Praying Beyond the Veteran

This is Memorial Day weekend, a time  where we honor our fallen troops that have fought in battles WORLDWIDE. But those soldiers, airmen and sailors each had a family by birth and /or by marriage.

So today in your prayers would you remember the mothers, fathers, spouses and children of our troops. They too sacrifice their lifestyle for our protection.

I was an Army wife during the Vietnam war. It was the first war I had ever seen our troops so disrespected. They risked their lives only to be mocked, condemned and even spit on. The families were often shunned by communities. So they know only dealt with fear of their loved one not returning home, but shame was heaped on them by association. Honor became dishonor. Children were bullied.

Military.com states, ”

“Even when we are not at war, military families often deal with stresses such as frequent moves or the absence of a parent. Deployment to war creates additional issues for a family to handle.

Families face a number of challenges before, during, and after deployment. This emotional cycle of deployment begins when news of deployment is released to the family. It starts with a short period of strong emotions, such as fear and anger. As departure grows closer, a period of detachment and withdrawal may occur. This can happen to prepare for the person being physically gone.

During the deployment family members have a range of feelings and experiences, including:

  • Concern, worry or panic
  • Loneliness, sadness
  • Added family duties and responsibilities
  • Learning new skills, making new friends
  • Fear for their service member’s safety
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Financial difficulties
  • Dealing with problems on their own
  • Understanding what your loved ones have been through
  • Concern over being needed and loved

Children’s reactions to a parent’s deployment vary with each child. Reactions depend on age, maturity and any other behavioral or mental health problems the child might have. The mental health of the at-home parent often affects the child’s distress level. This is especially true for young children. If parents successfully handle the stress of deployment, their children are less likely to have mental health or behavior problems.”

This Memorial Day weekend pray not only for our troops, but their families for they are sacrificing at a level of their own. Pray for healthy relationships and open communication. Pray for the protection of their hearts.

If you know a military family whose loved one is deployed, include them in some of your family activities. This enables the children to have a healthy shot of familial life. If you can go to their recitals and ball games, that would be a generous act of kindness.

Pray for a safe return and God’s blessing on the while family.

While We Wait…

I shared  earlier how Ray and I were not on the same page about something important. We saw things differently. Finally I got over myself and remembered all of the times that Ray had let me forge ahead because I was sure I was right even though in the end , I was not.

It is important in a marriage not to be a dream killer. You present your side, share your heart, but you cannot crush theirs. I let go. I didn’t know how it was going to play out, but I knew nothing was too difficult for God.  Even if it turned out to be a mistake or if I was wrong, we are in this together and we would walk it out.

Things progressed. I held my tongue and tried to be supportive because I had already stated my side. To continue would be nagging. I had to trust God. Period.

Then yesterday we woke up, he brought me coffee and said, “I have been praying and this is not right. I am cancelling the contract and continue to look for a better solution.”

Here I am a woman of faith, but I was shocked. I cried. Do you mean to tell me all these years all I had to do was hold my tongue. get out of God’s way and let Him be in charge? Looks like it.

There is a difference between faith and fear-faith. Fear-faith always has a plan B. Most of the time when we declare we have faith, it isn’t faith at all, but I believe for this, but if it doesn’t happen (If God does not come through in my time line), there is a Plan B. We do not wait.

Psalm 27:14 – Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

God’s waiting room is much like a hospital waiting room. We are in charge of nothing.. I think one of the most difficult things in life for me is to wait on the Lord. One of the most difficult places to be is in God’s waiting room. Faith is the substance of hings HOPED for, but that hope isn’t always visual. We may see nothing while waiting. waiting  is a time to be refined by God. Bad attitudes will be exposed. We need to be willing and obedient.

It’s not just sitting, tapping our foot, anxious for God to respond. It is a call to  obedience to God’s word and loving and serving others. If we choose to do nothing but wait, being non-productive, frustration and even bitterness will come.

God promises to work all things together for our good. Do we take Him at His Word and believe Him even if we see no good thing?

In the NLT translation it says,

 13 I am expecting the Lord to rescue me again, so that once again I will see his goodness to me here in the land of the living.14 Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and he will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous. Yes, wait and he will help you.

Are you willing?

PS. Earlier this month I shared with you a major need Boundless Pennies had. (http://www.amamasheart.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=1839&action=edit ) Thank you for your response to them. If you have not yet participated. there is the link again: Boundless Pennies

 

New Day, New Hope

Yesterday was a yucky day. Ray and I were not on the same page about something important. We saw things differently. Finally I had to get over myself and remember all of the times that he let me forge ahead because I was sure I was right even though in the end , I was not.

It is important in a marriage not to be a dream killer. You present your side, share your heart, but you cannot crush theirs. I let go. I don’t know how it is going to play out, but I know nothing is too difficult for God.  Even if it turns out to be a mistake or I am wrong, we are in this together and we will walk it out.

One of my favorite scriptures especially when I was learning to give up my right to be right is found in Lamentations 3:

22 It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

His mercies are new every morning. Yesterday is gone. I don’t have to play it over and over in my mind. It is finished. It is now excess baggage. Today I begin anew trusting that God has got this. His compassions fail not.

Is anything too difficult for God? I am taking my clean slate and writing a new day with new hope. How about you?

Let It Be Me

I have been a Mary Kay consultant over ten years. I have received my share of awards. Now that I am older I maintain my customers and the Lord blesses me with new ones.

One of my favorite Mary Kay quotes is: “Become everything that God wants you to be. It is within your reach. Dare to grow into your dreams and claim this as your motto: Let it be me.”

I apply this to my walk as a believer. “Become everything that God wants you to be. It is within your reach.” A question I ask Him frequently is, “God, who did you see when you saw me before the foundation of the world? Help me to become that.”
The world tries to shape us.  God says we are created in His image. He is love. So I should bring love to those around me. God is faithful and trustworthy. I should be faithful and trustworthy also.

God is often quiet when I am in a quandary. That releases me from trying to rescue everyone. They need to go to the Father and get their direction, not run to me to tell them what they should do.

It is in quietness, I often find my struggle. I once spent six months on Isaiah 30:15:

For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest shall ye be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength; but ye would not.

My strength could be found in quietness and confidence, believing that God had the situation under control. He did not need my help. The “but ye would not” is easily translated: But you had to do your own thing.

Let it be me, Lord. Let it me that reflects YOUR glory. Let it be me that loves people where they are. Let it be me who brings encouragement to the broken. Let it be me, the ME you created me to be.

Join me in becoming the one God created.

Lead Me to the Rock

I was looking up a commentary in blueletterbible.org on Isaiah 61:1-3 when I took a wrong turn and unknowingly wound up in Psalm 61.  I read the commentary by Chuck Smith and it just didn’t jive. Then I noticed I had taken a wrong, but meaningful turn.

I have always been intimidated by those who spew Hebrew and Greek with ease especially when they use it in general conversation, not in explanation. Mizpah was such a word. So I cracked up with Chuck Smith’s explanation. I am no longer intimidated. This is a long quote but if your back is against the wall, I think it will encourage you as it did me.

“God brought many people of the Bible to the end of the road. I think of the angel wrestling with Jacob all night. It was a bad day for Jacob. He had just left his father-in-law, and that was a bad scene. They had had words, and their leaving wasn’t on the best on terms. Even though when they departed from each other they said, “Mizpah,” which means, “The Lord watch between me and thee while we’re absent one from the other.” Yet, that isn’t as pleasant as it sounds when we put it into English. In the Hebrew it literally means, “You’ve ripped me off, and now you are leaving with all of my goods that you have ripped off from me. And I can’t keep my eye on you anymore, because you are going to be gone. You have gone with my daughters, you’ve gone with my flock, my herds, and I can’t watch you any more, so may God watch over you while we are absent one from the other, you crook.”

“And it had been a bad scene; Jacob didn’t know how he was going to fare out of it. In fact, he wouldn’t have fared so well unless God had been with him. And the night before his father-in-law had caught up with him and the Lord said to his father-in-law, “Don’t you touch Jacob. You keep your hands off of him.” And so because Laban was afraid of God, he didn’t touch Jacob. He said, “Listen, I have the power to really do you hurt, but last night the Lord told me not to touch you.” So it was a strained experience.

