Friday, August 29, 2014


Boundaries are a part of everyday life. Sometimes we appreciate the boundaries and sometimes we don't, what we do know for sure is that boundaries can be very good for us.

Think about the track runner. What would happen if there was no starting line and no finish line? How would there be a race? Where would the runners go? How will they know when the race is over? Think about the basketball player. What would happen if they could run anywhere in the whole building to keep the ball away from the other team? That would be one wild and crazy game! Think about driving down a road that has no lines. I witnessed traffic in the Dominican Republic. It was interesting indeed. There were rules and boundaries there, but weren't always obeyed. That makes the traffic paralyzing and dangerous!

God doesn't want us to live that way! He has given us His Word as a set of guidelines for living. The boundaries that he has set in place make sense. His Word gives instruction not just for beginning this race we call life, but also about how to make it to the finish a winner!  It is up to us to learn, study, and obey His Word, and that is when our course is made clear to us. Instead of chaos, we can have peace. Instead of confusion, we can have clarity.

Romans 12:2 says: "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."

I was sitting with two of my daughters the other day, talking about rules and boundaries. One of them turned to me and said, "I like your boundaries mom, in the end they always make sense."  As a mom I have to tell you that her statement sure did my heart some good! It also made me acutely aware of the responsibility I have as a Christian. As parents we want to be good examples for our kids, but it can't stop there. In addition to our immediate family we also have a circle of influence that our words and actions impact. Whether we are single or married, a mom or grandma, a dad or grandpa, a brother or sister, what we do, or don't do impacts other people's lives.

Our calling is simple. We are called to make disciples of others.
Matthew 28:19 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."  It is time for us to live with purpose. Dig into the Word of God and do what it says.....the impact you make on others will be for eternity!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Are You Comfortable?

So, I have finally become "one of those people!" I got up and ready for the day, knowing I had a lot to do. Dressed in cute capris, a simple yet stylish blouse, and my sequin leopard slippers, I decided to get some cleaning done on my house and run a few errands. I knew we would be pushing it to get everything done that needed to be done, but my girls and I were on a mission. We made quick work of the upstairs and we decided to run a few errands that needed to get done before lunch. That is when things went awry!

I grabbed my grocery list and my packages that needed to be mailed and headed out. I must say that I am very thankful that my first stop was the Post Office. It was there that I made the discovery that I was not wearing any shoes......I still had my slippers on! I have to tell you I was mortified!  I had to stand on my tippey toes to do what I needed to do at the front counter and when my heels slid out of the furry center of my slippers....I gasped. The mail lady asked if I was okay and I responded...."! I came here in slippers! I never leave the house in slippers!" She chuckled at me as I am now fumbling around like I have just committed the worst crime imaginable. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those people that always has to be dressed up to leave the house, but I am one of those people that requires herself to at least be in SHOES!
These are my OH SO COMFY slippers!
You see I was so comfortable and so busy that I didn't even realize that I was not ready to face the world. I was so caught up in what I was doing that I didn't pay close enough attention to what I was wearing.

Our pastor, Pastor Bell from Lifeway Church Indy, has been preaching a sermon series on the Armor of God and I have found myself challenged to say the least. How many times have you been caught on the battleground with your slippers on instead of your combat boots? You start going about your day, your week, your month coasting along fine. You get relaxed and stop suiting up for this battle that we are in.....that is when a blow comes out of nowhere and knocks you to the ground. If only we were prepared! If only we had been vigilant! We could have been successful......"IF ONLY!"

I have heard people say, "God will never give you something you can't handle." To them I say hogwash! Being found on the battlefield unprepared is not God's fault! God isn't in heaven seeing how He can trip us up....He has given us everything we need to face this battle and come out victorious. He gave us His Word to instruct us. He has given us the body of Christ to encourage us. He has given us our pastor to equip us. Plus, bonus of all bonuses, He has already defeated our attacker!  Yes, you heard me correctly we are in a fixed fight! All we are required to do is obey His Word!

Come on people! This is something to SHOUT about!

In my Sunday School lesson we were talking about faithfulness.  Faithfulness is more than showing up. I don't call my fence faithful because it surrounds my yard.  That is unless it has weathered horrific storms and never faltered. That is when I see that fence from a different perspective.

