Saturday, June 25, 2016

Fix My Eyes On Jesus!
Hebrews 12:1-2

"Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Lord, help me to fix my eyes, not on my circumstances, but on You.  Practically speaking, I am learning to recognize where my eyes are focused.  The reality of our blurred vision, becomes clear based on our reactions to particular circumstances. So it's always a good idea for me to "examine my selfie" to see just exactly where my "eyes" are fixed.  How can I tell?  It's a pretty simple test.   Who  are you blaming for your ________?  What are you saying about them in your mind?  How often does your mind think of them and how they are the root of your problem?

 If you have a solid answer to these questions, then your eyes are on THEM. It's easier to find fault and cast blame on another human. That's our default mode.  It's in our DNA.  And actually, we can blame Adam and Eve for that fault.  LOL.   Because they started that response mode in the garden after their disobedience.  But Good News!  In Christ, we have a new nature and can learn to keep our eyes on Him as He matures us through various trials.

Keeping our eyes on Him for me means speaking Scripture (out loud or silently depending on my location).  Also, listening to music that sings the Truth is incredibly helpful.  And praying for God to fix my eyes on Him is imperative.  We need divine intervention to stay the course. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I Liked It!

     A couple of nights ago we had some lovely people from our church over for gumbo.   Of course at the end of the evening, I asked if I could take a picture and all obliged.  Most of the folks were on Facebook so I thought I would post the pic of the group and tag them which I did.  I put it on Instagram as well.

     When I woke up in the middle of the night, a thought was in my head about whether or not I should have posted it.  I seriously do not want to upload anything that brings glory to me but rather I want to glorify God as much as possible.  So I asked Him what He thought about it and if He was ok with it and He said, "Don't worry.  I liked it."

     It took me a second.  But then I got it.  He liked it.  As in, He clicked the "spiritual like" button.  LOLOLOL.  I cracked up and went back to sleep in peace.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

APB: Abandoned Walmart Cart

    This is a draft from December 2015 that I just decided to post.

 A word of warning....Do not leave your shopping cart unattended for 3 minutes in Walmart.  I am so guilty of this in just about every store I shop.  Why do I do this?  Well, I leave the cart "unattended" in order to make better time because navigating isle traffic with a shopping cart slows me down.  As a result, I often park it at the end of the isle and jaunt down and back to get what I need.  It WAS a good system.  Until...

     One Saturday last month,  I was on a mission to shop for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes  as well as some personal items.  Needless to say, I was  literally shopping in EVERY department.  About an HOUR into the journey and just as I was about to cross the finish line, I stopped to look for some Christmas pajamas for Silas.  I "parked" the shopping cart in a good spot and ventured around the area for about three minutes.  I confess I did cross over the big isle that separates the boys from the infant clothing, but it was just for a "second."

     When I was ready to proceed to the check out line, "it" was gone.  I thought for a moment that I was truly having a senior moment.  Seriously, I thought I knew where she was parked but after wandering around and searching and not finding, I decided to ask a human.  I was pointed in the direction to speak to a lady that had an ear set on and she politely inquired at the customer service desk as to the whereabouts of the missing buggy.  Sure enough, it had been mistaken as "abandoned" and promptly wheeled to customer service to be unpacked. I was supposed to WAIT next to the food section with her as "customer service" was supposedly gathering up my dispersed merchandise and allegedly bringing the restocked cart to me (honestly, that sounded too good to be true.  And it was.).  After a few minutes, I asked the nice employee lady if I shouldn't just go on over to customer service myself and see how it was going.  She agreed. I immediately saw that most of the carefully hand selected merch was strewn about and scattered in the return bins behind the service desk.  The staff was kind enough to let me go "back there" and search through them.  I did find a few of my items but was quickly becoming furious at the thought of having to shop all over again in Walmart ON A SATURDAY.  Plus one of the employees had already returned ALL of the food items I had selected.  I was so not up for a do-over.  But she sensed my distress and said she'd remembered most of my food items and would gladly go and retrieve them while I worked on re-gathering the other items.  I remember saying multiple times in my head, 'but this is for the Operation Christmas Child boxes."  Be careful what you say in your head....out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaketh!  And it did. In the scheme of things, I knew in my heart this wasn't a real problem.  But my head said otherwise.  Clearly I was in a spiritual battle.

