Sunday, January 31, 2010
Day 22 – It has been a full but blessed weekend. God seems to show up at every corner and I am so blessed to truly see that instead of thinking it is a coincidence.
My mile has become routine now that I have been doing it for over 21 days. I look forward to that time with God and definitely feel like it is missing when I don't get to it until the end of the day. I'm grateful that God is with me for more than just that mile a day as well.
So, what I wanted to share with you today is something funny that I heard at church today. How often do we ask for something from God? My guess is that it is probably pretty often. Our pastor talked about how we are often asking for something rather than giving thanks for that gift he gave us so willingly. When someone gives you a gift, you typically remember it very well and are very thankful. And yet, God gave us the greatest gift there is. The pastor joked about how you wouldn't go straight to a friend and say, "Hey, can I have your truck?" Normally, you work that into the conversation and are thankful for the little things before asking. Shouldn't we also go to God EVERY time and be thankful for that one true gift before asking him for something else that will pale in comparison?
May you feel as blessed as I do today.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Day 21 – I am finally sitting down and trying to reflect on my day. Saturdays seem to be a day of taxi driving from one thing to another. Today, I had to go to my middle daughter's basketball game which was an hour away. By the time I picked up my son from Cub Scouts, I had just enough time to get to her game on time. I was all excited as I plugged the name of the place into my GPS. Now let me say that it was a GOOD thing that Hope rode the team bus.
We started our trek and got close. We were about 5 minutes from game time when we got to the YMCA where it was to be held. It said Meyers YMCA. However, I didn't see the bus. I saw that there had been another address for a Meyers YMCA and it was only a mile away so we ran down there only to find that it was a YMCA daycare. So, we trekked back to that YMCA. We got out of the car and ran in thinking we would just miss the tip. WRONG! We talked to the woman behind the desk and it wasn't the Meyers Lake YMCA. She gave us the address and off we ran back to the car. I plugged the address into my GPS but it kept taking us to a different street. We got to that general location and didn't see this other supposed YMCA. Where was it??!! Finally, on a fluke, I typed it in as Myers Lake YMCA and it came up and we found it almost 45 minutes late. We walked in at the end of the 3rd quarter and I felt like quite the heel of a mother. To top it off, on the outside of the building, it said Meyers Lake YMCA spelled the way I originally typed it.
How often we are on a path we think is to the right place and when we get there – clearly we are a little lost? Things aren't always what they seem. We may set off in a direction that we feel is right but it isn't what God had in store for us. God blesses us with so much and yet we often feel the need to take the wheel and drive where we want to go instead of waiting on God's direction. It sounds so simple but control feels so much easier at times. The truth is that it just ends up taking us twice as long to get to our destination because God is still going to get us to His destination instead of the one where we went.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says: 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight
I pray that I can just trust the Lord and let Him lead rather than me taking a wrong turn and ending up in the wrong place.
Friday, January 29, 2010
As I was doing my mile, I kept remembering two things. First, our mouths can be wonderful or horrible things. Proverbs 13:3 says: 3 He who guards his lips guards his life,
but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
I do not want to go on about this any longer. I know that I handled it in the way that it needed. I do not want to say nasty things about what happened or who said things. It does not serve anyone but Satan and then no one wins.
The second thing I am keeping my mind and heart on are that sometimes we don’t see the rewards here or justice here because this is a fallen world. Acts 17:31 says: 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
My mother always did say, if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say it at all….so here it goes……………………………………………………………………….
Thank you Lord - Amen
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Day 19 – The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind. We selected the cast for the play and are praying over those selections. What a blessing and how God completely made certain parts clear. However, the last 24 hours have been a true test of character.
I really cannot go into great detail except to say that I have been up for the better part of the last 24 hours. No, I was not worried. I was angry. Yes, I do realize that we should not let the sun go down on our anger but it was inevitable due to the circumstances. I really don't mean to be cryptic here but I do not want to give away everything because I would NEVER want it to be misunderstood as gossip. I woke at 2am and just could not sleep. I kept hashing and rehashing everything that had happened to one of my children and trying to understand if I was justified in what I was feeling. Was I just wanting to protect my baby chick or was I correct in feeling anger. I sat reading my Bible for a few hours just to focus on Jesus and to calm my heart. So, since I can't give you more information than that, what I do want to focus on is the types of anger we can have.
We have righteous anger and unrighteous anger. So, which one was I feeling?! Both. Unrighteous anger is usually referred to as self-righteous anger. It is an anger that wells up inside of you but only furthers your own personal mission. Righteous anger is anger that God demands that we have in circumstances where God is not being honored or others are being dishonored using His name. The characteristics of righteous anger are:
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Day 18 – Well, I am finally on the mend. Woohoo!!! Very excited about that! It is funny how you don't appreciate how wonderful your health is until you don't have it for a short time. Anyway, it has been a long day today.
I have been blessed with running a wonderful Drama Club at a local Christian school. I always look forward to our productions as we do two a year. We usually do some simple ones at Christmas and a very large musical for the spring. I love working with the kids and enjoy watching them grow in their abilities. It is ALWAYS difficult to cast but it usually falls into place by process of elimination. We are doing The Wizard of Oz this spring and almost NOTHING is clear as to who should have what part. Every part is down to two or three people as contenders. I always include everyone which is some 55 people this time. I want them to learn but inevitably I will have to choose just one for each part and let other people down. It is so difficult not to take it personally when you don't get a part. I can only imagine the lovely things the children have said about me along the way. Sadly, I have heard many of the comments. They love me and hate me all at the same time but ultimately, I decide their fate if they made it or didn't.
