The Audacity of Grief

Lord, if only. . .sadbywater

 

I can understand Martha (because she seems a lot like me) saying Lord, if only… but Mary too?

 

Mary, Jesus said earlier, had “chosen the good part.” Articles and books have been written on the spirit of Mary, and how Martha should have/could have been more like Mary.

 

Yet here are both sisters. Martha, overworked, worrying about too many things…saying, Lord, if only…

 

And Mary, seemingly the more spiritual one, with the identical response…Lord, if only. . .

 

How many times have I said or thought if only… OS09078

 

If only…

I’d pay the bill on time, seen the deer, remembered to turn off the stove, mended that relationship… and on and on the list goes. Usually directed at myself. If only I had…

 

But Martha does not say, if only I’d cleaned one more room, If only I’d made a better meal or even if only, I’d been more like Mary…

 

And Mary does not say, if only I’d sat at your feet longer, Lord, or if only I’d helped Martha more.

 

Both of them instead, do something far more dangerous. They tell God things could have been different, (right, better) if only He had shown up!

 

Imagine God’s puny creation daring to tell him he was not in the right place at the right time. That this situation is HIS fault and out of His control. It could have been avoided IF Jesus had been more caring. Others echoed Martha and Mary’s sentiments in John 11:37 But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have kept this man also from dying?”

 

When Jesus assures Martha she will see her brother again she assumes he means the lightedcrossresurrection, our ultimate assurance from God. But Martha’s reaction was like “Well yeah, sure, you will do that. Someday. But I wanted him back now, and you weren’t here when you could have been.” Lord, if only…

 

I so relate to them. They could not see the Master’s hand. I cannot always see His hand either. They only knew they wanted their loved one back, and that Jesus could have stopped death. I too know that God alone controls life and death.

Job 14:5     Mortals have a limited life span.
You’ve already decided how long we’ll live—
you set the boundary and no one can cross it.

If only.

And how did Jesus respond to the ‘If onlys’? Jesus wept. Because he loved Lazarus or because he sympathized with Mary and Martha’s grief? Possibly, but I think Jesus wept because his closest earthly friends did not ‘get’ the eternal picture of why Jesus had come. It’s natural to look to the short-term miracles rather than eternal purpose. Grief focuses us in blindness, not grasping that He WAS there, that Christ IS God, and that He is the God of the past, the present and the future. He goes before me.

 

A friend recently posted how something happened to upset her and her daughter reminded her it was “a non-eternal.” That puts life’s upsets in its proper perspective.

 

Several years back my sisters and I made a red-bird challenge. Our daughters later joined in praying for one another whenever we saw a red bird. It’s been amazing how many red birds we see, and the sense of being prayed for we have experienced. One of our daughter’s last gifts to me was a felted red bird.

Join us in praying for perspective, to not allow non-eternals to sap redbird1strength, and to keep the eternal perspective front and center even if, especially if – and when, like Mary and Martha, I really don’t understand.

 

 

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Submerged For A Purpose

Submerged

The Cracked Teacup in the Well might be a more explanatory title.

tea cup med

Yes you guessed it. I am the cracked teacup. I do, however, mean that in a different way than Christian comedian Patsy Clairmont’s God Uses Cracked Pots.

 

Have you read her cute story about the woman who has only a cracked pot and carries it to the water, but of course leaks out a great deal on the way home? The moral of the lesson is that seeds were also spilled on the path, and the woman is inadvertently watering the plants while trudging over her arduous journey. Not that God hasn’t surprised me and used me despite my frail and damaged condition.

 

My desire today is to share about the possibilities when dunking the cracked teacup into the well. What I would expect is not good:

  1. The teacup would float a minute, tip and fill with water, and then sink.
  2. The teacup would be useless because it could not retain the water from the well to bring anyone refreshment
  3. Putting a cracked teacup into a well and withdrawing it makes about as much impression as putting your finger in a bucket of water and pulling it out.

 

You have my picture. Me. The cracked teacup. Painted to look good but deeply flawed.

 

Now take a look at the well.  IMG_1826_2

 

This well is not filled with ordinary water. It is living water. John 4:10.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

 

The woman at the well in this story was considered ‘damaged goods’ by her neighbors and the community. Yet Jesus asked her, as he asks me for a drink.

That is humility in action. Give Him a drink? Can I (damaged goods) be a vessel to refresh Christ? Or is he testing me to show me who He is?

