The Inspection

The Inspection

Do you have any traditions in your home? Oh! I mean, more than just what you do at Christmas, or Thanksgiving? I mean the subtle things that happen and you may not even realize it. These things come from who you are deep inside and often from your habits and the standard of which you were raised.

 

We have one of those at our house, it is now in the 3rd generation in our family. ,You see,  my father-in-law Trammel Miller was an amazing contractor and his standards were so high all that worked for him called him the “piano man”,  because if you tune pianos you have to be a perfectionist and that is exactly what Trammel was.

 

Thus, when he came to our home, after Jeff and I were first married,  if there was something that was not maintained to Trammels standard, he would give Jeff that,  “I am disappointed with you son” Look. The look may be followed by a few intriguing questions of exactly why it wasn’t this taken care of up to the “Trammel Miller Standard” .

 

The funny thing is, there was no handbook that told my husband that this inspection would come, no official notice was sent ahead of time, verbal or otherwise. My husband just knew, if his dad was coming over to visit,  he would rush around, getting those last minute honey do list items I had for him done. Sometimes he would go back over and check what he had done,  to assure it met the expectation of Trammel Miller.

 

And even funnier thing today, is that Lee Miller now does the same thing his father did,  all those years ago when we were first married. Trammel is now celebrating his anniversary of being in heaven 4 years this month, and we all know he is running the construction crew of angels,  who are building our mansions in heaven, because that is just Trammel Miller, and God needed Trammel up there because of his perfectionism.

 

See when we now call our son to let him know we will be visiting, his family in Tulsa, it isn’t uncommon to hear Lee tell his dad. “Well, I’ve got to go so, I can get done before you get here to make sure I pass inspection when you come. ” We often laugh about it as a family but the premise is the same.

 

You see there as been a standard set that my sons automatically knows their father expects of them and that got me thinking, isn’t that just like our Heavenly Father?

 

There is a standard that has been set by our Heavenly Father who will soon be coming to visit,  and if we don’t meet that inspection, we are not gonna pass, and we won’t make it to heaven.

 

The difference is, we have been given a handbook with every detail we need to know of what He expects and it is called the bible. We have even been given a family to help us understand what He expects and that is called the church. God has even sent a helper called the Holy Spirit to help us while we are here on earth to help us choose to do the right thing.

 

So the bottom line is,  we have no excuse for not following the directions, God has laid out for us. Everyone of us can pass the inspection that is coming, but it is up to us.  

 

My boys could not care, what their father thinks when he comes to visit. They could ignore standards they have been raised with and choose to walk away from. But they realize their father loves them and wants the best for them. They know, their dad would give his life for them and only expects these things,  because he wants the best for them and believes in them and loves them. Because of their fathers age, he has more knowledge and wisdom then they do and can often tell how things are going to turn out, because he has had the same problems, been in the same situations, and doesn’t want his kids to go through what he has been through.

 

The same is with our Heavenly Father. God loves you and He wants the best for you. He has given us all the tools we need. The question is, are you using them? Will you pass the inspection with your Heavenly Father when He comes? Take the tools He has given us and use them. Don’t hesitate to ask your Heavenly Father for help. After all, that is what a good good Father does!

 

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10, 2 and 4 Baby

10, 2 and 4 Baby

I have always been a night owl and hated going to bed. I think it is because I was afraid I would miss something. I remember my mom used  to call me her 10, 2 and 4 baby because I would wake up at 10pm, 2am and 4am. I think I finally wore my parents down because, by the time I got to be a teenager  my father made me a deal and told me that as long as I got up the first time he called me in the morning. I could stay up as long as I wanted at night. So as soon as I would hear my dad call my name in the morning I would jump up out of the bed as quickly as possible calling back to him “ I am up! I am up!” just so he would know that I was up,  and I wouldn’t have to go to bed early the next night.

 

I will never forget one night, as a teenager, my parents let me have one of my friends spend the night. About 2am we decided we were hungry so we started cooking. Of, course my parents had long been in the bed but I didn’t think they would mind. So, my friend and I looked in the refrigerator and discussed what were were going to have and we debated about eggs, but went with something else. I don’t remember what we decided, but whatever it was must’ve started smelling good, because my dad showed up from the other end of the house, in the kitchen half asleep and as he opened the door to the hallway that  separated the kitchen/family room from the rest of the house, he hollered out at us “ I am gonna break you from sucking eggs” and with that my friend and I looked at each other and said “ I thought we decided not to have eggs?” as we burst into laughter my dad turned around and went back to bed. I still believe to this day he must of been talking and walking in his sleep.

