Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

please don’t take it personal

If you had walked past our house yesterday afternoon you may have thought someone was being beaten.  I am grateful that it is winter so the windows are shut.  Since it is cold that means people weren’t working in their yards.  That is a good thing too.

Yes there was screaming and lots of tears.  No, no one was being beaten.  In fact, my husband was there softly telling me to breathe, it would be over soon, and it was going to be ok.  In between all of those comments, he would pray.     Hmmm, you might think I was having a baby.  There are certainly some similarities.   Sadly when it was over, it was just over and all I was left with was pain.  There was no beautiful bundle of joy.

I would  start the whole healing process all over again.  Why?

thoughts

understand

I bought this when my son and our family were going through a most difficult and life altering trial.  When your world is turned upside down, it is good to remember that we don’t have to know why — we just trust that God is with us.  (Psalm 40:1)  This sign has proven to be a wonderful reminder when I would find myself heading down the “why” road.

I was traveling that road yesterday afternoon.  Why?  What possible good is there in this?  God is this really part of your plan?  I just don’t think I can head down this road again.  Plllllllllleeeeeeeeeaaaaaaassssssseeeeeee, God!!

The first time it was nine months (hmmmm again the baby similarities) before the pain was gone.  Six and half months later it would return.  This time it was not as intense but still very evident.

Just last Sunday the pain had finally left.    It was a glorious week.  Then yesterday it returned with a vengeance.

Did you know that when you cough or sneeze  it affects your sphincter muscle?  You probably  did not because unless your muscle is angry you don’t even know you have one.  Trust me, you have one and when it is angry you know it.  No medication will calm it and it will not be ignored.

I have strongly believed that  my health issues have been more of a spiritual thing.  A very small similarity to the boils that Job dealt with.  I have pushed on and refused to let it stop me from moving forward.

I am a firm believer that in my weakness He is strong.  I have proven that over and over again.  (2 cor 12:10)

I still hold to all of that but I am sensing a change in my direction – in how I handle this. I still think it is a spiritual thing.  I believe God gives us grace for what He leads us to and that He has a plan and a purpose for each day.  However, the drive to push through is diminishing.   It is my hope and belief that this is God leading me down a  different path in how to respond to this latest development.

I have discussed this with my husband – who is also my spiritual leader.  He is on board and very supportive.  More than anyone, he knows what this has cost me.

Here he is last night — making me smile!

IMG_20160214_201732_372

IMG_20160214_201819_792

It just so happens that (counting today) in 40 days it will be Good Friday.   For the next 40 days I plan to do some serious schedule elimination not revisions.  (I know one friend that will say “it is about time.”)

Today, for instance, I had a great opportunity but it would require three or so hours.  I declined.

So, I will be immersing myself in study.   I will be taking at least four sitz baths a day and be diligent with my food intake.  (I have found that a crazy busy schedule does not work well with a closely guarded food regiment.)

bible

It is my prayer that people won’t take it personally when I decline or eliminate things from my schedule.  Yet, I must leave that in God’s hands.

What is God asking of you?

til next time

click here for part 1 of this journey

 

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February 15, 2016 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

reminders are good

Sometimes I just need to be reminded.

Some days getting out of bed is an accomplishment.  Yet, it is important to remember that I only have one opportunity to live this day.  When the day is done I want to look back on it and know that I chose wisely, that I didn’t let my ‘feelings’ control my day, that I didn’t let my physical pain have the upper hand, and that I walked with God.

P1080733

This next lesson is one many people could benefit from.   When my life is seeming to resemble chaos, when stress is high, and it seems I just can’t get a handle on things — God leads me beside still waters.   He leads me but this means I choose to follow or I choose to continue down the stress highway.  God’s path is so much better.   Which path are you choosing?

still waters

Sometimes things happen that are out of my control.  The thing to remember is nothing takes God by surprise.  The question is – how long will I allow my heart to be overwhelmed before I cry out to God?   The sooner the better.

psalm 61

Anxious, worried, stressed, this is a good ‘go to’ scripture that is powerful to meditate on.

daisy

Sometimes people can be hurtful.  Recognizing that how I treat them is a reflection of me and my walk with God.   Yes, sometimes I badly need to remember this prayer.

my prayer

Finally, remembering that the center of God’s love is where I want to stay means exchanging my will for His.  What a wonderful trade off.

word pic 5

til next time,

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February 5, 2016 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, living in a fish bowl, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

one size fits all?

