New Years Resolutions…. New Life

New Years Resolutions…. New Life

It’s a New Year and with New Years usually comes New Years Resolutions. One of the most popular resolutions is “To lose weight”.  My family has battled the “Battle of the bulge for all our lives” Some people say, weight issues are hereditary and others say it is environmental or learned behaviors. Looking back on my life, I have always had friends that didn’t have any weight issues. They could eat anything and look good no matter what, while at the same time, I could just smell what they were eating and would gain 10lbs. And let me tell you it hasn’t gotten any easier since I hit my last couple of Birthdays. Turning 29 years old for the 23rd time is so not easy!

Each of my skinny friends have encouraged me,  they give me suggestions, work out with me, walked me through diets and for a time, I totally change my lifestyle and I see some positive results for a season. But sooner or later,  I slowly go back to what I am comfortable with and my old habits take over. Then my friends basically give up on me. Sometimes, we talk a little less, after that, other times they just drop the subject with me when we are together. I realize it is a sensitive subject and one most don’t want to tread. So I understand but I gotta be honest, some days I just want that friend who will take me by the hand and sometimes drag me to do what is right.

This got me thinking….. See in the 40 plus years of ministry my husband and I have been in, I think I know how my skinny friends feel when I fail at my new diet plan. Countless times my husband and I have reached out to someone who wasn’t following Christ, or often someone who wants help reaches out to us. I can’t tell you how many times we have come along side our friend encouraged them, and pointed them in the right direction. They start coming to church, going to bible study, we hang out, they accept Christ as their Savior. They begin to change their ways, giving up their old habits and following after what Christ would want for them to do. They start dying to themselves and we begin to see God do great things for them, and then it seems like they hit a wall. They slowly drop out of church or they start to come periodically. They drop out of bible study, and slowly but surely they go back to their old ways. They lose their passion.

This reminds me of a guy in the bible who lost his passion. See David was a King who as a young boy was a fierce warrior. Sure he hung out in the field with the sheep (the lowest of jobs a the time)  but that didn’t discourage him, he knew his job was important so he would practice his warrior moves, slinging the sling shot I can see him using his walking stick as a sword and waving it in the air toward the imaginary opponent. The bible tells us he was honored all around the country as a warrior, they even sung a song about him.  But, one day several years later he is home, he stays home from a battle that he is suppose to be at and he gets in trouble. Why? because he lost his passion. He got distracted. You can read about him in the books of 1 & 2 Samuel, he ends up losing a son, murdering a man. But yet the bible calls him a man after God’s own heart, not only once in the bible but twice. 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22. Why? Because over in Psalms scholars say that he wrote these words after he made all those mistakes. ” Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10.

I don’t know about you but in my life I have made some mistakes, not that my laziness of not working out when I should or failing to meal prep correctly is going to send me to hell, but it does stop me from having the abundant life that I could have. Just like my friends who fall away and return to some of their old ways. They aren’t able to live the abundant life God has planned for them.

I don’t know if you have ever lost your passion for something, but static’s show that by the end of January the fitness clubs aren’t as full as they were on January 1 and I am willing to bet there is something you have lost your passion for. I am even willing to bet maybe your aren’t serving Christ with the same vigor and determination you once had. You have gotten lazy in your personal bible study. You have been laxed at going to church, maybe you have even given up on God because something happened that you just didn’t understand why. Let me encourage you to get back to giving God 150% of you! Let’s make this New Year the Year we go all the way.


I Came Kicking and Screaming All The Way To Kansas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?




The Miller Family Christmas Tradition

The Miller Family Christmas Tradition

At our house, Christmas morning is a very special day. We have some very specific traditions and have had for some 30 yrs now. You see when our oldest was about 2 years old my husband requested a Santa Suit for Christmas from my mother. She was an expert seamstress so this request was a no-brainer for my momma. She sat down and whipped up a full-fledged Santa Suit for Jeff with all the trimmings.  Every year since then it has been our tradition that none of the kids can get out of their bed until Santa wakes them up on Christmas morning. This rule came in especially handy the year we slept in and didn’t get the presents placed under the tree before the kids woke up. So Jeff and I woke called from to hear each child screaming from their bed ” Mom, Dad can we get up now? ” To which Jeff and I sprang out of the bed, I headed to put the gifts under the tree as Jeff was jumping in his Santa Suit. All while we are hollering back  to them” NO!” Stay in your room!  You have to wait for Santa to comes in and gets you”

Jeff dresses in his suit, beard and all then goes into each child’s room saying “Ho, Ho, Ho,  Merry Christmas”, “It’s time to get up and open presents” as I follow along ringing the Jiggle Bells and of course videotaping each one. We as a family follow Santa to the living room.  After we have all gathered around the tree. Santa brings out the bible and begins to read the Christmas story explaining to the children what the true meaning of Christmas really is all about. Following the reading of the Christmas Story, I bring out some sort of cake and we all sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Then Santa begins to hand out the presents, afterward Santa tells the children he has to leave and they all hug him and say goodbye.  A few minutes later Jeff comes in acting like he just woke up and the children with all their excitement tell daddy what he just missed. Then we begin opening up presents taking turns one by one.

