Worst Thanksgiving Ever!

Worst Thanksgiving Ever!

Well, the Thanksgiving season is upon us, many will soon be gathered around the table with their loved ones and friends reflecting on the blessings we have received this year. If your house is like mine, there will be a moment before we indulge in the food before us that we will pause and go around the table, allowing each one to say what they are thankful for.

Now in a house like ours some might choose to move this process along by simply saying all they are thankful for is God assuming He covers everything,  just to hurry up and pro take of the feast that sits before them. So, you may be surprised to find, at our house, it is made clear before this process begins that we know, God is responsible for all that we have been given and so, we want to hear what specific things that God has given you this year that you are thankful for.

Another tradition in our house at this time of the year, is I try to prepare all the foods my kids want. It’s a favorite dishes kind of meal. I ask everyone what they want to eat and since there is 9 of us and at least a couple of choices by each person, the amount of food can add up quickly and that isn’t limited to just the side dishes or desserts, but also includes what kind of turkeys we have, which can range from fried, roasted or smoked, there is usually at least 2 turkeys, (smaller ones) cooked different ways for us to enjoy!

Now although my kids are active in the meal preparation these days there’s still some dishes I make that they demand only from me and I in turn have favorites that only they can make. I have been working hard for many years to teach my kids how to cook, so that I know when I die they won’t starve. Essentially I want to work myself out of job of cooking on the holidays but I am no quite there yet but I believe the plan is on track..

You may have heard of people who do food prep and make all the food they are going to eat for the week in one day, then cook it throughout the week?  Well that is kind of what Thanksgiving is like for us, except we cook enough food for a week all on Thanksgiving day and then graze on it for the next 3 days while the kids are here. I like doing this because, I am not stuck in the kitchen the whole time the family is here and I can take pleasure in just enjoying my family.

You may think, my idea is crazy but let me tell you the reasoning behind my madness.  One of the most disappointing Thanksgivings Jeff and I ever had was after we were married and had moved to Kansas, we returned to Alabama for the big day anticipating eating my mother in law’s traditional thanksgiving meal.  

We were so excited to be going back to celebrate with Jeff’s family. My mother in law is an amazing cook, this woman who made biscuits everyday for breakfast when her husband was alive and homemade cornbread for every other meal had our mouth watering as we traveled the 14 hours to visit them remembering how good Thanksgiving is around my in laws house. So needless to say we had great expectations of eating her famous dressing, and enjoying all the other dishes she is known for. But to our disappointment, when we arrived it was announced that this year, Mrs Miller was tired of cooking and had decided to have the meal catered in.

Our hearts sunk, although we understood, it did not console our craving for her own cooking that we had missed so much, by living all those hours away and rarely getting to see them, let alone taste those famous home cooked meals she was known for.  So that is when I decided when my kids grow up, I was determined to make sure they never felt that disappointment after coming back home.

You know, if we are all honest with ourselves, there is that one dish for most of us that we remember as being our favorite from our mom or grandma, and it doesn’t matter if we follow their directions to a tee to make it, it still never tastes like it did when that person we loved made it. So, yes that is why I indulge my children when they come home. I never want my kids to walk away from my home on a holiday wishing I had cooked something,or we had done something, I want them to have that special memory of home.

Have you ever expected something, that didn’t happen the way you planned? Were you disappointed? We often have expectations. We ask God for something and believe and even have faith that He could do it,  then when the time comes and it doesn’t go the way we planned, we are disappointed, sometimes mad that we didn’t get our way.

There will be a lot of people who over this holiday season will reflect on this past year that have much bigger issues than Jeff and I did on that disappointing day. They may not have anything to eat at all, they may only be able to think about that empty chair where their loved one use to sit.

I read somewhere your tough job is an unemployed persons dream, your small home is an homeless persons dream, your annoying child is an infertile couples dream, and your smile is the dream of every depressed person. So be thankful in every situations.

Whatever the case, let us all remember that there is always someone worse off than we are. God has placed us here to bless others and you are blessed to be a blessing. Oh! You may not have as much as someone else, but is that really what God is looking for? No where in the bible have I ever read, you have to have this much money in the bank, or this much food in your house, or even your children act a certain way for God to love you.

