Sunday, May 31, 2015

Brave, Courage, Courageous....

This month of May was supposed to be my month of "rest."  Well, needless to say, it has not been very restful.  Many sleepless nights, many worries, many concerns, many issues, but through it all, God has been holding me with His Incredible Hands and lifting me to a place higher than I thought possible.  As I have been contemplating my journey, I have found that I have had to muster up more courage than I ever have before in my life.  You know how that goes, one major life event would have been enough, but three major life events all at once?  Whew!!!  I am not sure how people without God in their life make it through the rough times.....I know that I am so very grateful for a God who holds me firmly in His Hands and prepares me for a new journey ahead!!!

This is not a pity party.  This about learning to be powerful - through God's strength and His alone.
Philippians4:13 says:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Wow!  How else could I possibly be at peace while losing my job, almost losing my son in a motorcycle accident, and losing what I thought was the love of my life.  Yet, as I look back over the events of this past month, I find myself stronger each day.  Are some days incredibly tough?  Absolutely!!!  Tears have rolled down my face on more than one occasion and multiple times per day.  Yet, difficult times tend to bring out our strengths as well as our weaknesses.  Hopefully, we can each manage to learn from our mistakes and gain courage during trials so that we can move forward - again, in God's strength.

This week, my wonderful sister, Cathi sent me a song called "You Make Me Brave" sung by Amanda Cook and produced by the music group Bethel - it is incredible!!!  Take a listen when you have time....

You Make Me Brave
Amanda Cook & Bethel Music - You Make Me Brave

Have you ever thought of yourself as "Brave?"  "Courageous?"  And, what does being brave or courageous mean?  Brave is displaying courage.  Being brave is facing a challenge courageously.
What is courage then?  Courage is the quality of mind that enables one to face danger or trouble with confidence.  Where does that confidence come from?  Having a heart, soul and spirit that dares to defy the odds?  True Grit?  Pure spunk???  Or, from God???  Think about it.  Reflect on where you get your courage from - it is a question worth contemplating.

Courage is daring to act with valor when you want to lash out or give up.  Courage is choosing to see the problem/concern and taking it head on.  Courage is being willing to find solutions, search for answers, and wait for wisdom and guidance.  Yes, I said wait.  Waiting is one of the hardest things to do when everything seems to be crumbling down around you.  When the cancer is back.  Where there is no solution.  When the finances have been depleted.  When it seems all hope has been lost.

Believe me, as a Prayer Warrior at our church, we have tumultuous prayer requests each week!!!  Many people are going through horrendous things.  It seems that the more we pray, the more we have need to pray!  It gives each of us a new perspective on life.  Each week, when we pray for others, we start with a list of Praises.  Praises of answered prayers.  Praises for healing.  Praises for new beginnings.  Praises for doors opening where another door was slammed shut.  Praises for joys shared with each other along the way.  It is unbelievable some days how God answers our prayers.  We stand amazed each week when we reflect on the ways God has moved in our lives and those of the people we pray for every Thursday.

As the song says, "wave after wave"  God's love crashes over me.   The majesty and wonder of our Champion in Heaven.  Our King of Heaven.  He draws us out beyond the shore as He sings His song of love for us.  Each of us.  I have heard Him calling my name.  I have heard of His Grace.  I Have heard of His Love.  Can you hear him calling your name???

Monday, May 18, 2015


Recently, there has been much talk about Harbingers or disasters in our country and our world.  Around the globe, there are so many natural disasters occurring that it seems we hear about 1-2/week.  Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, as well as Tsunami's in Haiti and Japan, just to name a few.  Tornados of catacylismic size in Joplin, MO and Moore, Oklahoma were devastating to our country.  Other disasters have been in the news over and over in the past few years - shocking us into reality!  The school shootings at Columbine and Sandy Hook were and are so deplorable that we cannot fathom a world in which they do not occur anymore.  The world of "Leave it to Beaver" from the 1960's is over.
A few years ago, there used to be a shooting like was rare, now they are much more frequent and happen on a weekly/monthly basis.  Environmental, social, and national disasters are happening at a fast and furious pace in today's world.

Have you ever thought about why we are having these natural disasters?  Yes, I know the theory of global warming and the fact that the population around the world has increased so much that we are distressing the earth's resources.  We are going beyond the natural boundaries in so many ways.  Yes, duly noted.  But, it is so much more......