 

Of course, it was a weekend,  so I didn’t have to get up early the next day. But that didn’t stop me from making sure when my dad did call, I was right out of the bed as soon as I heard his voice the next Monday when it was time to go back to school.

 

All that got me thinking, Do you have your ear tuned in listening for your Heavenly Father’s voice? Are you looking for His return and ready to go as soon as He calls?  The bible tells us that Jesus will return one day to take us to heaven, but He will only be taking those who are looking and living for Him. The bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 ESV

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

 

I don’t know about you,  but I want to always be ready to go when the Lord returns. I want to be listening for His voice. Just like I was listening for my father’s voice when I woke up every in the mornings. I wanted to be ready and not late because I knew if I missed it, there would be a consequence to pay. Just as there will be if we miss Jesus return.

 

But how do we make sure we won’t miss HIs return? Well, Romans 3:23  tells us that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”It is as simple as A,B,C  Admit that you are a sinner, (Romans 10:9-10) Believe in Jesus Christ and Commit your life to Him. start, going to a bible believing church, start making Him a part of your everyday life, by talking to Him in prayer and letting Him talk to you through His word.

 

It is only when we know, Christ then we will know His voice. We can’t hear Him if we don’t know His voice. I knew my daddy’s voice and I listened for it. We need to listen for our Heavenly Father’s voice so not only when He calls us to heaven, but every day He talks to us too and has a plan for our life and that plan is more than give your life to Him and go to Heaven.

 

There is something He has planned for us everyday. He wants us to be a part of our everyday life and has a mission for us here on earth before He comes back. For some it is to love others that can’t be loved, for some it is to give more to help others, for others, it is to make a difference in someone else’s life. We won’t know what He has in store for us until we get to know Him and we can’t get to know Him until we surrender our lives to Him and choose to follow after Him.

 

See, I knew  my daddy I spent time with my daddy, and I did everything I could to please my daddy. So, the question is, do we do the same for our Heavenly Father, If you haven’t I highly suggest that you do because you don’t want to miss His voice when He calls you to come to heaven. I think you want your answer to Christ to be the same as mine to my dad “ I am up! I am up!”

The Not So Perfect Couple!

Recently, Jeff and I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary. On Facebook, I posted a video I had asked our daughter to put together a couple years ago which reflected so much of our past. But, as I watched it this year, it seemed incomplete to me. Oh, sure, there were the pictures of Jeff and me from our teen years; pictures of us dressed up so much we could have gone to a prom. (We never did though; that’s a long story for later.) Pictures of our honeymoon; pictures of Jeff, headed to the airport to leave me for nine long months to go to the Philippines with the USAF, after being married for just three weeks; pictures of our babies, from birth till now. And, all that caused a plethora of memories to rush in.  

But honestly, it all looked a little fake to me – or maybe I should say, the premise of it all made us appear to be something that we aren’t.  We aren’t “Perfect”! What you didn’t see in that video is the tears that have been cried over loved ones dying, infertility, the extended childhood illness we went through with our son, the learning disabilities,  the financial infidelity,  the rejection of our extended family, emotional infidelity, homelessness, joblessness, the harsh words said to each other, and the tender moments when forgiveness came. You didn’t see the 13 moves we made – in three states and two countries – and the 18-plus jobs Jeff had to support us.
The “perfect pictures” you see on the video aren’t what makes our life perfect. What does make our life perfect for me, is knowing that Jeffrey Miller knows the worst of me and still chooses to find the best in me. It is knowing that, no matter how aggravating I am to that man, I know he would give His life for me! It is the times we have stood together through the trials and prayed together. It is the times that we couldn’t stand to be in the same room with each other, but God’s grace brought us together once again.
See, the video, which makes our life appear perfect, is just a perception. If anyone had been a fly on the walls of our lives for the last 36 years, they would never say, “This is a ‘Perfect Couple!’” No, they would be scratching their heads, asking, “How did this young couple, who met at the ages of 13 and 16, even make it down the aisle, let alone still stand together 32 years later?”
But i am here to proclaim, it is simply by the grace of God! There is nothing good within either of us that deserves the grace that God has given us, let alone the grace we have received from each other. God’s faithfulness has completed us and, without that grace, we would not have had the stamina it has taken to stick out this life-long commitment we made some 32 years ago.
Were their times we wanted to quit? You bet! The odds were stacked against us, yet we still prevailed; not in ourselves, but in the strength of God. There were days when we could not have taken another step in this relationship if it wasn’t for the grace of God, carrying us through. But God directed our steps and saw us through. He is the One who gave us the strength to try it one more day.
In this day and age, when the sanctity of marriage is being attacked all around us, we must remember that the only way we can make it another 32 years is not in the strength that we have within ourselves, but it is only through the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ.
In our first 32 years of marriage, we have learned that love is not a feeling, but a choice; an action; a verb. It isn’t about what we feel, but it is about what we know and then, what we do!
Yes, love is a choice, and I am so glad that through it all, we made that choice! Even when it was a tough one! So don’t let the pretty pictures on Facebook deceive you. There isn’t a couple that has been married for very long that won’t tell you that they have all had their struggles and their trials. The only difference in the outcome is the choices they made.
So I encourage you: whatever issue you are having right now with the person you love, remember, “Love is a choice.” I will also give you some amazing advice that a good friend of mind gave me – after she had almost lost her marriage – when I was in the hardest part of our marriage, and was ready to walk out the door. She told me, “All I can tell you, Alesa, is this: If you will hang in there and not quit, it will be worth it – I promise!”  She was right. It was those words that God used through her that encouraged me to stay one more day and is why we are where we are today.
So hang in there, don’t quit! I promise, “it will be worth it!!”

