Five Minute Friday: Why?

Why?

 

That’s a questions we all ask at some time or another in our lives.  So often, when things happen, we start pointing fingers.  We blame our government.  We blame our teachers. We blame our parents.  We blame our friends. We blame God.

 

Why?

 

We don’t want to take responsibility for ourselves.

 

I told a student the other day that sometimes we have to stop and examine ourselves, look to see what part we had in a problem. I told her that its tough to do that because we don’t want to see ourselves as imperfect – But we are.

 

We fail miserably in so many ways. Yet, God loves us so very much.

 

Why?

 

Because He is so very good.

 

And I know what you’re doing right now…..you’re asking “Why did He let —- happen?”

 

Friend, I know that God can place his powerful hand in each disastrous moment and stop it.  I won’t pretend to know why He doesn’t.

 

I do know this….

In this life, we are given choices.  The first choice came in Eden.  Eve had a choice, and she didn’t choose God.  Since then, we’ve all had choices…..We’ve had choices to make concerning friendships, relationships, and marriages.  We’ve had choices to make concerning our education. We’ve had choices to make concerning drugs, alcohol, pornography, and gambling.  We have a choice in abortion, infidelity, theft, and integrity.

 

The bottom line…. We have a choice.  We need to consider why we made the choices we did. In the choices that we make, we must choose God.

 

My time is up….I didn’t want to make this a political post, a post about gun control or not. We are free to choose what we believe, and I want to share what I believe……

 

We have a choice in our behaviors. We have a choice in our parenting.  We have choice in our marriages. We have a choice in our work places. As a teacher, I have been blamed and accused for things that have hurt deeply.  I’ve been accused of being a racist just because a black child lied and refused to do work or said nasty things to another student. I’ve been told I wasn’t much of teacher because I didn’t have children of my own.  I’ve been told that being in my class was like being on the front lines of war because I made kids behave in my class. I’ve been told that it was MY job to pack up 10 year old kids each day and make sure they had everything to take home because the parents didn’t have time to teach responsibility and check backpacks.  I’ve been told it was my fault that a child failed a test even though the child never behaved in class or did classwork or homework.  I’ll admit, I’m not a perfect teacher.  I will take responsibility for my actions and I will help and encourage and be there for each and every student from the day they walk into my door until the day I die.  Yet, I ask this…..when does it become the parents’ responsibility to make sure their kids are behaving?  When does it become the parents’ responsibility to teach integrity and kindness and empathy?  When does it become the parents’ responsibility for teaching children right from wrong, teaching them coping skills for those times when life isn’t fair?

 

Until people have a change of heart, no amount of laws will change our world.

Until people have a change of heart, abortion won’t stop.

Until people have a change of heart, children will be abused and killed.

Until people have a change of heart, our world will continue a downward spiral straight to hell.

 

We’ve told God to go away, that we are good enough.  We’ve told Him we don’t need Him (until we do).  We’ve encouraged our husbands to spend their free time drinking with their beer buddies. We’ve encouraged our wives to shop til they drop.  We’ve encouraged our children to work endless hours to get on that ball team or dance team. We’ve spent so much time away from God that we have forgotten how good He really is.

 

To change this world, we must first change ourselves. Our hearts must be right with God.  We must grow each and every day in our relationship with Him.  When we preach the gospel message, all too often we preach only about salvation.  We don’t preach or teach the redemption story of a relationship….a relationship for the here and now that will change us.  Y’all, this life is hard…..Jesus said it would be…..and part of that glorious gospel story is what gets us through this life.  We can’t just trust Jesus for our salvation, we have to trust Him with every thread of our lives.  Nothing is too big or too small for Him.  He wants all of us.

 

Once we are changed, our homes will change. Our communities will change.  You see, when we are right with God, when HE is the CENTER of our lives, our other relationships fall into place.  We become the spouse we were created to be. We become the parents we were created to be.  There becomes a ripple effect.  True lasting change starts with each of us having a strong personal, growing relationship with Christ.

 

So, instead of us asking “Why,” maybe we should ask did we allow God to influence the choices we made.

 

Will you join me in praying for hearts to be changed, for the lost to be saved, for the saved to put Christ first in their lives each and every day?

 

 

Advertisements

In God We Trust

 

For those of us who are military families, uncertainty is just part of life.  We often live a life of “hurry up and wait.”  Uncle Sam could knock on our doors at any time. Military families live with a lot of unknowns, yet it’s important for us not to place our faith in the government, but in Christ alone……….

 

skype

Yesterday, I was featured at Crosseyed Living.  Check out my post by clicking HERE.

Surrender: Five Minute Friday

All too often, we surrender ourselves to the wrong things.

drugs

alcohol

gambling

sex

technology

food

gossip

greed

bitterness

 

We allow these things to take hold of our lives.  Our days revolve around them.

