Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 50 – Stained Glass

Day 50 – Wow – halfway to the goal of 100 days!!!
I was incredibly blessed today as always. My middle daughter has decided to help a group called Interfaith by doing a play with many people from several different churches. She is doing service hours by being in a play. Not quite sure how that is doing service hours by doing something you love – but more power to her. Anyway, each week they have rehearsal at a new church in Akron, OH. I really love seeing each new church as they are all old and have such character to them. They aren't four walls but instead intricate architecture. This week, we were at a church that had so many stained glass windows. Each one told a detailed story about the life of Christ. I just sat there in awe of how each piece had to be cut, ground and formed to fit into this elaborate picture. There were thousands in each piece. I will hopefully include a picture or two here on the blog. I was just amazed at how perfect each piece looked and how each piece had a place and played a part in the picture.

We are all the body of Christ. We are all being refined and we all have a part that we play in life. We all fit into an elaborate picture that God has placed and we each have a story we can tell about how God has touched our lives. We are an intricate piece of artwork called the body of Christ. Just like the stained glass, without even one piece of the body or stained glass, we would be broken and not fit together. Each piece is so incredibly important to His master plan. If you have ever wondered what your purpose is, remember that without you, we all suffer and we need each other to complete His work.

I Corinthians 12:14-28
14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
 21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
 27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 49 - Friendship

Day 49 – What was the best gift you ever received? For me, it has been the gift of friendship.

I will never forget my first closest friends. One of them was my next door neighbor and one was a girl who lived down the street from me. I can still tell you things that we did and how we laughed. I haven't seen either one of them for years and yet I still have such fond memories of my childhood with them.

I have been blessed by such incredible friends along the way and I don't know as that I would have fully appreciated them without having a drought of no friendships. In fact, I have been grateful for those times because it really causes me to see Jesus as my best friend and confidant. The people that have come into my life have been such a gift from God and He has always known what I needed and when.

Even Jesus had close friends on whom he came to depend. The Bible talks about friendship in many areas and here are just a few:

Proverbs 17:17

 17 A friend loves at all times,
       and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 18:24
There are "friends" who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother

Proverbs 20:6
Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?

John 15:13–15
There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me

Proverbs 3:32
Such wicked people are detestable to the LORD, but he offers his friendship to the godly

Romans 5:10
For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.

These are just a few of the verses found on friendship. Clearly God wanted us to be in Christian fellowship not only with each other but with Him as well. I am so blessed by my friends and cannot give enough thanks for them and how they have touched my life. Count your blessings if you have one good friend and if you don't, remember that God will always be the friend that you need.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 48 - Tiaras

Day 48 – I think that every girl should have a tiara. Yes, even the little sporty princesses should have a crown – maybe with basketballs attached at the points.

I don't ever recall wanting to be in a pageant but I do recall wanting the crown. I even had a youth grouper that researched all the pageants that she could be in to make sure that regardless of the place, she would get a crown. Maybe that is why mom's are so obsessed with entering their children into pageants because they, themselves wanted a crown as a young child. I truly think that all girls, somewhere deep in their heart, would love to be treated as and seen as a princess. One that is held with high regard, looked up to, thought of as beautiful and loved by all. I would even venture a guess that men aren't far off that mark either. They want to be deeply respected and revered by all around them not much different than a king.

Truthfully, it only makes sense that we would want a crown. After all, we are royalty! Yes, you heard me right. It is due to one crown that we are royalty, the crown of thorns. It is Jesus royal blood running through your veins. It is because of the crown that he wore that we are deemed royal. God has us here to see His plan through.

I have been blessed to be studying Beth Moore's Esther Bible study. It is such a reminder that even though we might have an earthly crown of importance, it isn't until we are at a decision point with God and showing His crown and love that life matters. We can be seen as important here, but if our heart does not lie with God then it really doesn't matter. We are here as his prince or princess to complete the tasks he lays before us.

1 Peter 2: 9-12

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God;
once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds
and glorify God on the day he visits us

While we may not actually possess a tiara, we must always wear that crown of righteousness upon our heads knowing that we are God's special messengers and his princes and princesses. Wear your tiara or crown with pride and most importantly LOVE.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 47 - Rumors

Day 47 – Have you ever heard a rumor that you thought was true and you continued to share that same rumor with others only to find out it wasn't? How did you feel when you realized you had been wrong? Have you ever had a rumor spread about you?

I was in middle school when I had a pretty vicious rumor spread about me. I was very tall and extremely thin and someone had spread the rumor that I was anorexic. Nothing could have been further from the truth but that rumor set wheels in motion that impacted my entire junior high career. My guidance counselor called me down to her office and tried to get me to admit to something I wasn't. From that point forward, I had people watching me in the lunchroom, following me to the bathroom to make sure I wasn't throwing up (bulimia), and I had to forever overcome something that wasn't true.

Can you imagine the rumors that spread about Jesus? Many of them were true but many of them were not. I'm sure he sounded outlandish to some. Random healings and hanging out with unsavory characters were just a few of his wonderful traits that probably were unbelievable.

How do we, as humans, overcome rumors or even worse – spreading the gossip? What does the Bible say about that? Gossip is usually started because we are bored and truthfully probably are not as active in our own Christian life as we should be. Otherwise, we would have better things to do!

  1. Always check the facts before spreading a rumor
  2. If you are starting to gossip, immediately stop
  3. If you start to make a statement, turn it into a positive statement about the person instead of a rumor.

Bottom line, if you don't want others spreading rumors about you then you should not participate either.

Leviticus 19:16 – "Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the Lord."

Proverbs 11:13 – "A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret."

Romans 1:29 – "They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips."

1 Timothy 5:13 – "Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to."

Matthew 7:1 – "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."

Proverbs 18:8 – "The words of gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts."

Ephesians 4:29 – "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."


It isn't a coincidence that God talks about this AGAIN and AGAIN. The things that come out of our mouths can be so hurtful and long lasting in ways that we cannot begin to fathom. Thankfully, our stories about Jesus are not rumors and they can be checked not only with Scripture but with the Holy Spirit that lives within.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 46 - Speeding

Day 46 – Have you ever driven down the road and had your heart stop as soon as you saw a cop? It isn't necessarily because you are doing anything wrong, just the thought of being pulled over perhaps. Anyway, I was driving somewhere this morning and I admit I was driving a little over the speed limit – not more than 5 over. Nonetheless, I was speeding and all of the sudden a cop from the opposite oncoming lane comes into my lane right in front of me and came at me. He stopped probably 500 ft right in front of me and in my lane. I came to a screeching halt and he then backed across traffic to settle in a spot on the side of the road to catch other speeders. My heart was pounding and I kept thinking, ok, I need to slow down and try to understand why that just happened. Surely it didn't happen because I was doing 5 over the speed limit.