As I am regaining some strength, I am able to go further in my miles and am grateful to be getting back to full speed. I just kept thinking today that I am so grateful that God doesn't have to choose between us. He gives us ALL the opportunity to come to Him. He doesn't hand select who can and can't get a part so to speak. We might be the worst possible candidate and yet He still wants us to be with Him. What an incredible and awesome blessing we have. It makes all these earthly choices pale in comparison. My drama kids are devastated if they don't get the part they want or feel hurt if I didn't select them to do something special. Can you imagine if we had to tryout for God? We would all get cut because we wouldn't measure up. Yet, he still gives all of us the opportunity to have the part. How awesome is that!
Ephesians 1:3-14 says:
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Day 17 – What if you knew about the day you were going to die? I know, it is an odd way to start this today. However, what if you knew the amount of days that you had to live? I was seriously considering this as I was thinking about how I only have 83 days left to do my assignment. Not that I am planning on dying in that time but the question came up in my heart and mind about how I would live my life differently if I only had 83 days to live.
That really causes you to stop and wonder if anything would be different. I think the things that we fight about, the really stupid things, would just disappear. I think I would spend more quality time with the kids, maybe even pull them out of school for a short time and just love on them. I would share my heart with people, apologize for my wrongs, and just focus on going home to be with Jesus. So, why don't we live our lives like our days are numbered?
I know we can all answer that. I have worked with youth for a long time and the one thing that they believe they are is invincible. Nothing can harm them. I've seen too much to believe that any longer but even as adults we still don't lead our lives like that. I've seen children die for various reasons stretching from disease to accidents. Clearly life is unexpected. We all say that we only have today but we still don't even live today like it could be the last. Most of us spend our days either at a job or working at home and fill our time with errands and a little bit of time with family or friends if it fits into the schedule.
So, I ask you – how would you lead your life differently if you only had 83 days left to live? Would you spend your time arguing over idiotic things or being angry that something didn't go your way? How would you spend your days?
Ephesians 5:14-17 says:
"Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."
Monday, January 25, 2010
Day 16 – There are days when just utter exhaustion sets in and today is one of those days. I slept very little last night due to a really bad head cold. I woke up knowing that I had a lot to do today in preparation for the Drama Club that I direct. We had auditions today for The Wizard of Oz. After prep and meeting with my awesome team, I felt ready to face auditions with a smile.
Approximately 50 children showed up with nervous but smiling faces. They sang and they acted. If that wasn't enough, then we had a parent meeting to follow. After it was all done, I got in my car and felt my body just say it was done for the day. I sat thinking through my day and realized I had not done my mile yet and I put my head down knowing how crummy I felt.
After I got home and ate dinner, I decided to go ahead and do my mile. The mile was fine but it made me reflect. I know, what else is new?! It made me think about how even when we don't feel like doing something or going somewhere, God still shows up. Even when we are too side tracked or ill or whatever the reason may be, He doesn't take time off. As per His usual style, He showed up to help me get through my mile without too much difficulty. He's always there…and I'm glad I found just enough energy to go meet Him there.
Hebrews 12:2-3 says:
2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
So, while my body is definitely weary tonight, my heart is ready to run a marathon with God as I know He will always show up to the race.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Day 15 – Have you ever let someone down or felt like such a disappointment? I remember growing up feeling like all I could do was disappoint my dad. I know he didn't mean for things to come across this way, but he would usually focus on the negative aspects instead of giving positive feedback. Or, maybe all I heard was the negative. Very difficult to look back and see clearly without glasses and a magnifying glass. It broke my heart to disappoint him because I loved him so very much. He had such a disappointing childhood due to the difficulties with his parents that I didn't want to be yet another source of pain for him.
You would think that situation would deter me from ever wanting to disappoint another person and yet I seem to do it on a daily basis. I know I am not perfect and often lead a life where sin creeps in no matter how hard I try to keep it at bay. Satan is far craftier than we ever seem to think. Furthermore, we continue to make the same mistakes.
I did my mile early today as I have been struggling with a severe migraine for the last 24 hours. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do the mile later so I did it as early as possible. I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to write about until an argument ensued with my husband. It came through loud and clear due to the verse that had come across my path earlier. "[Doing Good to All] Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted."- Galatians 6:1
When someone gets mad at you or they are disappointed with you, don't you just want to beat the crap out of them? Part of that is the fight or flight aspect of hurt. We either want to fight back or flee and walk away. As my husband was sharing some of his heart, it took everything I had to not fling a boulder or two back. I'm trying to just accept how I have hurt him in one way or another and try to hear how God wants me to change. Truth is – I am just disappointing and hurting my father yet again…only it is my heavenly father.
So, while my head has been hurting, my heart is also hurting a tremendous amount. That is the kind that only God can heal. While I was struggling with my migraine last night, the pain grew to such a level; all I could do was cry and suffer in the dark. I know that God was with me but it was hard not to feel alone. I can only imagine the pain and hurt that Jesus felt because of my own personal sin that he took to the cross with him. I know that my hurt and sadness are only a drop in the bucket compared to what I put upon Him. All I can do is accept where I have hurt others and where I might be sinning and continue to keep my eyes on Jesus in effort to be more like Him.
