The Best is Yet to Come

The Best is Yet to Come

On June 9th 2013 my world was turning upside down, my oldest son was getting married, while at the same time we were preparing to move from our home of 14yrs, the only real home I had ever known, our daughter was graduating high school, our youngest was learning to drive, that along with about 10 other major life events, were happening in our lives, all at once. So to say the least, I was a tad bit overwhelmed.

 

I think one of the things I remember most about Lee’s wedding was trying to find places to slip away and cry before anyone saw me. Maybe, it was the fact that my momma, who adored Lee was unable to come, knowing she would want to be there more than anything and realizing she wasn’t going to be around much longer was almost more than this girl could stand. Coupled with trying to access my new duties as a mother-in-law. Let’s just say I was pretty heartbroken and uncertain of so much..

 

But fast forward 5 years to the day and guess what this girl was doing? She was hanging out with her first grandson and namesake to her husband. If you don’t think that was special then you obviously don’t have grandchildren. It is the first time our little man has gotten to spend the night at Mimi and Poppy’s all by himself. His parents were celebrating their anniversary and his siblings was hanging out with other family members. So we had him all to ourselves and since this guy lives four and a half hours away we relish every minute we get with him. So,  needless to say, I wasn’t feeling heartbroken or miserable anymore.

 

I was feeling blessed at the hope of the future as I looked into the eyes of that little fellow. My heart leaped with joy when he at 2 yrs old, mumbled out as best he could “ I love Mimi” when his Poppy asked him to say “I love Poppy”. I was reminded that God does answer prayer as we watched him play and catch bubbles in the air as we blew them.

 

All this got me thinking? Doesn’t things like that happen, a lot to most of us? I mean how many times do we feel lost or hopeless only to have in a few weeks, months, or maybe even years later, our feelings and emotions are completely the opposite. Sometimes about the same thing.

 

God reminds us that our feelings are fleeting and that for everything there is a season. In Ecclesiastes 31 verses 1-8 it tells us.

 

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.”

 

I think in short that means don’t give up hope.  Because we also know the bible says that in this world we will have trouble. (John 16:33) and it says, that God has a plan for our life and that plan is for good and not to harm. (Jeremiah 29:11)

 

So when we get overwhelmed with this life, when we feel like everything we hold dear  is falling apart. When nothing we planned is going our way. How about we remember this? God said, It will be okay! Oh, not exactly in those words but I think that is what He means. So trust Him, don’t give up, tie a knot at the end of the rope and hold on cause, the best is really yet to come!  

 

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Which Girl are You?

Which Girl are You?

This past week I did something I haven’t done since the summer of 1991. I walked out of a cabin and at the same time, a friend walked out of the cabin right next to me. My mind flashed back to the first time she and I met. We were both scared young pastor’s wives who because of the position of our husbands, (or lack thereof)  were throw into circumstances we would never chosen on our own.

We were at Junior Camp! Now Junior Camp is a camp that happens once a year just outside Wichita. It is where all Kansas Assembly of God Churches send their kids for a week of spiritual renewal or what some might refer to it as Klingon Camp. Because kids ages 9-13 away from home for the first time, just might kling on to you as a camp counselor.

She and I first met walking out of our separate cabins and frankly, we were probably more scared than the kids. I am still not for sure if I was more scared of the primitive lodging or the fact I had to not only coral 15 girls for a week, but participate in outdoor sports, and don’t even get me started about what the bathrooms looked like. See for this girl, who considers roughing it going to a hotel without room service,  you might as well have dropped me off in the middle of the forest, like one of those TV shows that gives you a week to find your way home.

But this year, my friend and I were not at Wheat State Camp outside Wichita,  we were at Woodston camp, which is known for being a much more primitive camp. When we walked out of our cabins that first time, and met each other this year, we were not staying in the non-air conditioned/bunk bed cabins, where we shared the bathrooms with probably 100 other people at the end of the building.

