Category: Friendship


“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”   James 1:19-20 (ESV)

I have been so angry lately.  At my husband Jax, the kids, my friends…

I have always had a short temper.  I remember one time in school when a friend ticked me off, someone asked what my problem was and my friend said, “don’t worry…that’s just Nicole.”

Which, oddly enough, didn’t make me mad!  I took pride in that fact and practically wore it around like a badge… the yes-I-have-a-short-fuse-so-you-had-better-not-mess-with-me badge.   But once I’m mad?  Oh, just leave me alone for a little while to cool down and I’ll be fine.  I have even told people that!  It was just who I was – there was no changing it, just deal with it.

My Dad had a short fuse, I have a short fuse.

Short-FuseAs I got older and settled into a career, I never really thought much of my temper.  There weren’t a lot of times I found myself really angry and if I did, it was in a setting where losing your temper was just unprofessional.

But when I got married and started having kids…

well, there’s another story.

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I have been a Christian now for nearly 20 years and although I have heard the verses:

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute.”
Proverbs 15:18 (NASB)

“People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.”
Proverbs 14:29 (NLT)

“A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.”   Proverbs 12:16 (NLT)

“A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back.”   Proverbs 29:11 (NASB)

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
Proverbs 19:11 (ESV)

and all of them resonated with me.  Clearly I was that fool, and I swore I would memorize those verses and make a change.  Then three seconds later…

woman-going-crazy

A friend of mine, a wonderful, sweet, Godly, gentle, woman shared her story with me.  She had a terrible temper and yelled at her husband and her kids often, but once she came to know Christ it all changed.

God, in His power, removed that from her.  Once she was filled with the Spirit, she immediately stopped acting out of anger.  She is one of the kindest, gentlest women I know and I can’t even imagine her raising her voice!  But even as I heard her story, I thought…

“Huh.  Well, that certainly hasn’t happen to me.”

I’d like to say that I felt my anger was justified, that my anger is ok…but I know that’s not true.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”     Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

As I have read, learned and studied this verse, what I have noticed is that so many of these Godly characteristics have eluded me.  I have so longed for many of them and are, in fact, the distinguishing traits in others that I admire and envy most.

Gees, I am sinning all over the place here!!

I have loved this verse so much that I made a point to memorize it and teach it to my children.  I knew I needed to learn how God fingerprints us and how His Spirit changes us.  Hoping, that as I wallpaper my mind with this verse, it would help me be more like Christ — that just knowing these fruit of the Spirit might rub off on me somehow.

Uh…no.

I am afraid I am one big fruit mess.

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But as I mentioned, recently I have been feeling so much more unappreciated, that my husband and children don’t care and clearly don’t know me… that I am only here to serve them and when is it my turn?!!

Little things have been setting me off over the past few months and I am becoming more and more angry, resentful and lashing out.

Last night I got angry over an expectation of things getting done around the house while I was gone that, of course, didn’t get done and I lost it.  I was done.  I didn’t even want to talk about it because what was the point?  So I went to bed.

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,”   Ephesians 4:26 (ESV)

When I woke this morning I had totally forgotten what I was so angry about until I realized that I don’t even think I said goodnight to Jax.

I immediately thought to myself:  “Oooh!  That worked pretty well!  So this is what I need to do…no fight, no lost temper…  Just don’t deal with it, go to bed and it will be all good in the morning!  Cool.  That is so much easier!!”

But that is so entirely not God’s plan!  You see, it’s the small details that matter.  Ephesians 4:26 continues…

“and give no opportunity to the devil.”   Ephesians 4:27 (ESV)

God brought to mind, in the middle of my not really liking my husband so much, what might happen if that was the road I chose.  He allowed me to see a very clear picture of how our life would continue, how things would get worse and worse until that breaking point when we wouldn’t know each other any more, or we would hate each other and stay married, or worse.

I found myself, right then, at a crossroads.

crossroads

I grabbed my Bible and started reading through the Genesis account, yet again, and re-read the story of Cain when this verse stopped me…

“Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.'”   Genesis 4:6-7 (NIV)

Praise God how He works in our lives!!

I must take control of my anger and change my responses.  And instead of seeking fulfillment from such sinful creatures as my husband and kids, I need to find my satisfaction and fulfillment from the only One who can provide it!  What kind of example am I to my kids when I allow sin to rule over me?