God looks on the heart in 1 Samuel 16:7 God told the prophet Samuel … “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

How about we do that this holiday season? How about we not judge ourselves or others on anything else, but what God sees. Let’s ask God to help us see others with His eyes,  love others with His heart. But most of all love yourself the same way. Give yourself a break! So what if this year didn’t turn out how you expected it? Tomorrow is a new day and the bible says God’s mercies are new every morning. So that means, every day there an opportunity for a fresh start and nothing is lost if we learned from it. Just like that disappointing thanksgiving vacation, Jeff and I had, you also can learn from whatever you are going through and because of that today two more generations reap that blessing. Perhaps God has allowed you to go through whatever you have dealt with this year so you can make a difference in the generations that are coming behind you. One thing is for certain tomorrow is a new day and the best is yet to come. So let’s focus on that as we sit around our table this week and thank God for what He has done and will do!

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Worst Parenting Fear!

Worst Parenting Fear!

Being a parent can be one of the scariest things anyone can do. You hope to you are doing it right. You don’t want to miss your kids up to bad, because you know you, yourself, aren’t perfect, and well let’s face it we all think we are a little messed up and our biggest prayer as parents is “God just don’t let me mess up my kids”.

I remember one particular time this was heavy on my heart as a young mom. My oldest had to be in about 1st grade. We were associate pastors in charge of children’s ministries in Iola Kansas. Our children’s ministry there ran about 80-100 kids each Sunday.  We had a bus ministry of 3 buses that drove around town every Sunday, picking up kids to bring them to church. To assure the kids would come, we would go around door to door every Saturday and knock on the doors of homes in the area reminding the parents we would be coming by tomorrow to pick up their children.

Often Jeff would take our son, Lee with him on those trips. In fact pretty much every part of our ministry Lee as well as all our children have tagged along and been a part of it with us. Lee however was our only child at this time in our life so not only was our weekly canvasing the neighborhoods part of his weekly agenda, so was summer church camps. For several years we spent a month at kids and junior camps in the summer not even coming home on the weekend in between camps. Because we were Children’s Pastors, Jeff and I were counselors each week and Lee got to tag along with his dad in the boys cabins.

Wheat State Camp is 4 weeks in the summer that kids from Assembly of God churches all over Kansas come together in Augusta at our district camp ground where a different age group comes each week to play games and sporting events, have fellowship with other believers and all go to church services together in the evening. It was one of those evenings I was down at the altar crying out to God because my heart was so heavy. I felt as if I was ruining my kid’s life. I was probably about week 3 of being at camp for us and I was believing all the negative thoughts satan was running through my head that said “Lee is going to hate church” or “You are pushing our religion down his throat by keeping him here”. “What kind of mother are you?”.

As I was pouring out my heart to God that evening, with young girls from my cabin,  praying all around me. I felt God say, Looked up over to the boys side of the altar area. There I saw Lee standing with his arms raised to his Savior, tears streaming down his face. It was as if God was saying,” He is okay.” Because God knows, more than anything I want my kids to serve Him.

That kid is now 33 years old and running for a seat in the Oklahoma House as State Representatives for District 68. He was telling me the other day of how his campaigning was going. You see every evening after he gets off work and on Saturdays, he goes canvassing door to door the neighborhoods of his district.

He was actually canvassing with another candidate recently when the candidate of the same party said  “Man you are good at this!, Have you done this before?” To which my son responded “Sure have, but not for political purposes”.  See, it was all those years ago, that Lee walked with his daddy canvassing the neighborhood for the churches bus ministry that taught him how to handle himself and approach people in that type of situation. But we didn’t take Lee out canvassing with the idea that this is going to be a lesson, or with any thought that he would use it later on in life, and we never had any idea he would actually run for a political office at that age. But, it was a lesson that gave him confidence where another person might have been hesitate to knock on a stranger’s door without it.

All this got me thinking…….  Deuteronomy 11:18 – says “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds,…….. 19 Teach them to your children, speaking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorposts of your houses and gates,… “.  In essence, it is saying teach your children about God as you go about your everyday responsibilities. All too often we expect the church to teach our children or we think I’ll just wait until they are older and let them decide for themselves what kind of faith they want to accept. But that isn’t what God tells us to do.  