We are called to be faithful servants of our God. That means we will face some things. Know my friend that he has provided the armor for us to wear if we would just put it on. We are called to be purposefully persistent, always moving forward and advancing the Kingdom of God. This is our calling as true Christians.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lost and Found

I have "collected" quite a few animals in the past ten (10) years or so. Some of them we still have, and some have lived a full life span from beginning to end in our care.  My husband is in the Army and has had to be gone on occasion for long periods of time. It seems to be our habit to get a new animal every time my husband is gone for an extended period.  We didn't plan it or anything, it just seemed to happen. At one point I thought I might be able to print up "Petting Zoo" tickets and sell them to the neighborhood kids and let them walk through my home playing with all the animals. I thought it was a great fundraising idea! 

Let me try to list out the animals so you can get the gist of what I mean.  In the past ten years we have had: 6 dogs, 3 rabbits, 1 turtle, 1 gecko, 2 hedgehogs, 10 hermit crabs, 5 different fish tanks with 100+ fish, and 1 hamster.  To the best of my memory, this is a comprehensive list! Ugh! I can't even believe it myself now that I'm looking at it!

This is Charlie. He is the most "unique" animal that we have adopted. He is the only one that found us. He was wandering around our yard dirty, starving, and mangy one morning before I left for work.  We searched for his family, and when they couldn't be found, we were a little relieved since we had already fallen in love with him.
When I say that he is unique, that is quite the understatement. When we first got him we thought he was just a disobedient dog because he would bark and spin in circles every time we gave him a command. It was quite frustrating until we realized that he only understood Spanish!  We couldn't believe it either!  Don't worry, if you come to visit he is now bilingual so if you talk to him in English, he will understand you now! He loves to be held, especially in a sling like the above photo, and he is a hugger. He runs to us and jumps on us and hugs us!  It makes us all feel like he knows that we rescued him. He takes every opportunity to show what seems to be appreciation to us for the love that we have shown him. The fact is, he makes us smile everyday because of the large doses of love he gives us!
Charlie is usually snuggling close to me in the mornings as I do my devotion, and I got to thinking about how I show my appreciation to God for the fact that he rescued me! I sacrificed very little to rescue Charlie. God sacrificed His own Son to rescue me! Jesus gave his life for me. I don't have the right to go days without thinking about the sacrifice made for me, it was too great!
I know this dog story is a little silly, but it is one of the unique ways that God speaks to me. He wants to speak to you too. He wants you to remember the sacrifice Jesus made for you. He wants you to tell everyone you know about how God made a way for your salvation, and then live your life purposefully loving on Him. Share God's love at every turn.  Anyone that has visited my home knows how much Charlie loves us. It is unmistakable!  He never wants to leave our lap.....ever!  That may aggravate us at times, but it will never aggravate the lover of our souls.  He desires to have us close. He desires us to be in His lap as we face every part of our lives. He desires us to never leave His side. 
We have been rescued by the Creator of the universe. That is something to be thankful for every minute of every day for the rest of our lives!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Our Words

Have you ever said something that you wished immediately you could take back?  That has definitely happened to me. In fact it happened just recently.  It was one of those moments that seemed to get away from me and before I knew it. Then there I was wishing I had chosen to bite my tongue instead of speak. Instead words came out that I could never take back, and I was filled with regret wishing I had held my tongue all the while looking into the sad little eyes of my daughter who had received my ill spoken words.

I know I'm not alone, but that doesn't make me feel any better. I really despise those moments of regret.....don't you?  Proverbs 18:21 says "The tongue has the power of life and death,...."  The power of life and death.....that is pretty serious.  We don't always think about the gravity of our words as we should. If we truly understood this verse, I believe we would be more careful with our words.

You don't have to be a mother to have experienced a moment like this. You could be a father, daughter, son, sibling, employer, or employee, whatever stage you are in you could find yourself in a situation requiring you to hold your tongue. The important this is what you do when you are faced with the situation.  Matthew 12:36 says, "But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken." Believe me, it is best to hold your tongue!

