Monday, June 27, 2016

The Heart of a Child

We were on our way to the park. 

I was driving along, distracted by my thoughts, when I faintly heard a fire truck in the background.   I didn't pay much attention to it until I heard my sweet 4-year-old say...

"Dear God, please keep the men in the fire truck safe. Amen."

This wasn't a surprise.  He does this often.

But on this Monday morning I was once again convicted about how easily distracted I am by everyday life. 

My sweet boy noticed that there was a situation that was in need of prayer.  He noticed that there were people in distress.  He noticed that there was a God that could do something about it. 

I want to be more aware. 

Lately, I feel swallowed up by life and its transitions.  I am busy in my preparations, but I want to stop.

I want to notice.

I want to have a heart for people.

I want to have a heart for God.

I want the heart of a child....the childlike faith he has.  God help me! - Rejoicing in the Present

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Little Grace


These were the words of another mom at the pool where we take our swim lessons. 

I had just learned of the tragic story of Latoya Brown and her family. It was her daughter's birthday and she had taken her 5 daughters, 3 nephews, a baby nephew and her boyfriend to the beach.  I'm guessing that they had a great time.  On their way home, they packed those 11 people into a car that holds 7 and when a tire blew out, tragedy struck.  Some of the girls flew out the window.  Most of them had to be transferred by helicopter.  Tragically, 4 of her 5 daughters died that day. 

It was a horrible day. She made a mistake and paid huge consequences for that mistake.  I'm guessing, as a mom who birthed and raised those 5 babies, she loved them and cared for them; today she is in her own emotional "jail" because of that one mistake. 

This morning, she woke up, once again, to the fact that 4 of her babies are gone.  My heart breaks for her.  It was one day, one mistake.

This dear lady does not need more jail time, she needs a little grace.  On Facebook, I saw so many hateful comments about her situation, that I couldn't help posting this on the story's wall.

"Dear Latoya Brown,
I am soooo sorry!  My heart breaks for you. I can't even imagine the grief that you are feeling. As a mother I have given my life for my kids and when I have made mistakes I have lived with the guilt it brings. No matter what people put on you or say, remember that you are a mom. A mom who loved her baby girls. You are a mom who was trying to do something nice for your girls. You made a mistake...and it hurts and it costs and you will live with that... but give yourself grace. You still have a full life ahead of you. Use what you have learned to help and bless others. God loves you and I am praying for your sweet mama heart. -- From one mama to another!"

...but then I remembered my own anger...

Just a few days earlier, I had been on the perfect date with my hubby. In fact, at the moment we received "the call", I was enjoying a pedicure that he had surprised me with.

The call we received informed us that our Sweet "T" had flipped off the back of a motorized animal and hurt herself badly.  This led to a fractured collar bone, LOTS OF PAIN, a late night at the ER, a huge bill, and no swim lessons or activity for "T".

I was angry....  Whenever I let "T" ride on the animals, we always put her in front of my son or I would ride it with her.  Instead, a 2-year-old was placed behind her older brother and told to hold on.  Seriously?  There were 5 adults watching her and one of them couldn't keep her safe? These were the lies the devil kept feeding me and I was angry.

BUT IT WAS MISTAKE.  It was a moment when a dear grandma was trying to do something nice for her grandchildren.  She was trying to make them happy and give them something fun to do.  She did this out of love.  She was devastated that it happened and I had to swallow my emotions and give mercy!

A little grace, a little mercy... this is what we need in life. This is what our Savior gave us, A LOT of it!!!

So the next time you want to cremate someone, think about yourself.  Have YOU ever made a mistake?

I remember, years ago, I made a mistake as a bus driver for a local day care center and left a girl at the school.  My list was long and my checks on the boxes went a little high, so it looked like she was checked off,   She wasn't in ANY harm. She was in the care of her school.  When the daycare and her mom found out about it, THEY LOST IT.  I came in a few days later on my birthday for a 2-hour meeting where they ripped me to shreds. Then the mother came in for another 1-hour meeting. You would have thought I injured the child or killed her.  It was a horrible experience and I DID MAKE A MISTAKE, but it was a mistake--no grace or mercy was showed to me. 