Proverbs also tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents] Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Prov 22:6 Amp) How do you train up a child, if you wait till they are older and let them decide? You don’t, this makes it plain that parents are instructed to teach their child in His ways. As a minister my dad use to say, it is better to build boys and girls for Jesus then rebuild broken down men and women for Christ. You may ask why is it better to teach them when they are young? Because we are creatures of habit. We get in good habits or we get into bad habits but either way they are habits and old habits are hard to break. I don’t know a better habit then going to church every week, reading your bibles, and praying every day.

As parents often times I think we negate the reality that our children are always watching and learning from everything we do and say. It is important that we keep in mind children learn what we live. I don’t care how old they are, they are like little sponges absorbing everything we say and do. So the question is what are we teaching are kids? It wasn’t our intention to be teaching Lee anything, on the days we canvass the neighborhood but we did. I also believe he has learned how to follow God by our example (habits) of going to church, reading our bibles and praying with our kids. Lee developed a relationship with Jesus Christ all his own and that has given him the foundation he needs to make good choices and why he cares enough to try to make a difference in this country.

Does he have some ideas that I have wondered about? Sure!  But the truth is we probably taught him that too. Oh! Not the exact ideas, but I believe his father and I taught him to not just go with the crowd. We have lived a life of entrepreneurship and pioneering new ideas since he was born. From being the first homeschoolers in Graham County, to deciding to start a church with absolutely no support except knowing God has called us. We have taught him to judge whatever you do to the word of God and in this day and age when there is more people just following the crowd of what has always been done or what everyone else is doing. It is not surprising, he choose to be in the libertarian party because he sees the present parties in place are not making any difference. Lee isn’t afraid to pioneer down a new path of politics and I am completely confident he will pave his own way down that path as well.  

So the question is, what are you instilling in your children and grandchildren?  What are you talking about as you drive around in the car, sit in your homes? What messages are you sending to them? The fact is, whatever you are teaching them, they will take it to the next level. They will push the limit of whatever you are doing, good or bad. Do you want your kid to do more of what you do? What legacy are you leaving?  

 

Because I am Mimi, But God is God.

Because I am Mimi, But God is God.

So, last week I told you about the innocence of our almost 2 yr old grandson praying,  while we got to spend sometime with his sister’s when they were sick. What I didn’t tell you about was what the girls did as they started feeling better. Our 8 yr old found the buzzer to a game they had. So she decided that anytime she needed something from Mimi, she would just buzz the buzzer. Which the better she got, the more often she buzzed that buzzer. She buzzed it because she needed a drink. She buzzed it because she needed something to eat, she buzzed it because she wanted her stuff bear off her bed (the top bunk of the bed which required me to get a broom just to try and reach it) and 5 minutes later, she buzzed it for her stuffed cat that was also on the top bunk which again, required more unique maneuvering because this Mimi isn’t climbing on the top bunk of the bed.

Her older sister wasn’t quite as annoying with it. But she had her own special kind of manipulation going on. As I fluffed the pillow I had just bought for her, pouring on some sympathy for her just for affect. I asked in the most empathetic tone of voice I have ” Can Mimi get you anything to drink or eat” as I check her head for fever and kissed the top of her head,  to which she responded in an equal empathetic voice, “No, but a crisp twenty dollar bill would be nice” that is when I almost took the pillow and smothered her……. all in fun of course! We had a good laugh and I told her maybe next month ( For her Birthday)

Oh! But that isn’t the funniest part! Our 8 yr old, informed me during our visit that, I had forgotten to give her a dollar the last time we were together because I had asked her to do something and had forgotten to give the promised reward. The story didn’t sound completely untrue, I mean I did remember there have been several times I have told the kids if they do this, or that I will give them a dollar. But I really didn’t remember doing that at our last visit. But I went along with her request and assured her I would take care of it before we left. Now remember, we were already there for her Birthday and we always give money for our grands Birthdays so, she knew she was getting money already.

