Tag Archives: encouragement

Are You Still Dreaming… Or Are You Ready If Jesus Comes Today?

Last night I dreamed The Rapture came… and it happened just like that… just like the Bible says it will. In the middle of eating and drinking, I’d gotten up from the table, and suddenly screamed, “What was that?!” I felt as if a cat had scratched the bottom of my feet. As I looked down, expecting to see a black furry cat under the table, the sensation in my feet caused me to rise. But I wasn’t the only one. My precious little daughter, and my dear, sweet friend, Kim were rising too…

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17: 26-30 English Standard Version).


I’ve always had very vivid, detailed dreams. And though I often get frustrated at feeling I can’t hear from God, He often speaks to me through dreams. In this dream, my family was upset, because we had moved to a huge, beautiful new mansion; and someone had broken in and stolen, of all things… our giant Christmas tree! Also gone, was our alarm unit. It had been torn from the wall, and the thief had escaped with that also. In the dream, we just so happened to be having an open house for all the neighbors, and we were leery of a few strange characters who seemed all too suspicious and creepy. They were showing up looking like cartoon characters, and they were offering odd tokens and weird foods.

In the dream, my husband and adult sons had decided to go outside, and take a look around at the grounds, checking for signs of foul play. Meanwhile, I lamented the new house to my friend Kim, who was sitting at the table next to me. I told her we shouldn’t have moved there. Her comment in the dream both shocked and convicted me: “Well you did say you didn’t like your house…” Immediately the words from our friend Rick’s sermon came back to me: “Your life will move in the direction of your strongest thoughts!”


Rick was the wonderful guest pastor at our church last weekend. He had discussed how powerful negative self-talk could be, because it comes from the enemy. He had given us the tools to capture negative, destructive thoughts: “Identify the thoughts, take them to Jesus, find out if the thoughts are true or false!” Are your negative thought true? Are they backed by scripture? If not, change the negative talk to a biblical truth. Rick had expressed how important it was to get rid of the devil’s thoughts, which are lies; and to instead focus on the truth of God’s promises. 

My dream echoed my real-life experience, as I realized how negative I’d been when things had gone wrong in the house. In my dream, I asked God to forgive me for my bad attitude, and to help us figure out what to do in our hopeless situation. Most people can relate to how violating it feels to have something stolen. You wonder who it was, why they did it, and will they come back? It’s all the more reason to have a Savior who promises to watch over you and care for you. In real life, things had been going wrong continuously and quickly with our real-life house. A lot of things had needed fixing; including our real-life alarm system! I’d become filled with regret at the decision we’d made to move, to the point of wishing we were back in the house we now rent out; which is beautiful, but too small for our family. It felt like it took forever to accomplish any project in our new home. When I awoke this morning, I realized I’d have to repent in real life as well!

In my dream, we’d been eating, drinking, visiting with friends and (albeit strange) new neighbors, along with taking care of business, when suddenly I began to rise up into the air. Kim was rising up too! Where’s my daughter? She was there beside me! She was rising right beside me! I pulled her close to me. “It’s happening, Baby Girl! It’s really happening! We are going to be together forever. Stay with me. Don’t go looking for anything!” “Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house” (Matt. 24:17 New International Version).


We went higher and higher into the air, still in the giant house. We were safely away from anyone evil, as we hovered near the ceiling. I scanned the dark floor below for others, getting a sense that many of the new neighbors were not rising with us. In a moment of panic, I wondered where my husband and sons were; but then I was filled with immediate peace. They had gone outside, which is why I didn’t see them. They were not to come back in. “A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat” (Matt. 24:18). We’d meet the rest of our family soon. I knew their hearts, and I knew they were saved. As we hovered, I yelled out to anyone listening: “Don’t go back for anything, don’t go looking for anyone!” 

For the Bible tells us Jesus will come and get us: “At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matt: 24: 23:24).

I woke up from that dream before Jesus came to get me. But the amazing thing is I knew he was coming: for me, my family, and my friend. And I knew Jesus was coming to get everyone else who had recognized their sinful nature and asked Jesus to come into their hearts. I was also ready with a clean heart. In my dream, I had humbly asked God to forgive me for being ungrateful, when my friend had pointed it out to me. I wasn’t afraid. I knew my loved ones were going where I was going… because my loved ones know Jesus. And in real life, I know I need to always repent for my ungrateful attitude… even if things are going all wrong. And in real life, I know my loved ones are going to Heaven when it’s time… just like me. 

Are you ready if Jesus comes today? Yes? Then  no matter what problem you are encountering today, the silver lining shines bright for you. Your problems will disappear when you get to Heaven. If Jesus comes before you die, he will take you there! Matthew, Chapter 24 contains a detailed account of the return of Jesus, with clear, concise directions to follow. If you don’t know Jesus, the silver lining lies in your inviting Jesus to live in your heart today, so you can begin a relationship with God’s Son! Here’s how to make that happen now: HOW TO INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR HEART AND RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE!

Dreams can be crazy, but they are also the way we sort through problems, questions, anxieties, hopes, memories, and yes… our dreams!  Most dreams come from our own mind, evil dreams come from the devil; and prophecies and messages and joyful dreams come from God! Today I’ve shared with you a dream God gave me to share; so you can know His Son in real life, and have eternal life with Jesus in Heaven. “See, I have told you ahead of time” (Matt. 24:25).


