Courage is sadly lacking these days in relationships. And social media makes it worse. Thriving relationships can only happen when we let our guard down and share our hearts. And that one person in your life who you have trouble with? If somehow you can see their heart in all its vulnerability, your feelings for them would begin to change. Recently this happened to me. Someone I have trouble with opened up to me and my heart thawed. Being honest gently is like a laser beam of healing.
We get used to ourselves behaving in a certain way. We know our limits. We know what we can and can't do. We get into routines with ourselves.
But then something changes. We have an injury. We get sick. Our brains aren't able to focus. Maybe we are immobile. Maybe we're tiring easily because of health reasons.
Whatever the cause sometimes our bodies and brains can't do what they normally can do. When this happens we can get very frustrated with ourselves. The enemy will tell you what a failure you are.
We gotta give ourselves grace in these times. We aren't machines (even if we were, they break down too). Our bodies and brains will go through seasons just as earth does. Our job is to recognize this and give ourselves grace. Jesus never condemns us. He doesn't love us because we can do certain things or perform in certain ways. He loves us because He loves us.
Are you frustrated with yourself because you just can't do it? Let go of the frustration. If it were someone else you'd give them grace. You'd tell them it is okay. You'd tell them to be gentle with themselves. Do the same for yourself.
I write this because I'm having difficulty concentrating. And normally this is one of my strengths. Normally I can read and read and soak stuff in but I really can't right now. I just sit in front of my Bible and Journal and write things like, "I don't know what to write" or "I'm just sitting here."
I write these sentences hoping it will spur me on to write more, but it doesn't. Things I normally would find easy to understand are difficult presently. It may be the summer season. It may be the difference in routine because of summer vacation. It may be my medication. It may be just because it is.
So, I'm going to give myself grace.
I pray you will give yourself (and others) grace too.
People are interesting. They, along with God, are the reason we are here. So, let's say someone in your life is being cold to you or maybe they are failing miserably or they refuse to talk to you or they're mad at you or whatnot. And let's say you didn't do anything to warrant the behavior. Or, let's say you did do something to warrant the behavior, but you did your best to fix the situation, but they are still not responding to you. What do you do?
You give them time. We often want to "fix" people. Women are really prone to want to "fix" those they love, but we need to resist this thought. We can't fix anyone anyway! God's gotta do the "fixing."
Our job is to love and and pray for those we love. And when led by God we can speak or even address something, but we really need to have any words we say encased in encouragement. Yet, if you aren't sure you are supposed to speak, then don't. Sometimes our words which are intended to build up will be received in a way we didn't intend them to be received. Instead of giving love they might give pain if we aren't led by God (Then again, we can only do our best. So if you mess up, get up, apologize and try again).
Another thing we ought not do is to take it personally. Very likely a spiritual battle is going on within that one person, and possibly you remind that person of something he or she doesn't want to think about. If that's the case take it as a compliment. You very well might be standing for truth in his or her life, a truth that isn't being received yet. And that's okay.
Just love and know you are loved by our Awesome God.
So, we've been praying for rain. And the other day we got some. I walked out to the rain gauge and found out we got 1/2 inch of rain. I was thrilled. I told someone how much we got and this person said, "That's it?"
Later, this person thanked God for the rain.
And I realized I do this same thing often. I am hoping for something of a certain amount or for something to do go a certain way. God provides but not as much as I hoped or not the way I wanted Him to, and I forget to tell Him thanks for what He did do.
This morning I did this. I had a bill I forgot to pay and I got a notice it was overdue and I had to pay it. I had just enough money to cover it. I wasn't grateful at first but then I remembered the rain conversation and I thanked God.
I guess it comes from being human to ask why all the time.
We see this in little kids. They ask, "Why?" over and over. And if it they are older eventually you might even say, "Because I said so."
Sometimes God says that to us too, "Because I said so."
This week I painted over a painting I painted back in 2013. Why? I don't know why. I guess I don't need to know why. I call the painting, Two Fairies. My youngest daughter asked me what I was going to do with it. I told I didn't know. Presently it sits on a high shelf just because.
