More Than We Ask Or Imagine

Life has been full of ups and downs for our family over the past 5 months.  My husband is in full time ministry.  And ministry comes with challenges.  One of my dearest friends often says that,

Ministry is never easy or convenient!!

She is right.  The hardest part about full time ministry is that sometimes the Lord’s plans take you to a new ministry.  That is where we are right now.  We have been where we are for 5 years.  We have loved and been loved by a congregation of precious people.  We have had the honor and privilege of being in a strong homeschool community.  We’ve done ministry in our small town and grown to love the people here.

Within the next few weeks, we will move on.  I’ll write more about the details of our new place soon but today, I am overwhelmed at what God has done in our family in the past few months.  We have seen answers to big prayers and small prayers.  I wasn’t surprised by answered prayer.  Just reminded that He hears us and that He does answer.

I’ve been doing a Bible study on prayer and a few weeks back the focus verses were Ephesians 3:20-21.

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I was immediately humbled.  For months I had been asking God for the obvious.  These verses reminded me that He will do more than just the obvious.  He will answer the things I pray for, in His will, and even the things I didn’t know to pray for.  He will answer my needs and sometimes, He may just give me the desire of my heart.  I know all of this…I just really needed the reminder on that particular day.

The last part of these verses stuck out to me.  Three words almost jumped off the page:

“…throughout all generations,…”

This is about my kids.  And my grandchildren.  And my great-grandchildren.  And many more after that.

God wants to show up and show out in our lives so that what He does impacts the lives for generations to come.  That is an incredible thought to me.

Today is Good Friday.  I have no idea what the cry of your heart has been to the Lord.  What I do know is that He desires to give you more than you can imagine.  Think about the disciples.  Even though Jesus had been telling them exactly what was going to happen to Him, I’m not sure they really understood.  And then, they met Him after His resurrection.  Can you imagine what they felt?

I am praying the lives are changed this Easter season. That hearts are turned to the Lord and that those touched will experience more than they ever “asked or imagined” through their life in Christ.  I expect Him to continue to show my family His plan and purpose for us.

What about you?  What do you ask or imagine from the Lord?

Look to the cross and know that He went there for you.  For me.

Joy to You!

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Refreshment?

 

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Beginning in 1929 and continuing on through at least 2013, Coca – Cola has used the theme of “refreshment” in their slogan.  I’ve shown a few above. Personally, I am a Coke girl.  I can actually tell the difference between Pepsi and Coke.  You can’t fool me.  And I will admit that when it’s ice cold and really fizzy, I am refreshed.

So what does “refreshment” mean?  Webster’s 1828 dictionary says:

Act of refreshing; or new strength or vigor received after fatigue; relief after suffering; applied to the body.

Obviously drinking Coke, or any other drink, would fall into the “act of refreshing.”  So, why am I writing about this?

Our family has been facing some challenges over the past few months that, honestly, have worn me down.  I’ve tried to be brave and strong.  I have prayed and cried.  And I have cried and prayed.  I have talked to my closest friends and my dear extended family members.  (And those conversations are “refreshing” to my soul).  Through it all, I have said over and over again,

I trust the Lord!

Or on the days that trusting was hard, I said,

I HAVE to trust Him!

Recently as I was writing my thoughts and prayers in my journal, I was prompted to go to a familiar passage in Proverbs.  I can paraphrase it but I felt like I was supposed to really read it.   It goes like this:

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I have read chapter 3 of Proverbs many times.  I have listened to sermons focusing on verses 5 -6, which are probably the best known verses in the chapter.  But I read further and discovered verse 8.

God’s Word is so cool.  It tells us what to do and then, without fail…when we keep reading, it tells us the result.  The result of trusting in the Lord is healing and refreshment.  Not cold drink refreshing but down in your bones refreshing.

Isn’t that wonderful?

Just think, the Lord wants to refresh us.  Our trusting in Him and not in ourselves, will bring healing to our broken and hurting hearts.  You see:

We may not know what tomorrow holds

We may be saying a final good-bye to a loved one that we aren’t ready to let go

We may not understand decisions that our kids or our spouse make

We may feel like our families are falling apart

We may be caring for aging parents

We may have lost a close connection with friends that we once had

…but we can still TRUST in Him.

