Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Off With the Old, In With the New

Clothed In Christ
Part One in a Series

I don't like getting rid of my old clothes. 
I like them. 
They're comfortable. 
 Usually, I don't get rid of something until someone else says something. 

"Mom, did you know that was Jana's shirt when she was a freshmen in high school?"
She is now married with two kids. 
These three tank tops to wear under shirts were all hers,
purchased her freshman year for $.25 each.
Yes, I got a bargain. 
Yes, after about 8 years, we got a lot of mileage for them.
Finally, with a little prompting, I cut them up for rags.

My daughters are good to point out the obvious.

"Did you know you have a hole in that shirt?"

"M-AAWWWM, you need new clothes!"

New clothes. Of course, I want that cool new polished suave mom look. I don't want to take the time to create the look. I don't like the cost. I don't like the effort. I want the Cinderella effect where I snap my fingers and I have this cool wardrobe with something for every occasion.

Sunday? No problem.

Casual coffee? No problem.

Writers' meeting? No problem.

Old  and New is a theme in the Scriptures, too. The Old Man is the depraved flesh we were born with and the New Man is the spiritual creation we become when we experience the new birth through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

                                                  old brown shirt....old black shirt

These old shirts also went through several of my daughters before I adopted them.  Wow. What was I thinking?  I had to finally admit the obvious, they needed to go.

We also need to admit the failure of the old man, the flesh we were born with.  It needs to go.

We  take off the old man through salvation - by trusting Jesus as our Savior.

Romans 6:6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Then, daily we take off our dirty clothes and put them in the laundry hamper to be washed to be used again.  Our flesh is no different.  Daily we take off the Old Man by confessing our sin.

Ephesians 4:22 That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,

new brown shirt with pleats...new black shirt with ruffles

Every one loves new clothes. I bought simple brown and black t-shirts to replace the old ones. They have a little simple, ornamental detail, but were new.   I bought a new pair of jeans with no holes. (More to come on holy, holey jeans!)  Over time I bought a few nice jackets and even a few sets of matching jewelry.

Ephesians 4:24, "put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Keeping the wardrobe up needs daily attention and action.  If I don't keep purging my closet and replacing old items with new ones, I would eventually return to the same state I was in before - clothes destined to be rags.

We must  put off the old and put on the new.

Both actions are necesarry.  If we only put off the old, and didn't put on the new, we would end up....well, um....remember the Emporer's new clothes?

If we just kept putting on the new, we would end up with a disaster, the closet would be so full, we eventually wouldn't know which clothes were wearable, and we wouldn't be able to find anything.

Spiritually, we must do the same.

The old man, the flesh we were born with, has to be taken off.  Through Jesus we put on the new.

We must do both.

What's behind the door of your closet?

What's behind the door of your heart?

Part Three - Holy, Holey Jeans
Part Four - In and Out of Season

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sumthin' Outta' Nuttin'

If there is one thing I learned working with Florence
at Box T Bible and Saddle Camp,
you can make
in the kitchen.

Along with her husband, Lewellyn,
they used their ranch in the middle of North Dakota
as a Bible Camp for many decades.

They were loved for their love for the Lord,
and their love for the young people that
stomped on their grass,
trampled their flowers,
wrestled on their furniture,
and broke things.

They had patience unlimited for youthful pranks,
immature and mature crushes,
smelly cowboy boots,
giggling after hours,
spiritual questions,
and mistakes in the kitchen.

Florence was amazing with food.
She fed the campers from a kitchen the size of
some people's dining room table.

I watched her rescue desert when someone accidentally used
Russian tea mix instead of cocoa
in the brownies.

I laughed when a pan of baked oatmeal
was tipped over in the oven,
and the rescued portion miraculously became the
bottom of a creamy, fruity desert.

When my cupboards were bare,
her influence spurred on
thrift and creativity.

The kids hadn't sealed the package of tortillas,
so the edges were all crusty.

A scissors took care of that mess.

I grated the chunks of cheese I found,
cutting off a few spots of mold
and the dried edges.
I guess the cheese bags weren't sealed, either.

A wonderfully warm lunch,
that my kids thought was SO special.
It was just like in a restaurant!

They didn't know how I had to literally cut and scrape
to make this meal.