Related Posts:

DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR SEEKING JESUS

AVOID BEING DECEIVED IN END TIMES

Give God Your Failed Plans…God Prospers and  Encourages Us with Silver Linings, Smiles, and Truth

Sometimes you’re feeling down, maybe really down… and your eyes light on something out of the blue… something that makes you smile. Today it’s one of my daughter’s simple deer drawings. The notepad is lying open, because she’s working on her book, in my room, on the floor… because she never likes to be alone. They are all over the house, the books she creates… millions of them! She’s already the author and illustrator of many animal books about puppy dogs, deer, and lions!  If you’re struggling today, I hope this brightens your day; I find that children’s art always makes me smile. I love the innocence and cute charm of their simple pictures, don’t you? 

Today I can choose to look for the silver lining… the many gifts God gives me in spite of my struggles. There’s a mockingbird chirping outside of my window. Her mate has been feeding her yellow flowers all week long. It’s been so much fun to discover the male sitting atop our shed, being the lookout, then sailing into the woods, only to return and dash in to please her feeding her the delicious food he has found just for her. She’s chirped for him to come when she’s hungry. We’ve watched in awe at how he’s taken care of her. We laughed as I tried to capture the beautiful moment, only to see her “poop” on the deck. My daughter and I laughed until we almost cried! It was the silver lining in a moment that was not perfect.

I had perfection in mind for this weekend, with everything laid out exactly how it should go. But I forgot, as I still sometimes do, that my God doesn’t work like that. Everybody has free will, and because of that free will, there will be interruptions and problems which may interfere with my plans coming to fruition. But God’s plans always come to fruition, and His plans are the best, no matter what it looks like on the outside. I know this is how God works, but I forgot this weekend. I became extremely discouraged when a family argument prevented us from getting something completed that I felt was extremely important. 

And now as I write, God is at this moment revealing to me that He allowed it; not only because our family needed prayer time more than project time, but that He wanted me to see that this is often the struggle my husband has. My husband wants to “check things off the list.” He is learning that his list often does not coincide with what God wants him to do first. Well… in experiencing this frustration for myself this weekend, I realize now that God allowed it, so I could experience all the emotions my husband experiences when he doesn’t get to “check off that important item.” This helps me to better understand my husband, so I can keep praying for him. It also provides my husband an opportunity to empathize with me, because he knows exactly how it feels when something doesn’t get done.

God has a different checklist in mind than ours. His checklist is less about things getting done, and more about people’s hearts being changed to be more like Jesus. It’s a guarantee that if it comes down to a project getting done, or prayer time for hearts to be changed, God is going with the heart. Maybe we need to be less about getting things done, and more about spending time with God so he can change us. Yes, God cares about our projects too; but He cares more about our individual walk with Jesus. He cares so much, that when He knows a stormy argument is going to cause an upset, He provides the silver linings along the way; to give us hope, and to encourage us so we won’t give up! 

During the weekend which did not go as planned, God planned His gifts ahead of time, because He knew I’d need them to keep my spirit afloat when I felt myself sinking. Because of my abusive childhood, I tend to get extremely discouraged when there’s a family argument. I begin to listen to lies that tell me no one cares and that I’m not loved. As a child scapegoat living in a completely dysfunctional home, I was blamed for everything; neglected and ignored, told I should feel guilty, and that I ruined everything. The problems were not even about me. But when circumstances come along that feel familiar, so comes a spiritual attack, and I will feel myself drowning in discouragement. Though I’ve learned to battle the lies with the truth, sometimes I forget to use my power and authority in Jesus Christ and tell the devil to sit on a tack! 

The only way to chase away those lies is through prayer. Why? Because we can’t count on our emotions. Evil spirits lie to us, and strive to cause strife, division, and isolation in our families. But as my husband reminded my whole family last night; because our kids are fed and clothed and live in a nice clean house, some people may think from the outside that our family has it all together; just as people might have thought my family had it all together when I was a child. However, the truth is that all families struggle, but there is a vast difference when Jesus is in the middle of a family, as opposed to when he is not. My husband remarked that though Jesus was not at the center of my family when I was growing up, Jesus is at the center of OUR family now! All five of us have received Jesus into our hearts, and we all desire to have a relationship with him. 

Therefore, Jesus has always been with our family, even when we’ve been on different walks in our pursuit of him, and even when we haven’t understood how a healthy family functions. For, neither of us experienced God’s truths taught in our families; the truth that we are completely forgiven for all of our sins, the truth that we can battle lies with prayer, the truth that we are loved and cherished by God unconditionally, and so much more! We are creating a whole new generation for our children and children’s children; as we all pursue God and learn together, and find that we are loved beyond measure! Because our family pursues Jesus, and because our family prays together, we can have hope, and be encouraged that God is taking care of us through it all! 

And God knows we need tangible proof of His love for us. After all, we are only human. A huge silver lining that carried us through this weekend was an on-the-spot invitation from our dear family friends, as we left church. It came when George said, ” Hey! Do you guys wanna come over later for a barbecue?” My daughter couldn’t wait. She was watching the time, and asked if our friends still had their cats. They did.