This needs to stop now.

No, I don’t want to tell Jax that I’m sorry.  At all!  I don’t want to admit that I’m a fool and have allowed the devil to have a foothold in my life…but I must.  For the good of our marriage, for the good of our family, for the good of my relationship with Christ.

Hmph.

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“If we would be angry and not sin (says one), we must be angry at nothing but sin; and we should be more jealous for the glory of God than for any interest or reputation of our own.”   – Matthew Henry

 

Related Articles:
Dealing with Anger  (www.ubdavid.org)
Crouching Like a Lion  (www.ccwestside.com)

I’ve been going through Genesis the past couple months reading and re-reading stories, choosing one Bible translation then switching to another.  And regardless of how many times I’ve read the Genesis account, or all of Scripture for that matter, God always reveals new truths… even through those old stories we heard over and over again as kids.

Sunflower_Flannelgraph2

This morning as I started reading through the story of The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), I had to laugh.  You see, it took place after the great flood when all the people of the earth were all together and spoke one language.  It was here that someone had a brilliant idea to construct a city with the greatest sky scraper ever; something everyone could see, an awesome achievement and focal point of the city, a wonder of the world…

“Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.'”   Genesis 11:4

What’s so funny about that you ask?  Well, it just struck me the gall of some people… doing something so outlandish, like building this massive tower, to make sure they wouldn’t be “dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

Doesn’t that just sound like a dare?  Yeah…what do you suppose God will do in this situation??!

 

A dear friend of mine has Trypanophobia.  It’s not what I would think of as a typical fear most girls have like spiders or snakes…  it’s the fear of injections or hypodermic needles.

She hates them.

She even had a discussion with God about them, acknowledging her fear but making sure He understood there was NO WAY she could deal with anything that had to do with needles…just don’t even go there.

Or, in other words…

I_dare_you

Not too long after my friend had her ‘discussion’ with God, her daughter became very sick and was eventually diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  Which means that the one thing which brought such trepidation to my needle fearing friend, is now the one thing she must have intimate knowledge of.  She must keep them in her home, in her purse, at her side, in order to inject her daughter daily to provide the insulin her daughter needs to survive.

Like the people building that tower to make sure they wouldn’t be “dispersed,” God clearly had other plans.

“…the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth…”   Genesis 11:8

Now don’t get me wrong, we can’t change or coerce God’s plan for our lives by sending out a dare… if that were the case, then my ‘don’t even try to let me win the lottery’ would have ended differently and we certainly won’t doom it by admitting our weakness or fears.

But it is God and God alone who is in control and He has a fantastic, yet sometimes difficult, way of teaching us that.

Don’t dare God.  Let Him dare you.  Admit you need Him in your life, to take control of it and work through it.   It is only through our weaknesses; our addictions, our mistakes, our fears…that He can be seen most clearly.

 

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I know you’ve asked that, because I have too.  It is so hard for us to imagine that God; Creator, Healer, Guide, Father, Provider, Comforter, Savior… would care enough, or have time enough, to work in our lives let alone through us.

names-of-God

If any of you know me, you know that I’m an early riser.  I commonly start my day very early in the morning, and on the morning of Thanksgiving wasn’t any different.

When I woke and went downstairs, I checked my phone and saw that I had missed a text from a friend of mine.  I went to return the text but decided I needed to wait a while…it was only 4:30 for Goodness sake… and so I typed in my response but waited a few hours to send it.

And also, if you know me at all, you know that I don’t believe in coincidence or luck.  I believe everything happens for a reason, and that it is always God’s plan.

But it doesn’t always feel like it.  So often it seems like God’s not working in our lives at all…maybe things aren’t moving or changing the way we would expect if He were really involved, but why would he bother with measly old me?!

Oh don’t get me wrong, I know God uses us, His Word tells us as much…

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”   Philippians 2:13  (NIV)

“God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.”   1 Corinthians 12:6  (NLT)

but it just doesn’t seem like it.

Doesn’t it seem like we’re the ones pulling the strings, making the decisions?  We’re doing all the work!  We have to live our lives in a way that shows others we’re Christians (Matthew 5:16), we have to follow God’s rules (John 8:31), do good deeds (1 Timothy 6:18) and display God’s character (Galatians 5:22-23).

