Some Days are Just Harder

Some Days are Just Harder

I’m just gonna be real with y’all.  Last week was rough.

There’s something that happens after ministering to others; I believe it’s a spiritual attack.

Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

I know this battle happens to many people….the enemy gets his nasty old foot in the door if we aren’t careful.  I can’t imagine how hard it is for pastors and missionaries who do this daily.  I need to pray for them more!

The Summit is such a time of ministering to women who are tired, broken and hurting.  I prayed with at least 20 women in Oklahoma, every one more desperate for God’s answers than the one before.  My heart broke for each of them as we asked God for a miracle in their lives.

It is an honor to talk with these beautiful souls and that God would allow me to pray for them is nothing less than humbling.  I plan do it again this weekend with excitement and love.  The Summit is such a time of healing and encouragement.  I was talking with one woman on Sunday morning after it was over and she told me that this had been her first time to go.  She said, “I have thought about it for a few years but just never did it.  I never knew….I never knew what it was like….that I would experience such a breakthrough with God from being here.  I will never miss another Summit if I can help it.”

I can’t wait to be there this weekend with my Texas people and do some serious praying, learning and LAUGHING!  Last weekend I laughed so hard I almost blew tea out my nose.

But afterward, I pay for it.  I am drained and wiped out from the spiritual battles and outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  I got home late Sunday night and went to bed…..for 2 days.  I felt dragged down and depleted.  And yes, I let my armor slip.  Why do we do that?  My husband James says I let myself get too tired which contributes to me getting down.  I’m sure he’s right.  After nearly 30 years of marriage he does know me pretty well.  He’s seen the good, the bad and the very ugly.

Sometimes I don’t share this stuff on the blog because, while I want to be transparent, I also know that there are people out there who take what I say and twist it into their own ideas of me and post it on their sites saying things like, “Look! Now she is having a hard time.  Ha! Ha! She deserves it because she is so ______” (fill in the blank).  It’s sad really, that anyone would spend time taking apart someone’s words instead of adding grace and love to the world around them through their own gifts.  I really do think of it as their problem, not mine.  But some days I am just not. in. the. mood.

So, why am I even telling you all of this?  For three reasons.

  1. I want you to know that you’re not the only person who has hard days.  I have hard days sometimes and that’s OK.  You can lay low for a few days then get back up.  Give yourself a break when you’re having a rough time.  Everyone does that occasionally.
  2. I want to be honest.  I hate it when people only show the perfect side of life on their social media or blogs.  We all know that no one is perfect, but it can be comforting for someone else to say it.
  3. Because no matter how I feel, it doesn’t change who God is or His character.  I may be blue, but He is always full of joy and ready to give that to me at my first request.  When I was ready last week, I went outside and listened to some praise music.  I asked Him for joy and He gave it to me.  Like Glenda the Good Witch said, “You’ve always had the power my dear.”  Of course, it’s not really MY power but the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is always there for us!  There is always, always something to be joyful about.

I hope I haven’t been a drag here.  My joy is in the Lord and even though some days I get down or depressed, I always know that there is a way out.  Although, I am sometimes a little slow about it.  Of course, I used my oils too….they are so uplifting and when I remember, “Hey!  I should diffuse something to help me!” it brightens my mood.  (today I am diffusing lavender and geranium together and it smells lovely!).

I am doing better now and actually, even though it wasn’t the way I would have wanted, I got a lot of much needed rest.  Because I didn’t feel like going out, I was just home with my kids and we had a nice time together.  Because I spent a lot of time in my bedroom I got it really cleaned up.  I got caught up on the boys’ schoolwork and some closet organizing done.  There’s always something good that comes from even an unpleasant situation.

Lastly, I hope you will pray for me and all of the Summit team this coming weekend.  I am not the only one who comes under attack after loving on these beautiful women.  We all struggle to find our footing after such an intense time of prayer and support.  I really, really appreciate your prayers.

And if you’re still thinking of coming I hope you will!  Pray about it and ask God if you are supposed to be there.  It’s not too late to register.  Have I made it sound appealing?  LOL!  Don’t let my honesty about the struggle keep you away.  The event is a blessing and I only get down because of how much we love the women there and the power of the Holy Spirit!  It is a GOOD thing!

Thanks for “listening”.  Have a great week, my friends.  I plan to.

Come on over to Facebook for more conversation!

Do You Remember?

Do You Remember?