It was the most delightful evening we’ve had in a long time: laughter with friends, delicious grilled chicken, and another unexpected guest to add to the fun. My precious friend, Kim, even served homemade strawberry shortcake in honor of my boys’ belated birthday. She also served my husband’s favorite; rhubarb sauce. We even had the heavy whipping cream at home, which we were gratefully able to contribute, because my husband had bought some the day just the day before. We don’t normally have this item in hand, but we bought some to use with our new ice cream maker. God even cares about the tiny details! The night ended with everyone hanging out near the chicken coop. The chickens’ silly antics made us laugh. Their individual personalities came out, and many of them enjoyed being carried or sitting on laps! It was just a really special night, when another family made our family feel important and loved. God orchestrated that! 

I know that it’s these silver linings on which God wants me to focus; not the hardships, even though it’s difficult when you  feel those strong emotions, and the lies feel so true. Though yesterday was tough, there was an absolutely glorious sunset last night, reminding me that God is Lord above us all; watching over everything and everyone. And right before I went to bed, a text message came from my pretty, cheerful friend, asking if she could take my daughter today for a play date. It couldn’t have come at a better time, and with a girlfriend my daughter absolutely adores! Now I will have some time to write, clean, and be creative; which I’ve been trying to do, but just have not been able to find a slice of time that works for me. Even though things are far from perfect, the silver lining which shines brightest, is knowing my family is pursuing Jesus through it all… every single day… together. 

I pray for you to find the sweet silver linings today, which God has already gifted to you in advance, because he wants to bring a smile to your face. When things don’t go as planned, don’t be dismayed. Remember this: “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you” (Jer. 29:11-12 New International Version).


I’m going to meet with God today, and ask Him to brighten my day, and the day of anyone who reads this message of hope, truth, and encouragement. Today, I pray God reveals many of the silver linings He has prepared just for you, in Jesus’ name. May God continue to brighten my day… and yours!  

The Silver Lining is Always There!  Hope for Depression…

This week is a time of great trial, stress, and sadness for a precious family and their friends, who almost lost their lives in a horrific home explosion. They lost everything; their entire home and everything in it. They are faced with critical, life-changing injuries, which will change the course of the rest of their lives. Though a Go Fund Me campaign is in place for them, they need Jesus more than ever, to help get them through this trial. 

At times like these; when hopelessness and despair run rampant, it can be difficult to find the silver lining behind the dark, thick clouds looming in the storm. Of course life itself is a gift from God, and it is a reason to praise Him and give thanks. But sometimes it is difficult to live life; especially when we are suffering, in pain, depressed, and afraid about the future. Still, God promises to take care of us. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28 New International Version).

I’ve thought about how I would encourage my readers to “look on the bright side,” “think positive,” or “remember the light at the end of the tunnel;” when they are utterly drowning in deep sorrow, pain, and suffering. I know that words don’t help people who feel lost and utterly hopeless, because words didn’t help me either. 

Words don’t help hurting people, when they are too busy focusing on how to navigate their way through the darkness. I know, because I’ve been in that deep, dark, depressed place where I could not see the silver lining, either. The clouds were too thick and dense and dark. I needed to be rescued.  “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me” (Ps. 69:1-2 English Standard Version).  Read: DEEP…A PSALM OF RESCUE…HOPE FOR DEPRESSION.

Words did not help; but truth, prayer and promises did. Truth provides hope. Prayer provides answers. Promises provide relief. They all work together, giving us God’s protection, and helping us to trust God, and grow in our faith. We begin to understand that our Almighty, Holy God loves us unconditionally; and this helps us to feel secure in believing His divine promises, which can never be broken.

We can pray for ourselves, and we can prayerfully intervene for others. Others can pray for us too!  The Bible promises us that God will never reject or abandon us in our time of need. Even if He’s silent, God is always there. Jesus promises hope which leads to healing, joy, and freedom. God promises to be our Rock; our Shelter from the storm, and a source of NEVER-ending protection. 

God’s Son, Jesus, is always lighting the way for us, even when we can’t see him. This is why searching for the silver lining gives us hope… because the sun never stops shining down upon us. The sun is still nourishing us; helping plants to grow, giving us daylight, warming our bodies, and providing energy to us here on earth… even when we don’t see it! The truth is still true, even if we don’t believe it! “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for” (Heb. 11:1-2 New International Version).


God tells us to pray constantly, without ceasing. He promises to provide courage and strength. He promises to give us wisdom if we ask for it! God promises that when we pray together, He is in the middle of us! “‘For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst'” (Matt. 18:20 New American Standard Bible). God promises there will be no more tears or sorrow in Heaven. He promises us so many wonderful things! 

God is a promise maker, He is not a promise breaker! This is why we can put our entire trust in Him, even during our most difficult trials. Because God only tells the truth, we can look forward to the silver lining which awaits us in the next life. Our salvation is an absolute miracle, the greatest gift we could ever hope for, and that in itself… is enough. It’s FREE! HOW TO INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR HEART, AND RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE!

But… God is also human; He is Jesus… so God understands that Heaven seems very far away from us. He understands that Heaven is simply incomprehensible for our feeble minds to grasp. So… God also has a plan laid out for us while we are still here, waiting to get to Heaven. It’s all meant to save more people, so they can come live in His Kingdom too! In His perfect timing; God transforms, heals, restores, calls, and blesses us… right here on Earth! How incredible is that? 

God takes our tears of sadness, and turns them into springs of gladness. Our depression is transformed to joy. Our hopelessness disappears, and is replaced by faith!  “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.” (Isa. 61:3 New Living Translation).

