A Mother’s Thoughts

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Social media reminds me every day that I have memories with this person or that…whomever I tagged in a status or whomever tagged me.

As my son gets ready to leave for the military in just a few days it’s got me to thinking… he’s going to be gone. What will I have left of him? Is it just memories? Will that be all I have left of my children when they move from home? Memories that will, with time and age, fade from my mind and leave nothing in their wake? To think this leaves me almost in a panic. I get shivers up my spine as this is someone to whom I’ve devoted a good portion of my adult life. The post-partum panic attacks, the breathing treatments every 4 hours day and night for 2 weeks, the fingerprints on the walls, the hugs and kisses, the snuggles and smiles all for what? To leave them behind when I turn to leave him in the hands of the United States Navy?

Then there’s that still, calming, small voice that I hear. It whispers to me. Really? You think all you have is memories? This wasn’t all for nothing. Those panic attacks were not because you were unstable, they were out of your insane love, privilege and obligation to protect him. Those breathing treatments were to remind you that he couldn’t breathe without you, the fingerprints on the walls were so that you could see him grow as they got bigger and bigger. No longer on the lower parts of the windows where he strained to see the trash man but on the door frames as he leaped to try to reach them and the banisters he slid down and the stair railings he hung from all so that you could see him growing in stature, the hugs and kisses, smuggles and smiles were there to remind you that he would still love you in jr. high and still hug you in high school. He would outwardly protect you from any perceived threat  no matter how small or big he was and he will continue to do so when he’s a grown man graduating from NAVY boot camp. He will be a different boy but the same boy altogether.

Then the voice continues, isn’t this what you’ve been asking in your prayers all along? You prayed that he would be strong, you prayed that he’s have a personality that would welcome everyone…the lovely and the not so lovely. You prayed that he would be able to breathe and to use that breath to be the best he could be. And you prayed that those smiles and hugs and snuggles would help him to learn how to love. So, what? What is it that is for nothing? These things have been instilled in him. They are in his DNA so what are you worried about? Your arm of protection can no longer spread out to where he is going to be…but Mine can. I’ve been listening to your prayers all this time…why do you think I would stop now? Indeed, I have been here all along and I will continue to be. So no, what you have left is not just memories. You have a grown son who has a plan and a direction. Who consults me as to his choices just like you taught him. You’ve instilled in him to depend on Me… why don’t you stop panicking, breathe slowly, look at MY fingerprints on his life, snuggle into me and let me handle things. Then take those memories on social media, remember them fondly and know more memories are in store. He was mine from the beginning, you gave him back to me remember? I know the plans I have for him…

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depasenior-pic-onert from it.

Response to Jimmy Carter Article

Let me start with this….
“the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.
First of all… the facts of this article are just enough to pass as truth… but aren’t truth entirely. The few carefully selected verses aren’t stated so I can’t comment on them specifically BUT in my church I know that ive been taught that yes, Chronologically, Eve was created second. But Adam named her “Woman” because she was taken from man. Not because she was made subject to man. I have never been taught that Eve was responsible for the original sin. In fact, it was Adam who sinned. Eve was deceived. It’s not a sin to be deceived…ADAM knew where the fruit came from and what the rules were and he ate it anyway. God did not say that women must be subservient to their husbands but did say “Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you” to me this meant that he would take charge whether it was his to take or not…. And don’t you know… he did.

Now, as for other stuff in the article,

According to
http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=72521 “The Navy was the first service in the Department of Defense to commission a female chaplain, Lt. j.g. Dianna Pohlman, in July 1973. The Air Force and Army followed suit later that same year.” So the military has been letting women serve as chaplains for more than 40 years.

This statement is awfully all inclusive

“This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries.
At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.”
Except for Abortion, I can’t name one thing that as a Christian, Southern Baptist I am restricted from where health care is concerned. Including birth control as long as it doesn’t end life once it has begun. There are several women in our congregation who have made that choice in their past and regret it… but they are not shunned. Some of them hold places of leadership and mentoring.

