In my life, I have moved approximately 47 times. Yes, you read that right: 47!
No, I wasn’t a military kid. And though my Grandpa was a pastor and I lived in his home, from the time I was born until the time he died he was pastoring the same church. In fact, the majority of my childhood was in the same home from the age of 6 until 14 and I attended the same elementary school for all 7 years. Life has just “happened” and as a result, I’ve moved. A lot.
The majority of those moves have been in the last 16 years. Many times I find myself wishing I never had to move again, but such is the life of being a renter and not a home owner. I long for home, to put it simply. But where and what is “home”?
Could it be where you grew up? Just a place you store your “stuff”? Is it where your family resides, or the opposite, as far away from them as possible? Is it a brick and mortar building, on wheels, or non existent all together?
During a very dark time in my life, I lived in my van. (Before you even ask, no, it wasn’t down by the river.) While enduring that circumstance, I realized very quickly how often people take the little things for granted. I learned then that “home” does not have to be something tangible. So I know that is not what I’m looking for. (On a side note, no, in my count of 47 I am not including every time I drove my van from one place to another. Oh, c’mon, go ahead and laugh. You know you want to. I do!)
The Bible tells us this:
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV
There is an old saying, “Home is where the heart is”. If we’re layin’ up our treasures in that home above… and that is where our heart is… Looks like Heaven is “Home”.
I don’t know about you, but home is looking better every day. Being as homesick as I am, I’m going to do everything I can to reach my destination. How about you?
Okay, before we continue, let’s get this out of the way:
E’erybody Oughta Go To Sunday School
Sunday School Sunday School
(Women:) The Men (Men:) The Women
(Girls:) The Boys (Boys:) The Girls
E’erybody Oughta Go To Sunday School
Now that this song is nicely implanted in your head from your childhood, we may continue with your regularly scheduled blog post. I’d continue the song on and sing about e’erybody backin’ the preacher, but that is a command that needs more than a few paragraphs. Another time, another place…
It seems these days a lot of people who are Christians do not see the importance of church attendance. They’ve either been hurt, don’t have the time to find a good church where they feel they fit in, or they’ve simply fallen out of the habit/not ever learned to establish the habit. Many do not feel it is required, or even biblical. However, it is:
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:19-25 NKJV
There is a reason this command was given. When we attend church we are strengthened in many ways. To name a few:
Life circumstances happen. Illness, jobs, family events, etc. It can all get in the way. God understands that when it is truly impossible. But when we are able, we should do our best to be there. A sermon on TV is great, but not the same. Reading a pastor’s blog is encouraging, but not the same. Putting on some worship music and praising in the living room is refreshing, but not the same. There is no substitute for any of the gifts God has given us. You can’t replicate the best. Just try that recipe for IHOP pancakes or a Disneyland Mint Julep you find online. Nothing like the real thing!
And hey, if it wasn’t so fabulous, would there be people in anti-Christian countries fighting for that right? Risking their lives by attending a church service hidden in someone’s home every chance they can? I think not… (That was my version of my Grandma’s “There are children starving in China, Ethiopia, and right down the street” lecture when I refused to finish my healthy dinner…)
Bottom line: Church is good, and good for you. God commands it for a good reason, just as he does everything else. I’m going to admit that I’m not in service as often as I would like, but when I do go… Life is better. Plain and simple. I challenge you: Go for just a few weeks. See how you feel. I bet you won’t want to stop!
Originally written by Angie on January 21, 2010
This morning I woke up in a “mood”. I felt sensitive and vulnerable.
I know that some are affected this way by the weather, but I don’t believe that was the cause of my outlook. In fact, I’m feeling down that our rainy days are coming to an end soon. I love stormy weather, and this week has just been great for me in that sense. I find myself dreading Saturday when it is forecasted to be partly sunny by afternoon.
I started off just annoyed to be awake. I think we all have a day like that from time to time, right? I didn’t sleep well last night, and the fact that today was already here just really flat out ticked me off. Then I checked my email and something that I wouldn’t normally think twice about made me want to cry. In general I was feeling down and discouraged, feeling as though doom and gloom were on the horizon. As I went on with my morning, I just kept thinking “I don’t want today to be like this!” I most certainly didn’t want to be the cause of anyone else’s bad attitude with my negativity, either.