Are you a frustrated parent? Maybe the following post will give you some measure of comfort:
As I age I find that different parts of scripture and the spiritual life give me comfort where I never needed comfort before. Let me give you two examples (I hope I don't shock you too much).
First (and I've shared this before), it gives me comfort to know that lots of God's children don't act right. They might do horrendous things. Name a sin and there is probably a few of God's children who have done it or are doing it.
Why does this give me comfort?
Because Father God is the perfect parent and He still has problems with His children. So when I have problems with my children I think of God the perfect parent and realize it very likely isn't my fault. Children, no matter what age they are, are individuals. Yes, we guide them, but when they get to a certain age they make their own decisions. Whether good or bad, those decisions are theirs. They might embarrass us or make us proud, but we can't take credit for their actions.
Second, Psalm 18:26 says, "To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the wicked you show yourself hostile."
I know we don't want to call ourselves or our children wicked, but sometimes, very often, we are. Anytime we don't do things God's way we are doing it the anti-God way and being anti-God is wicked. Any kind of rebellion is wicked. This verse came to my mind today after I had to threaten my son by telling him I would withhold all the cookies from him if he didn't get his clothes put away. Okay, it isn't a scary threat, but for him, cookies are important. So I think my threat probably is working.
I hate to have to use threats with my kids, but sometimes threats are all that work. We could also call them consequences. If they do this, then A happens; or if they do this, then A doesn't happen.
Consequences are a part of life. God uses them with us too. He'd rather us just do what we know we are supposed to do, but sometimes our flesh wants something NOW and so we satisfy that lust for whatever and we have to pay for this rash behavior.
So, I guess threats aren't bad (the nonviolent kind that is). Sometimes they are necessary.
One word of caution though when dealing with kids who frustrate you. Don't get angry. If you're angry tell them you'll come back later and deal with the situation then. Anger can quickly escalate into bad things. Instead, find humor in the situation. I'm working on this one myself.
Let's talk about Hagar and Sarai. You know the story I'm sure. It's found in Genesis 16. Sarai desperately wants a son so after years of trying, she tells her husband Abram to take her maid and have a son through her. That son would then be seen as Sarai's son in that culture. I've read this story often and felt a lot for Hagar. From our modern perspective she's being used.
And no one likes to be used.
There's more going on here. We just don't really get it when looking at this story with our modern eyes.
But in their culture, by Sarai choosing Hagar to essentially be Abram's second wife, she elevated her place in the world. She now had signficance. She now was not just a servant. She was going to be the mother of the heir to a vast fortune. It also shows that Sarai must have loved Hagar.
Think what Sarai had to give up to allow this to happen. She had to share the spotlight. She was the very beautiful wife of Abram. Now she was going to be one of two wives to Abram.
Once Hagar is pregnant, she gets an attitude and flings it at Sarai. Sarai complains about this attitude. Abram says do what you want with her so Sarai treats Hagar "harshly."
Hagar flees and God finds her. He asks her where she came from and where was she going to go (she was in the middle of the desert -- we women can really get illogical in our choices).
After she answers God, He calls her on her attitude. He doesn't condemn her but he tells her to go back and "submit" to her mistress Sarai. He tells her to lose the attitude and be respectful of Sarai.
But then God also speaks to her heart's cry of signficance. And He spends a lot more time on this part then the correction part. He tells her HER son (and God recognizes Ishmael as her son, not Sarai's) is going to be a "wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone's hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers."
That might not sound like a particularly positive prophecy for your son, but if you were a servant, a nobody, it would give you comfort to know that no one is going to control your son. He will be his own man. He will be unstoppable. He will live the life he wants to live. That would be a very good thing for a servant to hear about her son.
She responds wisely that God is the God who sees her. He sees all of her -- her sin and her dreams and her fears. And God addresses all of them in this chapter. He calls her by name (no one else does). He doesn't give her pity because she's a servant. He tells her to take responsibility for herself and her behavior and do the right thing. And then He gives her a glimpse into her son's future.
