We love like we have been loved

We love like we have been loved

Recently,I got to sit around and reminisce with our oldest son about past Christmases he had with his Grandma Lewis. (my momma) He reminded me that she showed up one year in her car completely packed from front to back, top to bottom, with Christmas presents and only enough room for her to sit in the driver’s seat with her little head of her barely 5 ft frame peeping over the steering wheel. This was the perfect example of a Christmas with my mom or any holiday truthfully,  and for no reason that I can comprehend, Lee accused his father and I of being worst with his kids. Just because we always bring his kids something when we come to visit or send presents on holidays when we can’t be there. As I explained to my daughter-in-love. We love those kids like we have been loved. It can be as something as silly as a bag of apples and oranges that Jeff will bring in a box and act as if it is something super special, lining the children all up and telling them to close their eyes because he has a prize for them. To the better gifts that the grandchildren say I know how to pick out. We all laugh and have a good time, just making them feel special.

 

I guess you could say gift giving was my family’s love language. I can’t even image only giving one gift a piece to my grand kids at Christmas. Now mind you, we don’t necessarily give big expensive gifts and I have even been know to buy good used toys for my grands and give them. I can remember my mom wrapping a 6 pack of sock by taking each pair out and wrapping it individually, just so it looked there were like a lot of gifts under the tree. My mom who lived on less than $700 a month in her retirement years, found so much joy in giving that she would find ways to make sure all 3 of us (at the time) would have tons of gifts under the tree. Not that buying presents is the only way to show love, but it is and outward sign of an inward feeling for my family. My parents who raised me, showed me such unconditional love when they took me in as a newborn and raised me as I was their own. I know without a doubt they would of given their lives for me.

 

I was talking this past week to a friend who had, a negative experience in love. She was previously in an abusive relationship and now that she has found new love she was scared to take the next step. She told me,” If you have never felt a love like that than it is hard to realize you can be loved in that way.”

 

That really got me thinking, in this world where New York just approved to legalize abortion up to the day of birth, made me ask “What are people so scared of? As parents, our jobs are not easy it can be a scary thing raising a child and being solely responsible for it.  Especially if you have never really been loved. We live in a society where the traditional roles have been shattered and whether you agree with it or not you have to say that it has only made people more confused about their place in relationships are. Perhaps that is why marriage seems to becoming more and more extinct. People are afraid to commit to marriage and we have to ask the question why? Are they afraid to love because they have never really been loved?

 

Marriage is a covenant between two people before God committing their love to one another forever and the wise ones who make that covenant know it can’t be done without God’s help. Many who make that covenant these days know they need to love like the way they have been loved. With an unconditional love that the father above has given them. It is only when we accept that love and trust in the Heavenly Father that we can really love like we are suppose to love. Jeff Miller knows me, He knows every part about me, the good, the bad and they ugly,  and he still loves me. So when I get upset with Jeff, I have to remember how much he has put up with from me.

 

If we will all just be honest with ourselves, none of us are perfect but yet we have the God who created the universe who wants to be part of our life. Yet, we can’t grasp that kind of love. We can’t grasp the idea of God not expecting perfection but, He is simply looking for surrender. As a child it wasn’t uncommon that under the Christmas tree each year it would be full of gifts. Jeff and I did the same with our children and now with our grands. We simply are showing the love that we received. I hope today, you realize there is a man who hung on a tree and gave His life for you. Because He loves you. How about today we love Him with unconditional love too. How about we surrender our life to Him and share the amazing love He has given us with others.

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The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift

Well by now most of us have taken our Christmas tree down, and have packed up the decorations preparing for the new year ahead of us. As I pondered the Holidays, have you ever noticed that, there are 2 kinds of gift givers? One type, will give you what you want. They pay attention to what you talk about, they notice comments you might say throughout the year, just passing statements about what you like, or would like to have,  perhaps even some you forget about almost as soon as you say them. Other gift givers give you what they think you need. They aren’t concerned with what you want, and more often than not, they ignore any comments you might say even sometimes ignoring specific requests because they think they know better.

 

I think it goes without saying that the joy of receiving a gift from the gift giver who considers what the receiver wants is much higher than receiving a gift from the one who gives  you what you think you need.

 

I will never forget,  it was probably our oldest son’s third or fourth birthday. We didn’t have much money and were  doing everything we could to pull together a party for him at a famous pizza place for kids, when I suddenly remembered we didn’t have any way to video his party. My heart sank, as I had videoed every birthday party of his life up to that point,  but because our recorder was broken, there was no way that was going to happen. Somehow I felt like I wasn’t being a good parent if I didn’t record it. Deeply saddened , I proceeded on with the plans the weeks prior to the day, hoping to make my child’s day the best it could be, never telling anyone of my disappointment. After all, at Lee’s young age he wasn’t going to care about having a video of his birthday party, I told myself, he would still have a good party with or without the video recording. I knew the recording was more for me,  but telling myself this, didn’t seem to help my disappointment any.

 

It was the morning of the party,  as I was rushing around preparing the final details,  the phone rang, it was one of our guests, who called to ask if it was okay as part of Lee’s a gift, that they would video the party for us. My heart leaped with joy! The memory still brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it, because it wasn’t about the video anymore when that call came, it was about a God who heard my cry and answered my  prayer. I hadn’t said anything to anyone, and to be honest, I hadn’t even prayed about it. But my heavenly father, who knows my heart, knew my desire and put it on this family’s heart to do this for us.