You who are tired and weary of living; God understands! It is not His will for you to be depressed!  Pursue Him, and He will teach you how to grab hold of the lies which hold you down; and renounce them in the name of Jesus! Pray, ask for prayer, and seek out brothers and sisters in Christ who will pray for you. Cry out to God for HELP, in the name of Jesus! He will send you wise counsel, comforting scriptures, and truthful teachings to lead you out of the desert, and into the Promised Land! 

Dear God, please be with my brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering today. Remove from us our strongholds, and the lies which persist and plague us. Lord, heal our physical ailments that cause us pain and frustration. Heal our emotional hurts, which cause us depression; due to a build up of guilt, anger, and fear. Heal our mental challenges, which stem from disabilities and hardship. Heal spiritual injuries brought on by abuse and false prophets and false teachings. In Jesus’ name we pray, and we ask for Your will to be done; not ours. We know Your plan is perfect and Holy, and so is Your timing. Thank you that the silver lining is always there! Please bless us, in Jesus’ name!

Be encouraged! God promises to provide light and love for His children; both here on Earth, and in Heaven!

Two are Better than One… The Healing Joy of Friendship

Today I am one month into my recovery from back surgery. While I still have pain, I’m getting around a lot better. I love my home, but I start to go stir crazy if I don’t get outside to breathe in some fresh, clean air. I’ve been getting that slightly overwhelming feeling of wondering how I will ever catch up on things that were never caught up on in the first place; especially when it’s still too early in my recovery to even begin the catching up! 

But I’ve been faithfully sharing God’s love with others. I’ve been meeting some wonderful people in the process, following where God leads me, and learning a bit more about the direction of my ministry; along with the plans God has for me and my family for the future. All this is because God has provided me with rest. 

This week God said it was time to get outside! He immensely blessed both my daughter and me with a sunshiny day at the park! It was one of those “God Moments” where you just know He has his hands all over it, so you can have a slice of joy! 

With a last minute weather check, on a whim we invited several friends to join us, and were delighted to find that almost all of them could meet us there! Since I’m unable to drive yet, one of my friends kindly picked up half of us at my house. My other friend had dropped her girls off at my house, so they could come too. Even though she couldn’t stay, I was blessed by her smile and huge hug. My sweet friend who was the driver, patiently waited as we searched for shoes, because we couldn’t find the ones my daughter needed for the playground. She also carried my cooler and my other bag, insisting I didn’t need to be handling them. 

She cheerfully got all the girls into the car, and still doesn’t know how grateful I am that she was such a good sport about us not being ready to go when she arrived. She just smiled and chatted, as my daughter made her jelly sandwich for her little picnic treat. My friend didn’t seem phased at all by the mess of toys and shoes, which had been slowing building over the last two days. It felt like a fresh spring breeze had just entered my home, and her joy gave me a peek at the fun day we were going to have at the park. I felt myself relax, as my friend patiently adjusted the seats in her car, so we could all fit. I wasn’t able to help, and just felt incredibly grateful for her willingness to go out of her way to pick us up out in the country. 

We were late to the park, but thankfully I managed to remember to check my phone, because my other friend wasn’t sure which park was the meeting place. I told I was sorry we were running late, and we were happy to find her already waiting for us when we arrived. I cherished her warm hug, and as an added bonus; she had brought me two dozen fresh eggs from her farm! 

Soon my other girlfriend was pulling up with her energetic, lovable crew! She lives farther away, and we’d been wanting to get together for a while now. I had ordered some of her beautiful handcrafted soaps; because pure,  handmade soaps are the only kind I use. They are a tiny slice of happiness, because they’re good for my skin, look pretty, and smell wonderful! I decided to see if my friend would be able to bring her girls to the park the next day. She could bring the soaps with her. My daughter and I were so excited when they said they would be coming!

As my friends got to know each other, our children did too. They played in the beautiful sunshine; climbed ladders and flew down slides, chased each other, blew bubbles, and giggled as they tried out the baby swings! We moms talked about homeschooling, family life, friendships, and farming. Everybody said they wanted to meet again soon, and have another day like this together. It was finally time for my friends to go to soccer games, prepare dinner, and attend to farm chores. Even though I had arranged a ride home, each busy friend still offered to make herself available to drive my daughter and me back home. This made me feel loved and cared for, in a way they probably don’t even realize. 

I was incredibly grateful for my husband, making his way through town, doing some errands for me, before he came to pick us up at the park. He was making sure prescriptions were filled, and grocery runs were complete. He even offered to pick up take-out, though he’d offered to make dinner already. So many times he has done these things for us, but it seems so much sweeter, when he’s doing it to help me heal, and so we can enjoy some time out with friends. 

I still have this deep sense appreciation and awakened joy for all the little things that add up to make a God day, into a great day. I know it’s from God; the silver lining of sweet joy to keep me going through the pain and redundant routine of recovery.  I thought about how some people don’t even have cars. They have to navigate rides all the time. I felt so grateful that God had navigated all my rides for me, so my daughter and I could enjoy a perfect day at the park. We’d had fun giving out packages of colored chalks and bottles of bubbles to our friends. They were leftover prizes from our church’s  Easter in the Park. For me it was a small way of continuing the celebration and joy of Easter with the precious little people in our lives. For, aren’t we always ministering to each other in our friendships, as we seek to be all Jesus calls us to be?

My husband who always takes care of us, picked us up in perfect timing, and assisted my daughter with some tricks on the monkey bars. We went home tired and happy, with sun-kissed cheeks. The joy of friendship filled my heart, and my daughter’s eyes were bright with happiness from all the fun with her girlfriends. She’d even met a new friend, before we left. She’s like that; she makes friends wherever we go.

