Right Where I Need to Be

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John 16:33
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage. I have overcome the world.”

We spend so much of our lives trying to change our circumstances.  Many of us will spend the majority of our careers trying to earn a promotion. We are constantly trying to buy the newest and best technology. We work hard to get the next college degree.

For me, I am always searching for something better than what I have. I want the next, great family recipe. I want the new cleaning product that is all natural and holds promises of a cleaner home. I want cute new clothes for the whole family.

We spend an incredible amount of time looking forward to promises, hopes, and dreams. None of these are bad, but are wasting our lives? Are we forgetting how to live peacefully in the moment?

My husband doesn’t ever plan. He balances me well. He has taught me over the years to just sit back and enjoy the life we have.

I think God appreciates this perspective. Even during the hard times, we can find peace in our lives. Our peace here on earth can’t come from perfect circumstances. It comes from God.

Colossians 3:15
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…”

Last night, when I climbed into bed, I felt peace. I had a load of laundry still to put away. I didn’t finish my school work. I also needed to mop the kitchen floor. However,  I was able to rest easy knowing God controls this crazy life instead of me.

Blessings!

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Superhero Son Races in the Superhero Run

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What a great weekend!  I got to witness my son display his strength, endurance, and stamina in his first race.  

Most of you know by now that I am a beginning runner.  This weekend, I ran in my third 5K.  I don’t run everyday.  In fact, I am lucky if I get to run 3 days a week.  My goal is to finish a 5K in under 30 minutes, but I am not there yet.  

Lately, Superhero Son has been asking to run with me.  I know he can’t do 3.1 miles, so we run around the house, through the yard, and short distances on our road.  A few weeks ago, I found a real race for him.  CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for children) sponsors a Superhero Run every fall.  Most racers, adults and children, run in superhero costumes.  The best part?  There is a family run after the 5K.  I thought a 1/2 mile fun run for Superhero Son would be perfect.

Race day comes!  It is freezing cold!  We get up early in the morning, load both kids into the car, and prepare to race.  My mom and I run the 5K while Superhero Son and Darling Daughter play on the playground with my dad.  After the 5K, Superhero Son runs up to me and asks if it is time for his race now.  We go to the start line, and I learn that the kid run is actually a full mile.  I sort of just froze on the spot.  First of all, less than 10 minutes before, I finished my race.  I didn’t want to run another mile.  Secondly, I wasn’t sure my four-year-old son could do a full mile. 

When the horn blew, he was off like a shot!  I had to race to catch up!  He finally found his pace, and he ran the entire first half-mile.  Then he stopped and told me he would walk the rest.  I convinced him after a couple of tenths that he could probably run a little more.  He sped up and finished his race hard!  

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After we got back into the car, we talked about his race.  He told me that he was happy he ran the end.  He wanted to win, but understood that it was his first race, and he would have to practice more.  He decided that it was okay to not win as long as he did his best in his race. I was proud that he didn’t give up on running.  He realized that it wouldn’t be easy, like he thought it would be.  

I love comparing our daily walk with Christ to a race.  We have to stay focused, put forth tons of effort, stay on the course, and finish hard.  When the course gets tough or we feel like we are running out of energy, we don’t quit.  We just slow down, walk a little, and catch our breath.  Our time to run full speed ahead will come again soon enough!

Blessings!

For the Love of a Husband

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Have you ever had a conversation with someone that left you feeling a bit jealous?  I rarely feel jealous of other’s belongings, but I sometimes long to have the relationships that others seem to have.  I have found that those relationships are not always as cheery as they first seem, but I think I found a marriage that I truly admire.