No! This week things were totally different than they were so many years ago when She and I first met. This year, we stayed in new cabins with private baths, with air conditioning, carpet on the floor and nice queen size beds. This year we were not scared young pastor’s wives. This year her husband is now the District Superintendent of the Kansas Assemblies of God which in layman terms means he is the Pastor the all the AG Pastors in the state of Kansas and my husband serves on the Presbyter Board or in layman’s terms he is on the Board of Directors for the state of Kansas Assemblies of God and this year both of our husbands were speaking at this camp.

I couldn’t help but think of the difference in the girl that walked out my cabin door this past week compared to the one all those years ago. She has had so much happen over the years. That girl that walked out of the cabin all those years ago would of been impressed with the woman that walked out of those cabins doors this past week,  That girl would of thought these women have it all together and their lives must be of always have been perfect and full of peace and fulfillment. That girl would of desired to be who those woman are today. But that girl didn’t know what it took for this girl to become who she is today. This girl, isn’t the same girl that hid in the corner of the tabernacle at camp and cried her eyes out because she was so scared and knew she just wasn’t as smart and pretty as all her counterparts on the other side of those walls. This was not the same girl who had panic and anxiety attacks every time she went to a state event.

My friend and I reminisce about all the water that has went under the bridge in the time we have know each other. Some of the water was smooth sailing, some was pretty rocky and felt more like white river rafting, while others were more like babbling brooks.

See not only has our husbands positions changed, but we as woman have changed. I am not the same person I was back then. Oh! The changes are more than the weight I have gained, the wrinkles on my face or the silver streaks in my hair. I have changed because of the challenges I have face.  See, all those tears I have cried has made me stronger. I have faced obstacles both personal, physically and spiritually. I have faced rejection and victories, I have seen God’s hand at work in all of it.

It is those trials and tribulations that gives me the strength to do what I do today. See because I have made it through those test and I have come out on the other side. No! Not everyone of the outcomes was what I expected, in fact most were not what I had wanted or planned, I’ve been homeless, lost loved ones, lost friends, had failed ministries, been rejected by God’s people, family and friends. I had the rug pulled out from under me. I’ve made some really stupid mistakes, and faced challenges with our kids, cared for a handicapped mother and watched her die before my eyes. My marriage has struggled, and dealt with infertility..

My successes have been few and far between, but I count the most important ones as the children I have had, and the grandchildren added to my clan. But none if it is worth anything if my children have not caught the joy of living for Christ. See because they have seen my life and the challenges I have faced they have also seen the hand of God come along side and sometime even pick me up and carry me. They have seen the miracles He has performed in our lives, the checks that came in the mail, the doors that have open for us, the gifts He has given us. Time and time again God has shown up!

See this girl who used to strive for a title now, is no longer impressed with peoples status. She is more about where people’s hearts are, she is more about being who God has called her to be.

She is thankful for all that she has went through because it has given her the ability now, to look back and say….. “Bring it on devil, Do you see where God has brought me from?”. “If He can do that, My God can do anything!”, ”You can’t mess with me satan because my daddy is the King” , “Whatever comes my way, my God will take care of me”

So this girl now refuses to hide in corners and cry her eyes out. She refuses to allow man to define her. She stopped listening to those negative voices in her head, she now knows whose she is because her daddy God has showed up time and time again to rescue her. She is not the fear driven, people pleasing, person she was all those years ago, intimidated by everyone and everything. No! This girl has experienced the unconditional irrefutable love of God, not because He gave her everything she ever wanted but because He taught her that God’s word says “ I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5. This girl knows that she can be content when things don’t happen the way she planned because it must mean that God has a better plan. (notice I didn’t say easier one?)

This girl also knows, what Deuteronomy 31:6 says,  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” See that girl knew what it said all those years ago, but until she experienced it she didn’t have to assurance that it was true.

