Seeing Life Through the Eyes of a Troubled Girl

BookCoverImage A MomentFor the next few days, I will try to entice you to get your FREE Kindle copy of A Moment in Time, by giving you several reasons why A Moment in Time may be a good book for you to read.  Honesty may not be the best policy in advertising, but it is my policy!  On April 18-22, A Moment in Time will be available FREE in Kindle form. 

I consider it a great responsibility every time I sit at my computer and pound on the keys. Whether it is for a post or a book, I truly consider it a calling of God, or I would not do it!  So, why should you even consider getting your copy of A Moment in Time? Let me share a corner of my heart concerning these books.

Recently, I talked with someone who had read my book, and the comment was made that the book hit too close to home.  This book was not just written to entertain. I write with a purpose, an overwhelming desire to teach, stretch, urge, grow, challenge, convict . . .  Life isn’t just about entertainment and happiness, so, consider the following:

Reason Number One: See Life Through the Eyes of a Troubled Girl

Carrie Spangler is a pastor’s daughter, but she is troubled by two major thoughts:

  • I was a mistake.
  • Am I really saved.

Perhaps one or both of those thoughts give you panic attacks about yourself or someone you love.  Carrie was not a “planned” pregnancy.  Her two older brothers are out of the house by the time Carrie enters junior high, and she rightly senses that her life is interfering with Pastor Spangler’s ambitions. Unfortunately, Pastor Spangler doesn’t handle the situation well.  Instead of dealing with those thoughts, he tries to override them with activity, not willing to face the truth about his little girl.

Honesty in the home is such a vital aspect of parenting.  When we push our true feelings aside instead of dealing with them Biblically, we have no idea how big the problem will get or the fallout that may occur.  “My daughter would never . . .”  What is your guarantee? If you are basing your security on anything but an honest relationship with Jesus Christ, beware!  Do you know your heart?  Are you speaking the truth there? Is your son or daughter speaking the truth as well?  Notice, I did not ask about their appearance or their actions.  I’ve seen “good” kids cover their true feelings because that’s the example they were shown; and I’ve seen “bad” kids display their actions simply because they are trying to get someone’s–anyone’s attention!

Is A Moment in Time a “how to” book on building relationship?  No, but as you read it, may it challenge you to look inside and take a “truth-test” concerning your walk with Jesus!

What is truth? John 18:38

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  John 8:32

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A Divided House Cannot Stand

And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: Matthew 12:25

We typically think of this verse as referring to a home or family–literally, a house divided cannot stand.  Too often, we see the affects of a divided house: a husband and wife run in completely opposite directions until one of them, or even both decide that life would be better if lived apart. Rebellious children expertly divide the home, sowing seeds of discord by their attitudes and actions.  It is a divided house, and woe to them that are trying to function in such a situation.

This weekend the Lord showed me some other areas where life breaks down if it is divided.

You cannot “stand” if you are “divided” against yourself.  That may seem odd, but let me explain.  We are three-part beings, made up of body, soul, and spirit.  As born-again believers, life works best when we allow God’s Spirit to control our minds, which in turn, control or bodies, or fleshly actions.  But what happens when our flesh has a plan of its own?  The Spirit within says, “Read your Bible,” and your will says, “Read your Bible,” but your flesh says, “I want to stay in bed.”  Conflict–a divided “house.”  Suddenly, your life is out of sync, because the Spirit starts convicting your will while your flesh battles for its way, and you are divided against yourself.

You cannot “stand” when you are “divided” against God.   Last week, my computer went on the fritz.  I told myself not to crash and burn: God had allowed it.  I worked hard to get my mind and body under the control of the Spirit; however, when the report came back that it was my hard drive and they would have to “ghost” it, the cost quadrupled.  Still, I worked to maintain a united front. Three days later, the ghosting didn’t work, they would have to wipe it clean, and the cost crossed the two hundred dollar mark!  OR, I could save about a hundred dollars and do some of the work myself. After four failed attempts to communicate with the Dell recorded lady, I decided I needed to put the whole problem on hold and go do something successfully: vacuum out the car.  BUT, when I plugged in the vacuum, it made a hi-pitched squeal and had half the suction power.  That’s when the division happened.  I needed to blame someone.  I  wanted to blame my husband, but he was really innocent and so sympathetic–I had a hard time making him the scapegoat.  So, then it was obviously God’s fault.  After all, He knows my bank account.  He could have avoided this all from happening!

Division now reigned everywhere: my relationship with my spouse, my God and myself!  War was raging and battles were being fought on every front!  What to do?  I did something I’ve never done before.  Before reading my Bible, I scribbled all my woes in my journal in the form of a prayer.  Then I pleaded for God to help me . . .  and He did.  In His gracious ways, He fed me, healed my broken spirit, forgave me, and lead me on my way!

