During the hard times

Life. It’s definitely a four letter word and sometimes it’s “a four letter word”. Sometimes it makes no sense and sometimes it does. These past few months, my job has turned me upside down and punched me in the gut. Yesterday, I sat down to put my makeup on and the tears started flowing. I wanted to run far away. Or hide. When I was little, I hated going to school. I would hide my shoes so that I would miss the school bus and hopefully get to stay home. At 49, I know that’s not an option. So while I cried, I cried out to God. I told God that I knew He saw me and that He heard me. I believe He has placed me right where I am. I didn’t ask for these changes in my job and I never would have applied for the job I have now but I know what to do. I’ve been here before. Maybe you have too.

Maybe you don’t know what to do during the hard times of life. If you don’t know then allow me to tell you. When you want to run, you plant your feet. When you want to hide, you stand still right where you are. When you feel like God may have abandoned you, you remind yourself that you’ve been here before. It may have been a different set of circumstances, but you’ve experienced hard times.

As I drove to work, with my tear stained makeup, I laid my hand on my chest and prayed for myself. As I drove, I remembered that I went through a very hard struggle when I first transferred to the department I’ve now worked in for over ten years. I remembered crying and telling myself I couldn’t do it. (Never say those words. You can do it!) I remembered how God carried me through that season and how I stayed and grew professionally. I remembered how successful I felt for enduring that hard time when I was on the other side. As I drove and prayed, I was reminded of Psalms 91. It starts off by saying, “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the almighty.” I am hidden in Him. He is a tower that the righteous can run to and are safe.

During the hard times, when you want to run then run to God. During the hard times, when you want to hide, hide in Him. As Christians, it’s so easy to think that hard times shouldn’t come to us but that’s a lie from the pit of hell. Hard times come to each and every one of us. I hope these words bring you comfort. If you are walking through hard times right now, please know that you are not alone. I’m going through with you and God has us in His loving hands. And praise God that hard times don’t last forever. This too shall pass!

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.””
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:1-2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/114/psa.91.1-2.nkjv

Road Trip Reflections

I am sitting on my front porch this morning sipping on a cup of Earl Grey tea and thinking about the last four days. Today is September 7, 2020 and Labor Day is being observed. We decided a few weeks ago to take a road trip to visit my brother and sister in law who live in Texas. We also decided, since we were headed that way to go through Oklahoma and visit David’s niece and her husband. Some people cringe at the thought of loading up the family truckster (National lampoons reference) and hitting the highway but we truly enjoy it. We, as in David and I. Our young adult kids were able to join us and I think they enjoyed going but I’m pretty sure they don’t enjoy the drive. They enjoy arriving at the destination. I do too but I have learned to enjoy the journey as long as traffic is moving at a good pace.

We had originally planned this trip to take place over Memorial Day weekend but with the pandemic being in full swing and many restaurants being closed, we postponed it. The pandemic is still a very real thing now but we decided to just take our masks and hand sanitizer and use common sense. We believe in prayer and had asked for God to give us wisdom (see James 1:5) and had peace in our hearts about going. And I am so thankful we did. It was so good visiting with our family. It was also refreshing to be in different places and interact with different people. People who look different than us.

With everything going on in our nation right now, it is very easy for me to feel fearful. When I scroll through Facebook, there is so much fear being pushed by different groups (political, religious, etc.). But as we drove through Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and back to Kentucky, we saw people showing respect for one another. Holding doors for each other. Smiling at each other with our eyes since most of us were wearing masks. I saw human kindness for each other. I know this is very basic and you may think I’m ignoring the real issues. I am not. There are real problems in our nation that have been allowed for way too long and the only answer is Jesus. But I wanted to share my thoughts and encourage you to not get sucked in to a narrative that may not be true. Instead of looking for truth on your smartphone, look up. Look around you. Listen. We are only here on this earth for a short time. Let’s be kind to one another and treat each other the way God wants us to. He made each of us in His image. Please join me in praying for our nation. This election is not the answer. A political party is not the answer. A program is not the answer. Jesus is our hope, our peace.

