Tag Archive | encouragement

How’s Your Month Going?

I picked up my daughter from school and when she got in the car  I informed her that we had to go pick up Star (our cat) from the vet.  She instantly asked why? and I cringed trying to decide how honest I should be.

I went with complete honesty hoping that God would give me the grace and wisdom to guide my 10yr old daughter through more bad news.

I looked at her and told her that I had run over Star pulling into the garage that morning and he took off.

Her face quickly turned to a look of horror and I quickly told her that he was ok and we were going to pick him up.

As I pulled out of the school parking lot I heard her exclaim that February was a crappy month and that she couldn’t wait for March to get here.

I understood more than she knew because I had the same conversation with God early that morning.  I had told God that I thought February was a cursed month for me. I was trying to understand how any good could possibly come from losing our beloved Star.  I knew that I had completely run over him.  I heard the howl and fully expected to have to clean up his body from under the car.  So when he wasn’t there all I could think was that he wouldn’t make it far and would more than likely bleed out somewhere close by.  I tried calling and searching for him not because I thought I could do anything but so I could tell him I was sorry and allow the kids to bury him.  I left the house that morning heart broken trying to figure out how to tell the kids and what exactly to tell them.  I knew that if I ever saw him again it would be a miracle so when I arrived home that afternoon to see him trying to make his way across the driveway to me  I broke down crying.  I scooped him up and went straight to the vet.  I told them what happened and that I couldn’t afford to do a life saving surgery but if by some miracle he had a chance of surviving on his own then I would take him home.  I just didn’t want him to suffer a long slow death so if he was seriously injured and slowly dying I wanted to put him down.  I left the vet that afternoon still trying to figure out what to tell my children.

An hour later I received a call from the vet to inform me that Star had no internal bleeding and doesn’t appear to have any broken bones.  He  is very sore but he is getting around on his own so he should recover.

That’s when I heard God answer my question……..

I turned around and looked at my daughter and said

If all of those crappy things hadn’t happened this month we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience God’s miracles for ourselves.  So maybe February is a month of miracles and we are blessed to have had the opportunity to experience them.  Perhaps the greatest thing we can do now is share with others the things that God has done for us.

Her little face softened as she realized the truth of my words and then began talking about our miracles….

Her mom was alive! ( I had 2 car accident’s within 4 days… the second was very serious)

God sent people in our paths to help when we needed it the most.

Her pet baby bearded dragon was alive ( his eye exploded while sitting on her lap and was bleeding out his head)

I don’t know what your month has been like but I hope you can find encouragement and perhaps a new perspective if it has been a difficult one.  Paul warns us of the trials that we will face and reminds us to work at staying faithful and trusting God to know what he’s doing even when we can’t see it.  I’m not worried about next month or even how I’ll replace my cars because what matters most is what I believe about God.

I believe God is good and I hope you do too!

 

 

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Snow Princess

The snow fell soft and sweet

as the tears slipped down her frozen cheek

She raised her arms to give all she had

For the one who says…..her life’s not bad.

He reaches down from heavens gates

Embracing her with arms of grace

He shines his light on the sparkling snow

So she can finally learn to glow.

Each ray of light pierces through the frozen night

Her cheeks grow soft in the glimmering light

Her cold heart melts as she dances all night

For even though she was lost, now she has been found

Not by the people around, but by the one who is crowned

He has found joy in her work and purchased her heart

For she has become a pearl in his heart

A treasure that he protects

He’s taken her pain and set her apart

He’s given her a voice and she knows it’s her choice

She chooses to speak to strengthen the weak

And the illusion of light turns red in the night

For the veils been lifted and the proud brought down

Father’s Day

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        Father’s Day for me, is a bittersweet day. I think most people, if they stopped long enough to think about it, would agree with me. Whether you’re young or old I think that life’s experiences have made this day a bittersweet reminder of the father in our life.

There are many different Fathers honored on this day which is why I believe it to be bittersweet. There are those Fathers who have passed on and have left a family saddened by the loss. While others are embracing the new role of fatherhood for the very first time.

Then there are those who never had the opportunity to know their Father for any number of reasons, some good and some bad.

But there is a Father who is often time overlooked and the memories of whom brings great pain. These Father’s often times live a life of regrets for the mistakes they’ve made with their children. They painfully watch as their children limp through life with the wounds they themselves inflicted. They often struggle with the guilt wishing they could somehow fix what they’ve done. Their children want to pretend that their Father was a “good” Father and so they set off for the card aisle at the store only to pick up one after another that just doesn’t seem to fit. They want to be honest but they also want to be loving and that seems to be impossible to find.

