Your Story. Your Life


your_story

¬†“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14

 

I love to read. I have told you that before. I also love to write. In high school I wrote short poems. As an adult I enjoy writing for my blog. I like being able to get my thoughts out on paper so I can go back and look at them. It is a way for me to clear my mind.

Have you ever thought of yourself as a writer? What would you say if I told you that you were? You have been working on a book of your own for a long time (some of us longer than others ūüôā ). The day that you were born your story began, and every day since you have been writing the story of your life.

Yesterday, my kids and I were having a cleaning day. Their bedrooms were in desperate need of an intervention by Mom. My boys, Big D and Little D, are pretty good at cleaning their own room. Sometimes they just need a little motivation to get it done. Sister, however, is still small and the mess that she makes in her room sometimes overwhelms her little mind. When it comes time to clean she needs a little more help than my boys do.

After Sister had cleaned all that she knew to clean, I had to come behind her and give her some ideas as to what else needed to be done. As I explained where to put these toys, and where to put those books, she listened rather intently. In the past when we would have these conversations she would cry or get upset because she had to clean her room. This time, however, she quietly listened to what I said and I could see her taking it all in. She slowly turned and went back to her room to resume the cleaning process.

At that moment,  it was as if God lifted a veil from my eyes and suddenly I saw how much my precious daughter was growing and changing. I suddenly saw the sweet young lady that God was growing her into and my heart sighed. I quickly realized that we had turned a page in our book called  Life.

Sometimes as a parent, I get so involved in raising our children and making sure that they are learning the right things, and growing in the Lord that I forget how quickly they are growing and changing.¬† I no longer have babies that need me guiding their every move. My precious babies have grown into young people who are learning to think for themselves and reason within their own minds. It is a bitter sweet moment for me. I love seeing my children grow, but I also see how quickly time is passing. Sometimes I wish I had a pause button and I could stop time for a just a moment. In reality I know that it is not possible. Today’s verse says:

” Life¬†is even a vapour,

that appeareth for a little time,

and then vanisheth away.”

The time that God has given us with our children is precious. This book called¬†Life that our family is writing is a blessing, and by God’s grace and with His blessing it will be a beautiful story.

Let me encourage you today. You too are writing a story, and it is going more quickly than you realize. ¬†Enjoy the time you have. Make it count. Let God guide you as you write each chapter of your story. It is only by God’s grace and blessings that it will be something which you can look back on and smile. When the time comes and you read back over your story, what will it say about the life you lived? Remember, it is your life. It is your story.

 

 

 

 

This Too Shall Pass


temporary

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;¬†While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

When I was a little girl my parents would tell me two things when I was facing a trial. Even now, as a grown woman, this advice still rings in my ears. My dad would tell me, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it is all small stuff.” My mom would tell me, “This too shall pass.” At the time, I did not quite understand what that meant. But now as an adult, I know exactly what they meant: Life is hard, but the things of this life are just temporary.

We struggle. We get hurt.  People disappoint us and let us down.

Life has a way of  handing us things we are not ready for. People hurt us or misjudge us. Our bodies betray us and our health begins to fail. ( I am sure we could each add a trial of our own here.)

There are so many things we could talk about this morning that afflict us, things that catch us off guard and try to bring us down. However, when I read this verse, I am reminded that we are not to focus on these things. Paul reminds us that these “light afflictions” are just temporary.

We are told to focus on the things which are unseen; the spiritual blessings that we are given. We are to focus on the things which are eternal, the rewards that await us in Heaven.

When trouble comes our way, it is very easy to become so focused on our hurt and pain that we lose sight of what is really ahead of us. We lose sight of the prize, so to speak.

As Christians, we need to remember that the things of this life are just temporary.  We are reminded in James 4:14 that life is just a vapor:

” Whereas ye know not what¬†shall be¬†on the morrow.

For what is your life?