I have continued to make mistakes and to be the victim of others' mistakes.  So have you.  I would encourage us to stop before we condemn someone so quickly.  Have you sinned before?  Have you made a mistake?  Let's give a little grace & mercy. - Rejoicing in the Present

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Where Are You Getting Your Advice From?

I have to chuckle and roll my eyes.

I have noticed a trend. 

Whenever there is a "situation", there are two sides. Right?!?

...and there are usually Christians on both sides. 

Since Target's stance on transgenders is a hot topic, let's use that as an example. 

You have some Christians that say "NO, DON'T GO there.  Don't shop there.  Don't support them."

...and then there are the Christians who say "It's not a big deal, I just won't use the restrooms there.  Let's still love them.  It's not the employees fault just the corporation." 

You can read arguments on why Christians shouldn't drink alcohol and articles on why it's ok.  There are opinions on clothing, music, movies and dating. There are articles on how to raise your children and how to share the gospel.

We can pretty much have an opinion on about anything and find an article supporting that opinion.

So those Christians who really LOVE Target and just can't live without it, YEP, they still go to Target because they found an article that supported them.

...but before we condemn them or any other Christian, I want to ask you... where do you get your advice from??

Did you go to the Bible?  Do you find backing from God?  Did He lead you or did pressure from fellow Christians decide it?

Can you go to the Bible and defend your point of view?  It's God's opinion that matters most.  - Rejoicing in the Present

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." - Psalms 1:1-3

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. - Proverbs 4:7

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

God's Hand of Protection

I was totally relaxed at the end of my pedicure.  It had been the perfect date, the perfect anniversary. 

Hubby had taken me to shoot at a shooting range. (Something I had been wanting to do for a while.) Then we went to 4Rivers, an supper-yummy BBQ restaurant, and he had followed that up with a pedicure for me at a nearby spa and some shopping. 

Could it get any better then this?  I was so happy and so relaxed...

...but then we got the call...

Sweet "T" had been placed on the back of a motorized animal behind her brother and told to hold on.  (I always put her in front of "A" because he holds onto her, but the babysitter didn't know this.)

"T" flipped off the animal as they were going around the curve and the rest is history.  They held her close and she calmed down and that is when we got the first call.

A little bit later, we received a second call that said when they picked her up again she had another pain meltdown. This happened twice, so they brought her home. 

We drove home.  

When I got home, I noticed she needed a diaper change, so I laid her down.  When I picked her up she went into a cry-scream, shaking in pain.  I knew immediately that we had to take her to the hospital. 

It was determined that she had fractured her clavicle bone and we had to keep her wrapped. 

Over the next weekend, I was told that "T" was in even more danger then I had previously realized. (just by how she flipped off the animal) A fire started in me but it wasn't over...

A few days later, I returned home, after shopping with my kids for their upcoming birthday party.  I pulled in and my husband appeared shaken and told me that he had almost been killed. 

He had been painting the back of the house on a ladder, at the top of our two-story house, when the ladder slipped and hit some power lines that were attached to our house.  The line popped out with high-voltage electricity spraying everywhere.  Within a split second, he jumped from the ladder 2 stories to the ground. (with no injuries)

I was shocked and frustrated by the what-ifs.  Fear and anger surrounded me.  I walked into the house and my son skidded on the floor, face down in front of me. (My daughter had dropped water on the ground and he slipped in it.)

All around me, things were not going right.  We had also received a disappointing phone call and the frustration continued to rise. 

 As these thoughts kept plaguing me, I just got angrier and angrier until it hit me...

1. "T" ONLY (and yes I mean ONLY) had a fractured clavicle.  She could have been paralyzed or dead.

2. My husband was alive and with no injuries, just a little shaken up. 

3. God was in control.

4. God was not finished with me.  I don't get why He has said "No" or "Wait" but God has a plan and I must trust Him.

You see, God had protected us in each of those circumstances.  I had to get my perspective right.  The world may feel dark.  It might feel evil. It might seem that the bad is bigger than the good, but I know that God is always bigger! 

So I just want to publicly praise my Protector, Defender and Sovereign God for surrounding our family with His angels.  I don't get it all but God IS working!  Praise the Lord!!!!  Praise Him! - Rejoicing  in the Present

Sunday, June 5, 2016

God is Bigger

Between Sunday School, life and toddler-thinking, "A" thought that the sun was God.  I'm not quite sure if it was because he heard that Jesus was the "Son of God."  Anyway, it's been a journey.  One of the things that we have been teaching "A." is that God is bigger. 

We were talking about the sun and we brought up that God was bigger then even the sun.  For some reason, this really stuck with him.

Every so often, we will be out-and-about and it will come up that something is big.  For instance, we will see a big construction truck and I will comment, "Wow, "A", look at that truck!!!" 

"A" will "ooh and ah" over it but many times he will just counter back, "Yeah, Mom, but GOD IS BIGGER!" 

...but GOD is bigger.


Has that set into your heart?  Do you know that God is bigger?  I am constantly being reminded of these awesome facts. 

God is bigger than any of our problems. 

God is bigger than the government. 

God is bigger than your boss. 

God is bigger than my medical issues.

God is bigger than my finances. 

God is bigger than....

Do you remember that song, "My God is SO BIG, so strong and so mighty..."? What a great reminder!

2 Chronicles 2:6 says " But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him?"

So what about you???  Do we understand that our God is bigger??? - Rejoicing in the Present

Friday, June 3, 2016

Love vs. Lust

Recently, one of my teen girls told me of a conversation she had at her public school.  A boy and girl asked her why God didn't love lesbians.

The girl from school went on to ask "If lesbianism makes them happy, why couldn't God be happy for them?"

My teen girl had a great answer but we continued to discuss the matter.  One of the first things we discussed was that...

#1 God VERY much loves each person.  He doesn't love their sin, but He loves them!  No matter what label people have put on themselves, God sees the person He created and loves them.

#2. God is orderly and has a certain way for doing things.  When we go away from that way, it is sin.  We could get into the fact that marriage is a symbol of God and the church.  We could get into the emotional and physical damage that comes when one goes away from God's way; but that is for another blog.  Simply we must trust God's ways.

#3 Just because it makes you happy, doesn't make it right.  Sadly, much of our culture and our sin nature feeds on the "make yourself happy" philosophy. Never in the Bible do I see happiness as the goal.  I see the joy of the Lord and peace of God but both of those come from a relationship with and obedience to God.

I could say that having sex with my brother makes me happy--does that make it ok?  What about with an animal or a child?  I know, that as you are reading this, your stomach is probably turning but that is where this line of thinking goes.  What if stealing a million dollars made me happy?  What if killing all my enemies made me happy?  Happiness is not the goal!

Our world has gotten lust and love SO mixed up!!!! 

After this conversation with our teen girl, I was on Craigslist and saw some ads for guys looking for girls, girls looking for guys, as well as girls looking for girls and so on.  I scanned a few and every one I looked at had something to do with sex in it.

My stomach turned and my heart sank as I saw these poor souls who felt that they needed someone and something sexual to fill their emptiness. This included married men and woman looking for something more.

Oh my heart!

If they only knew the love that God has to fill their empty, unfulfilled hearts.  If only they knew what real love is...

Lust is simply a desire that wants to be fulfilled, while love is a intimacy that come from trust, from sacrifice and from God's ways in action.

Love is the couple that waits it out God's way.

Love is the couple who sacrifice for each other.

Love is doing it God's way.

Love is realizing that sex is only a very small part of a relationship.

Please don't get me wrong, sex is a beautiful gift of love inside of marriage, but it is not the end-all. Unfortunately, that is all that lust knows.

God's way is best! It's not the easy route but it is the only route. Our job is to live it out and love these people and show them true joy that comes from doing it God's way. - Rejoicing in the Present

*UPDATE - Just so that we are all clear, I do not believe that gays and lesbians practice bestiality, are criminals or murders. What I do believe, is that when you get away from God's ways, anything is possible to happen. It's a downward slope. This is why, we need to go back to the Bible and God's ways.

Romans 1:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever...
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly,