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“It Was the Love,” He Said….

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“It Was The Love”

I just heard a man’s testimony on the radio this morning that struck a chord with me.  He said that he grew up Muslim.  However, through a lot of adverse things in his life, he became an Atheist.
At one point a couple of years ago, he decided he was tired of all of the anger and hatred that you hear in today’s music.  So he started searching for ‘clean music’ that his kids could listen to.  He stumbled across the Christian radio station K-Love.
Fast-forward to now and he is a Christian.  They asked him what was it that finally did it for him.  His answer?  LOVE!
He said that it touched him that there wasn’t all of the fighting and arguing being spewed.  It was the love that everyone talked and sang about.  He initially thought it had to be phony…but with time he realized it was real. And, he studied the bible and discovered that Jesus showed love to everyone regardless of who they were or what they had done.  He realized it was real.
For me, that brought to mind something else.  I have had friends and met people who are excited about sharing the Word.  So much so that you almost can’t carry on a normal conversation because they are busy quoting scripture to you in response to everything.  Half the time what they quote doesn’t even apply (or at least the person they are talking to can’t see the connection).
I’ve even attended a church in the past that is full of very loving people who desire to do God’s work.  However, if you are new or a visitor and happen to have a version of the bible that differs from the King James – then they hound you about it.  They try to ‘kindly’ give you the ‘right’ one.  They have been known to corner you and tell you how wrong you are because you grew up in a different church.
None of that wins the lost, people.  As a matter of fact – it turns them off and sends them running.  Which honestly, I don’t blame them!
I think that in our effortts to ‘win souls’ – we forget the most important thing:  show God’s love.  It’s not supposed to be the human effort anyhow.  All we are to do is let His love show through us.  The rest is between God and that other person.  It’s God’s love shining through us that attracts the lost.  They want what we have – just like that man mentioned earlier.
Jesus did not run after people and judge them.  He didn’t make them feel guilty.  He simply loved them where they were.
So I believe we should stop preaching at people.  Stop arguing your point.  Stop trying to show them how wrong they are and how right you are.  Stop quoting words that don’t mean much to the non-Christian.  Just love them.  Let God’s love shine through you in how you live your life.  Not through your efforts/works – but by being open to God’s will.

Yep, He Had My Back the Whole Way!

jesus holding the worldBoy has it been a year!  I have been through the ringer and this ol’ single mom is T-I-R-E-D!  But I’m also very grateful that I’m not alone. Here are just some of the things I can recall for 2014:

1) Started the New Year with frozen pipes/issues – meant lugging water in for a couple of weeks
2) Furnace stopped working – paid $$ I didn’t have for someone to come out and ‘fix it’ — only to find that they were full of you-know-what.  Then had to pay more for someone else to come out and do it right
3) Numerous times I had car issues/repairs
4) I got laid-off unexpectedly in March – lost a really good paying job that also included health care benefits paid at 100% for my whole family
5) Received a letter from IRS that I didn’t pay in enough some 3 years prior (long story)
6) Finally landed a job – at $11,000/yr less than my prior job + I had to start paying $400+ for health insurance
7) Was pretty miserable at that job – we were not a good fit for each other – but made some really awesome new friends too
8)  About the time I landed the new job – I also had to start paying $460/mo for childcare for the summer
9)  Car kept breaking down….so I finally gave in and signed on the dotted line for another one
10)  My daughter/best friend moved south out of town
11)  Was able to go see my daughter and her hubby for a few days during the July 4th holiday!
12) Received a letter from Attorney General that they ‘over-paid’ me for child support 2+ years prior and started taking half of my child support….which means I get a whopping $240/mo now
13)  Started getting down in the dumps about everything hitting constantly with no break…..started whining to God
14)  Got an unexpected call from my mentor and friend offering me a job (a little more money than my previous – for now, but promised more to come)
15)  Bills have been backing up and stacking up with all that has gone on so far
16)  Payroll company ‘forgets’ to enter my enrollment for health insurance…so they have to withdraw double payment out of my check = $500+
17)  Had to request them to defer a car payment when starting new job – in order to get them to coordinate with paydays = they had to deduct a double-payment out of the SAME paycheck that #15 occurs!
18)  Somewhere along the way – I reconnected with my first love, my high school sweetheart via FB
19)  Turned the big 5-0
20)  Thanksgiving — we were not able to work out schedules so that we could spend it with daughter and her hubby
21)  Thanksgiving — my high school sweetheart accepted and invitation to stop by and see me – he will have dinner with me, my son and my dad
22)  Christmas — we were unable to work out plans for spending this holiday with daughter/her hubby.  He was promoted – and can’t take off now and we can’t go that way
23)  Christmas — worked it out so we will go see daughter/hubby week after
There are many, many more ups and downs, but these are the things that come to mind right now.  It’s a lot.  Especially for a single-parent who is NOT getting any sort of assistance.  But it also means that someone had to have my back.  And He did!  God has seen me through as promised!  He never said it would be easy…but rather that He would be there.
However, I’ve also learned that He actually takes the burdens completely from me when I ask Him to – when I give it to Him.  It has been a hard lesson for me to learn – but I believe I’ve got it now.  I don’t even stress anymore about things….when something difficult comes my way – I say ‘here You go, God…it’s Yours’ — and He takes it!
May you all be blessed and enjoy your family and friends during the holidays.  And here’s to a beautiful, bless-filled 2015 coming around the corner!

THROUGH A CHILD’S EYES

MEDPARK2When my daughter was young, I worked full-time as a single mother.  My mom would pick her up from school.  When I got off, I would go to my parents’ house and we would all have dinner together before taking her home.  During those times – my dad always had milk with his evening meal.  So my daughter followed suit and would do the same because he was the father figure in her life and she wanted to be just like him.
Out of the clear blue, when she was about 5 or 6, she started refusing to drink milk.  After several evenings of this – I asked her why she quit drinking milk.  She informs me that we were always telling her to drink her milk because it would help make her big and strong (I know, I know…but that is what used to be said about milk).  And lately, we had been commenting that she was growing up so fast (you know how adults do)…..so, she connected the two and stopped drinking milk in order to slow down the growth process!
Needless to say we got a good chuckle out of the situation.  And of course we corrected the misunderstanding.
Fast forward to my 8-year old son.  He had to start wearing glasses last year – his first pair.  This year, we went for his check-up and discovered that he needed a new prescription.  We ended up going to a place that offered buy-one, get-one-free.  When we got home, he asked me what we were going to do with his old pair.  I casually mentioned that we would probably donate them – because there are places that will take them and help a child whose parents can’t afford to buy glasses for them.
A couple of weeks later, I get a call at work from the school nurse.  She tells me that my son had given his extra pair of glasses to a little boy – who didn’t even need glasses.  She tells me that the glasses are pretty much beyond repair.  I tell her to send them home and I would see what insurance would cover.
I got off of the phone stunned.  After all, I had noticed him wearing the 2nd pair of glasses and had even commented on it.  And he didn’t say a word.  And it was unlike him to do such a thing without asking first.
When I got home, I inquired about what had happened.  Come to find out – my son was showing his friends his new glasses – and a little boy said he needed glasses but his parents wouldn’t get him any.  And, my giant-hearted son remembered that comment I made about donating…..   So, he actually donated his OLD pair of glasses, not his new ones like everyone thought.  Of course he didn’t realize that one has to have the right prescription, etc.  But his heart was in the right place!
Comments that we think is very clear and simple – are not so when in comes to how our children interpret them  There is no being sarcastic with children….they don’t get it.  What you say is fact.  It’s black and white, no gray.
Therefore, if you have children/grandchildren – slow down.  Take time with them.  Take time to explain things….to show them exactly what you mean.  Take time to love them.

QUOTES FROM POSITIVE THINKERS

“A real friend never gets in your way–unless you happen to be on the way down.” — Wayne Dyer

“A true friend is someone who is there for you when they rather be anywhere else.” — Len Wein

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” — Pat Riley

“The greatest achievement is to outperform yourself.” — Denis Waitley

And finally: “God, grant me the serenity to ACCEPT the PEOPLE I cannot change, the courage to change the one I CAN, and the wisdom to know….it”s ME!” — John G. Miller