It felt good to be so frugal.
It felt good to think about Florence,
 a woman who influenced my faith
even more than my culinary skills.

I was even wondering,
if I were living during WWII,
would I have even cut off the crusty edges?
Or would I have cut them off
and made something else out of them?

But, there is something more to consider,
than just a recipe from dry tortillas and moldy cheese.

Other than food,
we can waste time,
spiritual gifts,
our homes,
our belongings,
our relationships,
and money.

We waste them by not using them for the Lord.

How are you making
in your life?


Read Jeff's blog giving great tribute to
Florence and Lewellyn Tewksbury,
of Box T Bible and Saddle Camp.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

MM Meditation - Isaiah, the Master Painter

Today the devotional was written by a dear friend in the Lord,
Max Johnson.


Let's take a long walk together down through the centuries and sit in on an art class.  The artist is the Holy Spirit; and He has a student by the name of Isaiah, who is gretting ready to paint a portrait.  It is not of one of his contemporaries - it will be a picture of One who was due to come several centuries in the future.

So, Isaiah approaches his canvas number 53.  He has his brush and his pallete, and is about to start his portrait.  But, we notice that the colors on his pallete are rather drab earth tones.

 As he paints, he explains what the various colors depict about the Person he is putting on his canvas.  He dips his brush into the first drab color and the word "DESPISED" appears.

Another color, "REJECTED."

Still another, "A Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief." 

At this point we interrupt the painter and say, "Isaiah, wait, that's not a very pretty picture at all."

He replies, "That's true, but it is a very accurate portrayal I'm painting."

Then he takes a few more strokes with another ugly color and the words "Rejeced of Men" appear.

As we mutter something about hiding our faces from Him and start to walk away he says "Wait, I have another canvas." 

Leading us across the room to easel with a clean canvas marked "Number 6", he takes a new brush and a pallete with the most beautiful, bright, vivid, living colors, and starts his second portrait. 

He dips his brush into the firt post ,"THE LORD." 

Then another color, "High and lifted up." 

Another color, "Sitting upon His throne."

The portrait is completed with the Seraphim sitting around the throne and crying, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is filled with His glory." 

We compliment Isaiah and say, "That's a much better portrait."

He reminds us both portraits depict the same Person.

Now, let's fast-forward our spiritual computer a few centuries, and we find two men, Philip and Nathaniel, talking together.

Philip is all excited and says, "Nathaniel, come, we have found Him of whom Moses in the Law, and the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph." 

Then, Nathaniel interrupted Philip and said, "Wait a minute, did I hear you say Nazareth, that dirty little town up there in Galilee?  How can any good thing come out of that despised place?"

Philip's answer to Nathaniel was that most simple, yet most provocative invitation that could ever be given, "Come and see."

That same invitation is good today for any agnostic who is willing to test it honestly and sincerely. 

When we find Nathaniel face to face with this Jesus of Nazareth, the words coming from the Lord's mouth strike a chord deep in Nathaniel's heart, and he knows that he is face to face with someone more powerful than anyone else on earth.  With all of his skepticism now dissipated, he addresses the Lord, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God, You are the King of Israel." 

Now, we advance about three more years, and find ourselves approaching a hill called CALVARY, where stand three crosses.  The two outer crosses bear the bodies of two criminals, dying in agony for the crimes they have committed; but Who is that Man on the center cross?  It seems we have seen Him before.  Yes, he is the One fulfilling the two portraits painted by Isaiah, the One who confronted Nathaniel.

If there is still any doubt, we notice a sign placed above His head by Pontius Pilate, that nefarious governor from Rome, who wittingly or unwittingly identified the Man on the center cross, "This is Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."

Those two incongruous phrases describe two persons in one body.  Yes, He was that lowly Nazarene Who humbled Himself, we read; but He was also the One acknowledged by Nathaniel as the Son of God, King of the Jews.

In that moment, on that hill called Calvary, He surveyed His kindgom from a cross! 

Then, His body was taken down and put in a tomb; but only for three days.  Just as He prophesied and promised, THE KING arose from the dead; and He lives forever with His saints to reign!

