Saturday, June 28, 2014

Gratitude vs. submission

It was a fun Sunday - perfect weather for playing in the sun - and my husband wanted help with fixing something. I patiently gave him 5 minutes - then another 5 - maybe even 10 - before I said "This does not feel good." "Why?" he asked. "Because it is Sunday and we have an opportunity to spend time with others - usually it is just us two and we can fix things all day long then." "Okay, thank you" he said, graciously accepting my defiance. I walked away - his project unfinished - and ready to jump in the water with visiting family - excited to spend a fun summer day. But, my spirit was not happy. I knew inside I was wrong, even though it felt good. He graciously changed into swim trunks and joined us.

I never said thank you. I never said it was all because of his kindness that I was near water - able to have family playing in the sun with us - I never focused on the fact that without fixing the things that were important to him, this day would not be possible. I had rebelled.

Asking forgiveness is pretty easy - and holy people easily give it - but learning not to do it again is the struggle. We can be so "right" in our thoughts - so sure we know what is best for us - so sure others are asking us something that is not appropriate or "right" at the time. God - forgive us.

"My thoughts are not your thoughts", says The Lord.

I want to teach my children and grandchildren how to be respectful to authority - not to rebel - but I have to learn it first. And, after this lesson, I do believe the secret is to always be thankful - thankful thoughts must be God's thoughts.

Have a thankful day!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mary Story

He had trouble at work. It was a stressful day - so he would stop, close his office door and call me while I worked at my desk.
"Tell me a Mary Story?" he gracefully asked.
Or, on some days, it was more of a plea - "I need a Mary Story" he would gently announce.

"Oh", I would quickly reply - "Sure!" and I would sit back in my chair and give a current "story" - something that happened - usually from that day - that was fun to share. It always broke up his thoughts and he could return to the stress of his business, after our telephone call, laughing.
We enjoyed sharing stories - about our lives - our families - our work - and dating was fun - really fun - because we learned more and more about each other that convinced us we wanted to be together forever. David was the first "reader" of my story by asking for one - one at a time - time after time. He was the man God used to change my story - Big Time!

Our stories are not only His plan for us - they are our very life and breath - what we do each minute of the day that He can use for eternity.

This week, I was allowed to invite my children to Wisconsin to enjoy a lake house. The last time we did this as a family, I was a single Mom and they were very young - it did not go well. We stayed one night in a friend's fishing cabin. It was full of spiders and webs and it became a long, sleepless night - though I was grateful for the opportunity.

Though they could not all come, I was blessed with another opportunity - and I watched my children parent their children - and enjoy each other. At times, I watched from afar - watched their stories unfold - thanking God for these precious children of His - thanking Him for His faithfulness.

My story is all about the relationships God has brought into my life - and especially my relationship with Jesus - it always has been and always will be.
May Christ be glorified.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Tender Hearts

David used to say - our strengths are our weaknesses.
We all have wonderful hearts - through God's grace - and, if possible, are tender toward others.
Sometimes we need to say no - and it is difficult to do - but please be wise at heart.

She stood outside her car, and as I approached Old Navy in the late afternoon, she wandered over to me with sad eyes.
"Please - I need help. I am trying to get to the hospital to visit my Mom and am out of gas.
Please - can you give me gas money?"
"Wait here", I suggested. I will be quick in here and when I come out, I will follow you to the gas station and give them $5 to put gas in your car."
"Okay" she said - but I knew it was not the reply she wanted.
When I came out of Old Navy, her and her car were gone.

Walking into Bed Bath & Beyond one evening, a young girl - maybe 18 - approached me panicky.
"I just need three dollars - PLEASE??" she sadly asked.
"Let me get you some help", I suggested. "I will get the police to help you."
"No, that is not necessary", she quickly suggested.
"Just hold my driver's license for 24 hours - meet me here tomorrow and I will give you the three dollars back and you can give me my license back."
She tried to shove the license into my hands. I had no plans to return to this area tomorrow.
"No, that will not work for me," I replied. "Again, I will call the police - they can help you."
As I started to reach for my phone, she ran away.

Limping toward our car in a Portillo's parking lot, her white shirt was easy to see and she began to wave us down.
"Is she waving at us?" Marty asked. "I think so", I replied.
He rolled down his window.
"Please help me. My friends are at Dunkin' Donuts and we are on our way to serve on a church committee - I just need help to get to Dunkin Donuts - please?"
"I will call the police - they will help you," I quickly responded.
"No! The police won't help."
"Yes, they will," I answered - "That is their job."
She swore some expletives and walked away - the limp was gone.

If a stranger approaches you anywhere - whatever their story - call the police to help them. Pray for them - but please don't encourage people to prey on other strangers for handouts. And, if they will wait for the police and it is legitimate - then ask the police what you can do for them. :)


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Third Person

Her words in my ear when I hugged her at the wake played over and over in my head. "Pray for me" she pleaded. Of course I would pray for her - but her plea seemed different - grasping for air. So, the next day, I began moving around to groups of her friends at the funeral for her only son - "Let's get together and pray for Sue", I gently prodded. "I will be there" came many replies - "At my home" added Ev. So, we picked an evening within a couple of days of the funeral.

Then, I invited her by e-mail - whether or not she would be there, we would gather to pray for her.

We all quietly walked into Ev's home that evening - wandered in, sort of sheepishly. Not knowing each other as prayer partners - knowing each other as women who liked to golf. And, here we were - drawn together to pray for a fellow golfer in her valley - and not knowing how to start - or who wanted to put into words this difficult meeting.

I began with a short introduction as to why we were there - and then Sue arrived. She sat in the middle - we surrounded her - some close and some not quite sure how close to be - and we bowed our heads. We invited the Holy Spirit to join us in that circle of love - and we spoke gentle words of love, sadness and asked for comfort for our friend - oh - The Lord alone knows what was said - but after several minutes it happened. She was given a presence - she interrupted whoever was talking - "It is gone", she exclaimed - "I feel the deep sadness has left - I feel so much better - thank you!" She had come face to face with the Holy Spirit and somehow, through His amazing grace - He had brought her the comfort the Bible speaks of.
Her face began to shine - sadness, yes - but hope and comfort exuded from her.

And, tonight, months later, I saw her again - and the shine was still there.
We hugged.
"It was my first experience with The Holy Spirit" she joyfully shared. "I knew the Father and Jesus, but never knew the Holy Spirit personally before that night of prayer. Now I understand the Trinity. I will always remember our prayer night."

I will never forget it - Our God, Our Comforter.
Face to Face with Our Living God - Father, Son and/or Holy Spirit - let's all shine!