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Sunday Go To Meeting

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PROGRESS OVER PERFECTION

I read a story recently of a renowned pastor who took eight months off to do some self-reflection, to look for areas of sin in his life. I don’t know about you, but it wouldn’t take me eight months. ūüôā

I think self-reflection is a good thing. Not to beat yourself up, but taking an honest look at yourself can be healthy. I’ve been taking stock of my own life lately and I have news that won’t surprise anyone¬† – I am not perfect! In fact, I am not even close to being perfect. One of my favorite quotes that I say a lot is from Mary Poppins. She is measuring the children and then when the children ask how she measures up, her answer is, “Practically Perfect In Every Way.” I usually say this as a tongue-in-cheek response when someone asks me how I am doing.

Striving to be better at every aspect of my life is something that I have done for as long as I can remember. You would think that I would be better at almost everything since I have been trying for so long. But, instead, I still see the need for improvement in almost every area of my life.

There are a couple of defining words that sum up my life. Some of the major descriptions are daughter, wife, mother, and child of God. Even as I sit and stare at those simple little words, I can see the joy and also failure in all of them.

My early memories of my childhood are that I was a “fairly” good girl. I had my moments of rebellion and disobedience¬†like everyone else, but overall, I didn’t cause my parents too many sleepless nights. Now, as a grown woman, I know that I need to call my parents more. I know that I need to make the time to travel back to their home and visit. But, I seem to let the demands of the day soon take a hold of me and all of my plans slip away.

Unfortunately, the same is true of my performance as a wife. I don’t take the time that I should to show my husband how much I love him and appreciate him. I take him for granted and put him on the back burner. My reasoning is that he will understand that I am busy. He knows that I have a lot on my plate right now and surely he can take care of himself for a little while. I am pretty sure that my marriage vows did not have¬†the words “take care of yourself when I am busy” in them.

As a mother, the list of failures could go on and on. I don’t even like to think about all of the things that I did wrong in raising my kids. I tried to be a good mother but I would not say that I was anywhere close to “practically perfect.” I am incredibly proud of my children and how well they turned out in spite of my inadequacies.

One of the areas that I am most inadequate¬†in is my relationship with my Lord and Savior. Striving to be a better Christian is a daily struggle. There are times when I find myself saying, “Jesus was the only perfect person to ever walk this earth so I am not the only one who needs help in this area.” It is like I find comfort in knowing that I am not the only one who struggles.

I recently heard someone ask a question that made me look at my struggles in a different light. They said, “If the person you were last year could see the person that you are now, would they be proud?” Wow! That shook me to the core. There are very few areas of my life that I can answer that question with a yes. I see so much that needs to change.

So, I have decided to start with a very small change in those areas. I know that to make a BIG change in anything that I need to start with the SMALL details. Making a phone call to my parents and children at least a couple of times a week is a small “do-able” change. Putting away my laptop and phone and having a nice dinner with my husband once a week is a “do-able” change. Refusing to open my computer or turn on my phone until after I have spent time with the Lord daily is a “do-able” change.

I will never be perfect. I will never even be “Practically Perfect.” But, I want to be able to look at myself a year from now and see progress. If I can see progress in different areas of my life yearly I will be happy.

Have A Blessed Day!

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THY WILL BE DONE

thy-willbe-doneI have had two friends this week tell me about an issue that was weighing heavy on their minds. Both friends talked a little about their problems, and ended up with a prayer of “Thy will be done.”

The first friend was concerned for a daughter who was in an abusive relationship. She felt helpless as she saw her daughter lose her best friend, her home, her money, and throw away everything to stay with a man who is abusive and toxic. I am sure many of you are reading this, and thinking there is no way I would let that happen. There might even be some of you reading this, thinking I know of someone just like that. And, there might even be some of you thinking, “I’ve been there, I know what she is talking about,” The truth is, you NEVER know how or what you would do in this situation, whether you are the mother or the daughter. The old saying of “Walk a mile in my shoes” is so true. We can think we know what we would do, but you can never be sure until you go through a situation yourself. The only thing I know for sure is, the Lord is with you, if you will only cry out to Him. Give Him your problems, and He will give you rest. You are not in control, you cannot fix anything, but you can rely on the Creator because He can fix ANYTHING and EVERYTHING!

