Saturday, May 29, 2010

God in the midst of Frustration...

I have to be honest, I didn't post last week because I was frustrated and discouraged and since this blog is supposed to serve the purpose of being a place of encouragement I wasn't sure how to express how I saw God in the middle of it all and be encouraging at the same time! I hope that now that I have had some time to reflect I can do that!

This past week I was frustrated with quite a few things; myself because I overbooked myself, my kids because they fought a lot, my husband's business, and most of all seeing the potential in people that I've lovingly invested in and then seeing them completely give up and give in to bad choices. This last frustration has had my attention for a few days. Thinking about it has saddened me and caused me to wonder if it's worth it anymore?

Have you ever prayed hard for someone or a family for a whole year, opened your home to them, taken whatever opportunity God gave you to love them well and point them toward Him? Seen them move in God's direction and seek Him for themselves? Watched family relationships begin to be restored? And then in one week see it all unravel as the person slips back into thinking they can do it on their own without God? I have and it breaks my heart to see the potential and have it gone. So where I saw God this week was in the question, are people worth the investment? It was as if He was asking me, would you do it again? I am ashamed to say I didn't answer yes right away. It took me a few days to wrap my mind around what He was asking me. But I sit here today and say yes because I did it out of obedience and love for God and He is always worth it!

People are worth the investment even if loving them well means getting hurt when you see them ruin their lives with bad decisions. Here's the thing, as I rewind the tape of my interactions with them I see many moments of being able to share God's love and even if they ultimately want nothing more to do with Him, at least they got a glimpse, a taste, of what could be. And I hope that maybe someday they will change their minds and remember that taste of what could be. Perhaps I was there to plant a seed or water one and may never see the harvest. I need to learn to be ok with that because it means that someone else hopefully will have the joy of helping with the harvest.

I don't know who needs to hear this today, but you know who you are. Continue to love others well and invest in them wherever God leads you and be content and thankful to serve Him this way even if you don't see the joy of the harvest. As it says in John 4:36-37 "Already he who reaps is receiving wages and it is gathering fruit for life eternal;so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true, 'One sows and another reaps'".

How about you? Where have you seen God in your frustrations?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's Your Turn!

I thought that since I haven't heard from some of you in a while I would refrain from sharing and ask you to post this week! So how have you seen God in your days this week?

Monday, May 10, 2010

God In a Hand Made Card...

I know this is a bit early in the week for me to post, but this one is for all the moms out there. This one is for every mom who has ever just finished yelling horrible things at her kid and then prayed for forgiveness right after and asked God to please give her child amnesia so she won't remember how hurtful you were in your frustration. This one is for every mom who has ever asked herself over and over again, "Did I make the right decision?", "Is there an end in sight?", "Will I make it to see this kid grown without landing in the loony bin first?", and my personal favorite, often said while looking at the ceiling with both arms thrown up in the air, "So this is what YOU meant by being sanctified through child birth!!!!!!!!!" This is a story of hope and the power of God to change our child's heart when we consistently give up and go to Him.

I have two precious girls. Both have some of my good and bad traits. One of them has my strong will. Boy have we had arguments! Last year was an intense year for us. I had to learn how to fall on my face before God and ask for His wisdom. He and I had some very precious heart to hearts about my inability to raise this child without Him. One day He lead me to ask Him to show me how to pray for her. I was tired of Satan getting the upper hand in my responses to her, tired of arguing,tired of yelling in an out of control way and tearing down the very child I wanted to build up. He brought me to several specific verses in my Bible to pray for her and for me. I prayed them every day, and as I did both of our hearts began to change and they became a part of me and would come to mind right when I was ready to say something I shouldn't. Sure we still had our moments, and still do. But every day is no longer a never ending battle. My husband and I also made another big decision for her and that was to cyber school her at home. There have been so many times since that I worried as to whether we'd made the right choice for her... until Mother's Day.

On Mother's Day I received the most beautiful hand made card from her. In it she told me she was glad to be cyber schooled. Here are some of the phrases I want to share: "You listened to me when I needed to talk." "You talked to me when I needed to listen." "You let me grow and learn from my mistakes." The words she wrote answered so many questions I had and brought tears to my eyes because I remember well how many times I feared I would fail as a mother and fell on my face before God in desperation. I also know full well it's ALL because of God! So moms hang in there and thank God for the strong willed child he's given you, if you let Him He will teach you the most precious lessons through that child and show you His amazing power. Never underestimate the power you have as a mother when you are on your face praying for your child, it's God's power and it will transform you and your child in ways you never imagined!

I saw God this week in a hand made Mother's Day card from my beautiful daughter, it was a reminder of the power of prayer!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

God Met Me at Walmart...

Why is it that we greet each other with "Hi, how are you?" wherever we go? We do it at church, school, work, and whenever we bump into someone. Walmart greeters, church greeters, and cashiers ask us all the time how we are doing. And we usually respond "fine". Do they really want to know how we are, or is it a commonplace formality to ask? And if we answer them with the truth would they listen? Would they care? Would they wish they had never asked? And if you are like me then after you have answered with the usual "fine" you counter question with "How are you?", expecting to hear "fine" back! I find myself suddenly challenged with the question of whether or not I really want to know how people are doing when I ask them! Sure, I genuinely care when I am asking a friend or a family member, but what about the person in front of me at church during coffee hour? The cashier at the grocery store? The customer representative on the other end of the phone?

I saw God this week in Walmart of all places! He met me in the check out line when I in robotic response to the cashier asking me how I was, in turn asked her how she was! BUT she did not respond with fine, and I ashamedly admit that I was taken off guard and disappointed that she was honest in her answer.

If you are reading this blog you know me well enough to know that I absolutely HATE grocery shopping and so I am a strategic shopper. I organize my list by aisle and get in and out quickly. I am prone to hide if I see someone I know because I hate being held up in the grocery store. I have mastered weaving in and out of grocery aisles with my cart and 2 kids at a power walkers speed, all in the hopes of getting in and out quickly. So heaven forbid I end up in a checkout lane with a particularly chatty cashier, especially if the kids have been fighting in the store A LOT before check out!!!!!

Let me tell you, she was chatty! She was taking her time and talking a lot with the lady in front of me, as my kids fought with each other and bug me to buy candy! Then she turned the blinking light on because she needed a manager. If you know me, by now you can imagine I am peaking my head around the corner looking for another check out to run to! (didn't find one) Then it was my turn and when I ask her how she is doing, she starts by talking about how tired she is, and how slow the day is going, and that she is there until 6pm and right now it's 12pm! And I stand there annoyed because I have 2 fighting kids and I don't care how she is doing I want out of there. Why did she have to be honest? Here's why: God needed to show up at the grocery store to show me that I need to care even in my hurried life and hatred of grocery shopping, I need to see the cashier as a human being instead of an obstacle on the way to the parking lot!

Here's the challenge for myself and for you... When you and I ask someone how they are doing we need to mean it, to actually want to know how they are otherwise we should not ask because asking without caring is being fake. And when someone asks us how we are doing we need to be like the Walmart cashier and be honest, let the person really know how you are. Maybe it will challenge them as it did me, and shake them out of their self centered complacency!