How do we trust Him?  We have to get to know Him first.  It only makes sense.  We would, most likely, not immediately trust someone that we’ve just met.  We want to get to know them first.  Our trust in the Lord is an outward expression of our faith and yet, we need to know Him to trust Him.

I discovered a beautiful scripture the other day when looking up reference verses for a Bible study that I am working through.  I was so excited about the verse that I just had to add it to my journaling Bible:

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Hosea shares a promise for refreshment.  When we “press on” to KNOW the Lord, the result is Him “coming to us as the showers of a Spring rain that waters the earth.”  If that’s not refreshment, I don’t know what is!!

That is what I want.  It’s what I need.  Refreshment like rain from the Lord.

And so, I continue on the journey that God has me, and my family, on.  We are pressing on to know Him and we are looking forward to the refreshment (down to our bones) that His Word promises.

I hope that you also have that kind of refreshment every time you meet with Him.  His Word is a great place to find it.  That’s my prayer for you.  And for me!

Until next time…Joy to You!

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Discussion of the Heart

Today I am very excited to be guest posting over at Barbieswihart.com.

My post is about “Making My Heart Expand”.  I felt this a fitting topic as February draws to a close.  I’d be very honored you if clicked on over to Barbie’s site and read my post.  You can find it here.

I first encountered Barbie back in October when we were both writing a 31 Day Series.  She has a beautiful heart for the Lord.  Please take a moment and explore her blog when you get a chance.  You will be blessed.

Until next time….Joy to You!

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Forget ~ A Five Minute Friday Post

I’ve taken a little time away from writing but have much on my heart that I want to say so I’ll be back at it soon.  In the mean time, I thought I’d do a Five Minute Friday Post teaming up with Kate Motaung and other bloggers who also sit and write for 5 minutes about one word.  No real prep.  No fancy photos – at least not for me.  Just writing.

So here I go:

Today’s word is FORGET

This is a word that really hits home.  Seems I am forgetting everything these days. I often chuckle and say that I birthed my memory.  Somewhere between 12 and 17 years ago, I now remember nothing and my kids….well, they remember EVERYTHING!!!

But I think the word FORGET is bigger than that.  I’ve been thinking alot about God’s grace and forgiveness lately and was reminded that He forgets.  He forgets our sins.  He forgets our bad attitudes.  He forgets our short comings. He forgets our blatant sin.  True repentance is part of the equation with this but when we do repent in our heart of hearts, I believe that He does forget them.

Psalm 103:12 says, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

That means that He doesn’t hold them against us.  They are gone.  They don’t return to be held against us.  For me, that means that He forgets them.  I won’t stand before Him one day and have my sins listed out before me.

 

What a beautiful thing!

 

So now I’ve decided that I, too, want to FORGET.  I want to follow the example Christ gave and forget the bad attitude that my kids have about cleaning their room, our doing their school work, or whatever makes them cranky.  I want to forget that the cashier at the grocery store wasn’t very nice to me.  After all, her bad mood doesn’t have anything to with me but with the rude person in line before me.  There are a plethora of examples that come to mind as I encounter people daily.

 

Instead, I want to remember that God extends grace and mercy to me every day.  And everyone.  I mean everyone that I come in contact with deserves the same.

 

I doubt my memory improves much but in some cases, that’s not a bad thing.  Sometimes it’s good to FORGET.

 

Joy to You!
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Through It All – It Is Well

Earlier this week, I attended the funeral of a precious lady in our church.  For 42 years, she was a faithful member of our church serving where she was needed; playing the piano for most of those years.  Kind, and very appropriate, words were spoken.  Scripture was read and songs were sung.

It is well by Bethel Music was one of the songs that was sang.  It was appropriate.  This sweet lady kept her eyes on the Lord.  Even in the hard times.