What a gift.
God sees you and me too. He sees to the very core of us. He sees things we can't see. He loves us so much. Talk to Him. He's waiting.
I'm the first to admit I have no idea what, if anything, will happen with it. It was a ridiculous thing for me to begin, but I did begin it and I finished it -- the first draft that is. I wrote a screenplay and completed it yesterday. I call it The Syrrrannite. Some of you will know what a syrrannite is -- it has to do with vulcans. Here's a picture of my first draft:
It's definitely a first draft for I already know some things that need to change. I have to add a bunch of camera directions that I have no clue how to do. Well, I have a clue for I got a guide for that but I still am doing it pretty blindly since I've never been behind a movie camera (well, once I was for a TV show and once I ran a spotlight that is kind of similar but not really but none of that applies here).
Even after I get done with the drafts, it may never be anything but a project. It may never have any future but a drawer.
And I will be the first to admit that I really hope it will be bought and that when it is bought that it will be made into a movie (for I really want to buy my husband a truck).
But if we look at statistics, the most probable future is a drawer or a shredder. For like any kind of writing, there are lots and lots of writers who write lots and lots of stuff, but most rarely get bought by publishers or producers. Most end up in the trash.
Yet, it feels good to finish something. And I learned how to write a script. And I stuck with it. My kids saw me choose to create something and they saw me finish it.
That's important -- that is really important.
Why did I bother if eventually nothing comes of it?
Why not? If nothing else it got my brain working creatively. Will we ever know how many flowers God creates that are never seen by a human eye? How many stars that were created eons ago that have yet to be seen, that might never been seen?
Sometimes we can create just to create. There is a life in that creation time that nothing can touch.
You gotta create. Please follow that dream. Please make that thing you've wanted to make for so long. Please cook that meal you've wanted to try. Please write that song that is driving you mad. Please write that book about your life. If nothing else your grandchildren will really want to read it.
We don't have to do things just because they might be huge successes. Why do we have to be a success?
Why can't we be like children who just color to color; who just draw to draw; who just play in the mud because mud feels good? We can though. Jesus calls us to be child-like. In the realm of creativity is a wonderful realm to be like children.
I hope you create this week.
Dream and follow that dream.
Heck, who cares if its thrown away! Just enjoy the process.
The process is a blessing.
The process is where we grow.
Time is strange. I'm kind of glad it is just an earth thing. When we get to heaven time won't be a part of life. I say it's strange because the days of summer vacation often go by so slow. A day feels like it has an extra ten hours tacked onto it. It isn't true of course. We all know that, but the feeling is there.
Feelings are so unpredictable. We really ought not plan our days or make any decisions based on feelings. Well, you can make a decision about what to eat or something like that. I am on a medication that has worked really well for me, but lately it has a side effect that I'm struggling with. It makes me drowsy. I told my husband today that I'm going to skip the dosage for tomorrow and Sunday to see if I am right about it being the meds (he got a scared look in his eyes because Jane off of medication isn't a pretty sight). If it is I guess I'll see if taking it at a different time will help. I sure hope so. I hate being drowsy. Even though part of me would like to sometimes, I can't spend my days in bed. It's hard to focus on stuff. I had a discussion today with someone in the gas station I hadn't seen for a while. I'm afraid I might have looked a bit loony.
It helps so much when we know things we deal with are being dealt with or have been dealt with by other people. A person I love is presently being overwhelmed with life. I wish I could help. I pray for the person. I do my best to encourage the person, but I know the real change has to come from within that person. Only the Holy Spirit can enter that place and make a change. I pray for that (please pray for that for my loved one).
I'm reading a book called The Professor and the Madman: a tale of Murder, Insanity, and the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. It isn't what I expected at all, but it is very interesting. I just read about Samuel Johnson writing a very good dictionary and while he did this over a period of six years he barred himself in a set of rented rooms so his creditors couldn't get at him. He called it his fortress. Johnson ended up being very successful so it turned out well for him, but for some reason reading about his creditors gives me a bit of comfort -- comfort in that despite how technology has changed over the years, people deal with the same problems they have for hundreds of years.