Fast forward to the day she opens her presents and as she opens up her cards and counts her money it is $41. When her mother asks “Why is it $41” (because it was an odd number). At that point I explained my forgetfulness with a twinkle in my eye and a smile on my face, so our daughter-in-law asks our 8 yr old grand “What did Mimi forget to pay you for” to which Viola responds with a huge smile on her face and pride in her voice “Nothing, I was just playing a trick on Mimi” The whole family roared in laughter as I explained. I was pretty sure I was being had, but thought I would play along, (after all a dollar wasn’t going to break me)

Now as you can see my Grands are not perfect! They can be as ornery and manipulating as some adults at times. But, as ornery as my little’s can be, they still believe when they are told they are loved. In fact that is probably why they push the limits at points because they know they are loved. They know Mimi would do anything for them. I know from the story above, it sounds like I give into them all the time. But there are some times I do say “No”.

Now they don’t like it when Mimi has to say “No”, in fact the almost 2 year old breaks down and cries anytime he is told, “No”.  And I wonder if it is possible that he does so,  because he feels loved so much and he doesn’t want to disappoint us, or is it the fact he knows if he cries we might give in, or maybe, the fact that he just doesn’t want to submit to the will of those in authority over him. My guess is, it is probably all of those at one time or another.

If we are honest with ourselves, aren’t we all just a little like my grands. We to often want what we want, when we want it. We to often think we can tell stories to our Heavenly Father, in hopes to get our way,  when He knows everything anyway so we aren’t fooling Him. We may promise to go to church, if God will just heal our loved one. We try to convince Him we need this or that, because without it there is no way we will be able to make it. We have our own little buzzer we try to push when we want something from God. But, what happens when we don’t get what we want? Do we cry because we don’t want to submit to His will? Do we cry because we hope God will just give in. Okay, we probably don’t cry, but sometimes we whine, we pout.  We get mad at God and act like children.

Dying to our will is something we battle with everyday? But see, there is a difference between us and our children. It’s age, because of our years of experience, we actually have the ability to look back at our lives and see the many times God has been faithful.  In this town especially, we can see the hand of God and how He took what satan met for bad and turned it to good.

So why don’t we trust Him again, when the hard stuff comes? Why don’t we rely on Him because we know He has our best interest at heart? Look at what this town has already went through, remember where you have come from??If we will just look around we can see the hand of God’s faithfulness and how much He loves us.

But all to often we get angry and bitter when things don’t go our way.  The years have worn calluses on our hearts to the point we have harden it toward anything that might not fit into our agenda or when God doesn’t answer our buzzer.

My grands wanted what they wanted and yes, I passified them while I was there, because I can, because I am Mimi. But we have to remember God is God and as much as I love my Grands, God loves us more and if they had asked for anything that wasn’t in their best interest I would of denied them their request. Why? Because I love them. Lets not forget, God is watching out for you. Trust that love. Remember there is no greater love than His.  Read John 15:13

Alesa Lewis Miller is the Pastor’s wife of Lighthouse Worship Center, in Greensburg KS,  Mom, Mimi, Creator of the Blog “www.behindtheparsonagewalls.com“, Speaker and Columnist.

True Love

True Love

This past week we got to spend sometime with our grands. We went down to celebrate a late Birthday for our youngest grand-daughter Viola. You see we didn’t get to go on her actual birthday because we were sick with the flu and so everything was post-pone a week. But when we arrived. Viola and her sister Bella were both sick, which allowed Mimi some very important snuggling time. We sat and watched TV together, and Mimi was the nurse maid to make Viola. my famous PB&J crust-less sandwich (a favorite of Viola’s and according to her sister, Viola loses all ability to make her own sandwich when I am around) I gave meds when needed, kept the liquids coming and just generally loved on them and held them to give them as much comfort and attention as possible. I hate when by babies are sick, I hated when my kids got sick and I hate when these little’s get sick. But I do love the snuggle time.

Another favorite part of my time spent with the little’s, was when sitting around the table as my son asked our almost 2 yr old grandson did he want to pray. Immediately he responds in the softest sweetest voice “Yes”and without missing a beat he quickly bows his head, and says “Jesus” then there is a pause, and again we hear “Jesus” while his little head is still bowed, he repeats the scenario a couple more times, then we hear a little babble followed by a clear loud “Amen” and he raises his head because it is apparent he is finished. (I know because I watched the whole thing, it was just to precious not too!)