So this Father’s day no matter what kind of Father you are I want you to know that YOU are a PERFECT FATHER!

You were made by a God who does not make mistakes.

Yes! I know you may have made mistakes and if you haven’t made any yet, the day will come. When that day does come and you’re looking at your children wondering what did you do?

I want you to remember that YOU are FORGIVEN!

God will fix the mistakes you’ve made and use them for his glory.  Every time you mess up is an opportunity for God to show off his mighty power. God is our ultimate perfect Father. If you were perfect your children would not need God.

In case you’re wondering……Yes!

        My earthly Father did hurt me and scar my heart.  But because of his mistakes God was able to reach down from heaven and reveal his great love for me. He is healing my wounds so that I can be the person he created me to be.  So this Father’s Day I want to honor my Father not just for all the good things he’s done in my life but also the bad.  I wouldn’t change it and I want him to know that I forgive him. I hope he carries no guilt and can forgive himself for the mistakes of his past.   My desire is that he will look to the future and see how God’s grace is there for EVERYONE who accepts it.

I wrote the following poem as I struggled to figure out who God was as my Father.

Daddy

Daddy, Daddy, Daddy
Keep me safe, Hold me please
Wrap your arms around me, till the world all fades away
Speak your words of wisdom, wrapped in Love and Grace,
Hurry please! Before I run, for fear of your embrace
I’ve tried escaping here on earth
But every time I turn around I see you standing there
Your arms are open wide
But the question in my mind is are you full of love and grace, Or are you full of condemnation?
I know I have done wrong and forgiveness is supposedly for me
But trusting you,
Somehow
Seems wrong to me
My hearts been stolen many times, But you still claim your innocence
I’ve picked the locks a hundred times while you possess the keys
You promise me unending mercy for the imperfection of my heart
You promise healing from my journey, making me a reflection of your heart

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So Daddy Please
You’re the one I want
Your love embracing me, your love chasing me, your love protecting me
Daddy it’s you I desire to please
Fill me with your peace so I can rest my soul
For you alone will make me whole
Daddy it’s your Love,
Your unending perfect love that sets me free.
November 25, 2012

SPIDER!

Worlds Largest Spider

A familiar scream pierced through the cool night air and I turned quickly to see my 2 daughters jumping out of the car.  Tori who is 14 and Christy who is 8., had chosen to wait in the car and play on the I Pad and Kindle while I ran into a few stores with my oldest daughter Alison who was in search for a Homecoming dress.  We just so happened to be walking from one store in the shopping plaza to the next when I heard the scream.  I turned to Alison and told her to go on while I took care of the other 2.  It was late and the stores would be closing soon and we only had 4 more days before the big day so I really didn’t have time for the commotion at the car.

My guess was that there was a spider somewhere in the car and it needed to be dealt with.  Now I’m not really a fan of spiders and quite frankly I try to ignore them  because I really can’t handle it.  I figure if I pretend they are not there then they cease to exist in my mind.  My children however cannot do that…. so this time I must suck it up and go squash the little bugger.

As I approach the car their screams confirm what I already guessed and yes it is a monstrous spider by their description and it had been crawling up Tori’s leg when she discovered it.

I take a deep breath secretly wishing once again that I was not a single Mom and that I had some man in  my life that I could call to come deal with this thing.

Tori holds up her hands to show me that it is 3 inches in diameter and tells me its on the side of the seat between the floor and the edge.

I slowly peak into the car…..the adrenaline, rushing through me as I struggle to remain calm.

The back seat is covered with school bags and miscellaneous stuff that piles in the car with them every day.  All I can think about is how there are lots of places for this thing to run and hide under.  If this thing is really as big as she describes it, it is probably a wolf spider and there is no way I am driving home with one of those in the car.

So her I am standing there trying to get a good look at this thing and I can see what appears to be long legs but I can’t quite make it out.  I figure that if I can get some of the stuff out I might have a better chance of killing it before it hides on me.

Suddenly I hear voices behind me and I turn to see a young couple walking to one of the last cars in the parking lot.

“You wouldn’t mind killing a large spider for me please!”  I plead with the young man.

He hangs his head and says ” I knew you were going to ask me that and no I don’t want to kill a spider.”

“I really don’t like spiders either” he says as he is backing away

Great the guy is even afraid of them,  my spirit deflates again as I turn back to my car.

“Wait! I want to see it first.”  the girl with him shouts as she runs over to look into the car.