My youngest daughter asked if I had an imaginary friend when I was a child. I was far too serious to have an imaginary friend. Yet, once I started a diary with the words "Dear Kitty." Someone found it and made fun of me. Kitty wasn't a real person. I got it from The Diary of Anne Frank -- that's how she started her diary entries. But being made fun was enough for me to quit that practice (I wish I hadn't -- would love to have diaries from my childhood).
Yesterday I was gone most of the day and much of the evening. I wonder sometimes what the house is like when I'm not around. I asked Shannon. He said, "It's boring." Boring? He said I add excitement to the family dynamic which is odd for me to think about because I am just me. But I guess he thinks I have an excitement kind of vibe. Do you ever wonder what your places you inhabit are like when you're not around? There's really no way to know.
According to my youngest daughter I changed and never changed back when my middle daughter died March 21, 2013. I guess I changed some. You can't help it. When you deal grief it will change you. When you lose someone so close to you it will change you. But despite that I think I'm back to what I was before except maybe I'm a bit more tired. But my daughter seems to think I always use to be fun and crazy. Kids remember things differently than adults do. I still have my fun and crazy moments, but they are finite amounts of time (they were before Maggie died too).
Like I said this medication is making me drowsy. It's like I'm two people -- the one I usually am who is in front of my eyes and the one behind my eyes who just wants to sleep (though sleep doesn't seem to appear even when I try).
A friend is recovering from sugery. She's hard on herself because she thought this time would be a great time to study her Bible and pray. Yet, her pain medications are affecting her brain in ways that make reading and concentration difficult. It's temporary but sometimes we get caught up in the temporary and think it is permanent.
On the way home last night I heard Dr. Charles Stanely on the radio. He was talking about Joseph. One of the points he brought up was that the darkness we walk through or are living in presently will only be as long as necessary. God will take that darkness away immediately after it is no longer necessary. He also said we learn a lot more in the dark than in the light (spiritually that is).
I don't know when I started it. Maybe it's been a few years now. Or maybe it hasn't been that long. No matter. I share this with you because it's been kind of amazing how God uses it, and you can do the same thing daily.
Every day I post a Bible verse on my Facebook timeline. I don't even know why I started doing this. I post something I read in my own quiet time or sometimes I just open up the Bible and find a verse I like. There is really no certain way I choose the verse.
Well, after I'd done it for quite a while I was thinking about stopping this practice. And then I heard from people. I've had people tell me it inspires them. I've had other people tell me that the verses I post speak to them directly every single time.
Again, read how I post them -- I don't have any set routine on how I do it. I just want it on the timeline in the morning. That's it.
Once I started hearing from people that it was being used in their lives I realized whatever else, if someone reads it, they get are getting scripture that day, and daily scripture is a necessity for everyone.
So I will keep posting, but I challenge you to do the same. Just post something you read in the Bible. Or open up a Bible and just pick one. Any verse will do. It is all living words. The writer of Hebrews writes in 4:12, "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
I know this is true. There are no other books in the universe like the Bible. There are no other words in the universe like God's very own words.
Post a verse today. If nothing else, if you're one of my facebook friends, share the one I post. It doesn't matter who does the sharing. What matters is that God's word gets out there.
You can do it!
I read my Bible daily but then I read the Bible daily with my son Hawk. It is with him I read the Bible through. Yesterday we were in Ezekiel 41. Some of Bible can be a bit tedious reading (but so can life so we keep reading). We found a real gem in Ezekiel 41:7. It says, "the width of the temple increased as it went higher" which means the second story is wider than the first.
That hit me. As we go higher spiritually life gets bigger. And life will be biggest of all in heaven where life is more real than it will ever be here.
So do you want a bigger, more meaningful life? Seek God.
