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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A New Years message for you

A year ago, I was slogging through some ugly emotions. Anger simmered within. I felt stuck in a job I was unhappy in. I had been praying for God to change my situation. Yet God didn’t exactly answer my prayers the way I expected. The year ahead didn’t hold much promise. As you can see I’m not sugarcoating my thoughts today. 

I know I appreciate it when people share their raw honest emotions with me. Oh, you feel this way too? You’re struggling with the same stuff? 

Where are you in your journey right now? Are you feeling stuck in a bad situation? Are you angry and hurt? Do you look ahead at this year without a glimmer of hope?  Sit down with me today. Can I encourage you? 

You know there have been times in my life when I have let the “Twisted Sister” out. Unfortunately most of the time it happens it’s not when I am blessedly alone if you know what I mean.

I really try to appear to have it all together. But truthfully I need Jesus so badly. Many, many times He has pulled me back from a pit or even out of one. I have fallen on my face at His feet so many times and each time He lavishes His grace on me. 

I share this, because last December I threw a fit and played the martyr. Woe is me, I have it so bad!  Gloom and despair! It was ugly. I didn’t like what I was seeing in the mirror. Yet it became a turning point for me.

Do I want to turn into a bitter woman? I would certainly morph into one if I continued on this path. 

So I let go, I forgave the one who treated me unjustly. I settled in my job and found contentment. I cultivated a deeper relationship with Jesus. This did not magically happen overnight. Nothing really does. But the outcome has been worthwhile.

This year has been a surprise. In other words, God did much more than I expected or imagined. I didn’t have much hope, remember. All my fears and dreads never materialized. 

If He can do this for me, He will certainly do it for you. He will turn that situation you feel “stuck” in, into a beautiful place. He will breathe life into those dry bones and revive you. 

Dear friend, you are at a turning point just as I was. You must let go of the angst and hurt. Lean into His beating heart, allow Him to hold you close. Let Him do His great work in your life. Don’t limit Him by your circumstances, emotions, etc... You can’t limit a God who created the universe. 

This coming year I guarantee you that God will surprise. This time next year, you will look in wonder at what He did in and through you. 

Bless you my friend. Happy New Year. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

"Will God really dwell on earth..?"

“But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” 2 Chronicles 6:18-19

Will God really dwell on earth with humans? Not possible. Can’t happen. But the Almighty God did indeed dwell with His people Israel in the tent tabernacle and then the temple. He brought them out of slavery, fought for them, brought them into the Promised land and made them a nation.  

Will God really dwell on earth with humans? No, not possible. Can’t happen. But the astonishing truth is that He dwelt among us as a human. God Almighty, the Creator of the universe walked around in human skin.   Our God is not distant or unapproachable. He felt our pain, hurts, betrayal, and weaknesses. He has faced temptation. He experienced it all. 

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us....John 1:14
 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. Colossians 2:9 
Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father.” John 14:9.  

Why would God do this? Why would He go after a wandering, straying sheep? Why does He love me so much? I will never know. He gives Himself so lavishly, does not hold back. What a beautiful mystery this is? 

Christmas is such a wondrous season. I love giving gifts to the ones I love. I want to show my appreciation and love to them. What a warm feeling that gives me. 

Multiply that by perhaps thousands and thousands. Perhaps then we can catch a glimpse of the love our Heavenly Father has by giving us His precious Son, Jesus. Immanuel, God with us. 

I hope you have a blessed Christmas my friends. 

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Monday, December 7, 2015

An Ode to a Neighbor

My neighbor died recently. We gathered in her flower garden for a memorial service. Comforting words were spoken. Tears shed, smiles and hugs shared. It was one of those moments that linger long after. 

We had just received a few inches of heavy snow. It coated the trees and garden. The setting sun caused everything to sparkle, lifting our heavy spirits. Her ashes were scattered around her precious garden. 

The garden itself is dead right now. What once was thriving and full of color and life is covered by snow. Gray stalks poke through here and there. I have many lilies and irises buried under the barren soil. Most of them given to me from my neighbor.  She had a daylily garden the size of my vegetable garden. She was always so generous. 