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But that’s exactly what the devil wants us to think…he wants to convince us that we are the ones in control and calling the shots.

“For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”   John 8:44

The devil wants us to believe that God’s hands are not actively working in our lives; that He has stepped back and is allowing us to make our own decisions, that He’s only there when we need Him and that He does not affect (or care about) every choice we make.

But I know for a fact, that’s not true.

in his heart silver compass

A few days after Thanksgiving I met with that friend who I texted and she said to me…

“You were doing God’s work the other morning and you didn’t even know it!” she told me.

With a grin on her face and a twinkle in her eye, she continued…

“The morning of Thanksgiving I woke up at 7:14am.  I knew I needed to get up but I didn’t want to so asked God for just one more hour.  At 8:14am I got your text.  8:14!!  Exactly one hour later to the minute!!”

Awesome.

God is always at work and involved in every moment of our lives.  Don’t think for a second that He doesn’t care about you or that you don’t matter.  Because you matter so much to Him that He will work through you to send a text to a friend at exactly the right time she needs it.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”   Luke 12:6-7

And rest in the fact that God is always in control.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”   Proverbs 16:9

 

 

Have you ever wondered where God is?  When things you pray about don’t ever seem to be answered.  When other people’s prayers are answered quickly and you’re still sitting there listening quietly… patiently… and all you hear are…

I have.

Many times.

One of my best friends is a friend from childhood.  We share crazy memories from grade school to high school to college.  We were in each other’s weddings and have made it through multiple births together. She was one of the first to know about my conversion with Christ, when I finally accepted Him, and she was there when I was baptized in Believer’s baptism.  This dear friend later also accepted Christ as her Savior and although she lived a distance away from me, I continued to try to encourage her and disciple her in her walk with the Lord.

But it was hard.

The Lord gave me very strong Christian friends in my life (including my hubby) to disciple and help me.  An amazing church family and so many opportunities for my faith to grow.  But my friend’s story was different.  Her husband wasn’t ‘religious’ so going to church at all was difficult for her.  She was surrounded by non-believers and it seemed God hadn’t placed, really, anyone around my friend to help her in her Christian walk and it broke my heart.

alone

All I could do was pray for her, and I did.  Constantly.

I prayed that God would soften her husband’s heart and give them a longing to find a good church or to place Christians in their neighborhood.  I prayed that once her babies were in the picture, God would give her a sense of obligation to raise those babies knowing Him.  But most often I prayed that God would just place Godly Christian women in her life at work.

I sent her devotions and encouragement through the years, shared with her all the ‘I Spy’ opportunities where I saw God working in my own life, but it was clear that the life she was leading was not the one I had hoped for her as a follower of Christ.

I prayed for my friend for so many years…

prayer_hands_gold

then I stopped.

Oh, once in a while I would think about her and say a little prayer hoping that she could experience the same type of relationship that I have with my Savior…but it seemed like all of it was useless.  She was still in the same place she was so many years ago…still such a baby Christian; not being fed or discipled.  It had been too long.  Maybe this is all God had planned for her.

But is it?

The Bible shares a story about a woman who suffered unanswered prayer for twelve years!

TWELVE YEARS!

“And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.”   Mark 5:25-26

How do I know she prayed this long?  Because of the testimony she has with how she reacted to Jesus later in the story.

But think about this poor woman.  She had crazy health problems!  Come on girls, can you imagine having ‘Aunt Flow’ visit for twelve years?  And this wasn’t just a short, unannounced, knock-knock-surprise-I’m-here-for-the-weekend visit.  It was a CONSTANT TWELVE YEAR flow!

kevin

NOT.EVEN.FUNNY.  I really need to stop complaining.

And on top of that, because she had this discharge of blood, according to Jewish law she was considered unclean.

“If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, not at the time of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond the time of her impurity, all the days of the discharge she shall continue in uncleanness. As in the days of her impurity, she shall be unclean. Every bed on which she lies, all the days of her discharge, shall be to her as the bed of her impurity. And everything on which she sits shall be unclean, as in the uncleanness of her menstrual impurity.And whoever touches these things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening.   Leviticus 15:25-27

What does that mean?  This poor woman, suffering so much health-wise, couldn’t even be comforted.  According to the law, she could not be in contact with anyone and couldn’t even live in the town with her family and friends.  She was ostracized.