The apostle Paul writes in Phillipians 2:9, "God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every nane, that at the name of Jesus every knee SHALL bow and every tongue SHALL confess that HE IS LORD to the glory of God the Father."

How is this Man viewed by the world today?  As He stood in the Court of Justice on that day so long ago, the people cried out for His blood, "Crucify Him, we will not have this man to reign over us."

That cry is magnified many times today, people are saying with more hatred than ever, "Away with Him!  Take Him out of our schools, our public buildings and public places, we don't want Him.  Away with you!

The question is, How do YOU view him today? 

IS He just a forgotten man from a little insignificant town names Nazareth, or is He King? 
YOUR King?
Is He the King of YOUR life?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Waking Up In Heaven

Years ago, I was holding my precious baby Rebekah during the Sunday morning meeting we call Remembrance Meeting. Honoring the Lord's dying request, we gather to worship and remember that our Savior shed His blood for us. Thoughts are shared from the Scriptures, prayers  are offered, and hymns are sung. It is a sweet, beautiful time of humble adoration, praise and thanksgiving.

In the midst of the meeting, she woke up from her little morning snooze.

She wasn't startled, but awaked with the warm harmonious blending of voices in song. Her eyes and mouth were wide open in wonder, her  little toes lightly moving in rhythmic enjoyment.

My heart warmed with the thought of my precious baby waking up in the presence of worship.

I was struck with the profoundness of my revelation.

I wondered - is this what it be will be like for us believers at death?

After death, will we  just open our eyes into presence of worship and at the feet of  the One being worshipped?

It still causes my heart to rejoice that a little child literally demonstrated to me the beauty and wonderment of a believer who "sleeps."

1 Thessalonians 4:14

For if we believe
 that Jesus died and rose again,
even so God will bring with Him
those who sleep in Jesus.

We'll wake up and see Him.
What a glorious moring that will be!

Friday, April 23, 2010

What Happens at Gramma's, Stays at Gramma's

You think I would know better.

I began helping raise my five siblings
 when my Mom went back to work
the summer after I finished third grade.

I have been parenting my own children for almost 22 years,
and even though all six aren't grown up,
they are all still alive, safe and normal…well, kinda'.

It was supposed to just be a nice weekend visit,
where I would dote on my darling granddaughter, hold her,
play with her and not feed her sugar
because her Mommy won't let me.

How did I forget, in a few short years,
what damage and danger can occur
 if you lose track of a one year old…

for only 15 seconds…

or less?

"Splish, Splash, my hand is taking a little bath."

I guess she wanted to fish with the Scrabble tile rack....
the toilet WAS flushed.....I didn't guarantee clean.....

"See, Gramma, I'm playing with your Cabbage Patch dolls now."

Yea, in my antique DOLL playpen.....

"Oh, so this is what candy tastes like! MMMMM Good!"

Relax, Mom, the cellophane was still on.......

"This lego guy doesn't taste as good as the candy cane, anyway."

Besides, I know from YEARS of experience
that most small lego pieces can be pooped out if swallowed....

"I think I better help un-decorate the tree."

She grabbed my newest ornament,
the one I cherish in my heart,
the most irreplaceable.....

It is the ornament I bought last year that gives my newest title,
 my newest profession
and my newest source of damage, duty and distress.
Oh, yea, it also is the title of my newest source of love, joy and adoration.
The ornament she is clutching in her toilet-splashing, tree-mauling hands says



This blog was originally posted December 18, 2008.

I am reposting to participate in
Homesteader's Heart Friday Funnies.
Drop by for a few laughs to begin your weekend right.

To follow further adventures of the much grown-up Brookelyn,
and her Chubby Bubby Brother Bradyn
check out my daughter's blog
The Roli Poli's.

216 Days Until...


Yes, I am counting the days until Thanksgiving.  In fact, in honor of counting the days until other momentous occasions I have in my life, I added a "How Many Days Until" Gadget on my sidebar.  Go ahead, help yourself.  Drop by and use it whenever you need.

I'm a good sharer.

You're probably wondering why I am planning so far ahead of time.  True confession -  I have already been shopping for several months already.  Not frantically shopping, just "casually browsing while I am shopping for other things" kinda' shopping.

Why so anxious to get started? 

My MIL is coming. 