When I got home, I was hit with a migraine. I’ve been battling them for the last two months. And unfortunately, I get them after spending time in the sun. The pain was intense, and it wiped me out. Though I was now toast for the rest of the evening; it did not take away from the joy of our wonderful adventure that day. We had come home with a stash of farm fresh eggs,beautiful handcrafted soaps, plans for additional fun homeschool classes with friends for next year, and a reminder of our lovely day with treasured friends in our small town. More healing occurred in a day with friends, than could happen in a week without them! Thank you God for friendship!

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” (Eccles. 4:9-10 New Living Translation).

Be a friend; gain a friend!

                                 

                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Related blog posts:

Surgery Day: Trusting God Through Trials
Recovery Week 1: The Family That Prays Together…
Recovery Week 2: The Unexpected Joy of Rest
Recovery Thoughts: Healing is a Journey
Recovery Week 2-1/2: It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice!
Recovery Week 3: The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie 

The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I’m now three weeks into my recovery from back surgery, and more appreciative than ever, of what God is doing in my life! Because of the many prayers, great care, support and encouragement I’ve received; I’m healing really well for someone who went home from the hospital after a lumbar fusion just three weeks ago.

Does love heal? You bet it does! Love was in the delicious foods brought to my front door, over the last two weeks! With cheerful smiles, my sweet friends greeted me, afraid to hug me; because they didn’t want to hurt my back. But I grabbed them into a bear hug and said, “Yes! Hug me! Your hugs are my favorite part!” And we laughed like children, as I told them the hugs have been helping me to heal! 

When you’re healing, every little thing seems like a big thing: every hug warms you deeper inside, every tasty morsel tastes extra delicious, and every visit makes you appreciate the fact that your friends have chosen to give you some precious moments of their time. The travel was for you, the meal was cooked and baked in love for you, and the laughter and kind concern was for you

When you’re healing, it’s a struggle when you can’t get in the car and drive yourself to your appointment and grab some groceries on the way home, and sneak in a quick stop at your favorite thrift store, Hope’s Treasures. But wait! God has already planned out everything, and His plan is even better!  One of my teenagers volunteered to drive me to my appointment. We enjoyed lunch nearby, at TooSso a kitchen-style restaurant, which quickly serves up delicious Pakistani favorites. TooSso means “stuff yourself!” I asked for its meaning the first time I visited. There is an entire cool wall covered in bottle caps…  I love interesting, artsy things!

Then leaning on my cane, for my daily walk, we went into… YES! Hope’s Treasures! There were records and books which kept him interested, even though he’s always patient with me, so I can look around! The money spent there goes to help the homeless community of Loudoun. I like the spirit of compassion at the center of this place. There’s always something fun and inexpensive to take back home, like this funky collection of beads, which my daughter used to create into party hats for her Oobies! 

Meanwhile, my other son, was at home, caring for my daughter. She is very social and constantly  needs to be learning and engaged. She’s like a beautiful flower that needs to be sung to, along with being watered and set in sunlight. If you didn’t sing to her, she’d still be beautiful, but it’s always a shame to miss out on the extra blooming of beautiful flowers, just because you didn’t stop and take the time to give them that little something extra that they need. My son did that for my daughter. They did one of her favorite things; which was to create a movie together using her stuffed animals, their voices, and his editing software on his computer. It was my favorite movie yet! 

Our family came home at different intervals, to a delicious home-cooked meal, made by my precious friend, Sharon, who attends our church, and is famous for her delicious pies! We enjoyed slow-baked chicken, mashed potatoes, asparagus, fresh salad, and oh; my husband’s favorite and mine… a real old-fashioned strawberry rhubarb pie! The message was lovingly carved into the crust, “Happy Easter, Pellemans,” with a little heart as the finishing touch!  I could have cried when I took my first sweet and sour bite! But Instead of tears, I was laughing at the movie my kids had cleverly created while the rest of us were out. I took it all in… the joy of it! I knew it was part of the gift of the healing God has been bestowing upon me. 

After the last scheduled meal, all of which had been perfectly planned to assist during my most difficult time; my husband made a stop at Costco to get us set up for the coming week. He does this all the time, but this time it was so much sweeter. It’s like God has been showing me everything through a finer lens of appreciation. For this is something I absolutely cannot do at this time. He got all our favorites: ice cream, mango salsa, Asian salad, filet mignon, salmon, strawberries, sweet n salty popcorn and more! He topped it off by bringing us hotdogs, which we enjoyed outside that evening, picnic-style. Picnics are my favorite. They contain all things beautiful: family and friends, food, fun, and the freedom and beauty of enjoying all of it outdoors! 

Yes, healing is tough. But the silver lining is that there’s joy along the journey if we remember to praise God and thank Him for all the good things we have in our lives. I may not even have had the chance to enjoy a strawberry rhubarb pie for Easter, if I had not gone through a surgery! These sweet touches make it all worth it! “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thes. 5:18).

Thanking God for the sweet things in life, is kind of like biting into a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie… perfectly delightful!


Blog posts related to this surgery:


Surgery Day: Trusting God Through Trials

Recovery Week 1: The Family That Prays Together…

Recovery Week 2:  The Unexpected Joy of Rest

Recovery Thoughts:  Healing is a Journey

Recovery Week 2-1/2:  It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice! 