My second friend was talking about a family member also, but not in the same context. This family member is one that had wronged my friend and her children. My friend has been praying about this person for a while now, asking that the Lord soften her heart towards her. She knows the Lord commands to love everyone, including those who have done you wrong, and she is struggling to do His will. Recently the two met, a few words were exchanged, and nothing was actually gained. The grievance might be out in the open, but my friends heart is still hard. Once again some of you are thinking about a friend, sibling, parent, etc., that you have a grievance with. Have you prayed about the situation? I have seen comments before from some of you, that you haven’t spoken to a loved one in years. Some have said that a friend you once counted on, is now a sworn enemy, and not anyone you have in your life. I know this is not what the Lord wants for us.

Part of the problem we face is, we try to fix everything and everyone. My little granddaughter is in the “I can do it by myself” phase. She doesn’t want to ask for help until she has everything in such a mess that it takes me a while to sort everything out. Does that sound familiar? The reason I can talk about this, is I am the first one to raise my hand and say, “This is me.” I am a control freak. That is well known with our woman’s club members, they even call me names behind my back (and in front of me) knowing I have to have final say. Submitting to the Lord all my troubles and problems is not easy for me, I want to try to fix them myself. When I “finally” cry out to the Lord and surrender control, I feel the weight come off. The problem is still there for the moment, but I know that His will be done. I was never in control anyway, it was just an illusion, but I need to say the words, “Take my burdens, Thy will be done.”

Thy will be done has always been the hardest prayer for me. I want to guide the Lord, maybe do this or maybe let this happen. But to acknowledge that He is totally in control, no matter the outcome, is hard. Some situations you are afraid of the outcome, you are afraid what His answer will be. There have been times I have been devastated by the outcome, but I still know the Lord was with me the whole step of the way.

I pray that if you have a problem, you give it to the Lord. I pray that if your heart is hard, you ask the Lord to soften your heart. I pray if you are broken, you ask the Lord for healing. I pray for you!

Have a Blessed Day!

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YOU KNOW BETTER, BUT……

50 IS NOT OLD | YOU KNOW BETTER BUT.....How many times have you done something that you know better, but still do? I think this is something that all of us can relate to in one way or another. I unfortunately can relate really well. I recently, (this week), had one of these moments.

My daughter is in visiting and she is attending a wedding in South Carolina. Since she flew in from Alaska, she had no vehicle to drive, so she took mine. We have an older car from Joe’s mother, that no one ever drives, so we could make do until mine comes back. One day Joe was going to play golf with some of his buddies, and he told me he would ride with them, so I could have his truck to drive. Sounds great, I like his truck, all except the part were he has no running boards. For me to get into the truck, I have to jump, crawl, and pull. Lol!

Everything was going good, until I needed to leave the house and go to the store. I pulled out of the driveway and stopped to get the mail. I eased the lid down, and looked inside to see if we had any mail. There was a spider under the pull down lip of the box, and when it crawled out, I jumped and let go of the lid. It fell down and hit the side of Joe’s truck leaving a scratch about 3 inches long.

I know all you gurls are cringing right along with me. What could be worse than putting a 3 inch long scratch on the driver’s door, right where he would see it every time he opened the door? Let me back up a little and tell you that I had already done a similar thing with MY vehicle. I looked in the mailbox and then started to drive off, the door fell open because I didn’t shut it really good and left a scratch down the side of my back door. Joe told me NOT to check the mail from the vehicle again. He told me to park the vehicle at the end of the drive and get out.

You can see my dilemma. Not only had I scratched his truck, but I did it by not listening to what he had told me. I tried every way to come up with a good excuse for how the truck got scratched. Maybe I tripped and scratched it with my keys, or Emersyn threw something and it hit the truck, or maybe I had no idea where the scratch even came from. But in the end, I told the truth and waited for the explosion. Nothing, he said hardly anything. I think he knew I had beat myself up all day over it, and he said that it was no big deal. The truck could be fixed, not to worry any more.

This all got me to thinking about the Lord. How many times have I done things He told me NOT to do? How many excuses have I made for my behavior? The problem is, I can’t hide from Him. He knows my every action! He knows my every thought!