“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:10-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬
https://www.bible.com/116/1jn.4.10-11.nlt

One Wild Ride

Imagine you’re visiting a city you’ve been looking forward to seeing. You’ve planned all of the sights you’ll see. You know where each day will be spent, where each meal will be eaten, and the attractions you’ll visit each night. You’ve planned this trip for weeks or maybe months. On your first morning, you hop in the back of a taxi and before the driver even has a chance to ask your destination, you tell him the address you’re headed to.

But the minute he takes off, you know he’s going the wrong way. You didn’t plan on going down this street. You’re questioning his ability to get you where you want to go. How long has he done this? You’ve watched the YouTube channels of tour guides and never planned to go this route. In fact they advised to not take this path.

Isn’t this how many of us treat our relationship with God? The Bible says He is the creator of all things. It says He is the author and finisher of our faith. But we don’t always trust Him with our journey. We have it all figured out. Or at least this is how I’ve treated my walk with Christ before. My prayer time is like going to a restaurant and picking up the menu and perusing my options. I’ll take the husband, the family, the big house on the side of town everybody wants to live in, add in a dog, and some friends and you’ve got yourself the ingredients for a happy life. But what if… what if God has other plans.

There have been so many times in my life that I’ve had it all planned out and made a mess of it. And when that happens, I’ve always ran to God and shown Him the mess I’ve made and asked Him to help “fix” it. He is so good. He knew I was going to make that mess. He loves me regardless. He loves you too. I’ve learned in my walk with Him that He wants me to trust Him. When things don’t turn out the way I thought they would He reminds me that He is still there. Trusting God with the life He has given me has always been challenging but I’m trusting more and more the older I get. I hope I can encourage you to settle back in your seat and trust God that He is still in control even when things don’t make sense.

“God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless in God’s presence before the creation of the world. God destined us to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ because of his love. This was according to his goodwill and plan”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:4-5‬ ‭CEB‬‬
https://www.bible.com/37/eph.1.4-5.ceb

Welcome to the club

As a kid, joining a club is such a big deal. I remember playing with friends and pretending we had a secret club. There were always rules to follow or certain things you had to do to become a member like eating something gross or telling a secret you hadn’t shared with anyone else.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve been added to clubs that I really didn’t want to join. It happens to all of us. When my mom passed away in December 2003, I joined a club. No one really knows what it’s like until you experience death firsthand. She passed away on December 6th and less than two weeks after we were attending our church Christmas banquet. I remember so many well meaning friends telling me how sorry they were about mom’s passing. One well intentioned friend said, “I don’t know how you’re doing this. I couldn’t do it.” It was as if she thought I had a choice. I didn’t.

Maybe you’ve joined a club that you wish you hadn’t. Divorce. A diagnosis. An addiction. These are just a few. I have a very close friend who joined a club when he didn’t have to. He left his throne in heaven and paid a debt he didn’t owe so that anyone who accepted his invitation could become part of his family. He knows what it’s like to be accused of something he didn’t do. He knows how it feels to be left by his friends. He loves me even though I don’t deserve it and there’s nothing I can do to make him stop loving me. The same is true for you. Jesus loves you and has open arms ready to accept any who calls on his name.

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens — Jesus the Son of God — let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:14-16‬ ‭HCSB‬‬
https://www.bible.com/72/heb.4.14-16.hcsb

Keeping Company

I love getting together with friends and family…when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic. I think most people would agree with this especially after all of the social distancing most of us have been doing. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, there’s usually someone you enjoy being together with. I’m a people person and am usually in the mood for a get together. My sweet husband enjoys getting together with loved ones in small intervals. We’ve learned to balance this between the two of us. And believe me, it’s not easy. We will probably be working on this “til death do we part”.

I remember walking into the cafeteria when I was in grade school. Some days I had an invitation to sit with friends. Other days, maybe we had a squabble, I entered the lunch room uncertain of where I would sit. That’s an uneasy feeling. No one wants to be excluded.