But what does she do?  Instead of ending her prayers and dumping her belief… instead of giving up and thinking “Oh gee, Jesus is here… why bother?  Maybe this is just what God has planned for me.”

No, she trusted.

“She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, ‘If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.’ And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.   Mark 5:27-29

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I recently heard from my dear friend.  She finally got a cell phone so we are able to text whenever we want now.  (We will certainly be keeping the cell phone companies in business!)  Woohoo!!

After we caught up a bit on the goings on in our lives, she told me this:

“I have to tell you something I don’t think you’ll be surprised by.  I work with some amazing Godly women.  I swear one friend was sent by you somehow.”

I was dumbfounded.  How silly of me to think that God had forgotten or that through these years He hadn’t been working…preparing.  If only I had trusted with the same faith as that woman…

“And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”   Mark 5:32-34

God has a plan for our lives, and it’s in His timing when it will be revealed to us.  In the mean time we must keep the faith…stay the course…and trust that all things from Him are good.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!”
Psalm 84:11-12

As I grew up, the plan for my life was to get married, have kids and stay home to raise them.  My Mom did that and so would I.

I dated through high school but I would surely meet THE ONE in college, then I wouldn’t have to finish because, obviously, we would be married right away, have a couple kids, I would stay home, eat bonbons and live happily ever after.

mrs degree

That’s just what girls did and I couldn’t wait.

God changed that plan.  Well, as usual, His plan is always a tad different than our own.

“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”   Proverbs 16:9

A dear friend of mine is a wonderfully amazing single woman.  For 35 years she has remained faithful to God’s plans for her life…remaining true to His Biblical standards for a single person; growing in her faith, serving God with her time and abilities, remaining morally pure and finding contentment in her singleness.

She is one of the strongest, Godliest and wisest women I know.  To me, a married mother of four, my friend seems to have it all.  She can do whatever she chooses with her time, has a great job and resources that allow her to travel and give freely… and yet the greatest desire of her heart is to find the man God has planned for her.

Because she, like me and so many other women, know one of the simplest and most basic desires and purpose for mankind.

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply…'”   Genesis 1:27-28

Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”   Genesis 2:18, 24

Marriage

But God just hasn’t brought ‘THE ONE’ to her.

A couple years ago a single dad, and his son, moved into the area and began attending our church.  We all became fast friends and even began serving together in ministry.  I swear, a resounding “Hmmmm…re-he-he-ally?!!” could have been heard when some of us realized he was single.   My friend and he got along very well…they seemed a perfect fit and even other people noticed, however nothing seemed to come of it.

“Is he just oblivious?”  Some asked.

“Does he not have similar feelings?”  Questioned others.

None of it made any sense.  It seemed so clear.  Such a great match.

Then we received news that he would be moving back home – states away – and it would be happening immediately.  It literally knocked the wind out of me and I can only imagine what it did to my friend.

We were supposed to meet at my house, our small group women and I, the night he stopped by to tell us the sad news, but schedules changed and the meeting was canceled.  Had the gals and I met…my friend would have surely been here when he stopped.

God protected her heart.

tears

Undoubtedly there were tears and still are, but what seems so sad can also be seen as blessing.

Had something more intimate started between them, this parting would have been infinitely more difficult.  Besides, he is moving back home…back to where he and his son came from…back to where more family is… his parents AND his son’s mother.

Perhaps this is God’s plan of protection for my friend or His plan of reconciliation for a family.  We can’t know the mind of our Creator or the plan He has for our lives but Scripture shows us time and again that God knows our struggles…

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”   Hebrews 4:15-16

And if we boldly go before Him, offering up our heart’s desire, He will hear…

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”   Romans 8:26-27
And will fill our hearts…

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”   John 7:38

But still, it hurts.

Memorial day

encourage-synonymsI wrote about this very topic a few years ago in my post I Spy God writing a note and I can’t tell you how true it is.

“… we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.”   Hebrews 6:28

We all need encouragement.  A kind and motivating word given at just the right time can lift spirits…cause us to forge ahead…push us to go the extra mile…help us take just one more step forward.