One size fits all – has now become One size fits most.   Times be a changing.

This blog is taken from the message I preached last Sunday.  It is indeed a One Size Fits All!  I pull quite a few scriptures from Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  I am sure at least one  of these verses will speak to your heart.  If you take time to meditate on them and apply them to your life, it will be life changing.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians was written around 60 AD.  It is known as Paul’s happiest letter.    However, let’s get some background on Paul.

Around 3 years earlier, Paul wrote 2 Cor.    In this letter (chapter 6)  he gives us a glimpse into his life.

When we read Paul saying to rejoice in the Lord always – it can be easy to forget that life wasn’t all peaches and cream for Paul.  He didn’t live a charmed life.  He did write 13 possible 14 books of the New Testament.  (Hebrews is ?)

Here is what his resume’ looks like compared to the false prophets of his day.

patiently endure suffering and hardship and trouble of every kind
far more imprisonments
beaten so many times – he has lost count
often in danger of death
5 times given the 39 lashes (40 was the most their law allowed)
3 times beaten with rods
once stoned
3 times ship wrecked
spent a night and day in the deep
in danger from rivers, robbers, countrymen, city, wilderness, sea,
betrayed
spent many sleepless nights
in hunger and thirst
often without food
cold and exposure
his deep concern for the church
and let’s not forget the thorn in his flesh

What is his response to all of this?   What would your response be?

Paul says — God’s grace is sufficient and in my weakness He is strong.  (2 Cor 12:9)

Malcom Muggeridge, brilliant British journalist said “Everything I have learned in my 75 years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced my existence has been through affliction and not through happiness.”

3 years later Paul writes Philippians. Let’s not forget where he is at the time. He is writing from his jail cell.   Yet, what does he say about his circumstances?   1:12  I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel…

God uses our circumstances for good – if we let him. Paul’s focus isn’t on his hardships, his struggles – I believe he listed his hardships (in Cor) for our benefit. Maybe he had one too many people telling him – “You just don’t understand how hard it is Paul.”  “You didn’t go through what I am going through.”   “It is sooooo hard.”

Paul shows us how to handle difficulties.

It is possible to rejoice in the Lord in the midst of our struggles. In fact, it is necessary if we want to walk in victory.

HOW TO WALK IN VICTORY WHEN TRIALS ABOUND?

1:6 He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it

2:14 Do all things without grumbling or complaining – key to happiness!!  Easy to say, harder to do.  Where do you fall on the scale of grumbling?  10 being second nature and 1 being hardly at all.

3:1 Rejoice in the Lord

3:13 forgetting what lies behind and reaching for what lies ahead (Our focus should not be on the glory days of yesterday or the pain of the past but on the here and now. What is God doing now? What does God want to do through you today?)

4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice – decide in advance

WALKING IN PEACE IS A HUGE PART OF WALKING IN VICTORY!

Unrest and turmoil do not lead to a victorious life.  Stress and drama will stir up craziness in your life.

Paul shows us how to have peace.
4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

TO WALK IN VICTORY YOU CANNOT IGNORE YOUR THOUGHT LIFE!

Thoughts — what you think about matters. It will determine your attitude. If you focus your thoughts on negative, sad things – don’t be surprised when it seems your joy is diminished.

Sometimes I think we give our circumstances way too much power in our lives. Power to make us miserable, sad, meh, complacent, negative. This can lead to gloom and anything but victory.

Meh?  What exactly is that?  Does it make you think Victory?  Yes?  Does it inspire joy and gladness?  Not for me.    I told the church that if they caught me using Meh – to say something – hold me accountable.  The King of Glory lives inside of me and meh just doesn’t cut it.     (After church one of the girls, that I love dearly, came up to me and showed me her shirt.   Of course I had to take a picture and encourage her to not settle for meh.  Isn’t she a cutie?  She is, inside and out!!! IMG_20160110_122215_347

4:8Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. (TLB)

What do you dwell on when it comes to others?  How they have let you down or angered you or ??  How about instead if you look for the good in people?  Look for the good in each day.  It is there.  Sometimes you just have to look closer.  Remember God is good!!

4:11 I have learned to be content – get rid of those discontent thoughts – if you entertain them you will not walk in victory

4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me – no where does it say I can do it on my own.  What the Word does say is that without Christ I am nothing.