Life is hard.  We go through all sorts of things that can cause our faith to weaken.  For me, I try really hard to give it all over to Him.  But, like many, I find myself taking it back.  Sometimes, I take the whole burden back.  And sometimes I take just a nugget of it.  Do I not trust Him with it?  I mean, after all He is the creator of all things.  He’s the one that set the earth in motion.  He’s the one that knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Who am I to think that He can’t handle the circumstances in life that weigh me down?

I can’t get this song out of my head.  I keep thinking of the trials that I have come through asking myself if I really relied on Him the way I needed to.  I hope that I did, but in reality I know that I often wavered.  I took my eyes off of Him and when I did things like fear, anger, and doubt consumed me.

I want to keep my eyes on Him.  I want to be known as someone who has – and shows – the joy of the Lord.  I want to be able to say that “through it all, it is well.”

I’d love for you to take a few moments and listen to this beautiful song.  Let it sink in. Take time to consider your response to whatever life is throwing your way.

My prayer is that you can say, “Through it all, it is well.”

Joy to You!

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Still I Will Say – A Monday Meditation

Mon_meditations_revdI am often keenly aware of the fact that this life is full of trials…sorrow…disappointments.  I listen to the prayer requests at church where people I care about tell of aging parents, friends and loved ones that have been diagnosed with cancer – or some other disease.  Folks share of relationship strains, difficulties in their jobs, financial difficulty, and how they feel distant from God.

As I read God’s Word, I am reminded that none of this is really new.  The Old Testament – as well as the New Testament – had it’s share of all of the above.  And more.  So I have to ask, why am I surprised when trials come? Why do I think that my family, or friends, should be immune to them?

Last night at church, our music minister lead us through a beautiful song that really sums all of this up.

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This song has special meaning.  It reminds me of friends who lost their precious baby when he was almost full term.  Her due date was very close and he went to be with his Heavenly Father.  Their strength, their testimony lived out during the days following his passing was simply amazing.  The mom, my sweet friend, reminded countless people that even though she had lost her child, she was blessed.  I stood in amazement of her.  I still do.  To this day, I get tears in my eyes when I hear this song.  Hearing it humbles me.  It reminds me that in ALL, I am to be thankful.  In ALL, I am to praise Him.

I have no idea what you may be facing but I do know that He is with us “in the desert place”…He is with us “in the land that is plentiful”…He is with us when “the sun’s shining down” and “on the road marked with suffering.”

And so….Still I will say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

Joy to You!

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FIRST – A five-minute-friday post

This little musing is linked up over at katemotaung.com with many other bloggers who participate in this fun writing exercise called “Five-Minute-Friday”.

For the next 5 minutes, I will be writing on the first Five-Minute-Friday word of 2016.  That word is:

FIRST

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When I discovered that the word for this #fiveminutefriday was FIRST, two things immediately came to my mind.  The “first” one was my son.  My FIRST born.  He will be 17 this weekend.  Wow!  Hard to believe that I’ve been a mom for 17 years.  I was thinking of all the things that come with having a child.  There are tons of “first” moments that can never be repeated.  At least not with that particular child.  My favorite “first” for my little…..okay, not so little anymore guy was his very first lollipop.

He was just a barely 2 months old.  My dad, who had cancer at the time, had been in the hospital since my son was born.  Dad was home and we went to visit.  It was a tradition in my dad’s family that the grandfather introduced the little one to a lollipop.  So, my dad did.  As you can see in the photo below, that “first” taste of sweetness brought a precious smile and an even more precious moment.

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That memory, thinking of all the “first” things that happen in a child’s life, immediately took me to a passage that I read this week as I have begun a reading plan to go through the Bible in a year.  Matthew 6:25-35 is a beautiful passage about being anxious.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

A new baby…just like a new year can come with new experiences…things that we will worry and lose sleep over.  But the Lord tells us not to be anxious.  We read that He cares enough to clothe the grass and if He cares that much for a blade of grass, won’t He also take care of us.  The beginning of verse 33 gives us a very important “first”.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,…

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I ran out of time {smile} but do feel the need to finish.  Seeking the Lord FIRST in all we do, is the key to living our lives as He created us to.  My prayer this year is that as I face the good and the bad that I will seek Him and His ways.

Joy to You!

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