I point to where the spider is supposed to be and she leans over attempting to get a visual of it, but she can’t.  It’s too dark and of course she doesn’t want to get too close either.    She decides to pull out her phone to try to take a picture of it so we can see what were dealing with.  As the flash goes off the thing jumps at her and all of us scream and jump away.  Petrified and shaking we look to see what is now sitting on the seat of the car and it is HUGE….Really HUGE!  In fact I don’t think I have ever seen a grasshopper this big.  We all start to laugh hysterically.  At this point  another car pulls up having heard the commotion and the man asks us ” are you alright?”

We all turn to him and explain that what we thought was  a giant spider has turned out to be a giant grasshopper.  He kindly offers to remove the grasshopper for me and I graciously accept his offer.  I am so relieved while thankful and so appreciative for his help.

On the way home I begin to thank God for sending someone to help me and I hear God speaking back to me.

Monica,

Do you know how many spiders you think you see in your life?  How many times do you look at situations and freak out because you think it is a giant spider.  If you would just let me shine my light on it perhaps you would find that your spiders…..are simply grasshoppers.

We all have spiders in our lives.  Some of them look big and we simply want to squash and run.  Some we would simply prefer to ignore as long as there is no immediate threat.  Perhaps what we really need to do is STOP!

Really look at the spider and determine the truth through Gods light.

Is it really a spider?  Maybe its not.  May be it is.

If it is…… Gods light will show you how to get rid of it and if its not……… you’ll get to enjoy the surprise and relief of conquering a fear.

 

Ps 34:4

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;

he delivered me from all my fears.

Who I Really Am

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When you meet someone the first thing they generally want to know is “Who are you?”

I’ve thought about who I am and what my response has been in the past and what I want my response to be in the future.

In a sense I get to choose who I am but often times I  let others define me.

So let me tell you a little about me.

I love to smile and charm the people around me.  I encourage lift up and support the people in my life.  I know how to appear confident and as if I have it all together.  But the cost of all that is: no one really knows me.  No one knows my deepest fears or deepest wounds.  No one really knows what makes me laugh or what burns my buttons.  So when I let others define me and all I let them see is this fun loving, happy, got it together kind of gal then the cost to me is loneliness.  I wind up trapped in my own illusion of who I need to be in order to be loved.  I have witnessed many people doing the same thing running in circles on this hamster wheel of life looking to the person next door to compare lives with or looking at the news media to see what is acceptable and what is not.

What if I accepted myself for who I really am instead of being embarrassed or ashamed of who God made me.

I am really the one who judges myself most of the time.  I falsely think or read into others perception of me far more than I should.  Even if I am right about it, how others perceive me doesn’t really matter because God is on my side and his grace is big enough to cover my biggest mistakes.

So I will go first with a glimpse of who I really am

I am a child of God

Beloved and precious in his sight

I don’t always believe it and my greatest fear is not being good enough

For having God reject me is death to my soul

I know this is a lie but it still haunts me

There was a point in my life where I believed it and gave up

I wasn’t strong enough but God picked me up and showed me the truth and now when the enemy haunts me

I remind myself that there is nothing I could possibly do to separate myself from Gods love

He has claimed me from the lost and found box

He has bought and paid for me, to never be returned

No on can steal his love from me

The only way I can lose it is if I reject it and walk away.

Even then when I return, his door is wide open with a welcome party waiting

I don’t know of anything else on earth that I can do that with and perhaps that is why the concept is so difficult for me to wrap my brain around.

So how about you?  What is your greatest fear for “real”?  and does anyone else really know?

My Miracle Car

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Have you ever had one of those days or months or even years where you wish you could go back and start over?  I’ve been having one of those years.  I would like to say it couldn’t possibly get worse but I know that it can and of course as soon as I type this, it will be an invitation for something to happen.  I could go on about all the things that have happened but I won’t.  I choose not to dwell on them anymore.  See even though a lot of “not so good” things have happened I have had the unique opportunity to see God on a deeper level.

I love how just when I think I’ve reached a plateau or mile stone God thrusts me to the next level.  This doesn’t mean I never cry or get upset about my circumstances.  I believe we all have our moments of weakness where we know God is ultimately in control but we are still on the floor throwing a temper tantrum like a two year old.  I’m not always happy about it and  I don’t always understand and yes I do wish he would do it my way sometimes.  I usually try to console myself with Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you.  Plans for prosperity and not for evil.  Plans for a future and hope.  When you look for me you will find me.  This verse in particular always has a way of pulling the steam out of this engine.  When I’m finally done arguing my point with God and my heart grows quiet I can hear his voice.  He doesn’t always tell me why he does something but he always consoles my heartache.

I have also learned that it is important to have friends who know me well enough to encourage and lift me up.  I used to go through life by myself so to speak.  When things went wrong I would take them to the foot of the cross and leave them with the Lord.  That was great and I learned a lot about God. I learned how to really hear his voice and how to have peace through some pretty difficult trials.  What it didn’t teach me though was that God is down here on earth with me.  I don’t have to wait to get to heaven to “be” with God and experience his glory.  I didn’t fully understand that when I would leave people out of my life and try to handle it on my own I was pushing God out of my life.  Think of it this way.  If God lives in me then he lives in you, so if I don’t let you and you don’t let me in during difficult times, then we are not allowing God to meet us where we are here on earth.  I don’t know about you but I know I want to experience God down here on earth to the fullest.  What does that mean to me?  Well when my daughter has a car accident and totals my only van,  I ask others for help rather than struggling through on my own.  Sure I could get by on my own hitching rides, not going places and even purchasing a really cheap (but probably not very good) car.  What  I discovered though through telling people and sharing my struggles with them was that God could meet my needs way better than he could when I kept to myself.

There were several little miracles that occurred to make this big miracle happen.  I thought I would share them with you so you can see how God has worked in my life and hopefully you will be able to see him more clearly in your own life.

On Jan 31, 2013 my daughter was in a car accident on her way to pick me up from work.  We only had one car and it made more sense for her to drop me off at work before going to school then it did for me to drop her off at 6am for school.  She had only had her license for 2 months and had never driven on snow or icy roads.  That morning I knew there was a chance of a little snow but it was nothing big.  For tow days I had heard God telling me she was going to have an accident on this particular day.  I consoled myself with the fact that she needed to learn and she wasn’t going to get experience if I kept her off the road every time it was a little icy.  There were no school closings any where in our region so I knew it would be a little ridiculous for me to keep her off the road.  I told myself that I probably wasn’t hearing God and that I was just a worrying Mother.  That morning she made it school safely and I breathed a bit easier.  There was something inside of me though that kept telling me it wasn’t over and before the day was out I got that phone call every parent dreads where your kid is on the other end in hysterics crying.  She couldn’t tell me what happened because she was crying so hard but I knew exactly what happened.
The first miracle was that someone was with me and I was able to leave right away in their car.  I retraced the path she would take to get to me and she was only few miles away.  When I arrived at the scene my heart sank at the sight of my van and I knew it was totaled.  The second miracle was that my daughter was not injured, not even a bruise.  When I asked her later about the air bag deploying and if it hurt. She told me all she felt was something brush against her arm.  If you have ever had the displeasure of being struck with an air bag you know that they can hurt,  of course not as bad as you would if you didn’t have one, but none the less they hurt.  The third miracle that day was that enterprise closed at 6pm.  The accident happened at 4:30 so by the time we were done with police reports and talking to  the insurance company I walked in the door there at 5:55 only to be told that they didn’t have the reservation from the insurance company yet.  I could put up $300 to get the car that night or wait till the next day.  I couldn’t wait and I didn’t have $300.  I couldn’t call anyone to help either because enterprise was closing in 3 minutes and wouldn’t take a credit card over the phone.  I stood there not really sure what I was going to do and prayed.  I was waiting for God’s answer to my dilemma when the reservation popped up on their computer at 5:59 .  Relieved my daughter and I climbed into our temporary car.  I knew my daughter was very upset and understood that I was not in a position to replace my van.  I could only imagine how she felt and I didn’t want her to carry this burden so I began to slowly list all the things in my life that I was thankful for.  I did this all the way home and told her this wasn’t her problem to fix.  She may have had the accident but its not her job to pick up the pieces.   I couldn’t even pick up the pieces,  this wasn’t something we could fix.  To be honest I was a little lost myself and very numb inside.

The next week I found out I would be getting a mere $2300 for my van. My van of course was worth way more than that  to me and next to impossible to replace at that price. I  So I went to a local dealership where I was close friends with some of the employees and the salesman there put me in a couple of cars.  I really didn’t like any of them and I told him he was trying to sell a puppy to someone who lost their beloved dog two days ago.  It didn’t matter what he showed me I couldn’t make a decision.   I am a single mom who is trying to raise 4 kids on very little money so I really didn’t even know how I was going to afford anything.  After the last car he told me he had another option but I couldn’t tell anyone.  He had just driven back a car from out of town.  The woman was a friend and had purchased a new vehicle so she had asked him to drive her old car back to sell for her.  The woman was only asking $3500 for it so it was more in my price range than the ones he had been showing me.  After 2 friends looked over the car for me I told him I would buy it.  The salesman was even going to do the sale outside of the dealership so I wouldn’t have to pay additional fees.  You would think it would be easy now.  Insurance cuts me a ck and I pay for the car and I go away happy.  No that’s not how it works for me.  It took two attempts to fill out and fax paperwork correctly.  How should I know I’m the customer?  I would have thought they were since they are the one’s buying my demolished van.  Then I had to track down the title which was not as easy as going home to the file and pulling it out.  You see the bank gave me the wrong title 2 yrs ago when I finished paying for my van.  They did send me a title just not the right one.  So after I tracked that down turned it all in I found out the owner of the car I was buying was still looking for her title.  Great!  I’m beginning to think this whole title business is a bunch of crap!

