Don’t you just love it when you hear a conversation that doesn’t involve you, but it stays with you for a long time? There were three eleven(ish) year old boys who were having swimming races across the pool. One of the boys would pretty much throw a fit every time because he never won.
Before their last race, the boys were next to us in the water. They were getting ready to start when one of them turned towards the one who had been so upset and said, “Listen, we all lose sometimes. I lose sometimes, and it’s ok! Just don’t be mad. THIS time lets say that everyone wins, ok?”
When they reached the other side, I heard the boy who actually won say, “We’re ALL winners!” – but out of another, “Yes, we are! But Jake still got there first.”
We are living in a world that wants to give everyone a trophy so no one feels left out. I can understand that when the awards are given to 2, 3, or maybe 4-year-old children. It’s not suppose to be about winning or being the best at that age, but more about learning to follow rules, have fun!, exercise, work as a team, and just learn the game. But for kids who are much older, I think it’s misleading. It’s confusing for everyone.
Listen, I am the worst when it comes to worrying that someone (especially a child) is going to feel left out or develop low self-esteem. I just hope that the direction we are heading doesn’t affect how people see their sin, their faith, and eternity – because God’s Word never changes.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter.” Matthew 7:21
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:23
It’s girls night out.
Mid afternoon you finally call your best friend to see what she’s wearing tonight because you have no idea what to wear. You don’t have a lot to choose from, but you don’t want to wear a dress when everyone else is wearing jeans. Or, you were thinking about wearing shorts, but you’re afraid that everyone else will be wearing a cute skirt or something else.
And what about the shoes? You have these new tennis shoes that you’re dying to wear. Even though they are the most comfortable shoes you have in your closet and your feet have been killing you, you’re worried that it might not be the right time or with the right crowd.
Isn’t amazing what we worry about? If other people could actually see all the things that we worry about that swirls around in our brain, they would probably be overwhelmed.
Hopefully your best friend would tell you to wear whatever you want – just be you, because that’s what she loves about you.
Be you – the person God created you to be.
Fifty-nine years ago today, a baby girl was born.
She was born to two people who were young and in love.
When she was little, she learned that you don’t always get what you want, like when her parents would slap her hands when she would reach for the hot stove. Her Heavenly Father would later teach her that everything she reaches for isn’t a good thing, but reminded her He would always be there to protect her.
Was her family perfect? Far from it. Was it dysfunctional? No doubt. But she learned from it and allowed it to help mold her into someone who loves and appreciates her imperfect family, imperfect friends, and her imperfect self.
God sprinkled friends throughout her life who helped teach her that God wasn’t some big, imaginary guy up in the sky. She learned that He created her, loved her, and he had a perfect plan – and her life would be good if only she would remember to look beyond her circumstances and trust her creator.
One day she went to college and met a wonderful guy. He wasn’t like anyone else she had dated. After a lot of talks about their faith, dreams and expectations, they tied the knot. Those early years were good. They were exciting, but they were a bit scary – not knowing what the future held. One thing she learned was this: “Always strive to give your spouse the very best of yourself; not what’s left over after you have given your best to everyone else.” ~ Dave Willis
Two years later, her dreams came true when she was blessed with a son. She was so in awe when he was being delivered that she didn’t even ask if it was a boy or a girl. When she saw those ten toes, it didn’t matter.
Eleven months later, she found out she was expecting another child, but sadly – the pregnancy ended early. It was a difficult season, but her faith brought her through it.
You can imagine how happy she was when she delivered another son – one year later. Knowing how it felt to lose one inside her, she knew not to take her children for granted.
Two years later, she had her third son. She tried to embrace every moment with her children, but life became very busy.
And in the blink of an eye..
After living in Indiana for 34 years, life took a twist and took her to another state. Away from family and her best friends.She was beyond grateful for her youngest son’s help during a time of transitions…
Her oldest son married the girl of his dreams.
And then a few years later, this happened. Pop Pop, MeMe, and a beautiful granddaughter.
After moving far away, she discovered that she missed those lifelong friendships. Many memories were packed away, so not every friend and moment is shared – but will always be kept in her heart like a buried treasure.
She loved watching her middle son marry the girl of his dreams…
and being together – even though it was for a short time.
59 and counting….
If you’ve ever suffered physically in some way from the heat, then you will be able to relate to this experience. You will most likely remember your details like it was yesterday because it’s scary, a bit embarrassing, and a good reminder to be prepared when you’re out in 90 degree temps.
My husband and I like to walk together for exercise. It has been 100 degrees with the heat index here, so we decided to walk on the beach yesterday morning. Getting your feet wet in the ocean and having that sea-breeze makes it bearable.
I’m not sure how far we walked, maybe 3 miles. After we finished, we sat on our beach towels for a while before heading back to our car. It was a beautiful day, but it was sizzling hot. Did I mention that we didn’t bring water?
