t seem logical for a child to leave all that fun behind.
To be sitting in the dark, alone.
She was staring out the window in complete silence. I wrapped her in a blanket and asked if she was okay.
Her tiny face was so forlorn as she looked up at me and whispered~
“I miss mommy and daddy.”
My heart melted in that moment. Just like my granddaughter, how often have I felt those exact emotions. My parents are gone now. Somehow, even though I am a grandma, having my dad so close had given me a sense of security. The sweetness of childlike comfort. There are days I don’t want to do the hard stuff, I just want to be that child again.
And then I thought about Jesus.
When did we make Jesus so hard?
So complicated? When did we grow up and turn Jesus into “adulting”? When did humanity turn our Savior and Redeemer into a religion of self reliance where we constantly feel we come up short? When did we begin to believe the lie that we have to be a certain way for Him to love us? That we have to do all the “things” for Him to accept us?
Jesus Himself tells us that we need the faith of a child. Not an adult with all the adult complications and responsibilities.
A carefree child.
What is it about being a child that brings so much comfort? Perhaps the idea of knowing that our parents will take care of everything.
When we were tiny beings, we had no responsibilities. We were freely given the gift of life the moment we were born. We did not have to do one thing in order to receive that gift. As infants, our lives were completely and joyously surrendered to our parents. We didn’t have to make the hard decisions. We didn’t have to worry if our needs would be met. When we were born, we didn’t have to perform or be perfect to be loved.
We were simply loved because of who we were.
But then, things slowly began to change. One day, the innocence shifted. For one reason or another we decided to muster up our four year old courage and pack up our tiny little suitcase with our teddy bears and baby dolls, and we ran away from home. Maybe we made it to the end of our street. Maybe we hid in our backyard for a while. But soon we realized, we missed mommy and daddy and even though we were just a child, we somehow understood how very much they loved us and how much we needed them. We came home, and if we couldn’t find our way, they always found us.
But each day the “hard” took over the “carefree” a little bit more. We grew up.
We became an adult.
And now, too often as adults we are running away from God. God our Father who asks us to simply have the faith of a child. God who wants us to have joy and comfort and peace, simply because He loves us. He doesn’t ask for perfection. He doesn’t ask for performance. He asks for us. Our entire hearts. And yet, we hide. We think we have to be different, better, changed in order to come to Him. We think we have to obey all the rules to be loved. We think we have to do this life on our own.
We think we have to “adult” when it comes to Jesus.
Oh friend. Unpack your suitcase.
Jesus wants you. He wants to give you a new life. A life born into His family. Forever His child. He asks for nothing from you, because there isn’t a single thing you can physically do. Jesus did it all already. He simply wants you. With childlike faith, accept His gift of life. Let your Father make all the hard decisions. Let Him meet all your needs. Let Him love you.
Somehow we have convinced ourselves that a life with Jesus is hard. Complicated. If I’m being honest, there are times I fall into that mentality myself. Sometimes I make my relationship with Him too hard. I make life complicated in my own mind. Jesus never leaves me there though. He always finds me. He always comes through for me and I know without a doubt that I could not do this life without Him.
Do you find yourself alone, sitting in the dark, missing that childlike innocence and the comfort it brings? You may have tried everything in your quest for happiness. You can hear the echo of laughter from long ago in the background of the years you let slip away. Always running, always searching, yet never finding joy.
The joy of just being a child.
It’s time to come home.
Slip your hand into His.
Let Him wrap His love around you like a warm blanket.
Don’t lose that childlike wonder. Look up into the face that loves you.
Pour out your heart to Him and let Him take away all the “hard”.
Or maybe, simply whisper in the quiet~
I miss you.
I had been looking forward to this day for months.
Just like when they were little.
Little children, little problems.
Today, big children, big problems.
We needed time away.
Time to focus on each other.
But my heart held a secret from him.
The moment we drove away,
I missed them all already.
(They all live on our block)
How could this be?
I had felt the need to get away from the chaos for so long.
I needed to just be a wife, and not a mom for a short amount of time.
He needed me to be just a wife and not a mom for a short amount of time.
This has happened time and time again,
since they were babies.
The chaos gets to us mamas and we become desperate for alone time. Desperate for time away just to gather our thoughts and feel sane again. The crying of little ones, the fighting toddlers, the cleaning and cooking and laundry and endless chores.
The noise level and continual talking.
The lack of adult conversation. The constant.
We feel our minds screaming inside to have some time with our husbands so we can feel like a wife again, like a woman again.
But when we finally get it~we miss them and suddenly we can’t remember all the bad, we only remember the good. The soft smell of their little heads, their kisses and hugs, their giggles, their smiles, their unconditional love, their joy at just being in our presence. We remember them snuggled into us, fast asleep and our hearts just want to burst.
And when they become adults, that mama life doesn’t get any easier. When your adult children are hurting, the pain in your heart manifolds itself into every area of your life, as does their joy. Even when they’re adults, it’s in a mama’s DNA to take care of her children but you can’t just put a bandaid on all the bad that they will go through. You feel it deeply because you know a kiss and a smile from mom won’t take that pain away any longer. It hurts a mama’s heart to the core. Not only can their hurts lay constant on your heart, but their stresses, their arguments, their jobs and spouses and children… all of it becomes bigger than life and as a mama, your heart just wants to make it all better~but you realize you can’t.
And you realize that it takes a toll. It can take a toll on you spiritually and if you aren’t careful, it can take a toll on your marriage. That weight was never meant for a mama to bear, it was meant to be carried by God. You realize your mama’s heart of worry has drowned out the heart of His word and all His promises.
And then you know,
you NEED that time alone with God,
because you aren’t God.
You can’t fix everything.
And you NEED that time away with your spouse, to reconnect with the one who has been in it with you for the long haul. Who loves your children as much as you do, but also needs that time away.
Mama, go away. Go away with God. Go away with your spouse. You will fight it. Your heart will feel guilty and the second you drive away, you will miss them terribly. But you NEED it. Your heart NEEDS it. Your spouse NEEDS it, and you both will be better for it. Figure out a way to get away, and make it happen. He will be a better husband and daddy for it and you will be a better wife and mama.
And so~I looked over at my husband as we drove in silence. He was smiling. He had no idea what my heart was feeling. I prayed and God reminded me of how much we needed this. I knew He was right. I needed to let go. I asked God to give my heart peace in leaving it all with Him and focusing on my relationship with Him, and our relationship as a married couple.
It didn’t take long. God’s good that way.
He gave me a comfort in that moment that this was what was needed. I would return home with a restored soul. With a better appreciation for the beautiful life God has given me. With a deeper love for my husband and a deep peace in my heart. I would be a better mama for it and my marriage would be that much sweeter.
So, I reached over,
I took his hand in mine and I smiled at him~
Because I knew it already was.
When was the last time you laughed?
I mean really, truly laughed, holding nothing back. Laughed until you cried and your sides hurt and you couldn’t breathe?
Do you remember the freedom in that? Feeling like just for a moment all the cares of the world were pushed aside and you were free to let go and experience unfiltered joy? (Luke 6:21, Psalm 126:2)
If you cannot recall a time like this, perhaps you are living inside circumstances of sorrow, whatever that sorrow might be.
Maybe you didn’t even realize you were residing there, until you thought about how long it had been since you laughed in such a way. Maybe you’re sitting in circumstances of your own choosing or maybe you have no control over the sorrow that has enveloped your life. Whatever the case, I don’t want you to be stuck there and more importantly, God doesn’t want you stuck there. A life of being stuck in sorrow is not His plan for you.
I’ve looked back at articles I’ve written and realized that I can be a bit emotional at times. When God moves my heart so tremendously, it stirs a deep passion within me to want to share that with others.
Phrases I often use are:
God loves you so much.
God is always with you.
God will help you through anything.
Allow Him to hold you.
Cry out to Him.
All of these things are true, but might leave the reader feeling lost and questioning~
And so today, we’re going to start with the first 3 points on our journey through circumstances to joy. I’m going to show you some things that God has used in my own life to pull me out of my sorrow and help me see hope in the joy before me.
