Do you remember when you were a child and you had that one little thing that was only yours and you didn’t really like to share it? Or maybe a rabbit’s foot, a new shiny coin that you were reluctant to spend, or those special scented stickers or pencils that always seemed to disappear when you finally got one?
My little sister always cherished the little, tiny pebbles from the gravel driveway that were kind of marbled white, ivory, or very tannish peach in color. She would spend hours picking them out to collect them as her “treasure” because they were so pretty compared to the normal, every day, reds and browns of gravel color. And she really did treasure them. There were times when she and a cousin would fight over who would get to keep those treasured pieces of rock.
My family is a treasure to me. A treasure that I truly value. We are living in a day where many people have thrown family values out the window. They have taken the Cay Sera Sera mentality of “whatever will be, will be”. They don’t treasure others anymore and they sure don’t treasure that we have a loving God, who is ready and there for us to call upon at any given moment.
As much as it saddens me to see so many take this approach, we can not fathom the pain that it must cause our Heavenly Father. To see things gone amuck from the way it’s supposed to be. People simply do not care about other people, nor do they treasure the gift of life in general.
We are a treasure in God’s eyes. He sees each of us as unique individuals, created in His image. His word tells us that He is a jealous God. He doesn’t want to share you with the cares of this world or with the devil. He wants you to turn your eyes upon Him for every need, every care, every doubt, every praise, to love, to worship, to adore, to treasure!
Take a moment to search your heart. What do you treasure there? Is your heart set on things above or the things of this world?
It’s been 17 months since my son went to Heaven.
A piece of my heart left my body and went to Heaven with him. I’ve learned so much these last months. I’ve learned the goodness of our great God. I’ve learned to be still and listen and more importantly hear. When Brian first died I was angry, no angry doesn’t cover it. I was livid. I could not understand how God would let this happen. That 1st Sunday back at church we sat in the over flow room and I cried the entire time. In my head I was screaming at God. At one point I stopped crying. I clearly heard God say my Son hung from a tree too. Brian is with my Son. You will always know where he is now. (There were many months I did not know if Brian were alive or not.)
I started hearing God’s voice saying small sweet loving things to me. Friends telling me how Loved I am. Telling me that our God is not a God of confusion, He is a God of Love. I hadn’t opened my Bible in a very long time. I opened my Bible 2 weeks ago, I read the book of John. I see things differently now. My faith is much stronger and I confidently know where my son is. Brian and I had a conversation 8 weeks before he died. I hadn’t talked to him in almost 2 years. (Drugs, alcohol, bad life choices, his choice to not have me in his life) He called me. He was at rock bottom and wanted a new start. He was willing to get himself here and go to a Christian mission to recover. We had a conversation about God. I said to him I know you say that you don’t believe in God, but I really think you are just angry with Him. My boy broke down and said he was so angry at God that this isn’t how his life was supposed to be. We talked everyday, several times a day before he died. My son knew God & knew how loved he is. In his death he has accomplished what he wanted to in life. Brian would give anyone anything they needed, whether he could afford it or not.
My family has some things in Brian’s memory. Our church has been going to the public servants of our town to thank them for all that they do. I was asked if I could help with the police officer luncheon. I have been wanting to find a away to thank them for their kindness on that night they had to come tell us. It blessed me so much to bless them. My youngest daughter walked the suicide awareness walk.
I can listen & hear people. I can listen & hear God. Now don’t get me wrong, God still has to show me things several times before I get it. I get it much sooner nowadays. Now don’t get me wrong, I wish my son was here with me. I don’t want any family to feel this grief, to feel this loss. It is horrific! Mental illness is a taboo subject that no one wants to talk about, that no one wants to ask for help.
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One day last week a thought came to mind about how so many say they want Christ in their life, but they are just not ready. I was sitting at my sewing machine thinking about this and I remembered how Jesus asked God that if it was His will, to keep Him from having to be tortured and crucified. Two days later I made a graphic and posted it to a few of our social media pages.
In my dream, a group of us were sitting in a front yard and I felt that we were at home. That we all lived there. I was surrounded by family, friends, and people I don’t know. But in my dream, we were all family.
The yard had a fence and a gate. A few of us looked out and noticed other friends and family that we knew wandering around the neighborhood. They were dazed and lost, almost like they were sleep walking. Eventually all of us in the yard started calling each of them by name and shouting:
“Come home! Come home! You’ll be safe!”