Queen Bee Gossip: Sweet as Honey or a Toxic Sting? (Series: Toxic People and Situations)

What can be done when annoying bees buzz gossip into our ears, casting doubt about a friend or loved one’s character? How do you handle it?  Do you accept the information as valid and true, or do you go directly to your friend for his or her side of the story? Have you let a good relationship go to waste, simply because you accepted a story that caused you to side with the gossip, or did you consider something may be wrong if you only heard from one party?

When we think about the times we have found ourselves in these situations, do we discover that we’ve taken sides with the gossip, without knowing all the facts; or have we given our loved ones the benefit of the doubt?  Did we ever allow the person being gossiped about, to come to his or her defense? Did the person even know about it? Did the person give up? Why or why not? Was the person being gossiped about… you?

At one time or another, we’ve all found ourselves in a sticky situation when someone suddenly starts talking about someone else. In that moment, we have a choice to participate, or not participate. It can be uncomfortable to speak up about it, but the person who should really be feeling uncomfortable is the gossip herself. If we choose to participate, we will find ourselves stuck in a hive, wondering how to escape a sticky situation. Those who engage in gossip are often afraid to fly away from the queen bee, because they’re usually fearful of getting stung themselves!  And they will… get stung… because if a gossip is sharing info with you, the gossip will share info about you. To think this is false, is to live in denial about the spirit of gossip and how it works.

A gossip’s tasty little bits of information may initially seem to be sweet as honey, but there’s something to be said about food that is sickeningly sweet. When a gossip shares her irresistible story, people willingly eat it up. This is because the gossip falsely makes you feel special; as if it’s an honor to have been chosen to be trusted with her private little story. But it’s kind of like having a chocolate chip… you can’t eat just one. Each tasty morsel gives you a desire for another, and a little bit isn’t enough to satisfy. Eventually the listener wants a whole cookie, something to fill the belly:

“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts” (Prov. 18:8 New International Version).


If the gossip is really experienced, she or he will work hard to turn you away from her enemies, from the very people God intended for you to have in your life… truthful, compassionate, loving people. Why would a gossip do this? Because the gossip has an agenda: It’s an agenda to get attention from you, no matter what the cost is to anyone else. If the gossip is successful at getting you to stop talking to your friends and loves ones, and you don’t even really know how it happened, you may want to consider the fact that this busy bee body is downright toxic.

By definition, toxic means poisonous! Who wants to be near poison? Wouldn’t we want to separate ourselves from it? Of course! The gossip knows this, so the gossip creates the division first, to distract you from the real problem… the gossip herself! However, instead of you being separated from the gossip, you are instead craftily separated from the friends and loved ones who are a positive influence in your life. A gossip separates friends out of spite, jealousy, low self-esteem, selfishness and self-centeredness.

“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends” (Prov. 16:28).


The Bible condemns gossips; even grouping them into the same category as liars, slanderers, and God-haters!  God is not referring to this group with favor. A gossip is always a liar too. Why? Because the juicier the story, the larger the gossip’s audience will be, and embellishment means that more attention will be bestowed upon the gossip.

“They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. (Rom.8:29-31).

Try this experiment: Watch a gossip in action. Observe how people engage with her. They move in closer to her, and shut out those who are their targets. The gossip whispers for dramatic effect. People “oooh” and “ahhh” over her phrases. The news is always negative, and it is usually shocking. Bits of truth are thrown in to make the story seem true, and to make the gossip seem like a credible witness. The audience reacts by mimicking the gossip’s emotions. If she’s angry, they are “righteously” angry for her. If she’s having a pity party, her audience gladly pats her on the back and agrees that the person being gossiped about is truly thoughtless, unforgiving, and unChristianlike.

The gossip is the center of attention and the gossip wants to keep it that way. The focus will be on her and how much better she is than someone else, how she’s been mistreated by someone else, and how she is concerned about someone else. In essence, the gossip is an expert know-it-all about the person who is not even there to defend himself.  A genuine Christian should use discretion when concerned about a loved one;  and should seek to keep quiet about things that could hurt someone else or damage relationships among friends and loved ones:

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs” (Prov. 10:12).

Gossip is like having a  judge rule over a court case without allowing the defendant to speak. It’s like a football game when the offense runs forward to make a touchdown, but the defending team isn’t even there to try and intercept the ball.  If you challenge the gossip with questions to  verify how she got her information, her feathers will get ruffled, and she will become offended. She will become uncomfortable, and only then will she make an effort to change the subject.

In the worst case scenario, the gossip has no empathy, yet displays fake empathy by manipulating her captive audience into believing that she is concerned about the person being discussed. She is now in control of the situation, by having played on people’s emotions. Meanwhile the person being gossiped about is living a normal, healthy productive life, and usually has no clue about how much damage the gossip is causing behind his back. Yet slowly, bit by bit, people drop out of his life, all because of the gossip’s made up stories! Rarely will a good and fair man or woman come forward and say, “I heard this about you… is it true?” But why shouldn’t we do this? Why would we accept a one-sided conversation as truth? The Bible itself tells us this is a very naive thing to do:

“The naive believes everything, But the sensible man considers his steps” (Prov. 14:15 New American Standard Bible).

Most people can’t imagine how someone would play with real human lives in such a manner. But the truth is, it does happen, and it’s more often than we’d like to think. It happens when a gossip is at her very worst; and becomes a completely self-absorbed, self-centered, narcissistic person: Everything will be about her… everything. Not all gossips are narcissists; but ALL narcissists are gossips!  Beware the self-centered sting of narcissism!

