Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Fever!

I have spring fever. It's the first time I have had it in years! I am one of those strange people who love the snow because my husband is a teacher and when it snows we all get to stay home together. But I am really and truly for the first time in years very tired of winter! It doesn't help me that a few weeks ago we had a nice stretch of spring weather... what a tease!

This week amid the cold winter days there was one day that was sunny and almost fifty degrees! I took advantage of that day and decided to plant four bags of flower bulbs that one of my truly crazy but well loved and well meaning friends gave me! (She is only crazy because she believes that something I plant in the ground will actually grow!) It started out as something that needed to get done and ended up being the most peaceful and relaxing part of my week. As I dug each little hole and planted each bulb, I began to talk to God.

My mind turned to the subject of prayer during my conversation with God. God was reminding me that prayer is like a seed planted. When we pray for someone we bury that seed or request with God. As we keep praying for that person the seed is watered, the sun shines on it and it begins to grow. Just like the bulbs I was planting, that seed of prayer has to wait to break through the ground and bear fruit. It has to wait for the perfect set of conditions. That's probably why we can pray for some people for a very short time and see results and others may take years to see an answer.

My bulbs will take a while to turn into flowers but when they do I will be so thrilled to see them because it was hard work digging and planting, and it's been a long winter and I long for spring! And so I need to understand that like the bulbs, when I pray for others it may take a while to see the answers. But I shouldn't be discouraged because just like spring after a long, cold winter, it will be indescribably beautiful and well worth the wait!

How about you? Have you been praying for a long time for a person you love? A difficult situation? Are you getting tired and discouraged? Don't give up, keep planting those seeds of prayer. Spring will come!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Child's Prayer....

I have been challenged and comforted by something one of my children said in a prayer. It has provided me with a couple of days worth of reflection. We were finished having our family devotions and it was her turn to pray. We have been asking God regularly to save my husband's job or to lead him to a new one. So it wasn't a surprise when our oldest asked God for this, but after the asking was done she said, "And help us to be okay because we have You." This last part of her prayer has kept me busy in my thoughts here lately.

Have you watched the news? Did you see the tsunami, earthquake, and the potential nuclear disaster in Japan? What about the uprisings in the Middle East and the U.S. getting involved in what is going on in Libya? Are you aware of the battles going on state by state and within in the federal government over finances? These things too have grabbed a hold of my thoughts lately because the decisions being made by those in power will effect our lives and the lives of our children years to come.

It seems that wherever I go I am plagued by people I don't know who want to share their opinion with me about world events as well as what is going on here in our area with the government budgets. These people I come in contact with are very opinionated about things and it's not easy to listen too. There are moments when I feel like nothing will change for the better in this world we live in, it will only get worse. But in those moments I hear my daughter's prayer, "And help us to be okay because we have You."

So I started to talk to God about these words. It's true, I know that we will be okay because we have God and He will see us through. It may not be easy but we will be okay. But what exactly does okay mean? I turned on my music today as I drove to the store and a certain song started to play in the middle of all of this thinking I was doing. It's by a group called Addison Road. Some of the words are: "If everything comes down to love then just what am I afraid of. When I call out your name something inside awakes in my soul. How quickly I forget I'm Yours. I'm not my own I've been carried by You all my life. Everything rides on hope now. Everything rides on faith somehow. When the world has broken me down. Your love sets me free." To be okay we must remember who we belong to.

We will not be alone or forgotten by our God. No matter what decisions are made by those in authority that directly effect our lives, God is our hope. He has promised to be with us always. (Matthew 28:20).

I encourage you to choose to remember with me that God loves you and has not left you alone in the middle of whatever you are going through right now. And to my precious daughter, we ARE okay BECAUSE we have God and thank you for making me think!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

God In My Man...

This week I saw God in a sacrifice my husband made. He came home from work with a lovely surprise for me!