Isn’t it funny how things burn into our mind?  Those catastrophic events that freeze time and we never forget where we were standing when we heard and the moments following.  Then the mention of them brings back floods of memories like the smell of Grandma’s bread baking.  Whoosh!  We are transported.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster.  For many of you it is too long ago to remember (you young’uns), but I have a clear picture.  I was planning my wedding and I remember EXACTLY where I was when I heard about it.  I had decided to knit some gifts for my wedding party so I went into a nice yarn shop (where I had never been before) and was looking for something soft and affordable.  They had a TV turned on up in the corner and 2 women were chatting across the counter from one another about a class they were teaching that night.  I was caressing a skein of yarn when suddenly one of them stopped and yelled, “Oh NO!!!”  The three of us turned toward the television reporting the explosion.  We just stood there, not believing it.  Not moving.

I guess there’s a second of belief that if you freeze, time will stop too and this disaster will reverse and life will go back to normal. Like maybe you can stop it from happening.  I remember wishing that during my births! LOL!

Another woman walked into the store, the little bell jingled over the door and she picked up immediately on the intensity of the moment as she turned toward the TV that we were all staring at.  She was the first of us to start to cry.  I heard a slight sobbing sound and glanced at her.  There were tears streaming down her face and that’s when I knew the magnitude of this moment.  Space travel, our hope, our path for our country had forever changed and I was watching it happen.

The woman at the door said, “Hey, I know we don’t know each other, but would you all pray with me?”

So we all gathered in the middle of the store, holding hands in a small circle and prayed.  These women were older than me, probably in their 30s and 40s, but they seemed so established and grounded.  I was only 20 years old and there to celebrate a new chapter in my life.  The world was rich with hope and possibilities.  They were mothers.  They felt it very deeply.

I don’t remember any of the words spoken in prayer that day, but the feeling of standing with 3 strangers in a circle crying and praying for our country, for the families that had been sitting in those benches and watching their loved ones die, for the school children of Christa McAuliffe who had been watching it from the classroom.  That prayer will go down in my life as one of the sweetest.

Tomorrow we move on and it goes back in the files of our memories again.  There are other days….9-11 of course, deaths, personal tragedies, etc.  So today is a day to let it sink in that no matter what is happening around us, we can come together as strangers to lift up a nation.

Oh, and I never did knit anything for my wedding party.  I couldn’t bring myself to do it, plus I really wasn’t very good at knitting.

Do you remember where you were when the Challenger exploded?  Hop over to Facebook and share!

Day 5: The WHY of Essential Oils

Day 5: The WHY of Essential Oils

five-day-oils-05

I’m so glad we made it to the end of our series and have erased some of the mystery of getting started using oils.  We’ve covered HOW, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and today the final question….WHY!

I have been a natural health girl since I was a young wife.  We had our babies at home and baked our own bread and used herbs and natural remedies for our family from the beginning.  We even had goats for a while and milked them and made cheeses and yogurts.  So oils were not a big leap for me.  Maybe for you this is so new it’s scary.  I understand.  I feel that way about anything completely new!  Just take it one step at a time and you’ll be fine.

Anyway, when I was first introduced to essential oils there weren’t 3,000 companies to buy them from.  There were just a few and it was obvious to me after doing some reading that Young Living was the way go to.  I found them to be not only making pure products, but also caring for the communities around their farms.  That is something really important to me.

As time went on and oils got more popular, I watched other companies hit the scene.  I’d check them out and always go back to Young Living.  Now I use YL exclusively.  I believe them to be the best, no contest.  There are some things you want to make sure you have a quality product.  I’ll buy generic groceries once in a while and I may buy some store brand paper products, but when it comes to oils and supplements you want quality.

Buy WHY?

  1. WHY do I need oils at all?!   Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could sit down with you on my front porch and just talk about oils and how our family uses them?  I’d LOVE that!  But since we can’t, this is where we have to share info.  I use oils because they are made from plants that God gave us for our health.  Because natural is better than synthetic.  Because I want my family to be healthy and strong.  As I watch our medical system change and see more and more problems that come from the over use of medication, I want to be as careful as possible about how we stay healthy.  Life gets hard, everyone has unique issues.  I’m not going to tell you oils will cure anything or that you will never get sick if you own them.  I am telling you that they improve your quality of life.  They give you tools to use when you want to seek natural health.  They promote a kind of wellness that I want!  It’s about a lot more than pretty smells.  This is about physical, emotional, spiritual health.
  2. OK, but WHY Young Living?  Young Living is the only company that has the Seed to Seal process.  This is a standard of excellence in purity and authenticity that is unmatched.  From the seed planted in the ground until the seal is placed on the finished bottle this company is watching over all of it.  No stone is left unturned.  Young Living also takes seriously their roles to their farmers and their surrounding areas.  They build schools and support the areas where they grow.  I have been to the lavender farm in Utah, I have met the Youngs and many of the leaders in the company.  They are genuine, passionate and caring.  No business is perfect including Young Living, but I have seen them bend over backwards to correct mistakes and show concern for their members.  You won’t find a better quality or more caring company anywhere.
  3. WHY have I not gotten started already?!  I DON’T KNOW!  I was just wondering that myself.  I know the kits might be more than you can spend, but this is your wellness we’re talking about.  You can figure out a way, I did!  We had hardly any money and I told my husband that I would work to make the best use of these oils and he (kind of reluctantly) said we could take the plunge and finally get the whole kit.  It’s been a life-changer for us.  Save your money for a few months and then come back and join and I’ll make sure you get the extras that you need like resources and little bonuses (I have a different promotion each month!).  Don’t let excuses stop you from ordering your kit and using your oils.  If you have a few already, like I did at first, USE them!  If you are ready to get the kit, let me know and I’ll answer any of your other questions.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR KIT!!!