When I was a little girl and a teenager, if I was feeling down, my Grandma would tell me: “Why should you be sad? We have Jesus! Read your Bible for a little while and I’m sure you’ll feel better.” Grandma was also known for her love of Pollyanna and looking on the bright side.
I figured I’d give it a try this morning. I mean, I read my Bible on a regular basis, but what could it hurt to just stop and read and expect something to cheer me up?
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Now how does that not make you feel better, huh? Makes it hard to have a negative outlook, I’ll say that much…
We’ve all been there. Had a need, want, or wish that we prayed for fervently. Begging God to just let this one thing go our way. Only to find that God didn’t agree, and just flat out said “NO!”
Naturally, sometimes as humans we become upset. We don’t understand WHY God would ever not grant us the wishes of our heart. “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?” we ask, assuming that God couldn’t possibly know our side of it.
As difficult as it can be, the key to remember is that God is all knowing. He sees the big picture, not just the here and now like we see it. Of course he wants the best for us! But just as our children think cookies make a good meal, we know better. He doesn’t want us to settle for less.
When I was young, and I mean YOUNG, there was something I prayed for. I could NOT understand why God was not giving me what I wanted. Surely He knew the dream I had from the time I was a tot, why wouldn’t He just give it to me? I’ll tell you why: because it was not His will. He had something so much better in store for me. I didn’t understand it at the time, but boy do I now! And let me just say Thank You LORD for not giving in to my stupidity! 😉
It does not always go this way. Sometimes the reason our prayers go unanswered is not clear. It is not for us to know while we are here on earth, but as the old song says “We’ll understand it better by and by…” In the mean time, thank our Heavenly Father for loving us enough to say “no” instead of spoiling us. For were it not for the “nos”, we wouldn’t be thankful when He says, “YES!”
If you’re old enough, you may remember this commercial from the 90’s, where the kid from Last Action Hero and Heartland (I think that was the name of it…) goes into Circuit City because he bought a Walkman one week and it was advertised at a better price the next.
“Last week I bought this… and today I saw this…”
Words forever implemented into the brain of a child of the 90’s…
When it comes to our relationship with the Lord, we never have to worry about this. See, our souls are purchased with blood. There are no “sales”, “bids”, “rebates”, “coupons”, “economy versions”, or “upgrades”. The price of our soul does not change. What we were then, that is what we are today, and that is what we’ll be in the future: It is the same. Our value does not deteriorate like may things do in this day and age. We are still the most valuable to God!
Sometimes, when you are like me and have a past, it is easy to think, “Well, yeah, I can do good. But not near as good as Sis. So-and-so, they’ve never done anything wrong so obviously they are closer to God.” THIS IS NOT TRUE! Remember how the Bible says that the enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy? This is a PERFECT example. Don’t let him win!
You are valuable to God. Irreplaceable, as a matter of fact. You can do just as much for him now as any one else. Pray about it and seek God about what he wants you to do and then do it. You have a testimony and there are people out there who need your encouragement. Whether it’s going on the mission field, helping out at your church, or leading you children just follow the call of Jesus. You’ll be so glad you did!
Okay ladies, how has your week been so far?
Remember my challenge I sent out to all of you on Monday? I won’t lie, it’s been tough to follow through with. I have not made a single pot of coffee (which means it’s a miracle anyone in this family survived) or pampered myself to more than the expected shower… which was SUCH a blessing, especially when I have a 2 month old. I did, however, relax while holding the baby, sipping a Diet Coke and thanking God for his many blessings. I took time with my children when they just wanted to bang on their musical instruments to sing to the Lord. Hey, at least it was beautiful to Him and us. I’m sure it wasn’t to anyone else. 😉 As I fed the baby in the middle of the night I sneaked in a quick reading of a few scriptures. I prayed as I walked the floor, as I did dishes, as I fell asleep, and while I woke and readied myself for the day. (I should note, readying myself for the day only involves changing my clothes, brushing my teeth, and washing my face. Gross, I know. But hey, in a month it’ll all be different. The joys of mothering an infant with GERD. I love it though.) I also prayed a LOT while re-potty training my 3 year old, but I digress…
But what about you? Did you try? I did. Not as great as I would like, but I still tried. And you know, that’s okay. We’re going to have good days, bad days, and everything in between. But I’d still like to know how you did! Please share!
