Tag Archives: Jesus

A Gentle Reminder…

Every time God does something unexpected, I find myself amazed. I don’t know why. It is not that I don’t believe with God anything is possible. I guess I just forget at times and then He does something visible and tangible that I could never orchestrate and it reminds me of how blessed I am and how great He is and how much He cares about every little detail of our lives.

I posted about the Thanksgiving dinner event for We Will Go Ministries in a previous blog post. I had intended to follow up after the dinner and maybe even post some pictures, but I have to share the journey. I believe it is important, if for no one else but me.

We have been promised over six hundred dollars from various awesome people, as well as having been promised some: desserts, water, plastic ware, and other things by our wonderful school family. God is bringing it all together little by little.

So, I was out and about and decided to go ahead and pick up the plates and cups and a few other items that we needed. When I got to the register, I separated my purchases to keep everything accounted for with the donations, and the store manager began to tally up the merchandise. She said, “I am going with you. It looks like you are going to have a party!” Please know they know me by sight at this store and I’ve had many great conversations with the manager and some of the other employees. I smiled at her and began to explain what the plates and cups were for and she pulled off a blank piece of register tape and handed me a pen and asked me to write down a phone number and a name that she could contact to come and help serve on Thanksgiving Day. I gave her my information and told her to call me. She gave me a discount on the plates and cups. (smile).

After loading all my packages in the car, I headed back to my apartment. I saw the mail carrier’s truck parked at the boxes, so I stopped to get my mail. I have been expecting a package and had tracked it, so I was hoping it had arrived. I got out of my truck and began to talk with her and asked her if she had a package for me. She said she did have one and I collected my other mail and she began to talk about the holidays and I told her that I was doing something different this Thanksgiving. I explained where I worked and found out that she had been thinking about checking us out to send her son to our school. So, we talked about God and school and things for a while and I found out her son had attended another school that seemed to be moving away from Christian values and she was concerned about it and had pulled him and placed him in the public school system.

So, we talked a little more about that and I told her to come and see us on preview day in January. I told her about the fact that we’ve had over twenty students in the past month accept Christ into their lives and hearts. I explained that nothing was more important to us than making disciples for Christ. We both teared up and she asked me about Thanksgiving Day. I told her what we were trying to do and she said, “I have been trying to find someone that needed help serving on Thanksgiving because I wanted to take my son and let him see what life is really about and how blessed he is.” I gave her my name and phone number and told her that we would be happy to have her come and help serve. After a few more moments of conversation, I wished her a good weekend and waved goodbye.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe God allowed me to be in the right place at the right time to connect with people who wanted to help, who have a heart to serve, and who are to be a part of my life in some way. I will tell you that when I first went into the store, the manager was in the back putting out stock. They had just received a truck and the aisles were full of merchandise. The only reason she came to the front of the store was because they had to have a price override on an item the person in front of me wanted to purchase and the cashier could not get the machine to work. So, after the price override, the manager just continued with me to help the line move more quickly.

Not a coincidence.

Maybe it seems small to you, but to me it is a lesson that God will place people where He needs them to be. If they are hungry and want to serve, He will give them opportunities to do so. He will orchestrate meetings and circumstances that allow His will to be done and His work to go forward.

How much more should we trust Him to orchestrate what we consider the “big” things in our lives? If He cares that someone wants to help a homeless person, but doesn’t know how to get in contact with an organization and He sends me to give them an opportunity to do so, then how much more does He care about those things most precious to us? Those who are homeless are precious to Him and in His eyes this is a big thing.

I say this because I’ve had a week of stressful situations. My physical body has reacted to the stress. My emotions have reacted. I have prayed. I have taken deep breaths and moved forward. I have walked one step at a time without being able to see very far in front of me. It has been a bit rough.

Perhaps today was only for me. Perhaps it is my journey and not relevant to you at all. Well, that is okay because today God reminded me that He’s got this. Today, He demonstrated to me just how much He is concerned with things that matter to us and that He is in the midst of all the details.

I cannot wait to see what He does next and I know that Thanksgiving Day is going to be awesome in so many ways that I haven’t even begun to imagine. If you are in the area and you would like to be a part by helping to serve food or transport food, or by just being there, please know that you are welcome. If not, then please take a moment to say a prayer for all of us and those we will serve on Thursday…

And remember, He has plans for you… (Jeremiah 29:11)…trust Him and let Him show you. I am going to do my best to take my own advice.

Until next time,

C.

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Sound of Silence

I have not posted in some time.  Since my last post I have celebrated a birthday, spent time with my friends and family, loved on my students, and been through several difficult situations, both professionally and personally.  I’ve begun reading some great books and thought about many things to share on this blog.  However, I did not post any of them. Writing ideas have invaded my thoughts constantly and the general outline for a novel has wound its way through my mind; however, I haven’t written it down so far.

