Is Your Life – Upside Down?

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Started to pour some cereal into a bowl, and realized that I had opened the box up on the wrong end.  Too late. There it was right in front of me…. Life –  upside down.

Made me think of a story a minister shared last Sunday.  His sermon was about marriage. He talked about a couple that was married for many years – many (supposedly) happy years. One day out of the blue, one of them admitted  that he had “fallen out of love” and wanted a divorce. A life…turned upside down without any warning.  How does that happen?

After being married for almost 30 years (GASP!), I never dreamed that I would get anything out of a sermon about marriage. I’ve never been interested in marriage seminars or retreats, because….well, I’ve never thought that our marriage needed it. I mean, why try to fix something that isn’t broken, right?

Same with wellness checkups. I used to think they were SUCH a waste of time and money, but now I’m beginning to see their importance  – even if you feel healthy. Prevention is everything.

So now I’m thinking….Why should it be any different with marriage?  

Back to the sermon. Although we both laughed at some of the things mentioned that individuals tend to do WRONG, I began to realize that he was giving examples of things that “I” do  – things that could possibly damage my relationship, or worse yet – crush my husband’s spirit. All of a sudden, it wasn’t funny anymore.  I thought “Oh My Gosh! He’s talking about  ME.”

This is one example that he gave that stepped on my toes so hard, I thought Mark was going to have to carry me out of the church!  He said that “If you are on your phone or computer when your spouse is trying to communicate with you, you need to stop – now.” Ouch.

The majority of the sermon was teaching us healthy ways to handle conflict and how important it was NOT to avoid it.  In his words:  “You can’t avoid conflict because marriage is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person.” – Timothy Brock.  So true.

I admit that I hate conflict, and I have always done everything possible to avoid it. Sometimes that can be a bad thing, especially when you aren’t totally honest about your feelings with someone, like that couple mentioned above. He obviously was unhappy for many years, but neglected to say a word – either to protect her  or perhaps he just wanted to avoid conflict.

Funny thing is that the next point made was  to always be truthful about your feelings; don’t lie to protect your loved one. Tell the truth. Ouch.

 As I took notes,  I realized that NONE of this information will make a difference  if I/we aren’t willing to  take the time to communicate. Texting is a great thing, but nothing can replace talking to someone – face-to-face. If you have your nose glued to your computer or phone (or whatever else it is that you’re SO obsessed with), all the information in the world won’t help you or your marriage.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a sad illustration for someone to use one day about a good marriage that ‘unexpectedly’ turned south. Doesn’t matter if you’ve only been married for 2 years or 50, what are you willing to do to prevent that from happening?

 


In case you have forgotten….
1 Corinthians 13:4-8  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

 

 

 

I Have Decided……to Follow Jesus

Have you ever looked back at a decision or choice that you made, and you think….”WHAT ON EARTH WAS I THINKING?!”

Me neither! Haha. JUST Kidding.

Of ALL the quotes that I have ever shared or seen, this one really made me stop and think.  “Do not follow your heart. Follow the conviction of the Holy Spirit.” (unknown)

Thinking back about some decisions I have made in my life, I remember some that were simple and some that were – much more complicated.  So many of those times,  I was absolutely confident that following my heart was the sure way to go. Sometimes that worked, and sometimes – not.  If you are married or are a parent, or if you are breathing…then you can relate.

How quickly we forget how those crazy emotions and feelings can persuade us into thinking “Surely this is what God would want! I KNOW that he wants me to be happy, so…..! I KNOW that he wants nothing but the best for ME and my family!” Way to go, self.

One thing that I’ve learned is this:  A quick solution (decision) may give instant relief, but that peace that you feel may  only be temporary. Who lives for temporary happiness?

I remember when my mother, who was an alcoholic, would want just ‘one more drink’ Only one. Maybe it was something that helped for the moment, but ‘that one’ only lead to more. She was a beautiful woman who was miserable. She loved life, yet she hated it…. and herself.  Confusing, I know.

Unfortunately, she allowed alcohol to be her God. She went to it for peace, for comfort, for strength and for happiness. I’m not judging – I’m just sharing what I saw firsthand. I only share this information so that hopefully it will help someone else.  I loved my mom, but I hated her addiction.