 

Yet, when we surrender to Christ, He breaks the chains for us. He sets us free.

 

Sadly, we sometimes lose track of God’s blessings, of His providence.  We’ve allowed Him to save our souls, but we don’t surrender our daily struggles to Him.  Satan causes us to doubt God.  Satan tells us we can do it on our own. Satan leads us to believe that God will be mad at us.

 

But remember this….there is nothing on this earth, there is no power in hell that will ever tear us from Christ once we have accepted him as our Lord and Savior.  Nothing.

romans839

Once we surrender to Him, we are His forever.

 

And I have a dear friend that doesn’t believe this.  And girl, if you are reading this, I love you, and I want you to know that you can have that blessed assurance that once you’ve surrendered to Christ, you are His forever.

Make This Year Different

It’s that time of year: We are bound and determined to make a change in our lives this year. We’ve chosen our New Year’s Resolutions or chosen our One Word.  We’ve joined the local gym, stocked our fridges with fruits and veggies, and filled our water jugs.  We sync our Fitbits as we sit down to go over the budget and make out next week’s meal plan. Yes! This year is going to be different. This is the year to get fit, get organized, eat healthy, and save money.

Want to know how we can make this year different?

Continue reading at Crosseyed Living. Click HERE.

When Doubt Creeps In

I wrote my first book in 6th grade.  My friend Bonnie and I wrote a book for the local Young Authors contest, and I think we received an honorable mention ribbon. I guess you could say that was when I became a writer.

 

Fast forward to high school and the dreaded writing portfolios required for state testing. Well, they were dreaded by most students, yet I enjoyed the writing.  My favorite pieces were my memoir of my grandfather, which would later be read at his funeral, and my personal narrative of when my aunt was in a tragic accident and how it affected me.  I even wrote a dime novel for AP History.  And, as corny as this sounds, I wrote love poetry for my boyfriend.  They must have been really good because we will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary this year!

 

Once I became an army wife, I began dabbling with my pen and submitted blog posts for Wives of Faith and then to Planting Roots. I also began participated in the Five Minute Friday online writing community. Yet, I never considered myself to be a writer.

 

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to attend the first ever Five Minute Friday Retreat.  I had no idea what to expect, and it was totally out of my comfort zone, but I signed up.  What an amazing opportunity that was for me.  For the first time, I called myself a writer (thanks to my door prize, a pendant that said Writer).

writer

No matter how much I love to write, doubt always creeps in.  Will any one care about my words?  Will they relate to me?  Will I sound stupid?  Is this really worth writing about? Those were my thoughts then, and each time I log on to my blog, they are my thoughts now.

 

Last year, my middle son had gotten into the habit of peeking over my shoulder when I wrote my blog posts.  He would say, “Mama, you should really write a book.”  I would nod in agreement, say thank you, and continuing writing.  I always thought writing a book would always be awesome, but then the doubts would creep in again.  Finally, after much encouragement from my husband and son, I began writing a book.  I’d love to say that I finished or even that it is close to being finished, but those would both be lies.  Life happens and writing stops.  And then it is hard to pick back up.  Those doubts also creep in again.

 

There are days when I feel my story is worth telling, that people need to see how God has worked in my life.  Then there are days when Satan tells me that my life is too simple, too ordinary, so there is no point.  And I find myself in Sunday school telling my sisters in Christ to share their stories, share what God has done because someone out there needs to hear it. Someone out there needs hope.  Yet, I sometimes find it difficult to follow my own advice, to open up the laptop and finish writing my story (unfinished as it will ever be until Jesus calls me home).  Satan sends the doubt.  Satan distracts me.  Satan doesn’t want me to tell my story.

 

But God does.  God doesn’t care if my story is simple.  God doesn’t care if my story is ordinary.  My story is unique to me, yet something about it has the power to touch a life because my story is not my story. It’s God’s.  He is the Author and Perfecter of my Faith, and He can use our story to touch a life.

 

And when those doubts creep in, I will say, “Get behind me Satan. God and I have a story to tell.”

 

Is there something God has called you to do, yet Satan causes you to doubt?  I’ll pray for you, Friend.  And please, pray for me too, that I will stay focused on Christ and be bold for Him.

Top 5 Posts

As 2017 is closing out, I’m taking the time to share this year’s Top 5 Posts. It has been a great year on the blog, and I appreciate all of you who take the time to read and respond to my posts.  Thank you!

Here’s our 2017 TOP 5 COUNTDOWN:

#5 Reading Challenge Update – Published July 5, this post explores book 17 of my 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge.

#4 Letter from Students – A re-post from my original blog, I shared a letter from one of my former students in recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week.