The old adage, "Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you" isn't necessarily true. Negative words do hurt. If you don't believe me then think back a little bit. It probably won't take you too long to remember a time when ill spoken words impacted your life. Just as we have all been on the receiving end negative words, we have more than likely also been the one dishing them out!  Take a moment and think about the words of Proverbs 18:21 from above.

Since we hold the power of life in our tongue, we should speak words of life more often. Don't you agree that there is nothing that puts a smile on your face faster than a kind word! You can be going through the biggest struggle of your life and then someone says the most simple yet sincere thing and it changes everything. Words of life bring joy, peace, and encouragement to the people who you're speaking to. When God designed us, He did it specifically. It is no accident that we hold the power of life and death in our tongues. We each have a circle of influence that we impact with our words, we can choose to speak life or death. Even though we were created with a free will, God wants us to speak life!!  

So don't miss an opportunity to speak words of life to those around you!

Time Snatchers

Have any of you ever wished for more time? I know I have. In fact I have even gone so far as to take it to God in prayer and request more time from Him.  I know, I know you don't have to tell me how ridiculous that is. I know it's ridiculous. I guess I thought that was my last ditch effort to try to fit everything I needed (wanted) to do in.  I approached God rationally. (In my own mind at least)  I listed the times that God made time stand still. I quoted scriptures about his greatness and strength, and then just blurted it out and laid my request right out there!  His response was simple and straight forward. Well, really His response to me was more of a question. I didn't hear God speak audibly, but I did truly hear Him speak to my heart when He said, "You know I love you. I created 24 hours in every day for you to work and then to rest. What do you do with those hours each day?"  OUCH!!

I am a person that has (in the past more than now) found it hard to say no. Even without that "issue" it is not always easy to do all the things necessary. I am a wife, a mother, I homeschool (high school and middle school), I volunteer at church, I volunteer outside of church.....I know that when we list things out like this it makes us feel justified in such an outstanding request of our Lord.  The problem is this, I am also a person that wastes time!

I know, we never want to admit that we could be part of the problem. Believe me, I am cringing as I type this. I never want to waste time, it just happens. What I have noticed is that the more disorganized I am, the harder it is to get anything done. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that if you're organized you will get everything done that you set your mind to in a timely fashion.  What I am saying is that when you are organized and you have to step away and don't get back to it for a day or four....(you thought I would say two didn't you) you are able to pick it right back up and finish without any problems at all.

Organization is a discipline, and disciplines are things that don't just happen on their own. They take time, energy and effort. They take getting up early or maybe going to bed a little later. The discipline of organization is much like daily Bible study and devotion time. If you don't make time and space for it in your schedule the day will flood you with its own demands and soon you will find that your life has become a raging flooded river where the things that once had its place have swelled over the banks and are mixed up everywhere.

If you struggle with organization there are several things you can do. First, I recommend that you pray about it. God cares about everything in our lives. He is faithful to help you as you work through it.  Next, find some organizational books. There are so many ideas and helpful tips that don't take much time to institute and the impact is huge. Also, take some time to talk to a friend that could help. There are people, and you probably have a person in your mind right now, that are so awesome at organization. They would be thrilled to give you a few pointers. You never know, they may even offer to help.

I know this is only one time snatcher, but it is a biggie. You will see how much more smoothly your day goes if you discipline yourself to stay organized!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Are You Listening?

Is it just me or has our world become overly noisy and chaotic?  With the age of technology we are bombarded with tweets, emails, texts, IM's, Snaps, and phone calls.  Our minds have become a whirlwind of tasks, expectations, desires, obligations, and so on. We can't even complete one task without two more hovering over our heads. We have become way too good at tuning things out so we can think clearly to complete whatever it is we are working on in that moment. 

My pastor issued a challenge to those of us that attend the Sunday morning prayer time to really focus on hearing God speak to us. I have to admit (shamefully) that I thought it would be easy. I tend to be a list maker, so I thought I would add it to my list of tasks and just check it off. As I sit here on this Friday night I have to say that I've realized that was not at all what he meant!

This week was packed with the usual suspects vying for my attention, and I found myself really fighting to make sure that I was open to hear God speak to me.  I didn't bombard God with a list of needs, I just wanted to hear what He had to say.  I don't mean that I hear God verbally speak to me out of the sky while my walls and windows shake. I mean that I hear God speak to my heart, and I know its Him because I love Him and have a relationship with Him. I am SO thankful that I took my pastor's words to heart.