So, now I have to ask myself this question (and challenge you to search YOUR heart): What am I allowing to be on the throne of my heart?

Here are a few verses that explain exactly what He expects from us and how it is…..

“You shall have no other gods before me.” ~ Exodus 20:3

Jeremiah 17: 9  “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”

 John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

So, WHAT do ya do?

1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing…”

And….

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5

 “Lord, help me to remember today that I am more than just a sum total of my feelings. I am Your child made to walk in Truth. Guide me as I process my feelings and reactions with the protective covering of Your absolute Truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” ~ Lysa TerKeurst

No Question About It – YOU ARE WHERE YOU ARE FOR A REASON

My husband and I decided to grab dinner out  recently – on a Friday night, and it was one of those times when neither one of us could decide what sounded good to eat.

Because it was getting to the point of total frustration,  I even suggested that we stay home and just have a bowl of cereal! Sometimes it’s just not worth it – know what I mean?

We first tried a local restaurant. It was packed, so we drove on to the next town where there is an abundance of choices! After ruling out every place we passed (Arggggh!),  we finally agreed on Texas Roadhouse.

As soon as we walked into the place, we spotted some friends we hadn’t seen in a very long time. It was such a blessing! They were almost finished eating when we arrived, so they joined us at our table so that we could catch up.

We had just ordered our food when a man walked by our table and attempted to tell a waitress  that he had something stuck in his throat.  I’m telling you what – it was like time stood still.

This little waitress asked him a couple questions, then began to pound him on his back. My husband  called 911, and then one of the customers jumped up and began to do the Heimlich. It wasn’t working.

 It was such a frightening  moment to think that someone might lose his life – right there in front of us.

He was taken out by the EMS crew and appeared to be ok – he was breathing, at least. When our waitress brought us our food, I could hardly take a bite. Other customers requested to be moved to another section.  I just kept thinking about that man, and how in a blink of an eye – he could’ve been gone forever if someone hadn’t been willing to help him.

The next morning, we had an appointment with a car salesman (Bill) in Indy. We’ve known him for 30 years.  He actually sold us our very first car!

As we finished up,  he introduced us to this young man – the finance guy.  You know, the one that everyone dreads talking to when it comes to purchasing a vehicle?

Our conversation began with  the normal small talk, and then somehow blossomed into this incredible discussion about his upcoming wedding and how important it was for him to have the ceremony  in the church. I do believe we DID talk about finances – somewhere in there.

Before we headed out, my husband shared with him about what happened in Texas Roadhouse Friday night. The guy looked up at us with this “deer in the headlight” kind of look and said that he was there, too!

Turns out that he and his fiancé were sitting not too far from us and witnessed the whole thing!!!! Isn’t that CrAzY?! I’m telling you what, it gave me chills as I listened to him describe his version of the guy jumping out of the booth to help save someone’s life.

After Friday and Saturday’s experience,  I have NO DOUBT  that we are all placed where we are for a reason.

Timing is everything. God is amazing.

Bright Spot of My Day.

Bright Spot of My Day.

Found this photo that I took in January. Will never forget that walk.

It wasn’t your typical cold, snow-covered January day in Indiana. It was a clear blue sunny day. No snow. No winter coats.

Memorable…

The same day that I walked that country road and spotted this beautiful bird, I later witnessed a dear neighbor being rushed to the hospital. How ironic. Both were – one-of-a-kind. Both made you stop what you were doing, and appreciate life.

Priceless.

Music to My Ears

Heard this song, “Here and Now”, for the first time the other day. Boy, did it ever stir up a mixture of emotions. Music is good that way. I love it.
The words made me think about those moments that took my breath away – in a good way. Moments when I KNEW that God  was there, and that there was  no doubt that it was a time for me to marvel at what He created – not for anyone else, just for me.
I’m sure if you would take time to think about it, you would have several come to mind that you could share, too.
These are my favorites….
When you realize that you ARE in love…
When your child is born and placed in your arms to hold for the very first time….
When a large group has gathered for support and prayer after a tragedy, and silence and sincere reverence for God OVERPOWERS the fear of the unknown….. …
Last, but not least, that moment when you realize what the Lord has done for YOU, regardless of your  mistakes…..because He loves you – UNCONDITIONALLY.
 “HERE AND NOW
HERE IN THIS MOMENT.
HERE AND NOW,
I TURN TO YOU.
ALL IN MY SEARCHING HEART
HAS LONGED FOR CAN BE FOUND
‘CAUSE YOU’RE IN THIS MOMENT…
HERE AND NOW.”
What beautiful words……..”Here and Now”, by Paul Baloche

Trash Talk

Have had this on my mind for about a year. This is NOT meant to be a negative aimed at all men. I KNOW that there are several out there who have their act together – unless they have me totally fooled – which is possible. Haha.