Now, as for slavery, that’s what separated the Northern Baptists from the Southern Baptists during the Civil War times but today, that’s not a determining factor at all, in fact, there are historically black Southern Baptist churches throughout the United States even in the south. I would dare say that in Jimmy Carter’s Georgia there weren’t many desegregated southern baptist churches in 1956 (60 years ago) in fact, segregation didn’t completely disappear until the  late 1960’s or 1970’s…. and he’s just now leaving the southern baptist church because of it’s supposed stance on women? Silliness!

“In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.
The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West.”
The latter part of this broad statement is not only offensive, it’s downright wrong!
In 48 states women make .70 on the dollar compared to men and in 24 states it’s .80 or more. In Washington DC it’s .90%. (According to http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/ )
Is this gap due solely to discrimination? Or is it because by-in-large women stay home or take time off to be with sick kids, take care of extended family members or stop working at an earlier age than men? It’s often not being a woman that leads to the equality gap, it’s being a mother or a family member. Taking time off to do these things isn’t wrong but it’s not conducive to profitability in a fortune 500 company when late hours and weekends are what’s in demand if a profit is going to be made in business. All of these factors should be considered. But it doesn’t work for the Jimmy Carter narrative.
As for women in office in the West…. 212 women serve in either the house of representatives, congress, or the senate out of 535. Out of the 323 seats filled by men how many races didn’t have a woman to choose from or in how many cases was a woman just not the right choice for the job? Not voted against because she was a woman, but because she was a poor choice.

Now, as for the “carefully selected passages of scripture” which are not stated, one has to determine which statements are of the Old covenant (old testament) and the New Covenant (new testament). Without getting into a huge bible study, basically once Jesus Christ came, he fulfilled what the old testament’s laws required (like sacrificing animals for example) and set up a new covenant stating that the greatest commandments are these, that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. These words are found, spoken by Jesus, in Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Mark 12:33, and Luke 10:27. And by Moses in Deuteronomy 4:29, 10:12 and 11:1 just to name a few.
As for the statement
“I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures [None of which are sighted] in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets”
These women that he described were in these positions and many Southern Baptist Churches ordain Deaconess’ or place women in positions of leadership. However, not typically as head Pastor.
In my opinion, It’s not that women are incapable of the leadership role but that it might be difficult for men to subjugate themselves to a woman in that type of authority. A pastor is one who might have the authority in a church to tell someone that how or what they are doing is not biblical or they are acting in a way that is contrary to what the Bible requires of Christians (remember, this is dealing with someone who admits that the Bible is THEIR authority. Not someone who is not a Christian) and by putting yourself under Biblical authority, you are then under the authority of your Pastor. How hard would it be for men (and most women) in our current world (or any year prior to this) to put themselves under the authority of a woman? Not me… Not my husband… not most people I know.
Coming from a biblical perspective of women being subject to the authority of her husband. Look at your own situation. Brett is your husband. He doesn’t rule over you, however, you’ve put yourself willingly under his protection. Your love for him makes that an easy thing to do and he has proven himself worthy. He has his role in your family and you have yours. Not that either of you “can’t” do what the other does but you’re not made to do what he can do, you’re made to do what he can’t. Thereby making each other complete. That’s what the Bible meant by “The two shall become one flesh”
Last, this statement is troubling to me…
“The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: “The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable.”
So, I understand that justifying the discrimination against women on grounds of religion is unacceptable but what happens when they decide that other things decided on the grounds of religion are unacceptable? What then? Are we to then fall in line with that too? It’s a slippery slope. One which presupposes that the ones making the argument are well versed in the tenants or scriptures that they are opposing. Know how I know that this is untrue? How I know that “The Elders” who are self-proclaimed “eminent global leaders” are working from assumptions and second hand information?
Because of the telling statement
“This [the subjugation of women] is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.”
In what teaching by the prophet Muhammad is the subjugation of women disputed? It’s not, as a matter of fact, if you look at the Quran it does speak as to how women are to be treated “Men are in charge of women, because God has made some excel some of the others [4:34]. 2. And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them [2:228].” But honestly, I’m no Quran expert so if there are teachings to the contrary of those I’ve sighted. I don’t know that they exist… nor do lots of Muslims who condone honor killings and burkas (just an observation) and what other great religion founders outline women specifically? Again, I’m no expert on world religions so I’m not indicting other’s religions by any means.
I do believe however that women have a place. Like I said before they are to complete what men aren’t or can’t be. It’s like that in the animal kingdom as well. We all know that girl lions have a different job in the pride than the boy lions. Not because of some mystic text they once read but because that’s just how it works. The same goes with birds, gorillas, dogs, cats and ducks. Boy mallard ducks aren’t prettier because of some weird subjugation of girl ducks… that’s just the way they were made.
So, my thought are; 1. that this article promotes the disdain of what many have found to be their comfort and their strength. 2. That this article twists facts to prove a point. And 3. Well…. I’ll keep that to myself because my momma (and yours) taught me if I can say something nice about someone to not say anything at all.
So…there it is 🙂 Love you!

