True Love

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A couple of years ago my daughter found a kitten outside of our house. She bent down to her knees, put out her little hands and said “Come here kitty kitty.” The cat came right to her and has been with her ever since. His name: Catlitter. Original huh?

Catlitter and my daughter have been inseparable. He is an outside cat, which does not go over too well with my daughter. However, when you scratch my furniture and pee on my couch you will not live in my house. The sound of an opening door summons Catlitter to immediately tangle himself between your feet. He allows my daughter to pick him up and carry him around, no matter what position this might be in. He loves her so very much. No matter what she does to him, he is immediately forgiving and loves her unconditionally.

This made me think of God’s unconditional love for us. He is such a forgiving and loving Lord. He gave His only son so that we may have eternal life. Now that is true love!

Psalm 86

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“Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer;

answer me, for I need your help. 

Protect me, for I am devoted to you.

Save me, for I serve you and trust you.

You are my God.

Be merciful to me, O Lord, 

for I am calling on you constantly.

Give me happiness, O Lord, 

for I give myself to you.

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, 

so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. 

Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; 

hear my urgent cry. 

I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, 

and you will answer me. 

No pagan God is like you, O Lord. 

None can do what you do!

All the nations you made

will come and bow before you, Lord; 

they will praise your holy name.

For you are great and perform wonderful deeds. 

You alone are God.

Teach me your ways, O Lord, 

that I may live according to your truth!

Grant me purity of heart, 

so that I may honor you. 

With all my heart I will praise you, O lord my God. 

I will give glory to your name forever, 

for your love for me is very great.

You have rescued me from the depths of death.

O God, insolent people rise up against me;

a violent gang is trying to kill me. 

You mean nothing to them.

But you, O Lord, 

are a God of compassion and mercy, 

slow to get angry

and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

Look down and have mercy on me. 

Give your strength to your servant;

save me, the son of your servant.

Send me a sign of your favor. 

Then those who hate me will be put to shame,

for you, O Lord, help and comfort me. 

Amen!

 

Are you in need of prayer? Would you like me to prayer for you or for someone you love? Leave your prayer in the comment section and I will be glad to send my prayers for you to the Lord. 

Regrets

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He sat up in bed, saying his goodbyes, grey eyes staring right into mine. I stared back as I was being pushed out the door. I did not get to hug his neck or tell him I loved him. We continued to stare at each other until I was out of sight. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. My heart screamed out to him and my head filled with fear. I would never see him again.

This happened when I was thirteen years old. My granddaddy was the man sitting up in bed; a hospital bed. Cancer had taken over his lungs and he lost his battle a few nights after my last visit with him. I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not give my granddaddy a hug before saying goodbye. After visiting with him and my grandma at their house, they would walk my mom, dad, brother and I to our car and he would always tell me, “Come hug my neck.” And I would reach my tiny arms around this seven-foot tall man and hug him with all my strength. He was my best friend. We did everything together. I was by his side at all times. I loved this man with every bit of my heart. But that last night – my last time every seeing him – I did not hug his neck.

Regret. What a powerful word. Our sermon yesterday at church focused on this word. The pastor spoke of regret and disappointment and described the difference between the two. Disappointment is when you wish something would have turned out differently, but you had no control over its outcome. Regret is something you know would have turned out differently had you made a better choice. Regret will paralyze you. Regret will imprison you. John Ortberg said, “Hell is human regret consolidated.”

Matthew 26 tells us the story of Peter’s promise to Jesus that he would never desert Him (Matt. 26:33). However, Jesus knew that Peter’s promise would be broken. He told Peter that he would deny Him three times on that same night. Yet once again, Peter insisted that this was not true.

When Jesus is arrested by the traitor Judas, Peter waits outside in the courtyard. A servant girl tells Peter that she saw him with Jesus. Here is where Peter’s first denial comes in. In front of everyone in the courtyard, Peter denied knowing Jesus. He denied knowing the Lord. He denied knowing Jesus a second time to another servant girl who claimed to have seen him with Jesus. This time his denial was done with an assurance. The bystanders knew that he must have known Jesus because he spoke with a Galilean accent. Yet again, Peter swore he did not know the Lord. Three denials in the same night. Then the rooster crowed.

Imagine Peter’s shock as the sound of the crowing rooster entered his ears. Oh how his heart must have stopped at that very moment. The Bible says that Peter went away and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:75). He was overwhelmed with regret at what he had done. He denied the Lord! He denied knowing his own creator.

In Psalm 38:4-8, David speaks of his own regret. He says that his guilt is overwhelming because of his own poor choices. His heart is grief-stricken over the choices he made. He is spiritually imprisoned.