The other day a friend of mine asked if I had read the blog post from Girls Growing with God.  She began following this blog from a list of blogs I follow and said how much she needed the message that day.  Girls Growing with God is written by a dear friend of mine, so when I found out how much it touched another friend of mine, I decided to send a quick text to thank her for her post and let her know she’s making an impact… that God is using her.

The timing of my text couldn’t have been better.  It seems she had been struggling and clinging to God’s truth…

“while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:18

and at that very moment God knew she needed a bit of encouragement, so He used me.

What an honor.

A couple days before, God placed it on my heart to send a couple notes to some friends.

They both have been struggling in different ways, so I wrote a couple notes of love and encouragement and threw them in the mail.

 

Come on, who doesn’t love to get something in the mail?

Along with those notes, I included a PASS IT ON message card.  And I tell you, those message cards are BRILLIANT!!  Boy, have they have been the right words at the right time so often for me!!  But I never imagined how much encouragement they could be!  Those little gems brought tears…

[SCORE!!]

For my friend who is struggling with trusting and asking God for her true heart’s desire, I sent…

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Her response?  “Thanks for the card!!  Even though I’m crying…”

For my other friend struggling with ‘what’s the point?’ I sent…

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Her response??  “I can’t tell you how much I needed your encouraging words today.  Thank you for the Philippians reference.  I cried!”

It is truly amazing how God works.  How and why He chooses to use such a fail of creatures to do His work here on earth…it is astounding, and I am truly humbled and grateful that He loves me enough and trusts me enough to use me in that way.

Who do you know that needs a word of encouragement from you today?  God placed someone in your mind, didn’t He??

Now go do something about it!!

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”   1 Thessalonians 5:11

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If you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you know that I love to see God in the little things… at unexpected times… when our thoughts are somewhere else and God does something, be it ever so small, to bring us back…

That’s how He works, and to be one of His children…to realize He’s sending a little love or encouragement, a reminder or moment of clarity at just the right time… well, that’s just so exciting!!  Mmmmmm…it just fills me to no end!!

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I haven’t been writing many I Spy stories this year.  God placed it on my heart to read the Bible straight through and to stay on track by posting what I’ve read on this blog.  And so I have…however it has taken a lot of time and left not a lot of time to share God sightings… but I just can’t sit idly by any longer!!

God works in so many moments of the day…I see him so often and especially as I read through the Bible, it’s even more apparent how His timing is amazing and perfect!!

I was at a party earlier this year…many people were there and it was too much fun.  Much needed fellowship coupled with awesome food…oooh, we all had such a great time.  In fact, we ended up staying much later than I had expected.

You know what it’s like when you’re at a party… there is a certain amount of party etiquette.  It may even be a party you want to leave, but you don’t want to be the first one to go, so you wait.  Then when someone else makes their exit, it’s a perfect out!

Yet on the other hand… you certainly don’t want to be the last to leave a party either!

overstaying welcome

Well, a couple families left at one point, but it was still early and so the majority of us stayed and continued to talk.  A couple hours later, when I found myself starting to nod off, I realized how late it was and so I stood up to get going and the rest of the group followed my lead.

The following morning as I was reading in the book of Proverbs I read verses about sincere motivation and concern for others.  One set of verses even referred to overstaying welcome!

“Oh gees, we stayed too long!”  I thought.

A short while later I got a message from the friend who hosted the party and she mentioned how late she was up the night before.  What I didn’t know is that while the majority of us left when we did, a few didn’t.

They stayed…

and stayed…

My friend said that of course they had a great time with them, but it just got to be too late.

Boy did I laugh, and I just had to share the verse I read not an hour earlier…

Have you found honey? Eat [only] what you need, That you not have it in excess and vomit it. Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor’s house, Or he will become weary of you and hate you.”   Proverbs 25:16-17

 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”   Matthew 5:4

September 11th attacks

The attacks of September 11th have been the most devastating thing that has happened in my life.  My heart still hurts thinking of those who lost their lives, both the victims and those in the armed forces fighting to keep terrorists at bay and I know our world has forever been changed.

I fully admit that I am ignorant to what is happening out in the world.  I am blessed to live in a country that does not have desolate lands, a lot of poverty, disease, hunger or war on the street and I haven’t known a lot of tragedy in my life.

