Grace

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A girl in my middle school (way back when!) had Spina Bifida and some other physical issues. As you can imagine, kids were mean. She had very few friends and was shunned by a lot of the class. She was my friend.

For 3-4 years, we hung out together a lot. She threw me a going away party before my teen mission trip. I went downtown to a big fancy restaurant with her and some other girls for her 16th birthday. I can’t even remember what all we did together, but we had fun. The one day that sticks out most in my mind is the field trip to the zoo. She couldn’t have walked it, so she was in a wheelchair and I pushed her all over the zoo. And, of course, jumped on the back and rode down the hills. We had a ball.

Somewhere in high school, we grew apart. I don’t know exactly what happened. There was no big disagreement or anything, we just went separate ways. And after high school, we completely lost contact. I remember looking her up once and visiting her at her apartment after she got married. She was so happy. She was living her best life.

Then, several years ago, I remember reading that she had died. A year before I found out. I couldn’t go to the funeral. I was too late. I have always regretted the way our friendship ended and wished I had done more. Every so often, the regret creeps up and catches me again.

Fast forward to last Friday night.

We went to the adoption party for a new friend of mine who finally was able to complete the adoption of the son she has had as a foster child since he was 9 months old. In walked, the mom of my long lost friend.

It took her a while to figure out who I was. When it finally clicked, (with a shocked look on her face) she said, “Are you…”

I finished it for her. I always expected her to be angry with me over the friendship that melted away. Instead she threw her arms around me and started introducing me to all these people as her daughter’s best friend in high school. She was overjoyed. I was overcome. She proceeded to tell me how she knows my new friend (who just adopted). Not only did they teach at the same school for many years, but she and my friend’s mom were college roommates. So their families grew up together and were/are incredibly close.

My new friend stood up in my lost friend’s wedding.

Seriously.

My new friend is an amazing woman who loves the Lord and is full of life. She is so fun and so caring. All I can feel is God’s grace, saying it’s ok. Sometimes friendships don’t last and look, she had this other girl all along. She wasn’t alone.

I can hardly breathe for the beauty and grace of it all.

 

 

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Perspective Shift

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I am waiting. I have been waiting for what feels like an eternity. Waiting for someone else to make a decision that will affect our lives greatly. It’s not so fun.

I think we all encounter circumstances like this more often than we like. Waiting to hear if we got a job. Waiting to hear test results from a doctor. Waiting to meet the right person. Waiting to have a child. It’s all out of our control. And we don’t like that.

At least I don’t.

I have been working on that. I am re-reading Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. Wonderful book. I know in my mind that God is sovereign and I choose to trust Him and His wisdom. It’s an active thing. When I don’t feel like it, when I worry, I choose to trust Him anyway. Sometimes we just have to will ourselves to do something. Our emotions want to go another way, but we CAN choose to control them and give it all to God.

But this wait I am in is getting long (don’t they all?). I am choosing to trust, but it’s not easy. I keep waiting for someone else to decide about my life. And it has been bothering me. Until now.

A couple of days ago, someone prayed for me in my small group at church. They prayed that I would remember that I am not waiting for someone else to decide. It’s not truly in their hands. God is in control of this hard thing and everything else. It finally clicked. I knew it with my head before, but now I know it with my heart. I am not waiting on these other people to decide anything. I am waiting on God.

I am waiting for His will to be accomplished (whatever that is). I am waiting for His perfect timing (whenever that is).

I can DO that!

My God, the God who loves me and works all things out for His glory and my good, the God who is sovereign over all, is working. I just can’t see it yet. But I can feel how He is working in my heart and changing me to be more like His son during this trial. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

My storm will pass. Your storm will pass. We can do this. Just keep clinging to the One who knows you and loves you and works all things together for your good, the good of those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

 

 

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Not alone

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I heard something on the radio the other day. A woman was talking about a study that was done. It found that a mother’s biggest worry is always that something will happen to her child. And a father’s biggest worry is that he won’t be able to provide for his family. She was surprised, since she had never looked at it from her husband’s perspective.

Not surprising to me. Single moms? Seems to me that we carry both of those huge worries.

We are it.

We are the ones who do the comforting. We are the ones who bring home the paycheck. We are the ones who put on the band-aids and kiss the owies. We are the ones cleaning the house. We are the ones fixing the tv and paying the bills and doing the laundry and wiping the tears and lovingly teaching the hard lessons and working late into the night and instilling the values and being the grownup ALL THE TIME. We are the ones bringing home the bacon AND frying it up in a pan. And that is an awful lot for one woman to carry.

That’s why God doesn’t ask us to carry it alone.

God isn’t surprised by our circumstances, even when we are. We serve the God who is sovereign. In control of everything. He brings things into our lives, or allows them in our lives for His specific purpose. He uses all the things that happen in our lives to bring about His ultimate purpose for our lives.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

That means me. That means you. That means in every single detail of our lives, God is at work. Not just in the joyful things. Not just on the mountaintops. In ALL THINGS. Even on those hard days, when you don’t think you can make it as a single mom. Don’t give up. God is working in your life at this very moment. And this one. And the next. He isn’t stopping. He isn’t resting.

He who watches over Israel, will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:4

So the next time you are up late at night, long after your kiddos are in bed, working or cleaning or worrying. Stop. Take a breath. And remember that God is up with you. He didn’t go to sleep and leave you to carry the weight of the world. Lay it down at His feet. Ask Him to carry it for you.