All day, I kept seeing police officers. I kid you not, I saw probably 10 today and I really didn't drive much today at all. The message I kept getting was stop, listen and really pay attention today. Then something else bizarre happened. I was on my way somewhere else with a friend of mine and a woman stopped right in front of her. The arrow to turn was lit and she wasn't moving. We had to go around her and as we did, we noticed that her head was down and she was busy texting. Then later, I was driving again and a woman walked right in front of my moving car and her head was down and guess what she was doing? Texting…
I kept praying about these messages today and it came through loud and clear. How often are we speeding through life or have our head down and we are missing what is going on right in front of us?! I would venture a guess that it is pretty often. I have even taken to making sure I put my phone down when I am talking to my kids because I won't hear what they have to say. We are missing thousands of messages that God is sending us every day and I got news for you, it isn't going to come over your cell phone. We are speeding through our lives and missing opportunities to praise God, to do His work and to honor Him. Man is Satan clever by digging in through the little things.

God is the only one that can speed things along and make the time draw near to be with Him. However, in the meantime, we need to make sure we are right with Him and be at peace with Him.
2 Peter 3:11-15: 11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b]That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.
13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
 14So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 45 - Worry

Day 45 – I heard a statistic the other day about sleeping. How much do you think you sleep throughout the year understanding that you probably get a normal night's rest? It ends up being almost 1/3 of a year. Wow! I can't say that I get a ton of sleep and am currently working on earning my full 1/3 of the year.
I don't sit and obsess or worry but clearly my conscience is doing some of that. I really couldn't pinpoint what I think about in the middle of the night because I am trying to sleep and then all of the sudden I will awake.

It got me thinking about what I might possibly have anxiety about as this has been occurring for the last 7 or 8 months. Then I started to think about a friend of mine who worries about making ends meet every month. She stresses about it and about how she might not be faithful enough and that's why God isn't blessing her. I really don't see God that way at all. I don't think he punishes us because we aren't faithful enough. I think we will often go through trials so that we learn how much he really IS there for us and will come through in incredible ways that we never thought.

A few years ago, my husband started a business with a few guys. We had to tie our house into the collateral and there were some weeks that he didn't get a paycheck. I had quit my job to take a lesser one in order to be there more for my kids and therefore was making very little money. That truly was a faith tester during that time as I often wasn't sure we would make it through. However, we had prayed about it and knew that was the direction that my husband was supposed to take and God came through every time!
How often do we question or go ahead of God and miss out on the amazing blessings God has for us? If we just trust Him and let things transpire in His timing…we will see so much more especially if we are tuned into what He wants. I have been so incredibly blessed and don't want to miss out on a moment of what God has in store.

Matthew 6: 25 – 34 says:
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]?
 28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about
tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 44 – Raging Sea

Day 44 – Tonight was a proud moment for me. It was my daughter's basketball awards ceremony. Sure, I was a proud mom and thrilled to watch her honored for the long season. However, my true pride came for my husband.

My husband is actually the 8th grade girls' coach and let's just say he had a beyond challenging season. As he stated this evening, he only had 7 players and several of them had never played basketball before. Let me back up and say that his team from last year won the entire conference – so he was coming off a wonderful year. He knew that his chances were slim with the upcoming team but knowing that and living it are two different things. He definitely had frustrating moments especially at the beginning of the season. However, his heart began to change and all he wanted to do for these girls who hustled at every game was to make sure they enjoyed themselves. Sure he wanted to win but I truly believe he wanted that for them more than himself.

He talked about how we need to praise God in the good and praise God in the bad. I was really proud of how he handled himself and truly conveyed his heart to the girls. It is incredibly difficult to go an entire season without winning a game and still keep the excitement and spirit going. Those girls did and so did he. It takes a lot to humble yourself especially after a year of winning.

He left the girls with a special presentation and the lyrics to this song by Michael W. Smith. May we always be reminded that the journey is long but God is always there.

Raging Sea

Sometimes the journey makes you weary
Feels like a long and winding road
Sometimes this life can lose it's meaning
But you might be surprised to find some hope
Maybe you're wondering where love is
You may feel it's far away from here
Maybe you're wondering where I am
You might be surprised to find I'm near

And when your life is tossed and turning
And your on the raging sea
I'll come and pull you from the water
Then you will know that you are free

So if you're stumbling through the valley
Or if you're tempted to give up the fight
Reach out your hand and I will lead you
I will be your strong arm in the night

Repeat chorus

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 43 - Gouges

Day 43 – Let me take you on a journey to my kitchen. My house is about 20 years old at this point. When I moved in 10 years ago, the ONE thing I hated about my house was this green and white tile I had throughout the majority of my main floor. I didn't mind the forest green wallpaper in the kitchen. It had been tastefully done. However, 10 years later it is starting to peel and it was beyond time for it to come down!!!

I started to peel that shiny vinyl in huge strips which is always a great start. However, the progress stopped there. I did various methods to remove the paper backing and paste. I am NOT a novice at this and know what works. Let me just tell you, the more paper I removed, the more scared I got. I now know why they wallpapered. There are gouges and damage to the wall in so many places. Then there is the paste that can't even be removed with a Scotch pad. It is easily 1/8th to ¼ inch thick in certain places. It will NOT come off no matter what I do. I have put a permanent kink in my neck scouring and scrubbing. Then, finally, there is my nemesis wall that I have affectionately named. Not only does it have that thick glue, it is also painted a forest green color. I am thinking they painted it with 5 shades of green and used just general craft paint to paint it. Green actually comes off on my sponge even though I'm not using harsh chemicals. I would love to quit at this point but I'm committed now. I can't quit because it would look horrible. I need to persevere and work through the problems and fix them the right way. It is going to take time and it is going to be painful.

How often do we put a band-aid on a major wound and hope it will heal without treating it the right way? How often do we cover up sin hoping that no one will notice the gouges and damage that is there? It is stated in Psalm 32:5: 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
       and did not cover up my iniquity.
       I said, "I will confess
       my transgressions to the LORD "—
       and you forgave
       the guilt of my sin.