I tell you nothing melts this Mimi’s heart like seeing her children and her grand-children grow in a relationship with Christ. Why? Because I know, all the stuff of this world will not last, any inheritance I might leave them is just a vapor in the mirror of eternity. But if I have in some small way instilled in my children and grand children the importance of a active relationship with Jesus Christ, and they pursue one,  then I have truly left them all they will ever need in life.

 

But if I have in some small way instilled in my children and grand children the importance of a active relationship with Jesus Christ, and they pursue one,                       then I have truly left them all they will ever need in life.

 

Spending time with my family, made me think about how,  if I love snuggling with my babies and my heart melts when I hear our grandson say a sweet prayer,  even though I may never know exactly what he said, but simply seeing the heart in which it was said in, melts mine. How much more does it melt Christ’s heart when we spend time with Him? How much more does He crave a little time with us?

You know through out the few days we were with our kids, we asked our grandson to pray multiply times, not ever once did he say “No” or ” I don’t have time”. No! It didn’t matter what he was doing he would immediately stop and repeat the scenario above every time.  His heart was always immediately open to talking to Jesus.

I wonder, if our hearts our as open. I wonder if when God taps us on the shoulder, and ask ” Do you want to talk”? Are we as sensitive to Him and as open to Him as our little grandson was?

The bible tells us in Matt: 19:14  KJV But Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

I don’t know about you, but when I think of children, I think of their pure innocence. Their ability to unconditionally trust what they are told. The verse above says “For such is the kingdom of heaven.” I believe we need to have that same unconditional trust in God as children have in us to get to heaven.

In fact the Amplified Version tells us in Matt 18:3  “I assure you …..unless you repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

On this day of  “Love” celebrating Valentines. we don’t need to forget about the greatest love, and that is the love given to us by our Heavenly Father.  How do we know He loves us more? Because He tells us in John 15, NIV

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends,…..  17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

He gave His life for us because sin had separated us from Him and He desired so much to spent time with us, He was willing to do anything to have that relationship back. He loves spending time with us and so desires for us to take the time and spent it with Him.

Scientist tell us that the greatest need in humans is to feel, Understood, Validated and Appreciated. I don’t know about you but to me that sounds a lot like love.  The problem is we often look for these things everywhere but where we should. See, God placed those desires in us so we would search for Him. He wanted us to come to Him.  The problem is, we look for love in all the wrong places. We want others to make us feel good, we think owning certain items will give us the validation we need. We think having sex with someone is love.

We get all caught up in thinking we need to feel some feeling, when the truth is. Love is a VERB, not a feeling.  Love is action and there was no greater action taken in our behalf than when God sent His only Son to die for us. That is Love. In fact the Bible says in 1 John 4:8 “… God is Love”

The truth is that the true fulfillment we are looking for doesn’t come from others but can only be found in our relationship with Christ.

So let me urge you today. If you are looking for love, if your life seems empty. I have good news, there is a Heavenly Father that loves you and wants to spend time with you. Just as I cherish every moment with my family. He cherishes every prayer that is prayed, every moment that is spent with Him. He wants you to know that He believes in you, that He has felt every pain you have felt, He has cried with you in your times of discouragement and defeat His heart breaks every-time yours does.  He has been waiting this whole time standing there with out stretched arms saying ” Come unto me” He is just waiting for you.

Won’t you come to Him?  Just like my 2 yr old grandson did and bow your head and pray. It doesn’t have to be long or even make sense to anyone else, because God understands. He already knows and can’t wait to be with you!

 

 

 

 

 

I love my daddy!

I love my daddy!

All my life I was raised in a ministers home and because of that there was a certain standard I was expected to keep.  In the denomination I was raised you didn’t smoke, drink, dance, or hang out with folks that did. The only problem with that was, as a teenager I thought all the cool kids in High school did those things.

