Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lord of the Flies!

I am not sure how encouraging this post will be but I am sure someone will get a good laugh out of it! So please bear with me as I describe my crazy morning and how God spoke to me by using the flies!

I woke up this morning at 6am spent some time with the Lord and then got ready for my morning work out. I haven't been very disciplined with the work out this week because I have a bad cold and am tired all the time so I was happy that I felt well enough to do one this morning and actually looked forward to it. Then I turned on the large ceiling fan light and it all changed....

Swarming all over the walls behind my bed and on the ceiling were fruit flies there had to be at least 50 to 75 of them! Anyone who knows me knows that I don't like bugs they are just plain gross! So I panicked turned out the light ran out of the bedroom and shut the door! As I stood in the hallway I prayed, what to do? How did they get in? What if we have an infestation? How can I sleep in there again? Were they in there all night? EEEEWWWW!!! I only had one choice, grab a fly swatter and a chair to stand on in order to reach the ceiling, so much for a morning work out!

Once back in the room God pointed me in direction of the air conditioner. That's where they had come in through the gaps in the window. It was pouring all night they must have been looking for a dry place. So I managed to lift the air conditioner out of the window and shut it. Then came the killing spree! It seemed that no matter how many I killed there were more. I had to hop from floor to chair to bed in order to reach them at the ceiling for a swat! The ordeal lasted about 30 minutes. The whole time I am complaining to God about how much I hate flies, the fact that it was hubby who just had to have an air conditioner in for the two nights that were hot this week, and that I wasn't going to be able to get my work out. Of course He reminded me that I was out of breath and sweaty from all the swatting and jumping up on the chair I was doing! And then it was over. Surrounded by dead bodies and guts on the wall I went to get my vacuum cleaner and a rag.

As I began cleaning up God began reminding me that I shouldn't complain so much. He reminded me of a former fly incident that had occurred several years ago with very large black flies. They were swarming around our basement area and I had gotten so frustrated with them that I lured them up the stairs by turning on the light. Then I got out a can of hornet spray because it shoots really far and sprayed them. I remember how happy I was as I watched them fall to the ground, and then it was over.... and I noticed what a mess Raid makes on walls and floors. In my moment of vengeance I had made the walls and stairs drip with Raid. Like a dummy I stood on the top stair to wipe the wall and slipped. I fell down the basement stairs. I can laugh now at that story but at the time I was sore! Anyway, God reminded me that I can be thankful that I learned my lesson the first time and didn't do a repeat by using Raid today. And that got me thinking...

The lessons we learn the best from our Lord are the ones we learn the hard way. Somehow they become such a part of us that we don't ever forget them. So instead of complaining maybe when the next fly incident comes around I will be more likely to choose to be thankful for whatever it is I may learn! Today I am thankful that He is Lord of the flies!

Friday, September 16, 2011

People Are Not Disposable...

I wasn't going to blog this week. It's been crazy here trying to juggle school with the girls and my regular responsibilities. But something on the news caught my attention last night and I can't let it go. It's been weighing on my mind. I normally don't like to get too involved in what I see on the news or comment on my blog about a public figure, but this time it hit too close to home and there is something that needs to be said about it. So here it goes... watch out Pat Robertson!

On his television show yesterday Pat Robertson said it was okay for a spouse to leave their wife/husband if they have alzheimer's disease because having alzheimer's is like you're already dead any way. The person is not the same person they once were with the disease , it's a long death. ( I am summarizing what Pat said. ) But what happened to the marriage vows? For better and for worse, in sickness and in health, til death do us part? Do we throw someone away because they are not mentally the same as they were when we married them? Are they any less valuable as a human being? Does God love them any less?

My grandmother had alhzeimer's disease. Sure there were moments when she didn't remember much, she may not even remember my grandfather's name, but you could tell by the way she lit up that she knew who he was! She recognized every family member even if she couldn't get their name straight. She was still able to enjoy her great grand children. She still brought us smiles and laughter just as much as her disease brought us tears. More importantly the disease never stole the memory of her Savior. She still sang hymns, she still loved her God, she still remembered Him. Yes, the disease steals a lot of memory and every day ability to function, but the person is still there inside that body. I am convinced there are certain things that even disease can't take.

Pat is right, alzheimer's is a long and drawn out death. That is all the more reason to love and care for your loved one who has it. They need you. The mind may be gone, but the feelings are still there and they still need to feel loved and not alone. My grandmother's last words to me were, "I love you, I love you, I love you!" Three times she said it. I cherish that because she didn't say it in response to me, she said it from her heart because she wanted to. She hadn't said it much at all the previous years during her disease. But I believe she knew this was our last visit and I needed to hear it. If I had dismissed her because she had the disease I would have missed that. We miss so much when we throw people away.