“Do you like this one?” “Here, let’s dig up a start.” “How about this one?” I had just started a garden of my own after I moved here. I didn’t have a lot of money to spare for flowers at that time. But I didn’t want to impose on her generosity either.

So I reluctantly said yes, I would love some flowers. Again she was always so generous. Once she and her husband  labored over a deep rooted Baptisia bush to share a start. They literally had to use a pick. I stood there holding this piece of root wondering if it would grow. And they worked so hard to get it for me. Believe me, I babysitted that plant and prayed over it. It flourishes now and seems to get bigger every year. 

Yes the garden is dead now, but next spring will bring new life again. When those irises and daylilies come to life and open their pretty faces, I’ll remember my neighbor. I’m going to smile when my Baptisia bush show their sweet pea like blossoms.  

A gardener grows beautiful things and shares them freely.  When I share  my flowers with a friend, my garden grows all the more. My life is much the same. When I give freely of what God has given me, my life flourishes. 

God has done a wonderful work in you. He has planted beautiful things within you. Share those beauties with those needy ones around you. You have much to give. 

“When someone gives another person a flower, the fragrance of the flower lingers on the hands of the giver.” Unknown

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Rambling Thursdays

Let me just say up front that I love football. I have since I was a kid. I’ve had many football loves through my life. Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swan, Joe Montana, Walter Payton, Payton Manning and now Andrew Luck. I am an unabashed Colt’s and Notre Dame fan. So for today’s Rambling Thursday’s blog I thought I’d share a few thoughts about the 2015 season.

*I’ll get the ugly deflategate issue out of the way first. Because I am a Colt’s fan, I don’t like the Patriots. (Sorry Pats fans, hope this doesn’t mar our friendship.) But I wish my Colts hadn’t brought this up and I really don’t care to hear about a deflated ball again. Okay, now on to the good stuff. 

*I didn’t have good feelings about Payton playing this year and my gut feelings were confirmed. It pains me to watch him struggle this year. He’s a shell of his former greatness. I hope he can retire with his head held high. It’s been such a pleasure to hear “Omaha” at the line and watch him conducting his offensive people with his hand signals. When he leaves, the NFL won’t be the same.  

*What’s with all the injuries this year? Players are dropping like flies weekly. I don’t play fantasy football, but one of my friends does and it has certainly messed with her fantasy team. My Colts haven’t been exempt. Andrew Luck has been beat up. Thankfully we have Matt Hasselback. This brings me to my next thought.

*Matt Hasselback is quite the dude. He literally rose off a hospital bed on a short week to lead the Colts to a Thursday night victory. They were pumping I.V.’s in him before the game after he was deathly sick for a couple of days. Imagine facing angry giant men wanting to tear your arms off after that! But wow, he literally has saved the Colt’s season. The man is forty years old and he looks like he’s having fun out there with all the young guys. 

*Who would have thought? Ravens only with three wins? Bengals only two losses? Panthers undefeated? Cardinals leading the division with Seahawks in second place? Vikings in first place, Green Bay slipping? It has been a topsy turvy kind of season. I hate to say this, I really do....but the Pats will probably win the Super Bowl again even with all their injuries. 

*What do you think of the color crush uniforms on Thursday nights? I think they are pretty cool, although they have messed with color blind people. I  like the retro uniforms too, except the Steelers look like bumblebees in theirs. Just saying. 

*Lets talk College. I didn’t have high hopes for my Irish. And boy it didn’t start out well. Starting quarterback out for the year. Starting running back out. Season over right? Nope, it was next man up and boy did they ever step up. They have played so well and so gutty. Notre Dame has lost seven starters this year and they just keep plugging along. They were on the verge of going to the playoffs until they lost to Stanford. My heart was broken. I’ll still get to watch them one last time this year at a major bowl. 

Hard to believe we only have a couple of months left of football. Where did it go? I’ve enjoyed watching it this year and look forward to the intensity of the upcoming playoffs. For now enjoy this vintage Jim Mora video about his thoughts on the playoffs. Go Colts and Irish!