I work with a woman who has been married for 16 years.  Every time she speaks of her husband, she speaks in a loving way.  She tells us how much she adores him.  She has told us that she would marry him all over again.  She even tells us all of the great things he does for her.  At some point, somewhere between the comments about him cooking dinner and vacuuming, I began to think about how their situation sounds a lot better than mine.  ***Note:  My marriage is great.  My husband is great!  However, he doesn’t know how to run the vacuum, and we don’t want him to cook!***

The other day, she made a comment that really got me thinking.  She was telling me about her husband’s career and asking about my husband’s career.  I told her that her marriage sounded just perfect.  She replied that she isn’t perfect, he isn’t perfect, and their marriage isn’t perfect, but God is.  Since God is at the center of her marriage, she has no reason to complain.  Therefore, she chooses to share only positive things with others about her marriage and her husband.

I think my jaw dropped, and I just stood there speechless.  However, I heard her message loud and clear.  Her marriage may not be any better than mine, but she chooses carefully what she tells others.  She doesn’t make up lies to make her marriage look great, but she filters out the bad.  Her husband may snore, have a horrible temper, or never pick up his dirty socks, but she only tells us about his good qualities.

My friend went on to say that when she focuses on his good qualities, the bad ones just don’t seem as important.  She told me that it is much easier to love someone when you don’t dwell on their shortcomings.  That is only fair, right?  We don’t want our spouses to dwell on our shortcomings, so why should we dwell upon theirs?

I am grateful that my friend has been placed in my life.  I love her reminder to me about treasuring my husband and our marriage.

Blessings!

Moving Past Your Past

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Anyone else haunted by mistakes of their past?
Not a good feeling, right?
Take comfort in a few words. Jesus was a friend of sinners when walked this earth. He continues to be a friend of sinners today!
The Bible promises that God has a plan for us. This plan is a prosperous plan, not a plan of misery and destruction. Jeremiah 29:11 lays it out for us. We have amazing futures when we follow God’s plan.
Forgive yourselves. Forgive others. Ask for forgiveness. Move past your past. I feel so sad for those that harbor anger and resentment from their past. It makes them miserable to the point that they cannot enjoy their blessings.
Finally, make changes in your daily life that set you up for success. Pray. Read your Bible. Listen for the voice of God instructing you.
I feel a little preachy this morning, but why waste your future on mistakes of the past?

Blessings!

I Love Getting a Do-Over!

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21 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22

I got my haircut last week by a guy named Will.  It was the first time he had ever cut my hair, but he showed promise when he walked in sporting his spiky purple ‘do.  After the usual small talk, he asked me why I was a teacher.  My first response was, “Not for the money!”  He replied that he had never met a teacher who didn’t go into it for reasons more noble than money.  After thinking for a moment, I told him I liked teacher because you get do-overs.

He asked if I meant that my co-workers or boss were forgiving of mistakes.  I told him that I meant we forgive ourselves and strive to do better the next year.  I could tell he was confused, so I tried to explain as best I could.

Each year, we work as hard as can to do our best for the kids.  We love them, care for their basic needs, teach them manners, honor, respect, integrity, and all of the content the state and school district require us to teach.  And every year we fail to be perfect.  At the end of each year, I know there is a kid in my class with whom I should have done something different.  There is always one that I failed to reach, motivate, and prepare for life.

In most businesses, failing means the loss of a client or loss of money.  In education, failing is unacceptable.  We cannot afford to lose the children.

However, each year we get a do-over.  We get to try again. We get a new batch of kids ready for our knowledge, love, and best efforts.

As I sit in meetings this week, prepare my classroom next week, and await the arrival of my co-workers and students a couple weeks later, I will strive to remember to forgive myself.  This passage from Matthew doesn’t just apply to forgiving our brothers; we must forgive ourselves.  We are not perfect; only Christ is.  We are created to do our best.  When we mess up, we must forgive and move on.

This is a year of change and a year of hope in my school.  The best part is a fresh start, a do-over.

Blessings!

 

His Hands and Feet

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For every woman out there striving to live the life of the Proverbs 31 woman, there is a man striving to live the life of Paul.  In our own ways, we are simply hoping to serve God in the way Christ served.  Unfortunately, we also want it to be easy.

