Tag Archives: love

When the Tables are Turned, is it Abuse… or Righteous Anger?

The table was shoved over in a fit of rage when I was around eight. There’d been a bit of squabbling at the table, as happens between eight-year-old and four-year-old kids, but nothing out of the ordinary. It came as a complete shock. It was apparently the last straw; the one that broke the camel’s back. The flimsy card table in our tiny Italian kitchen was suddenly flipped over. There was a scream, and tomato rice soup was flying everywhere. What just happened? Our entire lunch was on the floor; the table upended on its side. And suddenly it was silent.

As I surveyed the red creamy soup splattered all over the walls and in puddles on the floor, we began to cry. My little sister started yelling, “My tooth! My tooth!” In a flurry of activity, we ran to kneel on the floor beside her and look into her mouth. Fear. Had the table smacked her in the face on its way down? Then, suddenly relief, as the discovery came… “It’s a piece of rice! It’s just a piece of rice!” 

I guess it was the relief, because it surely wasn’t joy, that brought the nervous laughter. Suddenly we got the impression it was not so bad after all. In fact, it was all quite funny. But it was actually only funny, because we were trained to believe it was so. The brainwashing had set in long before. I knew what to do. I was supposed to laugh along; make light of the situation. That way no one would get mad… and I wouldn’t get into trouble. And then we could all put a smile on our face and pretend it had never happened. 

What was that after all? Was it abuse, or was it righteous anger?

Well, let’s compare it to another scenario from a time long before. Instead of little kids bickering at the kitchen table, there were money changers in the courts of God’s Holy Temple. And they weren’t innocently sitting at tables eating their lunch. No. They were sitting at tables exchanging foreign money. And instead of having a little argument to top it off, merchants were also selling sheep, cattle, and doves to be sacrificed. Instead of children facing an angry woman, the merchants and money changers came face to face with an angry man… an angry man who just happened to be the Son of God! 

Jesus didn’t shove a flimsy table of food to the ground; he shoved multiple tables, scattering tons of coins: here, there, and everywhere! If that wasn’t frightening enough, he created a whip out of cords, and sent the animals running hither and dither from the temple’s courtyard! Merchants and money changers were in his Father’s House, and Jesus was mad as a hornet! Did you know that Jesus yelled too?! “To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market’ ” (John 2:16 New International Version)!

What was that after all? Was it abuse? Or was it righteous anger?

Well, if you had to choose which situation to witness, which one would you pick? I know which one I would choose. For the silver lining is in knowing that my Savior is good, and perfect, and pure. Though the scene with Jesus was extra dramatic, I would have surveyed the whole scene with peace, instead of anxiety. I would have sat on the sidelines knowing that his corded whip was not for me, nor the righteous anger, nor the disciplinary action. I also wouldn’t have been forced to fake laugh, and pretend I was okay. This is because my confidence is in Christ. My Savior knows what he is doing, has a purpose for it all the time, and it is always good.

I can see myself as a small, skinny eight-year-old girl, about the age of my daughter, sitting on a wall in the courtyard. I’m watching Jesus; glad that he is clearing the temple of the bad guys. I’m sitting in my ratty brown robe, barefoot, swinging my legs against the stone wall, waiting for him to finish his work. I can hardly wait for him to toss down the whip and head over to me. Everyone is gone; the merchants, the buyers, the money changers, and the animals. It’s just me left.  As he comes towards me, I bow my head, but it’s not out of fear. 

It’s out of reverence. It’s because I know he’s getting ready to pull me into his comforting, warm embrace of unconditional love. My head is down because I know his hand is going to touch the top of my curly auburn head, and he’s going to say, “I love you, my child. There’s nothing to fear.” But I’m not afraid anyway. And when I look up into his beautiful, dark face, and smile into his kind, brown eyes;  I nod my head. I can’t talk, because I’m overjoyed. But he understand me. He can read my mind. He knows I’ve remembered. He knows that I, just like “His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me” (John 2:17).