For the first time in the 24 years I've been married to her son, she and her husband, that would be my FIL, are coming to celebrate the holiday with us.

I am nervous.  She always worked so we have celebrated very few holidays together, and I have never hosted a holiday in my home with the MIL and FIL attending.

She has taught me a lot about hospitality.  She is organized, cooks delicious food, sets a beautiful table and thinks of every detail. I don't feel it is a competition, I just want to show her what I have learned from her and make her feel comfortable. I want her to enjoy a nice holiday, for once,  without having to do any of the work.

But, I am nervous. 

Did I say that already?  I know that if I plan far enough ahead of time, it should go smoothly. It may be the only Thanksgiving we have together. I want it to be special.

This was the first item I bought, a tablerunner at the thrift store.  It has all the colors I always use, but this year I am emphasizing the greens and golds.

I have tablecloths in solid colors in the light green, gold and maroon. I just buy inexpensive linens to layer over them.

It's a cost effective way to change looks with each season or holiday.

I found a few yards of this beauty next.  A vintage reproduction, it is heavy, non-wrinkling and reminds me of Minnesota, my husband's home state. I am not sure how I will use it.  I contemplated making cloth napkins, but I'm not sure I can stand to cut it up.

This piece of gold, shimmery, crinkly stuff should be a great accent.  Maybe swirled around some wooden pumpkins, maybe strips tied around candles? 

When I found these heavy duty glasses, I knew they had to come home with me.  A bit ironic to be buying Harvest Gold and Avocado Green since I HATED these colors when I first got married. All our early apartments had green stoves, but since I decorated mostly with red, I could always blend it in fine. My kids sometimes make fun of my love for vintage, but they are enjoying the feel and the color of these glasses.  They may end up loving vintage after all!  Maybe one of my kids will someday scour the internet looking for an avocado green stove.

I will be decorating with these.  Since I display them in my house all year 'round, I will just need to add more cinnamon oil to them and enjoy the holiday aroma.

As I plan for the upcoming holidays, I am not just thinking about linens and dishes. I am thinking about my heart attitude, my spiritual purpose and my ability to show Jesus to those that are in my home.

This is the true essence of hospitality.

Without love, which is Jesus, all the dishes and the linens would be in vain.  They are the least important.  It is just something to do to cover my nervousness and my excitement for the opportunity.

I am praying. I am praying that our hearts will be bound together and that I might bless them as the Lord guides my actions and my heart.

The best part of planning ahead, is that I have 216 more days to pray. 


Speaking of Thanksgiving, I think it is about time to post the recipes my daughter, Grace, used for Thanksgiving last year. 

Roast Duck

New Green Bean Casserole

Vermont Cheddar Mashed Yukon Golds

Maple-Ginger Glazed Carrots

A Simple Method for Cooking a Whole Bird

Roasted Turkey with Tangerine Glaze

Any advice?  Any suggestions for the fabric?  Any new recipe recommendations?

Take your time in answering.

I have 216 days to plan and pray.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Stomach Benefits, My Stove Suffers

People often say to me,
"You're SO lucky your kids can cook!"
They seem to think it was a genetic disposition
that brought my kids into the kitchen
to cook and create,
dream and destroy.

I don't always get credit for teaching them,
wiping up after them,
forfeiting my right to have any set of glasses longer than two years,
and committing to about one half hour of cleaning
for each 15 minutes they spend cooking.

had nothing to do with it.

It was patience,
mixed in with a lot of tongue-biting,
stirring in a little eye rolling,
folding all ingredients together with love.

Maybe I should have kept these drip pans
to give to the next person
who wants to tell me how
I am.

They looked this good in October,
a few months old.

I tried scrubbing them.
It was a waste of time. 

I didn't want to spend the money to replace them
after only a few months,

I looked at this for months.


I was SO excited to discover enamel drip pans in Target
last month.

They were a little more expensive,
but I thought they would be worth it. 

They're still dirty,
but not rusty,
and are not impossible to clean.

The enamel is slightly damaged in this one already,
but it doesn't show up very much.

Why do I take this abuse?

Because I don't have to cook 
the Thanksgiving meal,
or make breakfast anymore.

We like to challenge people to
"count the cost."