The truth is I didn’t care what the “Denomination” said but I did care about what my daddy thought, I loved my daddy so much I never wanted to do anything to hurt him and I knew it would kill my daddy if I ever did anything like that. But that didn’t stop the yearning I had to want to be accepted by my peers.
So I plotted out what I thought was the perfect plan to get me in the cool kids club, but at the same time, making sure not to disappoint my daddy. The plan was,  I would get an IBC Root-beer and stand in the “inner circle” where all the cool kids hung out in hopes that would somehow convince them I was as cool as them and then they would be my friends. While the brown bottle of the root-beer would make it a appear I was drinking, I wouldn’t actually be drinking so I knew my daddy wouldn’t be upset.
I don’t know what it was, but there was something about the connection I had with my daddy. I knew he loved me no matter what. I knew I could tell him anything and he would still love me. Oh!  Don’t get me wrong, we had our disagreements. But I always knew, not matter what,  I was safe, cared for and love by my daddy.
It was the love and respect I had for my daddy that kept me out of trouble as a teenager. I didn’t want to do anything to ever hurt him or his reputation.  I never did really fit into that group of friends, so I never drank anything harder than that root-beer. I never did any drugs, or smoked anything and I think that is also what kept me from not having sex before marriage. It’s what kept me out of jail. I love my daddy so much and I knew my daddy loved me, he had proven his love for me time and time again. It would of literally killed me to hurt my daddy.
In fact I remember a time when Jeff and I were dating, my dad and Jeff’s dad were not getting along. So much so, that Jeff’s father told Jeff that he needed to break up with me. When Jeff told me this, I became concern that perhaps my dad was thinking the same thing, and not wanting to hurt either of the men I loved. I went to my father. Because I have always been an up front, out spoken, independent kind of child and simply told my daddy. “I love you and I never want to do anything to hurt you. So please don’t ask me to stop seeing Jeff.  Because I don’t want to have to disobey you” My dad never asked and I am not certain he ever intended to but I loved him so much I didn’t want to have to make that choice.
I was a lucky girl because my daddy wasn’t just a good man, but was a man that followed after God. See he didn’t just encourage me not to smoke, drink, or wait till I had sex till after marriage.  Because he wanted to be mean or he was following what the “Denomination said”. He did it because of what the bible says. He taught me to take the bible at it’s word. He taught me that the Bible was the ultimate authority on the truth. Not to long ago Oprah made a speech and told the audience it was time to tell “Your Truth” well the fact is there is no such thing as “Your Truth”. If that was the case, when you got pulled over for speeding you could just decide that isn’t “Your Truth” because you didn’t see it as speeding. See if we believe the idea that there is “Your Truth” then there will be as many truths as there are people. That means that we all become god because we as human being tend to justify whatever we want.   If someone came up and asked for your wallet and if you then refused to give it to them, they then  could decided to shoot you for that because “Their Truth” was that they needed your wallet so they should be allowed to have it and if you refused “Their Truth”  said that they had that right to kill you.  To be God requires intelligence and knowledge of the future, it requires someone who can handle great responsibility for everyone in the universe.
That’s why the only God, tells us the “Real Truth” we can find it in His word the bible, and God tells us not to become addicted to substances because he knows they can harm us. 1 Peter 4:3 “For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry”. The bible also tells us that sex should be saved for marriage Heb 13:4 “Let marriage be held in honor above all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
So no matter what “Your Truth” Might be, God’s truth is the one that prevails. 1 Cor 10: 23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. ” See the bible tells us that Jesus said ““I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 We can’t get to Him unless we follow what He tells us to do. But He doesn’t want us to just “Follow the rules” because we are afraid of Him. It is the exact opposite, He wants us to know how much He loves us. Just like I knew my daddy loved me and my decision for following what he said was not because I was afraid of punishment but it was my overwhelming desire to want to please him. In this day and age we are all to often more concerned with pleasing ourselves, more than anyone else.
So you tell me, who do you want to please? My prayer is that everyone will realize just exactly how much God loves them and you will be so consumed with that love that you will not want to hurt the man you gave you life and gave His life for you. It will be out of pure gratitude for what He has done for you. Because He doesn’t hates us, but we need to follow “His Truth” because He loves us, He really loves us. 
You never know what you are gonna get in a box of chocolates or with God! (But you can trust Him)

You never know what you are gonna get in a box of chocolates or with God! (But you can trust Him)