Prayer: 

Dear God, turn the tables in my life. Where I am weak, make me strong. Cleanse my mind of the lies I was taught as a child. Fill me with The Holy Spirit, and open my eyes to the truth. Instead of bitter anger, help me to continue to forgive those who have sinned against me, just as you have forgiven those who have sinned against you. Remove the deceit from those who have become blind to the truth. Bring instead, wisdom and discernment, to those who seek Your Face. 

Years later, I’m on fire for You, Lord. My speech, and my body have experienced the shaking strength of righteous anger, and in it I did not sin; just as you my Savior, did not sin in the temple courtyard. I am zealous for you, Jesus. I’m zealous for others to make their home with you in Heaven. It consumes me, and I don’t care if the world hates me for it. Even if I’m the only one left sitting in your courtyard, I will wait for you to come get me. I want to live in your house forever. I want my home to be wherever you may be. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for your eternal love. 

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11).

Related Posts:

PAST PATHS… AND OTHER THINGS TOO PAINFUL TO MENTION

SHE’S A LITTLE RUNAWAY: A JOURNEY FROM REJECTION TO ACCEPTANCE 


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!  

A Love Beyond Beautiful Birds

My daughter woke me this morning, so I could enjoy this beautiful gift! If God created even the birds to love and care for one another, then imagine how much more He loves and cares for US!

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care” (Matt. 10:29 New International Version).​​​

In His infinite love, God created beautiful living creatures, and He gave them a natural instinct to care for one another. But God sent His own Son to die on a cross for you and me! God’s glorious, infinite love for human beings extends beyond that of any other creature in the entire universe. When you feel alone, unappreciated, and insignificant; look towards the silver lining…  In God’s eyes you are of great value and worth. Remember that the love God has for you is immeasurable!  

Pretty Ponies? A Mother’s “Short Tale”

Yesterday, my daughter asked if she could give one of her ponies a hair cut. We had given a trim to one of her My Little Pony pets before, so I agreed. I reminded her that the pony’s hair couldn’t grow back, and gave her a small pair of scissors, and a piece of cardstick to set underneath.

My daughter returned to ask if she could give another pony a hair cut. “I guess so,” I agreed, while casually mentioning that if she later decided to sell some of her ponies at a yard sale, the other little girls might be looking for long manes and tails. She nodded her head, and then we both shrugged. Who cared about a yard sale? They were her ponies now, and she had a bunch of them. She skipped off to take them to the pony salon; and snip, clip, and shampoo their colorful locks into new hairdos.

After about a half an hour, my normally cheery, confident little girl came into my room, downcast. “What’s wrong, little one?” I asked.

She lowered her head, and her voice slightly trembled, “I don’t think I want to give my ponies a hair cut anymore.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because…”

“How many ponies got hair cuts?”

“About eight…”

“Ohhhh!” I laughed; “Well that’s a lot of ponies. But that’s okay, because you have a lot of ponies. But that’s probably enough ponies getting haircuts.”

But I knew. I could feel the guilt, anxiety, and self-condemnation clinging to her; because it was all too familiar. I was immediately brought back to my childhood; where everything I did was wrong, every mistake was shameful, and no bad choices were forgiven.

NOT MY GIRL, DEVIL! NOT MY GIRL!

“Wait!” I grabbed her skinny little self and folded her into a hug. “Look at me,” I coaxed. She looked up with sad eyes. Her huge, teary eyes displayed a rainbow of colors; just like her little ponies. “Did you have fun?” I asked. Her head nodded up and down. “Do you like their haircuts?” She nodded yes, again. “Then that’s all that matters, Honey!”

I pulled her close into me, and said “Let’s pray…” But she was already bowing her little head, because she knows Jesus brings comfort when Mommy prays. My hands started at the top of her own long, curly, tangled mane. As I prayed over her soft, sweet head; I combed my fingers all the way down to the bottom of her hair, which ended at her waist.

I renounced guilt, anxiety, and self-condemnations for my daughter, in Jesus’ name. I told the devil to go “sit on a tack” in the name of Jesus, and that he was not allowed to steal her joy. I thanked God for my beautiful daughter and her endlessly creative imagination, along with the ability to try new, exciting things. I asked God to fill my daughter with His Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. I asked God to replace her sadness with  joy and peace.  I thanked God for my little girl and her love for animals, including ponies. I asked God to bless her future and all that it entails! 