A Thought From the Person In Line Infront of You

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I read a post today by a friend who saved around 55% on her grocery bill. Sometimes we “couponers” as we are called, like to brag a little about it. It’s fun saving all that money! It’s responsible too, wouldn’t you say? Our choices as to how we spend our money comes with consequences. Doesn’t it?
But it sort of broke my heart when in one of the comments, someone said, “yeah but I hate being behind people like that in line.”
I sort of look at that comment as if the person said, “I hate being behind responsible people in line.” or “I hate when other people are saving money in line in front of me.”
There are all sorts of reasons that people don’t clip coupons. In fact, I didn’t until recently, but some people just don’t have the time. Some people just don’t have the patience. Some people don’t know how to get it organized for it all to make sense. What ever the reason, no one (that I know) stands behind someone with no coupons and says “you’re an idiot! I could have gotten that for 1/2 as much” we just go on about our day. But, if I could help someone have access to the same information as i do, I’d surely give it to them. There is a technique to it but no one has a secret or a corner on the market. Now I will say, there are those who will use coupons to buy items at a discount and then sell them on FaceBook or CraigsList for a profit. This is illegal and I do not condone it. If you are going to earn a living, earn it legally!

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
Luke 16:16

That being said….Here’s why I like to coupon;
My husband works construction. With the economy (which i will admit is picking up) as it has been in recent years, he has spent a lot of time on unemployment benefits. As a tax payer, since I’m getting “free” money from the government, wouldn’t it be more responsible of me to use the money wisely? I mean, if I were a food-stamp recipient I believe i would do the same thing! My brother was once a checker for an Arizona grocery chain. A lady came through with coupons (not crazy coupons like today) and then proceeded to pay with food-stamps. (back when you had physical food-stamps not an ATM looking card). My brother processed her order and sent her off with a “have a nice day” and a smile. The person behind her was angry. “It’s not fair that she get free food-stamps AND gets to use coupons with them!” The irate lady exclaimed.
My brother just smiled and said,
“Well, since she’s using my tax dollars to buy her groceries, I’m pretty OK with her spending it responsibly.”
The irate customer had never looked at it that way. She took it down a notch and backed down.
Why is it that when people find a way to save some hard earned money, people get angry? I mean, whether the money is from unemployment, social service benefits or from a paycheck, the money was hard earned by SOMEONE!
When I’m line at the grocery store if I see a young mother cashing in WIC vouchers, I make it a point (when i have plenty of time) to get behind her in line. When she apologizes to me I make it a point to tell her, “I saw you had WIC and I got behind you on purpose. So take your time… I get it!”
See, it makes me feel good when other people are comfortable. So if it means that i spend an extra 3 minutes in line behind someone who is trying to better them selves or save a little on their grocery bill than I’m good with it. If I’m in a hurry, I don’t pick the line with the WIC lady or the lady with the big binder of coupons. It’s a life choice.
So, when you come up behind the couponer, don’t dispare, don’t discourage, pick another line or, better yet, take a look at what she’s doing….maybe you could learn a thing or two. She might be spending YOUR tax dollars responsibly!
Just a thought. What do you think about couponers?

Celebrate Her Anyway

These words have been on my heart for a week. It’s so hard to write things like this. I fear sometimes it’s intrusive, it’s not my life that has been turned upside-down after all, how dare I immerse myself in the midst of this?
But the Word says we are to bear our burdens together. My heart breaks for my friend who lost her daughter at just 4 years old. I hurt for my friend who lost her grand-daughter and in the midst of it watched her own daughter suffer heartache that this time, just couldn’t be fixed by mom. I have seen the love of two parents and the devotion that even a 6 year old can teach us. And in the midst of it all I’ve see God’s grace and a faith that is the glue to hold the broken together. So, these words are for Katie & Kiki, for Charles and Isaac, for the family and close friends that surround them.