4:19 And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory – before you start thinking about that new Harley you might think you “need” or that nifty “sailboat” remember Paul was writing this from a jail cell.  Our needs sometimes get a little mixed up with our wants that we just think we must have.  Paul says in 1 Tim 6:8 (NKJV)

And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”

There you have it – my one size fits all message.

til next time

by the way  –12 times in this short letter joy and rejoice are mentioned. (in the NASB)
(1:4, 18, 25 2:2, 17, 18, 28, 29 3:1 4:1, 4, 10)

So go ahead — choose to rejoice and look for the good.  It just might surprise you.

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January 14, 2016 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, sermon notes, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

five women

How can five woman (who are each beautiful in their own way) touch my heart with joy and sadness all at the same time?

For privacy purposes I will call them Beauty, Precious, Twinkle, Tapper, and Sweetie.

Joy:  Beauty lights up whenever I touch her hand.  She loves to talk about the weather outside.  Precious is the one most with it and does not like her nails painted.  Twinkle doesn’t communicate with words but when I look into her eyes and speak to her — there is that twinkle.  Her body doesn’t move but her eyes follow me.  She is in there somewhere.  Tapper loves it when I tap the table with her.  She has beat!  Finally, Sweetie is shy, looks at me out of the corner of her eye and yet wants me to talk with her.  They all, in different ways, remind me of my mother.

As you might have guessed these ladies are in various stages of dementia.

Sadness:  My mother had dementia. For those who watch people they love go through the stages of dementia, well, there really are no words for what that process is like.   I praise God that He is a safe place to hide,  ready to help when we need him.” (Psalm 46:1 The Message)   (Click here for more on dementia) 

While I sat there carrying the conversation, my mind was remembering many such conversations I had with my own mother.  You might say my mother taught me how to communicate with others who have dementia.

It’s coming up on the second anniversary of my mother’s death.  It ‘just so happened’  that  “I Can Only Imagine” came on the radio as I drove away.  I was holding my mother’s hand as this song came to an end and she took her last breath here on earth.  Again joy and sadness — joy in the realization that she no longer needs to imagine and sadness because I miss her so.

Do you know of a family who is dealing with dementia?  I encourage you to take a moment and reach out to them.  A ‘thinking of you’ note, a private message on facebook,  a phone call, or a text will brighten their day.  When you see them in person, inquire about their loved one.  The greatest blessing my friends gave to me was letting me talk about my mom and the struggles I was facing in dealing with her dementia.

Some might think my visit with these ladies was a waste of time.   After all, it is likely they had forgotten it by the time I got out the door.   Some of them  will remember me next time and some will not.   Yet, at the moment it was meaningful to them.    I know it was worth it to me.

til next time

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December 31, 2015 Posted by | dementia, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

playground of life

Do you play well with others?

If, as adults, the world is our playground, would you be found playing nicely with others or would you be up against the wall in a time out?

My blog is titled “Living life in a fishbowl” because life as I choose to do it means letting people see the real me.  I am open about my victories and my failures.

Recently we  decided to add fish to our 20 gallon fish tank.  We found a great deal at the pet store.  Six neon tetras for $4.00.  Jackpot!!   We had one neon at home that was very lonely because they prefer to swim in a group.

fishIn addition to the one lonely neon fish we  have two fairly large goldfish, a couple scissor fish, an albino catfish and a rather large sucker fish. As you can see by the picture, the goldfish rule the tank.  The sucker, who is bigger than both of these,  is hidden behind the plants.

Imagine my surprise when the next morning I could only locate one new neon fish swimming with the older neon.  Apparently our goldfish thought we had brought them supper.  Before long they had managed to consume the final two neons.

Bad…. bad…. fish.

They obviously don’t play well with others.

Back to the pet store.  The sales guy stood up for our goldfish and said that they really didn’t know what they were doing.  Like that makes it right?

 

new home

new home

Since there is no way to make our goldfish stay up against the wall of the tank for a time out, we purchased a new home for them.  It came with a rotating light  fixture.  I wonder if the changing of colors bothers them.  I happen to really like it and now I have a tank in the dining room.  Do you know that fish are supposed to be a huge stress releaser?

Come on over to my house — I’ll put the coffee pot on and we can watch the fish.  Oh, won’t it be serene?

6 more neons

6 more for $4.00

The fishbowl is one happy playground again.

This has made me think of the people I come in contact with.  Some of them really do not play well with others.  Some people are just plain mean.  I often wonder what has happened in their life that has left them so miserable.  Some women I know have aged prematurely due to bitterness and jealousy.  How very sad and how avoidable.  Do they consciously get up every morning and decide to be bitter  or do they just not realize there is another option?