 

When I put myself in this story I see the broken cup – maybe delicate English china (I wish), or a thick and clunky mug – but no matter, for it is cracked. No more -brand new,’ but broken. Not serviceable. Ready to be recycled or remade.

 

Now the master – the owner of the well – the creator of living water, actually wants to refresh me, remake me, but before he does, he asks me to take a risk. To choose. To let Him re-form the clay, dry, chip, sand and immerse me, an unworthy vessel into the well.

 

Pretty scary. I don’t like water anyway. And to be immersed! Out of my mind with fear and trembling.

 

But if I do submit…when I do… He promises He will fill me, and I will not sink. I will not sink because He will place his thumb over the defect, rub the clay back together again and fill the refined vessel. Submerged is to fill and surround with His living presence.P1000292

 

And so I remind myself, that is where I am now. Hourly being plucked out from almost drowning –unusual uplifting – a certainty of rising out. Resting. Floating without fear and the promise of one day – being recreated whole and useful again.

 

How is your teacup? Are you, like me, more than slightly cracked? Join me for a 20 day submersion.

 

Meet you at the well.

 

Col. 1:27 – Christ in you, the hope of glory

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Focusing On The Truth

How are you doing?  1-sisters

 

Forgive me if I hope I never ask that question again, especially to someone who is grieving.

 

Joni Tada said, “Suffering is the textbook that will teach you who you really are.”

 

My suffering has revealed painful truths. I am a weak and grieving mom whose mind can’t stop the play, rewind, repeat of guilt, or the mystery and guilt of having peace amidst the pain.

 

How can that question be answered? What do people want to hear? Can I answer truthfully without also spilling all the pain and wondering?  OS09078

 

My first honest response, I am struggling was not what I wanted to say, but it was truth. Drowning in regret it wasn’t me. Guilt that I didn’t recognize or research her monthly ibuprofen use, and guilt because I dared to question God. Truthfully I am also trusting. I do have peace that God is in control. If I didn’t truly believe that God alone holds the keys to life and death, I would snap. Well, actually…

 

I did snap at a loving and gentle friend when he asked me how I was doing. “That is not a good question,” I sobbed. What is a good question, he wondered while comforting me. I pondered that. No questions, I decided. Please, no questions. Just truths.

 

She was a good woman, She will be greatly missed.   I love you. I am praying for you. I am here for you. Focus on the truth.

 

That was another friend’s response. Only a week prior I’d advised her to fight off the enemy’s lies and to focus on truth. “Focus on the truth,” she repeated, reading back to me the page of truth scriptures I had given her. It made me wonder – was God guiding me to prepare my own counsel when I answered her need the week prior?

 

I am humbled at that friend’s story and the dozens of stories from others who have also lost a child too suddenly and too soon.

passoverclipart

I remember God opening my heart to how much He loved me through an incident with Laurie. I wonder at our other daughter’s peace when God allowed her son to die. I wonder at God’s feeling when his son hung on the cross. He allowed that – for me. Did He also feel the cost was too high?

 

I wonder at Jesus after losing his best friend John, escaping to grieve, and being greeted by crowds wanting him to do for them, what he was not permitted to do for John. I wonder at Job, experiencing the loss of all his children. I wonder how those who do not believe can bear such loss.

 

And I wonder at the peace I have, despite the pain.

 

You all have incredibly poured into me this past week. I thank you for the many acts of love and mercy and prayer.

 

Thank you for sowing peace and patience as I learn to leave the questions with the Lord. Bibleheart

 

 

 

 

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It Is Well With My Soul

I will be honest, I am struggling, through the emotions, the enemy’s many fiery darts and our heartbreak, but I know Laurie would remind me that God’s promises have not changed.

It is well with my soul.

Those were the last words I said to my daughter, reminding her of precious memories of her playing that on her flute, and of her pressing her forehead against mine and saying, “Don’t worry about me, Mumzie – It is well with my soul.” IMG_2812

It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford

  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

    • It is well with my soul,
      It is well, it is well with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  4. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
  5. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
  6. And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.

Lauriemomsm

 

BABBIE MASON


Trust His Heart Lyrics

All things work for our good
Though sometimes we can’t
See how they could
Struggles that break our hearts in two
Sometimes blind us to the truth
lauriewoods
Our Father knows what’s best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim
And you just can’t see Him,
Remember you’re never alone God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don’t understand
When don’t see His plan
When you can’t trace His hand
Trust His Heart
He sees the master plan
He holds the future in His hand,
So don’t live as those who have no hope,
All our hope is found in Him.We see the present clearly
But He sees the first and last
And like a tapestry He’s weaving you and me,
To someday be just like Him He alone is faithful and true
He alone knows what is best for you

when you don’t understand
When you don’t see His plan

When you can’t trace His hand
Trust His Heart

 Laurel Lee – written into the Lamb’s Book of Life at age 4.