You can follow Katie’s blog at http://ourhighwayfive.com/2015/01/

Celebrate Her Anyway

She was on her way
everyone was excited!
There was lots to do to get prepared
Mom & Dad were so tired
But there is faith and there is love
We were determined to celebrate her anyway.

Then she came
in God’s time and in God’s way
complications did abound
It’s not how we planed it, Every one was so scared.
There were so many questions, fear and doubt
We didn’t even know how long we had
But there is faith and there is love
We were determined to celebrate her anyway

Life is full of questions
hard, unanswerable wonder
time and time again, God showed His mercy
through comfort, play time and song
Her big brother taking it all in and he loves her
because there is faith and there is love
He was determined to celebrate her anyway

Now it’s farewell and memories prevail
of long nights of prayer watching and waiting
of sunny days of laughter and fun
it seems too much to bear now that the day has come
our hearts are heavy, there are tears, longing and sadness.
But there is faith and there is love
We are determined to celebrate her anyway.

An Open Letter to My Good Friend

an open letter to my good friend.

Dear Friend,
I want you to know I noticed something today. I noticed when we visited for a short time today that you are hurting and frustrated. You let me in…just a smidgin… and maybe unwittingly but none the less I could see the frustration that you don’t allow many to see. I want you to know that although i would never call you on it in public… I saw it, and it broke my heart.

The big question is, “What the heck?” I mean, I know that God is doing something but i just wish i knew what it is! This (as you know my friend) is my question too. I pray and I wait and I wait and I pray but it seems that time and time again I hear crickets like out on the bayou….waiting to see what God has in store for us. What the next chapter for our family will hold and how on earth we are going to get there. Well, let me give you my answer… after hours, nay, nights of payer laying awake asking God what I’m missing or what I’m not doing that I should be… when God? when will You move? Well, the answer is…I don’t know. I know that’s not the answer you were looking for. In fact, you could have looked in the mirror and gotten that answer… yet again… but I thought about this long and hard today and here’s what I’ve come up with.

Knowing that we have a faith (sometimes I’m grateful that a mustard seed is all that’s required because it’s all i can muster), And knowing that God “can” do what ever He wants in our lives (which frustrates me because currently for what ever reason He “wont”), I have come to realize that I must look at it like a work of art.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas? (yeah, me either…wink…wink) when you walk down the street in certain places and there’s a guy there with a couple of cans of spray paint and some scraps of paper and he lays these scraps on a canvas and sprays. Then he moves them around and sprays, then he gets some old pocket knife and he scratches here and there then he sprays some more. A few people walk off because they haven’t got the time or inclination to see what this guy is trying to do but as you go to walk off, someone says, “trust me, stick around and see what this cat can do!” so, out of morbid curiosity, you wait. And for the longest time you are convinced that this is some abstract thing that a 6 year old could have completed until the last spray… he moves something from here to there, sprays over it and “BAM” it’s some far out picture. Completely identifiable and pretty stinking breath taking. Now suddenly, you’re impressed cause you and I both know that you or I will neither one will EVER be a spray can artist. Well, I wonder if that’s what’s happening in our lives right now? I wonder if God is moving shapes on our canvas from here to there and we don’t see any rhyme or reason for it. Maybe we are tempted to be that person in the crowd who walks off and doesn’t feel like they have the time or inclination to know what’s coming next but If we would just wait, wait to see what this cat can do… if we just hang in for a bit longer. A spray here and a scratch from an old pocket knife there… maybe our canvases will be breath taking and there will be beauty that we didn’t see coming.

This is what I’m hoping for my friend. I’ve seen what God can do. In my own life and in the lives of others…and I know that you have too! So lets just wait. Let me take you by the elbow and say, “wait, just watch what God can do!” I will pray for you… you pray for me… one of these days, we will see what it is that the Artist of our lives is doing and I bet it’s going to be spectacular.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.