      Long story, long, I pulled it together and check out. As I was leaving, one of the employees came up to me and said, "we found another one of your items."  But I literally said to her, "No thanks, Im over it."  Inwardly, I was furious....not mad at Walmart, but mad at myself for over-reacting and letting the situation control me.  I drove home knowing I wanted to throw something.

      Why on earth did this trial get to me like it did?  When I got home, I DROPPED the shopping bags in front of Mike.  Exasperated,  I ran to my "prayer closet."  I cried out to Jesus and He was there for me.  I confessed my anger and frustration as sin and asked for healing and forgiveness.

     I know God uses situations like these to expose strongholds in our heart that need healing.  I believe God was exposing the fact that I let my emotions control me through situations of distrust and by bringing them to the light, I can see my issue more clearly.  What exactly did He want to do that day?  Reveal a stronghold of control (as if I'm really in control. LOL).  God can and will use Walmart to expose the fact that I don't trust Him.  Control freaks like myself need to grow in trusting Him.  He is trustworthy and is teaching me in a seemingly unorthodox way that He truly is in control.  IN GOD WE TRUST!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Jesus Is The Christmas Light!

Christmas lights will soon go out but the light of Christ will NEVER be extinguished. "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." ~ Jesus (John 8:12)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Serve Those You Want To Serve You!

I have issues! I confess I am very critical of customer service these days seeing as how it's pathetic or non-existent in many retail establishments.  And as a former retail girl, I have ridiculous standards.

Last week, I was in my local grocery store and only had a small-ish cart full of items.  At the check out point, I became discouraged as the line was long and only one "normal" lane was open.  Maybe I could have used the self-check out option but in all actuality, I think I had too many items too fit on the scannermabob counter.  So I waited in the only lane available to me as I definitely had more than 12 items to qualify for express.  

My reoccurring issue presented itself as I began to wait and my hypercritical thoughts quickly surfaced because the two people in front of me had extra-large carts filled to the brim and the check-out  process was moving at a snail's pace.  After I found fault and cast blame sufficiently in my mind, I went too look for a human employee.  I asked the first one I came across if he could open up a lane.  He said I would have to make my request at the customer service desk.  Ugh.  Then low and behold, an employee appeared and opened the lane I was walking through to get back to my cart.  I quickly grabbed it and began to unload.  I was frustrated but tried to be kind.   In the scheme of things, this was not really a thing.  But it was controlling me and it had happened several times in the past month  (and/or years) so I knew God was doing something!  He tends to highlight our issues when it's time to work them out!  When I got home, I dropped to my knees and asked Him what I was supposed to do at the moment of frustration when I wanted to complain my head off and give vent to my frustration.  He said this:  "SERVE THOSE YOU WANT TO SERVE YOU BY PRAYING FOR THEM."  "O.K. Lord, what do you want me to pray?" I asked.  "PRAY FOR THEM TO LOVE ME," He said.

Well, that makes good, godly sense!  If I'm praying instead of complaining (out loud or in my mind), I am serving them which is actually serving God.  And if Im praying, I am blessing them and not cursing them (which is my sin-nature/automatic response).  So when I feel my customer service needs aren't being met and my blood begins to boil (I have entitlement issues too! But that's a whole other talk show), I will know that that's my cue to begin praying and serving those I want to serve me.  Imma try it.  P to the T to the L!!!  Gonna catch a ride on the freedom train!!!  Woot woot!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Day The Orphans Ministered To Me!