As I tried to push through the clamor that has now become an accepted part of my life I could tell that this pleased Him.  As life continued to move at its frantic rate and I continued to let Him know that I was so happy to be His child and I longed to hear Him speak to my heart I could feel Him smile at me. I guess something that I had forgotten (shamefully) was that God is a God of the practical. He cares about every part of our lives because He loves us.

I believe that the hurried pace of our world has caused us to tune out the very voice of God. In our desire to complete a task and mark if off our list we will rush and scurry not once including the God of the universe in our thought process let alone our decision making.  Then when things don't go well because we are nothing more than mere humans trying to chart our own course, we blame God for putting us through trials that are too hard for us to bear. We don't have to put ourselves through that.......God wants to be involved in our lives!

God created us to spend time with Him!  It's in there. In Genesis we are told that God came down and walked with Adam in the cool of the day. Why did He do that? It was because He loves His creation......US!   He loves to spend time with us! Isn't that exciting?

So now my sweet friends, I want to pass this gift off to you. I challenge you to make it a point to listen to God speak to you. Let Him know that you care what He wants for your life. Open your heart to His voice......I know you won't be sorry because I'm not!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Who Are You?

Today I found myself in a very nostalgic mood.  I decided to put a couple photos on social media, and I got to thinking about the people in the pictures.  The pictures I posted held images of people either gone from this world forever, now aged from the snapshots of the past, or all grown up now.
Great Grandma & Grandpa Snyder 1969
I come from an extraordinary family! This month we will celebrate the 106th birthday of my Great-Grandma Snyder. This is a woman that has never let anything slow her down. I could probably spend days if not weeks looking through pictures and slides of all the places she has visited in her lifetime. I have so many fond memories of visiting her, but I will share just this one today.

Let me just set the groundwork....My grandma loves ice cream. I don't mean that she likes it, I mean she LOVES it! She always kept multiple containers of ice cream in her freezer. (And it contained not much else!) She would serve us ice cream every time we were there. Sometimes the visit also included a trip to the store to purchase more ice cream because she believed that she didn't have enough. Her home was a virtual smorgasbord of her favorite frozen food!

Now that the groundwork is laid, let me share my most memorable visit to grandma's house.  On this particular visit grandma was in the mood for a root beer float. YUM! In fact I find that my mouth is watering even as I type about it! Every time I went back to her and thanked her for the tasty treat she would ask if I wanted another one.  Even before I could get an answer out of my mouth, she was busy at work building another creation of yummy goodness! That day I had four root beer floats!  FOUR!  If that isn't good enough, the story gets even better. Years later (as an adult) I was visiting grandma, and this story came to my mind, so I thought I would share it with her. What does she do?  You guessed it!  She says, "Oh, would you like a root beer float!" Before I could even say a word, she was busy at work building a creation of yummy goodness!  I smiled and thanked her, then we sat at her table in the kitchen and shared memories as we both enjoyed her favorite treat, ice cream.

I too, like my grandma, am a feeder.  I am one of those people that believe I need to feed you because I love you. If you come to my house, I will feed you.  If I think about you while I am driving, I will get something and bring it to you to feed you. Stories like this one about my grandma make me smile because it really solidifies the fact that we are a compilation of the qualities that impacted us the most in our lives. Whether good or bad. Whether we were learning what to do, or what not to do. We become what has made the biggest impact on us.

As I am flipping through the old pictures that hold snapshots of faces that have left this earth. Pictures of people that have left imprints on my life forever I find myself thankful. Thankful to have been placed in this amazing family by my heavenly Father. Thankful to have spent time in their homes talking and laughing. Thankful for the impact of their love that has helped to make me who I am.

I dare say that we as Christians we are to be like my Grandma Snyder. We are to be so in love with the Savior of our souls that we share him every chance we get. We should never let our stockpile run low. We should always be invested and involved in our church which is the place that keeps our "freezer" full.  There will be those that come to us (like I did with my grandma) that have hungry faces and eager eyes. Those are the ones that have been placed in our lives for us to help disciple. You see, we are not just here to be imprinted upon, we are here to leave a mark!  When my last day has come and gone and people are standing at my funeral, I don't want it said about me that I sure knew how to take! "Yes, that girl sure knew how to take it all in!".....NO! I want it said that I gave all I had!  I want it said that whatever it was that God blessed me with, whether knowledge or money, talents or wisdom, faith or anything else, that I poured it out. I want it said that I used all I had to make an impact for the Kingdom of God!
My Gorgeous Grandma Snyder

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Life of No Regrets

Live a life with no regrets! 

This challenge was issued by my pastor today in his sermon. Personally, I perked up when I heard him say that phrase. This has been the "motto" of our family ever since my oldest daughter was old enough to receive those "pep talks" more commonly known as lectures. This phrase has been issued as a command, a request, and an inspiring anecdote in our household more times than I can count. I'm sure that my children's ears perked up a little this morning too as our pastor was speaking.....well, at least they better have!

You are probably thinking, "Oh sure, listen to her.  She thinks she has it all together!"  I never said that, at all!  Living a life of no regrets is not easy in the least bit, and I never said I had perfected it. In fact, most of the time you learn what it means to live with no regrets by having a few. That is something I am well versed in, regrets.

Is it possible to live a life with no regrets?  What would it look like as we walk it out?

Get it out of your head that living with no regrets means that we all float, instead of walk, from one place to the next, we never make mistakes and we always respond in love, all the while the Hallelujah chorus plays in the background. Nothing could be further from the truth!  A life of no regrets is simple in theory, and difficult in practice.  Am I right?? To live with no regrets is nothing more than making a series of proper choices. It is making sure that at every opportunity we choose to respond with principles based on the Word of God. The problem comes in at the opportunity be given an opportunity to respond with no regrets, means we also have the opportunity to respond regretfully.

Let's take a look at this practically. It's like when your child decides to bring a heaping full bowl of steaming hot potato soup into the living room to eat. Then when she gets just into the room, a room that has carpet of course, she drops the bowl all over.  (Yes, this just happened today!)  You have a choice to make. You can fly off the handle and yell as you harshly belittle, or you can control yourself and deal with the issue instead as you lovingly correct. Or when you have an extremely difficult client, customer, etc. that from the word "go" makes your blood boil. You have a choice to make. You can react or respond.

My pastor has been preaching on the armor of God. As he was preaching about the helmet of salvation, he explained about the armor that a Roman soldier would wear and how their helmet had different colored plumage. That plumage is what would distinguish them among their peers. We, as soldiers of God, are commanded to "put on the helmet of salvation" in Ephesians 6.  We are also commanded to produce fruit or "plumage."  As we guard our mind, we will find ourselves holding our tongue and responding in love.  As we respond in that way we will realize the production of the fruit of the spirit in our lives which is; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (our plumage).  As we respond in love, we are showing the character of Christ. It is then that the plumage in our "helmet" will distinguish us among our peers!!!  How great is that?

You may think that this is all well and good moving on in the future, but what do you do if you already have some regrets in your life? What do you do then?  Don't panic, we all find ourselves there.  All that means is that it is time to start fresh!
1. If your regret is sin, ask God to forgive you.
2. If your regret is against someone, ask them to forgive you.
3. If your regret is in a relationship, make amends.
4. If your regret is not stepping out when God asks you to, refer to #1 and then step out.
You see where I'm going with this......

We make excuses for ourselves about a lot of things especially when we are facing something difficult. In fact, for many difficult things in our lives we may use this excuse, "There is no rule book for this...."  Well friends I have some good news for you.  We have a rule book.....God's Word!  We have everything we need to live a life of no regrets!  Psalm 119:105 says "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."  You do not have to wander around in the dark. Use the light provided for you and LIVE YOUR LIFE WITH NO REGRETS!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Secret Ingredient to Joy

I have to say I am so thankful for the people that have been placed in my life. God has brought such a wide variety of people into my life and I have learned (and continue to learn) life lessons from each one.

My small group talked about contentment this past week and so I have been pondering what true contentment is.