I bring all of this up because we live in a world that treats people like they are disposable and replaceable. If someone gets on our nerves because they are too bossy or talk too much we stop answering our phone for them. If a person doesn't look like us or act like us we don't hang out with them because they don't fit the mold. If we can't understand their English because of their thick accent we stop taking the time to listen and tune them out. Some of us are prejudice and only hang out with our own skin color. If someone is not skinny enough, not pretty enough, not rich enough, or doesn't dress in the latest trends we dismiss them. And now there are people who even want to get rid of someone because they have a disease. But this is not God's way.

God loves us and accepts us no matter what we look like, what we have, or what nationality we are. He loves us when we are in our right mind and He loves us when we are a few fries short of a happy meal! He loves us when we are pleasant to be around or when we are bossy and annoying. He never looks at us as replaceable or disposable. We need to follow His example.

Each one of us can probably remember a time when we felt like we were being treated as replaceable or disposable, when we felt like we could never be enough. Please join me this week in loving others the way God loves them. Let's see others as valuable simply because God made them, and love them for the unique treasure and creation they are. Let's follow God's example and not the world's. Remember you are loved and irreplaceable.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11th Reflections...

Tomorrow is September 11, 2011, ten years after the terrorist attacks on our Nation that killed so many innocent people. You can't turn on the television this week without seeing something about it, and if you linger long enough the sadness will reach out through the television screen and grab your heart right out of your chest! So after watching just a little bit, I have turned off the television and am quietly reflecting. The one continuous question that invades my mind is this :If the people who died on 9/11 could come back and tell us anything, what would it be?

I didn't know anyone personally who died on 9/11. But I am guessing that some of the things that they would say to us if they could come back and say anything at all, would be this: Life is fragile. You never know when your time is up. So be in the moment with your loved ones. Be present in every sense of the word, not just physically present with your to do list running through your mind. And by the way, the blackberry, the phone calls, the email, can all wait. Those things can always be answered later, but your kids will grow up before your very eyes, one blink and they are off to college. Leave no good, encouraging, or loving thing unsaid because you may never get a chance to tell that person how much you love them again. Don't be in such a hurry when you leave for work in the morning that you forget to kiss and hug your loved ones goodbye. It may be the last time you get to do that. Make your life count. Don't measure it by your pay check, job promotions, or possessions. Those things are meaningless and you can't take them with you when you go. What lasts is the legacy you have left behind in the lives you touched while living. Finally, there really is a God so keep short accounts with Him because you never know how quickly you will meet Him face to face!

There are many things that we can learn from 9/11. It seems like the things we hear about most involve always looking over our shoulder for the next attack, and not trusting a certain type of people. But I don't think we are meant to live our lives in fear always looking over our shoulder. I think we do those who lost their lives a disservice if we don't live the life we have well, moving forward.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gratitude...

I am sitting on the couch and enjoying the sunshine from the living room window, the breeze from the ceiling fan, and the sound of my girls playing together with a feeling of deep gratitude. There is nothing particularly special about today. It's just an ordinary day. But that's just it, it feels so good to have an uneventful, ordinary day!

In the past three or four weeks we have had job interviews for my husband, termites eating the wall in our house, a leaky chimney, and a broken oven. All things damaged and broken are now fixed. My husband did not get any of the jobs he interviewed for, but that is okay. God put him back in the school district that furloughed him. He was called back because one of the other teachers died from cancer. We don't understand God's ways and we wish he had received his job under better circumstances. But we know that God can help my husband to be a comfort and a blessing to those he now works with who have suffered such a tragic loss. We are thankful for God's provision for our family.

This weekend we hunkered down and waited for hurricane Irene to do her damage. Thankfully none of the many trees around our home fell and the winds, though they were strong, didn't send anything flying through our windows! The most we suffered was a three day power outage. Unfortunately for many others in Vermont, New Jersey, and North Carolina, it wasn't so easy. There are so many people who lost their homes or even loved ones in this storm. I am thankful that we are okay but continue to pray for those who aren't.

That seems to be my struggle lately... feeling so thankful for God's many blessings and at the same time so burdened for other people's losses. How about you? Have you ever experienced this? I am not sure what God is getting at with these things, but He is getting at something! For right now I am content to sit here and be thankful, ever mindful of the fact that it all comes from Him. And ready to freely be a blessing to others because everything in my life is a blessing from God. I can't claim anything as my own!