We need to not hold back and show the flaws to God so that we can have true forgiveness. When we come to Him and ask forgiveness, then he truly forgives. Then, just as in the prodigal son (Luke 15), we are covered with the robe of righteousness and we are seen white as snow. It becomes His victory story and not our shame that shows. No longer are we a wall full of gouges and imperfections. There is no need to cover it with shiny paper. We need to persevere and push through the pain of fixing and perfecting ourselves to be more like Jesus.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 42 – Vipers

Day 42 – Has anyone not believed in you? I mean we believe in the goofiest things. We believe in the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny, the Great Pumpkin (to all my Charlie Brown fans)…and I could go on. However, has anyone not believed in YOU? There really is no feeling more deflating. You can choose to go out of your way to prove them wrong or just resign yourself to knowing that you are not measuring up.

I started to think about a different aspect of not believing in something. I have really known God most of my life. I cannot imagine my life without Him. I do not begin to understand what it is like to live most of my life in the dark. I have heard many things over the years from friends that do not believe. Things like, "Only those that are weak minded believe in something bigger.", "You will be gravely disappointed when you reach the end of your life", and the list continues. Jesus spent the greater part of his life not trying to convince others who he was. He spent the greater part of his life teaching and loving people. He didn't have to prove who he was. He IS and always will be!

The simpler part of not believing in someone is difficult. It is usually what we say that can hurt them and cause them to stumble and possibly fail as a result. The tongue can be so incredibly vicious. I have been so hurt by words in my life and I know I have hurt with words as well. I realize that it is my choice to believe it or not but it can be difficult at times not to believe it especially if it is someone that you care about that says things to you.

Matthew 12:33-37  33"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

Doesn't a brood of vipers conjure up some incredible visuals? We may be flip in things that we say but we need to be conscious of how it can impact someone else. Furthermore, it really doesn't matter if we believe in them or not. If God dwells within them, then it is how HE sees them that is important. We don't need humans to believe in us because that is of earth and not of higher things. There will be a day that we will be held to things that we say and I don't know about you but I would rather say encouraging and uplifting things in the meantime.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 41 – Arrow of Light

Day 41 – A ray of sunshine was today! Compared to the last 40 days, today was absolute bliss.

My morning started out as most mornings. I was sitting at Starbucks (the one in Target) this morning thinking about all of the various little items that I needed from the store. You would think that I would just get up and go shop in Target, right?! No! I knew the things I needed were cheaper at Walmart and that is only across the street. First of all, I must tell you that I absolutely hate Walmart. They never did anything to wrong me or anything like that but the shopping experience is never stellar there. So, I traipsed over to Walmart and started to shop.

I ran into one friend and then another and yet another. Wow, not a bad experience. Then, I was blessed with my own neon sign. Ok, I'm probably speaking gibberish again. My one friend jokes that I must have a neon sign on my forehead saying, "Tell me all about your life!" I have to admit, it really must be true. It doesn't really matter where I go, people tell me about their life whether I know them or not. Anyway, a lovely woman who works at Walmart comes out of nowhere when I was at the checkout and says, "I thought that was you." She came from across the store to see if it was me. She proceeded to tell me about various aspects of her life and then I stopped and prayed for her. That wasn't to MY credit – believe me. God prompted me to pray for her and I didn't want to miss out on the prompting. While she felt like I had blessed her today, I am telling you that her coming from across the store and she could clearly see me was such a blessing to me. It was so neat to see how God works in the smallest of circumstances.

If that wasn't blessing enough, I was able to watch my son achieve a wonderful award tonight. He earned his Arrow of Light badge in Cub Scouts. Not everyone in Cub Scouts earns this badge and it takes a lot of discipline to get this one. The Arrow of Light signifies moving forward and always staying on the path. It was such an honor to watch him up on stage tonight and realize that he is growing up. The part that I cannot convey enough tonight was about something else that happened. Daniel had a boy in his den that died from Leukemia. Daniel prayed every day for two years for this little boy and has prayed for his family ever since he died. That boy's family was there tonight. They gave special gifts to the boys from Daniel's den (hahaha…get it…Daniel and the Lion's Den…but I digress). I cried as I filmed the ceremony. What struck me is that Daniel already had his real life Arrow of Light. God blessed Daniel at an early age with discernment and wisdom about the heart of people. He had been praying and was ON the right path moving forward. Forget the badge! Amazing what we can learn when we REALLY look and listen!

Instead of a Bible verse, I would like to leave you with the lyrics from a song.

Marvelous Light –

Into marvelous light I'm running
Out of darkness, out of shame
Through the cross You are the truth
You are the life, You are the way

Verse 1
I once was fatherless, a stranger with no hope
Your kindness wakened me
Wakened me from my sleep
Now Your love, it beckons deeply
A call to come and die
By grace now I will come and take this life, take Your life

Sin has lost its power, death has lost its sting
From the grave You've risen victoriously

Verse 2
My dead heart now is beating
My deepest stain's now clean
Your breath fills up my lungs; now I'm free, now I'm free
My dead heart now is beating
My deepest stain's now clean Your breath fills up my lungs; now I'm free, now I'm free

Lift my hands and spin around
See the light that I have found
Oh, the marvelous light, marvelous light
It's Christ in You

Copyright © 2005

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 40 - Laughter

Day 40 – I must laugh today because each day that I am on this journey, I get hit from another direction. I'm okay with that because I know that God is in control. I really am NOT this pathetic. If I wasn't aware of the journey that I am on, I don't think I would understand what is happening to me. I suppose I should stop and explain.

Since starting this journey, I have had either migraines, personal issues or a nasty virus that has held on for 3 weeks now. I have been to the doctor more times in the last three weeks than I have in the last two years. I have been put on medications that then raised my blood pressure and now need medication to bring that down. So where is the comedy? I'm getting there!

Today, I knew I probably needed to get on some medication for my blood pressure from all of the other items and I called my doctor's office. I talked to the nurse and explained the situation and told her that I would really rather not go in. About 30 minutes later, she called back and said that doctor needed to see me due to the nature of what kind of medication she needed to give me. (Now – get on your nastiest and most sarcastic voice and say this to yourself who has sudden high blood pressure) "She is awfully booked, can't this wait until Monday?!" What??!!! My blood pressure is already elevated and you want me to wait not knowing if there is a serious issue or not? I told her as calmly as I could that I felt like it shouldn't wait. She let out a huge and heavy sigh and said, "Ok…I guess I can fit you in today – be here in an hour!" (Click – the phone hung up). Perhaps she wasn't getting the severity of the issue or maybe I wasn't conveying it well. I did my best to keep calm and pull myself back together.