There’s one friend I have that always saves me a seat. This friend is always waiting to hear my voice. We are the very best of friends. This friend never gets upset with me. Never lets my call go unanswered or let’s my call go to voicemail. This friend isn’t David. As much as I love David, our days are numbered. Even though David is my best friend here on this earth, my very best friend is Jesus. There will never be an end to our relationship. He doesn’t give me a list of requirements to meet for me to be his friend. He just asks that I invite him in. And now it’s your turn. Invite him in. He’s waiting on you. He’s not mad. You are the apple of his eye.

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:24‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/114/pro.18.24.nkjv

Distractions

The view from my front porch this morning.

I’ve always been easily distracted. I totally identify with the dog in the movie “Up” who couldn’t complete a sentence if a squirrel was near. There’s so much going on in our world right now. Things that are very worthy of our attention at times. I’m not trying to distract from things happening by writing this post but just wanted to whisper in your ear a reminder.

Please remember to rest your brain. There is rest in sitting and just taking a break from social media. I’m typing this as I sit on my front porch taking in the sights and sounds of my little piece of the world waking up around me.

Remember that we aren’t here on this earth forever. The Bible says our life is but a breath. Don’t let that steal your joy. Instead be encouraged to enjoy the moments. The simple things in life are a gift like sitting with loved ones and laughing. The Bible also says that our days are numbered so try to enjoy as much of each day that you can. Even on the toughest days there can be simple joys like a good cup of coffee or a bubble bath or a soft bed to lay down on.

If you are an anxious person then be mindful of that and take things in small doses that can add to your stress. Choose wisely where you get your information and don’t gobble everything up that the media shares. Have you ever seen a momma bird feeding her baby birds? Don’t be a baby bird and just consume anything someone offers you.

If you are looking for true peace in these crazy times look no further than Jesus. He’s a faithful trusted friend who wants nothing more than you. You don’t have to jump through lots of hoops to please him. It’s not about do this and don’t do that. It’s all about how much he loves you and just wants your heart.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.””
‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/114/jhn.16.33.nkjv

Baby, I’m back!

You may have noticed I haven’t been posting any blogs for awhile. Maybe you’ve missed them. Maybe you were relieved. If you were, that’s fine just please keep that to yourself. If you were wondering where I’ve been, I’ll gladly share.

It all started in February which seems so long ago now. I was at work and was getting ready for a meeting to start. My coworker seated next to me began sharing how she had started working on her masters degree and how great it was going. We couldn’t talk long because the meeting soon started but this conversation sent me down a rabbit hole.

I am easily inspired. When I was a child, I wanted to be everything. It changed often and usually based on the latest movie I had just watched or the book I had just read. I still have these tendencies. So instead of carefully considering what was best for me and mine, I plunged straight ahead. I started class on March 1st with visions of job offers and endless opportunities. I was doing great and then…a global pandemic hit. Everything changed overnight it seemed. Everything including my goals, my dreams, my inspiration. It was as if I was waking up and realizing I already had the job I wanted. I realized it was okay to say that I didn’t want to do that. Immediately I started beating myself up. I truly am my worst enemy. Can you relate?

The person I feel the sorriest for is my husband David. He has a front row seat to my crazy antics. He is a saint that I do not deserve but do not tell him I said that. Thankfully, I was able to withdraw from school and I did end up learning something. I learned that I am thankful for the life I already have. I don’t want to go up any career ladder. It’s okay that others have dreams and goals to achieve more and maybe it’s my job to cheer them on as they go. I learned that education is a tool. It’s not a gold medal to wear on your chest. I wanted my bachelors degree and that’s what motivated me to go get it. I have never really wanted a masters degree and I’ve said it out loud plenty of times. Time is a gift. I only have so many days on this earth.

Before withdrawing from school, I asked myself how I wanted to spend those hours and the truth was that I didn’t want to spend my time at home doing homework. I also realized that I couldn’t do everything I was doing and just add school into my routine. Something was going to have to give. I volunteer at our church and love every minute of it. I work full time and when I come home I enjoy spending time with David and the kids.

Having said all of that, I don’t regret attempting school. For so long I’ve used the excuse of not getting my masters degree because I thought I couldn’t do it. I found out I can do it. I just don’t want to. So I will just chalk this up to a life lesson. Ephesians 4:32 states that we should be kind and compassionate to one another. I’ve decided to be kind and compassionate to myself and forgive myself for being so impulsive. And maybe I’ll take a page from David’s book from now on and carefully consider big decisions from now on.