Here’s a great video by Dr. Jim Bob Haggerton (He’s AWESOME) on the WHY of using essential oils.  It’s long, but totally worth watching!

Using essential oils is as easy as 1-2-3-4-5.  BAM!  You did it!

Fun Fact: Did you know that the aroma of floral essential oils can help support emotional health?

Aromatherapy can play an important part in enhancing your emotional outlook on life, and florals are widely used in aromatherapy because of their ability to invoke positive thoughts and feelings of joy, happiness and hope. Florals can boost self esteem, confidence, and mental strength. They can also support the lifting of negative emotions thus supporting a feeling of calm, happiness, and peace within oneself. Remember oils are at least 70 times more concentrated than the flower itself. So next time you want to buy your loved one flowers, try getting a concentrated floral essential oil instead. The essential oils do not wither away like cut flowers, and will help their overall emotional well-being, with lasting results! 

Be sure to check out the rest of the series:

Day 1: HOW to Start Using Essential Oils
Day 2: The WHAT of Getting Started with Essential Oils
Day 3: The WHEN of Essential Oils
Day 4: The WHERE of Essential Oils

Come on over to Facebook and continue the conversation!

A Word for 2016

A Word for 2016

So it’s a whole new year.  Clean slate.  Ready – set – go!

For me, 2015 will go down in my personal history as one of the hardest years of my life.  Years from now when I am in the nursing home and an attendant pushing my wheelchair asks me, “So, tell me about your life.” I will say, “I don’t remember much, but I do know that 2015 was H-E-double-hockey-sticks.”

I am glad to have it behind me and I have high hopes for 2016.  Not that there’s any reason to think that except trust in God and believing He knows that I can only take so much.

Then there’s that “Word of the Year” thing people do.  Last year I chose the word “trust” and man-oh-man, did I get tested on that.  I’m pretty sure I passed, but my grade might be like a D.  So this year I wrote down a few words that I thought might make the year a little easier.  I thought maybe a word like SLEEP would be good.  Or SNACKS.

But then, ya know, I prayed about it and God said no.  I had to have a word that actually would challenge me to be more like Christ.  Really, these words, it feels a little like He chooses them because I will start to feel drawn to something in particular and slowly it becomes clear.  Like those Magic Eye pictures from the 90s where you think you see a kaleidoscope of images but when you change your focus it actually has a crystal clear other picture there.

This one, for example, shows 3D snowflakes and two of the birds float to the front when you look at it with a different focus:

So I changed my focus on my list of word ideas and God gave HUMILITY for 2016.  I am really hoping for a gentler lesson than the 2015 experience, but with a word like humility, it could get rough.

I think I am going to order one of those teeny stamped rings with my 2016 word on it.  I have a few others already with some favorite words that inspire me.  I have one that says “abundance” another “valor” which are my favorite essential oils.  I have a “trust” ring for 2015 and a few blank ones.  I was, of course, originally going to get my kids’ names on my rings, but with 9 of them it was too many to wear at once and I felt bad thinking I would have to choose which kids to wear each day, so I went with motivational words instead.  After all, if I am drawn to be more humble, trusting and brave then I am a better mom with or without their name on my finger.   So I will add “humility” to the stack and hope it helps me see where God is leading me this year.

God has been convicting me more and more over the past few months that I need to expand my serving.  I would have told you that I already do plenty of that, but since He has been so clear to me that I need to do more then I am following His lead.  Plus I need to work on other areas of humility like to listen more and talk less, think more of others and recognize more that I am not always right.

I don’t know where God and I are going with this, but I am bracing myself for the journey.  I am not going to force it.  I’ll just start small and see where He leads.

Speaking of humility, I’ve been sharing some sweet, humble stories on Facebook all week of acts of kindness and caring.  Finding these stories to share is helping me see where I am supposed to shift my perspective.  Plus it’s been good for me to see how many selfless things people do for each other.  We all need that reminder in the midst of news stories of school shootings and people tearing each other down on the internet.

This one is too long for me to share anywhere else and the image quality is bad, but it’s worth sharing!.  Be warned…you may need a tissue….

So his mom posted the on social media:

And look what happened….

It was even better than they could have planned.

 

This was a little boy’s dream come true.  A simple act of kindness could alter his life.

Don’t be mad at me if you’re bawling now.  I gave you fair warning.

What about you…do you choose a word for the year?  I’d love to know what it is.

Join the conversation over on my Facebook page!

A Galactic Christmas

A Galactic Christmas

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a new Star Wars movie that opened this weekend.  We are sci-fi people.  Not me really….I just tolerate it.  But my children, they love it.  I blame my husband.  He plays Star Trek trivia with them and teaches about the differences between lasers and phasers.

But, we aren’t crazy enough to want to go to a crowded movie theater at 3 in the morning to see something on opening weekend.  We all agree to wait until it’s less crowded.  No thank you to paying $10/person to share an armrest with a stranger who talks all through the movie.

I have a soapbox about talking during movies and you do NOT want me to get up on that.  It’s part of my OCD (I am not kidding…it’s real) and I can’t tune out noises.  Every little sound.  Drip.  Sniff.  Click.  Whistle.  They all enter my brain like they’re vital and I can’t help it, it distracts me terribly.  So when someone starts to talk in a movie it immediately tears me away from what’s happening on the screen and I have lost the storyline.

Sometimes a noise can’t be helped (sneezes, a baby fidgeting, the occasional throat clearing, etc.) so even though those distract me, it doesn’t annoy me.  But if you’re just talking to your friend while I am trying to enjoy the show then I will ask you to stop.  I’m nice about it, but people don’t like to be shushed.  I’ve had people yell at me, throw their popcorn at me, keep talking only louder, it can be a hard decision because people aren’t always kind.  But I’m like, “Oh well….it’s a risk I am willing to take.  I don’t like to hear all about your thoughts of what is happening in the movie.  I don’t even know you.”

OK, I can see that I got on my soapbox.  Sorry.

While we are on the subject of movies, I have tested my limits of Hallmark Christmas movies this year.  I generally watch the Hallmark channel or HGTV.  Hallmark has made both channels all Christmas all month.  The stories are all the same: girl in trouble meets a guy she doesn’t like, they end up falling in love and he proposes.  There.  Now you don’t need to watch any of them.  You’re welcome.

I have seen so many of these movies that I am starting to feel like I am in a close relationship with Candace Cameron Bure.  (she’s adorable, by the way…have you read her book?).  Even though I am tired of them, these movies definitely have gotten me in the mood for Christmas.  I don’t know, I just wasn’t sure I would get there this year.  But thanks to the Hallmark channel I am ready for some hot cocoa and gift wrapping.

Star Wars never did that for me.

This week I will be reviving some old posts while I take some time to spend with my family.  I hope you have a galactic sized amount of joy over Christmas and enjoy a few cheesy movies while you’re at it.

Merry Christmas!

Come hang out on Facebook to continue the conversation!

 

Today I am Thankful

Today I am Thankful

Last week when I was at Disney I got to meet a couple of y’all and that was wonderful!  I love meeting you all in person and getting to chat with you.  Each of the ladies I met asked me the same question that many of you ask me, “How are things going with your daughter?”.

I have stayed away from this subject on the blog for several reasons.

  1. There really isn’t anything to tell.  We don’t hear from her and know very little about her life.
  2. It is painful.  I like to be positive and encouraging here, but I want to be honest.  This is a very hard subject for me and frankly I just don’t like to talk about it.
  3. The haters.  It is a sad, sad world out there and people sure do enjoy tearing others apart.  Every time I mention anything about my hurt over this situation people come out of the woodwork to throw stones at me and it’s just so dumb and mean.  I simply don’t want to dredge up the crazy.
  4. The very, very limited accessibility we have with her is a precious treasure to me and I don’t want to lose that by saying anything that would hurt her in any way.  Sometimes you just need to keep quiet and pray, so that’s what we’re doing.

But I know that many of you care about us and wonder how I am.  I get asked about it several times a day, and your tenderness has been a blessing!!!

Here’s the answer: I am really, really sad, but I am OK.  In fact, I am finding places of joy and peace that I never knew existed before because I never needed it so much.  I am learning humility and hope and trust in the God who knows exactly what we need.

I am still working on some other lessons I need to learn, like forgiveness and confidence in who I am in Christ without being affected by what other people think.  Those 2 things, yeah, not easy.  I read once that if we won’t forgive someone else then we don’t fully understand the depths of our own depravity.  That really helps me remember that I am no more deserving of forgiveness than anyone else, no matter what they’ve done.  The Bible is clear on that.  But honestly, there are a few people that my flesh would rather never see or hear from again.  Just being real, not saying it’s right.