My friend took me to the doctor (remember, you need an advocate) and we did a routine ekg among other things. I got scheduled for a stress test and was prescribed some medication in the meantime. I was feeling frustrated that I needed some medication but at the same time, knew I needed help for awhile even if in the short term. Off we went to fill my prescription. After waiting around for the meds, I go to pay and the one prime medication is missing. What?! No one told me. I went back to the counter and said, "Excuse me, there is supposed to be another one." He proceeded to tell me that insurance had to have pre-approval and they would get back with me when it was approved. I called my doctor's office only to find out that same surly nurse was gone for the day and it would be 3-4 days before she could get anything approved. Looks like Monday it is….lololol.

Normally I would not share ANY of this but I want you to truly see how when you are on a quest for being close to God, Satan WILL hit you. Please do not let that deter you because this has been a glorious expedition and I grow closer to my Father every day. What you need to know to be equipped for your journey is that God is in control and HE will ALWAYS win….he already has. While parts of this are absolutely humiliating because of all that I've been through in the past 40 days, it is God's victory story. Truth is – by myself I really AM this pathetic but with the Holy Spirit, I am a renewed creation. He will show HIS strength in spite of who I am. Clearly I am a very weak being! Nothing will keep me apart from Christ no matter what Satan throws at me. I am not inviting any more but I am grateful that God is walking with me and guiding me through some VERY murky and choppy waters.

Romans 8:38-39"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."-

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 39 - Heartbeat

Day 39 – Today, I went to my best friend's doctor appointment. There is nothing like being a 3rd party in a room to help someone else out with their health. I was there to be an extra ear but also there to help her remember aspects about her health previously. I have been in situations where I did not have an advocate to help me and in other situations where I did. It is so imperative to have someone there to help you.

A number of years ago, I went to the hospital and was in severe pain and they had no idea why. Luckily, my best friend was with me because what transpired next was frightening. The nurse gave me some medication to help with the pain and then left. They never hooked me up to any monitors and did not come to check up on me. Within about 5 minutes, I couldn't breathe, talk or do anything to help myself. I was having an allergic reaction to the medication they gave me. My best friend looked at me and said, "You're not okay are you?!" I couldn't do anything but a single tear ran down my cheek. She ran and immediately the nursing staff started to help me and get me recovered from my reaction. Can you imagine if she hadn't been there?

It made me think about how there are so many things that we do not control. Even breathing which seems like a simple task is not fully in our control. If you don't believe that, all you have to do is watch a 2 yr. old having a tantrum that holds her breath. Once she passes out, the breathing becomes automatic.

Some things are not easy or automatic. Faith is not a given. You have to take a step forward and allow God to take over. Being out of control is so difficult for us. Just like when you have a health issue, you have no idea why it is happening but it is out of your control. God wants to be that automatic force in our lives just like our own heartbeat. We are going to struggle and the more that we try to control; the more we will fall apart. Psalm 34:17-19

17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
       he delivers them from all their troubles.

 18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
       and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

 19 A righteous man may have many troubles,
       but the LORD delivers him from them all;

It is difficult to have faith because it takes an understanding that we might not be perfect. However, when you have seen the blessings, friendships, and riches that God has in store along the way, it becomes easier and easier to let go and truly let God own it all.




Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 38 – Paint Chips

Day 38 – Have you ever looked at something and swore that it looked one way but then when you got it home, it looked completely different? I recently brought home some paint chips that I saw in the store. I looked at them under the light at the store and certain ones seemed absolutely beautiful; however, when I got them home – they just didn't match. The perception and memory of what I thought it would look like were very different than reality.

It is the same with people. We might see them every day and assume certain things about them but in the end our opinion doesn't really matter. It is how God sees me and you that matters.

We need to be very careful how we see ourselves because it may be a clever ploy to pull us off track. So, we turn to scripture and see how God sees us.

  1. We are wonderfully made. Psalm 139: 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
  2. If you think you are not beautiful, how can you think that when you are created in God's image? Not only are we beautiful in his sight but we are made to look like our creator – and that is awesome and beyond beautiful! Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
  3. God loves you so much that he gave his only and only son – his most cherished for us. John 3:16 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.
  4. Jesus calls us his friend - John 15:15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.


Ok, how can we go wrong when we follow how God sees us? We are so incredibly blessed, cherished and beyond beautiful. Don't get caught in the trap of thinking that you aren't. We all have things we are working on whether it be our personality or our looks. Let us strive to be what God wants us over what we want for ourselves.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 37 – Snow Flakes

Day 37 – I was staring outside today as the snow felt gently to the ground and was in awe of how each one of those flakes is different than the next. It is truly AWESOME that God takes care with every single thing including little flakes. The God of the Universe knows and has counted every hair on our heads. So why do we question and fear and really have little faith?

It is crazy if you think about it in the grand scheme of things. We see miracles all around us that we discount as ordinary life.

My husband and I were very blessed to participate in the only Christian Opera to ever be performed on the Bolshoi Theatre stage. It was during that time that I realized how "human" those disciples really were. They saw miracles performed right in front of them and yet they continually questioned and had little faith. We, too, see things all around us and while it isn't Jesus himself standing in front of us – we still question and don't trust God.

Mark 4:35 – 41

Jesus Calms the Storm

 35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." 36Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"

 39He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

 40He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

 41They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"

If you look carefully, even the disciples who had just seen Jesus calm the storm are questioning who he really is. I pulled this passage out because it reminds me that even when we feel like we are failing or falling apart at following Christ – we really are on this incredible journey to grow closer to Him and truly understand His wonderful gifts for us. We are going to fall short in our faith but take heart because even those disciples who walked with Jesus questioned. Satan would like nothing more than to make you feel more guilty and to feel like you are far off the path so that you miss the other blessings Jesus if giving to you on a daily basis. Keep your eyes FIXED on Jesus and while you will fall short, He will understand and be there to pull you back on your feet.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 36 – Valentine’s Day

Day 36 – Today is Valentine's Day and it isn't always the happiest of days for everyone. I have had a gamut of experiences throughout the years. However, it got me thinking about where Valentine's Day started. I will be pulling a reference from:

The roots of St. Valentine's Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on Feb. 15. For 800 years the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year.