What I've decided is that contentment is the secret ingredient to joy. Happiness is based on surroundings and situations. Happiness can grow and wane with life, but joy is constant!  Joy is based on something so much more solid than situations and experiences. Joy is based solely on our choice to be content no matter what the situation. Joy is completely up to us! How great is that?  We can choose to be content or discontented!  I am thrilled with that realization.  Discontentment isn't a mysterious cloud that hovers over us at some unforeseen moment, that stays for an undetermined amount of time of which we have no control over....... it is a choice.  We have the power to bring all of our thoughts under the submission of the Word of God!  YIPPEE!! That is something to shout about!

I have the privilege of being the daughter of some wonderful parents. My dad had a stroke ten years ago that changed everything.  It changed his situation, his job, his abilities, his speech and for a short time even the definition of himself. There was opportunity for sadness and depression to take over, but I watched my parents choose joy at every turn. Listen I'm not saying it was easy, you see things don't have to be easy for you to be joyful. That easy breezy happiness is just that, happiness. It can fade into sadness, and that happens from time to time to all of us. What we have realize is that we can still have the unspeakable joy that can only come from Christ.

I also have an Aunt & Uncle that I look up to a lot. They have had some serious things thrown at them that are not easy to think about or deal with, but they sure have dealt with it all through the power that God gives. They have managed to continue through life with joy. How is it possible to live a joyful life when the losses you have suffered bring you to your knees? The only way to live in joy is to choose to live in joy, and that they do! I am so proud to have them in my life. Their example is a testimony to the greatness of God!

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own life and concerns and we let our emotions get the better of us. Emotions are fickle things and they just listen to the loudest voice.  If the loudest voice is telling us we're a failure and that things will never get better, our emotions respond.  Boy do they respond!!   But if the loudest voice is saying the words of Psalms 30:11-12,"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!" that is when true joy is at work in your life.

I know that a pitfall for ladies that are in my situation as a stay-home/homeschool mom we can get stuck in the rut of what we do, and our emotions will get going a little crazy. My husband is in the army and travels a lot. We have had a lot of family milestones, illnesses, surgeries, and traumatic events while he was away. My emotions tell me that I need to be angry, pout, stomp, cry, and pitch a fit....but what I know to be true is that it is important for us to choose joy no matter what situation we find ourselves in. I also know that discontentment isn't something that stay-home/homeschool moms have a corner on the market in.  Discontentment is fed to us everyday.  It is built into TV shows, billboards, TV ads, and infomercials.  Discontentment can sneak into our lives and take over before we have ever realized it arrived!  We must guard our contentment! (Quote from our Lifeway Facebook Page) What a true statement!  Everyday that we are awake and alive is a chance for us to make a difference!  That is exciting! God has designed us with a purpose and we get the honor and privilege of fulfilling it! That is something to be joyful about!

The bottom line is is easy to be joyful when you realize that the key ingredient is contentment. 
Philippians 4:11-13 (NLT) sums it up this way, "Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything, I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

So when life throws some unpleasantness at you (and it will) and you find yourself struggling (and you will) dig into the Word of God. It holds the key to contentment. It is only then that discontentment will be displaced and you will find true joy in its place!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Perspective is Everything!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Perspective is Everything!

I recently had the opportunity to travel with several people from my church to the Dominican Republic on a Mission Trip. It is hard to share in a "nutshell" exactly what the trip was like, but I will give it my best effort!

The heat was exhausting.....
The poverty was overwhelming.....
The missionaries were tireless.....
The country was breathtaking.....
The traffic was hazardous.....
The opportunities were endless.....
The need is never-ending!

I realized something about myself as an American Christian.....we tend to have a pompous, self-righteous way of thinking about the blessing of God. Most likely because our children aren't running naked and hungry in the streets, or we don't have spiders, bugs and lizards crawling up our walls, and our kitchens consist of more than a lean-to with cinder blocks to cook on.
I learned that no matter where we were born we are all a piece to a "BIG picture". Each piece big enough to complete a picture, yet small enough to leave room for all the other pieces.
Jeremiah 10:23 says I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course.
There are several things I will never forget....
We went to a poor community and ministered to the children there. To witness pure joy on the faces of the children we ministered to was breathtaking.
The gratefulness of Isabel as we painted the interior of her 12'X15' two room house marina blue. I will also never forget the moment she hugged me tightly and whispered in my ear, "te ama mi hija" (I love you my daughter)