Many heard us, woke up, and came running in the gate for a happy reunion while some continued wandering.
I woke up excited, but concerned.
Remember being a kid and playing outside? When it began to get dark, the porch light would turn on and everyone knew it was time to go home. I still remember the sound of my Grandma’s voice when she would call out my name. “Angela! It’s time to come home! Come on, it’s getting dark out!”
The times are getting dark, we all know that. The “porch light” is going to light up any minute, and it will be time to go to our Heavenly home. (I CAN’T WAIT!)
How many of our loved ones are too busy to realize that it is getting dark and almost time to go home? We need to start getting their attention!
Why aren’t we trying harder? Are we too busy to care about the souls that need Christ?
I want to challenge every Christian to call or message someone they know that needs Jesus. Reach out to them. Ask them how they are doing, if they have given any thought to God lately. Remind them just how much He loves them. See if they want to meet up to talk or come to church with you. Don’t make a laundry list of their sins and tell them how wrong they are. Love the lost more than the enemy hates them. Just shine the light of Jesus in to their life.
Some people just need that little reminder and will come running right back in. Others may not be as eager to listen. Keep praying for them and being a friend to them, don’t just shut them out.
With everything going on in the world, it is too easy to just give up and say that no one wants to listen. We need to keep fighting the good fight and bring in the lost! Wake them up and ask them to come home!
Is there any way to be certain that God is hearing your hearts cries? Any way to know for sure He is listening? The answer is yes! The Bible actually provides us with 4 simple steps to follow that will guarantee God’s ear. So you want to be heard? Here’s how:
For a lesson in humility, look no further than Jesus. In the book of John, chapter 13, we find Jesus showing us the perfect example- the Son of God humbled himself to serve each of His disciples by washing their feet.
It’s important to have a prayer life. In Matthew 6:5-18, Jesus teaches us the to do’s and not to do’s of prayer and supplies us with a model prayer, telling us to pray in that manner.
God longs for us to seek His face. Many times our prayer life consists of maybe 10% of thankfulness (if that), and 90% of asking. We rarely set aside time for seeking, although the Bible clearly tells us in numerous places that we are to seek!
Isaiah 55:7 encourages the wicked to forsake his way. God cannot hear us if we refuse to turn away from that which is wicked and not of or like God.
These 4 steps are so simple that if there is anything blocking us from heaven, it’s because we’re making it too hard. How do I know that these 4 steps will guarantee God’s ear?
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”- 2 Chronicles 7:14
2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us step by step what our part is and when we do our part, we find an amazing promise of results. Not only will God hear us, but He will also forgive and heal!
So you want to be heard? Yes. It’s really that simple.
*All definitions taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary app.
For the ninth time in 2 hours, I tell my oldest son to change the litter box. For the 5th time in as long, I tell our oldest daughter to load the dishwasher. Lost count on how many times our youngest son has been told to take the dog out for a walk and for our youngest daughter to gather the dirty laundry. The litter is PASSED time to be changed and I’m PASSED tired of looking at it, smelling it, dishes are piled, over flowing the sink, the dog is cross eyed needing to go “out”, and the dirty clothes are mounting in every room.
I feel like I’m wasting my breath telling them what to do. Tired of hearing, “Wait a minute”, “I’m fixing too”, “Why do I have to do it?” It’s their chores and everyone has their own to do. If everyone doesn’t pull their weight and get their job done, the total picture doesn’t come together and leaves the door open for chaos and Momma feels LOTS of stress!!
As an adult, there are a lot of things that I don’t want to do. I don’t WANT to put gas in my car when it 12 degrees outside with the windchill below 0, but if I don’t, I will not be able to drive it. I don’t WANT to work six days a week morning until dark with NO pay, but I have to because we can’t afford to hire anyone. I don’t WANT my husband to have to work 3 jobs because I feel selfish and want to spend time with him for myself at times, but we have bills to pay and 4 children to feed and cloth.
I don’t WANT to stay up to almost midnight sometimes, folding laundry, but I have to, because that’s the only time I have to do it.
We make sacrifices in many areas of our lives that our children and other people will never see or never, ever know about. The sacrifice of sleep to get things done, the sacrifice for personal time or things for yourself so that they can benefit from it. Sacrifices for your church family, outside/public organization, etc.