This girl has had to learn to give up her will and follow after God. This girl has realized that He is not a God sitting up in heaven like the arcade game, whack-a-mole, with a big stick just waiting for me to mess up, so He can hit me over the head..  He is actually a loving God trying to direct my paths, because He knows the way that I need to go, He has been in the future and He knows my past, while at the same time He is my very present help in time of trouble.( See Psalms 46:1)

This girl who lived all her life in a church full of condemnation, religiosity, in fear and intrepidation. Learned that there is a loving God who is up their with arms outstretched bidding for me to come to Him, asking for me to trust Him, telling me that I am His child and He will take care of me I have nothing to fear. He reminds me I only need the approval of the audience of one and that is Him. That no matter what those around me think or do I am safe in His arms and if I will only strive to please Him, He will carry me through. He reminds me that, He is not half as hard on me as I am on myself. He tells me I am complete in Him and because of that, I now walk with my head lifted up, no longer ashamed or in fear. I have straighten my crown that He gave me and smile with confidence of whose I am. Not because of anything I have done, but because of who lives in me and loved me so much He gave His life for me.  So the question today is, Which girl are you?

 

When is Enough, Enough?

When is Enough, Enough?

When is enough, enough? When do we stop sharing Christ’s love? When do we stop telling others about Him? When do we decide we should stop praying for our unsaved friends? We can we quit being the witness that God has called us to be and just focus on us? When do we get to do what we want to do and not have to think about anyone else but ourselves?

I don’t know? Would it have been enough for our sins to be redeemed by Jesus as he prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane and asked His Father, “Please if there is any other way, don’t make me do this” How about just for being arrested? Could God have called out from the heaven’s and said “Cut! That’s enough this show is over” Would it have been enough for Christ to just be beaten? Or maybe it was just enough for Him to carry the cross up the hill? No! No!! I’ve got it!! Maybe it would be enough for the 3 nails to be hammered into his hands and feet? Surely, that would have been enough right?

The truth is, the only way we could find remediation for our sins was for a sinless sacrifice to come and die for us. DIE do you get that?  Capital D-I-E.

The other day as I was traveling back from Wichita I was listening to Christian talk radio the show was taking questions from callers, and one of the people who called in asked the question ” Should I give up talking to my unsaved family about God?”  You see the young man said that he has 3 or 4 family members who were not living for God. He had encouraged them to read their bibles and go to church,  and because they all had not responded to his expectation, his question was,  “Should he just give up on them?”

My immediate response to him, (Because you know, we all have our opinions in situations like this) So what was my answer you ask? Well, I asked him (as if he could hear me through the radio)  “Did Christ ever give up on you?” “What would you want someone to do for you? Would you want someone if you didn’t know Christ to just give up on you because you were not meeting their expectations? Because things did not happen in the timing you thought they should?” I think the answer for all of us to that is a resounding “NO!”.

But all to often don’t we do that? Don’t we subconsciously or consciously make that decision about co-workers, family members etc. We decide I am done with them! They are too far gone!  They don’t want to hear the truth! Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying to pound people over the head with the word of God until they submit and come to know Him. No!

The bible says it is the kindness of God that leads people to repentance. (Romans 2:4) So I understand that we can’t talk all day everyday to them about coming to Christ. And we certainly aren’t going to win them over by judging and condemning.  No! Far to many people have been run off from the church and God with that one. Nor will isolating people from us help either.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that with every person is a different situation and a different personality you are dealing with. But no matter what the circumstance or situation. We never stop praying for them we never stop loving them. We may have to set boundaries, we may have to be sensitive to their feelings and more often than not we need to meet them where they are. We need to meet their physical needs before they will every want to hear about their spiritual needs.

I don’t know about you, but I am thankful God never gave up on me! I am thankful that Christ was not only beaten for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities  and the stripes on His back were for our healing. (Isaiah 53:5)  I am thankful that I serve a Savior that didn’t give up on me! He didn’t quit!!  But He holds the keys to death, hell and the grave! (Rev 1:18)

He went all the way for you and me!! Praise God! He rose again on that 3rd day!! Now, He is seated at the right hand of the Father making intersession for you and for me! (Mark 16:19)

SO, When is enough, enough? When do we stop sharing Christ’s love? When do we stop telling others about Him? When do we decide we should stop praying for our unsaved friends? We can we quit being the witness that God has called us to be and just focus on us? When do we get to do what we want to do and not have to think about anyone else but us?

I say the answer to all these, is Christ example! There is never enough! There is never enough reasons to stop calling on the name of the Lord for our loved ones and friends to come to know Him. Look at all He went through for us! He followed the specially design plan God had for Him and He has a plan for you to reach the people you love and care about too!