Where is it that Jesus is calling you to hear him and maybe change?
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Day 14 – There are some days when my heart is not fully into reading the Word or I try to get it done as quickly as possible. However, there are other days when for one reason or another, every obstacle gets in my path. Those are the days when I know I need to push through and hear what God has to say. The Bible passage that was put in my path today was:
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."- James 1:5
After I did my mile, I went to further look up that passage, and the verses before it say: 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Haha…guess God needed me to hear about persevering today as I am facing several trials in life. I know this is going to be an ongoing message throughout all of our lives. How are you being tested and are you clinging to God or trying to get through it as quickly as possible?
God finds ways to get His message through even when we try not to hear it. I know that in order to get through these trials, I will need to grip tightly to Him and His living and breathing Word. I pray that you do the same.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Day 13 – I have avoided this issue but it was thrown in my face today. How often have you prayed something and God has said a resounding NO? Those are the days I just want to bury my head in the sand and say that I give up.
Today and yesterday, both of my daughters struggled with answers of "No" and to similar things. They each tried out for the play, "Annie". They are both good singers and dancers but unfortunately, come from two rather tall parents. "Annie" is the story of an orphan who is 11 and she lives in an orphanage where there are other children her age. Therefore, my daughter, Hope, who is 5'7" is too tall to be a child even though she, herself is only 12. My other daughter, Grace, is 5'4 ½ "which again makes her a rather tall orphan. She had her heart set on getting the role of Annie. She has thought of nothing else since May. Tryouts started and then the callback list came out. Grace got a callback and Hope did not. Heartbreak number one came for Hope. She had realized her dream of being an orphan was probably dashed by the fact that she was just too tall. Then, Grace went to callbacks today and never got a chance to sing for the part of Annie. They decided to call 4 to stay after the regular orphan readings and she was not one of them. It was clearly the 4 that they were considering for Annie. Grace was the tallest out of the 15 orphans that they called in the first place. She just wanted a chance to sing so that they could choose based on the best voice. She prayed and prayed since May and the answer was still, no. Her heart broke and I saw my very confident daughter just try to pick her head out of the sand and try not to just give up.
While that is minor in the grand scheme of life, it is very telling. We sometimes miss the point when we are asking the questions of God. What is His will isn't always what we want. He wants us to be more like Him. Colossians 3:10 says: 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
He also wants to grow our faith in Him. He sometimes tests us to see if we will still believe even when the answer is no. Hebrews 11:6 says: 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
There are times when we need to mature and understand the great aspect of how He is blessing us before we can truly receive what He has to give.
The biggest thing that I have learned over time is that if we operated on my timing, I would have missed out on some HUGE God moments in my life. His timing is perfect! Sometimes when we ask a question, He might have something better in store for us.
Finally, both selfishness and unconfessed sin have a way of blocking us from seeing answers to prayer. If it is all about us, God will find a way to knock us off our feet and wake us up a little.
During my mile today, I was still cramping in my stomach from the virus I caught from my daughter. It was painful but not as painful as knowing there was nothing I could do for my girls and their broken hearts. All I can do is comfort them, turn them to scripture and pray.
I, too, have a prayer that I have been told to wait on for a number of years. It is difficult to wait or hear a no because we cannot see the big picture. I know that God is painting a masterpiece in the background but all I can see from time to time is the little dots like you see in an Impressionism painting. It looks like a total mess up close but when you stand back and see the whole picture, you see the bigger plan or overall beauty involved.
God doesn't want us to hurt. He wants us to grow closer to Him and the best thing I can pray is that this experience this week for my daughters will have them clinging to Him instead of being angry.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Day 12 – Today's mile was excruciating as I managed to catch what my daughter Hope had the other day. I am so very sick but I made a commitment to God to do at least a mile. Not to worry, I took it very slow and am grateful it is done!
My mile lesson today came from my son, Daniel. He was telling me about his day and how two of his friends have been fighting and refuse to talk to one another. He has pleaded with each one of them separately to give the other one a chance. He decided to write a note to one of them and share about how God gives us second chances and shouldn't we strive to be like God. The one boy said to him, "But I'm not God!" Daniel said, "No, you aren't but just like Jonah got a second chance in the whale – we, too should give others a second chance." The boys decided to talk and all was well. How fun to learn the lesson through my 10 year old son that God is the God of second chances and not only that – but we need to do the same for others. I know that I have shared about God giving us a second chance before but the fact that Daniel went out of his way to make sure others were living a Godly life was what impressed me.
"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."- Galatians 6:7-8
How often do we sit back and watch things happen because we don't think we can effect change?! Truth is, we can at any point. If we go to someone with a pure heart and wanting to please God, He will see that through for good. Where is God asking you to give a second chance?
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Day 11 – There are days, weeks, months and even years where we will face trials or crisis. It has been said that our lives center on crisis. If we are not in the middle of a crisis, then we are either heading into one or just coming out of one. The blessing is knowing that if we have God at the center of our lives, we will always have a way through the crisis.