So, I can cook less,
but buy new drip pans more?

Sounds like a bargain to me!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Didja' Know Horses Preach?

My daughter, Bethany and I, were taking a spring walk
with friends Lauren and Susan.

It was a glorious day with sunshine,
and a surprise visit
with some friendly horses.
Everything in nature speaks of the Lord's
mighty power in Creation
and His mighty power in Redemption.

He is the Author of both.
Job challenged his friends with these questions:

Job 39: 19
 Have you given the horse strength?
Have you clothed his neck with thunder?

Job 39: 20
Can you frighten him like a locust?
His majestic snorting strikes terror.

Horses are amazing creatures.
I asked these horses to kiss.

I really did.

And, they did.

I was astounded.

Isn't that sweet?

Psalm 20:7
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

Does this remind you of the Egyptians
chasing the children of Israel
with their chariots and horses?
They were swallowed up by the Red Sea.

  But, there is one aspect in which the Lord doesn't want us to
appreciate and imitate horses.

They have to be trained to draw near to their master.

Psalm 32:8-10
 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.

Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,

And must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Or they will not come near you.

We draw near through Jesus.

Hebrews 10:22
 Let us draw near with a true heart
in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience
 and our bodies washed with pure water.

Next time you see a horse,
listen to the message its preaching.

It's a message of Creation
and of Redemption.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Is Monday Over Already?

I didn't get to start it,

or really finish it.

Usually, Mondays are a big day for me.

I make my lists of chores.

I make my grocery list.

I begin a new week of school with gusto.

Or, as much gusto as I can.

Not yesterday.

I've had so many demands on my life,

 good things, but busy things,

 I have hardly had time to breath.

I'm tired.

I'm still trying to make lemonade
and work around all the roadblocks in my life.

Monday, I only made it through some paperwork,
added the week's sports schedules to the calendars,
 did school, laundry and a few random things.

I kept putting one foot in front of the other,
but I'm not sure I got very far.
But, I kept moving.

Last week, I started the week by making a
To Do List and a Don't Do List.
This week I didn't get either one done.

I'm losing my grip on the year.
I'm going to slide to the end of the rope and drop into summer,
 broken and exhausted.

I know that somehow, after three months off,
I am always refreshed,
excited and ready for another new year.

(There is a mild swear word around seconds 57-59,
and I don't know how to edit this clip.
Just fast forward with the button. 
I don't like bad words.)

But for now, I just have to finish,
even if I have to crawl.
At least crawling
  keeps you on your knees.

Acts 20:24

But none of these things move me;
(Paul's life was in danger-I guess I don't have it so bad)
nor do I count my life dear to myself,
(it's not about us)
so that I may finish my race with joy,
and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus,
(it's from Him, and for Him)
to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

We  minister  the Lord Jesus
to a vast range of people in our lives.
Our husbands and our children,
the family of God, neighbors,
friends and strangers.

We can't just finish the race,
we need to finish with joy.

We have a great example before us.

 the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before Him
endured the
the shame,
and is
set down
at the
right hand
of the
of God.

Finish the race, sisters!

Even if you're crawling,
crawl with joy.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Why Do Mommies Yell?

Yesterday, I blogged about the value of having Christian friends we can entrust with our deepest secrets and struggles.  Friends that can hear the words,

"I yelled at my kids today" and give us Biblical advice and not gossip about our confidences.

1.  Mommies yell when they aren't dealing with their own problems well. 

Maybe it is a spiritual battle, a physical suffering, an emotional pain, a loneliness, or  a demanding schedule that is weighing down your heart and lifting your agitation.  It's anything that takes our hearts and minds away from trust and obedience.  It is easy to walk around like a loaded gun, and it doesn't take much to pull the trigger.

Those struggles can cause turmoil instead of rest, anxiety instead of trust, anger instead peace. They are valid problems, but let them be your REASON to be victorious, not your EXCUSE. 

Learn to identify your areas of little faith.  Seek answers in the Word and in prayer.  Ask older, Biblically wise sisters for wisdom, prayer and  encouragement.

Don't live on a jagged emotional edge; learn to walk around your home in peace, so that you can respond in peace.