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Roman 2:4)

So like Christ’s example! It is NEVER enough until we reach the other side and join our Heavenly Father in heaven.

 

 

The Whole Earth Will Sing………

The Whole Earth Will Sing………

So this past Saturday our Church was hosting a special event where we were planning to feed about 50 people. I had done a lot of prep the 2 weeks prior and, since I volunteered to cook for the whole event; I knew I had a great group of people coming to help so I wasn’t worried, but in the same aspect I couldn’t just stay in bed all day so I was up at 6:30 am because I knew people were going to start arriving by 9:30 am and I had 35 lbs of Salisbury steak to cook and a roasting pan of green beans, as well as 20 lbs of potato’s to mash!

As the alarm went off, I got out of bed and headed to my kitchen, I put the potato’s on to boil and headed over to the church to turn the other items on to begin cooking as well. When I returned from the church, the potato’s were soft and it was time to mash them. I was super excited to use my new Kitchen Aid mixer I got for Christmas to mash them, so lifted the 2 heavy pots with  about 10 lbs of potatoes in each to drained the water off, then transferred all that would fit in my mixing bowl, I attached the beaters and added the butter and milk to them then slowly started the mixer gentle increasing the speed till the were whipped perfectly. Then I went to twist the mixing bowl off the stand, so I could pour the now perfectly mashed potatoes in another container to allow me to start another batch because lets not forget I have 20 lbs to mash here, and the bowl would not release, I twisted the bowl to the right and it wouldn’t come up, I twisted it to the left and it would still not release. So desperate times call for desperate measures, I grab measuring cup out of the cabinet and started scooping. I scooped out most all of the potatoes into the roasting pan I had waiting and ready to keep my potato’s warm till we ate at noon. I had to repeat this process several times just to finish. Although, it was aggravating I didn’t have time to complain or whine, there was to much to do.

Now mind you it isn’t uncommon for me to be awake at 6:30 am but I will admit I am not usually out of bed and I am rarely ever outside at that time of day. But on that day, as I had walked across the 1/2 acre or so between my home and the church, the sun was rising and as it was rising, it seemed the earth came alive! The birds were chirping, the earth was a buzz with all kinds of sounds from nature and the creatures God had made. I have to say it reminded me of the scripture that says “All the earth will worship You, And will sing praises to You; They will sing praises to Your name…..” Psalms 66:4 NASB. I just stood  there in the middle of that wide open space for a bit and just took in the majesty of it all. It really felt as if I was listening to a heavenly choir! I could almost imagine as the sun rose the birds sitting in their nest and them raising their heads and voices in praise to the Savior that made them. See because they don’t have a choice, they have to praise Him. But God the creator of the universe, gave us a choice.

It was later in that day that I stood again in the wide open space of our church and gathered was a group of people all probably over 55 and most closer to 70. Then we began to sing the old hymns and as we did that, again the I heard “All the earth will worship You, And will sing praises to You: they will sing praises to Your name….”  Not only did I hear the praises for the earth but I heard my momma’s voice. Oh! it was coming out of me but I heard it! I could see here sitting at the organ as she played and worshiped the Lord so many times as people gather around and old fashion alter. Those people there knew how to grab a hold of what we use to call, “the horns of the alter” and not stop praying till they felt a release.

It is being raised in a home that “Declared the praises” Isaiah 42:12 is the reason I couldn’t give up when my mixing bowl didn’t release, I couldn’t get mad and walk away because something didn’t go my way. I knew I had people depending on me and there was a job to be done not only in the physical realm but in the spiritual one as well. I was not doing anything that day for my praise, but it was all to honor God. That day, I believe I heard not only the people, but the all the earth praise God when I walked across that yard, and He also gave me a quick peek at heaven where I am sure my momma is singing His praises as well.