Satan wants to divide and conquer, and he’s an expert at it.  Jesus can restore, and He’s the Master of everything good.  We just need to allow Him to do so.  So, what happened with the computer?  I called the techie and said, “Fix it, please.”  I still don’t have it back, so there might be another post, 🙂 but after making that call, the burden lifted.

 Just do it!  That may be the NIKE theme, but it’s a good one!  Just do what needs to be done, stop stewing, and get on with life!   I know it’s not always that easy, but speaking the truth in your heart and staying submissive to God are great division destroyers!  Satan will happily take just a toehold in any part of our lives, and who wants him to win? 🙂

Empty Nest is for the Birds

ID-100186801Well, it’s official – our last little (or not so little!) bird just flew the nest.  As he said, “Good night. I’ll see you in the morning,” for the last time, a lump came to my throat – the same lump that has been lodging itself there for the past few weeks!

The Lord has been so gracious to me this summer:  Nathan originally was going to start his GAship right after graduation and be gone all summer.  THAT would have been very hard to swallow, especially after I continually consoled myself  while he was away at college that I would have him here this last summer before his wedding.  “Closure, Lord!  I need closure,” became my prayer, and He agreed!  God gave Nathan a different GA at a different school which starts August twenty-second!

The closure is over; tomorrow we head to Illinois for the Saturday wedding and I couldn’t be happier!  As we watching his plane grow smaller and smaller in the sky, I cried.  (Funny story: Actually, I was crying and dying over the wrong plane!  We were just about to leave the parking lot, when  Nathan texted us and said that they were about to take off!  LOL!)  After a visit to Hobby Lobby and a nice supper at Panera Bread, we headed home (listening to “For Men Only” which was recommended by our son!)

It’s been a tense few weeks.  Nathan has a lot on his plate: marriage, new apartment in a new town, graduate school, entrance exams), and although he tried hard not to let his angst spill over into our closure time, he wasn’t always successful!  As we sat watching “Little Men” last night, Tom and I both sighed a happy sigh – and I was a bit surprised!  We made it!  He’s gone and life is going on!

“Empty Nest” IS really for the birds. I don’t know all the ins and outs of bird-parenting, but I don’t think mom and dad bird sip coffee and grow old together after the chicks are gone.  None of us want to see our children leave home (well, maybe that’s not true!!).   WE didn’t relish the thought of any of our children leaving home, but the key to successful empty-nesting is to prepare for it.  It’s a dangerous thing, moms, when our lives are so wrapped up in our children that there is no relationship left with our husbands once the children are gone.  We have focused so much on the kids and their lives that, too often, we leave hubby on the couch to fend for himself with the remote control!

If I could give one word of caution to any married couple, it would be don’t let ANYTHING destroy that love which brought you two together!  Make time for each other at all cost! Keep focused on your man!  My husband often says that the one of the best things that you can do as a parent is love your spouse – he’s right!  (As usual! :))  It might sound as though our motives are selfish: Keep a close walk with hubby so that he’ll be there when you need him.   Even though that is a true statement, the bigger picture is that a marriage that is built on a strong relationship is one of the most alluring pictures that we can paint of God’s working in our lives!  This world needs to see marriages that shout the difference which Christ makes.

And if you’re saying, “It’s too late – we have nothing in common.”  Take time to remember.  What did you do together when you were first married or dating?  What does he like to do?  Shock him and go talk to him while he works on the car, or chops wood, or watches a ballgame (during the commercials!).  Sacrifice a little and see what happens!

Did Jesus know what He would gain when He suffered so in this world and on the cross?  I think so!  I know so, because He knows everything.  He sacrificed, and I gained everything; but He gained as well – He gained my heart, my love, my all!  What will you gain if you “sacrifice” your wants and time for your marriage?  The thought is beyond imagination!

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.  Proverbs 31:11

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DRAMA QUEEN

ID-100122418Drama queen – someone who gets too upset or angry over small problems

Too – more than is needed or wanted; more than is suitable or enough

Small – less in size or amount than is average

It’s amazing what a few little words will do to a definition.  If you take out the words “too” and “small” the definition reads like this: someone who gets upset or angry over problems.  That is NOT a drama queen–that definition probably describes all of us at one time or another.

We’ve all witnessed the antics of a drama queen; perhaps we have even played the part.  So when have we crossed over the line of the suitable amount of anger or upsetness, and why do we get so upset or angry over seemingly small problems?  There are so many angles to this statement!  I can hear you forming them in your mind while you read:

“Well, just because HE thinks it’s a small problem, it’s big to me!”

