Fight the Good Fight (Update)

Since last Thursday, our public schools here in AZ have been closed.  The closing is due to a state-wide teacher walk-out.  The main reason for the walk-out is due to the lack of funding for our schools, which obviously includes our teachers salaries.

From what I’ve heard and read, AZ ranks near the bottom nationally for teacher pay.  In fact, according to a a May 2017 analysis by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, it ranks 50th in the nation for elementary teacher salaries, and 49th for high school teacher salaries. According to this analysis, Oklahoma ranks 50th for high school teachers.

These are sad statistics to hear and thankfully, it appears that a budget deal may have been finally reached.  Today, I received the following message from my son and daughter’s school.  “School District will reopen schools on Thursday, May 3, 2018 and resume all normal services and activities.  We are counting on all our staff to report to work and resume classes for our students on Thursday.”

During and prior to this walk-out, I have seen teachers in front of schools and on the streets, wearing their “Red for Ed” shirts and holding their signs to demonstrate their disapproval of the funding for education in our state to the public.  They have been passionate about this cause.  They believe that they are fighting the good fight for education statewide.

Not everyone has been on board with this walk-out though.  Having students home, when they otherwise would be in school, has been a hardship for several families. Especially, single parents who are already financially stretched themselves.  That is completely understandable.

Although it has not been a financial burden for my family, I have had my own concerns as to how this walk-out might affect my daughter’s up-coming graduation and commitments she’s made immediately following.  For one, she’s part of a team from our church who will be helping with hurricane relief in Puerto Rico shortly following her graduation.

Even so, I think we can all agree that teachers, and schools in general, should be properly funded.  Therefore, I believe that they are fighting a good fight.

As I’m writing this, I just got notification that our school district will not be resuming classes tomorrow.  Apparently, the budget deal that was reached has not actually been signed.  That is, as of yet.  Therefore, it appears that the majority of the teachers do not have the confidence that they need to return back to the classroom.  Of course, this is disappointing both to myself and my kids.  And, I’m positive it’s disappointing to many other families as well.  Here’s hoping that the budget deal gets signed by tomorrow!

When I thought about this teacher walk-out this past week, it reminded me of Apostle Paul’s words in 1 & 2 Timothy in regards to fighting a good fight.

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

1 Timothy 6:12

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

2 Timothy 4:7

As Christians, God calls us to fight.  Fight the good fight of the faith.  Don’t give up on it, but keep persevering through it!  We will receive hurdles along the way.  There will be ups and downs.  And sometimes, people won’t understand or even like us for it.  But in the end, there will be no greater joy than to be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith!”

Also, to hear these words spoken by our Heavenly Father…

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” 

Matthew 25:21

As these teachers are fighting the good fight of education, let us Christians not give up fighting the good fight of the faith.  Keep persevering!  Keep on keeping on!

Thank you Lord for the reminder that we Christians, too, are fighting a good fight.  Help me to continue to persevere through and not give up hope.  Help me to finish the race and finish it well.  ❤

UPDATE:

A budget deal has passed and has been signed by our governor this morning.  The kids will be back in school tomorrow (Friday)! 🙂

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Fight the Good Fight

Since last Thursday, our public schools here in AZ have been closed.  The closing is due to a state-wide teacher walk-out.  The main reason for the walk-out is due to the lack of funding for our schools, which obviously includes our teachers salaries.

From what I’ve heard and read, AZ ranks near the bottom nationally for teacher pay.  In fact, according to a a May 2017 analysis by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, it ranks 50th in the nation for elementary teacher salaries, and 49th for high school teacher salaries. According to this analysis, Oklahoma ranks 50th for high school teachers.

These are sad statistics to hear and thankfully, it appears that a budget deal may have been finally reached.  Today, I received the following message from my son and daughter’s school.  “School District will reopen schools on Thursday, May 3, 2018 and resume all normal services and activities.  We are counting on all our staff to report to work and resume classes for our students on Thursday.”

During and prior to this walk-out, I have seen teachers in front of schools and on the streets, wearing their “Red for Ed” shirts and holding their signs to demonstrate their disapproval of the funding for education in our state to the public.  They have been passionate about this cause.  They believe that they are fighting the good fight for education statewide.