God is even using that battle to grow me into a stronger, wiser, more valuable member of the Kingdom.  I do want that, even though it hurts like H-E-double-hockeysticks.

This week, as we move into the holidays I am fighting the grief again.  My heart breaks daily and God beautifully mends it every single time.  He often uses you all to be His messenger of love.  Those of you who have sent me cards and messages, you have held me together.  Every note of encouragement is a healing balm to me.  Isn’t it amazing how you find out who your true friends are through these kinds of trials?  I have been shocked (and saddened) at who has been hateful and even more surprised at many who came out in force to stand firm by my side.  Those people are my earth angels (great, now I’m picturing Marty McFly from Back to the Future and that song “Earth Angel”).

God uses our suffering for our good, and knowing who you can really trust is a very good thing!  I have been so, so grateful for that.  And He has shown me where I am strong, thickened my skin, held me up in times of trial and proved to me that I can survive what I would have thought would kill me.

OK, I am reading back through this and it sounds like a real downer.  I don’t want to leave you with anything but the tremendous hope and gratitude that I have in what God can do and how great He is to use my hardships to help me and the people I love.  Nothing but good will come of this trial, that I am sure of.

Here are a few things that I am so, so thankful for…

  1. He has lovingly removed some toxic people from my life.
  2. He is teaching me to forgive, which is my biggest challenge.
  3. He is showing me where my value lies, which is in Him!
  4. He is making me more loving and understanding.
  5. He is giving me new friends who are trustworthy.
  6. He is strengthening my relationship with my other kids (this part has been SUCH a blessing!)
  7. He is teaching me blind trust and giving me that kind of joy that only comes from the Holy Spirit and has nothing to do with circumstance.
  8. He has strengthened my marriage through this, when it could have easily gone the other way.
  9. He has blessed my business, how amazing!!!
  10. He has give me the opportunity through this to encourage thousands of you who are going through a similar trial, which is an incredible gift to me.

Yippee!!  Look at what a great list that is! I hope that encourages you to be thankful this week and for whatever God is doing in your life.  It can get really hard, but oh so rich with blessings along the way!  Make your own list and see what great things God is doing.

Happy Thanksgiving!  May the joy of the Lord be your strength!

 

My Fear is Going to Get Expensive

My Fear is Going to Get Expensive

Last week after spending several days hiding away in deep thought and writing, I was glad to be home to my simple, sweet life and beautiful family.  What I was NOT glad to get home to was the…er…situation that had occurred while I was gone.  You wouldn’t think anything this big could happen in less than a week, but apparently it can.

We have an official M-word situation.

I found out about it after I was doing some laundry.  I was peacefully moving clothes from the washer to the dryer when James came in and said in a tone that was out of character for him, “Lisa, you need to go out of here for a minute.”  It was the way he said it, so gentle and sweet, that sent me into immediate panic.  Like when someone says to you, “Sit down honey, I have something to tell you,” in their most remain-calm voice.  Fear goes up your spine.

And since we were doing things that were out of the ordinary, I just left the room.  I put the wet laundry down and walked away.  James must have been kind of surprised at my lack of arguing because he called after me, “Well look at you being all submissive!”. I could tell he was smiling even though I never turned around to see.  But I wasn’t really being submissive.  I was really pretty sure I could read between the lines and knew there was a you-know-what somewhere in the utility room and he was trying to keep me from seeing it.

Later on after my heart stopped pounding I decided to take the risk and ask him if this was a one time problem or if it had been ongoing.  He laid his hand on my shoulder and in the style of a great politician he answered me squarely, “We have it completely under control.”

Um….. yeah.  That doesn’t comfort me at all.  You may was well tell me that the atomic bomb is not going to land DIRECTLY on top of my house.  Oh well that’s just great.

I didn’t ask more questions.  I really didn’t want to know, but a couple of the boys while overhearing this brief conversation blurted out some disturbing information about things that had happened while I was gone.  I have never seen my husband move so fast as he leapt to put his hand over their blabby little mouths.  “SHHHH!!!!” he said then turned a guilty grin in my direction, “Really honey, we are handling it.”

So of course, last night I didn’t sleep a wink.  I just knew there must be dozens (or more) of those nasty creatures scurrying around in the dark doing who knows what in my house and what if one was in my bedroom?!?!?  I decided that the next day I would have to go to a hotel. Obviously.

And of course, I won’t be able to cook or do laundry since the kitchen and utility room seem to be their favorite hangouts.  We will be eating out from now until either an exterminator ends this invasion or the house burns down.  I am hoping for #1.

I informed James this morning of all of these plans and he laughed like I was being ridiculous.  Um, dude, if you thought I was hard to live with BEFORE this infestation, you ain’t seen nothing’.  In the nearly 30 years that we have been married I have held back the kind of crazy that is about to come loose if we don’t get rid of these things immediately.