I am glad that Joe didn’t get mad and forgave me for my actions. But more importantly, I am THRILLED that the Lord forgives me, and that He loves me! I am His child, and even though I am sometimes disobedient, He still welcomes me with open arms. I am thankful!!!!

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WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY

50 IS NOT OLD | KEEP CALMHow many of you remember the old commercial from Calgon? A woman is laying back in a bathtub filled with water and lots of sudsy bubbles. She has had a rough day of dealing with the house, the ever ringing telephone, and the kids making messes. She then says those famous words, “Calgon, take me away!”

I have uttered those words many, many times in my life. I have even tried soaking in a huge tub of sudsy bubbles to see if they would wash away my stress. Instead of easing my stress level, it just gave me extra time to stew over whatever was bothering me, and it left me with dry skin. That was not the result I had hoped for.

Stress is something everyone has. Some people will stress over everything, from what they want to eat for lunch, to what purse goes with their outfit. Others only stress over large things, such as being sick or having enough money to pay their bills. Have you ever noticed all the sayings about stress?

  • Tough times never last, tough people do.
  • Storms never last
  • Keep calm, and carry on
  • Live more, stress less

I have tried yoga, with meditation, to ease my stress levels. This is a calming exercise and I enjoyed the relaxed mood I could achieve, but it was only a short-term fix. I needed a long-term fix, one that can work anywhere and anytime. Medications have become a really popular way of handling stress. Doctors write prescriptions for “happy pills” all the time. This is one way that helps people cope with everything that is happening in their lives.

The only thing that really calms me, is prayer. I know that the Lord hears me, and I know that He loves me. That in itself should be calming enough for anyone. Reread that sentence; He hears me and He loves me. I admit that I forget that way too often. I will find myself worrying and stressing over things that I cannot change or fix. That is not my job, I am way under-qualified for that position.

Here are some Bible verses to replace the stress with faith:

  • Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,‚ÄĚ declares the LORD, ‚Äúplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  • Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
    6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
  • Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
  • Matthew 11:28 ‚ÄúCome to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
    29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
    30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.‚ÄĚ

There is a classic American joke that tells of a congressman who, when he solicits a constituent’s vote, learns that the man is planning to vote for his opponent. “But how can you do that?” the congressman objects. “Don’t you remember that time ten years ago when your business burned down, and I arranged for you to get a low-interest loan from the Small Business Administration? And what about the time when your daughter got in trouble with the police overseas, and I arranged for her to be released and sent back to the United States? And the time when your wife was sick, and I helped get her admitted to the special hospital she needed?” The voter answers, “That’s all true, but what have you done for me lately?” Is this the message we send the Lord? What have you done for me lately? I hope to replace my worries and stress with thoughts of Thanksgiving. Counting our many blessings, is a wonderful way of thanking the Lord for all He has already provided.

I hope you have a Blessed Day!

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WATER INTO WINE

50 Is Not Old | WATER INTO WINEFaith is a hard concept to grasp. It asks you to take a leap, often without you knowing why or what the outcome will be. It asks you to believe, without seeing. It asks for complete trust and confidence, without showing you proof.

I am just like most of you, I want to see a miracle. I want to know that God is real and that he knows I exist. My heart says yes, but sometimes I let the devil wander into my thoughts and ask, “Where is the proof?” Where is the person who was dead, and now is alive? Where is the person who could not walk, and just by a single touch has now been made whole? Modern day miracles happen all the time around us, but we have become really good at explaining how they came about. A person is shot 6 times at close range and survives, explanation is they are lucky. A person who is in a coma for years, just suddenly awakens, explanation is modern medicine. A person (I actually know) was held by her husband with a gun to her head. He pulled the trigger three times, with a fully loaded chamber, and yet the gun never fired. Explanation was that when you push the barrel into something really hard, it won’t fire. REALLY??? You want to be the one to demonstrate that?

