I’ve read where people have climbed a mountain alone. I can’t begin to imagine how scary that would be. If you need help, where do you turn? Is it really that big of a deal to tackle a mountain alone?
Just like life – we need people. We need God.
The mountain I’ve been climbing has become a little bit easier – not because of anything I’ve done, but because of the wisdom I recently received from a message at church.
God works that way, you know. Sometimes when you least expect it, you hear a message that makes you realize that God is listening. He knows the struggle, and He’s with us – every step we take.
Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Psalm 9:9-10 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
I’m so thankful for that reminder. Perhaps you needed it, too.
I started 2019 with a bang! No, I didn’t go mountain climbing. I had to get a filling and a new crown. I mean, it just doesn’t get more exciting than that.
Last year wasn’t a fun year for me. I had to go to the ER TWO times. I had to go to TWO specialists – a Cardiologist and a Hematologist. Found out my platelet count was double and my cholesterol was too high. Had to have blood drawn TWO many times. Although I don’t have anything life-threatening, it all put me on the struggle bus. Have you taken a ride on it? It’s not exactly a fun ride.
I wasn’t going to write about this, but I have felt a nudge after seeing what Toby Mac had to say about sharing our struggles…
So, here I am – telling you about my journey. Here’s where things start to change.
I was stopped in the turn lane the other day when I heard loud music coming from the car that was stopped next to me.
A young gal was singing every word to the song with a smile on her face. I couldn’t help but watch her. I wondered if she was happy because she was on her way to see a friend or maybe because it was Friday. Who knows. All I know is that I want to feel that happy again – at least for five minutes.
The weight of the world can certainly keep you from enjoying life, can’t it? Sometimes you don’t even realize that a weight needs to be lifted until you see a young girl singing a song….
Once again, I heard a story about a family that doesn’t talk to one another any more. They don’t get together for birthdays, holidays, or any other day. Sisters, brothers, and parents live near one another, but apparently have chosen not to speak.
Whether the door was closed on you, or you severed the ties with someone, you could add so much more insight to this story. Both sides would probably point their finger at the other person, but I’m pretty sure both sides would agree that it’s not supposed to be this way.
When my husband and I were married, my mother didn’t come to the wedding. She shut me out of her life weeks before. I was still living at home before my wedding, and the morning that my dad and I were headed for the church – my mom stayed in her room with the door closed.
Silence speaks louder than words.
I wasn’t surprised, but it still hurt like crazy. I made the choice on my wedding day that I wasn’t going to let her absence ruin my day or my life. Thirty four years later, I can honestly say that it didn’t.
Ohhhhhh, there were times over the next few years when I felt the hurt. Like all those times I attended a wedding after mine and watched the mother of the bride hug her daughter and shed tears of happiness for her daughter, or when I went to someone’s baby shower and caught a glimpse of what a mother/daughter relationship should be like. Yes, I felt the sting.
Relationships are important. They’re never perfect, but the good and the bad helps us become a better person if we allow it.
There’s another type of relationship that I want to talk about and how you handle it is of eternal value. It’s with Jesus.
You do know that He loves you, right? Have you talked to Him – ever? I don’t mean through some memorized prayer or that one time you yelled “Oh, God! Help!” I’m talking about sitting down wherever you are and spending time talking to Him like you would a best friend – spilling your guts. Reading His word and getting to know Him. And most importantly, listening.
He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. – Psalm 86:5
Or is He one of your loved ones that you’re shutting out?
I recently read a friend’s post that explained why he celebrated Christmas. I love his heart.
I also love seeing and hearing about Christmas programs, family traditions, kids sitting on Santa’s lap for the first time, and how Elf on the Shelf is getting into trouble. So much fun.
I admit – I can’t wait to see my kids and my granddaughter open their gifts. The wonder of it all can make you feel like your world is overflowing with love.
The downside to this season has to be the disappointment I feel when I think about those loved ones that won’t be here. I don’t know about you, but I catch myself comparing my life, my family, my Christmas — with others.
When I read the quote below by Tony Nolan, it reminded me how much I tend to depend on the above things rather than what happened long ago to truly experience what Christmas is all about. What Jesus did fills my heart with such amazing love and joy – both that will last way beyond Christmas Day. This priceless gift was meant for you, too – if you’ll let it in.
“No chance of me reaching heaven so divinity came into my hell. It was love that made Jesus do it and that’s the Christmas story I tell.” Tony Nolan
Praying your heart is filled with HIS love today. Forever. Merry Christmas. ❤️
We are getting ready to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary this summer.
T h i r t y – f i v e years.
It seems like yesterday when we first met. How has time slipped by so quickly?
Maybe it has something to do with life. You know – those things that fill our days. Ours were full because of three sons, ministry, friends, family, school, work, sports, illness, death, turmoil, anxiety, joy, rejection, and love.
36 years ago today, on Valentine’s Day, he broke up with me. This was before we had social media where you can spy (so to speak) to get answers to your questions like – are we even still friends, is he moving on, seeing someone else, sad about the break up, or is he even still alive?