It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

When we begin to count our blessings here on earth and to focus on Heaven, somehow the trials of this life seem to get lighter. When we focus on God and His love for us, our troubles seem to fade away. You see, these are the things that will not fade away. These things are eternal.

I pray these words will encourage your heart today.

I understand that life has a way of throwing a kink in our plans. I understand that there are times in life when our feet are knocked out from underneath us. I know how painful people’s words and actions can be. Today, I want us to remember that these things are just temporary. They are only a vapor compared to God’s love for us and the eternal rewards that await us in Heaven.

I want to encourage you today to keep going, even when life gets hard. Keep pressing towards the mark. Remember that we serve a God who loves us and has gone to prepare a place for us. Jesus has promised that He will one day come back and receive us to Himself. I personally believe that day is fast approaching.

When life gets you down, I pray that you will remember these words of wisdom:

  • This too shall pass.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it is all small stuff.

Seize the Moment


family 2014“And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 11:19¬†

I once was told by a very wise lady, “Your children will respond much better if you will take the opportunity to talk to them when it arises rather than force it on them.”

I have thought about that piece of advice over the years as my children have grown, and often wondered exactly¬†how¬†I would know when¬†that moment¬†had come. I remember asking her, “How will I know when the time is right?” With that sweet mentoring smile she would look at me and say, “You will know.”

This weekend one of those¬†moment presented itself, and just as if my sweet aunt was standing right there next to me, I heard this voice in my head saying, “Seize the moment.”

I love to cook breakfast for my family on Saturday mornings. Sometimes we have pancakes, sometimes hash browns, but that particular morning I had decided to make biscuits. We had slept later than usual, therefore by the time we were all up and going the kids were ready to eat.

As you probably know, it takes time to make homemade biscuits. This is not always easy for children to understand, so many times they are in and out of the kitchen asking, “Is it almost time to eat?”

I had just mixed up my dough and was beginning to place each biscuit in the pan when my oldest son, Big D came in the kitchen. (I am sure you can guess what question was on his mind.)  As he impatiently watched me form each biscuit, this is the conversation that transpired between myself and my ever-growing preteen.

Big D: “I could eat one of those biscuits right now.”

Mom: “But they’re not ready.”

Big D: ” I don’t care, I could add a little sugar and some cinnamon to them and they would be good.”

Mom: “Then they wouldn’t be biscuits, they would be doughnuts.”

At that moment, I realized that God had given me an opportunity to have one of¬†those¬†moments with my sweet son. I told him, “You know, we are like this dough. God had created us to be something special. Sometimes, however we get impatient and mess up his plans. We want to rush things and instead of following God’s plan for our lives we add our own stuff and turn it into something different.”

Big D looked at me and I saw the light bulb come on; lesson learned. He said, “You’re right Mom, I think I will wait.”

He then looked over at the dough that was still sitting in the bowl, and said, “That doesn’t look very good, Mom.”

Again, I knew in my heart that our moment to learn was not yet over. I took this opportunity to explain to Big D that we are like this unformed dough as well. We look at ourselves, and sometimes the world does too, and says, “What a mess. You do not look very good.” ¬†God, however, sees us as a work in progress. He does not look at us and see the mess we are, but He sees the masterpiece that He wants to see us become.

Again, I saw the light come on and realized that we had indeed “seized the moment.”

Satisfied with the progress being made,  Big D left the kitchen, looking for his next big adventure.

As I finished making the rest of the biscuits and placed them in the oven, our conversation played back over in my head. Silently I thanked God for allowing me this moment with one of my children. I prayed that He would never let me miss one single opportunity to have these times with them.

God gives each of us opportunities to minister for Him. It is up to us to keep our hearts and minds open so we can hear when God says to us, “Seize the moment.” It may not always be with our children. God may send a family member, a friend, or even a complete stranger into our lives. We must always be ready to share God with whomever we come into contact.

