Thursday, May 16, 2013

Delight in the Lord


After being a Christian for most of my life, I’m still amazed at how God continues to surprise me.

I have received so much evidence of his existence: answered prayers, comfort for grieving, healing for sickness, miracles that have no other explanation, forgiveness for my sins, a husband who loves and supports me even when I don’t deserve it, my children, my grandchildren, the sunrise every morning and the sunset every evening.  Evidence is all around me, I know him and I trust him, yet I can still be shocked by God.  I have been busy with work, family and finals.  I studied hard and up to this point have a 4.0 GPA in college, receiving  an “A” in all classes (I completed my fifth, sixth & seventh classes this week).  However, this semester in my Intermediate Algebra class, the grade prior to the final was a “C”.   I was disappointed that I would probably lose my 4.0 which I have worked so hard for.  Not the end of the world, but disappointing none-the-less.  I never thought I would do well enough on the final to bring my low “C” to an “A”, so I didn’t even pray for it.  (Me!  The constant advocate of “You do not have because you do not ask…”)  I simply and earnestly prayed (OK, maybe ‘begged’ is more accurate); “God, please help me pass my final and my class!”  After several days of intense study, God, in his infinite wisdom, knew my heart and my heart’s desire and granted it to me.  Even after I thought it was impossible, God reminded me that through Christ, all things are possible!  The grades were posted last night and my low “C” went to a low “A” at 90.55%...but it’s an “A” and I keep my 4.0 GPA!  This is an answered prayer I never prayed, but God knew!



This whole thing may sound silly and unimportant, but oftentimes God chooses the minor things to remind us of his presence in a major way.  He reminded me last night and I am so thankful that he does might things like saving lives and healing the sick, but I’m also so blessed because he cares about a busy wife, mom, nana, two-job holding, Christ-following woman who strives to do her best.  Thank you Jesus for taking notice of the desires of my heart.  It is yours and always will be.

PLEASE, if you do not yet know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, comment on this post, email me, call me but contact me.  I would love to tell you more!

Still stressed, but infinitely more blessed – praying the same for you.
CAS

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Real Love

Love comes from our Creator who sent his Son to show us what real love is. Without Jesus it is impossible to really know love. I’ve been focusing on John 13:34

“A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Have you ever thought about the magnitude of this command? We are told to love like JESUS; the One who gave up Heaven to live as a man and die as a sinner for us (me, you, all of us). That is a daunting task to even the most saintly person. But Jesus would not have told us to do it if it were impossible, would He? So, I intend to take the challenge and "love like Jesus"! On this Valentine’s Day, it doesn't matter if you are in a struggling relationship, happily single, blissfully in love, or somewhere in between, know that you are loved so much that the One True God took on flesh and died for you. That is Love! Because of Who He is, He is alive again and we who believe in Him will see Him. Don’t believe me? You don’t have to. Read it for yourself. It’s the greatest (and truest) love story ever told. The Holy Bible.

More blessed, less stressed.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Family

Once upon a time, families consisted of a mom, a dad, and 2 or 3 kids (on average) along with a pet or two. A “step” parent only entered the picture if the birth parent was deceased or, on rare occasions, there was a divorce. The family of the 21st Century is vastly different than that of previous generations. The “once upon a time” families still exist, but they are generally in the minority. Today, ‘family’ has different definitions depending on whom you speak with. Family is a couple without children, a single person with one or more children, grandparents raising their children’s children, family may be an unmarried couple raising their children, a ‘blended’ family joining siblings from other families (giving these children siblings, step-siblings and/or half-siblings). In today’s world family can even consist of a same-sex-couple raising children by benefit of adoption, surrogate or agreement. Today’s post is not about how a family should or should not be defined. (If you really want my opinion, read the Bible.) It is about something so much more important.

Our fast-paced world has transferred its focus. In years gone by, people went to work during the week to provide for the home and family. Evenings the family sat around the table, held hands to say grace and enjoyed a meal together, discussing their day. Saturdays were spent at home or in the neighborhood, hanging out, running errands or visiting. Sundays were spent at church and gathering with family. A rare night out for dinner or a movie was looked forward to as a special occasion. Mom and dad always knew where the kids were, who they were hanging out with and when they would be home (without the necessity of individual phones for each family member). In today’s drive-thru world many families don’t sit down to share a meal even once a week! Family members spend so much of their time and effort pursuing their own interests; dance/singing/swim class, sports, hobbies, video games, (you get the picture) families rarely see each other at all. People are earning more than ever, but it is no longer enough to “provide for the family”, it is to buy more computers, smart phones, video game systems, flat screen TV’s, bigger this and better than (usually on credit). Today’s children are basically raising themselves and our society indicates it is socially acceptable, even expected. Parents are letting technology ‘babysit’ and everyone is doing their own thing. There is something wrong with this picture!! I believe there is a significant element missing in today’s family.