1. If you read my Ebook you know that my first point is always the same. The difference in how this point is applied often depends on the circumstances we are in. Whatever the circumstances are, this will always be the most important thing you can do. Ask God for help. (Matthew 11:28-30, Galatians 5:22a) I will never stop asking, even when I know deep in my heart that there are things I need to change. When I know that I should be implementing the steps in this article on a daily basis, but I don’t. When I am too emotionally and physically exhausted to push through and do those things, I continually just talk to God all day long. Even on those days that I fool myself into thinking joy will never come again, so “what’s the point?”~there is one thing I know to be true no matter what~ He will never leave me. He won’t abandon me. He will pull me through this. The Holy Spirit will minister to my heart and comfort me, even when life feels hopeless and joy feels far. God is always trying to help us but too often our circumstances tune Him out. Never stop asking God to help you, even if you feel like He is silent. He is helping you without you even realizing it. (John 14:16,18, Zephaniah 3:17, Isaiah 26:3&4
2. Realize that when you ask for help, the circumstances that follow are God’s way of helping you~you just need to open your eyes to see it. You know what usually makes me happy? Predictable, mundane, day in, day out schedules. Being in control. Knowing that each day holds its tasks and at the end of that day Mike and I will relax on the couch. Maybe we will talk or watch a few of our favorite shows. We will laugh, we’ll go to bed, I will feel fulfilled with what I accomplished that day. I’m that kind of person. I’m a schedule and list maker. I thrive on routine. I’m a control freak. If my house isn’t cleaned up and straightened at night with everything in its place, I can’t relax. I feel uneasy and unhappy. This need to be in control is just as bad as looking at material things for happiness. I’m looking at “the control I think I have over situations” to make me happy and last March when life went out of control and spiraled downwards month after month into continual heartbreak, I lost all control and my happiness along with it. I yearn for predictable and mundane. It’s how I’m wired. The past 3 weeks have been anything but. My dad passed away unexpectedly in October. Working on packing up his things has only been part of the “crazy busy” my life has been. Long days have gone into long evenings right into early mornings and the crazy busy beginning all over again. I found myself thinking I just want a normal day at home. I want to do some laundry, bake some cookies, clean my house, sit in front of my cozy fire drinking coffee or just watch TV! But as I complained about that busyness and thought about my prayer for help, the Holy Spirit showed me that because I have been so busy I haven’t had time to just sit and think. Usually “the sitting and thinking” leads to “the missing and crying”. As my head hit the pillow each night I realized I was so exhausted that I fell asleep quickly, as opposed to laying in the dark crying. And I knew it was God. God was helping me. It might not have been a way I would’ve chosen, it certainly wasn’t an easy way, but it was God’s way and it worked. He knows my crazy, emotional, over thinker brain far better than I do. (Psalm 139:2) Jesus is continually going to God on our behalf and I now wonder how many times through the years I missed the answers to the prayers I had prayed, just because they weren’t the solution I was looking for. (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25)
3. Stop listening to yourself (John 15:11) If God in all His wisdom did not intervene and answer my cries for help, I would be overthinking everything. My emotions are continually telling my brain that things will never change. Because I’m such an emotional person, I too often let my emotions dictate my life. I think all women~ whether they want to admit it or not~ are emotional. Our lovely hormones play a big part in that. When my emotions begin to dictate what my life story is, I start to believe it. I don’t like to admit this, but quite often since my dad died I have been scared. Not scared as in fearful, but scared as in “this unshakeable heaviness and lonely feeling.” Scared as in “this dark cloud of sadness will never go away. I will never see joy again.” The beginning of each day seems to be promising as I open God’s words to me and pray, but as the day slowly creeps by and thoughts bombard my mind, as my emotions kick me over and over again~ I feel as if God is very far away. That scares me. These are the times that we must realize our thoughts are not God’s thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9, Psalms 94:19), Even if we are struggling to believe it, we must go back to point number 1 and talk it out with God. Stop listening to ourselves and listen to what God is speaking over us. (Philippians 3:3) His words are truth, our emotions are not. He isn’t far away. He isn’t there only in the times we set aside to kneel and pray. He is our constant companion. A friend that sticks closer than a brother. A comforter and peace maker. He is the ONLY One who understands with 100% clarity and compassion what our heart is going through. (Psalms 139:1-18, Philippians 2:5, 4:6-7, 2 Timothy 1:7, Proverbs 16:3, Luke 2:10, John 15:11)
You can’t simply “choose joy” without God. You can’t wake up and just decide “Starting today, I’m going to be happy” without God. Our strength is not enough. It will never be enough. It doesn’t matter what kind of a personality you have, Satan knows your weakness and he will find a way to steal that joy. Only Jesus is the strength of our joy. Pray about these first few points this week. Ask God to open your heart and your eyes and show you what you’ve been missing. (Nehemiah 8:10)
I am so confident in the strength and power of God’s truths and the joy they speak over our circumstances, that I am adding a second post today. Scripture that you can print out and continually read throughout your day to comfort and encourage your heart.
You can have freedom from sorrow. You can laugh again~deep, heartfelt, freeing laughter from the depths of your soul. Laughter that comes from unfiltered joy. Laughter that only comes from God and the joy that only Jesus gives. Make that your goal this week. JOY.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your childhood?
Do you ever have adult days where you wish you were a child again? When sadness, stress and anxiety weigh heavy on your heart? Days when you remember crying in your mother’s arms, and those beautiful arms making everything okay? Being free from the pressure of responsibilities, deadlines and schedules? Not worried about being sick, because mom always took care of you and made you feel better? To just feel that cozy comfort of home? The comfort of being a carefree child again?
The other night my husband and I were watching a game show and the question was asked~”how would you rate your childhood?” Mike looked over at me and asked that same question. I didn’t even have to pause. My answer was 10. My childhood was not free from problems and heartache, but no matter what we went through as a family, I knew that I was deeply loved and cared for. My childhood was magical and wonderful and beautiful.
My parents made sure of that.
It got me thinking of another conversation I had recently with my daughter in law. She was telling a story about her own childhood. A precious memory of her mother that she had. Her eyes twinkled through tears as she spoke~
...We sat on the couch. I was snuggled in close to my mom as she read to us about Jesus. It was only my little sister and I, but my mom did this every single day. And then we would sing. I watched my little sister dance around the living room, pretending to fly as we sang “Mount Up With Wings As Eagles”. She was laughing and singing and flying, and I was smiling. My childhood heart had no idea that someday this would be such a beautiful memory for me....
Oh mama, there is nothing more important in this world than making your child feel that way. To give them the gift of time. To snuggle in close with them. No phones, no TV, no distractions. Just you and your child and Jesus. The gift of making them feel that magic and wonder, beauty and comfort and love. The gift of them knowing that no matter what, your beautiful arms will make everything ok. There is nothing more precious than teaching them about Jesus, than laughing and flying with them in your living room as you sing about your Savior, than making sure they know that no matter what~
they are deeply loved and cared for.
Oh daughter, there is nothing more important in this world than knowing that you are your Father’s child. He holds eternity in His hands, and yet has all the time in the world for you. You are never alone. He is always present. Make the time to snuggle in with Him. No phones, no TV, no distractions. Just you and Jesus. His word will show you the wonder, beauty and comfort of His love. He will give you the gift of knowing that no matter what, His beautiful arms will always make everything ok. He wants you to know that you are deeply loved and cared for.
One day when you enter Heaven’s glory, what if Jesus were to ask you~
How was your childhood daughter?
Did you know that I sat there next to you on your couch as you cried? Did you know My words of comfort were always available to you? Did you realize that you could have been free from the heavy weight of your sadness and stress, responsibilities and deadlines, if you had only placed them into My hands? I was there through the sickness and pressures of life. I never left your side. You were never alone. Through every problem, through every heartache, you were deeply loved and cared for.
How would we answer our loving Savior? Our Father and Friend? Our Protector and Provider?
Oh sister, we don’t have to wish we were children again because we are children. We are God’s children. Snuggle in close and read about the One Who holds you in His arms. Laugh with Him. Sing with Him. Mount up with wings like eagles. Run without getting weary. Walk without fainting.
Wait on Him.
He will renew your strength.
He will make everything okay.