I want to encourage you today. Be ready. Look for opportunities to witness to those around you, and however God sees fit to bring them about in your life, seize the moment.

What Now?


now what

 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

I have another confession to make: I love to read.

As a child I had no interest in reading. I was an adult, married with children, before I really developed a love for reading. Since then, I look forward to our summer break from school every year. The first thing the kids and I do when we get out for summer break is to go to the library and check out the first of many books that will be enjoyed over the summer.

My favorite type of book is Christian Fiction. I enjoy reading books that are filled with mystery and suspense. I am currently reading a book  by Terri Blackstock titled Last Light. It is from the Restoration Series.

In this book a modern-day family, who has become spoiled to the advances of modern technology, suddenly find themselves in the middle of a crisis. As they struggle to survive, they begin to question God and His care for them. They soon discover, through prayer and scripture, that they are looking at their current situation incorrectly. While they have been asking God the question, “Why?” they realize that what they should really be asking God is, “What Now?” As they begin to ask God, “What Now?” He shows them what they can be doing to help in the middle of this crisis. They begin to look at their situation differently. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves they begin to look around them at the other families in need. They realize that God is using this situation to teach them something. This realization does not solve their problems, but it does give them a little peace in their hearts knowing that they are putting God’s will before their own doubts.

As I read the chapter in which their perspective is changed while they seek God’s will, I realized that this can also apply to our own lives. While we may not be in the middle of a crisis such as they are facing in this book, we all face our own crises every day. Each one of us finds ourselves in situations in which we have a choice to make. We can either let our situation get the best of us and, in desperation, ask God, “Why?” or we can put our trust in Him, knowing that He has promised to meet all of our needs. Having this assurance, we can do as we should and ask God, “What now?” We can seek God’s will for our lives even in the midst of a crisis.

So many times we get caught up in our own daily struggles that we fail to see those in need all around us. While we are so focused on taking care of ourselves, we miss the opportunities that God gives us to meet the needs of others. We miss the chance to show God’s love for them.

Today I want to pass along a challenge and encourage your heart.

The challenge is this: The next time you find yourself in a time of trouble, take a moment to ask God, “What now?” rather than, “Why?”

Often times it is easier to ask God, “Why?”, yet when we take the time to seek God’s purpose in our trials, we allow him to work in our hearts. We also allow God to show us how we can minister to others who may also be facing trials. Many times when we begin to focus on the needs of others our problems get a little easier to bear.

I want to encourage you today as well. I know we all face trials. Frequently we find ourselves in a crisis in which we feel hopeless. I ¬†want to encourage you ¬†to trust God in times of trouble. While we may be scared and at times feel helpless, God has a plan. He is all-knowing and all-seeing. God has promised to take care of those who love Him. It is up to us to trust in God and to allow Him to use us even in the situations which seem hopeless. The next time you find yourself facing a problem, do not ask God, “Why?” Try asking Him, “What now?” Let us see what happens.

**You can find out more about Terri Blackstock and Last Light here: www.terriblackstock.com/

One for the Ladies


bible and ring

  An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.

Proverbs 31:10-12

Okay ladies, this one is for us. Many times what I write is very general and can be enjoyed be everyone. Today, however, I feel the need to have a good heart to heart with you.

How many of you had no idea what you were doing when you got married? Go ahead, you can raise your hand. I know I am raising mine. When I married my husband 13 years ago, I was so love struck and young. From the time I was a little girl I had dreamed of finding the man of my dreams, getting married, and having babies of my own. I would imagine that most little girls do this. This in and of itself was not a mistake. Where I messed up was when I did not stop to consider what each of those positions would require from me. I did not take the time to prepare myself for the task ahead.

Most of the time, when trying something for the first time, we take the time to prepare and make sure we are equipped for the task at hand. If you are going to run a marathon do you wait until the day of the race to find running shoes and begin to run? No! That would be crazy. You start months, maybe even years, in advance and train. You begin small and run short distances. You train and practice for the big race to come. If you are going to cook a meal, do you just walk in the kitchen and begin to cook? No. You prepare. You first decide what you are going to cook and then you find a recipe for it. You make sure you have all the ingredients. You get everything in order and you follow your recipe.