The questions is, are you singing His praises today? In just a couple weeks we will be remembering the day our Savior gave His life for us, and I am pretty sure according to His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. The man side of Christ wanted to be doing something else, but He didn’t,  when times got hard He didn’t quit! He didn’t give in! He honored His father while He hung on the cross. That is what God calls us to do. He calls us to worship Him in everything we do. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” Col 3:23 NIV 

So what is your attitude today? When something goes wrong or it’s just not going the way you planned, are you ready to give up and forget it? When it comes to that point remind yourself, “Do it for God!” If it isn’t at that point still do it for God! It’s important for us to remember everything we do from our attitude to our actions need to reflect Christ. If we are truly going to call Him our father, then we need to reflect our father. We just can’t call Him our Dad, if we don’t act and look like Him.  Cause the person you see in the mirror might not be the person everyone else is seeing if we aren’t reflecting who He is!

So whatever you do this week, do it as unto the Lord. “Sing His Praises” with your attitude and actions!

 

I Came Kicking and Screaming All The Way To Kansas

We were living in Atlanta at the time and marrying a southern man I never expected to live anywhere else but the south until, that infamous phone call came. It was so long ago, telephones hung on your wall.   We call them landlines now, and if you lived back then, you might have had one in several rooms of your home. We had one in the front of the house in the kitchen and another in the back of the house in a bedroom. My parents had two as well in there home where they lived in Kansas.

One day my parents and Jeff and I were having what we would now call a conference call when each of us just got on one of those phones connected to the wall in our home and we all talked to each other.  In the process of the call my parents once again invited us, or maybe it would be better described as begged us to move up to Kansas where they had retired. Being raised an only child and now having the only grandchild, my parents were desperate for us to move closer to them. But I was confident that was never going to happen. I knew our fate was destined to stay in the big city. I was completely okay with that because I had been to Kansas (as my grandparents and extended family lived there) and there was nothing there I wanted.

Once again my parents were asking, but I was convinced that I would, as my parents had, live so far away from my family that we would simply only see each other once or twice a year. Until, Jeff told my parents “Well, I tell you what, if you find me a job up there we will move” I didn’t say anything while we were talking to them on the phone, but as soon as we got off I asked Jeff “You were just pacifying my parents right? We aren’t moving to Kansas, are we? To which Jeff responded ” Yep! We’re moving!” I immediately reminded him that Kansas was in the North and we lived in the South. Because I was certain he had lost his mind for a moment.  In my attempt to bring him back to reality I reminded him of all the reasons why we would need to stay in Atlanta, before moving back to the forgotten world of this place they called Kansas.

Finally, after much aggravation on my part, Jeff just said ” I feel like God wants us to move to Kansas” Well, Now I was confident not only had my husband lost his mind but so had God. Because this was not in my plan and if you looked at our bank account, as I informed my husband, there wasn’t enough money for us to get down the road, let alone move from Atlanta GA to Kansas. Jeff assured me he believed this is what we were supposed to do.  Still, in disbelief, I informed Jeff. Okay, I will go but only if God provides the money and you know it will take at least $2,000 to move. Confident that I would not have to worry about it happening because it was such an outrageous idea,  (now I wish I would have said $10,000) I am certain God was sitting up there saying  “Oh! ye of little faith” because in 2 weeks we were pulling up in a U-haul to my parent’s driveway. Miraculously, in that time God provided the money and we moved. (and that is another story)

See none of that was in my plan, and even after God proved himself by providing the money for us to move, I was still in doubt and confused as to why God was taking us to Kansas. Frankly, I did not want to move here even though it is my birthplace. But God began to uncover His plan for us just 6 weeks later. When my mother, in the middle of the night, called out to us from my parent’s bedroom as we slept in the next room ” Alesa, Jeff come quick your daddy is dying” As Jeff and I raced to my daddy’s side.  I got to experience something I had prayed for. You see many years earlier I had prayed ” God,  Please don’t let me by like my parents and live so far away that when one of them is dying we have to hurry and drive thousands of miles away just praying we get there in time.”

As Jeff and I talked after daddy’s death. He revealed to me that while he was working in Atlanta one day. He was under a house and felt like God had said ” If you want Alesa and Lee to spend any more time with her family, you need to move to Kansas and you need to move to Kansas now ” Jeff said he knew that something was gonna happen and he wanted to make sure I was with my family. There was just something about what he felt God was saying that Jeff knew we had to move. Jeff didn’t know the prayer I had prayed. But God did!