A  Harbinger is a precursor or forerunner.  Many times it is a forerunner of doom or disaster.  It can be considered a herald or omen of the future as well.  Our country experienced one of the most horrific "harbingers" ever imagined on September 11, 2001.   The world trade centers were destroyed along with thousands of lives.....none of us can ever forget that fateful day in the United States of America.  All of us remember exactly where we were or what we were doing the moment we saw the trade centers exploding.  It is a daunting memory.

Two summers ago, I read a book called The Harbinger.  It impacted me so greatly, that I wanted to buy 100 copies and give it to everyone I know!  I could not afford to do so, but it has come up again recently in a call to pray for our country by Anne Graham Lotz. 

Our country is in serious disarray.  The decay in our social, moral, financial, religious/spiritual, agricultural, and emotional well-being is profound.  Most of you who know me, know that I am not a "doom and gloom" type person.  I don't dwell on the negative and instead try to live my life in a positive, life-affirming way.  But, we must face reality and wake up!!!  We are succumbing to the ways of destruction and it is mostly due to our own ignorance.  Yes, it is our own fault.  Yep, you read that right.  We are causing our country and our world to fall.  Little by little, day by day, one compromise at a time.

To me it starts with the decay in our families.  The decay of our families in the USA have proven to be so disastrous, yet it is second nature in our society.  Divorce is so common place that most people don't even blink an eye anymore if a person has been divorced 2-3 times.  That is a disaster for us, for our kids and for future generations.  Unfortunately, my parents were divorced back in 1973 and I have been divorced since 1980.  It is grueling to go through.  It has impacted my own emotional state as well as my son and 3 nieces and 2 nephews.  Three out of four siblings in my family are divorced.  What in the world has happened to us as a family?  Brokenness.  Feelings of insecurity.  Feelings of failure.  Yet, "picking ourselves up by the boot straps" is common place in our society.  It is a disaster.  It is sad.  It is ugly.

This nation was founded with a Declaration of Independence and a Pledge of Allegiance.  "One nation under God."  Yes, that's right. Under God.   He was our first priority at one time.  We have "In God We Trust" on all of our money in the USA.  But, do we really trust Him anymore?  I think not.  It is very apparent that our world doesn't trust God anymore than we trust each other.  Look at our world, look at our culture, look at our families.  What do you see?  Do you see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control anywhere?  Not very often.  What we see on the news more often is hatred, rioting, impatience, road-rage, abuse, unfaithful people, harshness and absolutely everyone doing whatever they want when they want to do so.....the rule book has been thrown out and we do as we please.  No matter what.  It is a disaster.  It is sad.  And, it is ugly.

On 9/11/01 people screamed out:  "Where is God?"  Well, think about it!!!  We have shoved God out of our homes, our schools, our government, and our society so much over the past 50  years, why should He answer us anymore?  He is a gentleman, not a thug.  He won't force us to believe in love, mercy, forgiveness or grace.  Those are His gifts to us, not mandates.

We need to wake up America!!!  We need to get back on track.  We need to pray for this country and for our families.  We need to ask God for help.  We need to ask God to be in our relationships, in our motives, in our thoughts, words, deeds, actions, reactions, but mostly our responses.  We need God in our homes, our schools, and yes, our government.  We need a light to shine on our country.  We need Godly leadership.  We need people who are going to stand up for what is right - not submit to what some "politically correct" agenda is saying.  We need our God and we need Him NOW!!! 

Micah 6:8 says:  "He  has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does He require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

That is my fervent prayer:  Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God. 
Please pray with me - it is an urgent call!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Quality Time....

I hear a lot of people talking about quality time these days.  We all have the same 24 hours in a day and the same 7 days in a week.  So, that adds up to 168 hours in the week. 
What does spending quality time with someone mean to you?  What does it mean to a relationship?  What does it mean for our kids and families?  What does it mean to our career world?

The definition of quality is a characteristic element or attribute or a degree of excellence of a thing.
What does quality mean to you?  Is it a trait?  Is it goodness?  Is it a grade or rank to you?  When does quality enter into your world?

Now add the time frame.  What is quality time?  A hour a day?  A week?  A month?  Spending hours on end on a specific project?  Spending quality time with a loved one or a person whom you enjoy their company?  Spending overtime at work so that you can get that promotion?

What is on your calendar?  Who is on your calendar?  What ranks highest in your world?  And, how do you define that?