I promise you He will. He has great plans for you. Listen to this…

Bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3

You may not see His hand at work right now. But He is creating your crown of beauty. You will be a display of His splendor.

He’s just not finished yet.


Five Minute Friday – Listen

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People all over the world blogging on the same topic on the same day for just five minutes and linking up at Lisa Jo’s place. Today’s topic: Listen.

Five Minute Friday

GO.

Listen.

Listen to those who are trying to speak to you.

We all have things to say. We all want to be heard. When you take the time to listen to someone, you are acknowledging their value. And they feel it.

Have you ever watched a child not being listened to? I have. I am a people watcher. (I get it from my mom.) I have seen people being ignored. Not listened to. Not acknowledged. Not valued. I have watched a little girl speak over and over and never get a response. I watched her stop trying.

I stopped trying. I know what it is like to be unable to be heard. And I don’t want to make anyone feel that way.

I know I can get so focused on my work that it is hard to pull my brain out of it. But when my little girl comes and stands next to me and talks, I want to listen. I want to listen every time. I want her to grow up feeling fabulous. Knowing that she is heard and loved and valued.

It starts with being truly listened to.


My Anchor Holds within the Veil

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You may know the song, Cornerstone. It is my current anthem. Everything stops when I hear it. I can’t help but worship and praise my God when it plays. It is a new version of The Solid Rock, by Edward Mote (1797-1874).

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

I remember singing this as a child. I love hymns that have stood the test of time. That mean as much to Christians today as they meant 150 years ago. I love how they bind us together over the years and over the miles. I love to imagine people NOT in my corner of the world singing the hymns right along with me as we praise God together.

This hymn has changed for me recently. I am certain that as a child, I had no clue what some of these words meant.

Then last year, I did a Beth Moore study on the Tabernacle. We drew the tabernacle several times, learned all the details of how it was constructed, what God’s instructions were, the procedures that had to be followed precisely by the priests who tended it.

Because behind the veil, in the holy of holies, is where God’s presence was. He had the Israelites build this intricate tabernacle so that He could meet with them there. The holy of holies was His dwelling place among His people.

The first thought that grabs me is that God so wanted to live among His people that He went to great lengths to make it possible. His glory is so great, that we can’t look at Him. So He made a way for us to be with Him and Him to be with us. He so greatly desires to know us and dwell with us.

My second thought, the one that is constantly on my heart these days, it that MY anchor holds within the veil. Within the veil. Where the very presence of God is. I know that the curtain of the temple was torn in two at the moment Christ died. I know that I am not kept from His presence like the Israelites had to be. Christ changed all that. God sent His Holy Spirit to live within us and guide us and comfort us. We get to live WITH God every day. Us. Common everyday people.

But the thought of what within the veil represents takes my breath away. I am anchored to the very presence of God. All Sovereign. All Loving. All Trustworthy. He is my rock, my defense. He is where my soul is anchored. And He is strong enough to make sure that my anchor will always hold.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. Hebrews 6:19-20

 


Gratituesday – My little one’s teacher

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Seriously.

I love my daughter’s teacher. She is amazing. Her love for the kids just overflows all over them. My daughter didn’t really want to go to school. Transitioning to all day kindergarten was hard and she just wanted to be home with me.

But there’s this teacher. A teacher who totally gets my kid. Totally. My kid is incredibly creative and has the most wonderful imagination. But in the classroom, I know this often translates to being pokey and not always paying attention. It’s how she was put together and we are working hard to keep her wonderful traits and correct some that need a little help.

And this teacher gets it. She loves my daughter exactly how she was made. She encourages my girl and redirects her in love and sees her tender heart.

This is all in addition to the fact that my girl is excelling in math and can read like crazy and now loves school.

PLUS with the team teaching approach, she will still be one of my girl’s teachers next year. God so knew what He was doing when He placed us in this town I never planned to live in.

 

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I stand corrected

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On the way home from church today, I asked my daughter what she learned. She told me about a video she watched with the story of the blind man. Here is a close paraphrase of what she said.

There was a blind man. Jesus made some mud. He put it on the man’s eyes and told the man to go wash in the river. I don’t remember which river. He washed. The man blinked his eyes and he could see.

I responded with, “That’s amazing”. She quickly said, “That’s not amazing. God’s amazing.”

Yup. I stand corrected. God’s amazing.

For the last hour, this conversation has been replaying in my head. How often do I applaud the action and not the one doing the action. I think of the people in Jesus’ day who wanted to see more and more miracles. “Just one more, so I can really believe.” I think of myself, watching God provide over and over again. I watch Him care for us constantly. I get glimpses of His glory. I get to see how He answers prayers and works things together for our good. So why do I fall back into worry?

I don’t need to see more miracles, I need to see more Jesus.

I need to look at the world through His eyes. He has such a different perspective and purpose than we start out with. If only we can catch His perspective and pursue the same purpose He does. For me, it starts with acknowledging who He is. Acknowledging His sovereignty over every second of every day. Knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that He is working all things for His glory and my good. At all times. The days when I can hardly contain the joy and want to shout from the rooftops and the days of darkness and storms. All times.

He is Lord. Lord of all.

God’s amazing.