Love,
Your Sister In Christ

You Will Be My Witnesses

Ever had a bad day? You know, one of those days when, if it can go wrong, it will. Have you ever been vindicated? When you fought or debated for something you knew to be right but seemed to be shot down. Then in the end, what you said or the point you were trying to make was proven to be true or correct?
How about winning? Have you ever won a game of basketball, air hockey, Monopoly?
Think about each of these scenarios. When you’re angry, how do you react? What is your response when you are vindicated? Are you a good winner? Or, do you jump up and down and yell “Victory! Victory! It’s mine, mine all mine!”?

Alright, enough with the 20 questions already!

We all know that how we respond to these different life issues says something to others about our character. Our parents and teachers have been telling us that our whole lives. As Christians though, we must also realize that, to the world, it says something about Christ as well.

In Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Sometimes I think, because we are human, we see this verse and the first thing that pops out is the word “Power” and we get it in our heads that we will receive power. I believe that power is important but I think there is a much more important aspect; “will” in context, you “will” be my witnesses.

Jesus doesn’t say, “if you don’t mind” or “could you please” or “you might be” He says, “you WILL be my witnesses”. To me this means weather we like it or not. If we are Christians, we have asked Jesus to come into our hearts, forgive us of our sins and be the Lord of our lives. Then I believe that we have a  responsibility that we might not take into consideration.

What is a witness?
Among the definitions I found these words;
a: something serving as evidence or proof
b: public affirmation by word or example

When we claim to be a Christian our lives, the way we respond to the circumstances of life is to others, “evidence or proof” of what Christ has done in our lives. It is “public affirmation by word or example” just like the dictionary says. So, whether we like it or not, when we’re having a bad day we must realize that we ARE Christ’s witness, when we are vindicated, the “I told you so” isn’t consistent with the character of Christ and therefore shouldn’t be part of our character either, and the only thing worse than a poor loser is a  poor winner. Being excited over a victory is one thing but the football touchdown dance probably isn’t necessary when we win a game of scrabble. Our lives in both word and deed should reflect the character of Christ because people are watching us, I promise!

We are Christ’s witnesses in ALL circumstances it’s not about the power, it’s about the witness. We shouldn’t be surprised. He told us it would be. We were warned fair and square. And how we act isn’t just observed in our homes but in our jobs, in our community and beyond. The type of witness we are can provoke others to ask questions. It can lead someone to seek out what you have that they don’t. For those who are watching us, our witness could literally change eternity! I’ve seen it happen!

Is it time to give your witness a check-up? Have you seen a witness change a life? Tell me about it!

What You Sow, Will Grow.

I’ve been doing a study recently about responsibility…taking responsibility for your life. (It’s by Andy Stanley. I’d totally recommend it) in this study, we cover the concept (truth really) that we reap what we sow. It’s easy to see where I’m going if we refer to it like a garden. There are flowers and weeds.

If we drink and use drugs and are distant from our children as they are growing up, it’s understandable that they might choose to be distant as adults because we’ve sewn weeds, even if we’ve changed our ways. All hope is not lost though, if we’ve changed our ways, we can begin to sew flowers but even flowers take time to bloom. If we spend every dollar we ever get and we don’t save ever at all, then we shouldn’t be surprised when we don’t have the money to pay for emergencies or retirement for that matter. If we eat without any regard to health, calories or exercise, we shouldn’t be surprised to be unhealthy and/or overweight. But again, all hope is not lost. You can choose to change and plant flowers of health but, like any garden, it takes time and effort.

It’s our own fault really. We make choices then we reap what we’ve sewn. It’s sort of a universal truth like gravity… it just is. You can’t really change it. It works like this with good things too.

If we are kind to people, live life with integrity and help people when we can, later, those nuances of our personality come back to us as blessings in different ways. We are trusted, consulted in a crisis, not often accused or held suspect. Rumors are quickly dispelled because people know your character.

Sometimes it’s harder for us to see the blessings of living a godly life because we sometimes look at blessings through our human-ness and feel we “deserve” to be treated with respect (which is earned by the way) or that we deserve to be consulted when a crisis arises. But we don’t take the time to look behind us and see what kind of tire treads we left in the road. What kind of tracks did we leave for others to look back and refer to when they choose (or choose not to) look to us?

