“If I Knew Then What I Know Now”

Psalm 37:30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. (NIV)

How often have you found yourself saying, “If I knew then what I know now?”  I can’t tell you the number of times that has been said.  I heard my mom and others in my family who are now older and wiser say it and now it is a part of my repertoire.

I remember talking to a drug addict and hearing him say, “If I knew that one last hit would send me into a world of addiction.”  I hear young women and men saying, “If I only knew that night of pleasure would send me into a world of hurt and pain.” I hear from married couples, “If I only knew that our marriage would end in divorce” or “If I would have known he/she would pass away before we even began to grow old together.”  There are so many if I’s. “If I only knew that I would end up as a single parent.”  The phrase is attached to so much of what happens in life. What does it all mean?

Hind sight is something we all can attest to. As people say, hindsight is 20/20. This thing called life is about living. It is about what we decide to sometimes knowingly and sometimes not so knowingly do.  Life is filled with choices.  I say this and firmly believe that every choice we make God already knows about it. He also knew that those personal choices would be apart of our life’s journey. It is in “going through” that we have a testimony. It is when we have to call on “Our Father who art in heaven”.  Life – don’t forget that this storm will not last forever. The mistakes, thoughtlessness, last word, action, behaving badly all are a part of our being human and being frail.  We in and of ourselves are not equipped to handle the storms of life without having our hands in the hands of our heavenly Father.

Dear God,

Thank you for being so amazing and allowing me to go through the things that I have been through so that I can be a stronger person in faith and be a living testimony of what God can do in your life.  Please allow me not to beat myself up on things that I did not know then that I know now. Please allow that phrase to be my tool and my fuel to press forward.

AMEN

 

What A Friend I Have in Jesus

Proverbs 27:9 (NIV)   Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.

As I talk to my children about friendship and what it means to be a friend. I think about what my grandfather and mother use to tell me “if you have one good friend in this life time you are doing good.”  I think about the friendships that I have and how each one holds a special place in my heart.  

I often see my children – as young as they are – trying to find and make lifelong friends. I see the smiles on their faces and the lightheartedness shown as they talk about them or interact with them.  Those emotions rise again but in a very different way when something occurs.  There is sadness when the person they considered their best friend either has to move away or as they grow older they grow apart. 

Often I see my daughter trying to emulate her relationships with friends to be like mine. Of course, we talk about it and I encourage her to think about what a friend is. And what it means to have a close friend. I realize the one thing she doesn’t understand is my closest friend is Jesus Christ. I have said that but does she really understand?

With Jesus you can laugh until your stomach hurts or cry loudly and uncontrollably when you are sad. With Jesus Christ you can tell him all your burdens. He will not judge you nor leave you.  He will show you continued grace and mercy even when you have shown your many flaws. He’s that kind of friend.

I must continue to tell my children all these things and more about what a friend we have in Jesus. I have to let them know I’m intentional about my relationship with Christ – just like I’m intentional with my other relationships. I go to Him in prayer. I check in with Him throughout the day. I take time to talk with Him and to listen. I don’t take His love for me for granted. 

Jesus Christ is the best friend I have ever had.  Just as you have to be intentional with the friends that you gather here on this Earth.  I make sure that I take time to be with Him every single day – it’s intentional!

Dear God,

Thank you for always being a magnificent friend. You continue to show me what it means to be a good friend with Your love and kindness. I pray that as I go through this week that Your light shines in all of my friendships.

Amen

Just Like an Automoblie

Philippians 4:6 (NKJV) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

When I started this post three weeks ago, we were having a winter storm. My spirit, my soul and my body felt weary. I couldn’t tell if it was due to the weather that I was driving through or if I was sensing something that was about to happen.  I thought it might mean I would recover from the hives that had been plaguing my body for over a week. But I knew one thing for sure, I could not do this battle by myself. 

As I was driving, my emotions began to come over me.  I began to feel as though I was going to tear up.  In that moment a song popped into my heart and my mind.  I felt as if my grandfather was sitting right there singing the song to me. This song is titled “Christian Automobile.” Growing up I would hear my family sing this song every time we got together.  My grandfather sang this song every opportunity he got.  Whether we were at one of his friends’ houses, a family gathering or church; people would ask him to sing this song.

It wasn’t until this very day that the words became clear and I fully understood its true meaning.  The lyrics of the song talk about every child is running to Jesus just like an automobile.  It goes on to say, “prayer is your driver’s license, faith is your steering wheel.”  It is a clear illustration of how you have to go up the hills of life even though it’s rough and your soul is getting weary.

It is a wonderful illustration of a car that may not be the newest or most expensive but it is serving its purpose.  It lets me know that just like a car chugging along, I will get through.  How will this happen? I will check in with God through prayer.  I have faith that He will come through.  God is always by our side.  With Him as the head of your life we will get through this journey.  

As I said I had no idea what was going to take place, but over these past three weeks I have been really sick with my MS.  I have not been doing well. My ex-husband decided to come back and take me through a rigorous ordeal involving our children. I began to feel overwhelmed. I questioned all that God had laid out before me. But with this song running strongly through my blood and through my heart and with prayer and meditation I was able to get through the journey.

Dear God,

My gracious heavenly Father, I just want to lift Your name up in praise!  Thank You for continually carrying me.  You are there when I feel like the world is heavier than what I can bear. Thank You for Your continuous coverage over me and my family.  As I go through this week, if it is Your will, allow me to share my testimony of how You brought me through. If it had not been for the Lord by my side where would I be?

Amen

The Great Masquerade of Life

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

 Do you have a mask that you wear? Or do you have a variety of masks that you don depending on who, what or where? I know that I have worn a number of masks. I always have wanted to believe that I show up in my full authentic, transparent, Christian, spiritual, loving and funny self. Quite often that is true. Yet, I realize there is a season when that really happens.