I made a decision a few weeks ago.  I felt it was the best decision to make, even though it would hurt someone’s feelings.  My decision was a Godly decision, but I now have a friend who is terribly upset with me.  In fact, I am not sure this friend will ever be willing to accept that I made a decision based upon how I thought God wanted to me to handle the situation.  I am afraid my friendship with this person is over.

Shortly before this all came about, I prayed a very simple prayer.  I asked God to allow me to be His hands and feet here on Earth.  I love a song out right now that says, “I wanna be His hands. I wanna be His feet.”  I started thinking about it, and decided that is what I wanted.  I prayed that God would use me to carry out His will on Earth.  Then it got hard!

I suddenly found myself torn between what I wanted, and what God wanted me to do.  I realized that God was willing to use me, but was I truly willing to serve?  I thought it would be easy.  I didn’t think about losing friends or hurting people’s feelings.

Now, some of you may be wondering how it was God’s will if I hurt someone’s feelings.  Surely God wouldn’t want that for us, right? Wrong!  Serving God doesn’t mean walking around judging others, but it could mean not allowing sin to go unnoticed.  I refused to lie for this friend.  I was not afraid I would get in trouble.  I just knew it wasn’t right. I told my friend it wasn’t right, and this friend felt abandoned by me.

It took me a few weeks to conclude that I don’t understand God.  Yeah!  I am apparently a slow learner!  I cannot understand God.  I don’t have the ability to understand Him.  Praise God for that, too!  It would probably blow my mind!

I have to be willing to trust Him, instead.  If I pray and ask for opportunities to serve Him, He will say, “Yes!”  I need to be prepared to actually serve!

We don’t know too much about the life of the Proverbs 31 woman.  We know far more about Paul.  His path serving God wasn’t easy.  He was willing to hurt the feelings of others, he served when things got tough, and he served cheerfully.  I don’t want to sound “preachy” or like I have all things figured out. I don’t!  But I know that God is working on changing me bit by bit, day by day.  I just have to be smart enough to listen!

Blessings!

A Job Well Done

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Some nights, at the end of a very long day, I climb into bed, snuggle down into my covers, and just rest.  I can rest easy because I know my family is safe, I know my daily chores are complete, and my to-do list is shorter than it was when I got up that morning. I have a quiet moment when I pat myself on the back for a job well done for the day!

It isn’t everyday that I feel this way when I go to bed.  Some days I am frustrated that I didn’t get as much accomplished as wanted. Some evenings I am worried about upcoming events.  Many evenings, I go to bed while my husband is still and work.  I never rest quite as well when we are not altogether.  Nights like that, I long for peaceful rest.

I was running at my gym not too long ago and saw a poster.  I believe it was advertising Nike.  The poster said something like, “The only true rest is an earned rest.”  My favorite nights are those when I know I have worked hard and can then enjoy my hard-earned rest.

When we get to Heaven it will be the same way.  Paul tells us that he wanted to finish his race with strength.  He wanted to run as hard as he could until he reached the finish line.  Understandably, good deeds will not get us into Heaven.  Only our faith in Christ can do that!  However, when I get to Heaven, I want to be able to rest knowing my rest was earned.  I want to hear my God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

An amazing woman in our church entered the Gates of Heaven this past week!  Granny Flo was a fixture in our church.  Her legacy lives on in those who love her.  I did not know her as well as I wished, but I have heard incredible stories of her this week.  I know at age sixty, she was kickin’ it with the youth.  As my son was toddling around our church, she always had goldfish crackers for him.  I fondly can picture in my mind Granny Flo holding Darling Daughter when she was just a few months old.  Granny Flo wasn’t actually related to most of the people in our church, but everyone felt like she was their own family.

Granny Flo ran quite a race.  She finished strongly!  When she crawled under her covers her last night on Earth, she was able to rest, knowing she earned it!  I bet she had the honor and privilege of hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Granny Flo with the son of our incredible pastor and his wife.

Granny Flo with the son of our incredible pastor and his wife.

Blessings!