Well, Christmas is over and by now, all that is left to do is clean up the mess. Did you ever notice that at times the boxes we unwrap are not always representative of exactly what is in that box?  At our house, there was a book in a snow cone machine box, some video games in a shoe box, and another in a tin box with some items the person already owned in it as well and another game in a protein bar box. I even heard of one dad who taped his kid’s video to a rake and then wrapped the bottom of the rake leaving the handle out. That same dad attached a pair of shoes under a stool and wrapped it up with the legs sticking out.  Some of these items might make the one getting them think they are getting one thing,  as they unwrap the gift, when in fact, after opening the gift they find they are getting something entirely different.

All this got me thinking……. Isn’t that a lot like life. Oh! we think our life is going to be going one way, and in fact, it turns out absolutely different. I would have never dreamed I would have ever homeschooled my kids, but God had a different plan. I never ever wanted to be a Pastor’s wife but God had a different plan. I never even dreamed of being a Director of an Assisted Living or working in any form of the Health Care field, after all, I hate needles! But, God had a different plan. All these adventures in my life were a detour of the way I thought my life was going to turn out. I never dreamed I’d live in Kansas but through divine circumstances, I have been here for almost 30yrs. (and I am only 29 yrs old) *wink-wink*

But these moments shouldn’t surprise us if we are truly following God because He has been doing this since time began. Time and time again we see God intervening in the lives of people in the Bible. Joseph told his brothers “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to . . . save many peoples lives” (Gen. 50:20). Here Joseph has been enslaved, several times and then ends up being the 2nd most powerful man in the country. Even after all he has been through, he isn’t angry or bitter, but he is able to stand back and look at situations and circumstances that brought him to where he was at that moment. He realizes, God used what his brothers meant for bad and turn it to good. I call that looking at things through God’s eyes. When we see people with the eyes of Christ and love them with Christ’s heart and serve them as Christ would that is a level of spiritual maturity that we all need to strive for.

See it is only when we take ourselves out of those certain situations of our life,  that we don’t understand, that aren’t going our way and just step back and say  “Okay! God, what are you doing here?” Because maybe, what you are perceiving as a problem may actually be the exact direction God is trying to take you.  because He is wanting to teach you that you can trust Him, and bring you to a closer relationship with Him.

Next week, I will be sharing about how I came to Kansas kicking and screaming! But for this week, let me challenge you to open up your heart and mind to understand exactly where God is taking you. Because, after all, if we are truly turning our lives over to God I am certain there is going to be a circumstance (or two) (okay, probably more) in your life, that you are gonna feel like is completely going the opposite directions you wanted them to go.  So remember,  But God…… Because He is in control. All we have to do is rest in Him. We need to trust the creator of the universe who knows our future because His ways are higher than our ways. We can trust the process God is taking us through and know, through it all. He is there!

Mary Christmas Week

Mary Christmas Week

As we sat in the doctor’s office, our oldest was about 3 yrs old, I will never forget it. We sat across from his desk as he told us the results of the battery of tests that I had just gone through.  When he just blurted out ” Well, You should have never had your first child and you certainly won’t have any more!” Our hearts dropped as it suddenly seemed that something Jeff and I had dreamed of since I was 13 and he was 16 was now gone forever.

Then imagine our surprise just about 6 years later as I looked at the positive mark on a pregnancy test. Our prayers had finally been answered.  Our dream was coming true. The 3 children we dream of having as teenagers dating, was about to come true. We believe it all began when we sat in a service and as the minister got up to take the offering he said ” I have a son that isn’t living for the Lord and tonite I am gonna give the best gift I can in the offering and write on the back of the envelope, “for my sons salvation” and if you are believing God for something I want to encourage you to do the same. Jeff and I looked at each other in that service and both knew what we had to do. We placed our best gift in the offering envelope wrote “Baby” on the back and dropped it in the offering plate. Over the next month suddenly out of the blue several different times just random people would show up and hand us money. Just saying “the Lord laid this on my heart that I am supposed to give this to you.” Jeff and I could not figure out what was going on. Then it hit me, I begin counting up the random acts of kindness that had been given to us and it was exactly 10 times the amount we had given in the offering, then it hit me and I thought ” Oh No!” God isn’t gonna give us the baby we asked for, He is just giving us back our money and then some” My heart was broken, but I remember thinking ” Okay, God If it isn’t your will for us to have a baby, then I am willing to accept that you have another plan”. I am sure God must have been looking down on me saying ” Oh! Ye of little faith.  “See what I didn’t realize was that this was just the beginning of God’s blessings. Because about a year later I was holding the little girl we had dreamed of having for so long,  But my mind couldn’t conceive what He had in mind.