Have you made an impulsive decision and ended up changing your mind? Is there something you need to forgive yourself for? Instead of beating yourself up, be kind and compassionate to yourself and forgive yourself.

“And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:32‬ ‭HCSB‬‬
https://www.bible.com/72/eph.4.32.hcsb

What A Week…

So this has been a crazy week. On Monday, we were informed that the granite slab we had picked out for our kitchen countertop had broken while being transported to be cut for our job that starts in a couple of weeks. So, Tuesday afternoon David and I made the trip back over to Owensboro to pick out another granite slab. Apparently, the one we had picked out was the white whale (Moby Dick reference) of granite/quartzite. No one else has anything similar in this region according to the nice gentleman who helped us at the granite and tile company. Thankfully, David and I were in agreement to go back to our original plan of black granite and all was right in our world once again.

I took this moment of fleeting bliss to decide this would be a perfect time to go back to school to get my masters degree. I have applied to Western Governors University should start online classes in April. Our kitchen and bathroom renovations should be completed by then. (Lord, please hear my prayer.) David thinks my timing is impeccable. Did I also mention that Andrew took our laptop with him when he moved out? So now David has until the end of the month to get one before my classes start. He informed me last night that he has this taken care of. (Let the church say amen!) (side note: he actually ordered one last night. Yay!)

We ended the week with a doctors appointment for Lydia at Vanderbilt. She has started a new monthly injection that has helped her get off all of her other medications. God is so good!! We celebrated this great news with a trip to The Cheesecake Factory.

I think I can safely say life is not boring right now. I’m not sure how everything is going to work out but I know I have peace in my heart so I’m trusting God that He is leading me. He is so faithful!!

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:21‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/114/isa.30.21.nkjv

Happy birthday David!!!

Once upon a time, there was a guy named David. He covered himself in blankets and tried to hide from his birthday.

His beautiful wife lured him out with a milkshake. He loved it so much he decided…

…to drink Andrew’s milkshake too. It was so good he thought…

…”I wonder if Lydia’s milkshake is good, too?” So he tried it and…

…fell into a deep sleep and dreamt about…

…having his own milkshake.

The end

Happy birthday, David!!😘

New Beginnings

New year. New you. New diet. Same old, same old. But this year our family has had some new beginnings. They are the same things each family goes through but it’s a first for us so it was a big deal. Let’s start at the beginning.

December 1997, David and I happily announce we are expecting a baby. Fast forward to December 2019. The baby, who is now a handsome bearded man, makes an announcement: he’s moving out.

The joy and excitement he has planning his “escape” mirrored the joy and excitement his dad and I had when we first announced his arrival. My heart was screaming “no, please don’t go” while his heart was screaming “at last, I’m free! Thank God almighty!”

While your kids are growing up, you try your best to instill nuggets of wisdom along the way. You tell them they should practice cleaning their room to get ready for their college dorm or first apartment. You tell them to open a bank account when they get their first job so they learn how to handle money. You keep telling them these things on repeat even though it seems they’re not listening.

But then the day arrives that they actually move out. People tell you what it was like for them when their kids moved out. How they missed seeing their vehicles in the driveway. How they missed the sightings of their kids coming in from work or going to the kitchen for a snack. You listen and think that day is a long ways away. But then….

We are excited. Proud. Sad. Sentimental. But mostly proud. The house is a lot quieter. David and I are getting used to our new norm. Pray for Lydia because we are forcing hugs and kisses on her against her will. She is not a hugger but we know that it’s only a matter of time until it’s her turn to strike out on her own.

Thank you, God, for these sweet humans you’ve allowed me and David to nurture and raise. Lord, I pray they seek you in everything they do. In Jesus name amen.

“Sing to the LORD a new song because he has done wonderful things! His own strong hand and his own holy arm have won the victory!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭98:1‬ ‭CEB‬‬

https://www.bible.com/37/psa.98.1.ceb