Pope Gelasius I was, understandably, less than thrilled with this custom. So he changed the lottery to have both young men and women draw the names of saints whom they would then emulate for the year (a change that no doubt disappointed a few young men). Instead of Lupercus, the patron of the feast became Valentine. For Roman men, the day continued to be an occasion to seek the affections of women, and it became a tradition to give out handwritten messages of admiration that included Valentine's name.

This is really only the tip of the iceberg with regard to Valentine's Day. Valentine was a priest who would marry these young men and women. When Claudius came along, he felt that the men were distracted with women and called all engagements off. When Valentine continued to marry them in secret, he was arrested and later beheaded on February 14th. Ok, so we have set the scene here. ..a pagan feast to celebrate fertility where later men were not allowed to get married so Claudius would have enough men in his army.

Things changed many years later during the Middle Ages when small notes were handed out to loved ones. However, it really makes you think about how we got started thinking this was completely a holiday about showing your love.

As I was doing my mile today, what struck me was how we have the ultimate valentine. Why do we get caught up in flowers, chocolates, and words that are fleeting? We have the ONE who gave everything for us and that is the ultimate love offering. Chocolates will grow stale, flowers will wilt but God is everlasting.

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."- John 13:34-35


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 35 – Happy Endings

Day 35 – I went to the movie, Dear John, with my girls tonight. I did have the privilege of reading this book beforehand and as usual, the movie did not stay true to the book. If you haven't read the book or haven't seen the movie, perhaps I should caution you as you read this only because I don't want to spoil your read or view.

In the book, the ending is not your typical love story ending. Actually, Sparks ends the book with the two apart and the one choosing to let the other one go as a deep act of love for her. Most books would end with an embrace and somehow them getting back together. Sadly, the movie did just that. The whole point of the book was to love someone beyond yourself and allow them to be happy even if it wasn't with you.
I did my mile earlier today and wasn't clear on what I was to write but after seeing the movie, the water became less murky. I began thinking about how life isn't a series of happy endings.

We have such a narrow perspective of the world in general. I know that when certain people will pray for healing for someone and then the person dies, they will often get angry with God. That is only looking at it from a human perspective. Sometimes healing comes on the other side. The point is, we don't always see what God has in store and we cannot begin to imagine what the happy ending will be like in our future.

Not everyone likes a sad ending or an ending that we do not understand. So how do we handle it when it happens in real life?
  1. We should trust God and know that he did not bring evil upon us. James 1:13-15 says:  13When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
  2. God will give you what you need to deal with the difficulties. Philippians 4:19 says: 19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

  3. Keep your eyes fixed on getting to our new home where there are no tragedies and sadness. Revelations 21:1-5 says:
     1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
     5He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

  4. Reach out when you are struggling and suffering because it is in those times that God can use you the most. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says: 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

  5. Keep focused on the promise and the ONE who delivered you. 1 Peter 1:8-9
    8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

    1 John 3:2 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,[a]we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

While not ever ending is a happy one, ours will be one day. We do not begin to comprehend the riches and happiness that awaits us.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 34 – Olympic Dreams

Day 34 – I find it ironic that today is the start of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC. I always used to dream of being in the Olympics – not really sure what for – but the idea of being the best and seeking excellence always thrilled me. I think that every one of us has a little Olympian inside whether we are an athlete or not. It is an awesome experience to sit and cheer on your country and it is hard not to feel a part when they stand on that Olympic podium listening to OUR national anthem signifying a win.

Today, there was someone doing a practice run for the Luge and he crashed and died. His name is Nodar Kumaritashvili from Georgia (the country – not the state). I was watching TV and they showed his final moments as he was catapulted off the track and hit his head at 88 mph. Then we hear about our own Olympian, Lindsay Vonn, a downhill skier who is injured and who will push through to do her best in these games. What both of these people have taught me is about the pursuit of excellence and perseverance.

I think whenever someone dies unexpectedly, it makes me reflect on how we never know the moment and yet there truly is a clock ticking over our head. God knows when that moment is and He is abundantly aware of what is in our path. We don't know and as such, we should pursue every opportunity to know Christ and know his calling for our life.

2 Peter 1: 3-11

 3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

 10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

As these Olympians train for years to gain the tools they need for possibly only one excellent race, God gives us everything we need for life. We are equipped with the tools already to have a life of excellence with him at the center. We get to participate in divine nature…wow! He doesn't need us, but he chooses to use us and have us participate so that we may grow closer to Him. So, perhaps that little Olympian that is inside each and every one of us is planted there so that we strive for excellence for Him. We, too, are in training and he needs us to start doing our miles with Him so that we are even better equipped for what will be thrown our way.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 33 – Letting Go

Day 33 – Philippians 3:12 – 14 says:  12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 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.

This scripture took on new meaning for me today as I decided to let go of something that I have held onto for almost 20 years. It was 20 years ago that I felt God calling me to do something and very strongly at that. Instead of following God and trusting him, I went my own direction. I know that He works all things for good no matter where we end up. I cannot tell you how guilty I have felt over the last 20 years for not following what God asked me to do and furthermore, sad because it was clearly where my heart and passion was lying. I have asked forgiveness from God and I know He has forgiven me, but it is me who has not forgiven me. I decided to let go and stop trying to hold onto something from the past that isn't coming back. In all honesty, I didn't really realize I was holding onto it until the last few days when it became clear. Tears came to my eyes and my heart was very sad.

It is going to take time to completely forgive myself as I have had these feelings buried for a very long time. However, I know that living in the past will only rob me of what is in store for the future. I know that God will work things for good and I also know that he will walk through this sad time with me until I have healed completely.

I know I am sounding very intellectual about all of this but in truth my heart is aching right now and my mile was very difficult today.

I pray that you, too, can move forward knowing that God is always with you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 32 – The Way of Love

Day 32 – Have you ever wondered what happens when people say and do all the right things but don't really have Jesus in their heart? I have met a lot of REALLY "Christian" non-Christians. Was that confusing enough?! Truth is, there are a lot of people that I have met along the way that are far kinder than many of the Christians that I know. We can do such major damage to our witness by being judgmental. I was really focusing in on this today when I ran across the following scripture.

We all know the love verses in 1 Corinthians 13. I know that I have heard it at countless weddings. However, most of us haven't heard the first three verses leading into it.