Yes, snuggle in. Smile and feel that childlike wonder, magic and beauty all over again.
How is your childhood dear mother, dear sister, dear daughter of God? Close your eyes and remember. Remember what it felt like to be a child, then let your Savior pick you up and take you back.
Feel the cozy comfort of home.
The comfort of His love.
The comfort of being a child again.
Hey Moms, you’ve been on my heart a lot lately.
Especially moms of little ones.
A few months back when our lives were suddenly turned upside down and parents were forced to stay at home with their kids, I began seeing posts from mothers that really surprised and sometimes saddened me. To be honest some of them made me wonder why some women became a mom to begin with. Staying at home with their kids was driving them crazy.
Please don’t get the wrong idea, I understand crazy. My own kids have driven me to that point many times (and sometimes still do.😂) I’m not trying to portray myself as some super mom. I can’t even tell you the amount of times I lost it with my own kids (just ask them), and as I look back I can say without a doubt that ‘feeling sorry for myself’ had a big role in some of those moments.
Being a mom is hard work. I understand that. It’s stressful and overwhelming and exhausting, and moms everywhere need breaks and some “me time”.
We have to be so careful though. When we start to look inward and listen to those thoughts that continually whisper to our tired souls~”what about me?” Pretty soon those thoughts aren’t whispering.
And thats when the crazy hits us.
With that being said, I would like to encourage you on how to get your sanity back.
I could probably write a book on all the things I wish I had done differently as a mom. Today will be some basics. Let’s say page 1 of chapter 1. 😂
I’ll warn you right now, it’s going to take some work~mentally and physically~and I know what all you exhausted moms out there are thinking~
I don’t want to work at anything right now!!!
I want a maid and a cook and a babysitter and twelve straight hours of sleep. And some chocolate. No tantrums, no dirty diapers, no potty training, no children in bed with me, no laundry surrounding me on my couch or dirty dishes in my sink. No sticky fingers and faces and toilet seats.
And that my sweet mamas is what takes me directly to point number 1~
1. Go to God and ask for help. Right now. Stop reading and ask Him to help you. I’m serious. Just put your phone down and plead to Him for help. Whether you feel like you’re doing fine with this mothering thing or whether you’re in the middle of the chaotic crazy. Stop and ask. If you don’t do this, the rest of this post won’t help you at all. We as moms have to realize we cannot do this mom thing without God’s help. Whether you’re pregnant right now, have a newborn, toddlers, teenagers or college students~ or even if you are a grandma~ you never “arrive”. You need God’s help and guidance every step of this motherhood journey, until you step into Heaven.
2. With that being said, my second tip would be prayer and time with God. I’ve written a lot of posts on prayer and if you go to my blog and type prayer in the search bar, I’m sure you will find many. I know how hard it is to find the time to pray when you’re a mom of little ones, but sometimes I think we look at prayer completely wrong. We think that we have to have this “holy time” set aside; alone in our rooms, kneeling by our bed, devoting complete attention to God. When you’re a mother of little ones, you know that won’t ever be a reality. So, here’s what I want you to think about. Do you love your children? Of course you do. When they come to you, do you tell them they have to make an appointment to talk to you so that you can devote your entire attention to them? Of course not. Your children come to you ALL DAY LONG. You answer their questions, you provide comfort and nourishment. You provide love. That’s how it’s meant to be with God. Moms need to realize that God is right there with them ALL DAY LONG. You can go to Him anytime and He will listen. He will help you with your questions, He will comfort and nourish your soul. He will love. Not only should you ask God to help you, but it is never too early to begin praying for your children. From the time the THOUGHT of starting a family enters your head, it should be bathed in prayer. It doesn’t matter how old they are, never stop praying for your kids or asking God for help in raising them! We cannot do it in our own strength because many times moms of little ones have no strength left to give. We have to rely on God. He is the one Who will give us the energy to be the moms we need to be for our children.
3. Next, I want you to switch your focus off of yourself. When your little ones don’t give you a moment’s peace. When you hide in the bathroom and tiny hands are knocking and little voices are shouting “mommy, mommy, mommy”. When your newborn is crying all night long~ when all of these things overwhelm you and your exhausted mind starts screaming~”what about me?” I want you to think about the thoughts that are running through your mind at that moment and then think to yourself~ what if my Savior had these same thoughts about me? When I’m asking Him to help me ALL DAY LONG. When I’m sometimes shouting “Father, Father, Father” because I just can’t do it alone. When I can’t sleep at night and I’m crying out to Him. He always, always, always gives grace. Give your children some grace. Don’t feel sorry for yourself and snap at them. They are children. They aren’t adults. They don’t understand hard mommy days, they don’t understand mommy and daddy fights, they don’t understand when you’re bent over the toilet with morning sickness and they’re hanging on your neck telling you that they love you (Jessica 😊). They don’t understand the stress of a pandemic or worry over their futures. They don’t understand. All they know is that you are mommy and YOU ARE LOVE and that’s what they need. Show them grace. Show them love. Just like your Heavenly Father does for you.
4. With that out of the way, now I DO want you to focus on yourself haha. Show YOURSELF a little grace. Every mom needs a little “Me time” for her own sanity. Whether you leave for a half hour to take a walk or a ride, whether that looks like grocery shopping for you or a hot bath, whether it’s time alone with friends or time with your husband, or time just sitting in your car alone in the driveway. You need TIME, but not before God time. Stay in God’s word and pray. This goes back to point number 2. If you don’t ask God for help and find little snippets of time to be with Him, your “me time” won’t make one bit of difference. You will return home to the chaos and crazy, and immediately lose it all over again. Remember to not only talk to God all throughout your day but also remember His promises to you. Promises from His word. It’s hard to find that time with God to actually read the Bible when you have little ones getting up at the crack of dawn, on top of a newborn that spent the whole night crying. The exhaustion is just overwhelming and your eyes can’t even focus on your coffee cup, let alone God’s word. Something that has always helped me is to find promises from God’s word, write them or print them out and place them strategically around your home. They will be constant reminders of God’s love for you. Put them above your kitchen sink, on your fridge, next to the changing table or toilet (your escape ie~”mommy is going potty, go away) or on your mirror to remind you first thing in the morning. Doing this will uplift your soul and encourage you no matter how tired you are. If you put this into practice and then you take some “me time” you will return home refreshed with a new outlook and more patience and grace for your little ones (and for your husband). By talking to God and staying in His word, His love will continually fill all the tired, empty spots and push aside all that crazy. When you return home from time away, you will be able to pour that love right back into your family, no matter what you return home to. Sticky kisses and toilet seats included. God understands that we are only human. Don’t ever allow yourself to feel guilty for taking some time for yourself. It will make you a better mommy to those little ones and a better wife to your husband.
Like I said, these are only some brief points on motherhood and those beginning crazy years and I have some good news, if you think it’s crazy now, it’s only the beginning ha ha. But if you strive to make it a habit to put these points into practice, the years ahead will be so much easier for you because you will have that foundation and you will know that God is right there by your side, helping you along the way. Remember, this parenting thing will be different for everyone. Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t like that “other mom”, you know~the one that is perfect and has her life all together. You be you, the perfect mom God created for your children.
Ask God for help. Stay close to Him in prayer and through His word. Show grace to your children and to yourself.
I promise it will change your life.
NOTHING ABOUT THIS IS NORMAL
2 minute read
Last year’s home was gone.
The tall evergreen had been cut down.
The tree she had made her home in every single year. It had been a hard winter. The wind off the water had been brutal, continually knocking down the only trees left, the fake ones my dad put on his porch that overlooked the lake. The trees that now gave life to the porch area, despite not being real. They lay half toppled over, waiting to be picked up and placed aright again. Waiting for the sunshine to replace the snow~even though it was May.
It was Mother’s Day and yet, even though they lay in a crumpled bunch, even though nothing about this Mother’s Day was normal~
They held life. They held promise.
They held hope.
Deep in their fallen branches lay a beautiful nest. As we approached my dad’s door that evening, a protective mama flew from that nest. The home she had made for her babies despite the circumstances. As we peered inside we saw that promise of hope.
Four beautiful blue eggs.
And we were joyful.