After praying, I gave her a kiss, and she ran off to play. It was GONE! The sadness, the worry, the doubt… it was all GONE! That’s because I have the power and authority in Jesus Christ, to intervene on behalf of my daughter, and tell the devil to get lost. I can only do this because of who I am in Christ, and my daughter knows she has this same power and authority within her too.

The situation had not changed. The hair did not miraculously grow back.  But what did change, was the lies. The lies weren’t there anymore. They had been prayed away in the name of Jesus. The devil had lied to my daughter, and tried to ruin her day, by deceiving her, and stealing her joy. I was not fooled by his tactics. We had been here before when the devil had lied to her about her artwork mistakes.

NOT MY GIRL, DEVIL! NOT MY GIRL!

When our children are struggling with a  spiritual attack, the silver lining is that we parents who battle for our children, are already promised a victory! We don’t have to play or put up with the devil’s games; but we must pray, and fight back in the name of Jesus! There’s a battle for our children’s spiritual well being; so saddle up, and giddy up! The Bible says we win the race!

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us”  (Phil. 3:14 New Living Translation).

Make your decisions, and ride your race without fear! 

15 Ways to Receive a Mother’s Day Blessing, even if You don’t have a Mom, or are Hoping to be One…

So many hearts find Mother’s Day to be a time of sadness and despair, instead of gladness and delight. Many have lost their mothers due to cancer or old age. Some have been abandoned or abused by their mothers, and are no longer a part of each other’s lives. Some have never known their mothers. No matter the reason, not having a mother leaves one with an empty hole; an ache to be nurtured, a desire to be treasured, a wish to be guided in godly wisdom and unconditionally loved.

Still others hearts are left feeling an empty spot, because they are aching to be mothers. It hurts when desire runs deep, and a woman has so much love to give and yearns to share it, yet it remains unfulfilled. It may be another miscarriage, a long struggle with infertility treatments, or an adoption process which is taking way too long.

But the silver lining is that there is hope for each and every woman; those who do not have a mom to love on them, and those who do not have a child to love. And there is hope for the precious mothers who have loved and lost their children too; children who are waiting in Heaven for their mothers to be reunited with them one day. As we wait for God to fully heal our hurting hearts, we can find joy in serving and loving the mothers who need us…sisters in Christ.

For God works in miraculous ways. As God blesses us, He uses us to touch the hearts of other sisters in Christ. NEVER give up on God; He knows exactly how to bless each and every one of us in His good and perfect timing! He can also fill up every empty spot that no one else on earth can… not even a mother.

Here are 20 ways to receive a Mother’s Day blessing, even if you don’t have a mom, or are hoping to be one…

  1. Bring a meal to a new mom who just had a baby. Stay and hold her baby so she and her husband can eat your delicious meal. In the meantime, get your baby cuddle fix!
  2. Volunteer to pass out carnations to all the moms at church. Seeing their smiles, are sure to make you smile too!
  3. Find a mom who treats you like her own child and give her a gift with a thank you card, telling her how much she means to you.  Or, send a card to a mom you admire, and tell her why. You’ll make her day with the unexpected.
  4. Offer to babysit for a friend who is overwhelmed. Bring a new game or toy with you. Play with the children while she runs errands or takes a nap upstairs! She will never forget it!
  5. Tutor a child in a subject where your mom friend is bumping heads with her own child. Mom gets a break from homework patrol and can bake you all some cookies while the math gets completed!
  6. Volunteer for a soup kitchen. Filling the need for hunger is one of the most important jobs a mother will ever have.
  7. Send some encouraging bible verses to a mom who is struggling with depression. Romans, chapter 8 is a great place to start:  “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1 New Living Translation).
  8. Bring flowers to a Sunday School teacher who loves and treats the children as if they are her own.
  9. Sign up to lead Vacation Bible School or to help coach a kids’ soccer or softball team. It’s a chance to use mom skills which can benefit the whole team!
  10. Look into fostering or adoption. There is an incredible need for children to be loved. So many need emergency care, and many more need forever homes. Sometimes God delays pregnancy, because he wants to gift a mother with more than one child. Many women enjoy the amazing experience of both adopting a child and going through a pregnancy! After all, God has adopted us as sons and daughters through His Son, Jesus Christ. God’s plans are amazing!
  11. Thank God for the moms who have been significant in your life. Maybe one of them has even led you to Christ! Ask God to send these mothers a special blessing, in the name of Jesus. Reach out to some of them and let them know you are praying for them.
  12. If you have a grandmother, give her a call to tell her how much of a role model she has been in your life. A personal phone call is a great gift, especially in these modern days of emails and text messaging.
  13. On social media, ask for prayer requests from your friends who are moms. Let them know you would like to pray for them during Mother’s Day Week.  Ask them to message you with their prayer requests.
  14. Take one of your friends, who is a mom, out to dinner one night. Make an effort to really listen to her challenges about being a mom. Offer to pray for her.
  15. Visit a nursing home, and read a book to an elderly mom, or to someone whom might need the loving touch which a mom would bring.