Not everyone has been on board with this walk-out though.  Having students home, when they otherwise would be in school, has been a hardship for several families. Especially, single parents who are already financially stretched themselves.  That is completely understandable.

Although it has not been a financial burden for my family, I have had my own concerns as to how this walk-out might affect my daughter’s up-coming graduation and commitments she’s made immediately following.  For one, she’s part of a team from our church who will be helping with hurricane relief in Puerto Rico shortly following her graduation.

Even so, I think we can all agree that teachers, and schools in general, should be properly funded.  Therefore, I believe that they are fighting a good fight.

As I’m writing this, I just got notification that our school district will not be resuming classes tomorrow.  Apparently, the budget deal that was reached has not actually been signed.  That is, as of yet.  Therefore, it appears that the majority of the teachers do not have the confidence that they need to return back to the classroom.  Of course, this is disappointing both to myself and my kids.  And, I’m positive it’s disappointing to many other families as well.  Here’s hoping that the budget deal gets signed by tomorrow!

When I thought about this teacher walk-out this past week, it reminded me of Apostle Paul’s words in 1 & 2 Timothy in regards to fighting a good fight.

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

1 Timothy 6:12

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

2 Timothy 4:7

As Christians, God calls us to fight.  Fight the good fight of the faith.  Don’t give up on it, but keep persevering through it!  We will receive hurdles along the way.  There will be ups and downs.  And sometimes, people won’t understand or even like us for it.  But in the end, there will be no greater joy than to be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith!”

Also, to hear these words spoken by our Heavenly Father…

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” 

Matthew 25:21

As these teachers are fighting the good fight of education, let us Christians not give up fighting the good fight of the faith.  Keep persevering!  Keep on keeping on!

Thank you Lord for the reminder that we Christians, too, are fighting a good fight.  Help me to continue to persevere through and not give up hope.  Help me to finish the race and finish it well.  ❤

 

 

CHILL

I can remember years back receiving great words of wisdom from a Christian counselor that I was seeing during a very dark chapter in my life.  At that time stress, fear and panic were becoming my best friends.  And, these were his words of wisdom…

“Lisa, I want you to take a large piece of paper and on that paper, I want you to write in big bold letters this word, “CHILL!”  From there, I want you to take that same paper and tape it to the front of your refrigerator.  May it be a reminder to you to stop panicking and chill out.  God’s in control, even of this.”

Great words of wisdom, indeed.

Today, I asked my husband to pray for me.  I asked him to pray for a new perspective towards an on-going trial that our family has been going through for quite some time now.  It has been one of the most challenging trials I have ever faced and continue to face.

Shortly after my request for prayer, this word chill came loud and clear to the forefront of my mind.   It felt as if God were whispering directly into my ear, “Lisa, remember what that counselor said?  It’s time for you to chill out now.  I’ve got this.”

Stress, fear, and panic can do a real number on us, can’t they?  When we invite them as friends into our every day lives, they can completely strip us of the peace that God so desperately wants us to have.  Instead, we find ourselves reacting to life rather than living it.

This makes me think of a biblical time when Jesus calmed a great storm.

35 As evening fell, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took him just as he was and started out, leaving the crowds behind (though other boats followed). 37 But soon a terrible storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water and about to sink. 38 Jesus was asleep at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically they wakened him, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are all about to drown?”

39 Then he rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Quiet down!” And the wind fell, and there was a great calm!

40 And he asked them, “Why were you so fearful? Don’t you even yet have confidence in me?”

41 And they were filled with awe and said among themselves, “Who is this man, that even the winds and seas obey him?”

Mark 4: 35 – 41

What was Jesus doing during this terrible storm?  Sleeping.  What were his disciples doing during this terrible storm?  Panicking.  And, who in the end calmed the storm? Jesus. 

All the disciples needed to do was to stop stressing, stop fearing, stop panicking and chill out!  Placing their entire faith, trust, hope and confidence in Jesus; the only one who could calm their storm.

Like the disciples, this is what I believe the Lord was trying to tell me today.  I don’t have to invite stress, fear and panic into my storm, but instead, I can turn to Jesus who is the calmer of all storms.