Now, with the weekend coming up, I want you to make a point to spend one on one time with your husband if you are blessed to have one. Talk, look each other in the eye, and enjoy time with each other. Actually listen to what he has to say. Don’t fold laundry while you talk, don’t check your facebook or twitter. Focus on him. Just one hour, I know time can be strained, but make time. You’ll feel so much better. As you are talking, thank God that you are blessed with someone, as many women are not.
Continue to strive for those Sticky Handed Moments!
Coming up Monday: The Prayer of The Sticky Handed
I have a close friend, Crystal, who strives to keep her home clean. I often wish I had it as together as she does. Her home is in a central location for a few of us to meet up for gatherings and play dates, during which she can often be heard proclaiming, “HAND CHECK!” at which point all of the kids line up and she inspects their hands for cleanliness. When done, she helps the messy hands get cleaned up and sends them all back to playing. We often tease her for it, but in reality, it is a genius idea.
From time to time we have things on our hands that we are not so proud of. Things that shouldn’t be there. Other times, everything on our hands are good things to have, but something is missing.
As moms, we are all guilty of this. We get so busy with the kids that we compromise, allowing things in our lives that shouldn’t be there. We also take short cuts, not doing exactly what God tells us to do. Ask yourself, and examine your hands: Do you need to wash them? Do you need to put something on them? Good hand care is important! Spending time in the word, giving attention to our husbands and children as we should, and making sure to pray and thank God for his many blessings are just a few.
To begin, a couple of months ago, Angie told me about the “blog” thing that she was wanting to get going, and told me to pray about joining her. Well, I’ve always kept a journal of sorts, and I constantly have thoughts running thru my head so I’d jot a note here or write something down there. I never thought about my writing being a part of a ministry.
So, the more I thought about it, I really started getting excited! Finally, an outlet for my creative thinking! I knew God had to give it to me for a reason. It is actually in my blood. My dad has been a writer for years. He has actually written thousands of stories and poems, and he is most definitely where I get my art of dry humor. (Not to mention the countless songs he has written.)
My mother also has a humor that my sister and I definitely get. So having a ‘funny bone’ from both sides of the family, is a double whammy!
It is important to teach our children to laugh. To find humor in the little things and of course, that there is a time and a place for it. For instance, I know that if a child ‘poots’ or ‘belches’, it makes a funny sound. Children want to laugh at this by instinct. I would be mortified if my children made a huge deal of it in public or in front of guest in my home. On the other hand, if we are home alone, they can laugh over it to their hearts content. Now, I know that others do not share this view, but that’s O.K., we are all different. AND, everybody does it. =)
Finally, I consented to Angie and said, “I guess I’ll do it”, in my best Eeyore voice, or type… Though the inside of me was like, Wow, I can’t believe that I’m gonna be a part of something. A plan was coming together.
I know that I will make several mistakes in my typing and grammar, and that I’m going to mix up my Bible stories at some point, (LOL thank u to my brother-in-law for pointing that out!), and that some blogs will be more humorous, while others will be on the serious side, But bare with me! We all make mistakes and I’m not going to pretend that I don’t. I make tons of them. I am excited that this thing is launched and that we are able to minister to mothers and mothers at heart, and whom ever else reads this. (We definitely know that life can be hard at times and we want to be a bright spot in your day.)
Once upon a time I was a different person. I rarely doubted anyone. I took each person for what they said they were. I forgave most simply because they said they were sorry for some of the most hurtful heartbreaking things that had been done to me. And I dropped everything at a moment’s notice to be there for friends who needed me.
Sadly, like most people in this world, I have changed. I was hurt, deeply, in several different instances where those that I loved and considered dear friends betrayed me in one way or another. I didn’t change overnight, it was after being hurt repeatedly to different degrees by various loved ones over the course of years and allowing the hurt and frustration to build up.