If you want to get smarter and more in tune with life, read the Word.
If you want to see greater things, do things God's way.
The temple wasn't designed just to be a building. Everything in the Bible is spiritual. There is such great depth in the Word, in every single scripture, that we cannot reach in this lifetime.
Seek God. See Him in the details. See Him in the broadstrokes. See Him in your relationships.
Look for Him.
You will find Him.
Often I think of this world as the dark, enchanted forest of fairy tales. We are sent into the forest to find all sorts of things -- life, necessities, people, answers -- but while we are in the forest life can get really, really scary. Things are dark. It's hard to see the light. It's hard to even know which way to go sometimes for the path is often obscured by undergrowth.
"You appoint darkness and it becomes night,
In which all the beasts of the forest prowl about.
The young lions roar after their prey
And seek their food from God.
When the sun rises they withdraw
And lie down in their dens." Psalm 104:20-22
We can even think we are being punished because we are in a dark place, but dark obscure places don't mean we are being punished. It might just mean we are in a dark place. This world can be very dark no matter who we serve. It's just part of this world.
What I want to share with you are a couple of quotes from a lady named Katherine Ruonala from a book she wrote caleld From Wilderness to Wonders. I haven't read the book -- just an excert from it. If the book is as good as these quotes, it would be a good one to read. She writes, "It is not up to us to work out the why. Our job is to look to what god is going to do. God is more interested in helping us focus on Hmi as the answer than on the tormenting question of why the difficult circumstance arose in the first place."
Later she writes, "You are meant to thrive in the wilderness (or forest), not just survive in it. And receiving God's love -- looking into His eyes and seeing how He really feels about you -- gives you power to thrive in even the driest places."
She also writes, "There have been a lot of lies told about Jesus, and when you're in the wilderness (or forest), it's tempting to believe them. As human beings, we tend to judge God by our circumstances rather than judging our circumstances by Him, and our circumstances can be a very unreliable measure of who He is."
Think on those thoughts. God's with you no matter where you are. He isn't letting you go. He's got your circumstances under control. He's not worried. You ought not to worry either.
God's got this.
Don't forget that.
I'm still thinking about heaven a lot lately. I've been thinking about all the things that are there and things we have no idea of. Colossians 3:1 tells to "keep seeking the things above."
That includes heaven.
I read fire comes down from heaven several times. Rain and hail and snow are stored in heaven storerooms. There's food in heaven. There are trees and animals and Jesus (who has a resurrected body). There are windows in heaven (I saw one of those today -- seriously. It was pretty cool).
What does all this mean?
It means Heaven is a whole lot more substantial than we imagine it is. All that wispy shadowy kind of heaven is not what God says heaven is like. We earth-dwellers are living in the wispy place, the shadowlands (as C.S. Lewis called them). Nothing on this earth is permanent. In fact, science tells us this. Atoms and molecules are constantly in motion -- that includes the ones we're all made of. Things that are solid are really not.
In heaven everything will be real and substantial and will have absolutely no decay.
If we think about heaven more, how might we live differently on this earth?
God is good. God is good. God is good!
Maybe this means that we don't have to let this life get us down when it doesn't go well. We ought not be surprised when it doesn't go well. We probably should be happily surprised when it does go well.
Think about heaven. Take a Bible with a concordance and start reading all the references to heaven. Or look them up online. You will be amazed what it says is in heaven.
Heaven isn't a wispy white place. it isn't just a big light. It isn't some place where we all just float on clouds and play harps. Where did we come up with that? That isn't in the Bible whatsoever.
Heaven will be an adventure unlike any other we can find outselves on. Use your imagination. You won't be able to imagine anything beyond heaven.
Will you be going there?
I sure hope so.
You can know you know -- just ask Jesus to come into your life. He's waiting to hear from you!
We grow up doing it.
We are taught to do it.
The world does it all the time.
Jesus never does (read Romans 8:1).
Jesus never condemns us, ever. The world does. We condemn ourselves. Others condemn us at times. But Jesus never does.