Please pray for me, and for our family.

 

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Whose Team are YOU on?

Prolific author Cec Murphy gifts many writers each year with conference scholarships. I was one of those blessed to attend Maranatha Christian Writer’s Conference. IMG_4879

 

Every Writer Needs A Team was the theme. I went to find a team, but found a lot more – including new friends, a confidence transfusion, constant kindness ‘attacks,’ and a lesson I’ll never forget.

 

On the 6 hour drive, singing and praising God for the blessing, a part of Genesis 24:27 ran through my mind. To keep awake I did a mental verse study. Word by word the phrase, I, being in the way, the LORD led me, took on a deeper meaning.

 

National editors, publishers, writers, speakers would be there as some of my Team – co-workers to share God’s good news with others.

IMG_4825

So I ask myself, what is being in the way?

 

Beingexisting – present -

Root word – golem, go´-lem; (existing) i.e. as the embryo:—substance yet being unperfect.

 

In – bending towards, immersed, a part of, enclosed or surrounded by something else, and showing want, as in needy

 

Thepoint forward to a following qualifying or specific thing  1-GodAllowsUTurn

 

Way – has many meanings depending how it is used. When in doubt I head to the original language.

 

Way – originates from derek, deh´-rek; figuratively, a course of life (in the act of moving forward, including eliminating obstacles to move forward) or mode of action such as guiding an arrow by bending it to draw into the right path

 

 

Led – (this one surprised me) geled, ghe´-led; from an unused root meaning to polish

 

Don’t you love it!

 

Paraphrased now it says

Still needing completion, Delores, immersed in taking action as a disciple of Christ, and bending to His will, was yieldpolished by the Lord.

 
Polishing has great results, but the process can sting, as well as require a lot of effort. Two of the people I spoke with told me it was obvious to them that God was leading me and to stop seeking more on my own – to just focus on and complete what I’d already been given.

 

Once again God reminded me that He is more concerned with my relationship with him than with my outreach and that the second will come out of the first. Maranatha was an incredibly affirming time, meeting encouraging editors, staff, speakers and teachers, and part of my Hartline team.  Harlineteam

You know me, I want to do it all, and by Friday I was wired. I whined in prayer that I wished I had not made so many appointments when God gently prodded if it ever occurred to me that perhaps some appointments were for me to encourage the presenter and not just “all about them encouraging me.”

Thus my takeaway was dual – one – stay actively present – inclined “in the way” and the Lord will lead me. (and He has – remarkably!) Two – I need to give first – to pray for and support – my team – not just expecting them to serve and feed me.
Now freshly observing the team at Maranatha striving to benefit us, I could see their exhaustion and sacrifice. The surprised looks and gratefulness when the tables were turned and I offered to pray for and encourage them was a gift.

 

I needed to realize God also placed me on their team!  Maranathanight

 

How has God led you and polished you while you were ‘in the way?”

 

I’d love to hear about it!

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3 Ways to Stay Alert on the Road

Eleven hours of driving recently provided time to consider the challenge of Ephesians 6:18 to pray at all times and DeeEngland2014-1 2437to be alert at all times.

 

Eph. 6:18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

 

The tendency to become hypnotized from highway driving required a challenge so I could remain alert while praying and meditating.

 

Three ways I fought fatigue and kept the focus were:

 

  • Looking around me – I love to look use things I see as prayer starters because I don’t like to wait and it seems in life I am often waiting. At a stop sign – Lord is there anything I need to stop doing – that reflection goes quickly! Or – caution – Should I use caution in what I want to say to someone – or in my desire to fix my or someone else’s problem.

 

  • Mentally unpacking my bags! First – asking myself what is in my purse –  1pursefrontflapwallet
  1. Hairbrush – Lord help me to face that snarl..to address it gently and with compassion to not hurt while helping…
  2. File – to smooth out this relationship…or that issue. That God would remove barriers
  3. Lip gloss, lipstick – asking God to put a guard on my lips that all I say would bring glory to Him.
  4. Camera – that my focus would not be on myself, but on others, that I would look for things of beauty
  5. Pen – that I would first look to the words God has written, then to words of experienced believers (speakers at the conference), and requesting God to show favor toward the words I had writtenglasses

 

You get the picture. I over-pack when heading anywhere in the Midwest because we never know what the weather will be. It makes for miles of great mental “unpacking!”