This last year, I have read through numerous comments on a particular popular meteorologist’s Facebook page, of which I have been a follower.  There is no argument here that she is absolutely beautiful.  

What disturbs me is this….

I’ve seen MANY comments from men that have thanked this person for a great forecast, and worded it as if SHE created the beautiful day?! Ugh. Please. I read comment after comment  about her sexy  feet/toes after she posted a picture of her feet. I remember reading one guy’s comment that said “We want to see the rest of you!” (You can bring me a trashcan anytime now because the thought of it all makes me sick.)

Not too long ago I was asked what one “super power” I would want to have, if any.  Believe it or not, it was the ability to read people’s minds/thoughts.  Well, I think with the help of modern technology, unfortunately – we’re almost there.

I guess I lived in a sheltered world prior to the Internet, Facebook and Twitter. Whatever  you want to call it, I want it back.  I’m not sure I WANT to know what others “like” anymore.

I realize that it is my choice whether or not to read something, but I have to wonder  – where does it stop? WHY don’t these men, several  who were married, see that what they were saying (for the world to see) was wrong?!  Doesn’t anyone even care anymore?

Yes, I DO know how men think (I am married and have 3 sons), but I also know what God says about lust and what he says about marriage. Even if these people don’t have a clue or care about what God thinks, where are some morals?

Hey, we all have our battles and temptations, both men and women. We all fail – myself included. But it’s so disheartening to see so many abuse and trash that freedom – something that was intended to be a gift.

Say Whaaaat?

I absolutely cannot sleep…Had this on my mind from yesterday and thought I would share. I hope I don’t regret it!
I was sitting in my car, waiting on the traffic light to change yesterday afternoon.  I decided to check a text message I had sent to my son (Travis) a few minutes before –  prior to driving. I absolutely stink when it comes to new technology (haven’t had my phone very long), so I wa…s pretty proud that I used my voice to send a text message. 
 
Let me tell you what, ALL pride got thrown out the window in a matter of seconds as I read my message. My phone TOTALLY misinterpreted what I said! 
In between laughing out loud (seriously, with tears streaming down my cheeks!) I yelled at my phone –OH MY GOSH! THAT’S NOT WHAT I SAID!!!! I quickly tried to send another message before the light changed, so once again I talked into my phone – hoping that it would finally get it right.
 
Let me tell you what, yelling at your phone doesn’t work.
This is what I was trying to say:  “I just went to the eye doctor and they’re closed for a staff meeting.” Instead it said this: “I just went to the high doctor and their clothes for a staff meeting.”  High doctor?! Their clothes? What?!
My last message (that was supposed to correct what I said)  ended up being this: “Lowes did not close.” Yep. I have NO clue what I even said now, but it had NOTHING to do with Lowes. Haha.
A few minutes after I sent the second message, my phone rings. It’s Travis. He NEVER calls me unless it’s an emergency. I couldn’t even say hello because I was laughing so hard at this point.
All I could hear him say was “Mom? I just need some clarification….”  I said “I BET you do!” He figured that ‘high’ should’ve been ‘eye’, but wasn’t sure how Lowe’s fit into the conversation. I told him sorry, I didn’t have a clue! Oh. My. Goodness. All of this may not even be funny to anyone else, but it was a fun and funny moment for me.
Travis later sent me a message stating that he thought this would make for a good story.  Kudos to him for attempting to make his mom feel better.  I don’t know what I would do without my boys.
This little phone fiasco made me think about how often we either send the wrong message, or we’re simply misunderstood.
 
We always complain about technology, but people can certainly be complicated and difficult to operate, too! (Myself included.)
Life can be so mentally exhausting sometimes, can’t it? All that time that we basically waste trying to figure things and people out. Sometimes I just have to remind myself to STOP expecting this place to be like heaven.
 