I have recently been facing a number of trials and temptations and the most minor one actually makes me laugh. I am truly addicted to coffee. I'm not sure when it happened exactly because I was completely off caffeine and coffee from January through July. Is there such thing as falling off the coffee wagon? I suppose there is because I am sitting in the coffee grounds and realizing how much I need it. I really don't even drink that much coffee. I have weaned myself down to 1 cup of half decaf and half caf. However, as I try to completely stop, I get this nasty headache. I'm sure you have all been through it. I went through it once before when I got pregnant for the first time. I went through three days of solid torture so that I didn't need caffeine. In the grand scheme of things, this really isn't that huge of an addiction but it is clearly an issue if I "need" it. I don't want that!
Imagine what your life would be like if you just craved God's word like you do to something like caffeine or something more. It would be vastly different I imagine. I do crave the time with God and look forward to every moment with Him whether I am alone or not.
The truth is I am facing more difficult trials than just caffeine but it really isn't any different. Why does it usually take a trial or temptation to get us to turn to God in a more serious way? I kid you not; Satan is doing his best to make sure I do not have my mile a day with God. I actually am looking forward to facing my future trials with God because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I keep my eyes, heart and mind on Jesus – it will all be for His glory anyway.
I have a dear friend that has a serious disease and she is in pain probably 99% of the time. She uses every opportunity to witness to someone along the way whether to someone receiving an IV next to her or to the doctor or nurse giving her care. That is exactly how I want to lead my life – with God showing – not me. Not only is she centered on God but grows closer to God by the day as her faith is tested.
James 1:2-3 says:
"[Trials and Temptations] Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."- James 1:2-3
Let us lead our lives in such a way that every moment is centered on Christ instead of waiting for the trial, temptation or test.
Where are you being tested or tempted ?
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Day 10 – It was a Mack Truck kind of a day. Those are the days where you feel like you have been run over by a Mack truck and you swear they decided to not only run over you but back up and do it again.
My day started at 1:30 AM when my middle daughter, Hope (almost 13), came into my room and said she wasn't feeling very well. I was half awake but talked her through it and told her to come wake me if she ended up throwing up. About a half hour or so went by and I had a knock on the door. Hope had gotten sick. I talked her through it and helped her compose herself and told her to come wake me if she got sick again. This went on and on all night almost every hour on the hour. The poor thing was so sick and there was nothing I could really do for her. By the time 10 AM rolled around, I knew that she was beyond dehydrated and I waffled back and forth about taking her into the doctor knowing full well it was probably a virus. However, this is my child who is rarely sick and she was so dehydrated that I knew I needed to probably do something.
We got to urgent care and the waiting room was standing room only. There were so many people and Hope was in massive pain. Each minute ticked by in endless fashion. We saw person after person get called back and she was just trying to hold it together long enough not to get sick in the waiting room. I don't know about you, but those waits seem infinite. Furthermore, as a parent, I felt helpless as I wanted help for my daughter immediately. I kept telling her to pray through it as I was sitting there trying to do the same. Thankfully, a friend of mine came and entertained Hope and helped to take Hope's mind off what seemed to be taking forever.
We did finally go back to the illustrious back area of the hospital where Hope promptly tossed her cookies one last time. Finally, we were seen by the doctor. Hope desperately needed an IV along with anti-nausea medicine. She went through two bags and still had not expelled anything. They let us go home after our 4 hour adventure. However, the moment I got home I had to turn around and go to my own appointment at the doctors where I promptly had to sit and wait my turn. Again, minutes seemed like hours especially since I was tired. Truth is, they were very quick today. I had some blood work done and get to….you guessed it….wait some more for the results.
I can't think of too many lines or waits that are enjoyable. Maybe the amusement park like I mentioned before but even those lines can have endless components to them. We can't even wait for food at a restaurant – why do you think fast food is so popular?! We want what we want when we want it including answers to anything. That's why we are obsessed with the internet and being connected. Answers are at our fingertips 24/7. I bet if most of us could e-mail or text God – we probably would.
That's not what God asked us to do. There are moments when we need to wait for His timing and for His perfect will. Oh man, that is so difficult to do sometimes. Today was definitely a day of waiting and a clear reminder that we need to wait on the Lord and not preempt Him. He knows what He is doing and does not need us stepping in to fix everything or give answers where he hasn't answered. I will be honest – waiting is probably one of the hardest things for me personally. But the reminder today was about how special the prize is when we do wait. We truly may miss out on a blessing if we step in before God wants us to have a real answer. He will work all things for good but we may miss something special along the way when we do not wait.
These few verses popped out today as I was doing my mile and I wanted to share them with you. Maybe we can wait together…
Lamentations 3: 23-24
to the one who seeks him;
for the salvation of the LORD
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Day 9 – Do you remember being scared of anything when you were little? I remember being scared of the dark and of things lurking under my bed. It was a completely irrational fear because I could see clearly that there was nothing under my bed or in my closet before my mom left the room. Why suddenly was there fear when the lights went out? My fear grew so out of control that after my mom would leave the room, I would run over to my closet, open the door and turn on the light and leave it on all night. That doesn't sound like a big deal but when the light burned out due to overuse, it had fried itself into the socket and I had to fess up to leaving my light on all night every night. My dad promptly told me how irrational I was being and I had to learn to pray through the dark.
How often do we have fears even as adults that are completely irrational?! We stress and panic over so many things when God clearly tells us in Matthew 6:34:
34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Why do we consume ourselves with worry when God clearly commands us not to?