Walking up the steps from the beach to the cross walk, my heart began to pound and my legs started to feel weak. As soon as I made it across the street, I plopped down on the grass and put my head down between my knees. It. Was. Awful. I wasn’t sure if I was going to pass out or lose my breakfast. Maybe both.
My husband was ahead of me, not realizing what was going on. Goodness, I couldn’t even look up. When I told him I needed water, he grabbed my towel and ran to the water spigots where others were washing off the sand.
The coolness on the back of my neck was definitely a step in the right direction, but I needed more. I needed water.
As you can imagine on a beautiful, sunny day – there were lots of people walking by me – all heading for a fun day at the beach. It became obvious that the last thing they wanted to do was stop to see if there was something they could do. Maybe they were afraid to get involved. Or maybe they thought they weren’t their brother’s keeper.
So, this fisherman was walking our way. He was carrying all his fishing gear and a cooler. If you’re a fisherman, you know how much stuff he was lugging! Wouldn’t you know, he stopped and asked if I needed water. Thank you, God!, for people who are willing to help. I just needed one. I held out my hand. After downing that water, I stayed put for a few minutes and was finally able to get up and walk to the car.
Listen, this story isn’t about me; it’s about the fisherman – someone who took the time to stop. My heart is overflowing with thankfulness for his act of kindness. I hope it inspires you to be like him, and not all the others who were too busy with life to stop.
I’m one of those people who tends to hold things in. I’ve worked on this lately – especially the past 6 or so years. I’m improving, but I still struggle with it.
There’s nothing worse than that moment when you feel those emotions surface when you least expect them to…. and then they explode all over the people around you. You don’t even see it coming. If you’re one of those type of people who are very good at expressing your feelings, you won’t understand. Believe me, it surprises me as much as it does the person who witnesses it!
So, that unexpected moment happened this weekend. It came at the worst time. Before I knew it – words that I regretted came out of my mouth. As you know, you can’t click a delete button and make it all disappear.
Here’s part of my story. My brother lives states away from me. He is seven years younger than I am, single, happy in so many ways, struggling, and is mentally challenged. Our parents are both gone, so I am the only family he has. When he needs money, I’m his go-to, not that I have a lot to give.
I don’t mind helping, but what hurts is that he only calls or sends text messages when he needs help. No “Hi, Teri! How are you?” It starts out with a hint:
HIS TEXT: 60 dollars is a lot of money.
MINE: What do you mean? What for?
HIS: I need grocery money.
MINE: When do you get paid?
HIS: 1 week. I don’t have any food.
HIS: I went to Alabama with a friend last week. It was fun!
MINE: Do you think that was a good idea since money is so tight?
HIS: But I didn’t drive.
This is when I want to go into parent mode and remind him that he doesn’t get paid when he takes a vacation, but I stopped doing so because it just doesn’t work with him. When I do, he gets angry, calls me names, and then blocks me from responding. Beyond frustrating.
He loves me and acts like life is good when he gets the answer he wants, but I’m the scum of the earth when I can’t. No exaggeration. I’ve had strangers call me because he has told them I won’t help – then gives them my number. Ugh!
When we went to church last night, something that was mentioned during worship made me think about how often I talk to God like my brother talks to me. Very humbling. I don’t call God names or block him, but my attitude and emotions reveal how selfish I can be when I don’t get the answer I want – when I want it. Sometimes I go to him, asking and asking – forgetting to start my conversation by telling him how much I love him, adore him, and how grateful I am that I have him in my life. All of those things said are true, so why don’t I say them?
When’s the last time you told someone how much he or she means to you? Or, sent up a prayer, just to say I love you? Bonus: Without expecting anything in return.
As far as keeping my emotions buried deal, I’m a work in progress. Aren’t we all? If you struggle with the same thing, don’t give up. Don’t use the excuse that you have to be strong. There isn’t a good excuse, really. Burying them just delays dealing with them.
P.S. I love you, but God loves you more.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness. I say to myself. “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” ~Lamentations 3:22-24
I came downstairs to look for my husband, and since I couldn’t find him – I assumed he was out running. He’s so good about sticking with his routine.
Not long after I grabbed my morning mojo and sat down to watch the news, my hubs walked in with a box of delicious doughnuts. I normally don’t like surprises, but I like little ones like this. 🙂
For me, it’s always the little things.
Makes my day when I get a call (yes, people do still talk on the phone!) from family or a friend who lives far away. I always have to stop what I’m doing when I see a sunrise, sunset, or the beauty that fall brings.
Can’t forget to mention the countless times I’ve opened up my devotional and realized the message was meant for me. Like today.
So, what makes your day?
Do you have that one thing that you’re afraid to admit you’ve never done? I mean like something that even your closest friends assume you’ve done because they know you know it’s important. (Voted, had flu shots, immunizations, your teeth cleaned – to name a few)
Let me give you a little background so that this all makes sense.