“HE thinks I’m overly upset if I just blink the wrong way!!”

“SHE just doesn’t get it!”

Look at those statements! Can you see where the focus is?  It’s not on the problem; it’s on HIM or HER and more importantly, on ourselves!  Drama queening boils down to selfishness–it’s all about me.  Sadly, as women, we often feel pushed into this roll.  If only he would … you fill in the blank. Once again, can you see that the focus is all wrong?  Instead of focusing on HIS shortcomings, and if your husband is human, he has them, take an inner look at your actions and reactions, dear one.

My mother was brutal when I was a child–brutally honest!  (Hope you read this one Mom!!)  I LOVED teasing others and still do.  Anyone who knew my father knows that I inherited it from him!  But my teasing often put me in the hot seat of retaliation, and my dear mother would say, “If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out!”  Oh, how those words still ring in my ears!  She was and still is right, and it doesn’t only apply to teasing.  Our marriages and all relationships would do well if we would apply it to every action and reaction.

Sometime, try an out-of-body-experience:  As the argument gets hotter, stand back figuratively and watch the argument, especially your side of it through his eyes.  You’ll be amazed at what you see! Look at the whole picture: the results of your drama queening, the damage happening to your relationship, the caustic fumes destroying the atmosphere of your home.  Is it worth it?

So what is the antidote for drama queening?  God gives us so many of them in His Word because He knows our weak flesh.  He knows how our flesh loves a sharp rebuttal. He knows that we want attention.

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.  OUCH!  Those are NOT the words a drama queen wants to hear, but there is so much truth in them.  James says, Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! (3:5) And verse six gets even tougher: And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

Drama Queening mainly about words and actions, but behind it all is attitude: Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  As born-again believers, we should never take the part of drama queen, because under the mask of overreacting is a heart that is not right with God–a heart that needs to be cleansed by the Word.  Like a wound, our hearts which may have been sliced and diced by another’s drama queening need to be cleansed of the hurt and poison of harsh words and attitudes, or the infection of bitterness will set in and destroy the health of our souls!  The only remedy is the Balm of Gilead!

Two more remedies from the Word:

Proverbs 30:32 If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.

Psalm 141:3 Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.  This little verse was a memory verse for our Children’s Bible Club a few weeks ago and I can’t tell you how many times I needed to recite it to myself that following week!

The Drama Queen’s tongue is truly set on fire from hell, burning completely out of control, causing so much damage to our relationships and our homes, completely destroying the inner peace and joy that we so desperately need when facing our other two enemies: the world and Satan.

The bottom line is this: Is drama queening–feeding our pride, salving our wounds, and defending our rights–worth the disastrous damage done to our loved ones?

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The Ten Commandments and Monopoly?

Tom and I just returned from a wonderful time away.  This time of the year, before the rush of spring activities begin, we often take a few days and “come apart for a while,” so we don’t come apart!  Our favorite get-away place is called Frosty Hollow–a beautiful Bed and Breakfast snuggled into Sweden Valley near Coudersport, PA.  (It really is true that there are more deer than people in Potter County!)

While there, we decided to play a few games that were on the shelf: Tom picked Monopoly.  I cringed!

“But when do we ever get enough time to really play Monopoly,” he asked.

“True.”

And so we pulled down the beautiful Millennium edition of this timeless game and began to play.  Memories flooded my mind: playing it with friends, playing with our children, and playing it as a child.  Funny how some memories are lodged in our brains forever!  As a child, we’d often play the crazy thing for days and leave it set up in the living room.  One very cold morning, we had some of the neighbor kids come and wait for the bus inside our home.  That night, we discovered that some of the playing pieces were missing, never to be found!  (If you knew me, you’d know how I HATE missing pieces of anything!  That’s probably why the memory sticks!)

Anyway, I wasn’t holding out much hope for enjoying the game, but I have to admit–it was fun!  Tom would say that it was because I won, but as I kept thinking about it, I realized it was because we applied the Ten Commandments to the game!

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

That includes yourself!  As mature adults 🙂 we both were concerned with more than just winning or having a great time–we were focused on keeping a right spirit and testimony, even though no one else was watching!  God first, always, even when playing a game!

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.

IT’S JUST A GAME! Our own gloating can become an image that we worship!  Because we were having such a great time, we were able to see our own gloating and laugh; but when someone is busy building their own graven image of themselves, it is hard to stomach. How often do we set up the image of success before anything else: our spouse, our children, our church, our God?