It was about four years ago that my husband came to me and said he and four other guys were going to leave their big corporate jobs and start their own business. I will be honest, I was very scared. I wasn't sure where each paycheck was going to come from and there were some weeks when it didn't come through. I had quit my higher paying job to move to one that was serving God at minimal pay. Every day, week and month was a stretch to just trust that God would provide. You know what? He did – EVERY time! It was such a blessing to just trust God and learn how He would hold us in the palm of his hands.
It is always going to be stretch to trust that which we cannot see, but if we truly believe – then shouldn't we lead our lives in such a way to honor and trust God?!
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says: 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
He wants to see us through the difficult times and show us His glory. Therefore, my brothers and sisters in Christ, do not lose heart! God is watching over you and while life will throw you difficult times, we are building a great life of eternal glory. We cannot see it now, but it has been promised and God ALWAYS comes through.
In what part of your life do you need to trust God and you are having a difficult time?
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Day 8 – Have you ever bought a box of off brand macaroni and cheese? It just does not taste the same. I'm not really sure what Kraft puts in their mac 'n' cheese but I have not tasted a good substitute. It isn't for a lack of trying different types. Yes, I realize that box macaroni and cheese is not real macaroni and cheese but you get my drift. I have even compared labels of macaroni and cheese boxes and it will look identical. However, they taste completely different and well; there truly just isn't a substitute.
I have been shopping at Aldi lately, an off brand discount grocery store. It is so much cheaper but if you don't pay attention to the labels, you might end up buying a box full of something you hadn't planned. For example, if you buy a box of cereal, it might have twice the amount of sugar or fat as the original brand. For the most part though, you can trust that the produce and other general items are exactly the same.
It made me stop and think about how there are people all around us who come in different shapes and sizes and backgrounds – packages if you will (to continue my grocery analogy). When we meet them and they tell us their background, we must trust that what they are saying is true and take it at face value. Just like reading the label on an item we eat…we trust what the label says is correct. However, when we go to eat our food, it might taste completely different. Or, when we get to know the inside of a person, we might see something completely unusual that doesn't match the packaging.
While I was doing my mile today, I was reflecting on a situation that happened at Bible Study this week. There was a woman who showed up and was handing out flyers. It was a flyer to promote her speaking business. Although I thought it was odd, I was intrigued because I, too, am a speaker and wanted to see about what topics she was speaking as well as how she was promoting her business. I didn't know she was brand new at Bible Study. She kept commenting about how she helps women in their walk with God. Again, it sounded good. Then, after we broke up into smaller groups for discussion about our study, she asked a very serious question. She asked if all of the little details in the Bible were really that important. Let's just say that if a huge police siren could have been going off, it was in my head. It made me realize that her depth just wasn't there. While she believed in God, she was missing the big ingredients that make it soooo juicy and inviting. I pray that she finds the right mentors in her life to help nurture that desire in her heart to learn more about God. I am also extremely grateful that those huge red sirens go off in my head because it makes me realize that God was right when he said, they will know us by our love. It also made me realize how VERY important it is to be careful of those who say they believe or that are teaching the word. He says in Matthew 7: 15-20
15"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Be careful what you believe in without checking the word. Check the label so to speak and make sure that your sirens are not going off showing you something false.
Where does God try to help you see and hear the sirens?
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Today, during my mile, I kept thinking about my day. I spent the day being a mom and having my heart ache and stretch for my children. My son had the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby today and came in fourth – literally a hair short of qualifying for the finals. He was crushed and there was nothing I could do for him. My oldest daughter got to play during the JV game and all I could do is sit helpless in the stands hoping that she would do well and wouldn’t be pulled out of the game. It’s what I like to refer to as fingerprints in the dashboard moments. Let me explain…
When my parents were teaching my brother and I to drive, my mom would always grip the dashboard and grit her teeth with audible sounds. She would grip that dashboard so hard; we swore she left her fingerprints behind. I can’t imagine how helpless she felt.
Today was like that. I found myself gripping my coat tighter and tighter the more helpless I felt. I guess I primarily keep reflecting on how God looks in and while He CAN step in and help us…I’m sure, because he is our father, there are moments when he feels a bit helpless. After all, He gave us free will and with that comes those fingerprints in the dashboard moments.
John 15:7 says:
7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
We are given choice to follow or accept Him and He will not force us to follow what He asks. It has to be a daily choice. Even today, someone asked if I had to do my mile. I said, “No, I don’t have to – but I want to follow through on my commitment to God.”
So, while I have nothing super profound to say, God made it clear to me how difficult his role as father truly can be. The desire to see your child do their best and know that there is only so much you can do to help them.
What is He showing you today?
Friday, January 15, 2010
Day 6 – Ok, today was definitely one of those days where each minute and every step seemed endless. I can truly only blame myself. I ran myself ragged and then expected to have a flawless workout like many of the other days. And if that wasn't bad enough, I have been eating so well this week. I have been eating so many fruits and veggies and then we went out to dinner tonight. I had been eating so well and I thought to myself, "Self – you have been eating well – one meal won't hurt." HAHAHAHAHA I ate a burger and onion rings. While it tasted good, I am paying the price now. I instantly felt tired after eating and it made my later workout seem beyond endless.
How often do we put ourselves in situations where we think we will be ok because we are normally good? It can truly be something as simple as food, but usually we put ourselves in situations with money, people, or places where maybe we shouldn't be. What I keep reminding myself is that this is a marathon and not a sprint. This journey we are on is more than 100 days – it is our lives and how God wants us to live. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says:
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I'm going to assume for the sake of argument that you have been to an amusement park. For me, up until the age of 23, I loved every second at the amusement park. Eating food that should probably be banned in most countries, standing in line, riding the rides, wading through the crowds and being sad when it turned to nightfall because that meant it was time to go home.
