Monday, June 30, 2014

Sowing Love, Reaping Love


            Anyone who has ever parented more than one child has to understand the idea of feeling like a continual referee between the children.  My super fabulous awesome girls are no different.  Before having my second daughter I thought that the sibling issues wouldn’t start until they reached a certain age, but that wasn’t the case.  I think they started in our home the moment we brought our second child home from the hospital.  Honestly I can’t say it’s all one or the other.  The two of them bounce off of each other.
            Perhaps the two of them have gotten worse over the last few months, or perhaps it’s just the fact that its summer vacation and I need to encourage them to take these two months to learn a foreign language, train for a marathon, or swim the English Channel.  However, recently the two of them have been at each other.  Dan and I keep encouraging them to be nice to each other.  That does work, some of the time. 
            Yesterday as my youngest was crying because my oldest was being mean to her, I was trying to have a heart to heart moment.  Someone needs to start breaking the cycle that sends them yelling.
            “If you planted an apple tree what fruit would grow on the tree?”  I asked her.
            “Apple,” She responded.       
            “If I planted tomato seeds, what would I get?”
            “Tomatoes”
            “If I planted love then I should get what back?”
            “Love…but she…”  So the saga continued.  I tried to explain to her the principal of reaping and sowing.  I think she heard me.  I was trying to get her to understand that perhaps if she showed some love to her sister even if she didn’t want to be nice to her then perhaps she’d reap love in return. 
            It’s ironic how this principal works in a lot of situations in life.

            

Galatians 6:7 (ESV)Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

               
            I wanted to use this simplistic story to encourage all of you, my dear readers, today. To look for ways to sow love and kindness even if you think the other person doesn’t deserve it.  You might be surprised how much the same undeserved love and kindness will come back to you.  The concept of ‘paying something forward’ is really a Biblical approach.  What you sow, you will in turn reap. For example, I can testify to blessing someone with a car we no longer did need.  Years later when we needed a vehicle someone blessed us with one.    If you want someone to stop being mean to you, start being nice to them.  If you want someone to be there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on, be there for someone who needs you.  The cycle does perpetuate.  What you sow…you will reap.
            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pulling Back to Propel Forward


            I wrote in my last blog about how I have really been enjoying learning archery and today I have another thought along the lines of a bow and arrow. 
            In order for arrows to be launched forward they have to be pulled backwards.  They have to be pulled in what seems to be opposite of where it looks like they should be heading.  They have to strain to go to what seems to the wrong way before they can be launched into being the right way.
            In Proverbs 127:5 Children are compared to being arrows.  If you consider this along with Isaiah 55:11 where words are being sent from God and not returning to Him void but accomplishing what He sent, we as people are also arrows in the hand of God.  We are His children.  He sent us here for purpose and destiny.  We have things to accomplish for His Kingdom on the earth. 
            So sometimes there might be times in your life where God is leading you in what seems to be the opposite direction to where you want to go.  There are times where you have to submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit to trust that He is setting you up.  When you allow yourself to be an arrow and follow His leading, that is where you’ll find some of your biggest breakthroughs and targets are ahead.  Perhaps that very thing that seems to be backwards to you at the moment will get you in position to be thrust into the very thing you’ve been praying for all along.  Where people miss this is when they absolutely refuse to go where God is leading and thus not allow God to line them up to where they need to go.  Submitting to the process is always worth it.
            Often it can be so easy to preach these things, but so very challenging to walk out. I write this blog out of my own personal stories and things my family and I are walking through at the moment.  It’s never easy to walk out the plans of God, but you are graced just as I am to step where He is leading.
            I want to encourage you all today, no matter what it looks like or what circumstances appear to be in the situation, Trust GOD!  He has a plan!  He has a Purpose!  You HAVE a destiny!  Perhaps that very thing that seems to be backwards is about to propel you forward.  Allow the TEST to be a TESTIMONY, and the MESS to get turned into a MESSAGE.