F - FATHER
A - ABBA
M - MAJESTY
I - I AM
L - LORD
Y - YAHWEH

We have replaced our Creator with our own creations. Computers, tablets, smart phones, digital games, music players, TV’s, etc. These things aren’t evil, they are just things. Sports, video games, hobbies, lessons, etc. These are not evil pursuits. However, we have turned these ‘things’ and ‘pursuits’ into idols and Satan is using them to separate us. One of my favorite quotes is by the late Adrian Rogers: “If the devil can’t make you bad he’ll make you busy”. That is today’s culture in a nutshell. I have a radical idea. Let’s take our families back! We can keep our technology and we can pursue our interests, but in moderation. Let’s go back to working to provide for our families and spending time with each other – instead of spending time working to buy more things to replace our families and our God. What do you think?

As always, I’m more blessed than stressed and praying the same for you,

Friday, January 11, 2013

Blessed, but Still Stressed

Many times I am asked how I can be both blessed and stressed, and why do I say “still stressed” instead of emphasizing the ‘blessed’ part. As a Christian, should I even admit to being stressed? Well, I am stressed.

I have a full-time job and a part-time job. I am a college student. I am a wife, mom, Nana, sister, friend, and a plethora of other things too. These different definitions of who I am have expectations of me. Laundry, cooking, supervising children, maintaining home schedules, commuting to and from work, doctor appointments, transporting children to activities, occasionally babysitting my grandchildren, working, paying bills, attending church, studying, taking tests, researching, filing, paperwork, and on and on.

There are also things I want to do:  I enjoy reading, playing brain-games (Scrabble, Boggle, trivia, Sudoku  etc), I dream of getting a good night’s sleep, I am trying to get healthier/lose weight, I love watching crime dramas and other shows, I like attending plays or going to the movies, I would like to spend time with my friends, visit family, organize my home, go for walks, and learn new things.

Each of these requires time and effort on my part.  Over the years I have read various blogs, articles, books and magazines on time management and organization.  Guess what?  Like most people, reading a small snippet about it is all the time I can spare.  I do the best I can but often fall short of the goals I have set for myself. 

That isn't what causes me stress.  Trying to decide what should take priority at what time and how urgently they should be done. That’s where the stress comes in. In a given day I will have worked for 8+ hours, studied for school, made dinner, checked on the kids’ homework, read a devotional, prayed, hopefully worked out, made phone calls, balanced a checkbook, paid a few bills, reviewed upcoming plans for the kids, checked on my grand-kids, and a multitude of other things on an ever expanding list.  I get a lot of stuff done, but I often don’t feel like I've accomplished much because I have to do much of it again the next day. 


BUT…

I am amazingly blessed.  First and foremost, I am a child of God.  I am a Christ Follower.  I woke up this morning so I could go to work.  I have jobs that enable me to earn money to help pay bills.  I have a reliable vehicle (which I love!) to get me to and from my jobs.  I am able to attend college and increase my knowledge.  I have a house to shelter me, filled with love it is also my home.  I have indoor plumbing and climate control.  I have a comfortable bed to sleep in and a husband to hold me tight.  I have children who need me and want me around (most of the time).  I have grandchildren to spoil.  I have clothes to wear & I have money in the bank.  I have my parents, siblings and other extended family whom I love.  I have friends.  I have a church home and a wonderful Sunday School class to attend.  I have a gift for writing poetry and a blog that some people actually read!  I have my eyesight (with the assistance of contacts) to see flowers blooming and my grandchildren playing.  I have my hearing so I am able to listen to my children laughing and get lost in the sound of music.  I can smell the rain and freshly baked bread.  I am able to taste fresh coffee and enjoy a homemade meal.  I can feel my husband’s arms wrapped around me in a loving embrace.

When I say I am amazingly blessed, it is an understatement.  I do not take my life for granted.  I do not take being a redeemed, forgiven sinner lightly.  I am in awe of what our God can do in the life of a woman who has fallen more times than she can count.  I do not pick myself back up, but by reaching up to the loving arms of my Savior I am pulled up every time.

SO…

How can I be both blessed and stressed?  Easy.  I am a fallen, sinful human (stressed) saved by grace and love (blessed).  Why is my title “Blessed but Still Stressed” instead of “Stressed but Still Blessed”?  Because my blessings always come first.  That is what I want to focus on, my blessings are what strengthen me to get through the stresses.

Today, may God bless you, encourage you and lift you back up no matter how many times you've fallen.  If you’re stressed, remember, in many ways you are also blessed.