Romans 12:17-19 (MSG)

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

Some people  are narcissistic.  You know the kind, it is all about me, my, and  I.  Life seems to revolve around what they think, feel, or want.  How sad to see the world as only something to cater to your whims.  Can you truly be happy when the selfish choices you make causes pain to others?  I think not.

Galatians 2:20 (MSG)

“Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.”

Then there are the antagonistic people.  You say left and they must say right.  You say the sky is blue and they will argue that it is any color but blue.   What is it in their life that has caused them to seem to always be on the defense about something?   Insecurity?  Maybe?

Romans 15:13 (NASB)

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Then there are the people who insist on burning bridges.  If at all possible, I never burn a bridge.  I just may want to cross it again some day and I want to know that it is structurally sound.  Yet it seems that people throw away other people without even so much as a passing thought.  How sad.

1 John 4:7-8 (NASB)

 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

I value friendship.  I value what other people bring into my life.   I am grateful for friends that stick beside me when the going gets bumpy.  I also value those friends that challenge me and cause me to rethink my views on extending grace and mercy to others.  But for the grace of God where would I be?

Hebrews 4:15-16 (NASB)

” For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

So what about it?  Do you play well with others?

til next time

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June 22, 2014 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

make my life……

When piano lessons were not an option for me, I taught myself.  Yes, it is possible.   We had a piano in our living room and my sister’s old lessons books were inside the bench just waiting for me to open them.    It also helped that I took cornet lessons in school and that my desire to play was very strong.

Little did I know then that playing piano would be such a huge part of my adult life.  My goal was to accompany our high school choir.   My senior year that goal was reached.   These days my goal is to encourage others.

pianoAs a worship leader, I am grateful that I can play the piano.  However, church is not the only time I play the piano.

For me, sitting down at the piano has been instrumental (pun intended) in dealing with potentially overwhelming situations.   When it seems that a vice grip is tightening around my heart, one of the ways that I successfully deal with that stress is by playing the piano.   I play for  an audience of One.  It is just God and me.   At first, maybe all I can do is play but as time goes on, I find my voice and I proclaim again my love  to the One who first loved me.

I find my voice and I sing ….. Make my life a prayer to You.  I want to do what You want me to.   No empty words and no white lies, no token prayers, no compromise……I want to thank You now for being patient with me.  It’s so hard to see when my eyes are on me.    (written by Melody Green)

I can’t even count the number of times over the years that I have poured out my heart to God while singing this song.  It has helped me through the death of my father, heartbreak, dying to self so I could live for Christ, chronic pain, disillusionment with some bible school professors,  ministry heartache,  and most recently my mother’s death.  Each situation was different, but the truth of this  song was my heart’s cry.

This last heartache was as close to unbearable as it gets.   As if dementia wasn’t enough, since mom’s  fall in August, it has been a whirlwind of agonizing decisions and sadness.  Every girl needs her momma.  Yet, dealing with death is  a part of life.  So  I sing:

“I want to thank You now for being patient with me.  It’s so hard to see when my eyes are on me……….You’re coming again.  Coming to take me away.”

til next time

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February 28, 2014 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

getting smarter

Today I am off work.   I am not sick, nor does my boss think that I am sick.  This wasn’t a planned vacation day.  I am not on vacation.

Yesterday I asked my boss if I could leave after lunch and take Tuesday off.  Maybe I should mention that I was off last week for spring break.  I had plenty of work that had piled up while I was gone.

Yet I knew that I was in great need of a day of rest.  ‘You have not because you ask not.’  (James 4:2)    I am finally getting smarter.    I love God’s favor.    I am grateful for a boss who did not hesitate to grant me my request.

I came home from Spring break exhausted.  I truly experienced the grace of God on Sunday.  I know that He gave me an abundance of strength to do the work He has called me to do and to do it with joy!

Monday morning I could tell my body was tapped out.

Spring Break – Last year we went to Branson, MO.  This year we talked about heading to the coast.  A week of lounging around, soaking up the sun and doing much of nothing was very appealing.  However, our conference was rescheduled to the first weekend of our vacation.  (I blogged about the conference – click here)

We were losing 2 days of travel time so instead of going south we decided to go north to see family and friends.  God knew what we could not possibly have known — that we needed to be going north for Spring break.

On Saturday morning we found out that my step-sister had passed away.  It was pretty sudden.  She had a stroke Friday night that  caused bleeding on the brain.