    On one of the days Sophie and I had scheduled to go and hang out with the kids at the  CCC Orphanage, she woke up feeling ill.  She informed me that she wouldn't be able to go.  I pondered my options and decided to walk on by myself.  Although I was afraid, I hated the thought of missing an opportunity to minister to the kids.  So I began the short trek out of the hospital compound and prayed the whole way there.  I asked God to show me what activities to do with the kids and to protect me on the road.
      When I arrived, the head admin. guy was not there as it was the day after the Ethiopian New Year Holiday.  I spoke with another employee who said the room with all of the books and games was locked and he didn't have access to the key.  I thought to myself (what on earth was I going to do without the proper "supplies" to entertain these kids) and I thought about heading back home.  I was nervous and out of my comfort zone.  I kept praying for God to SHOW UP.  I asked the guy in charge where I could find the kids and he pointed me to the cafeteria.  They were in the process of sorting lentils which was one of their regular chores.  I grabbed a seat between a couple of them.  I just sat.  They just stared and sorted beans.  They remembered me from the painting party a few days earlier and they seemed excited for me to be there.  They love attention (worldwide human nature ya know) and I believe they love adults who pay attention to them.  They began to sing to me....HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  It wasn't my birthday but it was actually only a couple of weeks away.  I believe they knew I would know that song so it was a safe choice.  I didn't prompt them to sing.  But at the painting party days before, at the end, I initiated a "Jesus Loves Me" sing-a-long in which they quickly joined in.  I think they remembered me as a "singer" and wanted to "speak" my love language.  I just sat while they sorted and sang.  They were so content and filled with peace.  I kept praying silently asking God to work out the details of this visit.  He most certainly did.  I kept thinking, how am I going to "entertain" them?!  What with the supply room locked and all.  But God had a different day in mind.  They would be the ones doing the entertaining.  After the Happy Birthday song, they kept going. They broke into "Our God Is An Awesome God,"  and "Give Me Jesus." Their voices were incredible.  And I was mesmerized.  By them.  And by God.  We sat there together.  And they serenaded me, singing of the love of God they clearly had a grasp on and were grateful for.  His love was so evident that day.  I knew He loved me.  Through them.  And they knew they were loved.
    I was sorry Sophie missed it.  But actually I now know I was supposed to go alone that day.  As God held my hand, I stepped out of my comfort zone with Him.  And the "angels" sang to me.

Joshua 1:9 says, "Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,  for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."  








The Orphanage

      I had the privilege of returning to Ethiopia this past September 2014, for the second time in two years for a medical mission trip through World Medical Mission.  My husband would be helping out in the orthopedics department at the hospital in Soddo, a town in southern Ethiopia.  And seeing as I am totally non-medical when it comes to nurse-y type skills, I go along and help out wherever I am needed.
      Last year, my daughter, Molly, and step-son, Jonathan,  and I had the privilege of working in a school on the hospital campus teaching English from the Bible.  We had an incredible experience with the students and tremendously enjoyed our time with them.  But this year as we returned, we found out the school would be on holiday break for the entire time we would be in town.  I didn't panic although I was sad that I would not be able to reconnect with the kids we had met a year earlier.  But this year, I would have a new assignment along with my step-daughter, Sophie, who was able to take time off from work and sojourn with us.  I knew in my heart that the LORD would provide work for us.  And He did!  The Children's Cross Connection is an orphanage that houses approximately 60 kids and it is just about one mile from the hospital.  I had not had the privilege of visiting last year even though it was on my bucket list.  But this year, Sophie and I had the desire to meet with the administrator  and see how we might be able to help out.  They allowed us to come and hang out with the children as our schedule allowed and they gave us total creative freedom to spend time with them as we saw fit.
     The first day we planned a "painting party" as I had bought and packed supplies from Hobby Lobby.  The ability to paint and create and allow the "inner artist" that resided in all of them was special.