Last week I shared in this article, about how circumstances that come into our lives, might not be what we expect or even want but we can trust the one who brings them to us.  Just like Joseph did as he told his brothers that God used the bad things they did, for good.  (Gen 30) I can look back now and see what God was doing, and how my dream that Jeff and I being the original Chip and Joanna Gains was not in His plan! He had a greater calling for us. Kansas is where our ministry began, Kansas is where the miracle of last 2 children came, and for the past almost 30 years we have loved and lived in Kansas.

Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that God said ” I know the plans I have for you” notice that word plan is plural. My daughter reminded me of that the other day. So that means God has multiple plans for us to do. If Jeff hadn’t listened to God or worst yet if he had listened to me and we had stayed in the south. I am not sure what would have happened, but I am confident of one thing, our lives would not be the same,  we would not have been touched by the special people we have met here in Kansas and I hope somehow we have touched peoples lives here as well. I am so glad we can trust God’s plans for us. As we enter into 2018 let us resolve that we will trust His plan even when we don’t understand it and especially when we dislike it!

I Know There Has Got to be Another Present Here Somewhere

I Know There Has Got to be Another Present Here Somewhere

Well, it is officially Christmas time! As we all begin the hustle and bustle of the upcoming events of the season.  I can’t help but reflect on one of our more memorable Christmases. Amy had to of been about 8 years old at the time. It was a year when things were pretty tight in our Christmas budget. I had done everything I could to stretch what little we had, trying to give the best I could to my family. When it came about Dec 23rd I had all my shopping done and the bank account was empty just waiting till the next paycheck to come along. Then Amy informs me she wanted a Baby Alive for Christmas. My heart broke, I looked at the cost of Baby Alive and they were way out of our budget. I tried to tell Amy it was too late to put in any last minute requests to Santa. I told her that we could add it to her list for next year or maybe even her birthday. But she would not hear of it, she was determined she wanted it for that Christmas!

Christmas morning came, and we had our traditional Christmas morning routine, then it came time to open up presents. We each went around one by one opening up gifts as we do, each taking turns waiting on the other till they opened up theirs till it came to our turn. Finally, the last gift was open. Amy’s face dropped, she sat on the couch arms crossed, as she begins to pout. Then all of the sudden she jumps up off the couch stomping around the house looking around exclaiming ” I know there is another present around here somewhere!”, ” I want my Baby Alive!”

I took a deep breath trying not to kill my ungrateful child on Christmas Morning. As I tried to explain to her once again it was too late for her last-minute addition to her wish list. She finally calmed down, but as much as she wanted that toy, I wanted to give it to her. It broke my heart to not be able to give it to her. To be so broke that I couldn’t even afford a $50 toy. Oh! in the grand scheme of life it really wasn’t important but I loved her enough to want to give it to her. I love her and all my children so much there isn’t anything I would not give them if I knew it wouldn’t harm them.

All that got me thinking, isn’t that a lot like our Heavenly Father? Oh! some believe that He sits on His throne in Heaven just waiting for us to mess up so He can knock us on the head with His big stick just like the Wack a Mole games at the arcades. But that idea couldn’t be further from the truth. God loves us and He sent His son who gave His life for us. He gave His all for us and there is no good thing He would hold back from His children. James tells us that,  Every good and perfect gift comes from above.  The problem is, what we think is perfect and what God thinks is perfect for us might be two different things. Did Amy really need that Baby Alive? Of course not! But how often do we act like Amy when we don’t get what we ask God for? How often do we stomp around or pout because things don’t happen the way we wanted?

I heard the saying recently that ” Not every disappointment is a disaster” See, the after story of all this is, the next year Amy got her Baby Alive and a few years later she heard of a little girl whose family couldn’t afford to give her a Baby Alive and Amy came to her father and I and asked if she could give her doll away. See because Amy had known what it was like to really want something and not get it, she was more than happy to give that doll away.