Our homes may not have been the same this year. This Mother’s Day. They may have looked different than last year. The snow and cold may have discouraged us. Missing our loved ones because of this virus may have had us feeling defeated and alone. Maybe some were hoping and praying that this year they would celebrate their first Mother’s Day, but that dream had not been fulfilled. Maybe some had lost their mother or a child this year, and the loneliness of that loss left an aching deep in their soul.
And yet, God our Father has not forsaken. He meets us, comforts us and protects us right where we are. Wherever that may be. He gives us hope for our futures. He builds a home in our hearts. In our crumpled, fallen down mess, as we wait for Him to pick us back up~He tells us that He is here. He has always been here. He will never leave.
He holds us under the shadow of His wings
We watched as that mama returned. She would not leave her babes. Despite the home, despite the circumstances, despite the mess. Despite us, she remained. As the snow blew in the cold wind, she protected them there. They knew no different. They were safe. They were loved.
Allow Gods presence to overshadow you today. Rest under His wings as He protects. Give Him every circumstance that surrounds you. You are safe. You are loved. Let His peace comfort your heart until you know no different.
God showed me hope that day. He showed me the promise of life despite what our world might look like right now.
New life. New beginnings.
Soon those babies will hatch. They will fly from the crumpled mess their home once was. We will pick up those trees and they will stand aright again. And they will always be a reminder of Gods love, of His promises, of His care and protection. Of His presence.
They will remind us how beautiful our lives can be, no matter what our circumstances are.
Despite ourselves, He will always be there hiding us under the shadow of His wings.
Psalm 17:8, 32:7, 36:7, 57:1, 63:7
I’ll never forget the Easter my cousin Erick decided to dress up as the Easter bunny.
We were in middle school, and both our brothers were much younger. He thought it would be fun to surprise them.
It had the opposite effect.
When his younger brother Peter saw him, he was petrified. He started crying and wouldn’t stop. We tried to comfort him but nothing helped. My cousin repeatedly told him- “It’s me, your brother. You don’t have to be afraid. I’m right here.” But the crying persisted.
My poor little cousin was looking into the face of fear, despite the words of comfort he was hearing. It wasn’t until Erick took off that bunny mask that Peter finally calmed down and realized,
it was his brother all along.
This Easter many of us are looking at all the quarantine masks and our hearts are petrified. We are looking into the face of fear, instead of the face of our Savior. His words of comfort are constantly reminding us that He is with us always, but fear has such a grip on our hearts that we cannot be comforted by His very words... “fear not”, “be not afraid”,
“I am with you always”.
Can I encourage you today to trust the One Who loves us so much that He sent His very Son to die for us? To trust the One Who promises us a home in heaven if we accept the beautiful gift of His Son. To trust the One Who tells us He will be with us always.
Why is it that we can have the faith to trust that God will take us to heaven when we die, but our faith falls short when we have to trust Him to take care of us physically or monetarily? I think it’s because we know that what Jesus did on the cross for us is what assures us a home in heaven~not anything that we ourselves have done, or could ever do. Our sins are completely forgiven because of Jesus alone. The situation changes when it comes to our physical bodies, and the well being of those we love. Somehow we think we are the ones in control of things here on earth. Our health. Our finances. Our futures. When things become out of control, fear invades our hearts instead of faith. Romans 8:31,32.
Stop looking into the face of fear and dwelling there. Stop watching the news all day. Stop the googling and social media. Sit at your Savior’s feet and soak in His comfort and peace.
When you stop looking into the face of fear, you will realize your Heavenly Father has been with you all along. Romans 8:35,37-39. Fix your eyes on Jesus. He is in you. He gives you the power to overcome. The power that we could never achieve on our own. Power, even when things of this world are out of control. John 1:12. The Coronavirus is no surprise to Him. I John 3:20.
My cousin asked his brother if he wanted to hold the bunny mask. Reluctantly, Peter took it. He looked at it, and with tears still streaming down his little cheeks~he gave it right back. We all laughed and soon he was laughing too.
We don’t have to wait until we remove the quarantine masks for our fears to subside. We don’t have to wait until we remove the masks to realize God has been right here with us all along. Exodus 33:14. Give all that fear right back to your Heavenly Father. Find your laughter again. And hear him reassuring you over and over-
“It’s me. Your Father. You don’t have to be afraid. I am right here.”
DON’T BE SCARED, I AM HERE.
2 min read
As we sat in the hospital waiting room, we finally heard the lullaby playing over the speakers.
Every time a baby was born the lullaby played. We were so excited. We were sure our little Ellie had made her grand entrance.
But the wait continued, with no proud father emerging.
When my son in law finally came through the door, we all knew something was wrong.
They had taken Ellie away immediately. She had a collapsed lung and in the process of taking care of her, the doctor found out she had a serious strep b infection.
I can remember standing next to my daughter and looking across the hall as they all worked on little Ellie. When they came in and told us they had to transfer her to a larger hospital 30 minutes away, Jessica was devastated. They would not allow her to go. She hadn’t even gotten to hold her child, or even see her.
My husband stayed next to Ellie in the NICU that whole night trying to bring some sort of comfort to Jessica, but the next morning despite many obstacles, Jessica walked through that door to her child.
She whispered the barely audible words “I’m here Ellie. Mama’s here”
In that moment I saw my daughter in a different light. She was my hero.
She endured tremendous pain to be there for her child. Her love for her daughter was overwhelmingly beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. I remembered the pain of child birth and the amount of time I was allowed to recuperate in my hospital bed, yet here she stood next to her child just hours after giving birth. The love she had drew every ounce of strength from her weak body so that she could be there for her baby.
The love of a mother is fierce, it transcends all obstacles for its child.
That love, that incredible fierce love we have for our kids is only a shallow puddle compared to the ocean of love our Heavenly Father has for us.
His love transcends all obstacles. His love endured tremendous pain on the cross for us, because of our sins. He took all our brokenness and sin and nailed it to that cross where His only Son died in our place. John 3:16.
Ellie didn’t do a thing to deserve Jessica’s love. She was born into it and it was all hers.
Jessica loved her because she was her child. There’s nothing we can do to deserve Gods love either. God loves you and wants you to be born again. Born into His family. John 1:12, 3:3. No amount of good works could take Christ place on that cross. Ephesians 2:8-9. No amount of church attendance could wipe away the pain that He endured. Acts 4:12. He gave the very gift of Himself to us. John 5:24
The gift of life.
Once you believe that such a love is possible~your heart will be changed and you will desire to give all of it to the One Who could love you that much.
Our ultimate Hero.
And when you truly understand that God’s love is fully yours, your heart will know without a doubt that He will do everything, EVERYTHING, to take care of you, His child.
No matter the circumstance, we are not alone.
Almighty God, the Creator of this universe, the Giver of life and peace and strength~
He is in us.
He is with us.
He is in control and He will take care of us.
Think about what Jessica and mothers everywhere have endured, and overcome for their children. The bible tells us that if our earthly parents will go to such extents~ how much more will our Heavenly Father do for us. Luke 11:13
He is whispering to our souls even now~
Don’t be scared~
I AM HERE, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS. Matthew 28:20
This is His promise.
Believe His words.
He will not fail us.
Because not only is He our Hero~
He’s our Daddy and we are His child.
NEVER STOP PRAYING FOR THAT CHILD
3 minute read
“Mrs. Goforth, this is officer Joy. We have your son in the back of our squad car....”
I thought it was a prank call.
At the time I didn’t realize our town had an officer with the last name “Joy”. I started laughing, until he cut me off to tell me what my son had been up to~
jumping off a barge into the Pigeon River. Apparently he had gotten permission to do so earlier in the day, but he had NOT gotten permission to go back at night with his friends.
This wasn’t the first time Michael had “befriended” the police.
*A few years earlier he climbed on top of our shed and shot a BB gun toward some trouble makers on Devil’s night. He thought he was protecting us. The police were knocking on our door a few minutes later. He was 7.
*On a family trip, he left a convenience store at 9pm because he couldn’t find us. He started walking toward the highway and the police picked him up. He was 9.
*He rode a moped on his senior trip without a helmet. The police stopped him, despite his protests that everyone else was doing it.