I thank you Lord for reminding me that it’s time for me to chill out and daily place my complete faith, trust, hope and confidence in you, even in this.  Only you can give me the peace that I need today.  Only you can calm the storm. ❤

Nothing Like a Good Laugh

 

 

 

My husband has been sick this week, and there have been some stresses at home that can easily bring the tone of our house down.

Yesterday, my husband and I decided to watch a comedian on Netflix that came recommended by a co-worker.  And boy, did this comedian get us to laugh!  And, you know what?  It felt really good. 🙂

Laughter has a way of bringing joy to the heart and of connecting people like nothing else can.  In fact, it is the very thing that connects my youngest son and I in a very special way. We so enjoy laughing together.

You’ve probably heard this phrase, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Well, I decided to do some research on the benefits of laughter, and I came across an article titled, 8 Reasons Why Laughter Really Is The Best Medicine.  And, these are the reasons that were listed.

  1. Laughter is a Natural Pain Killer
  2. Laughter Strengthens Your Heart
  3. Laugh to Ward Off Disease
  4. Laughter Tones Your Abs
  5. Laughing Boosts Immunity
  6. Laughter Decreases Blood Pressure
  7. Laughter Banishes Stress
  8. Laughter Helps Those Suffering From Depression

If you’d like to read this article in it’s entirety, you can do so at: https://www.activebeat.com/your-health/8-reasons-why-laughter-really-is-the-best-medicine/8/.

I think these 8 reasons alone are reason enough for all of us to begin finding ways to laugh more often.  Lets face it.  Life is hard.  Life really stinks at times.  Life can stretch us beyond measure.  So, let’s take some time off every now and then, and find some ways to laugh.

As the good book says:

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. 

Proverbs 17:22

It also says:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 4

I think for me, now is the time to laugh. 😉

Thank you Lord for the gift of laughter. ❤

Senior Discount – Almost a Year Later

It has been almost one year since I created and began writing this blog.  What a blessing it has been to share what God has been teaching me and placing upon my heart this past year with people from around the globe. ❤

Today, I’m going to share one of my very first posts titled, Senior Discount.  Two reasons why I decided to choose this particular one.  First, I now can officially receive the senior discount at certain places in town.  Yay me!  Yes, I’m being sarcastic here. 😦

Second, this year has been my daughter’s senior year of high school.  You will know the significance of this when you read my post below.  As a Christian in high school herself,  she has chosen to behave in ways that are the exact opposite of those Christians I had encountered in high school.  She’s included those who are not of the faith and has made a positive impact in their lives for Christ.  Her “packaging” has been good.  She’s used great discretion.  I am so very proud of her. ❤

So, here goes my Senior Discount post from last year:

The other day, I was buying a few items with my teenage daughter at my local Safeway store.  After ringing up all of my items, and before totaling my receipt, here is how the conversation went between me and my checker:

Checker:  Coming across somewhat chipper.  “Senior Discount?”

Me:  Jaw dropping inside, but still managing a courteous smile.  “No.”

Checker:  Not convinced, she presses further.  “Are you sure?”

Me:  In shock. I proceed to answer the first question once again, but this time with a little more firmness.  “No.”  

Checker:  Figuring I must not quite understand the terms of this store’s senior discount and truly desiring to give me that discount, she presses even further by attempting to enlighten me.  “It’s for 55 and up.”  Emphasizing the number 55.

Me:  As if that makes me feel any better lady; I’m not even 55 yet!  The line is now filling up with other customers, and I’m beginning to panic.  Feeling quite uncomfortable and wanting this conversation over as quickly as possible, I look her straight in the eye and give her my firmest.  “No.”

But, that doesn’t end the conversation.  Now, realizing that she may have offended me, the checker attempts to pedal her words back by sharing some kind of story regarding some previous customer in whom she didn’t inquire about the senior discount….blah, blah, blah.  In a nutshell, her attempt to pedal her words back are just making matters worse.

Meanwhile, my daughter, who knows me oh so well, is wishing this checker would just give it up.  Ha!

Finally, I get my receipt, and I walk out of there feeling like a very uncomfortable wounded puppy.

Ok, so I’m a little sensitive about the whole aging thing.  I admit, I still struggle with it.  Let’s face it, wrinkles and loose skin are not my best friends.  But, as much as this experience hit a cord with me in regards to my age, I really don’t think my age had anything to do with the lesson God wanted to teach me that day.  In fact, the lesson really didn’t have anything to do with my age or my reaction to it at all.  What I believe the Lord wanted to teach me through this lesson was about discretion.

This check-out girl really desired to offer me something good.  A discount.  A savings. Something financially beneficial.  Unfortunately, it was in the way that she “packaged” this offer that lacked discretion.  And, when she finally realized this and tried to pedal her way back, the damage had already been done, and it only made the situation more uncomfortable for the both of us.

This got me to think about ways in which I have lacked discretion.  For instance, how many times have I, a Christian, approached others in this very same manner when attempting to share the good news of the gospel, or some level of biblical truth, that I believe someone is in need of hearing for their good.  How many times have I failed in my “packaging” when attempting to share these truths?

I honestly don’t know the answer to these questions, but since I have been a Christian for some time now, I’m fairly positive that there have been at least a few, if not many more.  Even if I don’t know how many, what I do know for certain is that my motive has always been the same as this checker’s was.   I desired to offer something good.

But unfortunately, when the packaging does fail, a person is left feeling uncomfortable and more than likely, wounded.  That in itself, is NOT good.  Don’t get me wrong, being uncomfortable is not always a bad thing.  Good convictions can make us feel uncomfortable.  But, what I’m talking about here is a very different kind of uncomfortable that I don’t think is necessary to explain, but is already understood. That kind of uncomfortable is not good.

This brings me back to a time when I was in high school.  It was my senior year, and I began dating a guy that claimed to be a born again Christian, but I was not.  Before dating me, he hung out with a group of friends who also claimed to be born again Christians.  These friends made it obvious to me that they did not approve of him dating me.  They did this by blatantly ignoring me when they were in our presence.   They refused to look at or even speak to me.  Instead, in my presence, they would address their concerns for their friend and why he wasn’t hanging out with them or attending church.  Their body language and words said everything that needed to be said about how they felt about him spending time with me instead of them.

Now, looking back in hindsight, I have an understanding in regards to where they were coming from.  Their friend was walking away from some things that were good, and they were concerned about him.  But, once again, it came down to their “packaging”.  Their blatant rejection and disapproval of me made not only me feel wounded and uncomfortable, but it also made their friend feel these things as well.  Instead of drawing him nearer, they drew him further away.  In fact, they not only drew him further away, but it would take years before I would even attempt to open myself up to the truth.  At the time I thought to myself , “If this is how Christians are, then I don’t want anything to do with them or what they believe in!”

These events had a significant impact in my life.  And, like I said, it took a long time for me to recover from them.  I can only imagine how many others out there who have been wounded by lack of discretion and poor packaging, possibly even my very own.

Discretion is huge.  Packaging is huge.  So thank you Lord for the lesson you brought my way on this Senior Discount day. 🙂

Proverbs 2:11

“Discretion will protect you,  and understanding will guard you.”

Proverbs 11:22

“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.”

 

Glass Cleaner

 

 

For many years, I’ve used a certain brand of Glass Cleaner (brand not pictured here).  Mainly due to it’s great advertising throughout the years.  This product’s advertising promises the best streak free shine.  That your windows and/or glass doors will be so clean that others will literally run into them, believing that they’re open rather than closed.

For years, I believed this message.  And even though the actual results were not exactly what the advertising promised, I continued to buy this brand’s product thinking that I had to because it was supposed to be the best.

Not long ago, after all these years, my husband came home with a generic brand Glass Cleaner.  My original thought was, “What is he doing?  This isn’t our brand?”  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that even though I faithfully purchased this particular brand all these years, it never really fully delivered on its promises.  Therefore, I decided to give this generic brand a try.  And, boy was I surprised!  The generic brand far out performed our brand.  In fact, it completely delivered on the promises that our brand never could.  And, it was a whole lot friendlier on our pocket book as well.  In the end, I actually felt foolish for hanging onto my brand for so long.

This glass cleaner lesson got me think about things that we tend to hold onto that we really shouldn’t.  Things that look appealing and offer high promises, yet in reality, fall very, very short.  Things that look great on the outside, but when you dig deeper, you realize are very empty on the inside.  And before we know it, they’re taking us down right along with them.