Finally all the money and titles located so I go to get my new car.  The wonderful salesman tells me how I can’t come by the dealership to visit my friends  in my new car for awhile.  It seems the owner saw the car and was trying to buy it out from under me.  He was even offering more than $3500 I had agreed to pay because he want to sell it for $6000.  He told the owner the woman wanted the car for her grandson so it was going back.  He put his job on the line so I could get a good deal on a car I desperately needed.  God was really looking out for me there.

Well 26 days later I finally have my new car and what’s even better my daughter has one too.  See, I had to turn the rental back in after a week and I still hadn’t gotten a vehicle.  God was faithful though and a friend from church was trying to sell an old van.  He said we could use it and if I wanted it to make an offer.  It wasn’t worth much but it ran and if my daughter crashes it  I won’t be out much.  So I made him an offer, to which he accepted.   What started off as something terrible God turned into good.  I was going through gas and time like crazy trying to get my kids everywhere they needed to be.  Now I have a little car that gets great gas mileage and my daughter has a car to drive herself to school which will save me a ton of time and money.  The best part about it all was my children seeing how God works things out for the good of those who love him.  I don’t think my kids will ever forget this especially since they know how much I have always wanted a blue car.  They are more excited about the sunroof than the color and that’s okay with me.

Balloons of Hope

Blow Up Your BalloonsThis last week has been a rough one for me.   I spent a lot of time thinking about hope and what it is and what I have to hope for.  I’m trying to figure out just how I can keep my hope in  Christ, He is my foundation and rock that I stand on. But there are other things that I hope for because I am a child of God.  It is in hoping for those other things that trips me up in my life.

For me hope is like a balloon.  I can blow a balloon up fast making it big and its a good thing.  Other times balloons blow up slowly and gradually gaining size with time.  A fast balloon would be like winning a prize or something unexpected popping into my life to give me a sudden surge of hope in my future.  A slow balloon would be something that I have had to work hard for like graduating from college.  I’ve also learned that just like a balloon my hope can pop.  When it does it is not fun and can be very unexpected to the point of startling me.  Like balloons, hope in anything but Christ will eventually deflate leaving a person feeling empty.  There are times when I have lots of balloons different sizes and when one pops it may startle me but because I have lots of balloons it doesn’t steal all of my hope.  Then there are times like this week where  I had a large balloon that had blown up quickly and it popped big time…then with in a matter of hours more balloons began popping not deflating but popping.  By the end of the week I had lost 5 balloons and was scrambling to hang on to the few balloons I had left.  In fact I had this one balloon and I was just so sure it was going to pop and because I did not want to be startled or deal with the shock.  I decided to try to pop it myself.  That didn’t work so well for me.  It was like that game, some of you probably remember playing as kid, where you race to the chair with your balloon and try to pop it by sitting on it before you race back to your team.  It always seemed like I would get to the chair and that darn balloon just wouldn’t pop.  I’d sit on it but the air would squeeze from one side to the other refusing to pop.  I couldn’t pop that balloon so I walked away from it.  I know it will eventually deflate and I don’t want to be there when it does.

I still have my one big balloon that can’t be popped and will never deflate.  That is the balloon that will carry me to heaven.  God will always be there for me, no one can take him and no matter how hard I try to pop him he won’t pop.  I can choose to let go but that is when he grabs a hold of me and reminds me who I am.

After sleeping on this God has spoken to my heart to reveal a few more things to me and I decided I had to add more to this.  I don’t have to hang on to my big balloon because it is tied to the belt loop of my pants.  I may lose sight of it  but Jesus is the string that connects me to it.  I also don’t think I am supposed to “hang on to” my other balloons.  Perhaps all I’m called to do is blow them up and release them so God can use them to reach others.  I can’t stop them from popping or deflating but I can release them to be used by God.  I pray that the next time God gives me a balloon he can give me the strength to let it go when the time is right.