I may need to send him a Hallmark card to apologize in advance.

When you are terrified of mice....

Do you think Hallmark makes those?  I mean, I have seen crazier cards.  Once I saw a card that said, “I am sorry you lost your job, but let’s be honest, you weren’t very good at it.”.

Now, I know that some of you are reading this and thinking that I am having an overreaction to a normal life happening and that I live on a farm and should not be bothered by this. Well just because I have horses and chickens and way too many cats does not mean I am comfortable with rodents inside my house!  In fact, what is the problem with my cats anyway?!  Shouldn’t they be helping here?!?!

I know that my fear is doesn’t make sense, but I think we are each allowed to have one irrational fear in our lives.  I am not afraid of flying or heights or germs….OK I am a little afraid of germs.  But this M-word thing is literally an I-think-I-am-gonna-throw-up kind of problem.  My instant reaction is complete hysteria followed by crying in the corner.  I can’t help it.  It goes all the way back to my childhood and watching my mother and grandmother standing on the kitchen table while my 5 year old brother chased a mouse through the kitchen with a broom.

Not that I blame them one bit.  I completely understand their fear and have no doubt that I have passed it on to my children.  There are worse things to be afraid of I guess.  I mean, this doesn’t come up very often in life.  Unless they become missionaries in a place where this is a regular issue, in which case I guess they will have the blessing of learning to overcome a fear.

But I plan to just avoid it at all costs, literally.

And now, to prepare my weekly menu, avoiding any actual time in the kitchen and not doing laundry.  It’ll be a challenge friends, but believe me, I am motivated!  And if you pass my house and see me in my front porch rockers, it isn’t because I have gone all Mayberry.  It’s because I am scared to go into my house.

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The Christian Walk…or Is It a Climb?

The Christian Walk…or Is It a Climb?

I went to see the movie “Everest” yesterday.  I normally don’t go for those blockbuster, adventure thriller kind of movies because, frankly, they scare me.  I get so nervous watching them that I have to run to the ladies’ room at least twice during the movie since my bladder can’t take the tension.

But I felt like I was supposed to go see it, I can’t explain why.

The film is about the 1996 Mount Everest disaster.  There were times in the movie when I stayed tightly curled up in my seat with my eyes closed.  As the climbers made their way up to the summit I was so moved by the effects of the blizzard that I kept wishing for a furry coat to wrap around me.  I could have sworn I was freezing in that theater.  I am easily influenced.

What kept striking me as the story played out was how the mountain seemed to call these people.  I mean, WHY would you risk your life for something like that?  One character explained it best when he said that he only felt real peace on the mountain despite the agonizing physical difficulty.

And right there in the middle of than torturous story it hit me.  This is the Christian experience.  God calls us and we must follow Him.  Despite having to lose everything in the answer to the call, we discover that the only real peace is on that harrowing climb.  It is filled with trials and tribulation, yet we stay the course.

The Christian walk can be more like a climb to a mountain summit.

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Christianity is not easy, friends.  But the peace that accompanies it is unexplainable to those who simply can’t see it.

Sometimes I get it in my head that I am doing things wrong if I am feeling pain or discomfort.  When people call me crazy, it hurts and I don’t want to be disliked.  When I lose possessions or people that I value, it makes me want to quit.  But there is no peace in going back down the mountain and trying to rejoin the world.

Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Being a Christ follower does not mean a pain-free life, nor does it mean we won’t have troubles.  Trouble happens to all of us no matter who we are!  Being a Christian means that the trials draw us to become more like Christ and in our suffering He is glorified.  I know…. it sounds kinda crazy!  But I have experienced that kind of unexplainable peace and I tell you that the joy found there is no less than reaching the summit of Everest.  It is a-mazing!

1 Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange wee happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”

When I am injured, I still bleed.  When people hate me, my heart breaks.  And when I am rejected for my faith, it stings like the dickens because I love those who reject me and want them to have the peace that I experience.  God doesn’t promise to save me from the pain.  He does promise to increase my character and my hope.

Romans 5:3-5 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts though the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Oh boy do I need some of that hope more and more each day!

I won’t be making a trip to the summit of Mt Everest, or any mountain for that matter.  I’ll just stay right here at my low altitude thankyouverymuch.  Just watching the movie was enough for me to know that I wouldn’t have even made it to the first camp.  I have my own, more personal mountain too climb.  Motherhood, marriage, work, friends, so many areas that I have to learn hard lessons from.

But amidst the loss and pain and suffering that I have experienced as I climb this mountain that calls me, the sense of peace and joy are with me, carrying me to the end.