I am so thankful (so if you hear a voice condemning you that isn't God).
Saturday night I lost my tomato plants to a frost. I forgot to check the temperature. We'd been out of town visiting friends and I just didn't think about it. And remember all those great seedlings I was growing in the eggshells? Well, none of them survived. I realized the eggshell seedling thing wasn't for me. I'd wanted to try it for years so it was good I did. But all those seeds I planted came to naught.
This reminds me of the Seed Sower Parable. Jesus talks about the sower sowing seeds in four different places: on the road, in the thorns, on rocky soil and on good soil. Have you ever thought that Jesus never condemns the sower for sowing seed that never came to anything? He never condemns him for wasting seed. He just focuses on the seeds that sprout and take root. In fact, it seems Jesus is happy about all that seed that was sown. The guy was trying. The guy kept at it even though most of his efforts failed.
Sunday afternoon we finally were able to put our horses on grass. Oh, they are happy. I checked on them this morning. They were all sleeping. Happy and feeling full.
Then I went to check on my new beehive. I didn't expect any bees in it, but wanted to make sure the horses hadn't knocked it over.
Shannon built it for me. We'll see if we can catch any bees. We added some bee lure and the frame is ready for them. I coated four of the sticks (not sure what they're called) with beeswax so they could attach their honeycombs to them. This is what you call a Topbar beehive. I'm so new to it though so if you have questions about beehives you should probably look it up online or get some books.
We're not expecting much if any honey this year. We just want a colony to establish itself in the hive. If we don't get bees by July we'll probably buy some online.
I may fail miserably as a beekeeper, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try.
Why are we all so afraid of failing? Or being just ordinary in things? Ordinary is a good thing really.
When I was walking back from my beehive Ruby was waiting for me. Here's a picture of her:
She and her sister Andi are like big puppy dogs -- always wanting attention and very, very curious.
One day she'll belong to my son-in-law but until then we will enjoy her.
Jesus was ordinary in one way -- his appearance. He wasn't some super good looking or distinctive looking kind of man. He was ordinary in his appearance (this is found in Isaiah). It's okay to look ordinary. Jesus did it so well.
Ordinariness and no condemnation. Not sure how those go together but they are good things to know, good things to embrace in our own lives. You're loved. Don't forget that.
I've just finished a short Bible study on heaven and it has me thinking. One of the incredible things about heaven that isn't talked about much is the lack of baggage people will have.
One of the things I find most painful as a human is the inability to have true fellowship with some people I love. I hope you all have experienced that true fellowship. It is so joyful and full of love and has a fun aspect when all you're doing is talking and laughing. That's hard to come by if people are full of hurt from years of pain inside. We all at times in our lives have excess emotional baggage we are carrying around because of past hurts. Some of us just never let go of all of it. Sometimes people just can't for many reasons. Other times people hold onto it because it has become part of their identity and it's scary to lose part of ourselves we've come to identify as ourselves. We may ask, Who am I if I don't have _______ or who am I if I don't do ________?
Everyone in heaven will be free from hurt, free from past abuse scars. They will just be free to be the people God created them to be. We can have that on earth here, but not everyone, not every Believer, ever gets there so fellowship is often hindered by these scars. I'm there with some people and in some place, but not everywhere and not with everyone.
In heaven fellowship won't be hindered. We can just be us -- happy and loving each other and God without hindrance.
Glory to God in the highest!
"And He said to me, 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life with cost.'" Revelation 21:6
I read a post about radical acceptance and I just had to share. Think on those two words: Radical Acceptance.
Apply them to how you view yourself.
We are to love our neighbor as ourself BUT if we haven't embraced the persons we are we cannot embrace any one else in a real way.
I'm not talking about accepting secret sins (or blatant sins), but we all have human failings that we might condemn ourselves for. Maybe we say something like, "If I were only stronger;" "If I were only smarter;" "If I were only prettier or thinner or funnier."
You get the idea. We put ourselves down, the very people God created. That ought not to be.
