Friday, May 31, 2013

Imagine ~ Eternal Perspective

Today I'm joining Lisa-Jo Baker for 5 Minute Friday...

This is when I "just write without worrying if it’s just right or not. For five minutes flat with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing" (seriously hard for me...and that's why I need to do it!).

Today's Word is: Imagine


So much emphasis is placed these days on the here and now.  Even in the Christian realm it seems that so much focus, in Christian music, at conferences, even in churches is on how to live a better life today.  I must admit I've often been guilty of being earthly minded at times on this blog, and even in everyday life.  But recently the LORD has impressed upon my heart (through a variety of avenues) that the longing Believers once had for Heaven, is something we shouldn't lose sight of today.  It fills us with hope and causes us to think beyond ourselves.  Yes, a relationship with Jesus give us abundant life today.  But it also gives us an eternal perspective, there is something even better coming.  Imagine!

When I first heard the word of the day my mind immediately raced into thoughts of "Imagine what life would be like if we lived as Jesus lived!  Oh, how lives would be changed.  What victory there would be for us and others!"  

Then, my mind moved onto "Imagine what Heaven will be like!"  I recently read an article titled, "Are You Looking Forward to Going to Heaven?".  The writer shares how Christians, even Pastors, admitted to dreading Heaven.  Why?  Because they imagined it to be boring, monotonous, one un-ending church service after another.  Yikes!  REALLY?

Imagine, my friends, what Heaven will be like.  
We don't know a lot of solid facts about Heaven.  I think God didn't give us a lot of details in the Bible because our minds simply couldn't fathom the beauty and greatness of it anyway.  What we do know is this: it will be better than the best things we've experienced here on earth.  There will be...Peace.  Joy.  Wholeness.  Freedom.  No sin, sickness, pain, worries, sadness or tears.  Unhindered fellowship with God...forever!

Imagine it!
Doesn't sound boring to me.  In fact, it sounds simply wonderful!

Imagine standing before God with a clear heart and conscience.
Imagine not.
Imagine getting there, and being greeted by those you told about Him.
Imagine not.
Imagine hearing, "My good and faithful servant" from your Maker.
Imagine not.
Imagine getting to spend eternity in the presence of God.
Imagine not.
Imagine something so much better that you can't even describe it, but you know you want to share it with all your loved ones.
Imagine not.

Just imagine.  
Now, go live with that eternal perspective in mind!

"For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better...Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ..."
Philippians 1:21, 27a

Click on the link above to see what others wrote about the word: Imagine

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

His Eye Is On Me

Over the past few years I have dealt with numerous health issues.  It's not like I have cancer, but it's been a bunch of "small" stuff, one thing after another, for so long that I barely remember what it's like to feel well anymore.  Honestly, I get so weary with it.  Like most women my age I have a lot of irons in the fire, a lot of responsibilities and calls on my life.  I don't have time to be sick.  So all of this frustrates me.  And, well, it's just no fun feeling bad almost all the time.

I'm not a complainer.   I don't sit around.  On the contrary, I'm quite active.  I don't moan and groan or pout (most of the time).  I'm actually quite spirited and upbeat.  And so I know others have no idea (or at least little idea) how bad I feel most days.

I detest pity, so know I don't write this to gain your sympathy.  No, I write this because I wonder if there are others who have felt the frustration I've felt, and continue to feel.  I wonder if others know where hope is found when life is hard...and things aren't going as you planned...and you just don't feel good, day after day.

NOTE: This is going to get long.  Please stick with me.  I promise it isn't a pity party.  And I think you will be glad you stuck around for the end of this post.  :)

Throughout the night on Saturday, I lied awake until 5:00 am.  In pain.  Tired.  Weary.  Again.  The next morning I watched  as my family took off to church without me (a rarity).  We had a very important graduation to attend that afternoon and two graduation parties that I didn't want to miss.  Yet the pain wasn't subsiding and the tiredness seemed overwhelming.    

I tried to pray.  But my prayers felt empty.  I felt discouraged.  Alone.  Weary and worn.  Tears came.  It isn't the first time I've felt this way.  But this time I had quiet time to talk to God, out loud.  I cried out to Him in frustration.  It wasn't some pretty, fluffy prayer.  It was a gut wrenching conversation.

Then I looked out the kitchen window to see my fine feathered friends, Boston orioles, hummingbirds and downy woodpeckers, all enjoying a drink from our little hummingbird feeder right outside our back door.  These birds have brought me so much enjoyment this spring.

In a way only God can speak to a heart, I heard His whisper, "My eye is on the sparrow."   My heart whispered back, "Yes, LORD, I know."  Tears came again.

What is the price of two sparrows--one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.  Matthew 10:29

He knows.  He knows just what's going on with me, inside and out, when no one else does...or understands...or even cares.  He knows.  He cares.  He understands.  Nothing happens apart from his will.  And He promises to work all things together for good for those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)

What hope!  Even when I don't understand, I can trust Him, knowing He has my best in mind.  He will never leave me nor forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5)  He will give me the strength I need. (Isaiah 41:10)

I began to sing "His Eye is on the Sparrow"...