 

You know as much as I love my child and wanted to give him the best party possible to show my love for him,  I have a heavenly father who cares for me, in fact we all do. The bible saysIf you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11

 

The Psalms also tells us Lord, you have seen what is in my heart. You know all about me”

 

Aren’t you thankful that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and knows us,  I know for me I sure am. What a blessing it is to know we have someone who is watching over us and cares for us more than we could ever hope or imagine. The best part of our Heavenly Father, is that He isn’t just like any Father, He knows our beginning and He knows our end. He can see the future,, so He knows how to detour our paths,  ensuring we make it safely to where we need to be spiritually and physically.

 

I wonder today if someone reading this isn’t disappointed about something? Perhaps you had hopes and dreams of something happening and well, you have just given up that it will ever happen. I want to assure you that whatever the outcome of your situation is, that you can trust your Heavenly Father to guide you in the direction you need to go. You can trust Him to bring to you what you need and provide when nothing seems to be working out. Because the bible says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

 

So, there are a couple of stipulations to that promise, it says, “those who love him” and “called according to his purpose”. So I have to ask, do you meet those requirements? I think,  for the most part, I can safely say you probably would claim to love God. So the next question is, is your life an example of that? Because that is kind of what the whole “called according to His purpose” means. We are all called to fulfill His purpose on this earth,  and the first requirement is to follow what His word says, and if you aren’t going to church and growing in His word how can you fulfill that purpose?

 

So, whether you are following Christ or no, it  is never too late to start. Yes, you may have to pay the consequences of your past choices,  but there is a opportunity for a new beginning, all you have to do is talk to Jesus, like you would talk to me,  and tell Him you want a new life in Him, that you are sorry for your past mistakes, and from this day forward you want to walk with Him.

 

There is nothing better than starting off the new year  new in Christ Jesus. Find a good bible believing church home that you can grow in His word in,  then you really will see the Heavenly Father that I know, who knows how to give good gifts, and works all things together for our good.

What Jeff and God have in Common!

What Jeff and God have in Common!

Jeff Miller says he and God have something in common, it is that they both first loved me. Jeff Miller picked me out of stack of pictures on his father’s desk long before we ever met. You see my father was a minister and his father was the deacon in charge of the resumes for the opening for a Pastor his home church had. One day Jeff decided that the ripe old age of 16 that, he didn’t want to die a bachelor so he set out to find a wife and what better girl to have as a Pastor’s wife one day then a Pastors daughter.

 

He says he took the pictures that came with the resumes, of the families that had daughters and began to narrow down his favorites, first the top 10, then the top 5, then the top 3 and then number one, and Jeff claims it was me.

 

As God saw fit, my dad did become the Pastor of Jeff’s home church and that only gave Jeff more confidence that God had a plan for us together, and it just enriched his love for me. The problem was, I was just 13 years old at the time and really wasn’t interested in dating yet, after all I was still playing with barbies!

 

I have to be honest with you, I wasn’t impressed with Jeff at first, I didn’t care for his cowboy boots, or cowboy hat and he seemed to be everywhere I was, but that didn’t detour Jeff, my dad even overheard a conversation between Jeff and a few of the other teenage boys in the church. Where Jeff under no uncertain terms told them, that I was his so there was no need from them to pursue me, and we hadn’t even started dating yet!

 

Then there was the note Jeff gave me, sharing his undying love to me. Which still did nothing to convince me to like him. It didn’t even matter that he showed up when I was sick as a dog, and looked horrible. Jeff was right there asking if I needed anything, ready to help in anyway he could.

 

But the topper was when he went and talked with my father, I don’t know what happened in that conversation on the fateful day, but I do know that when my dad came home from the office, to my dismay Daddy informed me, that Jeff would be coming over to visit a few nights a week after he got off work.

 

I think back now, and feel my father, saw something in Jeff that I didn’t and he felt as soon as I spent time with him, I would see it too, and he was right.  

 

Isn’t that a lot like our relationship with God, He loved us before we loved Him and He pursued us before we even cared about Him and He refuses to give up on us. He has chosen us, because He loves us, not because of anything we have done. Then God sent His word to us as a love letter to prove that.

 

Like with Jeff, I had done nothing to do earn Jeff’s love on that day when he found my picture in his dad’s office, yet he loved me anyway. And I have to tell you, like Jeff when I have been at my worst, God loved me anyway,

 

That is just like our Heavenly Father, who sent His son, to this earth so he could suffer, and go through all that we have been through. He knows every temptation you feel, Christ felt it all when He was here. God sent His son, because He loved us so much.

 

It didn’t matter if we reject Him God does not give up on us. He loves us so much He sent His son to die for our sins, so we could have eternal life with Him forever, and all He asks from us is to choose to worship and trust Him. But He loved us before we even loved Him.

 

If we could all simply realize the depth of the love God has for us. What would we do differently? Would we freak out less when things don’t go as we planned because we know, God will take care of us. Would be more responsible with what we have because we know He gave it all to us? Would we love others with that same unconditional love that God has showed us? Would we live a life in attitude of gratitude and grace, because we know we don’t deserve such unconditional love?

 

We will all be starting a new year in just a few days. It is the time of new year’s resolutions, so how about we resolve to live like that?

 

1 John 3:1 NIV reminds us “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! …..

 

I live differently because I know Jeff Miller loves me, and he loves me more that I have words to explain it or ways to show it.  I am not deserving of this love nor have I earned it, but yet Jeff Miller loves me, and so does Christ.

 

We are all loved more than we can even hope or imagine or have words that could ever explain it. But God loved us so much He sent His son to be born to a virgin, born in a manger know he would ultimately give His life for us. So in all the hussle and bussle of this season. Let us know forget the most important gift, the gift of Christ which is the greatest example of God’s love for us.

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!

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!