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain;for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

This really had no application to us and Monopoly, but I couldn’t help being reminded of the Master Club’s hint for children to remember this command: WATCH YOUR WORDS!  Obviously, we should NEVER use our God’s name vainly; however, we also need to watch other words and reactions.  Because we were applying the other commandments, this one was not an issue.  I didn’t get mad when I landed on Boardwalk, and Tom didn’t pout because I owned all the railroads.  Healthy banter, yes, but IT’S ONLY A GAME!

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

I suppose we really didn’t apply this one either, but then maybe we did!   Even before Tom was a pastor, we kept Sunday for God.  I can only remember once that we had to travel on a Sunday and missed church.  How Satan has tricked us on this one into thinking that we can’t do otherwise!  Don’t get me wrong, there are times when this is true, but beware: LIFE IS NOT A GAME!

Honour thy father and thy mother:that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

I love this verse and the promise that it holds!  But for us and our Monopoly game, perhaps it should read: Honor each other that thy game may end well!  That’s what we did.  Our relationship was much more important than winning a game.  Isn’t that true with life?  How often do we sacrifice the relationship to get our own way!  We’re worse than children and as blind as bats!

Thou shalt not kill.

Murder on the Monopoly board–that’s what we do!  We just love to kill our opponents one overwhelming rent-due at a time, and thrill in our victory!  This a relationship killer; as is an unforgiving spirit or a lack of mercy towards those we live with.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

 And how does this fit in with the game?  I’m not sure!  If nothing else, looking at them all together has shown me that many of these commandments are built on the same issue: selfish pride!

Thou shalt not steal.

Have you ever had to play with a cheater?  It’s so frustrating because the rules are null and void. However, there’s another sense of stealing that often happens in Monopoly.  We steal another’s victories by grumbling and pouting.  I’m not writing this for children! Adults are just better at masking their grumbling and pouting! Then again, maybe not! 🙂

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Liar!  All three of these last commandments go together.  When playing a game, it takes away all the fun–the main purpose for playing a game in the first place, at least in our home.  When living life, lying is possibly the greatest destroyer of all relationships.  When you lose trust, what is left?

Thou shalt not covet… thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s hotels, nor his Utilities, nor his Railroads, nor his Community Chest, nor his Get Out of Jail Free card, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. 🙂 

In our house-rules, after all the properties were sold, we would negotiate in exchanging properties so that all players would have sets, trying to be as equally fair as possible.  We actually did a bit of an experiment:  Because I owned the railroads and the utilities, I ended up with three sets and Tom have five, generally well distributed; however, he did own one whole side (the red and the yellow for you Monopoly enthusiasts).   We weren’t sure if it was equal or not, but I won!  You must throw in that thing called chance.  I seemed to be in jail more than I was playing.  Tom really loved Pacific, especially after a put a hotel on it ($1275!); and he LOVED riding my railroads at $200 a pop!  Somehow I seemed to be able to tiptoe through his red and yellow right to “Go to Jail!”

Life is not a game, but may the Lord help us to see life and His commandments through the eyes of a game!  Sometimes, these timeless truths just need a new focus!  So, whether we are playing a game, or living life to its fullest, don’t forget to apply the Ten Commandments.  They don’t save our souls, but they will bless our homes!

Let the games begin!

 

 

 

A Lesson from my husband

ID-10041505On Saturday morning, the men in our church have a prayer meeting in the church fellowship hall.  Recently, we received a Keurig, which has made their time even more enjoyable!  This past Saturday, my dear husband surprised me with a cup of coffee.  I wasn’t expecting him, because he had only been gone for a few minutes; then he explained that he had tried this flavor of coffee and it was too sweet, but he knew I’d like it!

How thoughtful, but the part that was really thoughtful to me was that he brought it to me in a glass cup.  We have paper hot/cold cups, but they have a tendency to pick up any odors of their surroundings!  It doesn’t flavor the coffee, but it does spoil the coffee for me.  I’ve come to realize that I have a super sensitive sniffer – no one else seems to notice this.

As I was enjoying my cup of coffee, I was nearly finished when I realized the cup!  How thoughtful.  If I could take this moment to brag on my sweetheart – he is like that: he looks for ways to make things special for me!

It was a rebuke to me.  Do I do that?  I’d like to think so, but too often that is NOT the case.  Recently, I did do something for him that was out of the norm and he was so surprised and so appreciative. 😦   It wasn’t much, but it was something that I didn’t want to do, but knew it would be a help to him!

So what’s the lesson?

Others, Lord, yes others;

Let this my motto be:

That even when I kneel to pray,

My prayer will be for others. 

So often, it’s the little things that really show that we care – the little things that benefit others and are not convenient for ourselves!  Try it!  You’re spouse or parent or sibling will be blessed and so will you!

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.Matthew 10:42