#3 Things People Will Never Understand – This post reminded me of the importance of not making snap judgments and choosing words carefully.  I wrote this post after being hurt by others’ comments online.

#2 Because We Need Each Other – This post invited readers to join me in a book study of Giddy Up, Eunice. As women, we need each other, and relationships are a gift from the Lord.

#1 Back to School Gift – The most viewed and shared post discusses the best gift to give teachers when school starts back.  You can’t go wrong with this one!

 

Are there other posts that you enjoyed that I didn’t share in my top five?  I’d love to hear what they are.   What topics would you like to read more of in 2018?

Shop Today! (Giveaway)

In November, I began my journey as a ViBella Jewelry Ambassador.  I am enjoying sharing these lovely pieces of jewelry and accessories with my friends and family.  Because I am almost to my 60 day sales goal, I am hosting a giveaway.

gift card

Any one who orders today will be entered to win a $10 ViBella eGift Card.  If 5 or more people make at least a $50 purchase, I will increase the value of the gift card.

On my Facebook page, I have posted some of my favorite items. Any one who purchases one of those items will get a BONUS ENTRY.

I hope you will explore my ViBella page and consider making a purchase today.  

If you’d like to know more about ViBella, read here.

So My Joy May Be Full

As a child, I found so much joy in seeing what gifts Santa had left for me.  Christmas Eve was pretty much a sleepless night due to the anticipation of Santa’s arrival.  With every creak and sound, I just knew it was Santa placing our gifts under the tree.  I never imagined any greater joy at Christmas time.

 

However, as I got older, that all changed.  I found more joy in giving gifts than receiving them.  One of my most memorable Christmas gifts was the announcement of our first pregnancy.  I was thrilled to be able to give Grandma and Grandpa ornaments to my parents and in-laws.  Even more exciting was telling my grandfather that his wish finally came true.

 

Yet,  as I’ve grown in my relationship with Christ, my heart is filled with even more joy this time of year.  Yes, there are moments of sadness when I think of my loved ones who are no longer with us.  There are those moments I wonder what our Christmas would be like if I had not miscarried our fourth child.  But God finds a way to make my joy overflow.

 

Each and every day, I am thankful to have my husband home with me.  We spent a Christmas apart when he was deployed.  That Christmas as we Skyped, his compound came under attack. There was no greater pain than knowing what the outcome could be.  We told each other we loved one another, my husband took cover, and I prayed without ceasing.  God answered my prayers, and I am careful not to take that for granted.  I cherish each and every moment I have with my husband, and with Christmas being our favorite holiday, those moments of cuddling and watching Christmas movies, decorating our tree, and going to church as a family are even more special.

christmaschild

As a mother, there is so much joy in seeing Christmas through the eyes of my children.  People debate whether Christians should “do Santa” or not.  As a pastor’s wife, I’ll admit that Santa visits our house, however, my children know the true meaning of Christmas.  They love their gifts, they love the anticipation, yet they love shopping for or making the perfect gift for a loved one and taking part in our Christmas services.  Even  more though, they love our nightly advent readings.  They are so eager to read their mini books each night and talk about what that first Christmas must have been like.

 

A new tradition we have is attending the play The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. This year, we were even able to attend with some members of our church.  This play reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas and reminds us of keeping the story of Christmas simple.

 

This year, God has filled my heart even more.  I was able to spend time with my best friend and her family.  This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but she and I have been through so much together over the last 12 years.  We’ve been pregnant together, we’ve worked together,  we’ve served Christ together, we support our military husbands together.  In July, she had her family moved to Colorado.  Her departure was hard on me.  Thankfully, she was able to come home for Christmas, and that was such a precious gift to me.

 

During our community Christmas service, two of my children performed with our local church choirs.  The music was splendid and God’s message was beautifully told through song.  Then during our candlelight service, my oldest son was asked to sing because the soloist for I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day was sick.   My son, nervous as all get out, did it. This is the child that would stand on stage and pout or try to sneak into the pew during performances as a small child.  My mama heart was full.

IMG_1825

Most people would say that having a sick child on Christmas just ruins everything, yet, I don’t see it that way.  My middle son has always struggled to stay healthy.  This wasn’t the first year I’ve stayed home with him on Christmas day because he was sick.  I was able to slow down and care for him.  I spent a lot of time in prayer praising and thanking God for all He is.

 

This Christmas, as I reflected on the holiday….the why’s, the how’s, the miracle of it all, as I cherished each moment with those I love…..my friends and my family, God touched my heart.  He continues to show me his goodness.  When I get quiet and still, He reveals himself to me.  And when He does, my joy is made full.

 

What about you, Friend?  How has God touched your heart this holiday season?