When I started reading Draw The Circle – A 40 DayPrayer Challenge, I had one prayer that I prayed daily. I prayed for my “Water Into Wine” girl, a modern day miracle. I wrote about this sweetheart back in February, explaining about the terrible disease that she has lived with since the age of two months. Our entire community has been praying for her healing, but the disease is a terrible one and the prognosis¬†was not promising. About a month ago, her mother announced that the hospital was going to be entering her into a clinical trial for a new drug that might show some promising results. With a new found optimism, pictures were taken with the hope that there would be visible improvement. After one month, the results were UNBELIEVABLE!!! The tumors had shrunk dramatically. Here’s the thing, the doctors are astounded. The medicine has never worked for someone with her type disease. They are now doing case studies on her and her results. She is nowhere near cured, but there is no doubt in my mind that the Lord has touched her, and she is now on her way to being cured. Did he use the medicine to heal her? Maybe, but that is alright with me.

Do you have faith? Will you take that leap with complete trust and confidence? Please add my little Water Into Wine girl in your prayers. Let’s show an entire community what the Lord can do.

 

Have a blessed weekend!

 

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WHAT IF YOU HAD THE POWER

50 Is Not Old | What if you had the powerDid any of you watch the movie, “Bruce Almighty?” It was a movie starring Jim Carrey, and Morgan Freeman. It is a movie where the character, Bruce, complains to the Lord over and over. The Lord decides to let “Bruce” do the job to teach him a lesson. I remember a scene where Bruce is tormented by these voices asking for this and that. Heal me, save my marriage, help me win the lottery, on and on went the voices. He realized that it was the prayers of millions of people he was hearing. In typical Hollywood fashion, he answered ALL the prayers via email. He hit select all, and said YES to every prayer. He thought he was making everyone happy, and then the prayers would stop. Of course mayhem was the result.50 Is Not Old | What if you had the powerHave you ever wondered why bad things happen to good people? I know I have. I have thought, “why would You let so many terrible things happen to one of Your devoted children?” “Why did they have to die, why was he/she born with a deformity, why did they lose everything they owned?”¬†50 Is Not Old | What if you had the powerOr, on the other hand, why does good things happen to bad people? Why would a liar, a thief, or someone truly evil seem to prosper? How many times have you thought that it just wan’t fair?¬†50 Is Not Old | What if you had the powerAs best I can tell, temporary treasures on earth are not our blessings. Our reward will not come in this life, but after this life. I do not pretend to understand, or to say that I don’t sometimes questions why. I can only say, that I am glad that He has a plan, and I am just along for the ride.

Read Psalms 73 to understand, we are not the first to ask why.

If you’re going through bad things now, know that us “gurls” love you. We are here for you, and will say prayers for you.

Details of outfit on tomorrow’s blog post.

Have a blessed Sunday!

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STEALING YOUR JOY

50 Is Not Old | Stealing Your JoyI’ve made no secret that this was a busy week for me. I was preparing for a big District meeting for our woman’s club, and was trying to help with projects at the local level. Running here, hurrying to complete one task, so I could scurry on to the next task. Feeling just a little overwhelmed, to say the least. I still started each day with my morning devotional, but even then, I didn’t feel relaxed. I felt rushed!50 Is Not Old | Stealing Your Joy

I prayed for guidance, for focus, not on the projects at hand, but on the Lord and his will. Have you ever felt like the devil was stealing your joy? That was me this week, I could just feel the devil stealing my joy, stealing my focus, and laughing all week long at the havoc he was creating.

I still “felt”the Lord’s presence with me, I still felt him calming me down, and I still felt him guiding me along the way. It was me that felt that I was letting him down, not giving him enough of my attention, and enough of my thoughts.50 Is Not Old | Stealing Your Joy

I am so grateful that He is tolerant, and most importantly forgiving. I am so grateful that He shows me Grace, even when I am not deserving. I am so grateful that He sent His Son to earth to give me the promise of salvation. I AM SO GRATEFUL!

Have a blessed Sunday!

