Life

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We live it daily. We are in it. It’s life. This week I had two friends lose their mothers. One of the mothers was also my friend so I lost a friend. Another amazing woman of God who led my table at Bible Study for a few years just found out she has aggressive cancer. Another friend will be out of a job in 2 weeks due to a layoff from financial issues and he worked at this church for almost 30 years. Life is hard.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  – Matthew 4:45b NIV

Just because we know Jesus, we aren’t immune to the hardships of life. We are, however, better equipped to handle it. Well, we aren’t but He is. We have all of His power, strength, might, patience, love and more at our fingertips. The Holy Spirit, who lives in the believers of Jesus Christ, is our guide. How else could we handle all that life throws at us?

I feel so sad when my friends who don’t know Jesus hit hard times. They don’t have the hope we have. They don’t have the help we have. They don’t have the same tools. There are tools the world offers that can help. Counselors, self-help tips, eating well, resting, and more. I use those tools as well. Yet ultimately, my peace comes from God.

Yesterday the sermon at church was on not being ashamed of the gospel. With so much pain and hurt in our lives and the lives of our friends, we can’t be ashamed of the gospel. We need it and our friends desperately need it. So tell someone about Jesus today. I am sure they need to hear it. Whether you are reminding them of their faith or teaching them something new about the God who loves them unconditionally, do it. A simple statement of “Jesus loves you more than I do” will help. Or pray with someone. Or hug them and whisper “you are loved beyond measure by God.” Give hope. Give truth. Give the good news. Jesus is alive and lives in those who believe. We all need this hope.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Our Father

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Today is Father’s Day. Today may be a day where you are celebrating your earthly father. You may have a dad who is awesome. My dad is funny, intelligent and there when you need him. He’s not a big hugger and rarely says I love you. He doesn’t deal with emotions and gets you to stop crying by distracting you with something else. He worked hard for 30+ years at the same company until he retired. He’s friendly and liked by everyone who meets him. He’s a good dad. I am grateful. Maybe you have a dad who wasn’t so great or maybe he was a terrible human being. I am so sorry. I have a few friends who had that experience. It’s heartbreaking. Today probably stirs up feelings of pain, disappointment, hurt, anger and defeat. Again, I’m so sorry. Maybe your dad passed away. I’m sorry for your loss. You will feel it all over again today. Take time to grieve. There is no timeline to grief. Let yourself think of your daddy on this day.

Regardless of your earthly father situation, I want to encourage you to chose to celebrate Father’s Day differently this year. Let’s focus on our Heavenly Father. God. Jesus’ Dad. Our Father who art in Heaven. By all means, celebrate your earthly father too. He most likely deserves it. Take time today, to focus on God too.

When is the last time you sat and remembered all God has done for you? Today is that day. Take 10-15 minutes (more if you have it) and sit in silence. Then remember. If you want, jot it down in a notebook or on your notes app on your phone. Remember when you were crying and you heard that song on the radio that lifted your heart and gave your peace? That was your Father. Remember when you couldn’t pay your bills and you got a check in the mail you weren’t expecting? That was your Father. Remember when you were walking down a path that wasn’t good for you and your heart told you to stop it and go another way? That was your Father. Remember that hummingbird that landed on the flowers in front of you? That was your Father. Remember….

Once you remember, be grateful. Thank you God. Thank you, thank you, thank you.  He is our good and faithful Father. Your earthly father may have failed you. Everyone’s has in some way. Some in huge ways, others in smaller ways. But God!!!! Never.

God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill? ~ Numbers 23:19 NIV

I love this verse. God acts. He fulfills His promises. He never lies. He doesn’t change His mind. He loves you. He loves me. End of story. We are His precious sons and daughters. Let’s take time to celebrate Him today by remembering and being grateful.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

P.S. Transparency – God just spoke to me while I was writing this blog. I was encouraged on Friday by a new friend to keep writing. I decided I am going to work on my novel again. When I went to get the reference for this verse that I discovered earlier this week, I had no idea it was in Numbers. I am writing a book on Numbers. I had forgotten about it. I truly had until this moment. Thank you God, my Father, for your gentle nudge and guidance. I am blessed. This blog speaks to me. I hope it speaks to you too. God is always at work.