I will never forget my first major roller coaster. I was 8 and beyond tall for my age. My family lived in Virginia so we had our pick of Kings Dominion which was 25 minutes away or Busch Gardens which was a little more than an hour away. My parents loved Busch Gardens because they could go to the shows while my brother, who is 6 years older, and I went and rode rides. When you walk into Busch Gardens, you can see the Lochness Monster roller coaster. It was massive and had two upside down loops in it. I truly thought I was ready for such an adventure. My brother was beyond convincing that I would be fine and off we went to stand in line. It had to be a hot day, or at least that's what I remember about almost EVERY trip to any amusement park. It was like a rule that you had to stand in ridiculously long lines in 98 degree heat or it wouldn't be a true experience. As we were standing in line, I ran the gamut of emotions from being super excited about my first major coaster to wanting to throw up. Who knows how long we stood in line but it truly seemed like forever. We got to the front of the line and the next train of cars would be ours. I looked at my brother and promptly told him that I was NOT going on. Just then, the cars pulled up. The gate opened, he pushed me forward and said, "You're going!" I guess he didn't want me to miss out on so much fun…or maybe he was just ticked enough at me that we had waited so long in line. I sat down, and pulled down the enormous bar and my legs were shaking. I was terrified and excited all at the same time. We got the thumbs up and off we went. The anticipation up that first hill about killed me and I'm surprised that I held it together. As soon as we reached the top, I saw the cars in front of us starting to go down the hill and I held on for dear life and just screamed. When we got to the end of the ride, I looked at my brother and said, "Let's go again!" He rolled his eyes and laughed.
It is funny to look back. Years later, I was on that same roller coaster and we got stopped halfway up that first hill due to some malfunction. We all had to walk down the tiny stairs that are attached to the track. That was by far, much scarier than the actual ride.
The experience that took me away from my roller coaster days was at Kings Dominion when I was 23. I had taken a group of youth and they knew how much I loved roller coasters. We decided to try this new one that was inside and in the dark. It went from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds and you could not see anything (hence the dark). We whipped around 3 corners right in a row and it knocked my head so hard that I almost blacked out. It was all I could do to get through the rest of the ride. I was so sick afterwards and clearly had a serious concussion and I was just doing my best to keep the youth from knowing that I was seriously hurt. I didn't ride another ride the rest of the day. Now, I minimize how many coasters I go on because the equilibrium has never been the same since. (pout pout) I truly miss riding them non-stop.
I bring up the roller coaster experiences because many people refer to life as a roller coaster. While I agree that life can have ups and downs, I would say that life is more like an amusement park. There are times when you will stand in line and await with anticipation. There are times when you are going to be strapped into a ride where you cannot get off and when you finally do, you might say, "Let's do that again…" or maybe you will say, "Never again". Then there will be times when you will need to have a map to know where you are going and other times when you can sit and watch a show. Bottom line, there are times in our life when I truly want to get off the ride and just puke. Being on this adventure and journey with God will always have ups and downs. But it is how we respond to Him and what He calls us to that is the real adventure. I cannot tell you how many times He has asked me to do something and I just sit there and say I don't want to get on that ride. He always manages to nudge me on anyway.
I was chatting with a friend today and she was getting bogged down in some serious life struggles. While it is easy to get caught up in the negative side of what could or could not happen, I suggested to her that was strap into the ride and scream together.
If you look back at the adventures that the disciples had with Jesus and all he asked them to do was to follow him. It is an exhilarating venture and if we are always standing at the gate, we will miss out on what He has in store for us.
So as I did my mile today, I was picturing the roller coaster and wanting to embrace it, hold on for dear life and scream with delight that God is allowing me to join Him along the way.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Marilyn Monroe once said: "I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."
Why in the world am I quoting Marilyn Monroe?! While she had a point that people should like us the way that we are, it was almost as if she was excusing her behavior.
Tonight, I took my son and my friend's daughter to Chick-fil-a for a fundraiser. Sarah (my friend's daughter) and I sat at a table and she started to open a mayonnaise packet. As she sat and struggled to open the packet on the "tear here" line, I could foresee mayonnaise spurting out all over the place. No sooner did I think that – that is exactly what happened. Mayonnaise was all over the floor and luckily missed the two of us. We both laughed hysterically knowing that something like that was bound to happen. Some things ARE truly out of our control.
However, after that, we went to my daughter Grace's JV basketball game. We were playing a rather physical team. During the game, one girl on the other team had been excessively physical on a number of plays. During one of the last plays of the game, our player went up for a layup and this same girl on the other team karate chopped her arm. Our player was writhing with pain on the floor holding her arm. It was clear that she was injured and all because this girl was out of control. We can sit and say that the referees didn't do their job but at what point do we take responsibility for ourselves? She may not have intended on hurting our player, but her lack of self-control may have broken this girl's arm and she will be out the rest of the season. A split second changed the course of someone else's life.