2.  Mommies yell when they aren't dealing with their children's problems well.

We can train our children to not respond to our command or ask by not following through immediately in a gentle way. Sometimes we don't want to stop what we're doing, they take advantage of the moment and delay their obedience - delayed obedience is still disobedience. On the third time of asking them to do something, we are angry, we yell, THEN, they act. Don't let them get past one warning. Be gentle, but firm. Do NOT train them to obey only when you yell.

We yell when they don't listen.  We get annoyed that they wouldn't heed our wisdom, our needs, our role as Mother.  It's a little like being offended.  OK, it's a lot like being offended.

We yell when they disobey a clear command.  We are astounded that they would DARE to disobey.  We daily disobey the Lord.  How does He deal with us?

We yell when they annoy us.  They usually annoy us because we aren't listening to their needs.  We aren't addressing their fears or their concerns.  When you're a Mom, you're never off work.  It can be draining.  Fill your cup, let it overflow with grace and mercy, not rants. 

How To Cure Yelling:

I would love to give you a three step formula that could cure you this weekend, but I can offer you a promise.  The Word of God is perfectly able to be your help and your strength.  Read daily.  Pray daily.  Ask for wisdom.  Since each mommy yells for a different reason, a different inner struggle, different verses will minister to each of us. 

Keep accountable with your husband.  Talk often.  Encourage one another in parenting for the glory of the Lord.  My husband will come home from work, when he knows my day was stressful and demanding, and might ask, "Were you a yellbox today?"  He does it jokingly, but with sincere interest and no judgment. Most of all, my honesty helps him know how to sincerely pray for me.

When you do yell, apologize.  I used to get so down on myself I would be even more upset than I was before I yelled. Because I was a Christian I felt I shouldn't have failed. 

What makes us different from unbelievers isn't that we don't sin, it is that we confess our sin, to the Lord and to our family.

By the grace of God, maybe the next conversation we have with a good friend over a cup of coffee might be,

"Wow, it's been a long time since I yelled at my kids! Praise the Lord!"

Friday, April 16, 2010

Confessions That Changed My Parenting Life

From the time I turned double-digits, I began thinking about having my own family.  I always knew I wanted kids.  I always knew I wanted a lot of kids.  When I was 12,  I had decided I would have six kids.

Because I was the oldest daughter in a family of six and babysat for years, I assumed parenting would come pretty easily to me.

Like most moms, I was in for a lot of surprises, shocks and too many meals of humble pie.

I was never sure who to talk to about my questions.  I wasn't sure what was normal, what wasn't, what I should change and what I shouldn't change.  I devoted myself to studying all the verses in the Bible in parenting and looking for good fellowship with wise Christian women concerning my questions.

But it was something a friend admitted over a cup of coffee that really gave me direction and vision in parenting.

"I yelled at my kids this morning. I was a regular screaming meamie."

I was shocked.  I actually asked her, "You yell at your children?"

I wasn't shocked in judgment, I was shocked by her frank admission. I was also relieved.

I wasn't the only one.

It wasn't that I wanted us to wallow in our sin, but it helped to talk about our frustrations as parents and come up with coping and confessing strategies.

My new vision wasn't to yell at my kids; I purposed to be honest and open with women, as the Lord led me.  I realized if we all ran around pretending the way we looked and acted on Sunday morning was the only true representation of our life, then we would never dare to open up to confess our faults to one another and to bear one another's burdens.

This was driven deeper into my convictions with another admission.

"After my last baby, I walked in deep darkness for a long time."

A friend suspected  I was struggling with baby blues after the birth of my fifth child, and offered her story first, giving me permission to open my heart.

It is the same theory, but on a deeper level.  How much are we willing to confess to another woman to get or give the spiritual help needed?  Is there something you think you can't share?

My friend gave me permission to talk about a struggle that many Christians would have blown-off as merely a lack of spirituality.

Why don't we bear our hearts?

The truth about others:

*Too often the reply can be  harsh, thoughtless and judgmental.  We fear adding to the burden we already carry.

*We have to admit that some people don't forget and forgive, even after a Christian matures.

*We haven't found someone who is wise in the Scriptures and not apt to gossip.  You might find a woman who bears one of the qualities, but few have both.

