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.
Do you know how blessed I am? I am very blessed. I have had two healthy pregnancies with easy labor and delivery, resulting in two perfect and beautiful little girls. I am so thankful to have never had to know the gut-wrenching pain of a miscarriage or loss of a child, and I selfishly pray that I will never have to. Yet, I have unfortunately witnessed many friends and family members, even acquaintances, endure such heartbreak. I have seen the tears and hurt, while many others endured silent sorrow. Some never seeing their precious baby outside of the womb, others able to meet their sweet baby, only to have to let them go. In fact, one of the saddest funerals I have ever had to attend was that of a darling little girl who lived a meager 19 days. Parents, family, and friends were overcome with grief and there was only one pallbearer needed. I watched as her Daddy carried the smallest casket I’ve ever laid eyes on to a grave that had been dug much too soon. We may never know or understand why God chooses to allow these things to happen, and the only bit of comfort I’ve ever been able to offer to those in mourning is the realization that they will be able to see that loved one once again in heaven.
I’ve always heard people say, “You have to go through this trial, because one day you are going to help someone else having to go through the same thing.” I know there are many of you out there who have probably dealt with the grief I’m talking about, possibly even dealing with it now. I went to high school with a girl named Krystal. Krystal is now married and has a daughter, Lyla, and a son, Wyatt. Wyatt, however, was silently born and is now with her only in spirit. I don’t even want to imagine what I would do if I was in the same situation, but I admire Krystal and the way she chooses to get through this chapter of her life in a positive way by honoring the memories she has of her son. I believe she will truly be able to help someone that may have to go through the same thing. She inspires me to make the very best of what my life is and not take anything for granted.
Krystal has recently started a blog in honor of Wyatt and this journey she has had to face. With her permission, I am sharing a link to her blog, because I feel it may be of help to some of you who understand exactly how she is feeling. I am also asking for all of our readers to help us pray for Krystal and her family as they cope with their loss. Feel free to check out Krystal’s blog here http://www.kdforgey.blogspot.com/
Has God ever done anything for you? I’m sure He has- you’re reading this, right? That means you woke up this morning with breath in your body. There was no hearse at your front door. And I’m sure that’s just one of many. He’s done amazing things for me in my life, and in the life of my friends and family.
Yesterday, my husband, Markus, preached a message (and did a great job!) about forgetting what God has done for us. If it weren’t for God, we could be lost, in jail, dead, still in Egypt’s bondage, etc. Yet, we tend to overlook all He’s done for us in the midst of the everyday chaos of life.
Today I want to share with you the story of a mighty woman from the Bible who could teach all of us a BIG lesson on how to react to the blessings of an Almighty God. Sure, her story is very short, all of two scriptures long. And sure, she doesn’t even have a name (that I know of) other than “Peter’s Mother-in-Law,” but we should all strive to be just like her. Watch this…
“Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them.”- Matthew 8:14-15
Did you see that? The very last line…“And she arose and served them.” Jesus had done something wonderful for her. He healed her. Her response? She immediately arose to serve Him. Wow! That simply simple statement just blows my mind. Why? Because I have been in church all my life, and for the past several years, I have been involved not just as a member, but as a part of leadership. You know what I have noticed? People come in needing/wanting something from the Lord. When they get what they came for, they walk right back out the doors, never to be heard from again until there’s something else they need/want. Really? You mean, you’ve noticed this, too? It’s a pretty disappointing cycle.
Peter’s mother-in-law was the exact opposite. She didn’t walk out the door because she got what she needed from Jesus, never to be heard from again. Instead, she began to serve the One who made her whole. She became a servant to the One who supplied her need.
That’s how we’re supposed to react to the greatness of our Lord and all the blessings He has bestowed upon us. We are to serve Him. In becoming His servant, we will gain a servant’s heart. In gaining a servant’s heart, we have a desire to serve…a call to servant hood. Living a life of servant hood makes us an example and a light to a lost and dying world. That’s what the lost need to see…a Christian with desire to serve the living God, not a “Christian” who only lives the life in time of need.
As I said, we could all learn from this woman, myself included. Think about everything the Lord has done for you, great or small. No matter what it is, He deserves for us to love and serve Him in return. Yes, He gives us free will and allows us to choose how to respond. But what He deserves is a child that will love and serve Him.
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…
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?
“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!
Now we all have our ups and downs and battles and bad days. I depend on my Heavenly Father to get me thru those times. And boy, do I have a lot of them!
That said, (let me pull out my soap box right quick), OK, I can not stand a nasty attitude, especially in a grown woman. It looks nasty and sounds nasty when woman go around bad mouthing, threatening to whoop somebody, and always trying to tell somebody off. It’s a big turn off for potential friendship.
In Ephesians 4:29 says,
“Let no corrupt communication come out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use if edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
Lying, gossip, telling someone off, and bad language all fall under corrupt communication.
2 Corinthians 6:17 & 18 –
“Wherefore, come out from amoung them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
Being a Christian, I can not live like the world. I have to set myself apart from all things that are not of Christ. Which means that I can not pop off at the mouth or tell everything I know about someone. I have to live a separated life and ask God to “create in me a clean heart.” (Psalms 51:10)
“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!”
Blessings and cursings do not come out of the same fountain. I can not stand it when people say that they are desperately praying for this or that, or praying for someone, and in the next breath, they are cursing someone else or putting someone down. I do not believe that God honors prayers from a heart that does not honor Him. It stinks in His nostrils. You want Him to do something for you, but you don’t have time to live for Him? You don’t put Him first but you want things your way?
Strive to spread the good things in life and of God and to speak the gospel of peace, not corruption. When you find yourself falling being and into old habits, just cry out, “Oh Lord Jesus, help me!”, and He will be there for you.