Why should I feel discouraged,

Why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart be lonely

And long for Heav'n and home?

When Jesus is my portion,
My constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He cares for me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

I felt good enough on Sunday afternoon to attend the graduation and the parties.  

On Monday morning, the neatest thing happened.  My husband came in the house with a hummingbird in his hand!
He found it in his grain shed.  It was cold and weak, near to death.
Our 6 year old scientist-in-training came up with the idea to make it a nest and put it under a lamp to get it warm. 
We gave it nectar (sugar water) with a medicine dropper.  It's eyes were closed and it was barely breathing.  But every once in a while it would get a drop of nectar. 
We watched as his breathing got heavier.
Here his eyes were still closed
Before long he opened his eyes.  He started rustling his feathers and turned his head side to side.  Then spread his wings! 

Suddenly, he began to fly around! 
He liked the fluorescent light above.  Once we turned it off he flew all around. 
Then perched on the ceiling fan. 
Then on the swag above the curtain.  Can you see him perched up there? :) 
We brought the hummingbird feeder in and stuck it on top of the refrigerator.  He went right to it and drank away.  In the picture above he was taking a break between drinks. 
He looks like an ornament perched up there, doesn't he?!  But he was as real as can be.
Later we released him and he flew off with (what we think was) his mate.

What a unique and tremendous experience this was for our family!!

God spoke to me again through the life of this little hummingbird.  His eye is on the hummingbird too!!
This time God used my husband, and his family, to save the life of one of His little creatures.  
How much more does He care for me, His beloved child.

He sees.  He knows.  He cares.
His eye is on me!

I sing because I'm happy, (I’m happy)
I sing because I'm free, (I’m free)
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Don't lose heart, my friend.  He see you too!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Every Detail

Last Friday my oldest little guy (6) and I planned a day of yard sale going fun! Not only do we share a love of bargain shopping, I knew we would enjoy some one on one mommy and son time.  In a local small town they have an annual citywide sale.  This year it consisted of 137 yard sales...all in one small town (sorry had to repeat that)!  Perfect for us bargain scroungers.  :)

There were two things on Andrew's list of "must finds".  1. A bigger wagon  2. A bigger bike (he has outgrown the 10" one he bought last summer).

We got to town.  We went to a few sales.  We found nothing.  Not one thing.

We went to one more yard sale.  There was a wagon...just the kind he wanted!!  Just as we reached the end of the driveway another person pulled off the tag and paid for it.  Ugh!

We were a bit discouraged.  Andrew picked up some egg cartons out of a "freebie" box.  He said, "Well, at least now we can't say we didn't find anything." :)

Andrew said he needed to go to the bathroom.  So we trecked across town to the nearest bathroom that didn't have a long line (Note: All those ladies in one town = a long line at every gas station bathroom!!).

When we got back in the vehicle Andrew said in a discouraged and somewhat doubtful tone, "Mom, I really hoped we'd find a bike and a wagon today."  I'm not always so good, but this time I got it right and recognized a teachable moment.  I said, "Andrew, it just may not be God's will for you to find those things today.  Then again, it might be.  If we don't find them today, it's because God has something better for you somewhere else for another day.  But let's just pray about it."

So, right there in the vehicle, as we were driving down the street (on the opposite side of town from where we were before) I said a simple prayer (eyes open of course!).  I said something like, "Dear Lord, you know Andrew would really like to find a wagon and a bigger bike today.  Will you just guide our way, show us where to go to find what you want us to find.  If we don't find a wagon or a bike today we will know it's okay because it just wasn't your will for us today and that something else will work out later.  But just guide us the way you want us to go.  And we will give you the glory either way.  In Jesus name, Amen."

I drove one block.  I could have turned right or left.  I went straight.  Another 1/2 block.  There was an orangey red 12" boys bike!  I said, "Andrew!  Look!"  He said, "Let's hurry up and get over there before someone else gets it!"  :)

We parked.  Ran up to the yard sale.  Looked at the bike.  It was marked FIVE DOLLARS!  I seriously went up to the man running the sale and said, "What does this tag say?"  He said with a smile, "I believe it says five dollars."  I said with a smile, "I believe we'll take it."  :)  Andrew pulled out his own $10 bill, handed it to the man and was thrilled to get change back.

Andrew pushed (it had flat tires so he couldn't ride it quite yet) his "new" five dollar bike to the van , skipping and smiling the whole way!  I exclaimed, "Andrew, God answered our prayer!  Not only did he give you a bike, He gave you a bike for only five dollars!!  God is soooo good!!"  Andrew beamed!

We saw several other bikes as we continued to yard sale that day, but not another one for five dollars!

There are people who believe God isn't interested in these "little" details of our lives (note: it wasn't so little to Andrew).  There are even people who think we shouldn't "bother" God with such minute details of our days when there are others who's needs are so much greater than ours.  I believe those people are so wrong.  We humans tend to think from such human perspective.

I believe it delights God when we pray about everything and anything that's important to us.  Philippians 4:6 tells us to "Don't worry about anything.  Pray about everything."  I believe that means just what it says.  Everything.

