Thursday, October 27, 2011

Is God Laughing?

This morning I arose around 6:20 am, made breakfast for the hubby, read the paper, showered, and got dressed to meet someone at 8:15.  She and I were going to ride together to a corporation to meet with their HR staff in preparation for training I’m providing in January.  After sitting in the parking lot for aboutText messaging on a blackberry 15 minutes, I began wondering if I had the time right.  Was I supposed to meet her at 9:15?  I called her, got voice mail and left a message.  I waited another 10 minutes or so.  Hmmm, perhaps I forwarded her e-mail about the meeting to my husband…if so, maybe he kept it.  I called him and got his voice mail.  Now what…if I returned home, I would miss her.  (Note to self: Having a blackberry, Iphone or Ipad might have come in handy to check my e-mail and confirm the time.) 

A few minutes later my contact called.  Not only did I have the time wrong, but I also had the WRONG date!  Sheesh, my day was not getting off to a good start as after the meeting I planned to stop by a department store to pick up a sale item.  It was too early for the store to be open, so I headed back home.

Around 1:00, I went to the department store and found the sale item, although there was no sale tags.  I grabbed the item and wondered around the store to see if I wanted anything else.  Then I noticed that the sale notices were covered indicating that the sale hadn’t begun yet.  I looked at the flyer I had with me.  The sale wasn’t scheduled to begin until 3:00 p.m.  Just great!  I got the time WRONG… again!   As I headed home back home, I was kicking myself (mentally of course, because after all, I was driving!).  Then it occurred to me to check the flyer once more.  Not only did I have the time wrong, I also had the WRONG date!  The sale is tomorrow at 3:00.  Well, the good thing was I didn’t end up back at the store to find this out.  I thanked God for that and the thought occurred to me.  Is God laughing at me? 

I thought why shouldn’t He laugh?  He probably began laughing when I got dressed because  in His omniscience He knew the meeting wasn’t today.  He saw me leaving my home to go to the store.  He knew the sale wasn’t today and that I had the date and time WRONG!  The thought of God laughing made me laugh.  I could/should have checked my e-mail yesterday to confirm the time of the meeting, which would have helped me realize I had the date WRONG.  I could/should have confirmed the sale date from the flyer.  The only person I could be upset with is myself.  Thinking of  God laughing helped me put the situation into the right perspective; laughter was a better emotion than getting bent out of shape because of my own failings.   

view detailsYes, I think God was laughing, not at me, but with me!  I believe He has a sense of humor because He gave us a sense of humor.  And you know what?  I get joy from laughing with God.   I’ll go to the sale tomorrow, but I’m glad I got a chance to laugh with God today.  When was the last time you laughed with God?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Always Saying Good-Bye

Cartoon of a Sad Woman Waving Goodbye with a Hanky clipartWhen my daughter was a freshman in college, my husband and I attended Parents Weekend shortly after the semester began.  She stayed with us at the hotel during our visit.  Before heading home, we dropped her off at her dorm.  As she is the baby of our family, I thought I’d have the ‘empty nest’ syndrome when she left for college, but surprisingly I didn’t.  However, when I hugged her good-bye after our college visit, I was overwhelmed with sadness.  Just a few weeks earlier, we had vacationed in Germany with our son and his family where they were stationed.  I knew that, while my daughter would return home for summer break, it wouldn’t be long before she too would eventually leave our home town.  I realized then that this was how it was going to be…always saying goodbye to our children. 

That time arrived this past January when she moved with her daughter, my youngest grandchild, to Texas to be with her Air Force husband, too far away for me to get to by car.  You can imagine my joy when they relocated in May to Virginia, a more doable drive!

I was going to go to Virginia for my daughter's birthday, but decided it would be better for her to come home with our granddaughter who can fly free until she's two.  Monday I took them to the airport for their flight back to VA.  The sadness I felt years ago when I was leaving my daughter at college struck me again especially because her family won't be here for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  With my son in Kuwait, his family is going to his in-laws for Christmas.  I should mention a year after my marriage, my stepsons moved out of town with their mother.  Perhaps if I had at least one child and grandchild in town, I wouldn’t get so sad about these departures. 