One day….and perhaps it’s as soon as tomorrow, we will FINALLY get to be in a place where we won’t have to search for understanding anymore.  I praise God for that promise.
Revelation 21:3-5 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. “And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
That’s a message we can count on.

He’s My Rock.

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Driving down the road, and suddenly you wonder if you even checked to see if the light you just passed through was green. 

You’re having dinner with a friend,  and as they share details about something  they are experiencing (good or bad), your mind…..drifts….off…….

Sipping on your coffee, reading your devotions, and all of a sudden you realize that you just flipped through a couple pages and have NO clue what you just read….

Amazing how we can get SO consumed with thoughts about what happened yesterday, or about stuff we will be facing tomorrow, that we totally miss out on opportunities, lessons and blessings that are right there in front of us – today. 

Just had an amazing week in Leland, Michigan. It was as close to what I would consider a “spur of the moment”  vacation as you can get, and was one of the most relaxing weeks I’ve had in a very long time. A lot of time to think, and a perfect time to reflect.

Walked on the beach, listened to the waves, LISTENED to my husband (truth!), collected rocks, spent quality time with my brother-in-law and in-laws, took pictures, ate ice cream almost every night, gained 5 pounds, played with our nephew’s children, shopped, laughed, went boating, had a wonderful tour of the area by a local pastor and friend, and of course – watched the sun set.

The only thing that would’ve made the week a better one would have been if our three sons and our daughter-in-law could’ve been there, too.  Hopefully, next year….

One afternoon, we spent time on the beach with some family members and with some friends of the family. All the kids were collecting rocks on the beach. It was fun listening to them  as they pointed out their favorites.

 One 4-year-old (friend of the family), Julia, had me look through her collection, and we “oohed” and “awed” at the sparkly ones. PURE  fun. I even collected a few myself and made a shape of a heart in the sand with them. I loved that afternoon. It was like time stood still.

The last full day that we were there,  Mark and I ended up at another beach than the rest of the gang. Everyone was kind of doing their own thing, so we decided to go out on our own. We basically walked the beach, picked up a couple rocks and admired the view for the last time.

 Later that day, when we got back to the house, my mother-in-law (Dottie) told me that Julia had found a rock that she wanted me to have, so she had Dottie put it in her purse to bring back to me.  

As she pulled it out of her purse, I suddenly felt this HUGE lump in my throat when  I discovered that the rock was in the shape of a heart.  The ironic thing about it all is that I had found a heart shaped rock that same day, too, on another beach.

I have no doubt that this little girl had watched me make the heart out of my collection the day before. Sigh…We really have no idea who is watching us, do we?

Although she will probably never understand how much I appreciate her gift, I am going to be mailing her a thank you card with the rock I had discovered that same day. One act of kindness that taught me what it takes to be a good friend…to be a good wife….to be a loving follower of Christ….to be a good example. Love God, love others.

 “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.” ~ Psalm 139:1-4

My chains are gone…

Have you ever had a song that you LOVED, but didn’t know half the words? I remember loving it when this one song would come on the radio – years ago. Funny thing is – I had NO CLUE what the words were (other than “Chain, chain, cha-a-a-ain”), until today. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t even know the title.
 
“Chain of Fools”, by Aretha Franklin….
“Chain, chain, chain  (Chain, chain, chain)  
Chain…, chain, chain  (Chain, chain, chain)  
Chain of fools  
For five long years  
I thought you were my man  
But I found out  
I’m just a link in your chain  
You got me where you want me  
I ain’t nothin’ but your fool  
You treated me mean  
Oh you treated me cruel”
 
How can this song – one that has such a good beat, be filled with such a sad message? I am so grateful that we are meant to be  SO MUCH MORE than a weak link in someone’s chain/life.
Actually, there are probably many songs that I mumble through,  but THESE words I DO know….

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” ~ Galatians 5:1

“In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered by setting me free.” ~ Psalm 118:5

“I sought the LORD, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” ~Psalm 34:4

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

HE is the ONLY one who can set you free….

“My chains are gone, I’ve been set free
My God my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood, His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace. “ ~ “Amazing Grace” (Chris Tomlin)