Tag Archive blessings

ByJennifer A. Janes

Getting Exactly What You Ask For

Getting Exactly What You Ask For - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

 

Not long ago, our part of the country was experiencing exceptional drought conditions, and it was like that for year after year. It was incredibly hot and dry. The leaves on the trees died (as did many of the trees), it was so hot that I could almost feel my skin burning anytime I was outside, and the ground was beyond parched. Any little bit of rain we would get was nothing compared to what we needed to get “caught up.” We went day after day, month after month, with no rain at all. Clouds would come in and tease us, then blow away without leaving enough behind to settle the dust. We were desperate for rain.

 

We prayed for rain like we would have prayed for food if we’d been starving. I told the girls that when it finally started raining we weren’t going to complain about the inconvenience or discomfort. We were going to thank God for every drop we got.

 

It finally started raining enough to slowly improve drought conditions. Last summer was unseasonably cool and wet, and that has continued through the fall and winter. We are starting our second week of having precipitation, so it’s cold and damp here, which is something we’re not used to. When I woke up this morning, I was so tempted to complain about how tired I am of rain. And then I remembered how thankful I should be. I remembered how terrible the absence of rain is, and I decided to be thankful instead that our area is getting the rain it needs to recover from the drought. It is getting the rain we need to have healthier crops and healthier trees and grasses. This is cause for rejoicing, not complaining!

 

I find myself doing the same thing in my role as wife and mother. How many times while I was growing up, and on into adulthood, did I pray for the man who would become my husband, did I ask God to give me children? Too many times to count. And I got what I prayed for—a man who loves me and loves the Lord, is faithful, works hard, and is a good father to our children. I got two beautiful daughters who have already made professions of faith, who work hard at their school work, who have gifts, talents, and abilities that will serve them well throughout their lives, and who are compassionate and kind. What more could a woman ask for, right?

 

All too often, I find myself complaining about my family too. If they don’t do something exactly like I would do it, or they do something that irritates or aggravates me, I find myself ready to grumble and complain instead of rejoicing and praising God for this beautiful, wonderful family He has blessed me with.

 

I think it’s the human condition. We are more likely to be negative than positive unless we set our minds to be intentional about gratitude and praising God for what He’s already given us.

 

Despite my circumstances being far from what I would like for them to be right now, I am incredibly blessed. It’s time I started acting like it.


How do you stay intentional about giving thanks for the blessings you have, even when you don’t feel particularly blessed?

ByAngie

It’s The Little Things…

Lately, I have been finding peace in the little things in addition to Jesus. Kind of like, stopping to smell the roses, so to speak.

As some of you may know, Diania and I are starting a business that will run out of this very website with help from our fellow bloggers to raise money for missions (including building wells in Ghana, Africa! WOO HOO!), domestic violence survivors, and inner city children’s ministries. This has been an extremely busy time in my life, and I cannot even begin to tell you how exhilarating and stressful it all is at the same time. I love doing it though!

Now that I’m probably the busiest I’ve ever been in my entire life, I’m even more grateful for all of those small things that I was grateful for before but didn’t realize just how much I neglected them or took them for granted. Little things such as the following, in no particular order…

  • My family. They’re actually a big thing, but you get the drift.
  • A cup of coffee, sipped on while doing nothing else but reading.
  • My library card
  • My library!
  • Conversations with friends
  • The therapy that comes from time spent at a sewing machine. Oh, how I’ve missed it.
  • A smile on the face of a stranger as I walk by… without even smiling first!
  • My fellow bloggers. Another big thing, but they’ve really picked up the slack for me lately!
  • God’s forgiveness (Really not so little either… Maybe I should re-title this???)
  • Deodorant
  • Dry shampoo (Yes, I went there…)
  • Patience
  • Prayer
  • The ability to read
  • My Bible
  • All of you that read!!! (Not a little one either… but I love you and just wanted to let you know!)
  • Good music
  • Date night
  • Baby wipes
  • Uncrustables sandwiches, for days when lunch time sneaks up on the kids and me.
  • Ranch dressing
  • A wonderful pediatrician
  • Sales & coupons

I could go on and on and on… But I think I’m boring you by now.

Thank you, Lord, for all of these not-so-little things! And all of the big things too!

What are your little things?

 

By

Sticky Hands: Lay It Down – A Guest Post From Lona

Mark 8:35
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”

A year after my mother passed away, my daughter married. A few months afterward she was expecting a baby as her husband embarked upon his three-month internship for his college degree. He was to make the 2,000 mile trip and get settled while she stayed with me the first couple of weeks, then she would fly out to join him.

It was bedtime when I wandered into the living room to say good night. As I did she casually told me he had arrived safely and really loved the area. “He would be interested in taking a position and living somewhere out there,” she explained. I don’t believe I flinched, though my heart sank to my toes. I made a graceful exit and headed to the bedroom.

My husband was sound asleep so I felt my way in the dark to find my Bible. I slipped into the bathroom for some light and sat on the step beside the tub to cry. The only way I knew to express myself to the Lord was to be direct and that’s how I proceeded. “God we’ve got a problem,” I candidly prayed. “I need to talk to my mother, but You had this bright idea to call her home. Now what am I supposed to do?”

Mom had a remarkable gift to speak a “word in season” that would calm my troubled spirit. My only daughter and first grandchild could potentially move thousands of miles away and if ever I needed a word in season, this was it.

Then I desperately flipped open my Bible and had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The Scripture leaped off the page from Mark 8:35. Then, as if we were sitting at the kitchen table, I heard Mother’s voice in my head. I could visualize her leaning in with her hand gently patting the page as she began to explain, “Let me tell you what this Scripture means,” I heard her softly say. “The Lord knows that Kimmy is your life and always has been. But God is a ‘people mover’ and He strategically places them around the world where they can be utilized for the Kingdom.” I heard her continue, “He’s asking you to lay your life down for His sake. But it’s your choice. You can pitch a fit and get a bear hold on her and refuse to let her go. But she could be living on the other side of the wall and not be yours. On the other hand, as long as she is in the will of God, there is no distance that can take her from you.” In those few moments, “I got it.” I allowed myself to cry through the night, but by dawn I washed my face and prepared to lay my life down.

So far, I have been spared… she has lived within a reasonable driving distance. But as a result, it has been a joy to watch first-hand as she has grown and matured in God, standing on her own two feet, becoming what He has called her to be.

I realize from the moment God loaned her to me, she was really His all along. But as a young mother I spent my time cleaning the “sticky fingers” without seeing the big picture. He could see it all along. The sticky fingers were mine to care for, the calling on the one whom those sticky fingers were attached, was His.

I learned a valuable lesson that would serve a young mother well to realize now. Because in order to keep your life, considered it a privilege—for His sake—to lay it down.

 

To learn more about Lona (pronounced like Donna with an “L”) please visit her website at www.lona.org. She has an amazing testimony that you will be nothing but blessed to read about!