If you’ve been caught up in the sin of gossip, the silver lining is that gossip is forgivable and escapable!  Repent of participating in gossip, and ask God whether He wants you to apologize to those who have been hurt by your participation in it. God makes good out of all things, when we come to Him with a repentant heart. Though it may take a while, God can heal broken relationships, and He can repair broken hearts. One small act of repentance can bring about a lifetime of beautiful gifts. God is a God of restoration. He can even replace many years which were lost due to the sin of gossip, and heal all the hearts involved. Ask God to remove gossip from your life today!

” ‘I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten– the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed” (Joel 2:25-27 New International Version).


If you’re the one being gossiped about, remember that God is your protector. The Holy Spirit is at work, convicting the hearts of those who accuse you. You’re not alone. Jesus knows exactly how you feel. He chose not to defend himself, even though He was, and is, God’s beloved Son. He knew God had a better plan, and he trusted His Father. When we are unjustly slandered, by those who gossip about us, we can rejoice in the fact that we are taking part in the suffering of Jesus for his namesake. Not only do we take part in the suffering, but we will also take part in the great joy of God’s Kingdom! God will judge all of it, and make it right. Don’t waste your time with a queen bee, when you belong to the KING!

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:17-18).


Stay tuned for these upcoming June posts from the Series: Toxic People, Toxic Situations… 
Is She a Gossip? … 10 Red Flags

10 Ways to Escape Gossip

The Self-Centered Sting of Narcissism

The Jezebel Spirit

Flying Monkeys… What are They?

Jezebel’s Chess Game… Win or Lose?

The Heart of a Child Seeks Wisdom

Last night, while praying with my family, and discussing the Proverbs, my seven-year old daughter reminded me that she wanted to read the Proverbs too! Convicted, I realized this was the second night in a row that she had mentioned it to me, and that I had not included her when I had invited my family, friends, and readers; to read a Proverb a day during Lent. Though we were reading her bible stories, I had not thought about taking her on this journey of gaining wisdom through my favorite book of The Holy Bible: Proverbs.  

My heart was touched by my child’s yearning to grow even more in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. She wanted to learn more about God’s promises,and His commands which protect us, and keep us from going down the wrong path. I read a few to her and explained them, while promising to find her a children’s book of Proverbs, because she also likes to read by herself. My young artist’s eyes lit up, as her little fingers reached for the thin pages of my coloring bible, as she realized she could also draw and color, while reading her way through the scriptures. I realized I needed to get her a coloring bible too!

I was filled with joy, as I took in the truth: Even with all my imperfections, my child is watching me walk with Jesus, and making the choice to walk with him too. Our family found out she knew Jesus, and already had a relationship with him, while she was yet only the tender age of three years old. My daughter showed a gift for discerning and understanding scriptures, forgiving easily, and  comforting others by perceiving their pain, along with ability to melt it away; even before her preschool years. She has wisdom beyond her years, and it is not credited to me; it is because God has given her these beautiful gifts. I marvel at them, just as I do at the gifts he has given to my twin boys, who are now young adults, and just as I see gifts within the children of my friends, and the children who have attended my Sunday school classes. 

The Proverb I read to my daughter last night happened to be: “These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance–for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise” (Prov. 1:4-6 New International Version). Never assume someone is too young to follow Jesus, for the innocence of children is clean and pure. They don’t have the dirt and lies of the world to spoil their view, so they can see truth and love more clearly. Share God’s wisdom, truth, and love with a precious child today! 


“My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands.  Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God” (Prov. 2:1-5 New Living Translation).

*Bible page pictured from Inspire ~ The Bible for Creative Journaling ~ NLT



Let God be Your Affirmation… not Fools!

Sometimes I get discouraged, and doubt creeps in. I wonder if my blog is making a difference in other people’s lives. There are times of great response, with comments and sharing; and other times there are personal affirmations from others (my favorite) and sometimes silence, when my heart remains grateful to my most encouraging friends! But God keeps giving me words to write! The words rain down upon me, and I can’t write them fast enough, because I know The Silver Lining is coming; and a whole bunch of people need to see God’s miraculous promise of a rainbow! 

There have been times people have come to me, saying they did not know where to turn, but had thought of my blog; The Silver Lining, and decided to contact me. What an honor to be sought out specifically by hopeful people, who reach out, believing their questions and problems will be received with God’s grace! This makes my heart sing! Sometimes the issue has been sickness; at other times marriage, children, or a friend. Someone may need prayer for depression, lonliness, or to battle the stronghold of a sin. It might be just a quick question about scripture interpretation, or best of all; the opportunity to lead someone to Jesus Christ. 

I don’t have all the answers; I’m still continuously learning myself. But I’m God’s willing servant, wanting to help others where I can. Sometimes I receive a one-time message or phone call. Other times there are several meetings over coffee; where I’m trusted to listen, offer biblical counsel, and pray for precious souls. 

God has also created opportunities for friendships to evolve and grow. I consider it such a joyful privilege, to have been chosen by God to bless others, through both the written and spoken word. This morning, as I read Proverbs 10, I was given a gift. God showed me how valuable my encouraging words really are, regardless of the feedback:

For the Bible says, “The words of the godly are like sterling silver, the heart of a fool is worthless. The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense”  (Prov. 10:20-21 New Living Translation). God is saying my words are valuable! 