Years ago she had asked my husband to do her funeral and for me to sing.

This trip I was planning on surprising my step-sister.  She didn’t know we were coming.  I guess she was the one with the surprise.

Normally on vacation we pack casual clothes.  However, since we were at a conference we had business casual clothes with us.  Still this was the first funeral Curt did in dress pants and a sweater, but I know that Phyllis would have loved it.

Sunday, after church, on the way back to the hotel we realized that there was a problem with the car.  I refused to get jazzed up about it.   Sunday was the only day we had  nothing on the agenda.  I was not going to ruin it by worrying about something I couldn’t control anyway.  God was very aware that we would be on the road a lot in the next week.

The next morning God directed Curt to just the right shop.   We were on the road 15 minutes before we had originally planned.  Thanks God!

Jakes pizzavisiting mommy mom

planning the funeral

planning the funeral

A couple of hours later we were in our old neighborhood.  It was so good to see mom.  We played a few games of dominoes.  Later Phyllis’ son, wife and good friend joined us.  It was a time of reminiscing and planning.  The funeral would be Thursday.  I am sure mom did not know what was going on but she enjoyed all the attention.

spring break 2013 019old childhood budsister timeCurt and his momspring break 2013 029

Connecting with family and friends was wonderful.  I cherish that time.  Although it did make for a full week and a whole lot of eating.  🙂

Thursday was the funeral.   We had a couple of firsts at this funeral.  Rick sang You and me Jesus.  When he was done the people broke out in applause.  Yes, applause at a funeral.   Rick makes that piano sing like no one I have ever heard.   The song itself is powerful!   Then there were at least 11 people who spoke during the ‘share a memory’ time.  Young, old, male, female, family, friends — what a tribute!  I was grateful that I made it through the poem and song that Phyllis had wanted me to do.

We were among some of the last to leave the luncheon.  Seeing people from way back was therapeutic.  Lots of hugs.  Lots of catching up.  Lots of new things to pray about.   One more visit with mom and then it was back on the road to the hotel – 2 hours away.spring break 2013 033

I am grateful for the time I have with mom.  However, it is emotionally draining to see the impact  dementia is having on her.

been a long time

been a long time

Our last get together was with some of our friends from St. Mark’s.  Seems like just yesterday.  It is  true that time flies and yet when you get together with old friends time seems to stand still.

So yesterday I knew that I was in need of some serious down time.  Yes, I am getting smarter.

til next time

March 19, 2013 Posted by | ministry, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

happy dance

Sometimes life throws a curve ball.  Maybe you see it coming and maybe you don’t.   I am not sure which is worse – to see the writing on the wall ahead of time or to have the rug pulled out from under you in total surprise.   I am not a fan of either.  However, looking back I see that in those times God was at work shaping and molding me into a much more compassionate person.

We have been in ministry a long long time.  One thing that I have learned is that what you think about is very important.

Philippians 4:8-9 (MSG)

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

So in those challenging times I have found that redirecting my focus helps.

Philippians 4:4 (NASB)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

Usually I have little trouble finding reasons to do the happy dance.   If  nothing jumps out at me then I will just pick a blessing and celebrate it.   I can happy dance over running water or a furnace that is working.

happy dance

The Peanut gang just brings a smile to my face. —  The simple childlike faith that Linus displayed with the Christmas story.  — Lucy’s orneriness and Charlie Brown’s continual hope that this may be the day she doesn’t pull the football.  — Schroeder’s piano playing — I wonder…. did that inspire me to teach myself the piano?  –Snoopy the dog everyone loves and of course his side kick Woodstock.  Let’s not forget The Mighty Red Baron — who didn’t want to fly with him? Yes the Peanut Gang makes me smile.

Purpose in your heart to truly live each day.  Set your heart on the goal of enjoying the everyday things.

And look for things to celebrate.  Look for things that make you smile and then smile!!  Do one thing each day just for the sheer enjoyment it brings and dance!  Yes do a happy dance.  It really messes with negativity.

Sure there are problems.  Yes some of them are huge.  Yet dwelling on them or stressing over them will not make them go away or improve.  Learning to cast your cares on the One who is able to make a difference just makes sense.

1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)

Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.

til next time — I hope you dance!

February 24, 2013 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

reminders

I need reminders.  Maybe it is because life is full or maybe it is because I tend to get sidetracked easy.  The older I get the more I need them.  Perimenopause certainly has changed up my life.  Wow, what an adventure!