If you want the blessings that living an upright life brings, you must first live an upright life. If you have not always lived according to how God would have you to live, but you decide that now is the time, good for you! You have blessings coming! Don’t forget though that there still may be some things that you’ve “sewn” in the past that will come up. It doesn’t mean that God isn’t seeing your new life; it simply means that there was a weed that was sewn earlier in your life. So deal with it, toss it aside and move on. Yes, things will come back to haunt us from our “not so desirable” decisions from time to time but that doesn’t mean that you cannot be victorious over them.

Galatians 6: 7-10 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Basically you can’t pull one over on God. He sees how you are and who you are…and He loves you!

What you sow will grow…Hey, I just made that up!

What have you been sowing lately?

Do you know how important you are?

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Have you ever just loved someone? Not just the attraction kind of love but the love toward a good friend, the love toward your children, the love of family… that kind of love. When you just think some one is … “all that!”, “the cat’s meow”, you know, “the bomb-diggidy!” (I think you get my point) When you hear a song or come across a particular object, you think of them. You just love them…that is all.

I have people like that in my life. People who I don’t necessarily want to impress but who I want to do nice things for just to see them smile.

Did you know that God looks at us quite the same way? He loves us even more really! Did you know that you are SO important to God that he cares for you more than the birds of the air or the flowers in the field. In Luke 12, Jesus explains how the Father looks after us and he says just that! Basically He says, If God takes care of the birds and dresses the flowers so beautifully, how much more does he care for us? We are much more important than they are.

Have you ever read Psalm 139? If you haven’t you should! The whole Psalm is about how God feels about us and about how He knows us intimately. My favorite verses 17 & 18 say,

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I cant even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!

I don’t know about you but that makes me feel pretty special. See, I’m just a speck. Just one in about a billion people on this earth. But God, our infinite Creator knows me by name, he knows all about me and he loves me anyway. In fact, there’s nothing in my past (or my future) that will keep God from loving me. He’s crazy about you too you know?

“But Mel, you don’t know what I’ve done in my life!”

I don’t need to know what you’ve done. God already knows and He love you. His thoughts about you cannot be numbered! You’re one of those whom God just loves to see smile. You’re important too! The Bible says that someone might consent to die for a righteous person but God does us one better! Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrated His own love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

You see? God’s love is unconditional. He loves us right where we are. Jesus didn’t die just for believers or just for Christians. He died for anyone who will believe in Him. He died so that there would be a way for us to spend eternity together with Him. All we have to do is receive the gift that He has already laid out for us. Do you know how important you are? You’re THAT important!

How does it make you feel to know that you matter THAT much to God? I would love to hear/read your thoughts.

Here’s a great song to go along with today’s blog. I hope you like it!!

I’ve been waiting to hear that voice!

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I was in the hospital. I had undergone my 2nd surgery in 6 days. My liver and kidneys had been failing, I had experienced congestive heart failure and battled a fever that fluctuated as high as 108 degrees. I had been in a great deal of post operative pain having spent 17 days on a breathing machine because I couldn’t breathe on my own yet and was prescribed to undergo physical therapy a couple of times a day. I was tired. My husband saw me daily, sometimes multiple times a day but my children only came a couple of times a week. At the ages of 10, 12, and 18 it was hard on them. Each of them had their worries. Every time they’d come to see me I did my best to have a brave smile. But they knew by the sound of my quiet struggling voice that I just wasn’t the same mom that left the house with the paramedics a few weeks ago.
On about day 23 of my 27 day hospital stay, I was feeling pretty good. I’d had a successful physical therapy visit, I’d eaten a good breakfast and even had energy to wash my face! Sitting up in bed and feeling triumphant for the day, I looked up to see my husband ushering in our little flock of ducklings. As they came across the room I greeted them with a smile and said in a not-so-quiet voice,”Hey! I’m happy to see you!”

With out missing a beat, my son raced past his dad, flung open his arms and exclaimed, “I’ve been waiting to hear that voice!”

He wrapped his arms around my neck and in that instant, my heart melted. It hadn’t occurred to me that all this time, my children were waiting to hear my voice. The voice that they knew. The voice that reassured them that everything was going to be OK.
I can’t ever tell that story without tears. The one thing my son wanted to hear was his mother’s voice. It breaks my heart.

When I think about it… that’s kind of how I feel about God. I can’t wait to hear His voice! Not that I’ve never been led by God to do this or that. But to audibly HEAR his voice. It brings a smile to my face to think about it.

We can read in scripture about the voice of God. In 1st Kings 19:12 God’s voice was not in a fire, an earthquake or in the wind but it was a “still, small voice” that Elijah heard. In Job 40:6 God’s voice was heard out of a whirlwind. Then in verse 9 God’s voice is described as Thunderous. But we don’t know the SOUND of His voice. What sort of accent does he speak with? What does His voice inflection sound like? In John 10:4 we learn that if we are His sheep, we will know His voice so I suppose, someday when I hear it I will know it’s Him. Even when Christ returns we will hear the shout of an Archangel and we will hear the trumpet of God but not His voice.

So what does the voice of God sound like? I don’t know the answer. But here’s what I do know; I imagine coming into his presence and I look toward Him, when he turns His face and looks my way, maybe he says “I’m happy to see you.” and whether we spend our eternity singing “Holy, Holy, Holy!” or doing something else but the first thing that I will want to do is just like my son did. Maybe I will race toward Him and fling open my arms and exclaim, “I’ve been waiting to hear that voice!”

Are you waiting to hear God’s voice?

Looking down the hall

Take a look at the photo on the top of my page….if you are on a phone app you probably cant see it…imagine a scene like Buckingham Palace… an elegant hallway leading to… well, who knows where?
I kind of like to imagine that it leads to a beautiful sitting room where hot coffee in pretty cups await me and the ladies (ok and tea for Ms. Emma!) we are excited to get together and share each others company in the fanciful glamor of a room that could only be at the end of a hall like this! Invaribly the conversation would lead to the question, “did you see that painting in the hall?” or “I wonder where that sitting bench was purchased?” unfortunately, many of us (me included) would probably say,

“oh no! I didn’t see that!” or

“i missed it.”

Not because we are so blase that it was unimportant but that there was so much to take in, one couldn’t possibly appreciate ALL that was going on in that hall but also that we were all so excited about meeting our friends there and finding out how they were and catching up with each other, that we focused on the destination not the road that lead there. In our world these days, we are so quick to want the end result “RIGHT NOW!” that we don’t take the time anymore enjoy getting there.

Sometimes, I wonder…. is that what my walk with the Lord is like? Am I so focused on what I want and where I am headed that I fail to see the beauty along the way? I think, in many cases that answer is definitely “YES”

Recently, I had (yet another) health issue. It wasn’t that big of a deal really, I mean in the grand scheme of things….i’ve dealt with worse. The point is, when i realized that this was something that could go on for months I got down. Really down. I just wanted to be better. I wanted everything to be right so i could just go on with my life. Now this little issue is almost over, and in some ways I’m thinking that it’s too bad because i haven’t stopped to appreciate the things that have come along with it.
For instance, a family member came to make sure i didn’t have to cook, I have an in-home nurse who comes 3 times per week, I get to sleep in some days when the nurse is going to be later than usual. But have I let the people around me know that I appreciate them? Do they know that I will miss them when all of this is over and done with? Have I taken the time to let them know?

Maybe that’s why God said to the Apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient.”. Maybe, when we are going through the trials of life, we should spend less time wanting to get to the end and more time looking around us and enjoying the good things in spite of our circumstances. “For power is perfected in weakness.” In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul points out that just because we are uncomfortable doesn’t mean God is not at work. In-fact it’s during those difficult times and trials that we should have the presence of mind to stop and say to our selves, “what is God trying to teach me in this?” or “how is God moving in this situation?”

I think if we are able to take that approach, it might make things easier. His grace IS sufficient and through out our weakness his power is magnified. We don’t serve a “Microwave” God…. He’s more of a slow roaster. But if we can just wait for it….If we can find hope… We will never be disappointed.

Romans 5:3-5 says “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Knowing this is what keeps me going some days… what keeps you going?

Until next time….Blessings!