Go see the movie for yourself and be amazed.  Oh, and take a heavy coat.

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It’s Fall Y’all!

It’s Fall Y’all!

I am pretty sure in heaven it will be fall weather all of the time.

We are rounding the corner to pumpkins and 75° and warm drinks and wearing layers and it all adds a spring to my step!

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The past few days have been filled with family and relaxing and church and all things lovely.  On Friday I had my first full day at home in weeks.  I celebrated by not getting dressed or brushing my hair for the entire day.  I’m thinking of making it a weekly event.  I may even put it on the family calendar so everyone can be prepared for the less-than-stellar look.

After a whole day of playing games with the kids, homeschool assignments and folding laundry, I prepaid to go to bed around 9:30.  After lying in bed for about half an hour I got an idea, what if I went ahead and colored my own hair?!  Because that is the next best thing to sleeping.

I had ordered some do-it-yourself hair color in July and it’s been sitting in my bathroom staring me down ever since it arrived, daring me to use it.  I’ve been too nervous since the first time I colored my own hair I ended up looking like something out of an old horror movie.  I cried for 24 hours afterward until my stylist could get me in to fix it.  But having it done is so expensive that I decided to try it again and apparently Friday was the night to do it.

Frankly, my gray roots were scaring people.  Mostly me.

The color was from eSalon and was pretty easy to do and only took about 45 minutes.  The color looks nice, not as pefect as when I pay the big bucks, but I didn’t cry all day Saturday so that’s one check in the positive column.  I will definitely do it again.

On Saturday morning my kids dressed like pirates so they could go to the city for free donuts and some fun shopping.  My 3 youngest boys couldn’t go pirating (it was just for big kids this time) which I felt really bad about because they had gotten up early and dressed for it.  It nearly broke my heart to tell them they couldn’t go so I told them, “You guys think of something fun you’d like to do and I will take you tonight.”  They chose to go out for Mexican food with ice cream after, which is something we very rarely do.  They sure know how to make the most of the mom-guilt.

Also this weekend I had my first Honeycrisp apple of the season and I picked up some pumpkins for the porch.  Someone should really write a song to the Honeycrisp apple, so enormous and delicious and the perfect amount of crunch.  It’s just another way to celebrate fall.

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Sunday we went to church followed by lunch out with an older couple we have grown to love since we have been going there.  Yep, eating out twice in a weekend and I am feeling pretty spoiled.  Let’s just call it fall celebration number three.

After lunch I took the sweetest nap and then went for a walk with the kids.  Really…. the simple goodness just never stopped.

I may have to make this an annual event…. after school starts and the weather cools down I spend a day in my pajamas eating Honeycrisp apples and having Mexican food with friends.  You have my permission to adopt this tradition for yourself.

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Sadly, according to the family calendar I will have to actually get dressed each day this week.  There are activities happening every day, but it’s all pretty close to home and we will be together.  That’s all a girl can really ask for.

I hope you’re having a nice September and a wonderful week!

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Are You a Meddler?

Are You a Meddler?

A few weeks ago in church our pastor was preaching from 1 Peter.  He was just reading along and sharing his message and he got to 1 Peter 5:15. “But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.”

It stopped me cold.  Whoa!  Being a meddler is right up there with a murderer and a thief?!  That’s pretty tough.

So I decided to do some digging about meddlers (also known as busybodies) and see what else the Bible has to say about it.  I definitely wanted to know if I was doing any of that meddling stuff myself and I sure don’t want to suffer like a murderer!

In the sermon, he said that a troublesome meddler is “one that is too involved in the affairs of others.” He also said that while it is not a crime to be a meddler, it is a sin.  Ouch!

One thing I want to really make clear is that I am looking at myself here, not anyone else.  It is SO easy when I read these verses to look at others who have meddled in my life and think, “Ooooh…..she’s in TROUBLE!”, then just go about my day as if I don’t have any sin hiding in the corners of my heart.  But that really doesn’t help anyone.  So I am choosing to look at my own life and leave other people to the Holy Spirit.  I am sure there’s enough mess in me to deal with; I don’t need anyone else’s problems.  Plus, that would be pretty ironic to be calling people out for meddling when it’s really not my business.  It’s like those haters who scream at me online, “You are SO judgmental.”  Um…. do you hear the irony?

So for this discussion let’s just stop to look inside ourselves and see what planks we have in our own eyes and leave other meddlers to their suffering, shall we?

6 tips to help you know if you ae being a meddler #christian #culture #friendorfoe

How do we know if we are a meddler? 

To make it easy, let’s call our target Susie.  Poor Susie is obviously making some bad choices and she is SO impossible to deal with and frankly we just don’t like her.  Maybe she’s a relative, maybe she is a troublesome neighbor, or maybe she is simply a person we thought was a friend and then changed our mind after we found out that she is so horrible.  How can we know if we are meddling or really being helpful?  I mean, Susie has simply got to change, right?