Whether you are hoping to be a mother because you are struggling with infertility, have had multiple miscarriages, and didn’t get to even hold your babies, or are fostering or waiting to adopt; Jesus says you are blessed.

Whether you have had an abortion, and regretted it, and repented and asked God for forgiveness, and are now making your way past the guilt and self-condemnation with Jesus by your side, you are blessed.

Whether you’re a mother who has gone through the trauma of having birthed, raised, loved, and lost your child or children, and face the devastation of their death, which no mother should have to endure; Jesus says you are blessed. He died on the cross while watching his own mother pour out her heart of tears over his suffering and his death.  Jesus understands, and He is The One who will carry your burden and help you through your profound grief and suffering.

For Jesus loves us all: whether we are barren or fertile, orphans or claimed. If you are poor in spirit because of anything having to do with motherhood, especially mourning;  Jesus says you are blessed!  For the silver lining is that God is watching over you. Even if it doesn’t feel like it; God loves you and He wants to heal your heart and take away your pain. For God’s own beloved Son, Jesus, proclaims your blessing in The Beatitudes from The Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Matt 5:3-4

The confidence we have in Christ of knowing we are blessed right where we are, in the midst of our deepest heartbreak and heartache, is a reason for hope. If we trust God, we can believe Jesus when he says we are blessed. It means he is taking care of us even now as we weep, and that he will provide blessings of joy for us both here on Earth, and up in Heaven.

Pray for whatever it is you seek regarding motherhood. If you want salvation for your mother, ask God. If you want truth to be revealed about your relationship, pray for it. If you want healing for your hurting heart, because you miss your mom in Heaven, pray to God and ask Him to comfort you. If you want to have a baby, pray for it to happen. If you want to adopt a child, ask God to lead you to the child who is waiting for you. And if you are among the blessed mothers who have a broken heart, because your child left this earth before you did, my precious sister in Chris;  ask Jesus to comfort you, strengthen you, and give you joy, rest, and peace. He loves you!

My own story involves four years of infertility, so I was already praying for a baby. As we started infertility treatment, since I was getting older, I decided to prayed for twins. So why was I so surprised God gave them to me?! When they were were born 2-1/2 months premature, I prayed for their very survival; I prayed for them to live. God heard my prayers, and He helped my babies to hang on, and to thrive! When one of my twins almost died at the age of three, God heard me pleading for his life, according to the will of God. God spared his life, and I’m forever grateful. God had a plan for my boys to grow up together.  God has brought my children through severe illness and traumatic injuries. God kept my daughter alive when years later, it was time for her to be born, and my doctor found the cord wrapped around her neck. I needed an emergency C-section. Many people were praying for my baby girl, and God brought her to us in perfect condition! Praise The Lord!

I don’t have all the answers to why things happen the way they do, but I do know that prayer is powerful, and that God has a perfect plan for His own children… all of us!  Keep trusting God and pursue Jesus through it all! Remember, you are blessed!

“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.”

Jer. 29:11


We are NEVER alone or without hope, in Christ Jesus. God will heal us, show us joy, give us love, and provide us with everything we need! 