*He snuck out at night and put an 8’ fiberglass rabbit in the middle of Main Street. A police chase ensued. Tasers were involved and the trouble makers ran into our church to hide out. (Yes, my husband is the pastor of that church).
None of these things were terrible, life altering mistakes.
They began in innocence.
Slowly mischief was added, a little bit at a time and each time, my heart was pricked a little more.
Our children’s actions can do that to us. And then, as mothers we worry. I was worried I was a terrible mother and I was worried about the direction my son seemed to be heading.
When you write a weekly blog that all your children read, when you live in a small town and all those children live in that same town AND grew up in that same town, it makes it difficult to share past experiences and heartache you may have gone through in raising said children. At the same time I cannot pretend our life was a wonderful bed of roses, or that we were perfect parents and they were perfect children.
I wasn’t. They weren’t.
I had struggles and heart ache just like every other parent. This mom had more sleepless nights~filled with tears~than she cares to recall.
But God is faithful.
That isn’t cliche. It isn’t a cute phrase.
It’s a truth I know from the depths of my heart, and have witnessed in each of their lives.
The very first time we were called into the school office due to my son’s misbehavior, my mama heart wanted to blame everyone else. The teacher for not controlling her class, and the mischievous little boys he was interacting with. But that day God showed me that Michael wasn’t sweet and innocent either. He played just as much a part as the other boys involved, and this mom began praying even harder.
I prayed specific prayers. I begged God to watch over my children and help them make Godly choices. I asked God ALL DAY LONG to keep His angels around my babies like a fortress, and to hold them under the shadow of His wings.
So, from the moment I started praying earnestly on Michael’s behalf did his life dramatically change? Did he become the perfect little boy who grew into the Godly preacher he is today?
Obviously, after reading the beginning of this story you know the answer~he did not.
But, this mom never gave up on begging God and to this day, even though they are grown and married~ she’s still begging.
Don’t ever stop going to God on your children’s behalf. Jesus Himself goes to God our Father on our behalf. If Christ, our ultimate example, does that for me~ then I will continue to do that for my own children until my last breath.
Don’t give up mom. No matter how discouraging their choices and actions might be~Wait on the Lord. God is faithful. If you will keep asking~ He will answer and in time it will be true joy, and not an officer, calling to your heart.
John 16:24- ...ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
Psalm 27:14- Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
Psalm 91:4,11, Psalm 34:7, Matthew 18:10, Hebrews 1:14
SAFE AND COZY
2 minute read
The sky turned black and the clouds rumbled. Torrential rain came down in thick, heavy sheets.
We opened the front door. Both of them tucked their little hands into mine.
And we watched.
Summer heat and mists of rain hit our faces, but they remained unmoved.
A few moments later I turned away to shut the door. Even though my eyes could not adjust to the darkness, a sense a peace and comfort washed over me.
Little Ellie looked up at me and said~
“Grandma I love your house when it’s raining like this. It makes me feel so safe and cozy.”
I almost cried.
She said exactly what my heart was feeling.
Safe and cozy.
That’s the feeling I want my granddaughters to have for the rest of their lives.
I wish I could protect them from all the hurts and disappointments that life will throw at them. From the ugly words and angry people that will step across their paths.
But I can’t.
I could choose to be sad and worry over the outlook of their future, knowing the evils this world holds, or I can choose to give those babies to God. I can choose to teach them that yes, no matter what, they can always feel safe and cozy.
I can, because I have experienced all these things myself.
I remember the dark nights that I lay in bed feeling completely alone. I remember the tears that fell like torrential rain from hurts that were thrown my way. I remember my soul yearning for comfort that no human could give and I remember begging my Heavenly Father to wrap His arms around me.
As silly as it sounds, this 54 year old will always be her Heavenly Father’s little girl.
I will always want to tuck my hand into His or crawl up into His lap and just be held.
Where every other person in this world may fail me, He will not.
When my mind can’t wrap around the hurt my heart feels, I close my eyes. I picture my Father’s home. It is safe there. I will never grow too old to ask Him to hold me.
He will always keep me~
safe and cozy.
And that is what I want my grandchildren to grasp. That is the knowledge I want them to hold close.
And I will know that one day, when the rain and heat of this world hits them,
they will remain unmoved
Because their hand will always be tucked into His. 💗
“For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm...”
“For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
Psalm 16:1, 46:1, 91:2 & 14, 118:6 & 8, Proverbs 18:10, John 10:28 & 29
ARE YOU THERE GOD?
In the late 1970’s, all the girls my age were reading the same book~
‘Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret’.
I was in junior high.
I was boy~crazy, wore knee hi’s and couldn’t wait to grow up.
Are you there God?
Such silly things to talk to God about~ Boys and womanhood.
Are you there God? I’m graduating high school and leaving for college.
Scared and excited.
Are you there God? The man of my dreams is asking to marry me.
Are you there God? I’m moving hundreds of miles away. Away from everything and everyone I know and love.
Are you there God? This little one is calling me mom. Do I even have a clue how to do this ‘baby’ thing?
This ‘teenage’ thing?
This ‘saying goodbye as they leave for good’ thing?
Are you there God? Devastation has hit our country. The Twin Towers.
Thousands are killed.
Are you there God? I don’t think I can recover from the deep hurt this person caused.
Are you there God? My sister in law died leaving six children. Her youngest only 6 days old.
Are you there God? My mom is gone.
The same year.
I can’t breathe.
Will I ever laugh again?
Are you there God? Sickness, Celiac, mammograms, biopsies, abnormal cells.
Are you there God? My dad has had a heart attack and stroke.
Are you there God? My husband can’t see. He’s losing his sight....
Yes God is here.
I could not have made it through without Him.
He held me and carried me through each one of these moments in my life.
He is here even now as I laugh with my dad.
He’s here as I cherish memories of my mom and sister.
He’s here as I gaze lovingly at my children, their spouses, their children.
He’s here in the twinkle of my grandchildren’s eyes and the giggles of their hearts.
He’s here in the whispers of my husband’s I love you’s.
Even as He was there when I was boy~crazy and wanted to grow up too fast.
It wasn’t silly to Him when I asked. Nothing is too silly, nothing is too hard and nothing is too sad, because He loves me. He knows everything about me. He understands.
Just as He understands whatever it is you are facing at this moment.
And He loves you.
Are you there God?
You are not alone. Ask Him today.
He will answer your heart~
I am always here my child. Always.
I will hold you. I will carry you through.
All you need do is ask.
Psalm 62:8, 139:17
BUT, WHAT IF WE CAN’T REST?
Last week I wrote about the importance of rest. I told you how we all need it. I reminded you that it isn’t just a suggestion, it’s a commandment.
But what if we can’t?
What if it is physically impossible to rest~except for the few short hours between our heads hitting the pillow and our feet once again hitting the floor?
What if our days are full of people who depend on us entirely~ whether that means a job or the littles that belong to you, or both. Maybe a sick child, husband or parent. People who are so dependent on you that there is no physical way you can bail. No way to get away. No way to rest.
And then your days spill into your evenings. Evenings full of responsibilities. Church or sports, meetings or errands. Groceries bought and bills paid. Homework finished and lunches made. Laundry and dishes. Crying babies. Hurting teens. Sick loved ones. Life.
Our evenings turn into late nights with morning right around the corner. No time to breathe.
No time to rest.
And then the alarm clock goes off at 5am and the cycle begins again.
How can we possibly obey God’s command to rest when no rest can be had?
I have had these seasons in my life. Seasons where concerned loved ones have advised me that if I didn’t slow down, I would fall down. Inside I just wanted to cry~ “you don’t understand. I literally CANNOT stop. People depend on me”.
It has been in these seasons that I have realized a valuable truth.
This may sound counterproductive but~rest takes work. Intentional work on our part. Hebrews 4:9-11
The good news is that we never have to go it alone. In fact, we cannot do it alone. We can only do it through Him and in His power. Psalm 71:16,
Rest can be had in the only one Who can give it. Our Savior.
We have to be intentional in the 24 hours He gives us each day.
If we allow the busyness of our lives to overwhelm us, every task we face will become a chore and life will lose its joy altogether. We will start to feel alone and sadness will overcome us.