We don’t always understand why things don’t happen the way we want. But if we really trust in our Heavenly Father and we really know how much He loves us then we have to trust that whatever comes our way will be okay. We can trust that His plan is bigger than ours because He is the only one that has seen our future and He knows what we need. See if we know God’s word then we know that it says ” Our Lord and our God, you are like the sun and also like a shield. You treat us with kindness and with honor, never denying any good thing to those who live right.” Psalms 84:11.  So the question is are you living right? Are you willing to accept what He gives you, knowing that just because it might be disappointing at the time it isn’t a disaster because He has a plan and His plan is always better than ours?

I hope you will trust Him today! Next time things don’t go the way you hoped, instead of complaining, how about you thank Him and let Him know you trust His plan? Because who knows what might or might not be under your Christmas tree this year. Are you willing to trust God in every part of your life?

No!!! Not the Piggy!!

Many of us celebrated Thanksgiving last week. One of my favorite memories of Thanksgivings was in 2013, our granddaughter was 3 years old and at our house, it is a tradition to go around the table before we eat and say what we are thankful for. We always start from youngest and go to the oldest. I don’t remember what our granddaughters were thankful for, but as we sat around the table filled with Turkey, Ham, and all the fix’ins, I do remember what happened when our then, 17-year-old son shared what he was thankful for, with his shoulders held back, sitting up as straight as he could, he proudly stated  “I am thankful for the Pig that gave his life for our dinner” at that moment our 3-year-old granddaughter screamed to the top of her lungs in a high pitched tone of great despair ” NO! Not the Piggy!!!” and proceeded to get down from the table and refuse to eat the meal. We still laugh about that to this day.

This year we were blessed that our daughter came home from college and wanted to cook the majority of the meal. It isn’t her first time cooking a turkey, she has lots of experience in the kitchen and of course, it was fantastic. In the weeks before Thanksgiving Amy and I had been talking on the phone discussing what would be on the menu. We even created a spreadsheet and sent it out to the rest of the family asking if there was anything they wanted we had forgotten to list.

Each year, it seems our family talks about how we are going to cut back and not have as much food as we did the year before. You see when it comes to cooking and entertaining I am afraid my daughter is as bad as I am, we just don’t know what the word moderation means. Cooking and entertaining is our love language, it is a way we express our love to others. Setting the table is an art to us. With each plate that is set and napkin place in the napkin ring is an act of love of us. We ended up serving 13 people our Thanksgiving Day meal and I am embarrassed to say we had 23 items on our menu, that included appetizers and desserts. After the meal was all over Amy and I was discussing yet again, how next year we need to cut back. Amy made the statement ” I think when God hears us say we are going to cut back on the food we serve, He laughs at us” We both agreed that is probably true. Because by the time we make the menu then other members of the family want some of their holiday favorites and guest bring food and it just grows from there.

You know, all this got me thinking….  So many times we make plans and dream dreams only to be disappointed later when what we plan doesn’t come to past.  What we do when these disappointments happen tells a lot about who we trust.  The Bible tells us in Proverbs 19:21 that “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”  My dad use to say “plan as if you are going to live forever but live as if you could die tomorrow”.  Just because God has plans for us doesn’t mean we sit back and do nothing. God wants us to live our lives but at the same time, we need to make daily choices in our lives that reflect what God would want us to do so when He does come back we are ready to go back to heaven with Him.  The way we make those daily choices that reflect Him is by making those choices according to what God’s word says. When we live our lives like that then when God comes back to take His children Home to Heaven, He will be happy to. See when things, don’t go the way we plan we have to trust that God has a better plan. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God knows the plans He has for us and they are for good and not to harm. Granted there are somethings we can never plan for, the lost of a loved one, the unexpected pregnancy, an illness that can’t be explained or that person that won’t call you back and you just don’t know why. But when those things happen we have to remember to trust the one who made us and know that He is in control and He loves us so much He will bring good out of what seems like it is bad if we will continue to follow what His word says, even when our plans don’t come to pass.  So God may be laughing at the idea that Amy and I  will ever cut back our menu, but that is only because He has plans to use that for His glory the key for Amy and I is to listen to what He wants to do through us as we show His love. So what will you do next time your plans don’t happen just the way you want? Who will you trust?