It is all about priorities. It is all about our choices.  When do you decide to spend more time with your kids or family instead of working overtime?  When do you choose to take extra time with someone you love?  How do you know when you are spending enough time to build a relationship that lasts?
What consumes your calendar?  Who consumes your calendar?  Are there adjustments that need to be made to prioritize something important to you?

Since we all have the same amount of time in a day and/or a week, how do we determine where to spend the most time?  How do we prioritize the things that matter most?  How do we arrange items in an order of importance where we are not feeling tugged here and there?  How do we stop the pushing and pulling on our emotional strings so that we feel we can breathe again?

It all gets down to getting clear in our head about what is most important and what is most urgent.  Some things must take a priority for a period of time.  Other things can be put on the back burner for a brief amount of time.  How can we possibly make our world sane?  And, how do we show those we love how much they mean to us? 

Try this little exercise.  Write down these titles on a piece of paper with four quadrants:
Most Important/Most Urgent
Least Important/Least Urgent

Give yourself space for each quadrant and start to name the priorities in your life.
Define for yourself, your kids, your spouse (or significant other), your boss or whomever you feel you need to prioritize specific items within your day or week and see what comes up. 

Define for yourself what you need.  How much time is enough?  When you become clear about your own needs, wants, and priorities, they will become clear in your life - In your families, in your relationships, in your work and thus, in your world.  Some things that you spent your time on before used to be enough for you.  Now, you need or want more time for such and such.  Ask specifically, how much time do I want for this or that in my life?  Choices.  We all have to make them.  When we define those choices, we will increase our quality time with whatever our priorities are and our world will become a much more pleasant place to be!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Happy Mother's Day to all those wonderful, marvelous, loving mother's out there!!!

If I had a flower
for every time
I thought of Mothers,
I could walk
through my garden
My mom who is in Heaven now, was a gardener.  She gave each of us four kids the gift of loving  of gardening and being outdoors.  She taught us to enjoy every gift of every season!!!
One time when I was in Ohio visiting, mom was going to the grocery store and I went along.  She meandered along several streets until I finally asked:  "Aren't we going to the grocery store?"  Mom replied, "Yes."  Then, my question was:  "So, did you know the grocery was just up that street we just passed?"  And, of course, she smiled and said:  "Yes, I know, but I wanted to see if my neighbors garden was in bloom  yet...." 
Ahhhh....what a gift she gave me that day!  To journey through life and meander this way and that, to find the surprises along the way and to enjoy each beautiful, precious moment that God gives us each day!!! 
Thank you, Heavenly Father for my incredible mom!!!  I miss her SO very much, but will always have her with me in my heart and soul......thank you, thank you, thank you Mom for ALL the wonderful gifts you gave my heart!!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Waiting.... of my LEAST favorite things to do - how about you?  Waiting has many aspects of its definition.  See below:

1)  To remain inactive in anticipation
2)  To delay, postpone
3)  To serve as a waiter or waitress
4)  To attend, as a clerk or servant
5)  The act of waiting or the time spent waiting
6)  To watch
7)  To remain until something expected happens
8)  To be ready
9)  To await
10) Expectation
11)  To bide one's time
12) To wait in hopeful expectation

Which of those definitions do you like?  Which one fits your situation in life right now?  If you are anything like me, it is very difficult to wait.  Patience may be a virtue, but it is not one of my strongest suits.

Waiting can mean waiting for a child to be born, waiting for the doctor to come in while you are at the doctor's office, waiting for school to be done this year, waiting to turn 21 years old, waiting for a new relationship to come into your life or waiting for a current relationship to move forward, or waiting for a new career to reveal itself to you.  Whatever it is that you are waiting for, it is sometimes very hard to wait.

It may mean waiting a day, a week, a month, a year, 3 months, 6 months, 3 years or as in the Biblical days 40 days or 40 years!!!  That is a LONG time to wait in the desert....

I encourage you that if you are in the desert right now, look up all the scriptures in your concordance on "wait, waiting, or waits."  It is quite a lesson and revealed a lot to me about my own perceived inability to wait.  Try it - it is very enlightening!!!

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Isaiah 40:30-31 which says:
"Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, but those who wait upon The Lord shall renew their strength.  They shall mount up on wings like eagles;  they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not be faint."

And, a new verse I just learned recently is:
Habakkuk 2:3 which says:
"Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay..."
Wow!  I have so much to learn.....

Now, to encourage anyone in the desert right now, as I am on many levels, take heart!  The Lord has a great plan for your life...believe it and wait upon The Lord to reveal it to you.  It will be worth the wait!!!