Our pastor ended our sermon yesterday with three ways in which we can be set free from the prison of regret. One, we can accept our second chances. We can be set free through the forgiveness of Christ! (Psalm 32:5) We just need to be honest and come clean with God (Proverbs 28:13). Second, we need to clarify our values and think about what is really important. Think about what your life looks like to you when you are on your deathbed. Are you happy with how you lived? Do you have any regrets? Third, we need to pursue God’s plan for our lives with all of our heart, mind, and soul.  The Lord gives us a great promise in Isaiah 43:4-8. He tells us not to dwell on the past because He is doing something new. What a wonderful promise from the Lord! Isn’t He amazing?

What about you? Do you have many regrets? I would love to hear from you in the comments section below. May you have a very blessed day. Do not dwell on the past!

Psalm 81:10

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt.

Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”

Psalm 81:10, NLT

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In Exodus 20, years before the book of Psalms was written, God gave instructions to the people which included the duties to God as well as the duties to man. He started His instructions with “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery,” (Exodus 20:2). He is Jehovah, the only God to be worshiped. No other God is to be recognized. In Psalm 81:10, God once again says the same thing: “I am the LORD your God who brought you up out of Egypt…” He is making it clear in announcing who He is that He is the only God to be worshiped. This God brought the people out of Egypt, something none but God could do. In doing this His name was glorified and His power and existence was shown.

By saying “open wide your mouth and I will fill it,” more than likely God means that He can supply your needs. You do not need to seek out another God to fulfill your needs. God does not lack in power, nor does he lack in resources. He will supply more than enough. We just have to ask Him. Psalm 37:3-4 tells us to “Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” 

Psalm 81:10, to me, is saying that we need to put our trust in the Lord and ask Him to fulfill our needs. Only He is capable of doing this. Only He is worthy of worshiping. We need to open our mouths wide and tell Him our needs. Only then will He fill us with blessings.

 

 

P31 OBS Blog Hop

No More Excuses!

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I’m comfortable being a stay-at-home mom. However, our finances are not. Plus there’s a tugging at my heart to help others. Not to mention the fact that after my internship I will graduate college. But I just can’t get a job!

My excuses

1. I have to be home for the kids. Logical excuse. My six year old gets home at 2:30 and I need to be home for her. I do not like sending her to a babysitter’s house. However, I do have the option of the after school care program at the local YMCA. So that could easily be taken care of.

2. I have two teenage boys that both get home at 4:00. My oldest son is fully capable of being trusted to stay home by himself and fix himself something to eat after school. Plus he will get his homework done no problem. However, my other son is not capable of doing these things. He has behavioral problems and refuses to follow directions or rules. Not that he can’t, he just won’t. He has burned food in the microwave, almost catching the house on fire. He has broken windows. He has vandalized the neighbor’s house. He has scratched both vehicles. He has cut huge holes in the trampoline. And the list goes on. And he will most definitely not get his homework done. Needless to say, he cannot stay home by himself. He also cannot go to the YMCA after school. He was doing that for a while before he got caught doing drugs with some older kids there. So nope. Not going to happen. And what babysitter is going to babysit an almost 15-year old child? None that I have found.

3. I’m scared to go to work. Okay, this may sound a little ridiculous, but I am a tad afraid of going back to work. It’s been years since I had a job and my last job I worked from home. I only had to go into the office once a month, but every other day I was in the comfort of my own home. What if I fail? What if I cannot keep up? What if I just can’t do the job? Maybe it’s rejection that I fear most. Either way, going to a new job is scary. Bad excuse. I know.

4. How am I going to start a new job when I will have to take off work a lot to go to the doctor every 6 weeks for me, counseling for both sons, and the doctor for my daughter’s asthma and allergies? I do not want to get fired from a job I just started! How embarrassing.

So these are the top excuses that cross my mind. I know that all of these can be taken care of, yet the excuses still roll in. I don’t want to have any more excuses. I want them erased from my mind. I want to be able to just get up and have a career I love and enjoy. So no more excuses!

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My dream is to work with children with Down syndrome. When I first went back to school I had no idea what I truly wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to study psychology. I threw in some criminal justice classes thinking I wanted to go into prison ministry, or counseling. That didn’t tug at my heart. I took a special education class thinking I could work in preschools with kids with special needs. But that didn’t tug at my heart. It was not until the last semester of school that I realized that I wanted to desperately work with children with Down syndrome. This tugs at my heart. I feel this is my calling and my purpose. I feel strongly about this career choice. And yes, my dream is bigger than my excuses, and far more important.

The men in Luke 9:59-62 kept making excuses as to why they could not follow Jesus when Jesus told them to. The first man’s excuse was that he needed to go home and bury his father first. The second man’s excuse was that he needed to say goodbye to his family first. Jesus’s reply was this: “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” I want to be fit for the Kingdom of God. I want to go forward and not look back. I want to stop making excuses and live my dream.

