Category Archives: Daily Encourgement

A Little Faith Boost

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, my faith gets shaky.

I start to question…….

Everything!

When this happens, I delve into my prayer life. I say delve which may seem like I don’t have much of one, which is far from truth. I have a very strong prayer life, but when faith gets tested:

Stronger Prayer Sets My Sight Back on the Lord.

Through prayer, my frayed nerves get calm, my faith gets re-boosted, and I find solace in the quietness with God.

psalm 119 105

However, it’s not just prayer that accomplishes these feats.

Other ways that I can attain calm nerves, a boost in faith, and solace with God:

  • Spending time in God’s word
  • Plugging into spiritual music
  • Slowing down to enjoy the many blessings in my life
  • Having Bible study with my family and
  • Soaking up some of God’s beauty in the outdoors.

Since music tends to list highly for so many people as a mood-enhancer, here’s a 10-song list of my go-to music when my life is off-kilter and chaos is reigning in my home:

So, go ahead. Have a listen. I’m certain you will enjoy as much as I do and that you will find the solace you’re in search of. Of course, if it’s not solace you seek, these blessed songs will give you peace in your heart anyway.

Blessings to you on this beautiful day.

 

 

 

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Life Moment #6 – One Tough Cookie #she’snocomplainer

I don’t know about you or you or you, but this little gal grumbles. A lot. Way more than I ought.

I don’t grumble about what I have or don’t have. I grumble about the daily doings of life. I grumble about pain. I grumble about sleep or lack thereof. I grumble about arguing children.

I just grumble.

And you know what my grumbling has done?

It’s taught my kids to grumble. Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.

Complain about this.

Complain about that.

Now? How do I teach my children to go without complaining and grumbling about their lives if I can’t even control my own grumbling and complaining.

Well, I guess I can’t because, as every parenting class, book, magazine, and the Bible says, children learn from their parents example.

Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength. Take to heart these words which I command you today. Keep repeating them to your children. Recite them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them on your arm as a sign[b] and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.     – Deuteronomy 6:4-9

See?

As parents, we must be the shining example for our children. If not, how shall they learn? Do we want them learning about life and the world from the world or from God?

Every teaching in a child’s life begins in the home.

I want my husband and I to be their first teachers, the first people they trust. I want God to be their leader.

So it starts with me. It starts with my husband.

Therefore, I have been on a mission to way-lay some of my grumbling.

Okay.

So maybe, all of my grumbling needs to be halted. To start, I will daily remind myself of the following Bible verse:

Do all things without grumbling or disputing…… – Philippians 2:14

Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most. That way your good words will communicate grace to those who hear them. – Ephesians 4:29

Which brings me to my point about grumbling.

My 5 y/o daughter recently had surgery to insert tubes in both ears as well as remove adenoids and tonsils. We were in the hospital on surgery day for about four hours to prep, to do the surgery, and to be in recovery for a couple of hours. Afterwards, she was released to go home for ten days of recovery on a soft food diet. She is home with me for the ten days. Today marks her second day after surgery.

Now, for the lesson:

She is one tough cookie.

My girl is definitely not a complainer. She hasn’t complained once.

About pain.

About being hungry – even though she’s barely eating anything!

Did I say about pain?

She’s not complaining.

About anything.

We could all learn a lesson from my girl about not complaining.

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#she’snocomplainer

 

Bitter vs Angry

I was informed the other day that I am bitter. I simply responded with, “No, I am not bitter. I am angry.”

Since that day, I have been thinking about these two words. I probably have been overthinking since that tends to happen with me, quite frequently, I might add.

But regardless, I have been thinking…..

Bitter?

Am I bitter?

Bitter is such an ugly word. When I think of bitter, I think of crab-apples, or even worse!, grapefruit!

I don’t want to remind someone of a grapefruit!

Or….

Am I angry?

Let’s see, bitter vs. angry or any variation thereof…..

Are the words used interchangeably? Can the words be used interchangeably?

According to Miriam-Webster dictionary is the following:

angry (adjective): (a) indicative of or proceeding from anger (b) seeming to
show anger or to threaten in an angry manner

anger (noun): a strong feeling of displeasure and usually antagonism

antagonism (noun): actively expressed opposition or hostility.

bitter (adjective): marked by intensity or severity
(a) accompanied by severe pain and suffering
(b) being relentlessly determined
(c) exhibiting intense animosity
(d) harshly reproachful, marked by cynicism and rancor.