Two Cocoons: a Love Poem… My Premature Twins on their Teeny Tiny Miracle Journey 

Two Cocoons

When I see your tiny red naked bodies

clad only in diapers the size of a Kleenex,

I think that nothing is more fragile, and

you’re just like the wings of a butterfly.

 

While one of you cries out like a hungry kitten,

the other cries out like a bleating sheep.

It hurts to see you suffering,

but I know God is good.

All the other newborn babies are giants

lying near your skinny, premature bodies.

I long to hold you in my arms,

my two little boys, and breathe in your warmth.

 

Already, you both have heads with hair.

Your daddy smoothes it down for you,

making you look like little men. He holds

your hands in his, no bigger than his thumb.

Deep blue eyes peep out to take a

look around at the world, but bright

fluorescent lights make you pinch them shut.

You frown, and we laugh at the wrinkles between your eyebrows.

And with our laughter, and time,

comes more light. This light from

God brings changes, which give

us more hope and double happiness.

Bare naked bodies are leaving soft downy hair behind.

Wrinkly elephant knees are going away.

You’re filling out, and I’m so filled with joy

that my milk is helping you to grow.

 

I can see your ribs beneath your skin,

starting to disappear, and your tummies are poking out.

The hollow of each chest pulls in,

as you both use all your strength to breathe.

I marvel at the sight of your hands in mine.

You can barely curl them around my

magnified pinky, but you try, and you succeed,

and your knuckles turn white, because you don’t want me to go.

 

When you are both finally four pounds,

you still look like peanuts in your isolettes

or happy lima beans when you are all curled up.

You are happy that you are no longer bare,

but wrapped up snug and safe,

like caterpillars in your cocoons.

I’m your mommy,

your butterfly,

holding you tight,

and I can’t wait to fly you home with me.

© 1999 Angela Royse Pelleman


“I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13 New International Version). 

My babies have grown up before my very eyes. Today they are 18 years old, and no longer boys, but young men. I thank God for bringing us through our many trials. Their very lives are a miracle, for they were born 2-1/2 months early, at 29 weeks. The older by just 15 minutes was only 2 pounds, 15 ounces. His twin was not much bigger, at 3 pounds, 5 ounces. The older spent 1-1/2 months in the NICU, and his brother came home after two months. Our family was finally together!  Both babies spent five months attached to heart and lung monitors, and the second twin needed an oxygen tank. We had to learn CPR.  It was not an easy road for them, nor for our family; but God has never left our side. There has been trauma and severe illness along the way, but our God has been Faithful; and He has given us miracle healings through Jesus Christ. My young men are overcomers; victorious because their strength lies in Christ alone.

I am grateful for the many gifts and talents which God has bestowed upon them in His infinite mercy, grace, and love. As homeschoolers, they are now graduating from high school, and we look forward to what God has planned for their futures. God has given them some amazing gifts and talents in the areas of art, music, computer science, and politics; and we are excited to watch them fly!  But what gives me the most joy, is the comfort that both of them have knowledge, wisdom, and discernment in the Word of God. They chose to give their lives to Jesus at the tender age of four. So, as I struggle with a bit of sadness for having to say goodbye to their childhood years, I look towards the silver lining: My young men will always be children of God! They can go to Him in their greatest times of need, for they have privileges which are only given to children of God, through Jesus Christ. They have God’s protection and the ability to approach His throne without fear. They are cleansed by the blood of Jesus for their past, present, and future sins. Rejoice!

Thank you God for watching over my children who are men today. Thank you for watching over them as they get ready to make their way into the world as adults. Watch over them, guide them, and give them extra wisdom and discernment. Cover them with the blood of Jesus, and surround them with your hedge of protection, in Jesus’ name. Be their spiritual eyes and ears, as they go about working, and being the hands and feet of Jesus. Give them courage and strength to reach the lost. like King David; bless them, Lord, and make them men after your own heart. In Jesus’ name, I pray, and I thank you for the privilege of raising these two precious souls, who received you so young; and were baptized in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit! Amen! 


“Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding” (Jer. 3:15).


Before Your Loved Ones Die, Give Them Jesus… Expect a Miracle!

