I’m in the home based party plan biz, for those of you who don’t know…It may sound like a cliché but it is a business that’s all about relationships. So lots of times I get really connected with customers. I've been invited to weddings, baby showers, graduations, etc. I have also been to funerals, more than I 'd like to count. I recently heard that one of my hostess’ had lost her husband in a tragic accident.She is in her 30’s, he was as well.I have not stopped thinking about her since.I cried yesterday for her – my heart hurts when I think about how much she must be hurting.Over the summer a friend of mine lost her 22 year old granddaughter. She committed suicide.I still lift up my friend in my daily chats with God.Last weekend marked one whole year since my father in law had passed away.My Mother-in-law is still struggling.I chat with my father-in-law, Roy, from time to time (you know tossing up a “hey, I miss you”)..…and when my husband does something to remind me of him I say “Ok Roy!”
I could go on & on about losses, I will not.Our days are numbered. That is not pessimism – that is realism & I say it to get you to think about what you are doing with your precious days.
Dear God, Teach us to count the days & teach us to make the days count….
Psalm 90:12(New American Standard Bible) 12 So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (MSG) 12 Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!
It is easy for me to come from a mother’s/woman’s view point but I’m speaking to men, fathers, father figures, uncles as well….BE PRESENT.It truly won’t matter if the dishes are done immediately, if the lawn was mowed every two or three days – watch a movie with your family, shoot some hoops, cook together, eat together, talk – no really – TALK to ONE ANOTHER
I have a confession – I blew it again – go figure!I’m still learning and taking a step or two back from time to time. My husband got really, really angry with me last night & blew up.While I would have liked for him to voice his concerns in a more kind way, he made his point.I wasn’t being present.We were together in the car for 3 hours, round trip – at least an hour of that time I spent on my smart phone. Checking & returning email, looking up a few things I had been putting off, sending and answering text messages & honestly…checking Face book & checking in on four square.
Then when we got home I had work to do on the computer. He clearly thought I was not working & just surfing the web.About 7:30 we had a FIGHT – so much so my teen came out and said “What were you & Dad yelling about?” – EKK…I answered “We had an argument”.So we are clear, I apologized right away for hurting him & for just not paying attention.He did not want to hear it, he told me to..…well let’s just say he went to bed.I felt sick the rest of the night.My stomach hurt.I prayed about it – a lot!When I crawled into bed I woke him and apologized again, he said ok.This morning we exchanged sleepy I love yous as he went off to work at the crack o’ dawn.He called me about 7:30am and apologized to me. I forgave him – of course… He was right about me.I wasn’t thinking. Shame on me.We think there will be so much time for___________________________. But there may not be. You or someone you love could get really sick.They could be gone tomorrow.Don’t be a woulda, coulda, shoulda.Be present, be really extravagant in your love & time & praise and be stingy as hell in your angry put-downs and pettiness and unforgiveness.
The amount of time is not nearly as important as what you do with the time, in my humble opinion.
Just a friendly reminder, because it has been a while since I’ve said it – WORK IN PROGRESS!
I find myself a little stuck, not really but it sure feels like it with a particular issue.
I’m in a round-a-bout and I cannot get out/off! I think I’m going to merge over and WHAM! Right back into the same old-same old.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 Paul talks about the thorn in his flesh…In my loose interpretation, it is sort of like a pain in the neck and they come along from time to time to remind be to stay humble & that I need God as my partner because in my weakness is his strength.
Hmm – Thorns, we all have them. They may be habits or issues you have, something that really bothers you.May be it’s a person in your life.
1 John 4:21 (MSG) 21 The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You've got to love both.
Are you already thinking of someone or something that is a thorn in your flesh?
If it’s a person, ask yourself: What are his/her gifts? Really make a mental list of the good stuff about them. They do have some great gifts, I promise. Then you really need to pray to God about this person.
A couple days ago I would have said pray for them.Well I have been enlightened (I recently attended a Christian Women’s Convention – more on that in later posts) and realized that I need to pray for myself. I need to ask God to change my heart concerning this person.
If your thorn is a thing – why does it have a hold of you? What is it replacing in your life or what is it stopping you from doing?
How would your life look without it?
Some thorns we are stuck with – some we are not...
The moral of the story is Thorns Stink! Get over it, remove them or learn to love them….merge out of the round-a-bout.
James 1:2-4 (MSG) 2 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. 3 You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. 4 So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Ok, Ok, so what’s the 1,2,3?
#1 There will always be thorns
#2 You or something you do may be someone else’s thorn
Well, it is NOW! But it hasn't always been this way.
Now I take those moments – like waiting in line, to chat with God & to thank Him. Chat with him about what you ask? Thank God for what? Everything.
“Hey God, be with me today as I ______. I want to be your light in the world.
Thank you God that I am physically able to stand in this line. Thank you God for your love & your mercy (kindness in excess). Bless the lady next to me as she goes about her day”…I hope you get the picture.
It was not always this easy. Over 12 years ago I attend a youth retreat ( I was the middle school youth leader at my church for many years). One of the key note speakers talked about the ACTS model for prayer. This was and still is a fabulous tool for me. I started using it because I was unsure how to pray. When I say that I mean I knew that I should be doing more than just asking for stuff - I just wasn't sure how. I still use it today to help me stay balanced in prayer. Don’t get me wrong sometimes my prayers are just sobs to God for guidance or peace or wisdom to know what to do next. Sometimes I’m face-down begging for understanding or help.