Have you ever felt like that? Has God ever tried to tell you something that you just couldn’t imagine? See, I have a feeling that may have been the way Mary felt when and Angel told her she was going to conceive a baby and she had never even known a man. I think all too often we envision the people in the bible as some kind of superheroes with super powers and super strength. When they were really just human beings like you and me, with the same doubts, fears and questions and I believe we serve a God big enough that He can handle those doubts and questions.

The bible says, that as soon as Mary heard the news, she “made haste” or hurried quickly to her cousin’s Elizabeth’s house. (a 10 day trip on foot) Could it have been because the Angel had said that her cousin Elizabeth was expecting too?  Perhaps, Mary knew if she went to Elizabeth’s house and found out that Elizabeth really was pregnant as the Angel had said, that this all might actually be true? One commentary (Barnes Notes on the Bible) said “Troubled at his saying – Disturbed or perplexed at what he said. It was so unexpected, so sudden, so extraordinary, and was so high an honor, that she was filled with anxious thoughts, and did not know what to make of it.” I mean let’s face it if an Angel shows up at your house tomorrow and says you are gonna have the Christ Child, wouldn’t you have some questions, maybe even doubts?

Then there was the birth of Jesus, in Luke 2:17-20 Mary has given birth and the Shepards show up. I don’t know about you but with each child, I have had it has seemed like a dream to me. You are just in awe and amazed that this little thing came out of 2 peoples love. I can’t imagine, what Joesph was feeling then, and what questions were running through Mary’s mind. The awe, the amazement of it all and at the same time they had to be asking themselves ” Is this really the Christ child? If it is, why is He being born in a stable? Why, didn’t God take better care of us? Did we do something wrong? But perhaps it is just about this time that all this is running through their minds when these shepherds show up! Telling everyone this is the Christ Child and in verse 19 the bible says ” She (Mary) pondered all these things in her heart” Have you ever pondered something before?

Then there was the time at the temple Luke 2:20-33 Where Simeon and Anna both sensed by the power of the Holy Spirit that this was the Christ Child and the bible says, in verse 33 that Joesph and Mary were amazed at the things spoken to them. Have you ever been amazed at what God was doing and at the same time wonder why or what God was up to?

Then there was that time about 2 years later. I don’t know what mom of a 2-year-old doesn’t question what is going on with their child at one point or another. But, I just wonder if on the day the 3 kings showed up, what was going on in Mary’s heart? What battle was she struggling with? Were funds a little tight and they were wondering how they were going to make it? Was Jesus being an all-out human being 2-year-old that day and Mary was questioning “Can this really be the son of God?” I don’t know what was going on in her mind that day, but I do believe God had prepared 3 kings several months, even perhaps years before to show up on her doorstep that day at that very moment,  as a little reminder. God was in control. Because we know soon after that God tells Joesph to take his family and flee because Herod is about to have all the baby boys under 2 years old killed.

I don’t know about you, but I have questioned God, I have miss read His plan. I have even doubted what He was doing. But just like when we placed that envelope in that offering bucket, we had no idea what God was about to do and it certainly didn’t happen the way we planned, but God was faithful through it all. He provided more than we could ever hope or imagine and I wondered today if God doesn’t want to do the same for you? No, I know He does!!  He wants to do the same, Because His word says, “He is able to do exceedingly above all you can even ask or think”  (Eph 3:20) I am pretty sure Mary had no idea what she was about to get into when that angel showed up, just like Jeff and I had no idea what was about to happen when we place that envelope in the offering, but what we can rest assured on is that He is in control and we may question and we may even sometimes doubt but if we will continue to trust Him. He will see us through. Won’t you trust Him today?