 

  • Meditating on a scripture verse

Picking apart Ephesians 6:18 word by word, I was reminded to be praying at all times – and with all perseverance. For me to do that would be to make a practice of being on the watch. Often I only get on the watch when hurting, things are going bad, or there is (obvious) distress or concern. That, for me, is when the enemy can creep in..and I find myself distressed and wondering what happened, things were going so well! Reflecting on this reveals how distress goes back to the earlier passage on making no provision (not getting slack) for defeat.

 

I love the analogy to stay awake at all times because that is how I read – and often feel about life in general -

I don’t want to miss anything – especially any of Gods glory. (result last vacation – 4,000 pictures!)  What a beautiful world

 

I had to question – Am I that diligent about not falling asleep spiritually because things are going well? This scripture also urged that it would be natural to do just that, but I must not – I must be awake and alert at all times – not letting down my guard to pray for the strength to escape whatever things that are going to take place, because good things can distract me too.

 

In your spiritual battle do you “keep alert with all perseverance?” If not, do you see the need to do these things and will you ask the Lord to help you change?

 

We all have long ‘drives’ ahead of us. Going somewhere.  Coming home.  I pray we will not be distracted, or lose focus and fall asleep. Being on the road is a great time to “unpack” the prayers, and travel light!

 

Safe travels.  IMG_4879

 

 

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There’s a Hole in My Armor!

“That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies…” Joshua 7:12

Luke 11:21-23 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own homestead, his possessions are undisturbed;
but when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied, and distributes his plunder. “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not armorsuitgather with Me, scatters.”

It matters not how strong you are. It matters not whether you have the greatest resources and talent. It matters not if you have the best plans and procedures. It will all fail if you have a break in your armor.

This is the message God told Joshua when he attempted to go against a small army at Ai, which was the Israelites’ second battle in the Promised Land. Sometimes we try to figure out why we are not successful in an endeavor. We look at all aspects of our performance to see what went wrong. For the people of Israel, it was not easily seen on the surface. Everything seemed just as it should be from Joshua’s vantage point, so when his army was soundly defeated, he cried out to God, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, why did You ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us?” (Josh. 7:7a)

The people had been defeated because God could not bless them. One person had violated the covenant with God. They were not to take any possessions from the first battle, but one person failed to live up to this, and the whole army suffered.

Sin makes our armor vulnerable to attack from Satan, who then gains permission from God to attack us in the area where we have failed to uphold righteousness. If we break down in moral purity, we allow the enemy to come in and establish a stronghold. I think it is important to note that it was not the person praying (Joshua) who violated God’s direction, but one of Joshua’s camp.  We know if we give place to bitterness and unforgiveness, we will break fellowship with God and others. We know if we become money-focused, we will fall into greed and armorshielddeception. It is a vicious cycle.  We usually recognize that.

But sometimes we fail to ‘know’ (to realize or admit) that our associations, business partners, and friends, can bring us down with them. It only takes one chink in the armor to bring the soldier down.

Examine your armor today. Make sure you are not susceptible to attack. Begin from a solid spiritual foundation, and be sure your associations align with that foundation. Don’t make a deal for finances alone, and make yourself vulnerable.

Do whatever you need to do to keep your armor intact, (maintain your armor and when you put it on, put on your FULL ARMOR) and your chances of success will be great.

 

Eph. 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.armorhelmet

BibleheartCheck your armor today.  Is anything missing – are you wearing the FULL ARMOR of God?

  • TRUTH
  • RIGHTEOUSNESS
  • PEACE
  • FAITH
  • SALVATION
  • THE WORD OF GOD
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Fierce Woman Trophies — A Deeper Cleaning

 

Victory in the clothing department!  IMG_4731

I am not sure what took me so long, but as you will see from the previous post, a load is gone!

How freeing to know everything fits and matches

and will not be wrinkled from being jammed with too many other items.

closet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whew – that’s done, but God wasn’t done with me.

It was onto deeper cleaning – from the Fierce Woman.