Why then do we as young women believe that we can just jump into marriage without being prepared?

When I married my husband I am sad to admit that I did not pray about it first. I did not seek God’s will for my life. I did not search my Bible to find out what kind of woman God wanted me to be. Somehow I fooled myself into thinking that I had it all figured out.¬† I would be a natural, just like June Clever. How hard could it be? I would cook, and clean. I would eventually have a few children. Life would be perfect. It did not take me long to realize that I was wrong. ¬†I had no idea what it meant to be a submissive wife, or what it meant to let my husband be the head of our household. I had no idea how to make the day-to-day decisions that came with being a wife. On top of that, we decided to start a family right away. Within nine months of marriage,¬†I was already a new mom. So, not only was I trying to be the perfect wife, even though I had no idea what that meant, but I was also now trying to be the perfect mom. Can I just tell you that I was headed for disaster?

It took me quite a few years of struggling to be June Clever before I realized that I was failing miserably. What was I doing wrong? All those years as a little girl, I had dreamed of this day and now that it was finally here I was a wreck. Why? Because I had not prepared. Sure, my mom had taught me to cook and clean. She had taught me how to carry a baby on my hip while shopping for groceries. Looking back, she had even tried to warn me about getting married before I was ready, before I had searched for God’s will for my life. But, I was young and did not realize the wisdom in her words until much later in life.

So, when did things begin to get better for our family? It was when I submitted my life to God and admitted that I was not June Clever. Our marriage began to improve when I committed to being that submissive wife that God wanted me to be. Our lives began to improve the day I realized that I needed to trust my husband and let him step up as the man of our household. Our whole life together changed the day that I committed to pray for my marriage, my husband, and our children every day. You see, I put my priorities in order. I allowed God to show me what it meant to be a Godly wife and mother. I allowed God to teach me that I did not need to be June Clever to be a good woman. God taught me, through His word, that He had equipped me with all the things I needed to be a good wife, mother, and woman. When I messed up was when I tried to do it on my own.

Do we still have our struggles? Yes. Do I still mess up on a daily basis as a mom and a wife? Yes. But, God is faithful in extending his grace and mercy to me every day. With God’s help I am learning what it means to be the woman He wants me to be. It is my desire every day to be more like the woman I read about in Proverbs 31, and less like the women I see on television.

Ladies, let me encourage you today. Whether you are preparing for marriage or have been married for fifty years, God wants to help you grow. He wants to teach you what it means to be a submissive wife. God wants to teach you to be that precious jewel in the life of the man who God has planned for you.

To you ladies who are not yet married, I want to encourage you to take the time to seek God first in your life. Allow God to lead you to the man who you are to marry, and then take the time to prepare for that marriage. Take the time to read your Bible and find out what kind of woman God wants you to be. Learn what it means to be a submissive wife. Learn what it means to be a Proverbs 31 woman.

To the lady who can, in agreement, nod her head and say, “Yes, I have learned that too,” I want to say to you, “Good job.” You are well on your way to being the woman God wants you to be. Stay committed to Him and His word. Cover your family and your marriage in prayer daily. God wants to bless your family and He will, if you will seek Him in all that you do.

To the lady that may be reading this thinking that this can never happen in your marriage and in your life, let me reassure you that it absolutely can. No marriage is too far gone that God can not mend it. No family is too torn apart that God can not put the pieces back together. I want to encourage you to commit to pray for your family every day. Seek God first, and ask Him to help you become the woman He intended for you to be. Ask God to bless your family and to mend the broken pieces. Yes, it is going to take some work, but God is faithful. He will mend the broken pieces and He can help your marriage and your family to grow if you will allow it.