But most of the time I use my prayer journal. Yep, I write it down – another way to keep me focused.
So here’s how the model looks:
A = Adoration – you adoring God for being God. Praising him for who he is: your savior, creator, redeemer. Read some of the Psalms & use this time to allow God to speak to you.
Psalm 103,105, 111 (just to name a few)
C = Confession!! It really is good for the soul. This is when you lay out all the things you didn’t get quite right. I start with this:
23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Then I say I’m sorry for the ways I fallen short – in my thoughts, words & deeds, in what I have done & what I have left undone. I specifically write out my “sins”….ex: I’m sorry for losing my temper with my husband, again. I'm pretty sure remembering when you blew it will come pretty easy.
T = Thanksgiving!!!! You guessed it, here is where you tell Him all the things you are thankful for.
If you were reading my prayer journal you would see things like: coffee, the sun shining, Your grace & mercy, another day and another chance to be your servant, my family, enough food to eat, bills paid, Your word….nuff said?
S = Supplication – a fancy way to say ASK.
Two versions of starting scripture for you…
Matthew 7:7 (MSG) 7 "Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need.
Matthew 7:7 (AMP) 7 Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.
What will you ask God for? Your needs to be met of course but this is also the time you remember others. Pray for specific events, for your government, specific people, etc.
Ex: Your friend’s 17 year old son who is still in the hospital recovering from his heart transplant. The work of your church. All those touched by _______ tragedy.
God loves you, he wants to hear what is in your heart. He wants you to be still and hear him. Spend time with him in prayer. The cool thing is you can pray anywhere, anytime because God is everywhere, all the time.
My baby girl started her sophomore year in high school today. Sniff. Sniff.
While some of you will completely understand my somewhat heavy heart others are dancing a jig that their children are out of the house for the whole day.I get it, I only have one at home & she’s my buddy.Plus when she starts getting on my nerves I can walk away, heck I can drive away. She is able to take care of herself, for the most part.
I drove her to school today, not something that will be a habit….the bus practically stops in front of our house.She asked me if I would & I’m so glad I did. If you asked her, she would tell you that I try to be an example & use as many teachable moments as I can.She says it bugs her! She rolls her eyes… BUT it clearly makes an impression!
As I dropped her off in the chaos of the first day I noticed some freshman who suffered bullying last year. Out loud I prayed that Jesus would protect them.She immediately said she would tell “her boys” to leave them alone.
Matthew 25:40 (KJV) 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
My heart was so full I thought it would burst.Maybe you’re thinking – big deal!?I’m thinking those teachable moments made an impression.Lots of the kids that are bullied are bullied because they are different. Maybe they look a little different, talk different, are a little quirky. I would wager that the people who do the bulling think those kids are less – the least of these.
So whether you danced the happy dance or cried this morning, be ready when those babies come home from school. They will have tales to tell about their first day.Unfortunately some of them will have some not so nice things to share. What will you do? How will you respond? Remember you reap what you sow.
Galatians 6:7-8 (MSG) 7 Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!— 8 harvests a crop of weeds. All he'll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
Sow seeds of kindness, forgiveness, love into your children every day, every minute you can.Hopefully, they will sow those same seeds.Oh yeah and when you blow it, own it.Tell them – I blew it, I shouldn’t have said______ or treated so & so that way or lost my temper…get it?
So, what’s the 1,2,3 of it all today?
#1 Sow the good stuff
#2 Don’t let someone feel like “the least”
#3 See 1 & 2
Gotta run (really, time hit the pavement for 3 miles)
“Sometimes circumstances make God seem distant.Sometimes we are the ones pushing him away.But if you believe God loves you, AND HE DOES, know that he’ll never leave you” – Jake Rollins (fictional Pastor in Moving Target by Stephanie Newton)
Are circumstances making God SEEM distant?Even if you have no control over the circumstance you do have control over your response to it.
You hear it almost everywhere…Times are tough. The housing market is at a standstill. Unemployment is up…blah, blah, blah.Maybe it’s closer to home – you need surgery, you need a new power steering pump, you need __________.
Psalm 62:8 (GW) 8 Trust him at all times, you people. Pour out your hearts in his presence. God is our refuge. Selah
Psalm 62:8 (MSG) 8 So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be.
Psalm 62:8 (AMP) 8 Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
Psalm 62:8 (KJV) 8 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.
4 versions of a great Psalm – you pick your favorite.(KJV for me)
Trust that even in crappy circumstances our amazing God will make something good from it.I’m not one of those people who say “everything happens for a reason”. I DO NOT believe that. There is no good reason for tragedy, incurable disease, or the other horrific things that befall folks.
God does not make those things happen. We create our situations. I don’t necessarily mean “we” as in you or I created it, but someone (or something like the environment) created it & now you have to deal with it. i.e. the housing market, job loss, sickness....
Sometimes it is our choices that put us in a bad way – sometimes we are just in a bad way.
Will we live down trodden, sad, inconsolable lives? – God doesn’t want that for you. He is your refuge.
Trust him. Choose to not let the situation or the circumstance become who you are. Get angry, cry, yell, then move on. I know, I know, you're saying, "That's easy for you to say Mindi". It is not that easy, BUT I have done it, in lots of circumstances, so it can be done. Some situations/circumstances take longer to "move on" from. Again I'm speaking from experience here. The particular situation that I'm thinking of is for another blog!
John 10:10 (AMP) 10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).
Abundant life – full, till it overflows. Are you finding the abundance despite your circumstance(s) or in it (them)?