An Unexpected Surprise!!

An Unexpected Surprise!!

I’ve been spending a few weeks at my oldest son’s home helping with the grand-babies because of some health issues my daughter-in-law, Nicole is having. So needless to say, Jeff has missed me (and I have missed him as well). Last weekend was our 34th Anniversary and I was all buckled down totally expecting this would be the first time in 34 years we would not be able to spend our anniversary together. But I assured Jeff, we would celebrate later and it would be okay. After all, we are adults and we can do this, Right?

Friday morning as I was dressing for another doctor’s appointment Nicole was headed to, I thought it was strange that she told me we were all going. After all, it just made more sense for me to stay at home with the littles and Lee and Nicole go to the doctor. But not wanting to rock the boat too much, I began to get dressed to go out.

At about noon, just as we were expecting Lee to walk in the door so we could head out, I got a call from Jeff telling me, “Get in the car and meet me in Wichita.” Now, this news really set me back. I was totally confused. After all, I was in “mommy mode” taking care of everyone else. When I questioned Jeff he again said “Get in the car and meet me in Wichita. I will tell you where to go when you get to town.” He also assured me that everything had been taken care of and that I wasn’t to worry about the kids. Lee had it all figured out. So, as I stumble around gathering a few things I am questioning Lee at the same time and he also assures me, “Mom don’t worry we got it covered, go have a good weekend.” I confirm when I would be returning with Lee just to assure they are okay and then I got in the car and was off. Seriously, it took me at least an hour on the road to get my head wrapped around what was happening.

See, I don’t do well with change. I am a bit of a type A personality so it is very unusual I don’t know what is going on. But, this one had me thrown for a loop! I mean I realized it was our Anniversary, but I didn’t expect anything like this.

When I called Jeff and told him I was entering Wichita he texted me the address and there I went. When I arrived at this very luxurious hotel, Jeff was waiting for me. He had not only reserved a room but a suite, and he had bought clothes for me so I didn’t have to unpack a thing. Jeff had thought of everything! He took me out to dinner at Red Lobster which is the restaurant we went to on our very first date in Mobile, Alabama some 38 years ago. Then we saw the Wonder Woman movie, which he swears was made about me and he repeatedly told me so during the movie.

Apparently, I found out over the course of the weekend that Jeff had been planning this for over two weeks. It seems everyone we knew, knew it was happening except me. We had an amazing 46 hours or so together, before I headed back to Tulsa.

You know all this got me thinking…….

Isn’t that just like Jesus? I mean in the bible Christ told his disciples, When I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me so that where I am there you may be also. John 14:3 (CSB)
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Jesus is looking forward to the day when His Bride (the Church) will join Him in Heaven. He has gone to prepare a place for us so we can join Him. No one knows the day or the hour in which He will return. We only know that we need to be ready. Just as I had to prepare myself for joining Jeff, we have to prepare ourselves if we want to see Jesus and those of our loved ones who have gone on before us. Christ is looking for a Bride that is longing to be with Him; a Bride who is so in love with Him that she can’t wait to see Him and because of her love for Him, she is doing her best to please Him in the way she lives her life.

Did you notice I used a capital “C” when I wrote the word Church? That’s because there isn’t just one denomination that is going to make it to heaven. When I wrote that, I was talking about the Big “C” Church being the body of Christ. The Bible says several times, believe in Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Romans 10:9, Acts 16:31, etc) and do you know what the “believe in Christ” means? According to the Amplified Bible it defines it as,”Trusting in and relying on, recognizing His power authority and majesty as God.”

See, I can see a chair and believe it will hold me up, but until I actually sit in the chair and I actually rely on it, I am not trusting it. Believing and trusting in God is something totally different than just saying you believe in Him.

So, many times, we say we believe, but we don’t trust. We don’t give ourselves fully to Him because, like myself receiving that unexpected phone call to meet Jeff, I had to prepare myself. I was in “mommy mode” and if you are a woman you know just what I mean. I was totally focused on caring for my babies, cleaning, cooking, and all the things we do to make our house a home. I was not in celebration mode, I was in work mode so it took a little while for me to put all that aside and stop focusing on what I needed to be doing and begin to focus on the one that was calling me to him.

That is the same way it is in our relationship with Christ. It isn’t about a list of do’s and don’t. It is just about being with Christ not doing enough good stuff to get to heaven. See it is knowing how much Christ loves us that should compels us to want to follow what His words says. Not the other way around.

So as you go about your week, remember that we will all receive an unexpected call one day, whether it be us taking our last breath or when He calls us all Home to Heaven. So, it is important that we trust in and rely on God while we are here now. It is important that we keep our focus on what God desires for us to do and most of all let’s not forget, that if we as followers of Christ can’t get along down here, we with each other. We are not going to make it up there! (heaven)

My Friend’s Story By January Lare

My friend posted this, the other day and I thought it was so inspiring I had to share it!

I have had a wicked case of the stomach flu since Thursday afternoon, but that’s not the point, so stick with me here. This is about what this most recent illness has taught me…I’m gonna preach, so here goes.

During the beginning of this sickness, there was a moment where I threw up so violently that I peed my pants. (Keep reading, trusted friends and curious acquaintances. By now you all know how transparent I am!)
My husband, without saying a word, quietly grabbed some cleaning supplies and towels and knelt down to clean up all the disgusting things that just escaped my body. I was mortified and, trembling, I cried, “Get away! Don’t touch any of it! Stay back!” But he just kept leaning in to take care of me, his bride. All I could think was, “How did our marriage become this unsexy, unromantic thing? Surely, he must see me as gross and undesirable now.” But God whispered to me in that moment. “No, Child. He sees you as I do right now. Helpless, weak, vulnerable, and in desperate need of My love. Accept this gift. He is loving you with My love in this moment.”

As we move toward the Easter season and begin reflecting on what Jesus did for us at Calvary, I am reminded of another act of servant leadership that Jesus displayed.

Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. In this culture, people walked everywhere, alongside livestock, and their feet were a source of shame, as they were beyond filthy and disgusting. Feet were to be hidden under long cloaks and covered up, not put on display. But Jesus did not come to be “hip” and “cool” and “politically correct.” He did not care about what society viewed as acceptable behavior. He did not come to entertain us with miracles. He came to show us something new: servant leadership. He took a basin of water and a towel and quietly knelt down at the feet of his closest followers and washed their dirty, muddy, callused feet. I’m sure, like me with my illness, the disciples were all like, “No! Don’t touch me! I’m so gross! If you see how gross I am you won’t want me anymore!” But Jesus served them in this intimate and loving way to show them that IN ORDER TO TRULY LEAD, YOU MUST FIRST BE WILLING TO SERVE.

As a former manager in the business world, and now teacher and mother, my leadership philosophy is and has always been “never ask anyone to do something you are not willing to do yourself.” Think about it. If you are a leader, do you place yourself above others in order to be elevated in status and importance? Would YOU want to serve under your leadership? Would YOU want to be a child in your house or a student in your classroom? How do YOU make people who serve under you FEEL?

But I am challenging myself, and you, Christ following friends, to take this a little bit further by asking every day, “Whose feet can I wash today? Who will you place in front of me today, Lord, that desperately needs Your love in the middle of their ugly? Where will you use this leadership influence THAT YOU’VE ENTRUSTED TO ME (because, let’s face it, if God didn’t allow you to be in this position of leadership, you wouldn’t be there and neither would I) to serve others and not myself today?”

Humble us, Lord. Humble our hearts, humble our nation. Humble our church and community leaders. Humble our president. Humble our husbands and wives and parents to serve each other in love – your love. Amen.

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:14-17

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin

The Wedding Dress

972282_10152873603955487_1581824811_n               I have been on the hunt for a wedding dress for about a month now. My son proposed to a wonderful young lady on the 28th day of February, and since then both her family and ours have been on a hunt for the perfect dress. She had bought one earlier but it just wasn’t what she wanted. A few weeks ago I had the privilege of going shopping with her and her family down in Tulsa and we looked in bridal stores all over the area and couldn’t find anything she liked. She even tried on a gorgeous $3000.00 dress that looked as if it had been hand crocheted and still, nothing was right. She had searched the Tulsa area over and not found anything she was in love with.  Her mother, and I myself, have searched the internet looking at sites of new and used dresses, trying to find “just the right one”, with no luck.

So when she informed me that she and my son were coming to Kansas City for a few days, I suggested (ever so gently) that we go wedding dress shopping. I knew what her budget was so I began calling stores, only to find out there was nothing on the rack at that price. So, I began to call consignment stores and was directed to a consignments shop just for weddings and formal wear.

Early Saturday morning we were at their door. They had tons of wedding dresses. Some preserved in the boxes, some hanging up; some with stains, some without; some had big giant bows in the back with long puffy sleeves, others had no sleeves at all.  Some were A-line skirt, others were form fitting.  Some were white and others were ivory. She had decided on a dress when, as we were taking our purchase to the front of the store, we found another rack with four more dresses she was interested in. So back we went to the dressing room and  she tried them on.

We ALL fell in love with one of the dresses: the price was right, the color was right, and the fit was almost perfect. The only thing it lacked was a train flowing in the back. I suggested we take it to my seamstress and have her add one. She also decided she really wanted a lace up back and so we thought the seamstress could add that as well. Before we walked out of the store, I already had an appointment with my seamstress and we went straight from the dress store to the material store to the seamstress.  By adding the few little touches she wanted to the dress, she is going the have the perfect wedding dress for a fraction of the cost.

This got me thinking: those dresses are a lot like people in this world. We are all different and we each have been through different experiences, just as those dresses have. We each have our own story to tell, just as those dresses could. Some of us even feel a little let down and abused; maybe we are a little worn out. If those dresses could talk maybe they would even tell us they feel like they have been abandoned.

But like every one of the dresses purchased at that consignment shop, when Jesus comes into our lives – we are made brand new. We are cared for and loved like never before. We have a new purpose! We may even get a new look because God, the designer and seamstress of our lives, mends us back together or adds just the final perfect touch that is needed. Just like the seamstress cutting out parts of my future daughter-in-law’s dress, removing and then replacing them with others, God sometimes does that in our lives when  we allow Him  to come into it. If we totally give our life to Him, He usually encourages us through life circumstances to let Him make a few alterations.

Oh, at the time we may not feel loved by our Heavenly Father; those changes may be painful that He does, but the changes will be for the better. I hope you know that, just as we wait with great anticipation to get the dress back from the seamstress, God is waiting for you to follow the directions He has given you. He is excited, because you are His bride and He loves you!