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40 DAY CHALLENGE

50 Is Not Old | 40 Day ChallengeIn last Sunday’s post¬†I mentioned that my sister bought me a book, Draw the Circle, The 40 Day Prayer Challenge. I started the book and was so impressed that I turned around and ordered one for my best friends, Sandy and Bertha. Each morning when I get up, I fix myself a cup of coffee, grab my book, my prayer journal, and my iPad. The iPad is because I use the Holy Bible app in the NIV version. I read the day’s message, today I am reading Day 7, then I read the accompanying chapter of the bible. I will say my prayers and then write everything down in my journal.50 Is Not Old | 40 Day Challenge

I have never written in a journal before. I have tried, but I always loose steam and momentum. I think it is very important to write down your thoughts and what you have prayed for in a journal. After I write everything down, I highlight my prayers in yellow so that I can easily scan the pages for my prayers. It has only been a week, but I had already forgotten some of the things I prayed about at the first of the week. How can we give glory to the Lord for answered prayers if we have already forgotten we asked?50 Is Not Old | 40 Day Challenge

I will share with you just a couple answered prayers that I have experienced in the past couple of weeks. Both of these things you have seen on the blog. I wrote about my sleeping issues¬†and about time management, and I have had answers to both of those issues. I can’t tell you the exact time, but I am now sleeping through the night with almost no issues. That is in itself a small miracle. I have gone from waking up 20 or more times a night to maybe 1 or 2. While some of you might not think that is a big deal, believe me when you are sleep deprived, it is HUGE!

Secondly, last Sunday my Draw the Circle book had not arrived, so I picked up a small daily devotional book that I already had called, 3-Minute Devotions for Women. I was flipping through the pages and I asked the Lord to take me where I needed to be. I closed my eyes and continued flipping till I was prompted to stop. I honesty about choked when I looked at the page. The title was Jesus Wristwatch. It was an entire devotional about not making a list or worrying about what you didn’t get accomplished, “Satan wants to consume you with endless lists and meaningless tasks. Concern yourself less with the items you can cross off your to-do list, and more with those things the Lord would have you spend your time and energy on.” The devotional ended with this prayer:

Father, help me to see where You are working and join You there. Let me place my list of tasks aside as I seek Your will for me today. Then give me the ability to show myself grace over the things I do not get done.

 The winner of my 7 Month Giveaway is Angelia, I will be contacting you later today to get your name and address. Congratulations, I hope you enjoy the bracelet as much I have enjoyed mine.

I hope you will join me on my 40 Day Challenge. Buy a copy of the book for your best friend, sister, co-worker, or anybody you care about.

Have a blessed Sunday!

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MAKING TIME FOR PRAYER

50 Is Not Old | Making Time For PrayerI have a confession to make. When I decided to start posting on Sundays, it was not for YOUR benefit, it was for MINE. I felt lacking in almost every way spiritually. I thought that if I posted about my short comings, maybe that would encourage me to fix those problems. I figured it I was having issues, then maybe others were also.

I do not mean to sound “preachy”, I only want to be encouraging. Please don’t take my posts the wrong way. We have been studying The War Room as our Sunday school lesson for the past couple of weeks. I mentioned to my sister the other day that I needed to do better with devotionals at home. Making time for prayer, what to study, how to interpret what I read, etc.

To my surprise, I went to the mailbox Saturday and there was an envelope from Amazon. I figured it was something Joe had ordered, but it was for me. My sister had ordered me the book, Draw the Circle (The 40 Day Prayer Challenge) by Mark Batterson. My first reaction was, “I can’t beleive she did that for me, how sweet.” My second reaction was, ” I can’t believe she did that for me, now I have no excuse.”

Isn’t that how we really are? We talk a big game, but when it comes time to step up to the plate, we suddenly forget, or have excuses for not doing what we were supposed to do.

NO MORE EXCUSES! For the next 40 days I will be reading my book. I can only hope that I grow from this experience.50 Is Not Old | Making Time For Prayer

I hope you don’t mind being caught in the crossfire of my inadequacies. Maybe we can both grow closer to the Lord together.

Have a blessed Sunday.

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HIS AMAZING GRACE

50 Is Not Old | Amazing GraceToday is Easter Sunday, and we have so much to be thankful about. Number one on the list is, He is alive and so are you. Because He has risen from the grave, we now have a chance at eternal life. I look at my own children, and wonder at the sacrifice that was made for us. How God gave his son, so that we can live. How humbling is that? There is no way we could ever be worthy of the amazing grace that our Lord has bestowed upon us.

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