“I can’t” statements can either come from truths or from laziness or fear. Obviously my “I can’t’s” are strictly from fear. Each one of my excuses are things that can be worked on and figured out. I just need to get that in my mind and stop making excuses.

What is your dream? What excuses are holding you back?

#StickWithIt

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Life can be challenging. There are so many things to do and not enough time to do them in a day, or sometimes even a week! My six-year old daughter has cheerleading twice a week – Monday and Thursday. Wednesday nights are Awana nights. Saturdays are early morning football games where she cheers. Sunday morning is church, and then sometimes in the evenings we have dinner with my family. That leaves a Tuesday open and everybody knows that Tuesday is that day of the week that we are already exhausted! I’m not complaining because secretly I like the go-go-go of my life. (Shhh…don’t tell anybody!)

I am currently in a Bible Study through Proverbs 31 Ministries. We are working through a book by Lysa TerKeurst (whom I adore!) called “What Happens When Women Say Yest to God.” This book has changed my perspective on quite a few different areas in my life. Last week, the third week of the study, I was feeling a little down because I was reading about my other sisters in Christ and how they have heard God speak to them. They all had amazing, touching stories about their walk with God. I loved this. However, I still had not heard from God and I was sort of wondering when it was my turn. I thought maybe I was doing the study wrong, perhaps not putting enough time and passion into it. But then, Sunday at the end of church service, I heard it. God’s voice.

In our church bulletin there was a card called Vision Sunday. On this card were places to check for you to help with the church. Now this is not my home church and we are not currently members there. However, we’ve been attending for a while. So in my mind I did not feel comfortable enough to check any box on that card. However, at the end of service, while standing in prayer, I kept hearing, “Nursery Worker.” I thought, “Say what? A nursery worker? ME? I do not feel comfortable working with other peoples’ children. God, is that really You?” I kept hearing the words repeat themselves until I looked back at the card I had so nicely tucked away into my bag. There at the bottom of the card were the words “Nursery Worker” with a small check box placed just to the left. I found myself taking my pen and checking that little box. After clicking my pen closed, I no longer heard the words “nursery worker” and I swear I could feel God smile.

Honestly, week one and two of the study were so fresh and exciting to me. But by week three I was feeling a little drained and down that I still had not heard from God. But then at the end of the week, there He was, speaking to me and calling me out to help in the nursery. I had thought of giving up. However, now I am chosing to #StickWithIt because I know that I am going to hear from God more often. I am learning how to find a peaceful place and just be quiet and listen. Psalm 37:7 tells us to “be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act.”

I could have quit, I could have just given up. But I feel like giving up on the study is giving up on God. In her book, Lysa says, “It isn’t going to be easy. But we have Jesus and His power and that power is able to completely change our outlook on life.” How amazing is that statement? We have the power of Jesus to change the way we see our lives! When going through hard times, we sometimes feel all alone. However, we can lean on Jesus and #StickWithIt!

Are you going through something now in your life that you would like to quit because it isn’t easy? How do you see yourself getting through it?

 

“Rejoice in what God is doing in me through difficult times.” ~ Lysa TerKeurst

P31 OBS Blog Hop

Roller Coaster Ride

Ugh!! I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long. I fell into a deep depression and started having severe anxiety along with panic attacks. My doctor put me on Paxil and Xanax. The first week after starting the Paxil I was so sick. I could barely get off the couch! It was terrible. I lost weight from not being able to eat, which I’m not going to complain about. 😉 However, I did miss out on the awesome burrito supper my dear husband made while I was sick. (Praying he will make it again soon!)

I am feeling much better now. I have learned relaxation techniques which really help with my anxiety. I do still get panicky, but not as bad as before. I thank God for answering those little prayers.

School has started back already. My three kids are still getting adjusted but they are doing great. My daughter is a cheerleader this year and she is doing an amazing job. And she loves it!! Which is wonderful!

On a sadder note – my great uncle passed away last Thursday. He was buried this weekend. It was so very sad because I grew up with him. He reminded me so much of my granddaddy, who passed away when I was 13 years old. My granddaddy was my best friend in the whole world. There was nobody like him, and there never will be. My great uncle’s passing brought back memories of my granddaddy and to me it was as if he died all over again.

Happier note – I have joined an online women’s Bible study called “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God.” I absolutely love it! It is bringing me closer in my relationship with the Lord. I have learned so much already! Including verse mapping, which I had never heard of before this study. We have so much fun. There are prayer calls as well as Real Life Connection Calls. Lisa TerKeurst and Mandisa have been speakers on the calls!! We also have Twitter parties and Facebook parties and lots of prizes are given out! If you would like to learn more, check out their website here.

I hope you have a very blessed day!! God bless!