1. If I gossip.  Yep, gossip is the number one way of meddling.  If I find myself talking to our friend Mary about how crazy Susie is when don’t talk to Susie about it….I am gossiping and ultimately meddling.  Either I am trying to be a part of helping Susie directly or I am a busybody.  There is not much in between.

Mt 12:36 “I tell you, on this day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

2. If I don’t pray for her.  Like it or not, we are called to want the best for Susie.  If we spend more time thinking about how annoying Susie is than praying for her we are possibly meddlers.

Mt 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father who is in heaven.”

3. If I am dipping my nose into her affairs.  There are some very clear areas of authority in Scripture and we will be wise to heed them.  Each man has authority over his own home.  It is easy to criticize others in their parenting, marriage, home-keeping skills, etc.  We all will fail in many areas, but unless there is actual illegal activity going on (and even then the are appropriate channels for helping, none of which involve social media or gossip) we need to stay out of other people’s business.  If we stuck our noses into every other family that does things differently than we do, we will leave nothing but a slew of broken lives behind us.

2 Cor 10:13 “But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God has assigned to us, to reach even you.”

If you really, really think you need to get involved in helping someone through their sin (and it needs to be sin and not just “I don’t agree with you”), PRAY a lot before you jump in!  Then check with your spouse and see if they agree, then ask your pastor and see if he agrees.  Then, if that wise counsel (not all of your friends but just those 2 advisors) actually agrees that you should get involved, as hard as it will be, you are called to talk TO Susie instead of going around her.  Not talking directly to her is cowardly and never, ever actually helps anyone.  Not even you.

4. If I think I’m better than her.  If I think I am above anyone else, then I am in danger of all kinds of sin.  God loves me, God loves you, He doesn’t place any of us over any other.  If I think I am better than Susie, I am actually losing sight of how special she is to God and I can quickly slip into foolish and harmful behavior.  It is vital to keep the perspective that no matter what anyone does or what we do, it does not raise or lower us in God’s eyes.

Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

5. If I can’t be corrected. Oh man, it is tough when someone corrects you.  It can really sting.  We like to be admired and thought of as flawless.  But we all need a word of correction sometimes….ALL OF US!  If you reject correction then you are likely to be a person who over-criticizes others.  It’s simple psychology: I have to lower others in order to stay on my imagined pedestal.

Be willing to be corrected.  It keeps us from getting a big head and thinking we’re all that and a bag of chips.  If we don’t get defensive when someone corrects us then we are in a better position to know if we are being a meddler.  I am so glad I have people in my life who tell me the truth or I would probably be the worst offender in all of history!

Hebrews 12:11 “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

6. Know God’s Word.  It is easy to say, “Susie is so WRONG!” but did we look in the Bible to actually see if it says what she is doing is wrong?  Child raising philosophies, school choices, birth choices, money, careers, so many areas where we like to think our way is the best.  And maybe you do have great ideas and maybe you can do have ideas that Susie could benefit from.  But is she WRONG?  Does the Bible actually SAY that if she doesn’t breastfeed then she is doing it wrong?  NO!  Let’s let each other live peacefully and just try to be understanding unless it is a real, honest to goodness sin.  If that is the case then it may be time to go to Susie in love and try to help her.

Your involvement should ALWAYS be for the purpose of helping Susie heal and draw closer to God.  Otherwise I need to just mind my own beeswax and be thankful to have friends who put up with my junk and I should be willing to put up with theirs.

Lastly, I am asking myself these questions to keep myself in check when it comes to meddling:

10 ways to know if you're meddling.  Great post about not being a meddler and loving others!

  • Am I really helping or just feeding my own ego?
  • Did this friend ask for my help?
  • Have I become part of the problem?
  • Do I think I know better than my friend about her life?
  • How much time have I spent praying for this situation?
  • Am I seeing my own messes and trying to fix them, or do I only “fix” others?
  • Am I being manipulative or dishonest in any way?
  • Am I honoring God in this relationship?
  • Do I ever sense the Holy Spirit telling me to stop?
  • Would I be of more service if I stepped out of the situation and minded my own business?
I watch Christians eat each other alive as they accuse and destroy and bully and attack both online and in person.  But it is absolutely, positively meddling if we are doing that.  To tear someone up, accuse them behind their back, talk about them as if we know all of the details of their situation and never do anything to actually HELP them is meddling and God says that we do not want to suffer what a meddler will suffer.  At the very least we should stop for our own sake!

I am asking God to show me any areas where I may be meddling and I will be praying for each of you who reads this.  Let’s make a change in ourselves and allow God to use us to bless others, even Susie.

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