Now you may not care what our Christmas Tradition is, or even approve of it but frankly, I don’t really need your approval or care if I have it. Because for us it worked. See my kids didn’t grow up believing in Santa they grew up believing in daddy. You see,  it wasn’t long before they figured it out by the voice and his hands etc. that they realized the man behind the beard was their daddy.

I’ll never forget the year my daughter came to me and asked “Okay! I know who Santa is and I know who the Easter Bunny is, but who is the tooth fairy?” To which I responded to her with a look like “Hello? Do I really need to tell you this?” With shock and amazement in her eyes, she exclaimed ” DADDY?” and I replied ” Yep, and you should see him in his pink tutu!” We both burst out laughing because of course, Jeff doesn’t have a pink tutu. but the picture in our head of him in one was hysterical!

See the fact is we always want to make Christ the center of our Christmas, but we also know we live in a world full of sin and this world tends to twist what God intended to be good. We knew there was no way, we would be able to keep the notion of Santa out of our kids world. So instead of trying to fight it,  or stick our head in the sand and ignore it, we used it to our advantage. We let the idle of this world defuse the lie that is told. Oh! do I think Santa is a sin? No, but I do think it is important to keep the Christ in Christmas,  and our kiddo’s and now our grands are reminded of that every year!

See, when there was that awkward stage for Christmas in our family life when we only had teens and twenties in the house at Christmas time, Santa still came in and woke them up, (Okay, most of the time he had to insist they get up because you know how teenagers like to sleep)  and he may not have worn the whole suit. (Okay! the only part of the suit he wore for a few years was the hat!) But that reminder was there every year! Even in their teen and twenty years, they were reminded as we would drag the kids to the tree and they would snuggle up on the couch and close their eyes cause they really wanted to be back in their beds. They still heard the Christmas story or at least most of it! The fact is I don’t want to paint some Norman Rockwell Christmas for you, where you imagine from birth to today they have all eagerly gotten up and sat attentively on the edge of their sit each year,  just waiting for the Christmas Story to be read and presents opened. No! We are real people and some years were more exciting than others but the fact was we never gave up doing what we knew was right and that is keeping Christ first. But through it all and now that they are in their 20’s and 30’s those same kids can practically quote the whole Christmas story, yes even if it is with their eyes closed snuggled on the couch.

I guess the question today is, what are you doing to keep Christ first in your life. Not just on Christmas day, but every day of the year. Because the truth is, it is way harder and much more important to keep Christ first the other 364 days a year. See in this day and age, I see a lot of people claiming to believe in Christ, saying they’re a Christian and even professing their love for Him. But in those same lives, I don’t see any fruit coming from them. You know the fruits of the Spirit, like Love, Joy, Peace, Patience etc…. .  I don’t see them professing every week like we do each Christmas that Christ is first in their life by attending church somewhere. You know just like our kids there were times they didn’t want to get up and there were many times as young children they just wanted to forget the story and head straight to the presents. I think that is a lot like some of us are today. We just want to skip living the life that is pleasing to God and go straight to opening the present, of going to heaven. Without paying the price of living for Christ. But Christ paid the ultimate price, and that was He gave His life for us. See, I am here to tell you that just because you say you love God and just because you say you believe in Him doesn’t guarantee you a place in Heaven. See Matthew 7:21:23 tells us that “Not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter Heaven” there are going to be people that stand before God and He is going to tell them, “Depart from me I never knew you” When we know God we want to act in a way that is pleasing to Him and that usually means doing somethings sometimes that we don’t want to do. Like loving people that are unloveable or just stop talking so the argument doesn’t go any further and that means getting up out of the bed on Sunday mornings whether we feel like it or not and proclaiming Christ is first in my life and being a living example doing it. So I don’t know what your doing to keep Christ first this Christmas but my real hope and His is that you keep Him first all 365 days of the year!

I Know There Has Got to be Another Present Here Somewhere

I Know There Has Got to be Another Present Here Somewhere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No!!! Not the Piggy!!

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

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

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

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