In trying to move past the pain, I blocked out the memory, sometimes almost “deleting” the person from my memory to the best of my ability and pretending the hurt never happened. “They’re dead to me” I would so easily exclaim if someone asked me when I last talked to the person, proud of my hardened heart and letting the world know that my ego was not bruised but instead stroked.
Obviously, this is ineffective as the hurt is still there, growing, causing me to be doubting, flaky, and distrusting of others. Besides, as soon as in some way or another whether by running across an old picture of different people, hearing another speak of them, or running into them the pain was quickly remembered as though a bandage was ripped away from the wound, taking the stitches with it and leaving all my anguish exposed. I talk myself down from the anger. “That person has no idea. And look who I am now in spite of all they did to hurt me! They have suffered such a loss to not know me any longer! All of the happiness they claim to have now is fake, because they certainly don’t deserve it. I dare them to attempt to do the same thing to me now. They’d have another thing coming!” Only to realize very quickly “They probably could care less about anything to do with me.”
And here is where it comes full circle…
The reality smacks me right in the face because I KNOW that there are people out there that I’ve hurt, whether intentional or unintentional, that I could care less about what is going on in their lives or where they are now.
Ouch. “What kind of person am I? That’s just disgusting! I wasn’t raised to be this way! Forgive and forget, love one another!”
It seems just in the last few months I’ve been tossed in with memories of many different past hurts and had to deal with them. Sometimes so overwhelming, not understanding why, my only option was to cry and have a pity party. Just a few moments ago I was asking God “Why do I have to go through all this, dealing with all of these people so close together?” I wasn’t even done asking when I realized it’s because something needs to change. I learned at a woman’s conference I attended years ago as a teenager that in order to move past the hurt, grow from it, and heal you must forgive those that hurt you.
Now, I’m going to be honest, as much as I say I forgive everyone for whatever they did to me, there are probably 2 or 3 that I don’t want to forgive. 1 of those people I forgave for one of the worst things a person could do to another mother only to be betrayed nearly the same way all over again months later. I realize that forgiveness doesn’t mean I have to be friendly, but just the simple act of letting go of the hurt and sometimes anger seems impossible. Why should that person be forgiven for such a horrible thing? I guess the answer is simple, because if I don’t I’m living in sin and as long as I carry this burden around I’m going to be unhappy. I don’t want to be this person who doesn’t take people for their words, doubts every single persons motive for being nice to me, assuming every friend I have secretly hates me. Why should everyone in my life now pay for the sins of those that were in my life in the past?
If only everyone had a stamp on their foreheads to state whether they were trustworthy, and meter to show just how real or fake they really are…
That’s not how it is, though. This is real life. Time for me to pick myself back up, again. Time to dust off my genuine smile, and know that people are being nice to me because they simply like me, not to dig up dirt on a myself, a friend, or family member. Time to take people for their words, and not second guess every other statement.
It might take a little time, and that’s okay. I’m damaged, but through forgiveness of others and forgiveness from God, I can be whole again.
Originally written by Angie as "If Only..." on February 4th, 2010
Alright ladies, I want to hear all about it…
With this post, I am beginning a series. It will post twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. I want ALL of our readers to take part to their comfort level! (Lurkers are welcome. I love lurkers. I’m a lurker on many websites myself. Have been for years! 😉 )
Each day I want you all to take 2-5 minutes during each segment of the day to do something for yourself while giving your utmost attention to the Lord. Kids in the room and causing “confusion?” Don’t worry about it. This is the BEST way you can set a great legacy!
Obviously your options are going to have to fit to you, and they are going to vary from week to week and day to day. That’s fine Less boring. (I’m kidding… kinda… Not really… but in a way… just don’t want you to feel bad.)
Now, if you can, come back and tell us how you did this. You made time for yourself while putting God first, and we want to know how you did it to help us do a better job ourselves. I don’t want you to boast, obviously. The Bible condemns that. What I would like is for you to share so that myself and other moms can gain! The ideas you have today could greatly benefit a mom who reads tomorrow. 🙂
If you are on Twitter and would like to tweet about this series, please use the hashtag: #RaiseStckyHands with NO i in sticky… or tweet directly to @RaiseStckyHands