As I was doing my mile, I sat judging the situation and felt justified with my feelings, I felt convicted about a situation that I went through a year ago. I run a Drama Club at a local school. We were down to the last 2 rehearsals and one young man was repeatedly missing and always with an excuse that was lacking. I couldn't replace him at the last second. Everyone in the club knows that dress rehearsals are mandatory unless you have prior permission to be gone. This young man didn't show up…AGAIN. He was truly ruining the show and I was beyond angry. I let the anger well up and I threw a script down on a platform. Wouldn't you know, it ricocheted off the edge of the platform and hit another student in the face causing her to swell up and have a small cut. I felt horrible and my heart just sank. I apologized profusely to her and her mother and thankfully she was more than forgiving. However, my lack of self-control in that moment hurt someone else even inadvertently. I wasn't aiming for her – but she got hurt. I tell you, that moment is forever in the forefront of my brain so that I NEVER lose control again. I have learned to walk away and cool down because even when we mean well and don't want to hurt anyone – our actions or words can. God truly had me sit and pray for this other girl on the other team.
Small things that we do and say can ruin our witness for a lifetime for someone else. People are watching and judging all the time and it only takes a moment to blow it.
1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 says: 6So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
If we live with the Holy Spirit inside, then self-control should be a place of peace. We ARE human and are going to have our moments where we lose control. We need to continue to keep our eyes on God and not on feeling justified in our actions. We need to own our shortcomings and ask God to fill the holes.
Where is God asking you to learn self-control? Whether it is with words or actions, God wants to be the driver in our lives and if we continue to lead the way, we will always fall short.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Have you ever had a day where you felt like you were just dragging a 500 lb person through the sludge and mud?
Yesterday, I decided to replace a twenty year old faucet in our bathroom. This project actually started as an idea to replace a light fixture that was outdated in our powder room. I'm very fortunate to have grown up with a dad who made me…oh, I mean was nice enough to have me help him with all of the household projects. He had me learn how to use tools and how to fix various things. This has really paid off as my husband really did not grow up learning all the handy stuff. So, I replaced the light fixture. Then, I decided that the other fixtures in the bathroom were outdated. I replaced the towel bar, the toilet seat, and the toilet paper holder. After that, I stood back pleased with my work and saw that several other things were outdated. Talk about a snowball effect. Then, I decided to replace the mirrored medicine cabinet with a beautiful mirror. I showed my son how you use math in "real" life by measuring and placing the mirror on the wall. I stood back pleased with my work and saw that it wasn't quite complete. I replaced the door knob and knew that the piece de résistance would be a new faucet. Clearly it was outdated since it was 20 years old and surely this would only take a little while to replace. Let me start by saying our powder room is not particularly large and the vanity has two small openings to access the works underneath. I maneuvered and twisted my body to fit in the small opening and started to remove the old faucet. I did shut off the water in case you were wondering if I took a face full of water. After getting almost every piece undone, I pulled out the final pipe and the most putrid smelling sludge came sliding out. It was black and slimy and covering my hands everywhere. Really gross and slimy things do not normally bother me (I do have children) but the smell was HORRIBLE and made me nauseous. I pulled myself together and got massive amount of paper towels and cleaned everything out thoroughly. I guess after 20 years, it is understandable that there was that much sludge in there. However, it was such a reminder of what we hold onto.
Today is a new day 3 (in my quest to start over again) and day 3 is ALWAYS the hardest in anything that you do. Every step I took today during my mile, seemed like I was climbing the largest mountain in the snow and ice. It was hard to breathe, tough to move and just plain difficult to keep going. Isn't that true in our lives? The more that we store up, whether it be fat or whether it is something deeper like a grudge, anger or hurt, the harder it is to move. Part of me laughs about my experience over the last several days regarding switching out all of the pieces in the bathroom. God sat back after everything he created and said it was good just like me surveying my bathroom and seeing what else needed to be added. But the more I sat thinking about that slime and sludge and the awful smell that it brought, the more I thought about how God is trying to clean that out of our lives and yet we continue to hold onto it. The longer we hold onto it, the more we just plain STINK! Philippians 3:13-14 says:
13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
As I reflect on my mile today, I realize that maybe I am holding onto things that I should not. They stick to us like stinky slime and I will be praying about what those things might be. What are you holding onto that while you can't see it, is sticking to you and making you just plain stink?
Monday, January 11, 2010
Thoughts of the beach go swirling through my head as I did my mile today. The wind whipping my hair as the waves wildly roll into shore. The suns beating down on my skin as little beads of sweat begin to form. Ok, a lush view. I'm not so graceful so the real picture is probably the following:
I stand in the surf, walking out as far as I can without being slammed to the ocean floor picking up a mouthful of sand. There is nothing like licking sand paper and choking on the ocean to put things into true perspective.
I really felt so incredibly thirsty during my mile today. I'm sure I was dehydrated and needing fluids before I even started but alas I began thirsty and I ended absolutely parched. It reminded me so much of doing The Breast Cancer 3 Day walk in the summer for the past two years. This is a 60 mile trek over 3 days in the dead heat of summer. The first year that my friend and I went, the coolest day was 95 degrees. There wasn't enough water and Gatorade to keep us hydrated. I really hate Gatorade and was drinking Propel instead of Gatorade. Little did I know that there is not the same amount of electrolytes in Propel. I developed a condition called hyponatremia where your electrolyte level is way too low. It is extremely dangerous and landed me smack in the med tent. I was so incredibly thirsty even though I was drinking over 32 ozs every hour. Nothing was absorbing and I was really sick. The second year, I learned my lesson and pretty much drank Gatorade. Let me tell you, every flavor ends up tasting exactly the same after 60 miles. I never knew that Grape could taste like orange...but I digress. All I remember being so incredibly thirsty that all I wanted to do was suck on anything. As soon as I started to think about that today, I began to think of what Jesus went through on the cross and how thirst really wasn't the biggest thing he was dealing with. He was dealing with the sin of the world on top of everything else.