I am a Christian. I wasn’t brought up in a family that went to church (well, we did go one time and I remember it like yesterday!) and we never really had discussions about God – not that they didn’t believe. God wasn’t something we talked about – like politics.
When I went to college, my eyes were opened to a whole new world – independence and a campus full of people who were ready to express their feelings or thoughts. So different from the family I grew up in.
That’s when I became a true follower of Jesus – not because someone talked me into it, but because I felt something change in my soul. And 40 years later, I’m doing the same.
Here’s the thing…For a Christian, the Bible is the instructional guide, so it’s pretty important that we read it. I have tried to read the entire Bible over the years, but would give up because I would catch myself thinking, ‘what on earth did that mean?’ – especially when reading something in the Old Testament. Some of it is so confusing. If you’ve read any of it, then you know what I mean.
A few years ago, a friend was talking about another friend of hers and how dedicated she was to her faith and how she had read the Bible from beginning to end. Just out of curiosity she asked if I had read it all. My reply was, “Umm, not all of it – but I do read it!”
About two months ago, another friend asked me if I had read it all. Honestly, I wanted to lie, but I didn’t. Again, they were asking out of curiosity. I’ve never been one to think you’re going to go to Hell because you haven’t, but I started to realize I was missing out on something. Something good.
This summer I was in Indiana for about a month. I went to church with my son, and wouldn’t you know – the sermon was focused on reading God’s Word and why believers should even want to. It wasn’t a message that condemned people for not reading it (as in all), but revealed all the reasons why we should want to- rather than pick and choose what we think we need to learn.
Because of that sermon, I am on week 4 of my commitment to reading God’s Word – all the way through. If you have struggled with reading it a well, I encourage you to do 3 things:
- Pray – for the desire, commitment, and for understanding
- Use a Bible App (I use YouVersion)
- Use a commentary for those times when you get stuck and don’t understand a word you just read.
You will be so thankful that you took the time. It will make a difference.
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4
“Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” 2 Timothy 2:7
I am a mom to 3 sons.
Although they are adults now, I can’t help but think back to the days when I would have to tell one of them (or all 3 of them at the same time, which was the WORST!) why they couldn’t go outside without a winter coat on, play one more game of football or basketball with the kids down the street, play one more video game, or about a million other things they didn’t want to stop doing throughout their growing years.
Some of those talks were easy, and some – not so much.
What stands out most (in my memory) is when they would go on and on – giving their 2 cents worth why it would be ok to continue doing whatever it was. I admit, there were times when I would give-in because I could see their point. But then, there were those countless times when I was worn down to the core and tired of trying to explain why – I would catch myself saying what I hated hearing my parents say when I would protest, “No! Because I said so!”
So, you’re probably wondering what on earth would make me think about this today?
There is something I’ve been praying about for a long time. (If you don’t believe in God or maybe do – but don’t really pray about things, I think you can still relate to wanting something so badly or hoping for something to change! And, on top of that – thinking about it every. single. day.)
I’m not going to share the specifics here, but the fact is – this one thing that I’ve prayed about hasn’t happened. Sometimes I feel like I’m a kid again – pleading my case in my prayers – giving all the reasons why He should let me have what I want.
Believe me, I know what I would say if someone else wrote that last sentence. I know it’s not about what we want. I know we should pray for HIS will. I realize the universe doesn’t revolve around me. I know, I know!
How do you know when you should accept things as they are….. as your answer?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteousness…” ~ Matt. 5:43-45
When I woke up this morning, I saw the most beautiful sunrise that I’ve seen in a long time. Unlike any other time in my life, I didn’t take the time to reach for my phone to snap a pic.
Before I knew it, tears started streaming down my cheeks. Like many of you, I thought about all of those innocent people who were killed on 9 – 11. I thought about their families, friends, first responders and co-workers who are still dealing with so much pain – today and forever.
I can’t help but feel angry as I know most Americans are and probably always will.
And then I thought about those people who attacked us, and I prayed for their families as well. Human nature makes us want to hate, but if you believe in God you know he instructs us to do otherwise – even when it’s the last thing we want to do.
I prayed for the people who are considered to be our enemy because I know prayer works. I highlighted the word ‘people’ because that’s what they are. It’s almost hard to believe, but they have a beating heart like you and I. The difference is – they were raised in a place where they weren’t exposed to the love of God or didn’t experience what it’s like to strive to love all people. I believe that God has the power to change anyone, don’t you?
I know some might argue that you have to want to change, so why waste your time? I agree – and that’s the same for you and me. Many of us have been exposed to the gospel, yet we still choose to turn our backs to the one who loves us more than anyone. Maybe we don’t go out and kill, but we certainly don’t care about breaking every other commandment that hurts not only our self, but others as well.
And then, when we are attacked in some way – we wonder where God is…
“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.” ~ 1 Tim. 2:1-3
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Col. 4:2
“Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.” ~ Karen Salmonsohn