He is NOT a God of limited power or ability!  
There's no way we can exhaust His resources!  
He is not limited in how many prayers He can hear or ones He can answer.  
HE   IS  GOD  !!  
His ways are so above and beyond our ways.  
He most certainly does care for His creation, His children, His beloved

The LORD directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Psalm 37:23

I believe every detail means every detail!

He worked out the details...from a bathroom break that took us to the opposite side of choosing to go straight rather than left or this bike only being five bucks!  He knows all the details.

That day I knew God answered our prayer, that He directed our path to just the right bike for Andrew.  And he knew it too!  We prayed a prayer of thanksgiving together.  I could see faith rising up (even more) in my little boy as He saw how God answered our prayed.   Truly, it wasn't as much about a bike as it was about God showing His faithfulness to us, especially my growing 6 year old.  Neither of us will ever forget!

Throughout the rest of the day (as I became anxious about this or that) my Andrew reminded me two or three times, "Mom, God has a plan!"  Yes, He does, little buddy.  Yes. He. Does.  :)

Thank you again, dear LORD, for revealing your glory, power, loving care and attention to detail to us, even in the midst of such an ordinary, yard sale going day.  May Andrew and I (and those we tell this story to) always remember to pray about everything!  You are so good and simply amazing, Lord!  We give YOU glory!  In Jesus' precious name, Amen.

"You don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it.  And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are wrong - you want only what will give you pleasure."  James 4-2b, 3

We replaced a pedal and pumped up the tires.  Then Andrew broke in his "new" bike and got it dirty!

Maybe someday, we will find a bigger wagon.  Maybe not.  We're okay either way knowing God has a plan.  :)

Never be afraid to ask God for what you want.  
He cares.  He hears.  He answers.
Just remember to accept how He answers (what He gives you),
believing He has your BEST in mind!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Comfort for the Brokenhearted

Today I'm joining Lisa-Jo Baker for 5 Minute Friday...

Not for comments or traffic or anyone else’s agenda. But for pure love of the written word. For joy at the sound of syllables, sentences and paragraphs all strung together by the voice of the speaker.

Just write without worrying if it’s just right or not. For five minutes flat with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing (seriously hard for me...and that's why I need to do it!).

Okay, so it's Saturday.  Hey, it just didn't work for me to write yesterday.  That's life.  I want to write today on Lisa's chosen word of the week, "Comfort" anyway.  So here goes...


So many in my little corner of the world are suffering.  One friend lost her mother yesterday.  Another lost her unborn baby this past week.  Two couples that live near us lost their young babies recently.  Others are going through extremely challenging times in their lives.  

The truth is, it seems we're all going through one thing or another.  Some more life changing than others, but all are significant to the one facing them.

My heart aches for these loved ones, and even strangers.  My only comfort is knowing that the Comforter hears my prayers of requested comfort, hope and peace for them.  Much like the many prayers He answered when I went through my miscarriages.

I'm so thankful I know He hears my prayers, He is faithful to answer and...

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3 

I can do what He shows me to do.
But even when I don't have the right words.  When I don't know what to do.  When I can't be there.
HE is there...comforting as only He can!
What a comfort!

Check out more posts on this topic by clicking the link below...

Monday, May 6, 2013

How Quickly Things Change~Snow Day and Mud in May~FUN DAY MONDAY

Welcome to:

It's been a wild week in Beranville.  We went from 80 degrees to 10" of snow (on May 2nd!!) .  Then back to 70 something degrees.  Our computer also had a virus.  The combination of snow and being "unplugged" for a few days was a much needed solace, believe it or not.  While others complained about the weather I took it in stride and decided to enjoy it, remembering this too would pass.  I don't always have such a good attitude, but this time I actually got it right.  :)

My boys with their snowman on Thursday, May 2nd, in the midst of getting 10" of snow.
 All that was left of their snowman on Sunday (with scarf added later).
  Don't ya just love the combo of snow and green grass?!
That's NE Iowa weather for you!!

Our melted snowman reminds me just how quickly things change!  This life is so fleeting.  It's constantly changing.  What we worry about today, the trial we think will not pass, the things we think will never change (both bad and good)...will most likely change with time.  There's only one constant, God's love for us!

Today we played in the mud!  That's what happens when snow melts.

We were in it deep!  Stuck.  My littlest guy thought we'd never get out of that pit.  We had to work hard at it.  But we did make our way out.  Oh my!  How quickly things change.  And how we learn...we should have worn knee boots like big brother did.  :)  Now, we just need to remember next time.  Because I'm sure there will be a next time.

"LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire lifetime is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath." We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth for someone else to spend. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you." Psalm 39:4-7

Yes, LORD, please remind me how quickly this life changes!  To enjoy the fleeting moments in my life, in spite of circumstances.  To give thanks in the good and even in the hard.  Help me to remember Your goodness and faithfulness at all times.  I don't want to waste a single moment complaining, needlessly rushing about or putting my hope in anything else but you.  Give me wisdom to know how to spend my brief time on this earth to honor and glorify you.  And to find joy in the everyday stuff that you put before me...snow, mud and all.  In the sweet name of Jesus Christ I pray.  Amen.