The One that does see and knows every little detail, is God above and that’s all that matters. My strength comes from Him and He will help me get through each day and every “I don’t want”. It may even seem selfish or petty to others and there may be others out their who know exactly what I’m talking about. Therefore, until you’ve walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, or spent time with them and watch ALL THAT THEY DO, please don’t judge their “I don’t want to”s, just be glad that they make the sacrifice and do it anyways, sometimes, it’s so that you don’t have to.
Everyone does it. You go to the restroom and if by CHANCE you forget your phone or iPod, you grab something to read out of boredom or to make the time pass quicker. Chances are, that “something” could be a shampoo bottle. On the back side of that bottle, the directions will say, to wash, lather, rinse, and repeat if it’s needed. Many wonder why you would have to “repeat”. When you use a lot of products in your hair, it builds up a residue, a sometimes STICKY residue, that just washing ONE TIME will not get out, hence the repeat action.
Now, let’s look at this in a Spiritual aspect. We are walking along on a Spiritual walk, hand in hand with God, and then #WHAM!, you slip and fall. You feel down about it and disappointed that you “failed”. You HAVE to get up, repent, let God wash you clean because He forgives a multitude of sin! Forgive yourself and continue your daily Spiritual walk with God. We are human. God knows that we are human and that we are going to fall at times, that’s why He will keep His hand extended to us when we fall, giving us the boost we need to get up, and washing us clean again when we ask! We can’t stay in the muck and the mire.
Sometimes, we HAVE to go through the LATHER, RINSE, AND REPEAT more than once because of our own stubbornness. Thank God that He gives second chances and repeats His forgiveness!
But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Can you even imagine what was going through Joseph’s mind and heart when he found out that Mary was expecting? What about when he realized that the baby she was carrying in her womb was the Son of God?
He had to be terrified, and that is confirmed by the angel coming to him to say “do not be afraid”.
Often, when God calls us to do something, we can become afraid as well. While what we are doing may never compare to marrying a woman who others believe to have done something she did not do and raising The Savior of the world from an infant into a man, it can still leave us feeling overwhelmed and scared. We forget what we know to be true: that God has it all under control. We stress over things like logistics, money, what others may think, and more.
But what we need to remember is what Joseph is proof of: If it is the will of God, and we stay on His course, everything will work out.
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The second that we let our flesh try to detour His plans, by negotiating our ideas in, that is the very moment that things start to go wrong. What if Joseph had said, “I will marry her, but we will not keep the child.” I doubt that any of our lives would be where they are today.
It is because Joseph did as he was instructed without fear that Jesus was able to thrive, grow, and eventually save the world. He trusted God and stuck to the plan. When God calls you, remember Joseph and do not be afraid.
Can you believe it’s time for Thanksgiving and this school year is almost halfway over? Christmas is next month! Where has the time gone? Better yet, with all my running around, what do I have to show for it? Why do we always seem to have such crazy schedules?
Let’s talk about my kids…One is in second grade. One is in kindergarten. One is taking dance class, one just started piano lessons. That’s just the kids. And this doesn’t count the church events on our calendar, doctor’s appointments, et c. That’s right–sometimes I just want to grab a Kit Kat and scream, “GIVE ME A BREAK!” Not really. I’d rather have a Reese’s. 😉
When school starts, much more comes along with it. Sports, clubs, extracurricular activities, etc. Then the holidays hit. It’s easy for our lives to become overwhelmed and chaotic. I’m a little stressed out just thinking about all of it! But sometimes in the midst of the madness, I have to sit back and take a deep breath. I have to remember that God blessed me with my two beautiful girls. He has entrusted them into my care. It is important that I do my best to keep my focus on Him. First and foremost, before dance and birthday parties and holiday dinners and everything else, it is my job to point them to God. If I don’t make time for Him in my life, I can’t expect my girls to make time for God in their lives. If I don’t read and study my Bible, I can’t expect Naomi and Adah to memorize their memory verses.
We can’t let our crazy schedules dictate our relationships with God. And we can’t use our crazy schedules as an excuse to slack in our parenting. Yes, things may become overwhelming and chaotic, but if we keep God first then we can be assured that He has everything under control.