Now that we understand, what the words and their variations mean, let’s understand the story behind what I was told.

The story -in short version- I have two teenagers that don’t belong to my husband. Their dad and I haven’t been together for 15 years – wow, it’s amazing that I can say a number so high in regard to my children! Unfortunately, these two teens were raised mostly by their dad because he had custody. Since our break-up, the relationship between he and I, for the most part, has been non-existent. He had custody so other than required visitation, didn’t try to keep me involved. I was young and naive and was fooled by him and the court for many years. One of the children is now old enough to be on his own. The other is almost there. Over the last few months the younger one came to live with me, got into some trouble and had to go back to his dad’s because of it. Now I could go on and on and on just bashing this man, but I won’t because I really don’t think I am bitter. However, I know I am angry. And I am hurt.

Does that equal bitter?

Regardless of the answer – for now anyway – I have turned to the Bible for my umm…shall we say ‘someone else’s choice of words’ dilemma.

The Bible speaks very clearly about bitterness and anger:

bitterness –
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; – Hebrews 12: 14-15

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:31-32

angry, anger –
For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. – James 1:20

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. – Matthew 5:22

Now, none of these verses really answer my question directly. However, each one is helpful to me.

In the end, I must admit that

Yes, I am angry, but I am also bitter toward my teens’ dad.

So, great, I remind people of a grapefruit!

I guess it’s time for a little heart to heart with God, for a little digging deep exercise that will end in a less bitter, angry heart and forgiveness because as the Bible also states:

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, – Ephesians 4:26

and

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” – Mark 11:25

Therefore, down on my knees I shall go.

Prayers are greatly appreciated.

A blessed day to you all.

Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, renew a right spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

Life Moment #5 – Visitors w/ a Lesson

There’s a country song that many of you may know aptly named ‘The Heart Don’t (Won’t?) Lie and then the old adage that tells one to follow his heart.

For a long time, I believed exactly that: the heart will never lead one astray.

However, through studying the Bible and attending church, my view has since changed. What you believe about the heart is truly dependant on the state of your heart. To explain: if you are led by the spirit your heart is right in the spirit. If you have a worldly perspective without a religious foundation, your heart will reflect that view. The Bible is very specific in matters of the heart:

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?

or

Matthew 15:19

For out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

When you delve a little more into the Bible and into your devotion to God, other verses start to stand out and make sense:

Matthew 5:8

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

or

Psalm 51:10

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Recently, I had some visitors. During our visit, we spoke of life and what the other has been dealing with. As one knows, it’s a cruel world we live in and life is hard, much more for some it seems.

Anyway, as I was doling out good-hearted, Bible-proven advice, it suddenly dawned on me how accurately I was describing my own life and how I needed to heed my own advice.

And, to connect with the intro, each story I told about myself or listened to from my visitors, aligned so perfectly to the scripture above.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our sorrows and in the sorrows of others, it takes a great amount of strength, with God’s help, to overcome the sorrows rather than wallow in them.

I do hope my visitors left feeling a little more confident in fighting their battles. I know, upon their leaving, my heart felt a little more comfort in knowing that God is with me always even if I don’t always feel it because as we know, feelings wreak havoc on us and more-often-than-not leave us feeling anxious, broken, saddened or the exact opposite. The only true peace we can ever acquire is God’s spirit within us. It truly is the state of our hearts that determine the outlook we have in this life.

Many blessings to each of you.

 

 

Sometimes the Answer is No

One of the hardest parts of a devoted prayer life and daily walk with the Lord for me is discerning between His will and mine. I battle inside to know if I am following Him or following my own selfish desires/wants/tendencies, but I fear – I know – that it’s the latter.

I read something recently about prayer and the answers we receive. I believe God answers our prayers. I have faith that whatever His answer is, it is the answer we need most. This doesn’t always align with what we want most. A thought to ponder when it comes prayers being answered is

God’s timing is perfect timing and may not always happen when we want it.

I question, when it comes to praying,  how to proceed when the answer I want is not the answer I get. I question whether I received an answer at all.

Within the last month, I found myself, my family, facing a very difficult situation, but someone I know and love with all my heart is smack-dab in the middle of the situation so whatever the result is, said person will be affected most. First I prayed and cried, then I worried and fretted, and then I prayed some more. I prayed very specifically for something concerning the situation because as the Bible states:

Therefore I tell you, all things you pray and ask for, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them. – Mark 11:24

However, I felt slighted because I didn’t get what I prayed for. God’s answer, at that time, appeared to be no, not right now. So then, out of selfishness, I became angry. I broke down and I blamed God. I was distraught. I was heart-broken.