The truth about ourselves:

*We are hearing the words from the accuser of the brethren who tells us we are the worst Christian, the only mom who yells at her kids, the only woman who sometimes doesn't love her husband, and we begin to believe we won't be able to overcome.

*We are wrongly concerned with what people think about us.

If we don't share openly, we can't get the help and encouragement we need.  Obviously, we need to go to the Lord and His Holy Word first, then we look for a faithful woman that will allow us to say,

"Hey, I yelled at my kids today!"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Good News From A Far Country

Proverbs 25:25
As cold waters to a thirsty soul,
 so is good news from a far country.

California is a distant land.

Mapquest says:
Total Travel Estimate: 18 hours 52 minutes / 1182.14 miles

That's too distant for a Gramma.

Brookie, at 2 1/2 years, is learning to bridge the distance gap.

What better news can you receive than
the very first letter...

...from your very first grandchild?

Look how she got the stickers so neatly within the shape.


She is so gifted.

 Look at her brilliance in using so many different colors.

She is so creative in her decisions.

She is learning to make circles.
Look at the perfection of the one just above the letter o.

She is so talented.

She put the sticker over the hole in the letter a.

She is so precise.

Little Brookie even sent a letter to her Aunty Rebekah.

I was so excited to receive the letter,
I seriously considered putting it in
MY baby book.

What a beautiful way to minister to hearts-
by sending letters.

I got my first letter
 from my first grandchild.

That's good news.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Life Is A Lemon Tree

It sounds cute on a mug, in a card or when you say it to someone else.

But when life really isn't going well, it can be downright trite and annoying.

Last week I actually blustered to my husband, "I'm SICK of making lemonade!"

So many things had continuously gone wrong, I was beginning to feel that nothing was ever going to go right again.

When we had to be displaced out of our home for a week, we begged our insurance company to let us stay in a hotel with a pool.  They agreed.  After a few days of frantic packing and getting house ready for construction crew to come put in new hardwood floors in two rooms, we arrived at the hotel to find the pool...


They were adapting it to meet code.  Because we were told it would only be a few days, we didn't find another hotel room.  For the next five days we were  told it would be open -

"tomorrow morning," then
"maybe by noon," then
"we're shooting for tonight."

It finally opened Tuesday at noon.  We had to check  out Tuesday at noon. They let us stay a few extra hours. It was like getting only one jelly bean in your Easter basket.

Car starter issues, missed phone calls, mis-communications, missed deadlines  and memory lapses added pressure to the week.  I just began to expect if I needed something I wouldn't find it, if I needed it to work, it wouldn't and that if it could go wrong, it would. 

I felt like I was trying to juggle eggs while six playground bullies hurled me around on the merry-go-round.

Right after I whined to  my husband,  my heart rebuked me.

Everything in a Christian's  life is caused or allowed by the Lord. He is the vinedresser.  If He chooses to give me a harvest of lemons, then I need to make lemonade, instead of just having a sour attitude.

The Lord reminded me how to make lemonade with the lemons in my life.

You add water and sugar.

Water in the Scriptures speaks of the Word of God, as a saving and cleansing fountain in our lives.

He wants to lovingly use His Holy Word to cleanse my heart from sin and make me more like the One whose Hands bear the marks of His dying love for me.

Ephesians 5:26
"That He might sanctify and cleanse her (the Church)
 with the washing of water by the word,

He wants us to draw near, the way you love to pull your children into your arms.

Hebrews 10:22
"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed with pure water."

One you've squeezed those lemons and added the water, it is only lacking the sugar, the sweetness that miraculously compliments the tang of the lemon and produces a flavor that is pleasing and thirst-quenching.

What is sweet in the Scriptures?  The essence of Jesus Christ in a believer.  Born-again Christians give off an odor to the world around them.

2 Corinthians 2:15
"For we are to God the fragrance of Christ
 among those who are being saved
 and among those who are perishing.

That sweet smell, a New Testament sacrifice, reaches the Throne of God.

Philippians 4:18
"...an odour of a sweet smell,
a sacrifice acceptable,
well-pleasing to God."

Guess what I am going to make with
 the sour experiences of life,
the water of the Word
and the sweet aroma of Christ?

When Life Gives You Lemons,
Make Lemonade.