Life was never meant to be lived alone. It was always meant to be lived in Christ and for Him.
So work to be intentional. Retrain your mind to think on Christ every moment you can, and not on your circumstances. For you, that might mean going in the bathroom and locking the door for 5 minutes alone with Him. That might mean talking to Your Father as you shower or put on your makeup. That might mean dwelling on Him and His words as you drive to and from work, as you make dinner, fold laundry, do dishes, comfort that crying baby, take care of that sick parent or loved one.
Don’t allow yourself to be lulled into a false rest when life gives you a few moments to yourself. Don’t pick up your phone to mindlessly scroll, pick up God’s word. Don’t turn that TV on and vegetate, turn to Him and talk to Him.
Intentionally set your mind on Christ and ask Him for His rest. Be relentless in your quest. John 11:22, psalm 61:2, Matthew 11:28&29.
All day, through everything life throws at you, whisper to Him. Let Him be your brace, your hope, your joy, your peace, your mercy and your comfort.
And as your head hits the pillow, you won’t have to worry about what the next day holds.
Psalm 3:5, 4:8. Isaiah 57:2 Overwhelming peace will flow through you. Philippians 4:7
Your feet won’t touch the floor the next morning, because He will be carrying you. Isaiah 46:4, Exodus 33:14
And suddenly, it won’t be work anymore because you will be resting safely in His arms.
Psalm 16:9, 132:14, Jeremiah 31:25
II Thessalonians 1:7, II Corinthians 12:9
STOP THE CHASE
I’m not exactly sure how it happened.
We were in Walmart. It started out fun.
My son was chasing my youngest around clothes racks. Like kids do.
She was laughing and out of breath, until she wasn’t.
It was dizzying.
Suddenly it was no longer fun for her.
The smallest trip~on nothing. All carpet.
No visible reason for the fall.
Except the chasing.
She began to cry. It was unusual for her to cry. She wasn’t dramatic and could tolerate pain better than any 4 year old I knew.
The chasing got to her and the tears did not stop.
After a trip to the ER our worries were confirmed. She had a broken collar bone.
No more chasing. Just rest.
She got to spend time with daddy. She wore his shirt because it fit the best over her brace. He read to her. He held her.
Isn’t that how it is with us?
What has happened to us?
This generation is full of busyness.
Our calendars are full, our days and even minutes are packed.
Always on our phones. Thinking, planning, doing.
The feelings of guilt if we choose to rest, or try to rest.
Why have our lives become a constant chase? We run around in circles until we become dizzy. We want to say no, but the chasing continues. And then, with no visible reason to the outside world, inwardly we lose it. We fall, and the pain becomes unbearable. We can’t continue, and all the while God is telling us to rest.
And so we listen. We stop. We spend time with Him. We put on His armor like a comfy shirt. Ephesians 6:11
We lean on Him~~but not long enough.
And pretty soon, as we try to rest, as we try to read His words or pray, our phones start to buzz. That notification. That text. That email. That appointment. That need.
And our rest is no longer rest as we’re drawn into the chase again.
As hard as it was to see Kathryn in pain that day, it was even harder a week later. Her brace had come off sometime in the night and the next day her daddy had to put it back on. Her pain in the repositioning was worse than the actual break. Her cries were absolutely heartbreaking to this mama.
And that’s how it is with us. We get to the point where we think a few hours on Sunday is enough. But God needs to be our brace every single moment, not just a few hours on Sunday. And when He is no longer our brace and we think we can do this crazy, busy life on our own, the inward pain only becomes worse and God brings us back to the place where He alone is our brace. He alone is our rest. Psalm 116:7, Psalm 46:10
Stop the chase. Set time aside to rest. It isn’t just a suggestion. It’s a command from God Himself. Exodus 20:9-11
Why is it so easy for us to see the importance of obeying every other commandment He gives~ i.e. adultery, stealing, murder... but neglecting the one that Christ Himself chose to do? Mark 4:36-38, 6:31
Stop feeling guilty for obeying His command.
The world says go, go, go. God says stop.
When I came back into the room after her cries had softened, she was in her daddy’s arms. He was telling her it was okay. And she believed him.
He’s telling you it’s okay. Put your phone down. Shut your notifications off. Go for a walk or a drive. Take in Gods beauty all around you. Or just close your eyes. Think on it. Think on Him. Hebrews 4:9
Let Him hold you and be your brace. Every single day.
And rest in Him.
I CAN ONLY WRITE THE SONGS I NEED TO HEAR
Can I just be honest here~
I have fear. I get anxious. I don’t have answers to the hard questions. At times I struggle knowing what I should post or how I should pray, and sometimes I don’t think I even know what to think.
I’m not strong. I worry I’m doing this life wrong. I’m doing this mom thing, this wife thing, this pastor’s wife thing, this whole blog thing~wrong.
I have doubts. Who am I to write anything? I’ve been accused of overthinking. How can I tell others what they ought to think?
I get scared. Life is going too fast. The older I get the weeks seem to spiral past me like a movie on fast forward.
At times I find myself wishing I could be free of worry and doubt. Free from the overthinking and fear. Free from the “what~ifs” and “should~haves”.
And I’m scared that if I share this, everyone will think I’m a little bit crazy. Or a whole lot crazy. No one will want to read the words that I write.
God won’t get the glory.
But today, as I read HIS words to me, He tells me something different~
He tells me I am set free~
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death”
He tells me I don’t need to feel enslaved by my mess ups.
He tells me I don’t need to be scared~
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba (Daddy), Father.”
He tells me He is my Daddy and I can cry out to Him, day or night because I am His child~
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: “
He tells me He will be glorified~
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
He tells me He is always there to help me, when I don’t know what to write or think or pray, He knows~
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
He tells me that everything will work out~
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
That He is for me, and that’s all that matters~
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
And that nothing that I do or don’t do, nothing that I think, nothing that I say, no fear or worry~~
NOTHING can separate me from His love~
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
And that through Him, I will conquer~
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:2, 15-18, 26-28, 31-32, 35, 37-39
So, that’s what I will think. That’s what I will say. That’s what I will write. That’s what I will post. Because they are His words, and not mine,
And that’s what I will believe.
WHERE ARE YOUR EYES FIXED?
A few weeks ago, we watched the film The Prince of Egypt during our Wednesday Evening Children’s program. It had been years since I saw it. It really brought the story of Gods deliverance to life for all those little (and not so little) eyes when we saw it on the big screen.
Fast forward to yesterday. Life has been crazy chaotic, and that’s putting it lightly. Physical and emotional issues slamming us all at once.
As I tried to pray, it all just came crashing in on me.
My mind was so focused on that crazy chaos that I couldn’t focus on God.
In all His amazing goodness and glory and mercy, reminded my heart of that children’s movie.
This might sound silly, but all I could think was~
“God, please just push all these thoughts to the side. Part these waters of despair and help me to focus only on You”.
Even as I write this, I can picture those waters parting. If you’ve seen the movie~ I’m sure you can too. (I added the clip 👇🏼 for dramatic flare 😉)
God said~”Charisse, too often you are looking from side to side. You see the giant problems in your life and the scary situations, just like those giant fish and scary waters.
You take your eyes off of me and the path I have for you.
The more you look at the situation around you~instead of ahead toward me, the more frantic you get.
You begin to look behind you, afraid that the circumstances will over take you.
Only I can part the waters of worry. Only I can make the path of peace.
Only I am~’I AM’.”
Keep your eyes fixed on Me.
In all His amazing goodness and glory and mercy, taught my heart a lesson through a simple children’s movie.
God has this awesome way of using the ordinary to change our perspective and help us to focus on the extraordinary~ because He is almighty God.
The same God Who parted the waters so many years ago,
the great I AM~~~that’s my Father!!!!
Please, ask Him to show you something ordinary today that will change your focus to the extraordinary.
Once you do, I can hear you even now, telling your husband, your children, your friends~
“And so God....”
“.....Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
DON’T TRY TO FIT JESUS INTO A BOX
I guess it’s a little obvious that I love to write.