"[Love] If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."- 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

So, then I looked it up in The Message:
The Way of Love
 1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Oh, to be referred to as a creaking rusty gate and a clanging cymbal. An even more modern term might be fingernails on the chalkboard. You can make noise in the name of God and try to do things in the right way but if you do not have the love of Jesus inside – then what was it for? Our witness is so critical while we are here but even more so, what are we doing if we aren't sharing that love that God so graciously gives to us and gives us a never ending supply. I can sit and tell you how you should watch your mouth, your actions and so forth but if that love is truly flowing out of us then it should just be natural.
May we continue to go to the true fountain of love and not ever run dry. He will fill our cup and we will not thirst.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 31- Breakfast for the Soul

Day 31 – There are certain days where I just do not want to write. A big part of that is because of hard lessons I am learning or simply because I am just plain tired. Tonight, I would say both are the case. In effort to learn more about myself walking along side of God, I have learned some rather ugly things.

While I start to work on those things, I thought I would share with you about how we need to give to God before we do anything else. I did not sleep well last night for a variety of reasons. However, a big chunk of my day was giving to other people. I really had nothing left to give when it came to my mile. I was wiped out, sad and frustrated with myself not to mention going non-stop for everyone else.

We truly should start the day with God and continue to take Him throughout our day and hopefully end with Him as well. I know that we all know that but it is abundantly clear on a day like today. I did do my mile today but without the fervor and excitement that I normally do. For THAT, I am truly sorry because that isn't fair to God. Just as you should start the day with breakfast so that you have fuel for your day, you should start with spiritual food or you will continue to go through the day filling yourself with snack food that isn't filling and probably will only leave you feeling empty inside.

James 5: 10-11 10Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 30 – The Flood

Day 30 – I had quite the adventure today. My husband was nice enough to let me get some new kitchen appliances. Two of the three were 20 years old (as I blogged about before). I can do electrical work so I went ahead and forewent the dishwasher installation. It was an additional 150 plus tax. Let me start by saying, I still don't regret that decision but wish I had known what was in store prior to starting the day.

After the other two appliances were installed, the nice young gentlemen left and I was left to my own devices with the dishwasher. I knew I was going to need a new water line just so it would fit properly. I turned off the water (so I thought) and started to unhook the water line. Let's just say that the water line was not completely off and I took off running to shut off the main in the basement. After sopping up LOTS of water, I then realized that the power cord was missing for the dishwasher. Off to Home Depot I went. I bought a new power cord and got a new water line and all was well…or so I thought. I got home and started to install the water line. It was the longest one they had and it was still too short. Furthermore, it started to leak water. I have heard of water in the line but let me tell you…not like that. I continued to tighten the water line under the sink in hopes that it would stop leaking. I was terrified to hook up the power with all that water everywhere. I was determined to get the water dried up and attempt it all again. Off to Home Depot I went again and got an additional water line to extend to the dishwasher. I came home again and hooked up what I could and prayed beyond praying that there would be NO leaks. Amen…no leaks…but this was hours later.

While it was a crazy adventure, it is nothing compared to the spiritual adventure we are on every day. I could have let go and given up today. I could have called someone in to fix my problem but I would have missed out on so much of my time with God and the many goofy things I learned about myself today. He was with me even in the midst of my dishwasher woes. He was with me on all the trips to the hardware store. I'm sure he was laughing with me every time I realized I needed to go back to the store. I was truly walking and hanging out with God today in the craziness of the day.

Let us always remember that this is an adventure and even the hard days are part of the fun. We can feel so blessed in even the small things.

1 Corinthians 1:7 (The Message)

 7-9Just think—you don't need a thing, you've got it all! All God's gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 29 - Cleanse

Day 29 – I had a wonderful day worshipping the Lord at church. Then, I was blessed with spending time with my middle daughter. Finally, I was able to finish my evening talking to my oldest daughter.

The not so great part of my day was when I pulled out my fridge in effort to clean behind and underneath in preparation for a new fridge. Our fridge is 20 years old and yes, I have cleaned underneath it before. However, you wouldn't know that based on what I saw there. The bottom of our fridge is starting to rust out as well as the compressor starting to fail. Let me describe to you how awful it really was. It looked like someone poured molasses all over the tile, took a heat gun to it to crystallize it and then finally dumped a bunch of trash on it which was cemented to the ground. Lovely picture isn't it? While I could have ignored it and just moved a new fridge in on top of it, it would have just been ignoring a major problem that would probably mold and grow into a new problem. It took hot water, lots of cleaner and major elbow grease to get it clean and all in a tight space.

It is so exciting to get something new but getting rid of the old and cleaning up the old is always difficult. Isn't our life a little like that. Sometimes it is very hard to let go of sin because it is what is there and what we are used to. We can ignore it, stuff it under the fridge but it is still lingering and cementing it to our lives. If we don't let God clean house in our lives, we will just stink and be gross. There are times when it is hard work and times when it is hard to work around but ultimately, we will love being clean in the long run and more precious in His sight.

We are very blessed in that God will accept us wherever we are and it doesn't matter how far off track we get. He wants to clean our heart and have us draw closer to Him. May you be blessed knowing that he will cleanse you and make you new.


Psalm 51: 1-121 Have mercy on me, O God,
       according to your unfailing love;
       according to your great compassion
       blot out my transgressions.

 2 Wash away all my iniquity
       and cleanse me from my sin.

 3 For I know my transgressions,
       and my sin is always before me.

 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
       and done what is evil in your sight,
       so that you are proved right when you speak
       and justified when you judge.

 5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
       sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

 6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts ;
       you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
       wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

 8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
       let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

 9 Hide your face from my sins
       and blot out all my iniquity.

 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
       and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

 11 Do not cast me from your presence
       or take your Holy Spirit from me.

 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
       and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 28 - Pride

Day 28 – Proverbs 21:21-26 21 He who pursues righteousness and love
       finds life, prosperity [
c] and honor.
 22 A wise man attacks the city of the mighty
       and pulls down the stronghold in which they trust.
 23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue
       keeps himself from calamity.
 24 The proud and arrogant man-"Mocker" is his name;
       he behaves with overweening pride.
 25 The sluggard's craving will be the death of him,
       because his hands refuse to work.
 26 All day long he craves for more,
       but the righteous give without sparing.