However, as you go through life it seems like you meet people that wear so many different faces. You see them in one place and they are one way. You see them somewhere else and you don’t even recognize who they are. You may say, “Hum, I thought I knew them, I guess I don’t.” In the moment I didn’t stop to think are they having an off day. The truth is at times you may have found yourself behaving in some of the same ways.  Ever been in that spot? 

When you apply for a job do you show your true self? Or, when you see somebody you’re interested in do you show “All of Who You Are”? I don’t understand why we always hide behind a mask. Is it because we are ashamed of the person that we truly are on the inside? Or, is it that it is easier putting on a face to be accepted or at least show what you think is your best self? 

I finally have reached a point in my life that I no longer am willing to hide who I truly am. I am a strong woman that walks proudly. I stand in and believe in my faith. I am a woman that wears her heart on her sleeve. I’m a woman that cries. I’m a mother. I’m a wife. I’m a survivor. I’m a Child of God. 

What if we hid behind the mask of being a true Christian?  What if we wore a mask of being a bold and proud Christian? What would that look like?

Dear God,

Thank you for always giving me the desire to be more like you.  You continue to show me so much grace each and every day. I pray Lord God that you surround my being with your everlasting love. That I too will show and be an example of your love. And in doing so, people can bear witness of the love you have given me.

Amen

 

Do We Know Our Work?

 

Jeremiah 29:11(NKJV) 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

The other night I was driving home with my daughter Maya and we were having our typical mother daughter conversation. She asked her twenty plus questions in under a minute. I am always amazed at her thought process, analogies and thirst to learn so much.

As I tried to keep up with Maya and give her the best response I could in the moments I had to respond.  I sat so pleased and grateful that our relationship allowed her to feel comfortable asking me questions and sharing her thoughts and ideas. After a bit she stopped asking questions and it was quiet for at least five minutes.

Then right when I began to get comfortable with a moment of silence, Maya looked at me and said, “Mommy sometimes when I am silent I  am just thinking  about will I be able to  finish the work that I want to do here on earth before I die.” My mind began to race and as I tried to come up with an answer. She hit me with another question, “Will I finish my work up in heaven?”

Both questions shook my soul. I responded, “I believe God will allow you to complete your work here on earth before you die. Your job in heaven might be something that we can’t even put into words here on earth.”  Since then I have marveled at her commitment to her work at such a young age. Wow! May God show her favor!

Maya’s questions reminded me that tomorrow is never promised. Also, that I, and the rest of us who are His children, should consider this – “with the days we are given here on earth, are we living out God’s will for our life and if so are we working towards it?”

Dear God,

Thank You for putting people in my life that continue to make think about what I am doing. Especially my daughter Maya, a precious gift You have given me. You are so amazing in all that You do. I ask that You give me the strength to stand strong in my faith and that my work here on earth is pleasing in Your sight.

Amen

Sitting On the Edge of My Seat

Psalms 96:3(NKJV) “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.”

As I watched the playoff games over the weekend I noticed how we as sports fans reacted to the ups and downs, highs and lows of the game.  The hysteria and elation as the appearance of winning and losing for the favored team ebbed and flowed. The passion and excitement was so strong and intense.  Those cheering for the same team shared and bonded around their team.

It’s amazing how football brings so many people together from different walks of life. As we all sit on the edge of our seats we share food and an array of emotional outburst. Our team has us unified, beaming and letting everyone know who we support and stand for!

That night before I laid down God truly spoke me. He asked me, “What if you sat on the edge of your seat for me?” I thought to myself what am I doing that God questioned if I would sit on the edge of my seat for Him.

I then asked myself, how about the hours you spend watching your favorite TV shows? Will you begin to spend that amount of time studying the word and being in prayer and meditation? How could I show my passion and dedication to God? Would I begin to share my testimonies and scream about the blessings I have received?

I decided that I must share the good news of my Lord and Savior. God told me that His children should hear and be reminded to come together because of Him. Jesus paid it all.

 

Dear God,

 Thank you for making me stop and think about how I am showing up for you. Lord thank you for the grace and mercy you give me each day. As I start this week help me as I share the goodness of my God. Let me sing your praises and remember that I am on the winning team, as I live out my purpose here on this earth.

 Amen

Strength

Philippians 4:13(NKJV): 13 I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.

Strength and being strong is something that most of us work towards. We seek strength in a number of ways. Most develop their strength by working out. Others will seek to strengthen their mental mindset to get through life.

As a young girl, and even today, I look at my mother with admiration for her strength and how strong she is. She raised 3 children and helped raise some of her grandchildren while being a single parent. I know at times life is hard for her and we as children don’t always make it easy on her with some of our life choices. I have really have not seen my mother cry more than a handful of times. And, I have never heard her complain about what life was throwing at her. 

When I was young I would ask myself, “Where does Mom get her strength from?” I would also wonder if being a strong woman meant we shouldn’t cry or show emotion when something or someone hurts us. That thinking didn’t come from my mother, she stands in her strength. This feeling about being a strong woman came from society. In turn that made me resent the words “you are a strong woman.” 

I would cringe when someone would tell me I was a strong woman, as if I should be wearing a badge. It wasn’t until I started to re-frame how that statement made me feel and change my response to it that I could receive it more positively.

In my need to understand, I turned to God. I began to really seek Him and talk with Him. He began to show me what strength and being strong really meant. I realized my mother’s strength came from the Lord and her commitment to Him made her strong. My walk with my God has allowed me to face each victory knowing there would be more challenges ahead. And yes, I am strong with Him!

 

Dear God,

Thank you for Your continuous grace and mercy.  You have made me and my family strong.  When this week gets tough please let me be reminded where my strength comes from. I owe You all the praise and glory.

Amen