P1060638“I can’t change yesterday but I can let it ruin the day God has given me today!”

I have this reminder on my monitor.

Yesterday was a long day.   I am grateful for the strength that God so freely poured into me.  I kept going when I really just wanted to go back to bed.    I did not act upon the feelings that tried to control me.  I did not resort to unkindness.  I hung on to the truth that God is faithful and He is in control.  Yes, I even did what my dad always told me to do.  If you have to do something anyway you might as well do it with a smile.  🙂

Lamentations 3:22-24

22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.

 

Yesterday is over.  I can’t change one bit of it.  I refuse to let it control my day today.   How sad that so many people live in past hurts.

The Lord is my portion.

So whatever happened yesterday I encourage you to not let it ruin today. If yesterday was a challenging day, remind yourself that today is a new day.   “This is the day the Lord has made”  — choose to rejoice and be glad.  After all it is a choice.

If you are going to think about the events of yesterday – remind yourself that God was right there with you throughout the whole day.  His fingerprints are everywhere.  He will work all things out for your good.  How?  I am sure I don’t know, but God is true to His Word and He will work things out.  Keep trusting.

If you are going to dwell on something – dwell on the fact that God loves you.

And lastly if you are going to live through today (and most of us are) then truly live in the moments of today.  Life is meant to be lived fully.  Jesus came that we would have abundant life.   (John 10:10)  Let Him be your guide today!

til next time

February 8, 2013 Posted by | ministry, perimenopause, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

music speaks

The other day I was riding in the car with Curt and I expressed to him that I was tired.  Nothing new about that statement.  I have been feeling worn out a lot lately.  It seems like  I wake up with very little – if any energy.

Then I said something to him that even surprised me.

I said, “No,  it isn’t tired.     I    am    weary.   I think this is what weary feels like.”

Before he could say anything a song came on the radio.    In the silence this is what I heard.

“I am tired, I’m worn.  My heart is heavy from the work it takes to keep on breathing…………….”

Tenth Avenue North — Worn from their Struggle tour

“”I know that You can give me rest.  So I cry out with all that I have left.  Let me see redemption win.  Let me know the struggle ends.  That you can mend a heart that’s frail and worn.”

Weary.

I don’t understand it.    I am very familiar with the scripture in Galatians (6:9) “And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”  and in 2 Thessalonians (3:13)  “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well-doing.”  I have quoted both of these numerous times.

Yet I also know that God says in Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

Very much in need of rest.

I don’t get weary.  At least I didn’t used to get weary.  Tired, sure but that is not the same as weary.   This new realization seemed to have knocked the breath right out of me.  As if that wasn’t enough then this part of the song came on.

“I’m worn even before the day begins.  I’m  worn, I’ve lost my will to fight.  I’m worn so heaven come and flood my eyes.  Let me see redemption win…….”

The writer of this song understands.    What’s even more important is that God understands.

I am weary of the weight of my mom’s illness (dementia),  my overall work load,  pay checks being short,  the intense spiritual battle that comes from pastoring a small town church, insurance rates rising, being short-staffed for months at work, the pressure to always be ‘bubbly’, perimenopausal symptoms,  the diet/exercise health issue, and then there are the petty issues that never used to bother me.

However, none of that means God is unaware or doesn’t care.

“I know that You can give me rest.  So I cry out with all I have left.  Let me see redemption win.  Let me know the struggle ends.  That you can mend a heart that’s frail and worn.”

Weary.  I don’t like it.  This is uncharted territory for me.  Yet I know that God will see me through this.    He will even use all of this for my good, some how some way.  I am grateful that I gave up needing to know the why’s and how’s a long time ago.  I just need to know (and I do know)  that God will make a way.  In the meantime He will carry me until I am once again able to walk beside Him.

He will see you through your valley also and when necessary He will carry you!

So if you happen to notice that I am just not my usual self please don’t mention it.   It really does put pressure on me that I have found only tires me out more.  Instead just give me a hug and speak an encouraging word.  I will be sure to respond with an encouraging word for you too.  Isn’t that what helping each other is really all about?

This too shall pass and I am confident that I will be the better for it.  To God be the glory!!!

til next time

(I blog because it helps me to put on paper what is going on in my life.  God uses that to help me more clearly see what is good and what needs to change.  I am constantly amazed at the goodness of God!)

December 20, 2012 Posted by | dementia, living in a fish bowl, ministry, perimenopause, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments