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Reflect

Helping women discover a deeper faith, freedom from their past and victory for their future.


In the Right Order

It has been glorious weather in California.  After 10 years of cold weather in March I am grateful for the warmth! Yesterday my daughters, my mother and I went to lounge by a pool. I was excited to spend time with them and it was going to be so relaxing.  Because my mom has dementia we were not sure how this time was going to go. Nestled into the pool area were endless lounge chairs, umbrellas, a patio with tables and bathrooms! What else could we have asked for?  I was hopeful that all of us would have a fabulous time.

Mom went into the bathroom early on and had difficulty maneuvering her bathing suit. It got a little wet and she wanted to change. I took her some things to change into and left her alone. The sun felt so good to relax in. I honestly forgot about the time as I was basking in the sunshine. When I remembered that she was in the bathroom, nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when upon entering the bathroom!

Sometimes with dementia you have to laugh or it all becomes too overwhelming to handle. It’s those little moments of laughter that have carried me through this arduous journey with mom. There she was with her bathing suit tucked into her shorts and her depends (adult pull-ups) on top of her shorts! I tried so hard not to laugh but I got the case of the giggles looking at her. Is it bad that I wanted to take a picture? It is forever etched into my mind.

Sometimes we need the laughter to remind us that life is a series of events, heavy and light, difficult and easy, painful and delightful.

 

When we begin to put things in the right order we can experience the fullness of His joy. I love how the NASB communicates this thought.

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11

When we go to God first and sit in His presence there is joy. It is then that we begin to see His plan and align our will to His . This is what brings us His joy.  

It’s when we do things out of His order that we experience great frustration.  Is there something that is out of order in your life? Go back to the basics of sitting with Jesus and realigning your life to His.


March 09, 2017

With all of your heart

When I first became a christian there was a small plaque that someone gave me.

If a task has once begun. Never leave it till it’s done. Be the labor great or small. Do it well or not at all.  I remember being inspired by the thought of doing things well for the Lord. Simply said, it is the thought that God deserves our best!

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 

As a first grade teacher there are days that I am tempted to rush into my day without asking God to be a part of it. When I try to do it by myself I have an epic fail!  On these days, usually when I am overwhelmed by the demands of students, parents or the nature of the job, I am reminded that only with His power and strength can I effectively serve those that He has called me to serve. This is an interesting process.

He fills me to serve him better which makes me want to serve him better, which causes me to go before him, where he fills me, etc.

When we look to God first  it changes the way that we focus our day doesn’t it?

Imagine if you thought about doing your day excellently because God deserves nothing less?

How would that change the way that you lived your life?

Imagine the effect it would have on how you

Cleaned your house

Made Breakfast

Worshiped

Drove your car

Spoke to others

Did your job

When we begin to see our life as an audience to one-the Lord God himself, it pushes us to be the best.

 Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might. Ecclesiastes 9:10a

Both of these verses in Corinthians and Ecclesiastes urge us to do our very best for God. In Philippians we are strongly encouraged to think about things that are excellent and in Matthew 22 we are called to Love God with everything we have heart, soul and mind.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Wherever you find yourself, at home with your children, at work with customers or at a church where you are loving others, I encourage you to do your best because we serve an excellent God and He deserves our excellence!


Just in Time

God is good all the time!

We say it, but do we really believe it? It is during the times when He shows up in a big way that we stop and remember just how true this saying is! I was reminded that God goes before us and is working on our behalf for His glory all of the time.

As a teacher I often have meetings with parents and colleagues to discuss students performance and to set goals for their growth and success in school. Sometimes these are easy meetings and other times there are possibilities for a little tension.

This week I was a little uneasy going into a meeting with parents.  It’s the typical insecurities that continue to play out in my mind and soul. “will it go well, will I be prepared enough, will the parents be okay with the decisions that we have made regarding their child?”

As I was gathering up my files to head into the meeting I glanced down and saw that I had a text from a dear friend in Michigan.

Hi there, just wanted you to know that you are being prayed for today. God laid you on my heart, so I just wanted you to know. Hope you have a great day.

Wow!  At the right time, God wanted me to know that I was in His hands! Not only was I being prayed for, but God was personally telling me,

I am with you!

I am good!

You can trust me!

I got this!

You are mine!

When you walk through the fires I will be there!

Do not be afraid!

You are loved!

Needless to say, I went into the meeting with His confidence, His power, His strength, His confidence and guess what? It went very well! Yes He is good all the time! I am so grateful for a friend that listened to the prompting to tell me that I was on her heart and on God’s heart! It came just at the right time!

He promises that He will be with us, not that everything will be easy or good, but that in the midst He is good! He is with us!

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.                 Isaiah 41:10

Whatever is before you today, remember that He is with you!


Open the doors wide Lord

I have often Prayed, “Lord open the doors wide so that we can know to walk through them. ” There have been times when I have preferred for him to shut doors, hold my hand and lead me through the uncertainty. After the visit from my daughter on Mothers day, I prayed for God to open doors in a way that I have never done before.

We had such a wonderful visit and it was sad to see her go back to California. Little did I know that within a few days my life would take a drastic turn.

Here come the waves again!

Within 36 hours both my husband and I were in conversations about jobs in California and our neighbor had a friend who wanted to purchase our home!  We had little time to digest what was happening let alone make decisions. All we knew to do was pray.  We asked God to reveal His plan, His direction and His blessing. I prayed the Jann prayer.

“Father we think you are leading us this way, if it is not what you want, block us in! My husband and I both had a sense that God was quickly ending our time in Michigan but it was so sudden! We also prayed that God would open wide the doors so that we would know without a doubt that he was leading.

It reminded me of the times body surfing in Huntington Beach. I would run out paddle, turn around waiting for the good ride and then paddle and ride it in. Occasionally, there would be a wave that would chew me up! I would be taken under, spun around, hit the sand and then desperately come up for air! This move of God was like that, except it didn’t hurt.  It felt like I couldn’t catch my breath, but I knew that He is good and has a perfect plan for me.

Is this what it felt like for Peter in Acts 12 when he was in prison and the chains fell off? We have never been more sure of God’s leading and guidance to our new chapter in California.

When God moves we have a choice, to join him or fight him. I wish that I could say that every decision is this easy or clear-cut but you know that isn’t true. Where is he moving in your life and will you join Him or fight him?

May He open wide the doors to his plan for you and may you walk through in confidence.  Warning occasionally it is a wild ride!

 


When God moves

To say that this year has been a roller-coaster would not be accurate, more or less it has been a tidal wave! You know when a huge thing just rocks your world and you are left gasping for air and exhilarated all at the same time?

In February my mother who has dementia moved into our home. That in itself has been a gigantic adjustment. Then just when I felt as though I was getting a handle on caregiving, my emotions and schedule the tidal wave began approaching.

My dear friend Nancy and I were meeting at a day spa to use the birthday gift that my daughter had given me.  Lissa wanted to treat me and a friend to a day at the spa.  She told me that I deserved some me time and I was so excited to have it!  On the way to the spa I called Lissa to tell her how excited and grateful I was for this day and to be meeting Nancy there! As I walked in the door of the spa, I scanned the room for Nancy but did not see her. I walked up to the counter to sign in when out of the corner of my eye I saw her! Lissa had set me up! She flew from California to Grand Rapids, stayed with Nancy and then hijacked me at the spa! You know I cried! It was as if a tidal wave of emotion flooded my senses!  My momma heart was so full! We had massages, got our hair done, had manicures and then some sushi!!! It was wonderful!

The next day was even better. We sat outside on the deck in the sunshine and just talked. You know when the sunshine pales to the warmth in your heart? During this time of sharing the next wave hit me. “Mom, you know if Dad and you moved back to California we could help you with Grandma.”  It was the sweetest and kindest conversation. My response was simply, thank you, but God has us here and we are happy. Unless God moves us we aren’t looking to go anywhere.   That was that, or so we thought!

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” I Corinthians 2:9

The next waves kept coming, and coming! I’ll share them with you on the next post.