Now Jacob has left his father-in-law. They have gone back toward Babylon, and Jacob receives word, “Your brother is coming with a host of men to meet you.” But that isn’t really a welcome home party kind of a thing that you are anticipating or looking for, because the last time you saw Esau seventeen years ago, he was saying, “As soon as I get a chance I am going to kill that rat.” And his brother had been threatening to murder him. Now, if his brother was coming to welcome him home, he wouldn’t need two or three hundred men with him in a welcome party, so Jacob knew that trouble was brewing, and he was trouble.

That was the night that there came an angel of the Lord and wrestled with Jacob all night. The Lord was trying to bring Jacob to the end of the road. You see, he was going to need all kinds of strength tomorrow. He is going to be meeting Esau. He doesn’t know what the situation is going to be; it could be perilous. And so all night, a night when you especially need sleep, you need strength for tomorrow; he is wrestling with this angel. Now, Jacob at this point is a ninety-six-year-old man. I mean, he is no spring chicken anymore. And in the morning, as the day began to break, still wrestling. Man, this guy is tenacious. He’s not going to give up. So the angel touched him in his thigh and caused his muscle to shrivel, and crippled him. And the angel said to Jacob, “Let me go before the day breaks.” And Jacob at this point was hanging on with all that he had, but he broke down and he began to weep. Now, Genesis doesn’t tell us that he wept, but Hosea tells us that Jacob now was in tears; he was a broken man. And he said, “I will not let you go until you bless me.” But that was not a demand, that was a plea. It was a plea with tears. “Please don’t go without blessing me.” He is defeated now. God has him where He wants him.

Jacob, the name means heel catcher, Jacov. For when he was born, he had hold of his brother’s heel, so they said, “Oh, look at that heel catcher.” And the name stuck. “What is your name?” “My name is heel catcher.” “You won’t be called heel catcher anymore. You are going to be called Governed by God, Israel.” His life was changed. No longer the supplanter. No longer the deceiver. Now a man, Israel, governed by God. What a difference. But God had to bring him to the end of the road to bring about those necessary changes. And so the last cry of desperation that came forth with weeping and tears from Jacob was really the first cry of victory.

So often that is true in our lives. When my heart is overwhelmed, when I turn to God out of desperation, that becomes the beginning of God’s glorious victory in my life as He leads me to the Rock that is higher than I.

For you have been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy [the shelter of the rock, strong tower]. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert [or the covering] of thy wings. For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: you have given me the heritage of those that fear thy name. And you will prolong the king’s life: and the years as many generations. He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him. And so will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows (Psa 61:3-8).

I don’t think it was a wrong turn at all. We have had some serious challenges this week. This is how Smith concludes his commentary; “And so David ends the psalm with more or less words of confidence. “God, You are going to take care of it. The Rock that is higher than I will see me through. He will bring me back. I will dwell in Your tabernacle. I will dwell before Thee.”

 

Will the Real You Show Up Today?

All too often we put on our plastic smile, get out the door and go do what we gotta to. We have our outside box we operate in.

However, the Word says, Christ in me, the hope of glory. What if I spoke what was on my heart. What if I spoke words of truth in love instead of being afraid of hurting someone or being politically correct. What if I shared words of life? Words of hope.

What does Christ, the hope of glory look like in your life? In your words?

So what if you are vulnerable to someone’s criticism or sarcasm? Would you rather have your life look like a”to do list” or a vibrant journey?

Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:Ephesians 1:8-9

He has already made known to us the mystery of His will. If we don’t know the will of God for our lives, it must be covered up with disappointments, the cares of the world, Unforgiveness or who knows what. The point is it is our job to discover it.

I praise God for the For My Life program at Be in Health. It helped me remove a lot of the things that were covering what God has in mind for my life. I am still in the discovery stage.

As I peel off layer upon layer of generational iniquities, self-righteousness, self-bitterness, self-rejection,  pride, doctrinal error, I am finding the real me. I am finding my voice and I am learning to use it.

You are on assignment today. Will you be BRAVE, and speak words of life to someone and bring them to their  “Christ in you, the hope of glory”?

On the Road Again

Some of my favorite times with Ray are in the car. Although that is his comfort zone, not mine, I have him all to myself. He doesn’t answer the phone or texts while driving. So he is all mine.

He drives for a living. He has gas in his blood stream. I am the opposite. I am a homebody. Destination road trips are a great compromise. Unlike the driving he does for FedEx, he isn’t in a hurry and always open to impromptu stops. We rarely have the radio or CD player on. We do not talk nonstop, but just enjoy each other’s company. We started our marriage 37 years ago with five children. We never lived as a just a couple until we went to Africa.  So time together as a couple is precious.

It seems that on road trips we have some rather deep conversations because there are no distractions It is a time I treasure.

Matt. 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” So I expect God moments on road trips. Some just awakenings and others clarity about things we have been struggling with.

Part of it I think is looking for God and looking for Him at work. Otherwise, we can sleep right through it. Look for some God moments today. He may surprise. you.

 

Pick Up the Phone!

Today reach out and touch someone. There are so many who cross our paths who are like mamas to us. I am thinking of my fabulous Mary Kay Director, Kathy Lee. She has walked me through some really rough times in the past ten years. Loving and accepting me for me even in my mess. Thank you, Kathy.

Who has been like a mama to you? Acknowledge it.

If you have a strained relationship with your own mother, call her anyway. If you need to, call your best friend and say, “Hey, I am calling my mom, can you call me in 5 minutes, so I can get off the phone?”

The point is to reach out. Sometimes repair comes in baby steps.

Call those single moms. That is a hard place to be. Call those who have lost their mother especially if they still have children at home. It’s hard when you are hammered with thoughts of loss and wanting to share these times with her.

And if no one calls you, that is really okay. Why? Because all seeds planted, come back in due season, just exactly when you need it. When you get out of yourself, you are really blessed.

Rule number one for today: NO WHINING. Make it a great day. It is your choice!

Dreading Mother’s Day?

Many mothers are dreading Mother’s Day, because they know they won’t get a card, gift, phone call or any acknowledgement. I used to face it with dread myself. I had to finally acknowledge that I was looking for their acceptance and approval. That comes from not feeling you are enough. It comes out of neediness.

You see Father God loves me in all my stuff and understands I am on a journey to wholeness and if anyone else loves me, well, it is a cherry on top.

There is a post on Facebook that is the whine of neediness and self-pity:

“Every year my children ask me the same question. After thinking about it, I decided I’d give them my real answer:
What do I want for Mother’s Day? I want you. I want you to keep coming around, I want you to bring your families and friends around, I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. Tell me about your job, your worries, your dreams, your fur babies. I want you to continue sharing your life with me. Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don’t care. Hearing you laugh is music to me.
I spent the better part of my life raising you the best way I knew how. Now, give me time to sit back and admire my work. HOW’S THAT FOR GUILT?
I want you to spend your money making a better life for you and your family, I have the things I need. I want to see you happy and healthy. When you ask me what I want for Mother’s Day, I say –YOU–I want you.”

I am not in agreement with that post.

I was not a perfect mother. Far from it. But I did raise my children to be independent. All of my daughters are excellent mothers. Frankly they are more nurturing than I was. It’s their Mother’s Day, too. I know they are swamped with soccer, camp, theater, church, etc.  They do visit me and call when they can, but let’s face it without children, it is just as easy for me to call them or go to them.

They aren’t all where I want them to be, but I trust God to complete the work. (Phil. 1:6)

We, as moms, cannot keep a record of wrongs and we need to release them from OUR expectations and love them unconditionally as the Father loves us. What if God kept track of every time I failed to acknowledge Him and all He has done for me?

The best remedy when your kids are busy growing and with life is to reach out to others who don’t have a mom nearby. I am fortunate that our church has lots of them. Can’t be a mom to all but a few have won my heart. When I see them overwhelmed, I can cook a meal, babysit or run an errand. There is no room for self-pity when you are serving others.

I don’t want my children to remember my nagging, guilt trips or temper fits.

There is only one thing I want for my children, grandchildren and great-children:

I want them to know me by my love.  

Know Us By Our Love

 

Thank You for the Support

Recently I posted a rather long blog about a ministry who helped Ray with his teeth. Can You Help?

They are facing a challenge of helping a woman who needs multiple dental surgeries totaling $80,000. I want to thank those who supported the effort and participated in the Yankee Candle fundraiser.

This effort continues and if you haven’t participated yet, I encourage you to do so.

I am reading a book by David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby, called Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back. This is not a give to get book but rather his lifestyle and the way he raised his children to do the same. It is the foundation for building a lasting legacy. I encourage you to read it.

Thank you again for supporting Mona and endeavor.