I am a busy wife and mom. Sometimes I do my job well and sometimes I don't. Some weeks I keep my impatience at bay and my temper under control when tested by my kids, and sometimes I totally lose it and royally mess up with yelling or my bad attitude. I don't know about you but sometimes I can get too focused on the ways I mess up or even just a bad case of the grumbles and feel alone and unappreciated. When this happens I usually keep it to myself because I figure nobody else wants to hear me whine! But still, God knows...

I had been secretly scolding myself for losing my patience and temper the other day with one of the kids and yelling at them. My husband didn't know this at all when he came home with the surprise. It was a bouquet of pink carnations with a handwritten note that he had written me on his lunch break. It wasn't the flowers that made this so special. It was the fact that it wasn't a holiday, and he had bought them with the only extra money he had. This was money that he had specifically designated to use to go golfing this week. For those of you who know how much my husband loves golf, and understand that it would have been his first golf outing this season, you will understand the sacrifice he made! Not only that, but a hand written note! I have not had one of those unless it's in a card related to a holiday, since we dated! Even better yet was what he wrote in the note. He wrote that he appreciated me and that I am doing a good job with the kids. He didn't know it, but I needed that. But God knew I needed that...

This has me thinking about some things. I need to take better notice of the people around me at church, the store, wherever I am and not miss an opportunity to encourage them. How many people in my life have I recently neglected to show my appreciation to? How about you? How many times do we miss God prodding us to say something kind to someone because we are too busy? How many times are we quick to encourage the people who are always doing wonderful things that are outwardly noticeable, and miss the opportunity to encourage the person behind the scenes who is working just as hard? God knew I needed those words from my husband this week, and God knows when other people in our lives need kind words too. So I think I am going to make it a habit to ask God to show me who He knows needs a kind word. How about you?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

God in the Response...

I have been thinking about what it is that sets a person who knows God apart from a person who does not during times of uncertainty and difficulty. I have been pondering the idea that people notice, maybe even are watching to see how the people around them are responding to whatever it is that is going on, and what an opportunity this is.

My husband comes home from work at least once a week with a story about how one of the teachers or staff at school is handling the potential teacher cuts in his district. There was one who went straight to the board documents site to find out where he was in the order of being hired so he could find out if he would be in the line up to be laid off. There have been quite a few ladies who have broke down crying in school.

There is a person in my life who asks me a bunch of questions about it every time I see her. These questions often lead her and I into a discussion about a long list of things that are out of control and financially difficult in her life no matter how hard or how long she works to pay for things. At some time during our visit together she always asks me "What will you do?". I always tell her that all I can do is pray and that it's in God's hands.

Even our children are watching us. They want to know what will happen if daddy loses his job. Last night when my youngest asked me this question I replied, " Have you ever been without food? Clothes? A roof over your head? Presents under the Christmas tree?" She answered no. Then I asked her "Where do we get all these things from?" She replied "God". So I reassured her that God will always take care of us even if daddy loses his job.

I share all of this not to make anyone worried about us. This is where we are at right now and I figure I might as well learn the most I can from it. What I am learning is that how a person acts or reacts with their actions or words is important. People are watching. My actions and my words paint a picture of how big or how little God is, and how much or how little I trust in Him. There are people out there watching and waiting to see what is so special about this God that you and I say we love and believe in. It's how we respond to moments like these in our lives that will either peak their curiosity about Him to the point of wanting a relationship with Him for themselves, or send them away believing that we are fake and so is our relationship with Him. And as for our children, I want them to learn and store away in their hearts images of their parents trusting God in difficult and uncertain times. Someday they will face these things on their own and how will they know how to respond if we don't set an example?

This week I see God in the challenge to paint an accurate portrait of Him in the way I respond to my circumstances through words and actions. I want to peak the curiosity of those around me so that they will want to know this God that enables me to be at rest and at peace in the midst of uncertain times. How about you? What message does your walk send? Who is watching you?