This morning I woke to the urgency that it had been too long since my last blog post and that I needed to write something…but what?  Yesterday was an extremely stressful day and I seem to be a bit worse for the wear (as my grandmother used to say) from the physical and emotional battles I have recently been fighting, not to mention the spiritual war that is currently raging. Some of my previous blog posts have mentioned this war, or at least one of the battles contained therein. Some posts have mentioned trusting God with my life and my relationship with God.  Some posts have just been little tidbits of life lessons that I gleaned from watching and interacting with people.  All of these thoughts and comments are a part of who I am as a person. 

But today the uppermost thought on my mind is wondering why I feel that I am in a void and cannot seem to get past it?  This void has constantly permeated my everyday life and although it comes and goes, I am very aware of it.  The heavens are silent.  I pray, but it seems like I am conversing with a brick wall, or as someone used to say:  “My prayers don’t feel like they are reaching past the ceiling.”  Is this because I am expecting a visible, tangible, immediate answer?  Is it because I ask amiss?  These questions have plagued me.  God is such an important part of my life that I don’t understand not being able to feel His arms around me.  I draw strength from my relationship with Him and it made me wonder if He was just tired of hearing the same thing from me over and over again, so He withdrew.

So, this morning when I walked into the living room to get the laptop and try to figure out what to post, I reached for my devotional and remembered that I had not read the one for October 11th, yesterday’s date.  I always try to go back if I forget to read one and usually I realize that if I had only read it when I was supposed to, I would have been much better off when facing the difficulties of that particular day.

I hope I am not violating copyright laws by posting some of this, but I had to share it.  This is from  My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers:

                “Has God trusted you with His silence-a silence that has great meaning?  God’s silences are actually His answers…”

The devotional goes on to quote the Scripture from the story of Lazarus’ death and how Jesus stayed two extra days before he returned to Bethany.  Two days of silence in Bethany where they did not know what to do.  They knew Jesus intimately and personally.  Mary sought Jesus by sitting at His feet and listening to His voice while Martha loved Him and believed she best served Him by doing things for Him.  Obviously both were in the same boat in this story because Jesus was silent. Everything they had heard Him say or anything they had done for Him didn’t matter at this point. All those moments spent in His presence didn’t count in the obvious silence of His absence. He didn’t come in the time they allotted and when they were at their lowest and their hearts were breaking. So, let’s continue reading:

“Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is a sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself.  Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response?  When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible—with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation.”

At this point of the reading, I wanted to scream:  “I CANNOT take any more surprises or revelations!”  However, I refrained and kept reading:

“If God has given you a silence, then praise Him—He is bringing you into the mainstream of his purposes…Time is nothing to God.”  (You are preaching to the choir here.  I am already praising Him and I know that He does not get in hurry to do anything….These are just the thoughts going through my head as I read this.)

At this point, the devotional goes into the Scripture about asking for bread and receiving a stone.  That is what I have felt like recently.  Not only did I receive a stone, but it felt like it was thrown at me.

I continued to read and by the time I read the last line of the devotional it began to sink in and I could feel those arms wrap around me once again:

“If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of his intimacy—silence.”

I have searched and sought to deepen my relationship with Jesus and yet I did not recognize when I had achieved what I sought.  Intimacy means that I have reached a new level of relationship, a new knowledge of the person with whom I am in a relationship.  Intimacy is about knowledge through communication.  It did not occur to me that silence was a form of communication.

It is not coincidence the devotional for yesterday was about silence.  The Scripture tells us, and this is something that I recently discussed with a  friend, when Jesus stood up to read in the synagogue as a young man, the Scripture for that day was fulfilled and He made the statement it was fulfilled.  This was not some random act or coincidence, but planned many years in advance and orchestrated by God. 

I truly believe that God loves me enough to know what I need and in my despair over being left conversing with a brick wall, I failed to read the words He had left for me to reassure me that He is with me and that He is taking me to a new level in our relationship.  Now, the silence is golden and I feel nourished with bread instead of a stone. 

Women tend to have twice as many words in a day they need to speak than men, or so I have been told.  I had reached the point of using up all my words and still felt like I had gotten nowhere, but it was not in the words, tears, or prayers that I prayed where I found my answer.  It was in the silence and maybe that is why I have not written or posted until today.  This may not be a big revelation to anyone but me, but it is what I have to share, so here it is.

So, please enjoy the silences and know that you are not alone, but that you may be in transition to a deeper level of intimacy in your relationship.

Until next time…

C

P.S. My favorite promise verse from the One who never breaks His promises:

Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

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Plastic or Pearls?

This has been a week of difficult things, physically, mentally and emotionally, but through it all, I have found a peace that passes understanding.  That is not to say I am oblivious to everything around me, but I have found strength and I have been carried through it with minor bruising.