My house never got that streak free shine that I was hoping for.  That pure clean that leads you to believe that there’s nothing really there.  And, when we hold onto things that we shouldn’t, the same thing happens to us.  Although we may be able to appear that all is well on the outside, on the inside, all is not.  There’s something there that shouldn’t be.  A real pure cleaning is in store.

When Jesus walked on this earth, he had a few things to say about people and things that appear to look great on the outside, but in reality, are rotten on the inside.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.”

Matthew 23: 27

My glass cleaner promised something that it never could fully deliver for me.  I bought into its promises that it was the best there was to offer.  Therefore, I never looked elsewhere to prove that it was wrong.

We also buy into promises, that never fully deliver.  We think they’re offering what’s best for us, but they’re not.   And, we never take the time to look elsewhere to prove that they are wrong.

This glass cleaner lesson is a great analogy of Jesus and Satan.  Satan may have the flashy advertisements, promising a life that will be full of fun and adventure.  And yes, there will be some fun, and there will be some adventure.  Just like my glass cleaner did do some cleaning.  Unfortunately though, that fun and adventure will eventually lead to things that are harmful and destructive for us.  It leads to a whitewashed tomb.  It leads to death.

Jesus is like the generic brand.  There’s nothing flashy about Him.  His message is simple.  Lay down your life, take up your cross and follow Him.  What He has to offer is the real deal.  It leads to true life.  Life eternally.  And, He can clean you from the inside out.

Thank you dear Lord for this glass cleaner lesson.  Thank you for being the real deal.  Continue to help me see the things that I’m holding onto that I need to let go of.  Don’t allow me to live foolishly.  Continue to clean me from the inside out.  In your blessed name I pray.  Amen. ❤

 

 

Seasons

This week it has become very clear to me that Spring is definitely here.  The Sun is peeking earlier and earlier, and it’s light is shining brighter and brighter.  The birds are chirping and the bees are busing, playing there beautiful music for all to hear.  The flowers are in full bloom, displaying their majestic array of colors and as we breathe, we also intake their unique aromas.  Spring is definitely a season that entices our God-given senses.   Thus, indeed a new season has begun.

I’ve been doing a daily read through the bible using an app called, “Bible Study Together.”  It’s actually something that my church promoted for its congregation, so that we all could read through the bible together.  Pretty cool, huh!  Anyways, we’re currently reading through the book of Job.  As I’ve been reading through this book, I’m reminded that life, too, has it’s seasons.

Some seasons in life are like Spring.  They’re bright, beautiful and majestic.  These are the seasons we all love and hope for.  Other seasons feel like the complete opposite.  They’re dim, ugly and mean.  Job certainly experienced both.

In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.   

Job 1: 1 – 3

At this season in his life, Job had the dream life.  He was financially blessed.  He was loaded with possessions.  He had a large family.  He was also a noble man with great integrity.  He feared God and God was on his side. 🙂

Unfortunately, Job’s Spring season was about to change.  It wasn’t because Job, or anyone around him, did anything to inflict this change.  But, just like our four seasons, this season change for Job was completely in God’s hands.  It actually came about due to a discussion between God and Satan himself.

One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Job 1: 6 – 12

In an instant, everything that Job had was taken from him.  All his possessions, including his cattle, servants, and even his children, were destroyed.  Only 3 servants in all escaped death in order to report what had taken place.   But just as God had predicted, Job did not curse God.

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Job 1: 20 – 22

As if this season wasn’t already hard enough, another blow was about to come Job’s way.

On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him.And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity,though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

“Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.

His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”

10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

Job 2: 1 – 10

Wow!  Wouldn’t you define this season as dim, ugly and mean?  I sure would!

Now, it may be that none of us have experienced the degree of affliction that Job did in this season, but I’m positive that we all have had seasons in our lives that felt in one degree or another as dim, ugly and mean.  I know I certainly have.  In fact, I’m actually going through a season like this right now and have been for awhile.

This kind of season can make you feel like God is absent, or at the very least distant, and he really doesn’t care about your pain.  But, the reality is that he is there and he does care!

When life throws at you a season that just doesn’t make sense.  A season that has absolutely no words attached to it.  A season that feels dim, ugly and mean.  Perhaps, there is far more to this season than meets-the-eye.  Perhaps it is beyond our intellect and beyond our reach.