            God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Careful Where You're Aiming That...


            Greetings from Ohio,
            It’s been an interesting week in our new surroundings:  We’re excited to be finally attending Faith Life Church, My children have been hanging out with family and in my parents pool,  I think they are developing fish gills, I’ve learned that most of my household stuff fits in a garage, and that sometimes we all need some downtime to hear the voice of God for the next season.
            Since moving, I have discovered a love of archery.  My parents have had a target range for guns set up in their back yard.  I have always been a supporter of the 2nd Amendment but have never loved shooting a lot.  I have recently found out I really like the bow and arrow.  I’m not sure how long or far I’ll take this, but I’ve already told Dan when we move closer to Johnstown to be near our church I want an archery range in the back yard. 
            My oldest daughter has also developed an enjoyment of the sport, and my youngest is trying but isn’t that into it.  She gets a little distracted and forgets that she’s pointing arrows towards people.  We’re trying to teach her that the arrow is a weapon, and just like a gun you can’t point it at anyone but to keep it aimed toward the ground.  This is taking some reminding. 
            A few days ago we were target shooting and while she was listening to my instructions, I looked up and saw an arrow aimed at me. 
            “Watch where you’re pointing that!”  I panicked.  She quickly moved it. 
            As I watched her adjust her posture, I realized that words and arrows are so similar.  So often we go through life and we forget that our words are  loaded weapon.  Too often we point them at people without thinking of the pain it might cause.  There are too many people wounded in life because they’ve been hit by ‘friendly fire’.  Sometimes this attack is done knowingly and sometimes unknowingly. 

Proverbs 18:21
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. 
           
          There has been death to many a relationship because the ‘arrow’ has been pointed and misunderstood.  Let us all remember that words are powerful.  Just like we’re teaching my youngest not to point a loaded weapon at people, be careful where you point your tongue.  Life is too short to release arrows you can never get back.  I heard a child teaching exercise once where the instructor told kids to empty out a tube of toothpaste on a paper plate.  Then told them to put all the toothpaste back in the tube.  When the kids whined and complained that they couldn’t get the toothpaste back inside the tube, the announcer responded that words are the same way.  Once they are out, they can’t be put back.  Many of you who read this are probably asking about forgiveness.  Absolutely people can forgive each other when things are said that aren’t needed, however if you can think about it first. . . maybe you can opt not to release those words.  Think first and speak later.  That doesn’t mean you agree with everyone, or that you never speak your mind.  It means simply, season your words with love, ask the Lord how to say something, be careful how those arrows are released. 
            God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited.

*Please continue to keep us in prayer.  We have a lot of doors that need to open and clarity that needs to come forth.  Adjusting is always a process.  Honestly because we visit here often I’m not sure it’s occurred to any of my family that we’re living here.  Perhaps when winter starts it might.  We are endeavoring to grab hold of what God is doing.  We appreciate your prayers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Adventures in Cross Country Moving


            As most of you know, my family and I have had a very intense and adventurous few days.  Moving across the country will do that.  My girls were already in Ohio.  My husband, dog and I left Orlando in the rain.  Only a few hours into our trip an oil light came on with a wrench.  My husband (who was rockin’ the U-Haul and drove the whole way) felt that the beast of a vehicle was pulling to the right, so we pulled off to the side of the road on I-75.   While semi’s sped past us rocking the cab of the U-Haul, and my dog started to freak out, I called the road side assistance just to make sure it was ok.  The first call got disconnected.  The second time I spoke with them the woman on the other end of the phone started to panic.  She told me to hang up and call 911.  So I did.  911 just got annoyed with me for calling them even after I tried to explain to them that I was told to.  She transferred me to the highway patrol, who in turn also got annoyed with me.  When I called U-Haul back this person on the other end just told us to keep driving.  So we did.  The hotel we ended up staying at for the night was less than ideal.  There were a few drunken guys that kept being loud outside our door, my dog barked the entire night, and the front desk didn’t really care they were loud.  We took a wrong turn in Columbus.  The straps to the tow on the back of the U-Haul kept falling off the tires and it may have been a partial miracle our SUV didn’t fall off.  But eventually we made it. 
 Life can be full of funny moments.  I think you can either allow them to make you laugh or spend your moments being grumpy that everything doesn’t always go as planned.  Either way, life is full of these kinds of moments.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are doing.  We all face challenges.  We have a choice on how we handle them. 
I was reflecting as we were traveling that there had been so many small things that I had worried about regarding this move.  It seems so silly now that I wasted so much time thinking and mulling over these small things because when I got to the time it all worked out.   I worried about getting someone to clean my carpets in the rental, how we were going to fit all our stuff in the place we had to hold it here, how the dog would do on the trip, and the list when on and on.  As we walk out our life, do what we have to do in order to get these things done, it’s amazing how everything works out. 
I think the word of God says it best. 

Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[b] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
           
          In the words of the old Bobby McFerrin song, “Don’t Worry.  Be Happy!”  You have to choose to be happy in life.  You have to choose to go through life and not to let these things get you down.  Don’t let the small things spoil the bigger picture.  God is good, and somehow He always works things together for those that love the Lord!

            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Bittersweet Transitions



This weekend was filled with a myriad of emotions and tears.  While we’ve known for a really long time we’d be leaving Central Florida, sometimes knowing it was going to happen doesn’t always make it any easier.  Don’t get me wrong; I have NO DOUBT that moving to Ohio is where God wants us.  But sometimes it’s just so hard to say good-bye. 

I wrote in a book once (still unpublished), I made the comparison to people in your life with a patchwork quilt.  I wrote that people, that you cross paths with in your life, make up the patchwork quilt of you.  Some people give you their piece to put in the quilt and it might be bigger than what you wanted, or their piece might be smaller.  Some people are that warm fuzzy piece you want to snuggle with, and others are that very scratchy irritable section that always makes you annoyed.  However the quilt is yours.   You leave fabric pieces for people in your lives, and they leave their pieces with you.   You have to be okay with the pieces people leave behind, and understand that part of them will always be with you.  It’s funny that though I wrote that analogy many years ago in a book, I go back to it often when dealing with transitions.   I’ve always thought that was one of those revelations I’ve received when writing that had to have come from the Lord. 

It can be so easy to forget that when we say good-bye on this earth that we only have a certain amount of time allotted to us.  However there is an eternity that waits.  Our moments here on this earth are just vapors in time (James 4:14).  The good news is when it comes to fellow believers good-byes are never forever.  We’ll all be in heaven one day together. 

Dan and I have joked for months that when we cross that Florida border this weekend in the U-Haul we want to take a moment to dance across the Florida line.  While it’s something we’ve joked about, I know that I’m going to leave part of me here.  In turn I will be taking fabric pieces of many we’ve known and loved for the last 13 years with me.  Transitions are never easy; so many avoid them because they can be painful and emotional.  However once you know that you know what God has called you to do, run towards it with gusto.  There is no need to look back.  Choose not to be like Lot’s wife and remember the old.  Push forward to the new, and know that God is moving you closer to destiny.   Move forward!

Isaiah 43:18-19
English Standard Version (ESV)
18 “Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

            God is doing a new thing!  Embrace it!  Run towards it!  That doesn’t mean you’ll forget those people you love.  It just means you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and forward lies the next step.
            God Has Awesome Plans for your life.  Get excited!
*Since I will be moving this weekend, I will only be writing one blog this week, and at some point next week I’ll write one.  Essentially I’m going to take a week off.  Please keep us all in prayer.  We are believing for favor, and trusting God for smooth sailing.  As always we love you all.  Super Smiles!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Conversations on the Way to School


