Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Road Trip

                                                          takingthekids.com

It's vacation time!  In a few days, we will be embarking on a family road trip.  Not too long, but enough to get everyone into the car and drive for a while.  We haven't done this for a while, and to be honest, I am looking forward to it.  Yes, getting everyone in the car means the questions will fly, "When will we be there?", "Is there a rest area soon?", "I'm hungry, is there food anywhere?".  No need to worry, I am prepared for all of it.   I have our entire trip planned out, where we will be going, what we will be seeing, when we will see it, etc.  Remember?  I'm the one in control - the planner.

As you can expect, and as I have already prepared myself, it won't go EXACTLY to plan.  I have learned over the years that although the best laid plans may be in front of us and we have them securely set, the journey is truly meant to be different.  For low and behold, it is not OUR plan and OUR journey that we are taking - it is God's plan for us and God's journey for us that we are living.

When I think about the journey that he has set for me, it has been filled with many incredible blessings.  Some of those blessings I saw and was able to appreciate exactly the moment they were happening.  Others, I needed to look in the "rear view mirror", to be able to really see and feel the real impact of those blessings.  There were also times that I hit "bumpy roads", parts of the journey that I hadn't expected to fall into my path.  Sometimes, I weathered those bumpy roads well, others, needed a major overhaul on the car. 

Our journey has been long in the "planning" stages, not by us, but by God.  He truly has it all figured out.  We, at times, are the ones that take the detours.  We find a way to hit bumpy roads and decide that we need to take a different path.  Yet, it is usually those bumpy roads that help us to persevere, that make our journey with God even greater.  Sometimes, we get lost.  We lose our way and we just don't know where to turn (and let's face it - if we are with our husbands, we aren't stopping to ask for directions)!!  

Yet, the greatest map and the holder of all the direction we need is probably sitting in all of our homes, and it is certainly available to us these days by many different means - The Bible.  The wonderful Bible has all the direction and mapping we need for this journey called life.  It means, though, that we need to stop - daily - to ask for direction, to ask for help, to see where our journey is best to take us.

There is so much today that can make life difficult.  We have been provided much in the way of technology and information.  Sometimes, we need to get back to basics, to go on a road trip with God, to get the greatest map in the world out, The Bible.  Let God get into the driver's seat, and you can be the passenger.  See where God takes you - I can guarantee you that it will be someplace wonderful, filled with blessings at every turn.  I can also guarantee you bumpy roads, for God says we will have those too.  Yet, The Bible can also fill those potholes in life and get us on our way again.  

It's time to be strong in a Simple Faith, to take the journey with God.  Let him have control on this trip of life.  Just open up your Bible, and read.  I am sure there is something in there that will drive your journey towards Him~~

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go?  (NIV)  Joshua 1:9

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Unseen


                                                         encouragedbygodsword.com

I was speaking to a neighbor today who said to me, "Your house is going to be pretty quiet in a couple of months!"  She's right.  She is referring to the fact that three of our four children will not be at home.  One has officially moved out and is on her own, two others will be attending college in the fall, which brings us from having four children in our home to one.  Lucky for the youngest (which happens to be the only boy); I believe he will be having the privilege of not having to share as much shower time with his sisters anymore!!

This led me to think, though, about the process of departure.  As we blended our family over eight years ago, we faced many challenges.  How do we go from two families of three to one family of six?  How do we try and ensure there is enough "shower time" and "alone time"?  How do we raise four teenagers to rely on The Lord for their strength and sustenance?  There were many questions, and we faced them together, as parents and as a family.  We watched our children mature over the years and were able to be there for many of their achievements thus far.  We have also been there for some of their difficult moments, and we have tried to navigate through those as well.  Through it all, there has been much worrying, much talking, great rejoicing - and an enormous amount of prayer.  We have prayed together, we have prayed separately, we have prayed in desperation, and we have prayed in joy.  Prayers have been focused on what we saw was needed or what we needed to be thankful for.

Now, comes the true test.  The departure.  As parents, I am sure there are many of us out there who worry and are concerned for our children.  Yes, today's world is VERY different than when we grew up, in so many different ways.  Whether they depart for a day at school or a year at college or a lifetime on their own, as parents we have concerns.  It is hard to raise children in this "day and age".  I am sure our parents said the same of their generation.  Raising children is a quest we don't take lightly.  Many times, though, we are able to see their reactions, see their joys and pains, see their frustrations and happiness, see how we can possibly impact their lives.

It is when we can't see them, when they move on to different journeys in their lives, that we (I) have difficulty.  This, is where our faith in the unseen comes in.  This, is where our faith in a loving and trusting God comes in.  For it is THIS faith, the simple faith that we need to believe God will watch over and provide, that gets us through each day when our children depart.  We may not be able to see our children each day and watch their activities as we used to when they were toddlers or in grade school, but we know that the Great Protector is there, doing a far better job than we ever could.  Having faith means that we realize that The Lord, the Heavenly Father, will bring everlasting comfort to our children.  He will be able to see them when we cannot.  That brings me much peace.

As our oldest is vacationing in a foreign country, and our two middle children are preparing for college, and our youngest gets ready for another year of high school in a month or so, the departure becomes less scary - knowing and having faith in the unseen.  Have faith, simple faith, that our Dear Lord is always with our children.  Please believe me when I say, He will always do a far better job as a parent than I could ever do!  Have the faith that God provides.  Pray, smile, and know they are in VERY good hands.