I can't really explain why these verses stuck out for me today. Today's mile took on a different form in shoveling snow. I was standing in the sun at one with God while I shoveled very deep snow. Normally I do not shovel snow because my husband normally does that for exercise. I would be happy to be at one with a snow blower but far be it from me to argue with him…until there are days like this. The poor man has been so sick and I did not want him to suffer outside.

Anyway, as I was sitting outside shoveling the deep snow and listening to the quiet, I was thinking especially about pride and how it can take you down in a moment. Do you know how many times pride is mentioned in the Bible?! It is mentioned a lot…and almost every time it is followed by someone deeply repenting. It is such a fine line to walk. How to do you live a life and be happy to use God's gifts and then not be prideful? I will be reflecting more on that over the next few weeks. This isn't so much of an area where I struggle but I am definitely around people that do. There are times when it is extremely difficult to be around someone that is prideful. How do you share that without hurting them deeply? I don't ever want to be someone that is so full of themselves that no one wants to be around me or worse, that my witness is ruined as a result.

I pray that we can all listen to God's leading in this area and know how to Biblically approach it whether we struggle with pride or whether someone else around us does.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 27 - Derailed

Day 27 – There are fewer rewards greater than watching your children succeed at something they love. I cannot tell you how Satan tried to derail me from various wonderful things this evening.
First, let me say that my middle daughter went to school yesterday and then I got a phone call saying she had 102.6 fever. It came on suddenly and she was miserable. What was so tender and sweet was that she was concerned about missing a vocal concert tonight. I thought maybe she was concerned because she wasn't going to get to do her special duet but she was concerned that she would let her teacher down because her choir is pretty weak. I tried to get her to focus on the fact that she just needed to get well.

Tonight, I met up with my husband at school to watch our other daughter sing in that same concert. She, too, had a solo and I didn't want to miss it. Within 20 minutes of arriving, my husband looked pale and like he needed to get sick. He looked at me and said that he needed to go home immediately. Luckily, we drove separately. He left and I wasn't quite sure he was going to make it as it was pouring snow.
I sat and enjoyed my dear friends and was able to hear Grace sing. She sang like an angel and I was very blessed knowing that God is using her and her gifts. It is definitely a turning point in my life and hers. I sat realizing that my job with her is almost done. Not completely, but you get what I mean. Someone came up to me and asked if I was training her to sing so well and I had to say…no. She truly is just gifted and is blessed to have a chance to use it.

After the concert, we left school in a horrible snow storm and I couldn't see the lines on the road. I just prayed and knew that God would guide us there. About midway home, I got a txt from my husband saying that he was throwing up for the first time in 15 years. Wow!

I got home and was pretty wiped from the day. I still had not done my mile and truly did not want to miss out. Within minutes of even contemplating that, my middle daughter, Hope, came in and she was burning up…AGAIN. I quickly ran a bath for her to try to cool her down a little. Then, my husband started running a fever. He then remembered we had no milk and again, there is a nasty snow storm outside and we will definitely need milk. He asked if I would please go out and get milk. I told him I would AFTER my mile. I did NOT want to miss out and I was wiped.

Do you have any idea how easy it would have been to skip my mile tonight and probably justify it?! How quickly Satan creeps in and tries to get us off track in the most subtle ways. I had to fight it every step of the way tonight. I was so in awe of how God was using my daughter and am so grateful I realized how much Satan was trying to pull me off track in little ways. It is like a wolf in sheeps clothing – looks innocent but the smallest things can be deceiving. May this always serve as a reminder to us.
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.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 26 – Mundane Chores

Day 26 – There are certain jobs in this world that are pretty thankless. Things like doing laundry and the dishes just drive me crazy because it is never ending. It isn't like a job that you complete and move onto another task. As soon as I finish one load of laundry, I can pretty much count on one of my children to walk up behind me and dump a bunch of clothes into the hamper.

When I was younger and we didn't have very many clothes due to finances, I thought that might be a bad thing. As a mom, later in life, let me tell you – I'm thinking that 5-7 outfits thing might be GREAT. Very little laundry to do and mass appreciation for new clothes from the kids sounds like a wonderful plan. So, I whine periodically and feel frustrated occasionally and yet, why am I complaining?!

However, I am so very grateful and thankful to have clothes, to have the ability to clean them and to have more than one outfit. Today, while my two daughters were in chapel at school, they learned of a friend of theirs whose house burned down. I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to wake in the middle of the night, run outside of my house with only my bed clothes and then watch the house burn to the ground. Nothing is left. I imagine that it truly puts everything in your life into perspective and you find out what you truly have left. The love of Christ is how we come into this world and if we choose to believe, it is his love and the promise of eternal life with which we leave. That's it and that is truly all we need.

How often do we sit outside our proverbial house and complain about various things while other things around us are burning to the ground? Whether it is our health, our relationships or you name it. Our focus tends to get skewed and off of God and onto material things. What are we without His love and sacrifice? We are nothing. I truly will sit every time I have to do laundry or the dishes and be grateful that I have the option rather than complaining from now on.

Philippians 2:12 – 16 says:
12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
 14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out[ the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing


Take heart my sisters and brothers and appreciate everything you have and know in your heart that none of it matters without Christ.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 25 – Hidden Picture

Day 25 – Wow, is it really day 25 already? Very hard to believe and I feel incredibly blessed.

Have you ever just sat looking at a piece of artwork? I used to live in the DC area and as part of my French class; we took MANY trips down to the National Gallery of Art. I could literally just sit and stare at various paintings for hours. Whether it was looking at the various strokes or dots or trying to really figure out what the painting was saying. While I am more of an Impressionism lover, I truly can appreciate almost every aspect of art. Even in the modern art wing, I was fascinated…sometimes morbidly but fascinated nonetheless. At the mall, I always felt art challenged with those goofy 3-D prints that had a picture hidden beneath the other picture you saw. I never did see those.

The point is, sometimes we see things at face value and can appreciate them but at other times, we can see the deeper hidden meaning and value them all the more. I had a youth grouper about 7 years ago that I had to have removed from her home. She had been abused in every way you can imagine. Everyone had given up on her because she had a rough exterior and did not talk much. Every week at youth group, she would ask if I would give her a ride home and asked if we could talk. Every week, she wouldn't share anything and we would just sit and I would ask her questions or just talk. My friends told me to give up, my husband told me to give up, and my pastor told me to not waste my time. God kept telling me different. After a year, she started to tell me everything. I knew I had to help her or she was going to finish herself off either with drugs or by some other means.