I think Darlene from Time-Warp Wife sums it best:
These are tough times. My family is struggling, and almost every other family I know is struggling too, in one way or another. I’ve been praying and asking God for relief, for breakthrough, for help, for rescue – and not just for my family, but for all of us.
The good news is that prayer and focus on God are drawing me closer to Him and are showing me more about who He is, which reminds me what He is capable of. When I can remember that God is bigger than any situation or circumstance we find ourselves in, I am filled with peace. And peace is a great thing to have when you’re waiting to see God work in the situations that concern you!
Two keys to effectively waiting are:
I don’t have all the answers. My family has been waiting for answers to some of our prayers for a long time. What I do know is that prayer and praise change things! Even if my situation doesn’t change, my heart changes, and sometimes that’s the bigger answer to the prayer I didn’t pray.
Ever set out to do something, and know that you have set way too high expectations for yourself, but you try to do it anyway?
On July 31st, we left our home in Southern California for vacation. It was supposed to be a 2 week trip. We drove to visit family and friends in Kentucky and Tennessee first. That’s where I was reunited with Karen, Emily, and Judye for the first time in over 15 years along with everyone else that I love and miss dearly in my hometown. After 5 days there, we drove up to where our family will be moving in a few months, Pennsylvania. We were supposed to spend about a week there.
This is where I laugh. Because that was my plan, but not God’s plan.
We were in Pennsylvania for 4 weeks. When you add our week traveling before that, we were away from home for 5 weeks. Thank goodness I over packed! My husband’s employers took really good care of us and made it a very enjoyable time. I almost didn’t want to come home, except we kind of need to pack so we can move there permanently. I cannot wait to return.
During all of this, I did not have steady internet let alone time to tend to the blog. In the beginning I really tried. I thought I’d be able to keep up. After the 3rd week, I realized it just wasn’t going to happen and gave up.
I truly believe that God allowed for our trip to be so long and undistracted so that I would fall in love with the area we are moving to.
Isn’t it amazing how God does things? Circumstances happen, and we think they are too simple or mundane for God to have planned them, but really, He is in every little thing. Which causes me to wonder, why don’t we include Him in every little thing? I mean right down to trimming fingernails and pouring a cup of coffee. He’s protecting us from slipping and cutting our finger or burning ourselves, after all. Okay, now I’m rambling, and I’m sure you got the point…
While on this trip, there were a lot of little discussions that led to one big decision.
For some time, we have attempted to monetize this blog. Keyword: Attempted. I’ve read books, gone to conferences, taken online classes, etc. on how to monetize a blog to the point that it was weird that Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven wasn’t making more than a couple of dollars every few months. Now, in my heart I knew it was because God never intended for there to be a profit, but we didn’t want a profit. We just wanted to cover the costs of the blog itself, so I thought what we were doing was okay.
Now, I am not saying that ministry blogs should not be monetizing. I am saying that for whatever reason, that was not what God wanted here.
One day God’s voice came across loud and clear that monetization would have to stop. It was only a few minutes after that a very kind and generous person unexpectedly committed themselves to covering our yearly blog costs. Thank you, Jesus and person who I shall keep anonymous! THANK YOU!
This means no more ads. No more affiliate links. No more of me stressing over if I sound like a late night infomercial pitchman because it does not come to me naturally. YAY for you, YAY for me!
We will still continue to have giveaways and such, but it will be like it always has been: Either donated by the company or compiled by myself and/or other contributors of Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven. Which brings us to…
We have so much going on behind the scenes at the moment that I feel like my head is spinning just trying to think of a way to tell you all without giving too much away.
We definitely intend to continue the pregnancy series that we started at the beginning of the summer. Next week we will be participating in the #IAmYourVoice campaign, a way to bring awareness and help refugees in Iraq and Syria, where Christians are being persecuted. This week brings the day of encouragement, and you know Emily always has something fun for that. Since we missed our Blogiversary in August, we will soon be giving away a certain movie about Christian Moms that is rather popular… 😉 I will be posting every Friday as a co-host of A Look At The Book‘s “A Group Look” linky. (I was supposed to begin a month ago, but the sweet ladies that also host/co-host there have been so understanding of our trip continually being extended.) The list goes on and on…
So be sure to follow us in one way or another so that you don’t miss out on anything. Email, RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc etc etc… And remember, we are always available to pray with/for you, so never hesitate to ask.