Best Tony Speech – 3 key points to live by

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I love award shows. I have had an Academy Awards Show party for over 30 years. I watch the Grammy Awards, Emmy Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and so on. Last night was the Tony Awards. I adore Broadway musicals so the show gives me a taste of that incredible world of theater. When André De Shields won for Best Featured Actor in a Musical – (Hadestown), his speech stirred my heart. His main three points were:

  1. Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming
  2. Slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be
  3. The top of one mountain is the bottom of the next so keep climbing.

 

I love #1 -Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming. When you are greeted by others, are they glad to see you? If not, consider hanging out less with those people. Find people who are genuinely happy to be with you. I have that with many friends but my Tea Club exemplifies this the best. I love these 4 women. We met years ago in MOPS – Mother’s of Preschoolers and stayed close. We don’t see each other a lot but when we do, we truly light up. All of us light up for one another. I do it for them and they for me. It is a glorious feeling to be greeted that way.

#2 -Slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be. Wow. I always look for the short cut. I want it done, and done quickly, but done well. Slowly makes sure there are no mistakes. It allows you to enjoy the journey. Slowly eventually gets there, just not out of breath and worn out. This one will be hard for me to embrace but I get it!

#3 inspires me – the top of one mountain is the bottom of the next so keep climbing. I like to rest on the mountain top. Sometimes I plan to stay a long time. Not just pitch a tent but build a log cabin and stay. True, after a huge climb and accomplishment, we should allow time to regroup before moving on. The key is, keep moving on. Keep climbing. There is more to achieve. There are others to encourage and inspire. Status quo is staying on mountain number 1. Don’t settle. Go for mountain number 2 then 3 and so on. Keep climbing. This gentleman is 73. He has lived it. He got his first Tony award. Not sure what his next mountain is, but I’m sure he has his sites on one to climb.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9 NIV

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Graduation: the ending before a beginning

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My first born graduates from high school this week. I’ve already cried several times. More to come I’m sure. Many of you may be in the same situation. It’s the season of grads. Whether graduating kindergarten, high school or college, it’s huge. Watching our children take their next step is bittersweet. Being the graduate is bittersweet. Endings are necessary to get to new beginnings. We all know this. The process of walking through an ending is tough.

For the graduate, a feeling of accomplishment is huge. It’s a day of celebration. Everyone acknowledges what you have just done. You are showered in praise, flowers, leis, and Starbucks gift cards. Soak it all in. Let the celebration fill you to the brim. Celebrate yourself too. Treat yourself to a day of pampering or your favorite dessert. It is no small feat.

When you walk into the beginning, the next step, there will be much less fanfare. It’s reality. It’s the process of learning all over again. For college students, it’s learning to do it without mom and dad over your shoulder. For kindergartners, it’s finding a friend on the playground who will eat lunch with you. For college grads, it’s finding a job and maybe supporting yourself financially for the first time. Huge stuff.

You will feel lonely but you aren’t alone.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. – Matthew 28:20

You will be disillusioned but you will stay true to your character.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21

You will feel afraid and overwhelmed but you will overcome.

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. – I John 5:5

For the parents of graduates, it’s our job to remind them Who holds them tight besides us – God. He is with them when we aren’t. He is with them when we are. He has plans for them. He’s will guide and direct them. We need to point them back to Him over and over again. I said this the other week, you aren’t “just praying” for your children. You are praying for them. You are asking God to reveal Himself in new ways to them. Prayer is what you can do always – whether your child is in the room down the hall or in the dorm. Your job is to pray and remind them they are loved by God.

As you walk the path of graduation, endings, this week – hold tight to your loved ones and more importantly, your Father, God.

As you walk the path to next steps, beginnings, – hold tight to your loved ones and more importantly, your Father, God.

As you release your child to the next step – hold tight to your loved ones and more importantly, your Father, God.

Dream Big! Pray Big!