Lost, But Now I am Found

Although Amy has lived for 13 of her 19 years of life in the Kansas City area, it now appears that, unless it had something to do with going shopping, she hasn’t paid much attention to where we were going in the car! She can’t really tell you how she got to a place; she just recognizes that she is there – unless you are in the mall. She knows where everything is in the mall, and can give you directions to any store in there!

Never was this so apparent as when she headed out for a job interview. Her father and I had warned her not to take the highway because this trip would be during rush hour. Well, she was determined to do what she normally does: just put the address to wherever she is going in her GPS and take off! And, sure enough, on this particular day, there was a bad accident that had the highway backed up. Because she had an appointment to get to, she decided to get off the highway and take the side streets to get there. When she did, somehow she got turned around and headed back in the opposite direction. Because her GPS continued to try to direct her back to the highway, Amy called me in a panic. So, as her father and I are looking on the computer trying to find where she is to give her directions to get her headed back the right way, she is saying, “I am never driving again, I am done! I can’t do this.” Amy was ready to give up before she even completed the task.

Amy was ready to give up before she even completed the task.

 

 

This got me thinking…. Isn’t that a lot like us and our walk with God? We can be following the directions He has given us, and for some reason get confused about the direction we are going and become lost! Even though it is sometimes only for a few minutes, we can get frustrated and afraid on this new path we are on and are ready to throw our hands up in the air and say, “Forget this! I can’t do it!” and go back to the safe place where we are comfortable. But God is wanting to take all of us to a new level with Him and that doesn’t mean we are going to be comfortable. In fact, most of the time, He stretches us to the most UN-comfortable place we think we can be in at the time, and although everything within us may be screaming, “Go Back! Go Back!” God is calling us to “Go Forward!” He says, “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Gods Word – Matthew 11:28

God wants us to come to Him with our problems our worries, our concerns, and trust Him to work it all out. Amy’s father and I finally directed her onto the right path and the whole process only took about 5 minutes. But how many times do we wander for hours, days, weeks, because we are unwilling to ask for help as soon as we realize we are lost. We become afraid because we don’t know where we are. We fail to call on the One with the aerial view of the situation. Her father and I could see a bigger picture on the computer map then Amy could while in the middle of her crisis.

If only we could all just learn to turn to God as soon as we realize we are off the path we should be taking! Like Jeff and I looking on the computer’s aerial view, God can see what is ahead and will guide and direct us to the place He wants us to be. As I told Amy, “Don’t focus on how you got turned around! It is easy to do and we all have done it! Just focus on the fact that you figured it out quickly and you now know where you are going.” So many times we can get too caught up in perfectionism in every step we take in life, instead of enjoying the process.  We forget God isn’t looking for someone perfect. He is looking for someone who will walk with Him through this life

 

We forget God isn’t looking for someone perfect. He is looking for someone who will walk with Him through this life

 

Today, I hope this challenges you to ask yourself, “Where am I in this process of life? Am I taking the next steps to go on to a higher level of trusting God?” If He is asking you to do something that you have never done before, let me encourage you to do take that step of faith. Dip your big toe in the sea that lies before you and watch God part it! If you will only take the first step, He will see you through!!