We said our goodbyes on that February 14th —– and that was it. No phone calls. No letters. Nada. Everything I looked forward to was gone.
I was crushed. Shocked, actually. We had dated for a while, and I was sure he was the one. I tried to move on, but my life felt so empty.
So several months later, he called. We met for dinner, and a few months later he proposed. The rest is history.
The months between the breakup and his phone call were difficult. Maybe they were for him as well. I had so many questions and no answers. Should I date around or should I wait? Did I do something wrong? Am I a loser? Was I trying to make someone ‘the one’ when God had something better in mind?
So, I finally did it. I went out on a date and I was miserable. There was my answer. I was in love – so I waited.
If you’ve had to wait for something, then you know how fun it is. It’s not fun, but I’ve learned that it’s worth it.
A friend recently shared this analogy with me. She has such a way with words that describe the payoff of waiting for God’s will to be revealed:
“It’s hard to trust God in the unseen, the unknown, but when he reveals his will, his ways in our lives – it’s almost like the sun bursting forth through a cloud or over the horizon. It’s breathtaking and amazing!” ~ Luci
It’s been a very rainy weekend.
The first question that popped into my head yesterday afternoon is why do we often lose interest in doing anything – even inside – when it’s raining? Our day instantly became a read- a- book or binge watch tv kind of day.
The second question that came out of nowhere was why are we bummed when something happens, even though it benefits our environment or someone else?
We haven’t had rain in Florida for quite some time. It rained off and on one day this week, and then this weekend it has rained almost nonstop. Yes, we needed it. But still – I wish it would stop!
Isn’t life like that? Something happens that doesn’t fit into our schedule or how we pictured the day, and just like that we become frustrated – even though what’s happening is temporary and often for the best.
Have you found yourself doing the same? Next time you find yourself complaining about something – like traffic, a crazy driver, the long line at the grocery, long wait at the doctor’s office, snow, cold temps, or rain – remind yourself this is temporary…. and maybe even necessary.
“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” ~ Psalm 118:24
Enjoy your day.
Our life has been up and down like a rollercoaster the last 3 years, and now it has my head spinning in circles.
What. A. Ride.
We’ve lived in Florida for three years. While most people our age choose to come down here to retire or stay during the winter months, we moved south because of a job.
We’ve been blessed to meet many wonderful people since we’ve lived here. Some, we only met maybe once because we served together at a nursing home, helped supply water for a homeless shelter, helped clean hundreds of buckets for a Thanksgiving dinner outreach, or briefly chatted while meeting for the first time when we were walking in the area. Others have become life-long friends.
Soooooo….My husband recently found out that his job (along with many others) is being eliminated in March. The corporate world is so ……. COLD. Even though they try to convey that everyone is valuable to the company – their actions speak louder than words. Let’s be real. It’s all about the money – that’s what’s valued.
Here’s the thing. I’ve been so unsettled since we’ve been down here. Even though there were many things that were good and many things we were thankful for – like the fact my husband had a good job, we had a roof over our head, we had food on our table, and we’ve been surrounded by some wonderful people – I still felt out of place. We both did.
We live near the beach, almost always have beautiful weather, and we get to see Florida’s tropical beauty – every. single. day. Still, something important was missing.
At this point, we don’t know where we are going to live or what we’re going to do for an income, don’t know anything about the future – yet I now experience such a peace like none other. We both do. I don’t even know how to explain it!
Maybe it’s because we’re heading back to a place where we lived more than 55 years. Maybe it’s because the pieces to our puzzle are falling into place with a possibility of being back in the ministry. Maybe it’s because this is SO much bigger than us, we know it will take our maker to work out all the details.
Looking from the outside, you probably think I’ve lost my mind. Maybe a little, but the truth is – I AM trusting God. There’s no doubt he’s cutting the ties for us here and has allowed us to be in a position where we need to totally rely on Him for answers. When you know who’s in charge of your journey, it sure does bring comfort and a calm in the middle of a storm of uncertainty.
“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Thank you, Lord, for never leaving my side. Please forgive me when I doubt your faithfulness and goodness….for you are good. All the time.
When you think about heaven, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Maybe you think about angels, clouds, or streets of gold.
Hopefully, you think about seeing and worshiping God. I mean, He IS the one who created you, pursued you, and has been waiting on you to join Him for eternity.
I’m doing a study about heaven, and the book is called Revealing the Mysteries of Heaven, by David Jeremiah. He explains that how we live life now – how we worship God now, is like a dress rehearsal for how we will worship Him when we see him face-to-face. Think about that for a minute. What is your attitude when you go to church? When you are asked to stand to sing? When you are asked to bow your head to pray? When you are asked to serve or help someone out. Are you thinking about Jesus?
Maybe you don’t like the songs that your church sings, or perhaps you don’t know the words, so instead of worshiping, you find yourself counting down to the last song. Like, H O W long do we have to stand to worship? Surely there’s something written somewhere in the church bylaws that states we shouldn’t have to sing so many songs. (sarcasm)
I don’t know about you, but when I think about my life’s most memorable moments that took my breath away – it makes me realize just how amazing heaven will be.