When Mike and I first started dating, I was constantly writing him letters and poems~ not so much now. The years have shown me that he’s definitely not a sappy “Hallmark card” kinda guy. But back then~ he would always respond with a love letter in return.
We would talk about everything in our letters. His words expressed so much and our relationship matured because we got to know each other on a deeper level.
Letter writing is a lost art.
(But that’s a subject for another day😉)
I can’t even imagine how I would have felt on our wedding day if he confessed that he never actually wrote a single letter to me, but instead had someone else put their thoughts and feelings into script.
I’m sure I would question if he really loved me and how well I truly knew him.
Today you can google just about any topic and find a devotional that goes along with it. There are thousands. Blogs and Facebook pages, books and plans.
There’s a huge market for it, because people are searching.
They want someone to tell them in 500 words or less how to get the most out of this life as a Christian.
We want help in our marriages and with our children. We want to learn how to trust God more. We want someone to show us the correct way to go through heart ache, to be hospitable, to worship and to pray.
We want our lives to feel good.
We search for joy in our answers. We want a quick fix.
But we don’t search for the answers ourselves.
Why should we search when someone else can do that for us? Why should we beg to truly know God when someone else can tell us exactly how that’s done?
So we get up early. We drink our coffee. We read a few verses and the devotion that correlates with it and we say~ “wow, that was exactly what I needed today”~
and that’s where it gets sad my friend.
Our worship has turned into worshipping ourselves and what we need to make ourselves feel better~
and not about truly finding and knowing Jesus.
Sadly, as I look at my own heart, there have been times that I could not say~
“If all I had was Jesus~ He would be enough.”
I want that joy. I want good things for my marriage and my children. I want my problems to go away. I want my life to be easy and happy.
What I fail to realize is that if I truly sought Jesus above all else, instead of praying for these other things with the wrong intentions~
I would understand that in Him alone~
I do have everything.
Too often, my prayers do not reflect my love for Him. I can claim that they do, but if I am being honest~they reflect my love for myself.
Jesus wants to answer our prayers. He wants us to have joy and happiness because He loves us, but He isn’t just a meal ticket, above all else~
He wants us to truly know Him.
He is, and always should be our end goal.
Don’t try to fit Jesus into a little devotional box that you check off for the day.
Put down your phone or tablet, that devotional plan or inspiring book, and pick up His personal words to you.
Allow HIS words to show you who He really is. Ask HIM to show you the answers. Let HIS beauty shine upon your life. Let HIS words alone open your eyes to the awe of Jesus~
the wonder, the power, the fear, the love, the mercy, the forgiveness, the peace~
that HE alone encompasses.
I do believe God uses authors in a great way and for His glory. There will always be writers telling us how we ought to live. (Ironically, this is something I am doing even now)
There is nothing new under the sun.
But God’s words, His mercies~
They are new every morning.
Don’t let someone else write your love story and be content with that. Write your own love story with Jesus by reading His love story to you. Your relationship with Him will mature and you will get to know Him on a deeper level. The more you read, the more you get to know Him, the more you will know how to respond to Him and how very much He loves you.
No one else can take His place. No one else can take your place.
God’s words are so much more than a Hallmark card or inspiring devotional.
They are LIFE.
How well do you truly know Him?
Philippians 3:10, Psalms 119:125
Exodus 33:13, Philippians 3:8
Proverbs 4:20-22, Ecclesiastes 1:9
It’s not about me.
It’s all about God.
His power. My faith.
His glory. My trust.
His ways. Not mine.
God used a little girl to give Namaan a message. A message that seemed utterly crazy. But it wasn’t about the act. It was about the faith in an all powerful God.
II Kings 5
God used Gideon and when his flesh cried that he needed more- God said he didn’t. His ways were higher. His power was stronger. His glory was more magnificent. Judges 7
And then God said to Israel-march. And march. And march. Not fight. Not debate. Not use eloquent words. No complaining. No tiring. Just relentlessly continuing on for the kingdom of God until the trumpet blew. To simply trust and obey. Joshua 6
Pour water on a bonfire before it is lit? I Kings 18.
Talk about rain when there’s no such thing? Build a boat on dry land? Genesis 6-9.
Fight a giant with only a slingshot?
I Samuel 17.
Stand before a king until he holds out a septer? Esther.
Speak before a pharaoh on behalf of a nation? Exodus 3.
Kneel before God in the face of death? Daniel 6.
Feed 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes? Matthew 14.
Give birth to a Savior never knowing a man? Luke 1
Never abandoned. Always delivered. Abundantly blessed.
Whatever you are facing, God has shown you time and time again that His ways are higher than our ways. Even when it doesn’t logistically make sense to our human way of thinking, we simply must trust.
He holds the galaxies in the palm of His hands and we are but specks like the sands on the sea shore~
yet He loves us infinitely.
He tells us to go. To serve. To believe. To glorify. To trust. Because He is all powerful and all loving.
And through Him we can do anything. Philippians 4:13
Isaiah 26:3, I Corinthians 10:31, Isaiah 55:9
When my kids were little, I used to have chore sheets for each of them. Every day after school they were required to do their specific chore and then mark it off the list.
Some days would be good days. Happy moods. Willing hearts. Other days would be~
I. Hate. These. Stupid. Chores!Why can’t we just play outside with our friends and have fun?.
At times I believe this is how many adults view God. They think that He is up in heaven with a list of rules they have to obey in order to get His approval.
They’re afraid that if they choose God they will have to give up too much.
They’re afraid they will miss out on all the fun.
They look at church and the Bible as if it were one big chore list.
But that’s not God.
(1 Corinthians 2:9)
There is nothing we could ever do to “earn” our way to heaven. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
No rules we must to follow.
No commandment we must keep.
Church isn’t about rules. God isn’t about rules. He’s not up in heaven waiting to hit you over the head if you don’t mark off your daily chore. He doesn’t have a list of things He demands you give up before He will allow you into Heaven. (1 John 4:8)
God is all about love and we desperately need to understand the extent of His love,
(Psalm 103:12, Romans 8:38-39)
and realize that if we could ever do enough good deeds, enough chores, if we could follow every single rule~
What was the point of His Son dying on the cross for us?
God looks at us and He doesn’t see a chore list. He sees His Son and He loves us in spite of our sinful self. (Romans 5:8)
All God wants is you.
All He asks for is your heart.
My children had some very close friends growing up. “Best friends”. I truly loved all of them but that love didn’t even come close to the love I had for my own child.
(Isaiah 49:15, 66:13)
He loves us AS HE LOVES HIS OWN SON JESUS! (John 17:23)
It is mind blowing and hard for this mama to even comprehend.
Oh my friend~ that’s what you’re missing out on. The love of a Father that would give His own Son for you!
(John 1:11-12, 3:16, 4:10&14, 6:35,
1 John 4:9-10)
And when we realize all that- we realize that church isn’t about rules. Its all about God the Father and His amazing, unending love for us. It’s Home. It’s a place where we can have child like peace and comfort in a messy world. Where we can be God’s child and rest in Him.
My children are all adults now~ but there’s something special that happens when they come to visit.
There are no chore lists, there are no rules. There is only love and fellowship with mom and dad.
Child like comfort and security, love and rest in the place they once called Home.
Won’t you come home today?
Psalm 4:8, 23:4, 37:7, 62:1-2, 119:76,
On my husband’s rare down time, he enjoys sitting in his recliner, reading the news or playing games on his phone. He’s a “can’t sit still doing nothing” kind of guy. I like to give him a hard time about his phone habits and without fail, he has me laughing because spontaneous ads will pop up and always lure him in. Immediately he’s telling me all about them. The last one was a “smart” iPhone charger. He shared it with me because I am always complaining about how quickly my cell battery dies. That battery can be at 45% and within seconds, she’s gone. Obviously something needs to be fixed. It can be very frustrating to watch it lose its power so quickly. Of course, I’m never close to my charging cord, and then the cord is never long enough for me to multi task, so I don’t plug it in. Inevitably it dies. The only uninterrupted charging time it gets is while I am resting as I sleep.