As if that weren’t already a beautiful blessing, God is saying my words encourage many, whether I am aware of it or not! God is talking about godly people in those verses. That means God is talking about me! I’m not godly because I’m perfect; I’m far from it! I’m godly because Jesus lives inside of me! I daily repent, seeking forgiveness for my sins. I pursue Jesus, seek God’s wisdom, and ask the Holy Spirit to fill me. I am godly, because I’m a child of God!

But when God’s gives gifts to His children, He blesses abundantly. As I reflected upon His promises, and the truth that my godly words are valuable and an encouragement to many; He showed me something else: The words of fools are worthless.  Fools will even be destroyed, because they don’t have common sense! God obviously really, really means it, for there’s more:

“The godly will never be disturbed, but the wicked will be removed from the land. The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice, but the tongue that deceives will be cut off. The lips of the godly speak helpful words, but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words” (prov. 10:30-33).


Wow!  Not only is God further verifying that my godly words are helpful to others, He is reiterating the fact that foolish people’s words are useless. God tells us the words of a fool are deceitful and perverse. In fact, God hates foolish talk so much, that He promises to cut it off. He promised to remove wicked people from the land and leave us godly people happily undisturbed

Do you realize what this means for genuine Christian bloggers, evangelists, street ministers, pastors, youth leaders, and more? It means God has our backs! God is not fooled by copy cats and knock-offs. God knows the difference between fool’s gold, and solid 14k treasure. God is going to take care of the fools, the deceivers, the false prophets, the fake teachers, the pretenders, and the wolves in sheep’s clothing! No matter what it looks like right now, which kind of fools or obstacles try to stand in your way; they are nothing compared to the great plans and callings God has for His children, the godly ones!

So be encouraged, all you godly children! Keep on doing whatever you are doing to grow the Kingdom of God, knowing and trusting that your work is greatly valuable, and encouraging to others. Don’t let any slanderous fools lie to you and tell you you’re unworthy to share the gospel; or that your ministry is no good, or that you’re not making a positive, godly difference. Foolish words from foolish people don’t mean a thing. For GOD is the ultimate authority over all things. God’s got this!

“Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thes. 4:18 English Standard Version)





The Silver Lining Fall Giveaway!

It’s FALL! Many are shouting about their favorite season: “hoodie weather!” “roasted marshmallows!” and “pumpkin lattes!” While I love all those things too, I often want to pull the covers over my head, and hibernate until it’s springtime again. But God is healing me, and He can heal you too! So…we are going to CELEBRATE FALL!

Click here to read last year’s post: “Are Ya’ll Fallin’ Apart in Fall?”

WIN:

Here’s a bright orange metal bucket with rafia wrapped wooden handles! Some things inside are: the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, a brown leather Jeremiah 29:11 journal, an orange pumpkin pie candle, luxury lemon & argan oil soap, a warm/cool headache compress (for busy holidays!) a mini scarecrow, Toblerone chocolate, and more! 

ELIGIBILITY:

To be eligible, you must be a subscriber or follower of The Silver Lininghttp://www.angelaslittleattic.com
OR
‘like’ The Silver Lining page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/angelaslittleattic

ENTER: 

To enter, comment with a favorite bible verse under this post. You can also find this giveaway post at either The Silver Lining website (under the giveaways tab) or on The Silver Lining Facebook page. Your bible verse comment is your entry!
If you’d like, you may enter at both the website, and on Facebook, which will count as two entries.

DRAWING HELD: October 22nd!

It’s all about encouraging others in Jesus Christ. It’s all about forgiveness and eternal life. It’s about sharing God’s perfect love with others.

“Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD! Sing to the LORD; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods.” 

Psalm 96: 1-4 

New Living Translation

 

Go Away, Dismay! 

When people hate you because you love Jesus and tell others about his miraculous healing…when people hate you because you care enough to tell them the truth about false teachers who bring false hope and false prophecy, which will bring them more pain…when people gossip about you and listen to lies because it makes them feel better about dabbling in their own sin…when people blatantly ignore you out of jealousy because they think they have your life all figured out and really just need to be working out their own…when people turn away from you because they feel uncomfortably convicted about their own life issues around you, not because you’re perfect, but because you strive to please God…when people use you, and then have no time for you, or only make time for you in hopes that they can squeeze a little more usefulness out of you for their own selfish gains…when people especially do these things to you, when at one time you considered them to be your friendsthe silver lining is that JESUS knows your heart.

JESUS is your real friend, and he loves you unconditionally, and forever. JESUS doesn’t care if you’re popular or accepted. JESUS supports you and is on your side, and he is fighting the evil in the spirit world that looks to be so much like flesh and blood working against you. During the storm, GOD miraculously protects you, grows you, holds you, and is miraculously working out His Holy plan for you, all at the same time! Even if some of the people working against you claim to be Christians, pray for them to be saved, or convicted. Pray for truth to be revealed. God is already sifting out the people who are not part of His plan for you, and all at the same time, He is cleansing your mind, purifying  your heart, and refining you like silver and testing you like gold.

So when it seems the world is against you, if you’re following Jesus, you should not be dismayed. Hold on to hope in The One who created you and loves you, The LORD, your GOD. Trust in The Lord, your God, and choose joy: “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed”  (1 Peter 1: 6-7 New International Version).

“The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts”  (Prov. 17:3 English Standard Version).