I will also never forget how privileged we were to worship in the little Haitian church and feel the presence of God in such a tangible way.
You see God's plan transcends everything! It is not reserved for:
the wealthy, those with homes, or clothes, middle class, Dominicans, Haitians, or Americans...
Jeremiah 29:11 says For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, They are plans or good and not disaster to give you a future and a hope.
As we walked through a poverty stricken neighborhood, God shook my heart up a little bit. The blessing of God is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, and self-control....and God is truly no respecter of people.
I dare say, It's time for us to stop praying for safety, well-being, and comfort....and start praying that God would break our hearts and shake our worlds up a little bit!


So Much to Do!

Have you ever had that nagging feeling that you were forgetting something......Not just any something, a particular something that feels like it could be very important and you just can't remember what it is?

I have found myself there several times here lately and it is a horrible feeling. It seems that no matter how much you do there is still more to be done. We ladies get a "syndrome" that we can take on the world and we find ourselves overloaded, overworked, and overspent!  It is in those moments that we take it out on the very people that we love the most and deserve the best from us.

As I juggle everything that I have agreed to handle I find a relief as I send that "ball" back into the air, because I think that way I don't need to think about it again until it comes back around. We all know that sometimes it doesn't seem to come back around on time! Then everything goes haywire and we find ourselves sitting in the rubble of our once "seemingly smooth" life. Don't get me wrong, juggling isn't all bad, but it isn't all good either. Remember that it is always okay to say no. That is a complete sentence all on its own.  If you find yourself juggling and all the things you are doing are what you know you need to be doing, then rest in the strength and power that you can only receive from Christ. He fills in the gaps where we are lacking. He strengthens, empowers, equips, and inspires us beyond our own imaginations.

As a mom who homeschools, volunteers at church, volunteers outside of church, has two family members in the military, has no family nearby....the list could go on and on, I have become a professional juggler.  As I juggle the things I become involved in, I've found that I cannot do anything at all without the power that I receive from a relationship with God.  He is my strength when I am weak.

Psalm 28:8 "Jehovah is their strength, and he is a stronghold of salvation to his anointed."
Psalm 118:14 "Jehovah is my strength and song; And he is become my salvation."

I know that I am not the only lady that takes on a lot. We all do this from time to time. Just remember that we can do nothing in our strength, but all things in the strength that comes from Christ.

So when you are trying to teach an English lesson to your two children and it seems like it is a room full of 40 talkative "Nellies," (which just happened this morning) know that you are not alone. It doesn't mean that you aren't cut out for it, it just means that you may want to re-focus. Start your day centered on Christ and realize that everything you do makes an impact. The way you handle the situation impacts your children in a very real way. You can come unglued and explode or you can reaffirm Godly principles of respect and move on.
When you come unglued and explode it seems easier at first. There is no self-control involved at all, but there is that "crow-eating" session afterwards to think about! I mean you can't leave it like that. You have to go and apologize for losing it.  When you hold your tongue, it is so hard (especially at first). You have to keep your mouth from issuing threats and from all the other stuff that comes out in unglued moments, but you are able to show the love of God and redirect them so that the whole day doesn't become about one moment.  That is definitely the better choice.

So, what am I trying to say? I am so glad you asked!  If you are a lady that harshly critiques everything you do, take it a little easier on yourself. Rest in the fact that your creator will never leave you. He wants to help you as you walk through this life. He wants us to come to him when we are stumped so he can help us through whatever it is we are going through.
If you are a lady that comes unglued and explodes, know that you don't have to be. Pray about it! Give it to God and then when tested.....HOLD YOUR TONGUE!  I know what you're thinking. You think I have no idea how hard it is! Yes I do. I have had my unglued moments. They happen to us all. We just have to realize that we don't have to lose it, we can grow past that with God's help.

As you read this blog realize that an imperfect woman is writing it. One who has, does and did struggle with everything contained in it.  The great news is, I am not alone and Christ makes us perfect in our weakness.

2 Corinthians 12: 9 "But 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."

If that doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will!
Have a wonderful weekend!