That’s when I realized Mike’s battery never gets that low. And yes that convicted me. 😂😂 Not just because of the amount of time I apparently spend on my phone, but also because I am JUST like that stupid iPhone. I have too many apps open in my mind and they drain my power. I’m on social media too often and it drains my power. I continually feel the need to answer every text and notification. My personality stresses when I don’t, and it drains me~and when all these things crowd in, I can guarantee that I am too far away from my power source. I’m trying to do everything on my short term battery life without being plugged into God’s power and then, when I have nothing left to give, within seconds I lose it. I’m gone. Obviously, something needs to be fixed. I need to be plugged in again. I need to set the time aside to rest in Him. To get charged by His word. To plug in every worry, hurt, disappointment and care. To refuel my heart’s battery by praising and thanking Him for all He’s ever done for me and all He’s going to do. I can’t ever allow myself to get too far away from Him or my battery will die.
Next time you’re on your phone and realize it needs to be charged, ask yourself how long it’s been since your heart has been recharged as well. The world continually comes up with new ideas for faster charging of our phones, but ultimately they will always need a power source, just like our heart always need it’s Power source. There isn’t a quick fix~going to church for one hour but never spending time with God the rest of the week is not enough to charge our hearts. Listening to christian music on our way to work is not enough to charge our hearts. Saying a quick prayer as we fall asleep at night is not enough to charge our hearts. We all need uninterrupted time with our Savior. Time where we shut the world out, where we close all the apps that are open in our mind and focus solely on Him. Once we do that, all the little things won’t drain our power. Our beating battery will have joy as we give Him 100%. Our heart will have peace~because it’s resting in Him.
What is your power source?
Hebrews 12:2, John 4:14, Phil. 4:7, Phil. 3:14, Psalm 23:3, I John 1:4, Psalm 16:11
We were on our way to get groceries the other day with three of our four grandchildren. The sky was absolutely beautiful with big fluffy white clouds set against a pink sky line. Out of the blue, 4 year old Ethan said- “If the clouds could reach down and touch the ground I would take them home and play with them and pretend they were snow.” Sometimes children can say something that just awes you. What a thought to ponder...”if the clouds could reach down and touch the ground”. Just a few weeks back when Clara’s daddy came to pick her up she looked up at the sky and in her cute little hoarse, 3 year old voice exclaimed-“I wish I had a ladder to climb up and lay in the clouds”. They both painted a precious picture in my heart with their sweet words. A picture that makes me smile each time I think about it. As adults we can get so skeptical and think-“How silly. The clouds can’t be played with, they can’t touch the ground and you certainly can’t climb a ladder to them”. Today I want to paint a picture in your heart, a picture of the Savior that will make you smile over and over again. As majestic as the clouds seem to us, the majesty of our Heavenly Father is beyond what even our adult minds can comprehend and yet in all His majestic greatness and power, He reached down and touched the ground and became a little baby for each one of us. He came to us, for us, because He loves us and any time we desire we can go to Him in all His majesty and rest in His presence. When we are adults we tend to try to fix or figure out everything on our own instead of having the heart of a child and realizing the awesomeness of going to God and resting in Him, like a ladder to the clouds. We forget in our busy lives that He reached down and touched the ground for us. This Christmas become a child again. Talk to Him, play with Him, laugh with Him, cry with Him and rest with Him in the sweet softness of His presence and each time you look up at a beautiful sky, be reminded of these words and allow your heart to smile in child like wonder.❤️
We used to call our youngest our “million dollar baby”. Six months after Kathryn was born and right as the school year was starting, Mike got a job two hours away from home. For a while, we only got to see him on the weekends. As each week went by, the days got harder and harder. Not only because I missed him so much, but also because our baby was continually sick. Kathryn would not sleep. With tears rolling down my face, I would pace the house all night trying to get her to calm down, looking out my window at the other home’s serene darkness and envying the sleep they were all getting. And then, when daylight came and she was finally asleep, it was time to get the other three up and take my two oldest to school. Loading them all into our car and driving on a half hour of sleep then coming home and crying some more. It was sheer exhaustion. Kathryn wasn’t just a fussy, colicky baby. She had continual fevers and rashes. Our doctor’s office was my second home. After many tests, we found out she was allergic to my breast milk. Our finances were very slim and after trying several formulas, the only one that worked cost us half of our grocery allowance each week. This was only the beginning with her. Among so many other things, she had a urinary tract infection and spent a week in the hospital. She also broke her collar bone when she was three, and the list goes on. Those first few years seemed so hard at the time. I was so tired and felt so alone. I looked at other families and envied them. I felt sorry for myself and asked God why He chose to make Kathryn so sick. But when I look back at those times, I can see the hand of God in each desperate moment I went through. I can see His answers to prayer as I cried out to Him. I can see the sweet fellowship I had with Him because there were long days and nights that I had no other adult to talk to. I can see how I learned to lean completely and totally on Him instead of leaning so much on my husband. I can look back and praise His name for carrying me through and strengthening me when I felt so weak, something I wouldn’t be able to do if those years had been an easy bed of roses. My God sustained me and loved me when I felt like I had nothing left to give.
I wasn’t pacing back and forth alone all those nights, Christ was walking with me. I wasn’t driving in my own strength back and forth to the school every day, Christ was driving for me. I wasn’t crying alone in the darkness of desperation. He was there next to me, holding me and wiping away my tears. He knew my pain and He carried me through it all.
Whatever you might be going through, know that your Savior is right there next to you. You are not alone. His tremendous love for you resulted in His crucifixion on a cross of anguish and pain. There is no one in this universe that loves you more and that wants to help you through your situation, whatever it might be. See Him next to you now as you read this? Let Him wipe away your tears and give you the strength your heart is desperately crying out for. He will continually sustain you, you need only lay your weary head on Him and find complete peace and strength in His understanding arms.
Philippians 4:13 Deuteronomy 31:6 Isaiah 41:10 Isaiah 40:31 Matthew 11:28 Psalms 31:24
Ahhh Valentines Day. After 32 years of marriage, I needed a new idea and I thought I had an awesome one. I planned ahead. I made a steak dinner and a cheesecake, his favorite. We had the house to ourselves for the evening. After dinner I told him I was going to put some laundry away and would be right back. I rushed upstairs and it all went downhill from there...
My husband's family has been going on vacation to NC since before he was born. Every year we all stay together in a beautiful house on the ocean and while we are there one of Mike's favorite things to do is body surf in the waves. Now I love swimming, but the ocean in March in NC is a little too "freezing so much it hurts" for me. So, I sit with my sweatshirt on, wrapped in a blanket and watch. This past summer Mike found the perfect solution at a resale store. A full body dry suit. This would keep me warm and dry in the cold waves. He was ecstatic. I had never tried it on and finally got around to getting it back out. I thought it would be sooo perfect to come downstairs wearing it and surprise him. You know, like some futuristic, hot superhero. Often what we picture in our minds and the reality of what something actually looks like are completely different. I was hot. A hot mess. I had managed to get the legs partially on but from there I was stuck. Literally. I couldn't pull the sleeves up any higher than my waist and I couldn't pull it back off. I couldn't even walk. That thing was like a leach on a hippo. It wouldn't budge, not even an inch. Finally, all I could do was call for Mike. I'm sure this was not at all what he was expecting. Just short of cutting the thing off, a half hour later I was exhausted but free and as Mike held me, we had a good laugh. So much for my great Valentine's idea.
Our plans are not always God's plans. We think we have some great idea and go forward with it, never asking God for help or guidance. When we eventually get ourselves into a hot mess, that's when we decide to call out to God for help. Something we should have done to begin with. I should have asked Mike for help right from the start but I was determined I could do this on my own. I pulled and I shoved and I jumped and squirmed and finally just stood there defeated. We are the same way with God. We think we can do it on our own without His help, but we can't. We try to make it work. We pull and shove and squirm but our great plans, that were never God's plans, go terribly wrong and we are defeated. I am so thankful that my God is always there, just waiting for me to call out to Him for help. When I finally do, He comes. He never turns his back on me or tells me it's too late. He pulls me out of the mess I made, He holds me close and He restores my exhausted heart with laughter. Next time we are about to go ahead with a plan we think is sooo perfect, let's remember that leach on that hippo and turn to God first, asking for His help every inch of the way. 😉