She was 16 and I managed to sneak her out of the house and get her a ride to go back to New York to live with her dad. While her situation wasn't perfect in NY, it was better than where she had been. We would talk at least once or twice a week and often at the wee hours of the morning. I just kept telling her to make it to graduation and everything would be okay. Truthfully, I wasn't sure what would happen after graduation, but I knew she needed to get there in order for her life to move forward. There was so much to her and her heart but if you didn't dig deeper than what you saw, you missed out on something incredible. There were many days I would await a phone call telling me she didn't make it. I would just sit and cry and pray. I knew God was watching over her. She did make it to graduation and eventually enrolled in college. I am thrilled to say that she is even graduating college this year. She's had her ups and downs but NO ONE can take that degree away from her as she earned it even in the face of adversity beyond what I can even describe here.

Ironically, she is an artist and has done many paintings over the years. I bought one from her. She was willing to give it to me but I wanted her to feel what it felt like to have something bought and valued. When I look at that painting, there is so much I see because I know the heart and soul of the person that painted it. Furthermore, it means life to me because she made it. It also shows me God's beauty and how He will make everything good. God is such an incredible source of strength when we think we have nothing. I will continue to sing his praises about her because it is ONLY because of Him that she is alive. Next time you want to give up on someone, ask yourself this question, "Would God give up on me?" Dig deeper and see what God sees within. Look beyond the surface and see the hidden picture. He will bless you beyond measure.

"But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble."- Psalm 59:16

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 24 - Beautiful

Day 24 – I am getting to my post a little late tonight. I know how you wait with baited breath in anticipation of what God has taught me. 

I am always in awe of beauty around me. Whether it is a beautiful thing, wonderful creation or the beauty that shines through someone especially if they have the Holy Spirit living within, I am amazed by how awesome God is and how creative he is. I think we are naturally attracted to that beauty especially if the Holy Spirit is in someone. It is hard not to feel that love radiating. God did say they would know us by our love.

Today’s mile was longer than I had hoped. I was a bit weary from the day and tired from lack of sleep but so looking forward to my time with God doing the mile. I started to daydream in order to pass the time about what Heaven would be like. I was imagining flowers, creatures and items that I had never seen before. I was picturing the most beautiful music and praises. I was thinking about colors that we couldn’t begin to describe. We can get a mental image, but we have NO clue what is in store. He even says:

I Corinthians 2:9 says:

9However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him

Our understanding of beauty is often what we can see, and more often than not, what we see in the mirror. Sure, we can see beautiful things around us but it is different than how we judge our own beauty. I have talked with so many girls and women along the way who do not see themselves as beautiful. Truth is that women are just little girls inside that have matured enough to fool some people. We still fight the same insecurities that we did when we were little just on a different level. Ladies (sorry gentlemen), stop buying into the lies. God made you and created you so special. While we can’t imagine what things will be like in Heaven, we can clearly see beautiful things around us. Guess what, we are the most beautiful of all. God does not make mistakes and he clearly has YOU here for a purpose. You are precious in his sight. Don’t lose sight of that as you start to question your age, your weight, or whether others like you. While our external beauty starts to fade, I truly believe the inner beauty just starts to blossom daily with such an incredible fragrance of Jesus. Suddenly the outside doesn’t matter anymore.

I love roses and part of why I love them is because I enjoy watching them slowly fan out. They start as a small bud and it is fascinating to sit and look at how each petal gently folds into the next one and perfectly blossoms into a gorgeous bloom. God took so much time to make the simplest thing like a flower to be beautiful. Don’t you think He took even more time to really focus on you? When you go to breathe, do you have to think about it? No, that is automatic and God made you to be able to do that. God gave you a brain and a heart to think and feel. How beautiful is that? Finally, He gave you the option to choose Him or not. Can you imagine doing that with your children? “Ok son, I have given you everything and I love you – now you can choose whether you want me to be your mom or not.” Not a totally fair comparison but you get the point. How could we not choose Him when He so clearly has given us EVERYTHING?

So, next time you see something beautiful, stop and thank God for how much time and care he took in creating you. Thank Him for making you beautiful. Imagine that place that he has prepared for us and dream along with me. I can’t wait!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 23 – Cast of Characters

Day 23 – Today was a crazy day as most Mondays are. After a meeting with one friend, I met up with another one to do some power thrift store shopping for our play. You may laugh about power thrift store shopping but on Mondays, it is 50 cent day for green tags. Woohoo!!! That is very exciting for us. It is always exciting to walk out of a store with 3 gigantic bags full of clothes and have spent only about 50 dollars. We managed to knock out over half of the costumes that we needed in that time.

As I was doing my mile, I started to laugh about the cast of characters and how most of the kids we work with have no idea who they are. For example, a Winkie is a soldier for the Wicked Witch's castle. What a ridiculous name! You have munchkins, witches, monkeys, and people that only dress in green. Those made me think about the people in the thrift store that were another set of characters. You have no idea how they got there and sometimes wonder what planet they might inhabit. Some make special noises as they surf through the clothes while others shriek with joy at their finds on the racks. Yet, God loves EVERY single one of them and each one of them has a victory story attached if they love Jesus.

How often do we feel like we were in a twister and the house dropped us somewhere we just don't understand. Furthermore, we need a way to get home. I know how many crazy journey's God has taken me on (hello, this might be one of them) and as long as I keep my eyes on Him and the path (yellow brick road), He really will direct my steps. I just keep thinking about what Glinda says to Dorothy at the end of the movie and play. "You always knew how to get home – it was inside of you." The Holy Spirit lives in us and we have him there ALL of the time to help us and guide us on our crazy adventures.

I have a dear friend who is struggling with direction due to various circumstances which she cannot control. I ran across these verses today and hope that she can take heart and pray this daily. For those of us that are married and don't always agree with our spouses, it can be a challenge if there is an impasse. We must have faith and focus on Jesus even in the midst of the crazy journey and oddball cast of characters.

Proverbs 3:25-26  25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
       or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,

 26 for the LORD will be your confidence
       and will keep your foot from being snared.

Perhaps we can all focus on that and see that if we strongly step out boldly in faith and confidence in the Lord, he will set our feet firmly on the rock and help us walk steadily in the light.

May we all feel blessed knowing that He will firmly grasp our hand and take hold when we let Him.