I haven’t dealt with abuse, don’t come from a family of divorce, haven’t lost a parent, have not been sick, never miscarried or lost a child.  Sure, I’ve lost grandparents but they lived long, full, happy lives and of course pets…but I can’t call flushing a dead goldfish down the toilet real loss.

dead goldfish

I’ve experienced job loss and financial hardship but have never personally experienced anything that shook me to the core.

I haven’t written about any of the heartless massacres that have taken place over the last many years.  So many grievous, heart-wrenching and unfathomable acts of violence that have been carried out in places of learning, entertainment, recreation, healing, solace and safety.  Places all of us visit and had no second thoughts about allowing our children or loved ones to do the same.

Of course each one of these tragedies have affected me; shocked me, sickened me and caused me to question humanity, but they never quite hit home.  The Dark Knight Rises movie shooting caused me to stop and gawk in disbelief, questioning what people in this world are thinking and the tragedy that happened at a Sikh Temple only a couple hours away from our home saddened me and I prayed for those families affected by it, but I carried on with life.

Even this past week at a mall in Oregon confused me and made me wonder… but honestly I shrugged it off, “That won’t happen here,” I thought.

But what happened yesterday at Sandy Hook Elementary School

Hold them tight

Yesterday was different.  They were children.  Children!

This one hit home.

 

I don’t know why God gives and takes away.  Why He allows terrible heartache and trials in one life and not others.  Why He provides gifts and blessings for one and nothing for another.

“Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has informed Him?”   Isaiah 40:13

But I do know that God’s ways are best, His plan is best, His love never fails and He is still in control.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”   Romans 8:28

Hold them tight...

Last night I held my babies tight.  I cried while holding them in my arms… so very thankful that I could.

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”   1 John 4:4

 

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Mentor

As many of you know, I mentor a young lady named Hayley.  I’ve written about her before in my posts:  Watercolor Blessings  and  Stand up.  We’ve been meeting now for almost a year and although I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing when we began to meet…surprisingly I have been doing something right.

I don’t know how that happened…obviously God is VERY MUCH HANDS ON in this relationship because believe me, I am a huge mess and certainly NOT tooting my own horn here.  I am very capable of and am probably causing serious permanent damage to this poor, beautiful girl, so praise God He knows how to shut my mouth and offer discernment!!

Poor Hayley.

But…I was asked by my pastor to speak, along with some other people, in a sermon this past Sunday called:  “I’m going to get serious about my faith!”  from his “Next Year’s Going to be Different” series.

Different topics were covered: Prayer, Devotions, Discipleship, Evangelism, Memorization, etc… and he asked me to speak on Mentoring.  I was stunned to say the least.  “But I don’t really know what I’m doing!!” I said.  “I might be totally messing Hayley up!!”  He assured me he still wanted me to speak and suggested that perhaps I do some research on the topic.

Y’know what I found??

It seems that even though I am unsure, that I question why on earth God called me to mentor Hayley; What have I to offer when there are so many wiser, smarter, calmer, kinder, gentler and much more qualified women in the church than me? that He gave me reassurance.

What God has taught me through mentoring Hayley is that being a mentor is not the image I had in my head of the I’m-so-wise-and-holy-you-will-learn-amazing-and-wonderful-spiritual-truths-from-me teacher…

mean teacher

Because yeah, I am faaaar from that…

But instead, all I need to offer is a heart for God and my friendship.

As I researched, He led me to a great article How Christian Woman Can Mentor and Be Mentored, which reiterated that exact point.

Of course, being a mentor is a scary thing…

“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”   James 3:1

but God calls each one of us to it…

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”   Titus 2:3-5

So I encourage you.

We can be mentored at any age…I have several women in my life whom I look up to, respect tremendously and go to when I need advice or have a question about something.  We don’t meet regularly and most of them probably don’t realize that they are mentoring me, but they offer wisdom, understanding and clarity when I need it.

If you think you aren’t qualified to mentor someone, kick that thought right out of your head.  If you are asked a question that you don’t know an answer to, find someone who does.  If you don’t know what to say, ask God to give you the words.  Just open your heart, admit your failures, love unconditionally and I assure you, you will be blessed by it.

Hayley is nearly 25 years younger than me.  Uff…that’s a tough pill to swallow.  But what I have learned from her through this unlikely relationship God brought together is more valuable to me than I can even explain.

She is a gem and I am so blessed to be called her mentor…her friend.

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