A long time ago I heard this story and it came to mind again this week.  There are many versions online and I had barely typed in a few of the words to search for the story when it appeared.  Maybe that is a God thing, or maybe it is just that we can relate to the story so very well that we have copied and pasted it too many times.  I will let you decide:

The Pearl Necklace

A five-year-old girl bought her very own plastic pearl necklace with her very own money that she saved all year long. The little girl loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Her mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green. The pearls weren’t real but it didn’t matter to the little girl. She had bought them herself!
The little girl had a very loving father. One day he said, “Sweetheart, do you love me?”
“Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you.”
“Then give me your pearls.”
“Not my pearls! You can have my toy horse.”
“That’s okay, Honey. Daddy loves you.” And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.
About a week later, the little girl’s father asked again, “Do you love me?”
“Daddy, you know I love you.”
“Then give me your pearls.”
“Not my pearls. You can have my baby doll.”
“That’s okay. Daddy loves you.” And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.
This happened over and over and the little girl wondered anxiously, “If he loves me, why does he want to take away something I love?”
Eventually, the little girl nervously and teary eyed walked up to her father and held out her fake pearl necklace. “Here, Daddy. This is for you.”
The father reached out with one hand to take the imitation pearl necklace and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to his daughter. He had them all the time, but was waiting for her to give up what she had to give her something even better.

The End

~Author Unknown

I have never owned a strand of pearls, or even a pearl ring, but I have always thought they symbolized beauty, purity, and endurance through much pain and hardship.  The irritation that is felt by the oyster creates the beautiful pearl.  The more irritation, the more beautiful and special the pearl.  Many of us have “pearls” in our lives that we treasure.  Sometimes when we need to give them to God it is very hard to let go.  I don’t know what it is about clutching something or touching someone that seems to anchor me to that object or person.  Maybe it is like the comment one child said when asking if he/she talked to Jesus about whatever was bothering him/her.  The child responded “Yes, but I need to talk to someone with skin on.”

God sees so much more than we see and trusting Him with our priceless treasures is the best way to keep them the safest.  In His hands they are always protected.  It is only when we try to hold them and work things out without His help that we end up losing them or decreasing their value.  Surrender is one of the hardest things to do.  Maybe we associate it with defeat, but that is not always the case.  Surrender just means we are letting go of our control over the outcome of the situation, or over the person or object.  If we surrender to God then we are actually just recognizing who already has control and who wants to “…give us a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11~My favorite verse).  How can we go wrong with this?

What plastic pearls are you clutching?  Open your hands and your heart and God will provide you with the beautiful pearls that you have been dreaming of while you have been clutching those plastic ones close to your heart.  Do you trust Him enough to let go, or are you still holding on to plastic?

Until next time,

C

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Sunday Kind of Love

Sigh…Here it is Monday and already I am longing to return to yesterday.  There is something so special about Sunday.  It has been that way all my life.  As a child, Sundays usually began to the blaring sound of the Children’s Bible Hour radio program (my parents’ favorite alarm clock) and continued to include dressing up in my best clothes, attending Sunday school and church, and usually finding some restaurant in which to eat.  Living in the country, this was pretty much the only day of the week my family ate out, so it was a treat.  There was no pizza delivery or any fast food joints where I grew up, only the local greasy spoon where incidentally, I was launched into the world of employment making $2.80 per hour as a server on Friday and Saturday nights.  Other than these outings, the Schwann man was our only source of food delivery. ..but, I digress.

Yesterday, Sunday, was such a peaceful day for me and I began to think about this and reflect on Sundays past.  That lead to thinking about why Sundays were so special and that in turn, lead to thinking about my relationship with God.  He is the center of my Sundays, but He is also there every other day of the week.  I think it is just that I pause to visit with Him more on Sundays and I have a greater appreciation of all the things He has made and done for me on that day whether it is wisdom gleaned from a church service, or basking in the beauty of His creation through a Sunday drive.

Our weekly Bible focus in Kindergarten is the Creation story and all my babies know that on the seventh day He rested.  They are quick to tell me He took a nap-their idea of what rest should be-but I counter them by telling them He also reflected on what He created and that we should set aside time to reflect on His goodness on the seventh day and to spend time talking with Him.  Now, that may cause some to argue whether Sunday is actually supposed to be the seventh day, or if it is the first day of the week.  I am not even going to argue the point because it is not about the calendar, but about the observation of a day of rest.

Yesterday was not spent at Sunday school or church due to unforeseen circumstances; however, it was spent with my Savior.  He was in every conversation, every smile, every outing, and every activity that took place.  His closeness was very real to me.  It was refreshing and strengthening.

I sat in an establishment yesterday just enjoying the quietness and the ambiance of the place and Etta James crooned out her classic:  Sunday Kind of Love.  While I realize Etta may not have been talking about her relationship with God, she did nail it in her description of the type of love she wanted and this sparked in me the thought that I need look no further than Jesus to find that Sunday Kind of Love. This stayed with me and I decided to share it with you.  Corny?  Maybe.  Hearfelt?  Definitely.

Wishing you a Sunday Kind of Love every day of the week,

C

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