Falling in love.
That first time I saw and held my newborn. (X 3)
Watching my adult son fall in love.
The moment I heard the words “You’re going to be a grandparent.”
Holding my grand baby the first time.
If you’re a sports fan, maybe you can relate to something that’s filled with hours of anticipation and excitement….
Have you ever had the opportunity to watch your favorite team play and win a game – in person? My first NBA final game I attended is something I will never forget. The place was packed. People (including myself) were standing the minute our team ran out on the court. I think the only time I sat down was at halftime. I could barely hear myself talk to my husband because people were cheering so loud – the whole time! And when they won with a last second shot, it became even louder because the fans didn’t want to leave. They stayed there – chanting the winner’s name: PACERS! (clap, clap) PACERS! (clap, clap) PACERS!
Friends, I believe that’s a little taste of what it’s going to be like when we get to heaven! We won’t care what kind of music is playing or what songs we will be singing. We won’t care how long we are going to stand. We will be in such awe of His presence as we shout out His name – and worship.
After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, ”Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was la rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
”Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
We are here to love others. How are you doing that today?
I recently met a very sweet woman who lives in a nursing home. I really don’t know a lot about her other than the few things she shared with me when I visited with her. I was careful not to ask a lot of questions about her family in case they don’t stay in touch. The last thing I wanted to do was make her feel sad.
She sat in her wheelchair at the table with her arms crossed and her eyes closed. When we asked her if she wanted to make a craft, she declined. When someone brought the Bingo cards over to see if anyone wanted to play, she declined again.
I soon found out why – she was blind.
I pulled up a chair and sat between her and another gentleman. We had the most pleasant conversation. She was reserved at first, but she soon opened up. I could tell she had a very tender heart. I asked where she grew up, and she asked me the same. We talked about her long hair and I told her how beautiful it was, and it was. We talked a little about our siblings and if we were the youngest or the oldest. I found out that she loves spaghetti – especially the sauce.
She heard the Bingo balls rolling around as the caller mixed them up and asked what was making that noise. When I explained the game and why it was fun, it dawned on me that I should ask her if she would be my Bingo partner. She smiled and wanted to play.
The Bingo cards and markers were extra-large – making it easy for the older ones to see and handle. I handed my new friend one of the chips so that she could feel what I was placing on the card. I told her they looked like a piece of pepperoni. I guess that wasn’t a good idea because within minutes she was placing it into her mouth! I tried to stay calm while explaining that it wasn’t something to eat. She insisted there was something inside of it. I told her that I wished there was something good on the inside – like chocolate, but there wasn’t.
I thought she understood, but I caught her hiding it under her clothing – just like a child would do to save for later. I finally convinced her to hand it over so that I could use it on a number that was just called. She smiled and even laughed. Maybe she was picturing my expression when she put it in her mouth – I don’t know.
Our time was up and it was time for me to go. As I guided her wheelchair into the hallway, I heard her say, “It makes me sad that I’m blind.”
She really caught me off guard, but God gave me these words, “But you have something that so many other people don’t have – you have a very kind and loving heart.” She asked me how I knew that, and I told her that it was obvious after spending time with her that morning. She thanked me.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13
“THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN BEING BLIND IS HAVING SIGHT WITH NO VISION.” ~ HELEN KELLER
Fall. Some people love it, while others dread it. I guess it depends on where you live.
It was always one of my favorite seasons when I lived in Indiana. Humidity was gone. Leaves were stunning. The change in weather (cooler temps) meant you could wear different clothes, and enjoy different activities. Even your menu changed! Although it was a reminder that summer was officially over and winter was next, it also meant that Halloween was around the corner.
Halloween. A day I always looked forward to when I was young. I remember my dad dressing up sometimes as he and my mom walked me from door to door. My parents loved handing out candy and seeing all the costumes. Especially my dad. It was a holiday that didn’t have all the stress that others would sometimes bring to our house.
But everything changed one year.
Several years ago, my mom lost her battle to cancer the day before Halloween. I wasn’t with her, but I’ll never forget it. I wanted to be, but she wouldn’t let me. She shut me out of her life when she knew life was coming to an end. I really thought that was cruel and selfish of her at the time, but now – I guess I understand.
Life is hard, and although I haven’t experienced it yet – I’m certain that living your last days is even harder. I can’t imagine how hard it is to know you’ll never see your loved ones again, at least not here on earth. Knowing that you will be missing out on graduations, weddings, grandchildren, or just being there when someone you love needs you – would break your heart. Maybe it’s too much to bear.
But. What about all the other things that you will get to experience? If you are a believer, you will get to see Jesus. Have you thought about that? You finally get to see your creator, bow before Him, and touch His feet. You’ll get to experience pure love, and be in a place where there’s no sadness, no pain, no bitterness, no worries, no more sleepless nights because of big or bad decisions. And one day, you’ll get to see those people you didn’t want to leave or those who died before you. You’ll be together – forever.
Doesn’t that make it worth believing in Jesus now?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Heaven. The next season – if you believe.