I lost a little faith at that point, but looking back a few weeks ago on that prayer, I have since re-examined the situation to see that my prayer was answered. It was answered according to His will, not mine. I just wasn’t seeing anything very clearly and I wasn’t putting my faith, my trust in God.

So, in essence, His timing is not always my timing, but His timing is always perfect timing.

And to be the best Christian I can be, I don’t have to like His timing,  but I do have to believe that God is looking out for my best interest and have trust in Him.

God bless us all in our daily struggles.

 

Life Moment #4: Love

So ladies and gents, how many of you have ever looked or your spouse and questioned:

  1. Who is this man/woman I married? What happened to my real husband/wife?

or

  1. Wow! How blessed I am to have such a hardworking, devoted, loving spouse! He/she has blessed my life in countless ways!

If you’re anything like me, I would have to say that these statements/questions pop into your mind on occassion. It doesn’t matter which of the above thoughts you have so much as it matters what you learn from those thoughts in regard to your spouse and to yourself. Both thoughts (or something similar) is just one more key to unlocking the most priceless chest in the world, the heart of both you and your spouse.

I admit it.

Life hasn’t been easy. Marriage hasn’t been easy. Parenting hasn’t been easy. Some day, maybe…..hopefully.

However, through all the messy and through all the joy, one thing that has led me in all my relationships (friends, family, kids, marriage) is:

“Love covers a multitude of sins.” 

                                 1 Peter 4:8

Only six run-of-the-mill words, but when used together carry great weight.

I don’t know about you, but I forgive quickly. I forget quickly. I, more-often-than-not, forgive someone for his/her wrong before an apology is even offered, before he/she can admit to his/herself the wrong committed against me. It’s very seldom that wrongs done against me stay on my mind or even in my mind.

I like to think it’s because I choose to be over it, to love rather than be angry.

And I hope it’s something I can teach my children, that it can influence others to follow God.

May God richly bless your marriage.

 

Temptations and Self-Control/Discipline

When January 1st rolled around, I set a goal, as most of us do each new year in the form of a New Year’s resolution. My goal, I decided, was to give up Dr. Pepper. I wanted to give it up just to get healthier. I don’t know about you, but drinking six+ cans a day to nothing is a hard feat to master. At first, my resolve was up. I can do this! I kept telling myself. Over and over. Day after day. I can do this! And I did……..

For a few weeks, but then I started getting headaches which progressed into dizziness…..

and dizziness is terrible!

My resolve started to wane.

I was dizzy

All.

The.

Time.

I started complaining about the headaches and feeling dizzy, quite frequently I might add.

One day I decided, one Dr. Pepper wouldn’t hurt me so I drank a Dr. Pepper just to curb the dizziness.

Then a few days later, another.

And so on and so forth.

Finally, my husband decided its cheaper to buy a pack of them. At first I said no, not to do that because, you know, easier access. At least if I was having to drive somewhere to buy one I wouldn’t drink as many.

Regardless, he did, but he hid them.

My sons acted as Dr.Pepper police and would only get me, from hiding, one can a day. The oldest even told me one day, you’ve already had your one can for the day.

And then I found them!

It was over! Now I could drink them at my leisure. One a day progressed to three a day.

My point here: self-control, self-discipline.

Self-control/self-discipline is a very important concept for us to learn and apply daily in our devotion to God.

Didn’t Jesus exhibit and master self-discipline/self-control when He walked the earth? Did He not have plenty of reason to give in to temptation, while remaining faithful and strong to His purpose?

My husband and I have been hitting this topic pretty regular with our children, trying and trying to help them learn it.

But, it came over me last night, in a conversation with our 12-, 8-, and 5- year old about self control during their fits of anger, that I have not exhibited self-control in my cravings for Dr. Pepper. They witnessed that journey with me. They saw my struggle of going without. And they saw me fail and give in to the temptation.

Now, I ask myself, how can I teach and preach self-control, if I am failing to exhibit it myself?

It was a very sobering thought!

So, back to the drawing board I go.

……And God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

I have always believed not only do children learn from their parents but vice versa as well.

Never have truer words been spoken.

Happy parenting!