P.S. - This certainly doesn't mean that I won't miss them all when they are gone . . .  it will be very quiet in a couple of months. :)  Get ready for some fun, son~~

"For our life is a matter of faith, not of sight"  (NIV)  2 Corinthians 5:7


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Plan and Decision

GOD HAS BIG PLANS
FOR ME~~

Having a plan for the day, for the week, for the weekend, can prove to be efficient and effective.  Trust me, I do it all the time.  I place things that need to get done at home and at work on a series of lists to make the most of my days.  This is been an extremely wise way to live my life.  Between work, home, and other activities, this is the way that I can get everything done.  I am SURE I am not the only one out there who does this.  Make the list, check things off, feel productive.  Yep, life, is good.  I do it during the week, I do it for the weekend.  There are days when I can get 26 hours worth of the day into 24 hours.  Yet, I needed to change this "productive"  life I was living - I still felt stressed, as if my life was empty (although it was very full).

I found a much more productive path a few months ago.  Although I was getting much "done", it was not necessarily the "right" things.  How to determine what on my list was right or wrong?  My lists didn't begin or end with my Lord.  My lists would begin with chores, with errands, with work activities, but it didn't have reading God's word in there, it didn't have prayer, it didn't have devotion, it didn't have focus on my God.  Yes, I was praying, I was reading devotion, but it was the true commitment to God's word that I was lacking.  I realized that when I would start my day with God, reading it, listening to it, praising him with song, my day would follow HIS path, not mine.  HIS list would get done - serving others, opening my heart to where I needed to ask forgiveness, loving others, sharing God's life with others, that's when my real living started. 

This past weekend I was reminded of this when my oldest daughter called me frustrated and discouraged.  Her plans for the weekend were ruined.  Work had kept her late on Friday and she was not able to join friends for a weekend getaway.  Upset, frustrated, and angry, she called.  It was at that time, I reminded her that God has better plans for her.  She has many summer plans, a vacation right around the corner, work projects, etc.  I told her I truly felt God was trying to tell her - STOP.  She needed time to breath, prepare, refocus, and spend some time alone.  At the time, it was tough to see, but as the weekend progressed, she too, saw God's plan.   She prepared for her trip, she was able to relax a bit and get some work things together, she saw the plan God had for her.  As always, "it was good".

We all have plans, for the day, the week, or maybe our lives.  Accomplishments we want to achieve, things we want to get done.  We have time lines for those accomplishments, when we want to go to college, get married, have children, get the job of our lives, take vacations, retire.  Sometimes, we put these achievements as a priority over the things that SHOULD take priority.  Taking time to put GOD first will help us to see when the other achievements should take place.  God has the plan for us.  It is a good and wonderful plan.  Don't be frustrated or angry when YOUR plan doesn't come to fruition.  God has a greater plan for you.  We need to be patient, and let his plan take hold.  Have simple faith, I guarantee His plan will be wonderful for YOU.  Read, listen, hear our Lord.  He will provide.  We just need to decide to put him first on the list!!

"In Him we are also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, ..." (NIV)  Ephesians 1:11



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Milestones


Milestones are those moments in your life when you realize that you have achieved something of significance.  We have all had milestones in our life, no matter how young or old we may be.  That's the neat thing about milestones - we get to make them whatever we want.  Think about it.  I am sure that if you reflect long enough, there are many milestones you have achieved over the course of your life.  Typically, these are times when we take a moment, sigh, smile to ourselves, or even feel a little gitty on the inside. 

Today is a milestone in my life.  I turned 50 today.  I have to share, that ever since I was diagnosed with cancer, I take each birthday as a special gift from God - another year that I was given that I didn't think I would have.  Another year with my family, my friends; another year to do the work our Dear Lord believes I can do.  Yet I see the "decade" years as being fairly significant.  So this one was extra special.   Yet, I didn't realize the love and laughter the Lord was truly going to provide for me on this special birthday.

My wonderful family and friends, totally behind my back, have been sneaking and planning an entire birthday weekend.  From Friday night until tonight, we have been celebrating!  An incredible dinner at a wonderful restaurant, which I thought was for our immediate family, was joined by my brother's family from Virginia and long-time friends from New Jersey.  Yes, they all weathered the weekend traffic and came to New Hampshire to celebrate.  So many laughs, and tears, were shared around the table.  Saturday brought another afternoon party with our family and close local friends.  A beautiful day of summer fun was had by everyone.  All of this was one surprise after another. 

As the weekend continued, I couldn't help but speak to my Lord and give thanks for all of those around me; those that worked so hard to make it a weekend for us to remember for a lifetime.  My husband, my mother, my children, my friends, all made this a time of celebration.  These dear people supported me through much in my life, sickness, death of loved ones, pain & suffering in love.  Yet, these dear people were now also here in laughter and joy, happiness and love.

The reflection continues today.  Our Lord provides.  There will be darkness and sadness in our lives.  Jesus tells us that in John 16:33.  Yet, he also promises peace.  With peace comes joy, and happiness.  Once again, reflect with me.  Maybe you are going through difficult times now, struggles that you aren't sure why might be happening to you.  Take heed in the Lord.  He will help you, strengthen you, provide you hope.  We need to have the Simple Faith that he asks us to have in him and him alone.  When we do, he shares greatness and love greater than we could ever imagine.  Love in places, people, and times we might least expect it.  When his love shines through others, take hold of it.  Grab on to it.  Don't let it go.

To all those that read this blog that celebrated with me this weekend, I thank you.  I thank you for the memories we reminisced over and the new ones made, the laughter we shared morning, noon and night, and the smiles that never seemed to dim.  Most importantly, I thank you for the love you have shown me, for God lives in each of us and shines through us all.  Blessings and hope to everyone - here's to your milestone!!

"No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."  (NIV)   1 John 4:12


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Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope we can share how God's grace has been life changing and that SIMPLE FAITH, getting back to a life that is rooted in the basics, can truly set us free to achieve so much in our lives.