Yesterday, I attended a funeral.  My cousin-in-law had to say good-bye to her last sibling.  To compound her grief, just two years ago, she had to bid farewell to her second child.  Her surviving child, who lives out of state, was unable to attend the funeral.  Today, I attended the funeral for a childhood friend’s father.  Her mother passed away a few years ago.  As sad as I am when I say good-bye to my children, I haven’t yet faced the type of good-bye that my cousin-in-law or my friend had this week.  My parents, siblings, and children are living.  I don’t know why God has spared me for so long, but I’m grateful.  I’m grateful that He not only knows what I can bear, but He knows WHEN I can bear whatever He allows to cross my path.  I know that through the faith He’s building in me and the love and help of family and friends, I will be able to bear every future good-bye.  The same faith He's given me is available to you.  And that gives me joy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

So I Thought, Count It All Joy

Early yesterday morning I made a trip to Walgreens to print pictures I had taken of new members to post on our church bulletin board today.  Before heading to Walgreens, I uploaded the pictures onto my computer and then transferred them to a flash drive (or so I thought).  My goal was to print the pictures, hit two grocery stores, head back home to bake cookies for my son stationed in Kuwait, and get them in the mail before the post office closed.
 When I got to Walgreens, no one else was using the photo printer, Great, I thought, especially since one of the printers was "out of order."  I can print my pictures and be outta here in 5 minutes!  Soooooo, why were the pictures not on my flash drive?  I had doublechecked to be sure they were loaded (or so I thought).  As I left Walgreens, I was annoyed.  I could feel myself getting upset about the time I had wasted.  As I headed to the grocery store to purchase items necessary for the cookies I was planning to bake, I could feel a mini depression coming on.  This snag in my plans was threatening to mess up my entire day (or so I thought).  I began arguing with myself, telling myself to not let this little bump in the road get me down.  But it wasn't working; before I knew it, all kinds of negative thoughts began swirling in my head.

There's a song I play in the car when I feel my spirit crashing.  I use the CD repeat button to hear the song over and over until it permeates my mind and being.  It calms me, soothes me, reminds me of His Word in James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  Negative thoughts were certainly trying my patience.  So I turned to my old standby.  It worked.  I went to both grocery stores, baked the cookies with my daughter (and granddaughter playing in the background), baked a pound cake for a bereaved family, took the cookies to the post office (I was their last customer), swung by Penneys to purchase some clothes for my granddaughter, and went to the Military Support Group meeting!  Satan didn't win this battle!  When I woke up this morning, my standby song was playing in my head.  Perhaps hearing "Count It All Joy" by Tarralyn Ramsey might help you too.

If you type in the words Count It All Joy on, I guarantee you'll find songs that will lift your spirit, such as The Winans singing "The evil one will come and will try to take away your gladness, even when it seems that He's won, We ought to claim the victory.  Give praises in everything and in everything count it all joy, even when it seems to hard to.  No, He'll never give you more than you can handle.  Meanwhile, you can meditate on the lyrics to Tarralyn Ramsey's song:
Verse 1 When you're going through, and you don't know what to do,
When the fire gets too high, don't draw nigh.
Hold your head up high and be of good cheer.
All you need to know, you're deliverance is here.

CHORUS count it all joy, count it all joy,

Verse 2 I know you sit and ask yourself so many times,
why does it seem like I am losing my mind.
As I sit and reminisce on all that I've been through,
I'm realizing its not about me but about You

(repeat chorus)

Remember, count it ALL joy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Can't Put My Finger On It

finger.gifI can't quite put my finger on...  This is all I wrote as I began to blog on September 22.  I had jotted notes to myself about blog topics but I only blogged once in September.  The other day a good friend asked why haven't I blogged lately.  I told her I couldn't focus: mom hadn't been well, I was on a couple church committees, had some stuff on my mind, all excuses.     

In my women's bible study, we've been focusing on priorities, devotion and allegiance.  I want this blog to be a priority in my life because my goal has been to provide spiritual encouragement for others (as well as myself).  I'm determined to get back to what I committed to do.  I can always find an excuse to avoid blogging.  But I want to blog.  I want to share how the Lord is blessing me and how He can and will bless my readers.  Last week's bible lesson asked the question: What is your big struggle, causing you to look back and not move forward in your desire to follow Christ?  I responded: My struggle is not causing me to look back.  My struggle is in the present, including ‘being here now.’  Giving Jesus my all, putting 100% of my focus on being in His will, doing what He wants me to do, focusing my time on service and not wasting it whether it be on the computer, watching TV or anything that keeps me from being fully dedicated to Him. 

I want my agenda to be whatever His agenda is for me.  This week I could use the excuse that my 17-month old granddaughter is visiting from Virginia.  But I want to be devoted to Him, so I'm keeping my commitment.  I hope that in sharing my struggle, you'll think about what is your big struggle  - what's keeping keeping you from moving forward in your desire to follow Christ.  If you can't put your finger on it, spend time meditating on His Word and talking with Him.  Then commit to moving forward by focusing on Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.    Remember: 2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodnessDoesn't this give you joy!