How about instead you accept that part of you you've never liked? What if you look at that trait objectively and ask yourself and God, Why did God make me like this? And ask it honestly. He'll give you the best reason for He doesn't ever make a mistake in His creation process.
I'm sure some of you are tired of me using my family as examples but they are some of the best examples for me to use. Let me talk about my husband. What a man! My husband has so many gifts and talents. One of his areas he needs to work on is snacking. It is easy for him to eat a whole bunch without realizing it while watching TV. Well, his weight got to be unhealthy and he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. That isn't good, BUT it caused him to take his health seriously and now he is at a very healthy weight and working out with some of the high school guys at school. He feels better than he has in a long time, and he is sticking with a healthier lifestyle. And wjen he snacks he's in control of it.
His problem ended up benefitting him.
And I think the same goes for all our bodies as they age. We have to be more deliberate in keeping ourselves healthy. That benefits us as we age more than we know.
My area I have condemned myself for is the way God made my brain. Yet, my brain is me and He created it the way it needed to be created so He could use me in the way He wants to use me. Again, God doesn't mess up when He creates us.
Maybe you don't think you're thin enough. Why are we so obsessed with being a certain weight in our culture? You're probably absolutely adorable just the way you are. Quit looking at others. Maybe that woman you think is so thin and beautiful struggles herself with her weight and she eats nothing. Looking at someone else and wishing we had what they have is not right for them or us. It isn't healthy and all it does is tarnish our own life. God Himself told us not to covet anything of our neighbors (this is one of the 10 commandments). That includes their appearance.
Radically accept yourself.
Radically accept others. Let God be the Holy Spirit for a while. Let God work out their problems. Of course if God leads us to say something we need to, but if not, let's just love others and pray for them. If we try to "fix" someone and God hasn't led us to do whatever action we are taking, it will just feel like condemnation to the other person and condemnation causes a person to curl up inside. Exactly the opposite of what our "Fixing" was meant to do!
Radically accept the day and whatever weather God blesses us with.
Radically accept those interruptions to your plans. Maybe God has something better for you than your plans.
Radically accept your limitations. There are blessings in limitations. There is blessing in weakness.
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God."
1 John 4:7
First, Father God reminded me with a verse I read last night (after never being able to get that contentment thing down yesterday). I read 1 Corinthians 15:58. It says, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."
Second, He provided several things today that has nothing to do with me.
Fresh spinach from the garden I didn't plant. It was some random seed from last year that came up this spring.
Food cooking for supper. I put it in the crockpot but none of it was bought by me. We were given the pork chops from some really good friends. The apricots and carrots were given to us. And the green onions on top were from my garden like the spinach -- onions that came up from last year.
And maybe the best one of them all today. Homemade bread that I baked. It is so good. Yes, I baked it but my bread baking is really inconsistent. Sometimes it is good. Sometimes it is just okay. But this time it turned out divine! Had to be God. Once, 20 years ago my mother-in-law told me she always puts eggs into her bread. So that is what I did this time and boy, that made a huge difference. It is fluffy and tasty. Hawk and I had a couple of pieces while it was still warm!
I am thankful upon thankful that Paul admitted he had to learn contentment (Philippians 4:11) for I'm in that classroom right now and have failed the test three or four times lately. Sometimes I ace that test. Often I don't. Sometimes I hate being human -- but hey, God made me and you to be human. And being human means living here is sometimes not the easiest thing for us to do successfully.
Thankfully God is patient and isn't giving up on me. He isn't giving up on you either.
Oh yeah, I still have lilacs on my table. Praise You Jesus!
Blog owners can check the statistics of their blogs -- as in they can check how many hits a post gets. Depending on the day and depending on what the post is about, some of my posts get a lot of hits. Sometimes as high as 6000. Other times they don't get as much -- maybe not even 120. I never know why. It probably depends on the weather or how people are feeling. I don't know.