As Spring entices our God-given senses, some seasons in life just cannot be measured by man.  They are beyond wisdom, beyond understanding, and even beyond our God-given senses.  It really all comes down to one thing, God is God and we are not.

The beauty is that seasons do finally change.  This season that I’m in, I know will not last forever.  Spring will come again.  It certainly did for Job.

10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.

12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.

16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so Job died, an old man and full of years.

Job 42: 10 – 16

I realize that there is no guarantee that I will see my Spring come while I’m still here on this earth.  To be with the Lord will be the BEST season of all!  But, if the good Lord does choose to take me out of this current season and grant me another Spring here on this earth, then I will say, thank you Jesus! 🙂

As Job said so wisely,

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Job 1: 21

Thank you Lord for the story of Job.  When I feel hopeless; when things just don’t make a whole a lot of sense, Job’s story gives me hope.  Not the hope that you’ll bless me in the future as you blessed Job.  But, that you are in control no matter what!  Life doesn’t have to make sense to me, because it makes sense to you! All I need to do is to remain faithful and place my complete trust in you.  ❤

 

 

Self Care

The Final Countdown

We’re leaving together,
But still it’s farewell
And maybe we’ll come back
To earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame
We’re leaving ground (leaving ground)
Will things ever be the same again?
It’s the final countdown
The final countdown
Oh
We’re heading for Venus (Venus)
And still we stand tall
‘Cause maybe they’ve seen us (seen us)
And welcome us all, yeah
With so many light years to go
And things to be found (to be found)
I’m sure that we’ll all miss her so
It’s the final countdown
The final countdown
The final countdown
The final countdown
Oh
The final countdown, oh
It’s the final count down
The final countdown
The final countdown
The final countdown
Oh
It’s the final count down
We’re leaving together
The final count down
We’ll all miss her so
It’s the final countdown
It’s the final countdown
Oh
It’s the final countdown, yeah

 

Songwriters: Joey Tempest
The Final Countdown lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

Do these words sound familiar to you?  They are the lyrics to a 1980’s hit song The Final Countdown.  This morning my husband turned on the music video for this song on our TV as a joke for me, as he and our teenage kids were leaving to go visit some friends in a small town, where we use to live, for a couple of days.  It was a little humor gift for me knowing that I was counting down the minutes that I would have the entire house to myself–with the exception of our dog, Toby of course–enjoying some much needed alone time.  Just me, the good Lord and of course, Toby. 🙂

Sometimes, life gets so demanding that we need to take some time out.  We need to do a little self care for ourselves.  This can help us recharge from the demands that have drained us, as well as prepare us for whatever is coming down the pike in our future.  Even Jesus himself understood this.

15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed  
Luke 5: 15 -16

 

12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.                Luke 6: 12 – 16

I am learning more and more that if I don’t take time to care for myself, then I’m really not all that good for anyone else.  If Jesus himself understood this need for solitude and refueling, then why don’t I understand it as well?

32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.                                                                                                                 Mark 1: 32 – 35

I even find it comforting to know that Jesus understood the importance of rest even while in the middle of a storm.

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”                                       Matthew 8: 23 – 25

So, I’m planning to enjoy these two days of solitude and do my best to refuel.  I’m very grateful to both my Father in heaven and my hubby here on earth for allowing me this time. 🙂

Thank you Lord for working through my loving husband for this time of self care.  Thank you also for the examples that you’ve left for me to follow in this area.  You are so good to me.   Amen.  ❤

Walking the Tight Rope

Do you have a special friend in your life that you know so well and care about so much that you tend to, in certain situations, choose your words so carefully in an attempt to not add another notch of hurt and/or disappointment onto their belt?  Do they do the same with you?  Has it ever back fired to the extent that you ended up hurting and/or disappointing them even more?  Recently, this very thing occurred between myself and a very, very dear friend of mine.

The two of us know each other so very well, and care about each other so very much.  We know the paths we’ve taken and the struggles we’ve faced.  We know our strengths and our weaknesses.  We know our quirks and sensitivities.  Since we know each other so well, sometimes, we make the mistake of walking the tight rope with one another in an attempt to avoid what may be inevitable.  Let’s face it, sometimes your gonna hurt and sometimes, your gonna disappoint.