            My youngest daughter has a bad habit she’s been trying to break.  It’s nothing major, but it’s been an ongoing thing.  This morning we were discussing this on the way to school.
            “Mommy, I am trying.”  She responded at my questions.
            “I know you are baby, but there is a difference between trying and doing.”  I began to search for the right words to say here.  We all have things we need to break as habits and she is only 8 years old.  Suddenly a story from the Bible popped into my mind.  “There is a story in the Bible about one man who God told him to do something and the man told God he’d do it and then he didn’t.  Then there is a story where God told another man to do it, and while the other man told God no, eventually he did it.  Which one of these men followed what God wanted?”
            “The second one.”  I heard her say from the back seat.
            “Even if it may take you awhile to break the habit, then break it.  Just telling people something isn’t the same as actually doing it, is it?”
            “No.”  I could tell she was pondering this all from the backseat.  I knew she was listening and I would like to think that she’ll really work on breaking this bad habit and not just tell me she is. 
As the car grew quiet again I began to think how much we all do these things in life.  Know we need to make changes, and excuse our inactivity with a few “I’m trying’s” just to make ourselves feel better.  I don’t want to come across as hardcore here, but it’s true that God isn’t interested in our lip service necessarily, but our actions.  While we can’t get so works minded, we do have to remember that faith without works really is dead (James 2:14-26).
My conversation with my daughter spurred me to think, ‘What are those things in my life that I’ve been saying to myself and God that I’m working on, but really I am not?’  Ouch!  I can name a couple.  While I can’t be condemned, perhaps I do need to stop excusing those things with an ‘I’m working on it’.  I know we all could probably list a few things.  While we won’t be perfect we do need to do what we know God has said to us.
Perhaps you too can see a few things that you need to work on in your life.  Let us all stop saying we’re going to do something about them, and start doing it!  God has a plan and purpose for all of our lives.  While He will open mighty doors for us, we need to do our part to get to the right door frame.  Excusing our inactivity will just keep us sitting in the hallway.
Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!


Monday, June 2, 2014

My Love Hate Relationship With Wal-Mart


It is true that Wal-Mart and I have a love hate relationship.  My husband questions why I still frequent their stores, or at very least the one that has irritated me the most.  I’ll admit he may have a point.  However every time I justify the issues away with “the location is convenient” and “there prices really are cheaper”. I realize more and more I’m paying for the convenience with seconds wasted from my life.  Our crazy Wal-Mart stories vary in content:  There was the time the deli worker refused to sell me fried chicken even though the cases were full of it, the time I got yelled at for not speaking Spanish by a cashier, the time the pharmacy gave my daughter the wrong prescription (I still won’t use their pharmacy), There was the time they refused to honor my coupons and semi mocked me in Spanish, or more recently they refused to sell me an ink cartridge when it was open and so I went back into the store and the same one was back on the shelf. 
          
Yesterday my husband and I were waiting in line and I looked at him and laughed, “I think God must know I need to exercise my fruits of the spirit today. Love, Joy, Peace, Goodness, Gentleness, Self-Control and LONG suffering.”  We both laughed, but it’s true. 
            
Let’s face it.  We all go through things were we want to lash out and have a flesh attack.  KevOnStage is an online personality (He can be looked up on YouTube easily, and he has a funny bit about being convinced being able to drive is a fruit of the Spirit when dealing with road rage.
            
There are times all of us, no matter whom we are, have to choose to walk in love versus yelling at the cashier who seems to be going out of their way to take their precious time with someone’s 53 boxes of popcorn.  I think we all get so caught up in a rush that we tend to forget those around us are human too, and how would they want to be treated?  Does getting irritated, taping your foot, and starting to yell show people the love of Christ?

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
            
So let my love hate relationship with Wal-Mart be a reminder to all of your today.  You may be the only Bible those around you may ever read.  Choose to show love even when you think people don’t deserve it.  Exercise those fruits of the spirit in your daily routines of life.  Remember to act like Jesus, because the world and the people you pass by at Wal-Mart are watching.
            
God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!