My post from yesterday as gotten a lot of hits. It's called Let's Think about Bread. I thought it was a good post. It had a great message. It probably took about 20 minutes to write. I check it out today and I realize that I posted a picture of bread. That's it. No words whatsoever. I have no idea where the words are, but it is quite funny this post gets so much attention. I wonder what people think -- do they think I'm really deep because it's a just a picture? Do they think I was tyring to be funny? I don't know. I wasn't. Just common human error.
I'm back to where I've been with a problem so many times in the past. I am not happy to be back. I am not living out that contentment we are all called to have at all times. I can't fix the situation. All I can do is wait and trust God and believe expectantly for His solution.
Why am I not content in this?
I know He'll come through somehow.
I know this will not even be remembered in a year's time, maybe even in six months.
I know that it's temporary.
But I don't like it.
I guess sometimes it gets down to that -- we just don't like a situation and if we could we'd change it.
But there are days God backs us into a little box for a time-out of sorts because we needed one.
I'm working on my project. Last week God gave me a great 49th birthday. My husband recently got a new job that starts in August. My child I've been so concerned about has been making some great choices. We had a great weekend.
Why do we insist on continuing in discontent when there are so many blessings surrounding us?
Go back up six lines -- because we don't like it. I don't like it.
In August we will have lived here for two years. I love it here. Several months prior to us moving the complaints about the move starting coming out of my youngest child. Over and over and over and over. And even after we moved the complaints continued.
But now, she loves it here. But for several months it was miserable (at least for me) dealing with her complaints.
Uh-oh....is it miserable for God to deal with ours?
I don't know. I sure hope not. I don't want to give God misery.
So, let's get some healthy scripture here to help this discontent.
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is attractive, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things." Philippians 4:8
I've got a great quote for you this morning -- prepare to be challenged. It's from Oswald Chambers. He writes, "The only supernatural life is the life the Lord Jesus lived, and He was at home with God anywhere (and everywhere)."
So, here's my challenge (to me too):
Where do you dread going? Possibly, that is the exact place God wants you to go.
Or, who do you dread seeing? That person is the exact person you might need to see.
I deal with this. And it depends what it is -- sometimes I just go ahead and go. Other times I've avoided a situation. Usually I go though. Last summer I had a situation that is the perfect illustration (and if I used this last year -- well, maybe you need to read it again). I was invited to attend a Bridal shower. I walk in and the place is packed with ladies I do not know but who seem to know each other. I saw a few familiar faces but there was no room to sit by them. Anxiety overwhelmed me and I ran out (first dropping my gift off). One of those familiar faces saw me rush out (or had seen me before and noticed I was gone). She came running after me and asked me where I was going. I told her I was going home, that I felt awkward, that I knew no one, that I just wanted to go home (listen to those excuses).
She convinced me, mainly cause I love her, to return to the bridal shower.
The morning turned out fine and I got home in one piece. And I believe God wanted me there for some reason.
Oh! I just remembered! The evening before my daughter and I put on a baby shower for a lovely young woman in our church. And it was loads of fun but even that I dreaded. But I knew it needed to be done. And it turned out to be so much fun!
Currently, there's something coming up in my life I want to avoid but can't. It again deals with unfamiliar surroundings, crowds of people and a change in my routine for several days. I've been telling myself it will be really good even though I'm already looking forward to being home again.
God can't use us if we don't go where He is leading us. And I've found I'm often not the only one feeling awkward. Maybe God sends me places when I feel awkward to find that other person (or people) who feel the same and help them feel better. Gotta remember it isn't about me at all. It's about God and loving people.
So, who or what are you avoiding? Take the challenge. Quit avoiding. You might be amazed as to what God will do.
6/14/17 -- GOD GAVE US SOME RAIN! BUT WE STILL NEED MORE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS.
Who is Jane Hinrichs?
Jane is a wife, a mom, a writer, an artist, a lover of the Word of God. She has been studying the Bible since 1987 and has been writing about it almost since then. She loves to hear from her readers. Email her at:
BLOGS/Websites JANE READS:
Dreaming Beneath The Spires
Gail Carson Levine