 

– If you are a woman, and particularly if you are a wife I feel safe in saying you NEED to read The Power of a Soft Warrior by Kimberly Wagner. I am usually a very fast reader going through 3-5 books a week, minimum. This book is different, in that I felt each step needed to be dealt with before I went to the next. FierceWoman

 

It has been a painfully long process to read, apply, put it down and repeat – since last Spring.

 

The book is a very personal journey of the author and her husband. She relates each area of a woman’s fierceness to the reader and gives plenty of can’t-miss-the-point illustrations.

 

Kim states that “You may not see yourself as beautifully fierce or even slightly strong, but what if God has placed a powerful fierceness within you, within every woman? Kim admits her fierceness became a source of conflict in her marriage, but the relationship dynamic totally changed when she discovered her fierce strengths could be used to encourage and inspire her husband.”

 

I promised to finish the book by this year’s True Woman Conference, (Oct. 9) so I’ve been getting convicted, ah, I mean reading more each day. Finding things about me the mirror doesn’t show.

 

One surprising example was a chapter about how men love a challenge. I can relate that to the sports enthusiasts in our family, but not Ken. I did not understand how the point of the personal story of some guys getting stoked about a physically exhausting opportunity to help some friends move in a very short time-span related to us.

 

My hubby came up from his basement workshop just as I finished this story and was trying to process what it had to do with me or us. He had been working on a cabinet he designed for church. A cabinet that was taking weeks IMG_6916longer than it should have (in my opinion) because he decided to design a roll-top cabinet closure. Something he’d never done before, and something totally unnecessary (in you know who’s opinion) to create a utilitarian cabinet. I pondered the story again as Ken showed me detail of the wooden strips, and tiny intersecting links to the strips, and how he would glue them to fabric and create the rolltop (he was fairly confident). I noticed, perhaps more than before, how excited his voice grew as he shared his project.

 

I thought over other projects Ken had been teased about. Like the roof where he measured and put in so many nails, that an incredulous friend who came to help suggested if they added a few more nails he could have an aluminum roof! In several ways he became known as an over-achiever, making things far more intricate than expected. It irritated me but he just joked about our different approaches and gave me the nickname Puddlejumper. In turn I called him the Bridgebuilder, because if we approached a puddle with a pot of gold on the other side, I would jump (or try to) quickly get over the puddle. His version always had me falling in the puddle (ok maybe there was a little reality to the story) but I always got things done faster. While I imagined myself on the other side of the puddle, very likely muddy and dripping wet, but grasping the gold, Ken would still be drafting a drawing of a very exacting and beautifully detailed bridge to get over the puddle. Then he would complete the imaginary competition revealing that while he built the bridge it continued to rain. Without his bridge I couldn’t have crossed the puddle grown into a dangerous white-water river. We laughed at our exaggeration, but then I grew sober, realizing all the times his persistence and dedication to detail had gotten us out of a lot of scrapes.

 

I looked up at Ken thoughtfully and asked the big question: When you build crazy things like the roll-top cover to that cabinet, do you feel like you are not just building something but conquering a challenge?

 

His eyes lit up and he was pleased that I’d finally figured it out. My trophy of figuring things out faster —like propping different height sticks between our bedroom windows rather than his lengthy method to remove the wood, replace the mechanism, re-stain and replace the wood. I finally saw it – the roof covered with nails precisely every 1.5”, the windows, beautifully stained and still functioning decades later, the stained glass with hundreds of pieces. How many times had I only reluctantly admired his completed challenge?

 

My apology was welcomed. He loves humble pie…2105

 

I hope I have saved you the trouble.

 

Dusting off those emotional trophies can get pret-ty dirty. Do you relate?

 

Do tell!

 

 

 

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Recycling my Trophies

My tolerance has ended. Over recent years, I’ve helped a couple of relatives clean out their clutter, always coming home mentally energized to declutter, but too physically exhausted to do it.closet1

 

No more of that.

 

This week I twice had something on that I did not want to be seen in. I changed from it when I had to run out of the house. So if it is not good enough for friends or strangers, why is it I don’t want to look my best for the ones who love me the most? Yet every day I rummage through the shelves, and usually pick the same clothing anyway.

 

Enough of that.  closetThink it’s time?

 

Today I bought some large zippered plastic containers, and bags. Here is the plan for tomorrow:

 

  • Sort the closet into sections –
  • Dress outfits – 7 dress or skirt & top outfits and 7 dress pant & top outfits and 7 sweaters
  • Casual clothing – 7 capris, 7 slacks, 7 skirts or dresses (if I have that many) and 7 casual tops
  • 7 coats summer (including sweatshirts) and 7 coats winter (if I have that many)
  • Shoes – believe it or not – out of probably over 70 pair – 7 dress shoes, 7 dress casual, 7 activity shoes (hiking, exercising, walking) and 7 pairs of sandals.
  • The rest? Into the bags for distribution.

 

What brought all this on? Two things. One was all the scripture and parables I’ve read lately about not storing things up – that things (and time) are given in abundance so we can be good stewards and share with others in need (including not wasting so much of my time on stuff). Also as I was analyzing why my relatives kept so much, and so many odd things. I noticed three types of things

 

  1. Useful things, but crazy amounts of duplicates (abundances like my shoes) that no one person Shoestogocould ever really utilize or had space for
  2. Empty or almost empty things no longer used – perhaps good at one time, but no longer worked for them, but kept because they were free or I (or someone else) paid “good money” for them – you know – like the 58 containers of hair products under my bathroom sink – see the pattern?)
  3. Sentimental gifts or trophies. Some things never used, some no longer needed, did not fit the décor, some taking huge amounts of space. Yes, I recognized these around my home too. Trophies of someone’s affection, of a long and arduous battle to win/buy/negotiate the object (which I no longer use but keep as a trophy of the battle), or a trinket representing happy times or happy places that only collects dust

 

I am preparing them all for recycling. Seven to keep seems a good place to start. Others will go to a relative or friend who NEEDS them, or to bless someone else via the resale shop.

 

After the clothes, the plan is to scour a room at a time for other redundant objects taking up space and time to maintain or move around. Those kept will be 1-2 of a kind or 1 set. By the time I finish all the rooms, the basement and garage, I should be ready to hit the closet a second time.

 

Will you join me?

What are your trophies?

What do you have that you do not use or need that could bless someone else but won’t if you keep it hidden away?

 

 

Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

 

1Tim. 6:18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,

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Interruptions – Got Any?

OH boy. Life is full of interruptions But are interruptions the same as multi-tasking? Quite the opposite. Multi-tasking we can control, life interruptions, we often cannot, but we can learn to deal with them. When we are interrupted, Priscella Schirrer (Life Interrupted: Navigating the Unexpected) shares if we stop to analyze our irritation with the interruption, we can see our resistance most often stems from one of three causes (though in my personal experience it is usually #1):7007

1)We don’t want to let go of control

2)  We don’t want to face that life is not just about “me,” or be forced to look at the bigger picture, and others’ needs as well

3)  People interruptions cost time we hate to give up, even though they can make us more patient and gracious

Webster’s dictionary defines interruptions as cutting in, barging in, intervention, intrusion. Sometimes they happen almost continually. You are cooking, reading, taking a bath, and the phone rings. Interruption.

- You are on task with your budget and something breaks down. Interruption. You are trying to study and budget, and communicate, and diet, when a friend dumps you and you cannot figure out why, weakening your resolve on many of those tasks.  sadbywater

- And then there are the physical and spiritual interruptions that we think we are expected (or we expect ourselves) to respond to with critical thinking and compassion for others, yes – but also compassion for yourself.

- Another day (or another hour) you are reading your devotion or the Bible, praying, or working on a Bible Study, and you get the thought that you needed to add something to the grocery list, or you forgot to call your friend, or you need a haircut. Thought interruption. Frustrating.

A Navigator conference speaker taught us to keep a pad of paper handy during OS12058devotions, to write down the interruption, then set it aside to deal with later, and return our focus to God’s Word.

We were also taught to embrace the interruptions that provide opportunity to share eternity, even if it sidetracks our own plans.

When I am evaluating an interruption I need to ask could the irritating instance be an intervention – from God? I have had times where I was either focused (selfishly) on ‘rewarding’ myself (though not to my health) or focused (foolishly) on what I felt others thought of me or my work when God sent someone to interrupt that downward slide and bolster my failing strength with encouragement and help.

Whether minor interruptions, or major ones, if we truly believe that God has a plan for our life, we can know that nothing comes to us that God cannot use for His glory. Hebrews 6:10 affirms that God is aware of every interruption: “God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. “

Next time you have an interruption ask yourself if it takes the focus off eternal things or if it gives the opportunity to build an eternal perspective into someone – even if that someone is you.  1375

Dan. 4:35       Life on this earth doesn’t add up to much, but God’s heavenly army keeps everything going. No one can interrupt his work, no one can call his rule into question.

Rom. 8:28 That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

 

 

 

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