There are so many clear cut prophecies in the Old Testament foretelling of what will happen in Jesus' time. Psalm 22 is just one. Look at this passage in Psalm 22:15 with such a vivid description.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me [b]
in the dust of death.
While I can completely relate to the tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth, I wouldn't dare even begin to understand what Jesus went through on the cross. Minutes probably seemed like hours while everything seemed to dislocate and pain was at an insurmountable level.
Today, I was grateful for the thirst. I actually woke and cranked out days of my Bible study while my son was getting ready for school. I thirst for more knowledge and to be closer to Jesus. Our bodies are made of more than 70% water. I do not think it is a coincidence that Jesus is called the living water. It is time to quench our thirst with not only 8-10 glasses of water but to overflow our cup with the Living Water. Just like when we seek pop as a way to help our thirst, we will come up empty when we look to the wrong thing to fill us up.
With what are you filling your body and mind that is just empty calories for the soul?
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Day 1b – Isn't it funny when you are intentionally seeking quiet time with God…every distraction in the book comes along?! All I asked for was one mile…not twenty…just one. This afternoon, I desperately needed a nap. After sleeping for a good 15 minutes, my daughter woke me up not remembering me being at home. Ok, easy mistake. Then I reminded everyone in the house that I was taking a nap and within 15 minutes of falling asleep, my husband came in and woke me up. I felt like I was speaking into the wind. Is anyone listening? Then, I went to do my mile and within the first 5 minutes – I had family asking me questions of where certain items were in the house to which all mothers have the answer. We do read minds you know! Sadly, I often do know where the Lego head from some Star Wars kit is because I stepped on it on the way up the stairs. Anyway, I just felt like no one was listening to me today.
It reminded me about time around Christmas. I always know who knows me well by how well they listen to things I like throughout the year. It isn't to say that some don't listen – they might just be poor gift buyers. Truth is – I am a poor gift receiver. I would like to say that there is some 12 step program for this problem but there isn't. Hello, my name is Tris, and I am a poor gift receiver. I hear the first step is admitting you have a problem.
I absolutely LOVE shopping for people throughout the year. My family actually makes fun of me because I usually have shopping done most of the way by the end of October. I pick up little things throughout the whole year that are significant to that person. I would rather receive a bunch of little things that mean something and have little or no value than something extravagant and of little meaning. Don't get me wrong, if my husband wants to wrap a bow around a nice shiny car – I am not about to tell him to take it back…but you get the picture. I even took to writing a list for my family to follow this year so that I wouldn't look goofy when receiving my gifts. It isn't that I don't appreciate them. I just really enjoy giving more than receiving partially because I just want to know that people were listening to me and that I had value.
It really caused me to pause one night and ask myself how well we listen to God. It talks ALL throughout the Bible about how we need to listen to God. Proverbs 8:32-34 says this:
blessed are those who keep my ways.
do not ignore it.
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
There are times when no matter how good our intentions are – we just fall short. I let so many things get in the way of doing my mile with God every day. How sad is that? I would do a mile elsewhere – but my quiet time and mile with God fell by the wayside for any number of reasons. I was either busy with preparing Christmas for the family or I was not feeling well. But seriously, I couldn't come up with time to do just one measly mile? It makes me so very sad and I can sense the lack of deep connection like I was feeling when I was consistently doing the mile.
I really did do some writing…I had written many other days about various things but didn't post thinking that no one was really reading what I was writing and that it didn't matter if I got it posted or not. Truth is, it really didn't matter if anyone else read it. I needed to stay committed to what I promised God. I guess it was a blessing in disguise because it just goes to show you that not everything will be perfect when you set out to fulfill something with God's will in mind. We WILL fall short if we rely on ourselves. I think that is where I lost sight of the bigger picture. I was more concerned with if others were reading rather than fulfilling what God asked me to do. All He asked me to do was to do a mile a day for 100 days and write about it. He didn't promise me that anyone would read about it and He didn't promise anything would come of the whole journey. It is my transformation and no one else's.
It was about this time of me sitting in my self-pity party that my friend from Toledo called and said she was trying to read my blog but that I hadn't posted anything new in awhile. Can we say, "Convicted"?! I was immediately saddened that I had let it go.
I am so blessed to know that God gives 2nd, 3rd, and 95th chances. He wants us to succeed and He wants to grant the desires of our heart but with His will in mind.
So, I am blessed to get a do over. Rarely do we get those chances except with God. He will accept us where we are and continue to work with us despite our downfalls and flaws. If you think you need to be perfect, then you will never measure up. In fact, it is usually through our weakness that he shows up like a knight in shining armor so that His true glory and greatness can shine through. It isn't about us at all…it is ALL about Him.
Tomorrow starts a new 100 days. I can't believe I am saying that but I truly want to complete the assignment the way that God put it out there for me. 100 days – 100 miles
I will do it for Him and I will do this to grow closer to Him. Truth is – I have even in my pitfall. I realize minute by the minute how I need Him more than anything else.