In our attempt to try not to do these things, this time we ended up doing them even more.  It completely back fired on the both of us.  Lesson learned–when you walk the tight rope, sometimes you will fall.

I am so thankful that after some back and forth, my dear friend and I were able to talk things out.  We were able to come to a place where we could clearly see how we were both walking the tight rope in this situation.  We came to understand that if we had focused less on avoiding and more on just being open and real with one another, the hurt and/or disappointment, if any, may have been greatly minimized or avoided altogether.  A lesson learned.  It was a time of growth for the both of us.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to be sensitive to another’s feelings.  It’s important to be wise in how we share certain information in certain situations.  Displaying sensitivity is not a negative thing.  But sometimes, in our attempts to be sensitive, we can over do it.  So much so that it does harm rather than good.

Thank you Lord that you took a negative situation and turned it into something good.  Wisdom was gained.  Growth came to pass.  Lessons were learned.  And, a very dear friendship with a fellow Sister-in-Christ was preserved and deepened.  You are so good. ❤

Proverbs 17: 17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Proverbs 27: 17

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Romans 8: 27 – 28

27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28 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.

James 1: 5

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

I Can Only Imagine

Last night, my daughter and I went to see this movie, I Can Only Imagine.  It’s the true story of Christian singer, Bart Millard from the band, Mercy MeA story of love, redemption, forgiveness and healing.  A story that is both touching and powerful.  That’s why I’m choosing to give it a plug on my blog today.  It’s worth seeing.

God is our Heavenly Father, but he also gave us fathers here on Earth.  Some fathers are wonderful and some, are not.  I had two growing up.  My birth father and my step father.  Neither were wonderful.

I grew up with my step father from the ages of 5 – 17.  My step father had a good heart and he meant well, but he was an alcoholic.  I only know about his heart and meaning well from the small window of time that I would witness him sober each day.  Alcohol affected my step father in such a way that it literally turned him into a different person when he was under it’s influence.  Of course, eventually this would come to pass each day.  It just depended on how late, or how early, he would start his drinking.  To this day, I still live with the affects of growing up with an alcoholic.

On the other hand, my birth father just wasn’t there.  He and my mom divorced when I was four.  While I was growing up, they never were able to let go and forgive. The anger and hurt between them was just so evident.   On occasional visits, I can even remember my dad pulling up to our house in his VW bug, honking his horn and waiting for us kids to come out, so that he and my mom didn’t have to even look at each other face-to-face.  I purposely stated, while I was growing up because when I became an adult, they did eventually come to the place where they could be in each other’s presence.  The first time it took place that I can remember was when I was 20, when I asked my father to give me away in matrimony to my first husband.  They even danced with one another.  For that day, I am grateful.

My dad remarried shortly after my mom and had two step daughters.  They became his true family.  My brothers and I just became by-products.  I wrote about some of this in my blog post, Cleaning Out the Closet.  If you haven’t had a chance to read it, I think you’ll enjoy the read.  Sadly enough though, I haven’t seen or spoken to my dad in years.  My brothers do not relate with him either.  Our father’s choosing, not ours.

The beauty about the story of I Can Only Imagine is that a divine intervention opened up the flood gates for a father and son to find love, redemption, forgiveness and healing.  Although my story is different, I have also been able to experience these things.  I may not have a personal relationship with my birth father today, or even my step father before he passed away.  My step father actually passed away some years ago.  After he and my mom divorced, he eventually ended up living on the streets, and I found out through the grapevine that he had been killed by a hit-and-run driver.  A very sad ending to a very sad life.  Even so, love, redemption, forgiveness and healing have taken place in my life, and in my heart, and are definitely a part of my life today.  I have peace within my heart with these two relationships and where they stand today.  The past no longer haunts me.  My Heavenly Father’s love has redeemed me and given me the ability both to forgive and to heal, even if a personal relationship with my Earthly fathers has never come to pass.  The Lord is so good!

Thank you Heavenly Father for filling the void that an Earthly father never could.  I am not only your daughter, but I am your princess.  I am loved beyond measure. ❤

Jeremiah 3: 13

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Ephesians 1: 5

His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to!

1 John 3: 1

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.