I can’t believe it’s been six years since my friend Donna Dehart passed away. I love this photo of the two of us giggling, trying to play the Wii (and failing miserably) on Christmas Day, 2008. It’s the only photo I have of the two of us together. 

Donna’s daughters were at their dad’s on Christmas Day, so we had the blessing of having her spend Christmas Day with my family.  We enjoyed good food, love and laughter, and the fun of playing with Christmas toys! That Christmas, Donna gave me a beautiful gift. I opened a small, delicate ceramic angel box; and what was inside, took my breath away: Donna had written wise sayings on teeny tiny pieces of long paper, and she had curled them around a pencil. Then she had lovingly placed them one by one, into the angel box… just…for…ME! One of the sayings said, “Expect a miracle… Expect a miracle…”

Even though I knew Donna struggled greatly with chronic illness, I had no idea God would take my friend home just three years later. Donna was adamant that Jesus was a great teacher, and that was where it ended. She was stubborn when it came to her beliefs, so I decided to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus for my friend; so she could see Jesus living me! We had lunch dates, painted in art class together, met at the Farmer’s Market, shared secrets, and had spiritual conversations on the phone. 

Finally,  against everything she said she wouldn’t do; she began to attend my church, where some of my friends had been loving on her and ministering to her too. We also formed a team to help her with house repairs, and another friend fixed her vintage car; which was in the garage more than out, and ran on a few bucks and a prayer! My sisters and brothers in Christ let our love speak for itself. 

Donna didn’t have much as far as earthly possessions, but she had a contagious laugh and positive attitude that filled me up. She had a fierce love for her daughters, and great empathy for animals without a home; so great, that she gave them a home at her own house! Though we didn’t always agree, our friendship was one of respect, trust, loyalty, and love. Donna did believe in Jesus and his death and resurrection, but she would only let me witness up to a certain point. I had to trust that God would reveal Himself through compassion from our church, other godly organizations, and her Christian friends. 

When she lay in the hospital, close to death, and unresponsive; I thought of the silver lining… Expect a miracle. I prayed an intercessory prayer for her. I held her hand and whispered in her ear, and I asked her to receive Christ if she had not. I told her it wasn’t too late, and she could receive Jesus without talking. While still whispering in her ear, so she could hear me above the noisy machines working hard to keep her alive, I asked God in his infinite mercy to let her hear my prayer. I asked God to lead her to say yes in her heart, and to have peace, so she could go to Heaven. I told her I would meet her there, and I kissed her goodbye. And to this day, I… expect a miracle!

We never know how much time we have with our friends and family here in earth. Tell them about Jesus while you can, even if it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do! People need Jesus, and they are more ready to receive him than we realize. Out of every act of friendship, telling someone about Jesus is the most loving thing you can ever do! 

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 Jn. 4:11).


Here’s how I think of you, up in Heaven, my dear, precious friend! Peace be with you!

This is the poem I wrote and read for Donna’s memorial service:

Dear Donna, this is what I know;

that lots of people loved you so.

 

You truly had a heart of gold,

so kind to others: young and old,

 

Accepted people as they are;

It’s why you’re still a shining star.

 

Down on his luck, you’d find a friend,

Make up a bed, and take him in.

 

A dog or cat left out to roam

Could find your house and call it home.

 

I’ll not forget your loyalty…

You named a chicken after me!

 

Nature, music, animals, art:

Happy passions of your heart.

 

But even more, you loved your girls,

Who brought you pride and filled your world.

 

Long black hair, and a great big smile,

Always time to chat for a while.

 

Your hearty laugh would make my day,

My troubles would just melt away.

 

A flash of green erased my frown;

Your Ford Galaxy on the town!

 

 When my heart hurts, I’ll feel a tug,

and give myself a “great big hug”.

 

My friend, why did you have to go?

It’s hard, but now I think I know.

 

God must have had some extra paint.

He looked until he found a saint.

 

He thought He’d free you from your pain

And since you loved the sun and rain,

 

He’d give you something fun to do,

And make you feel much better too.

 

You’d paint His rainbows with His brush

To be enjoyed by all of us. 

 

When orange and purple clouds roll by,

I’ll know you’re painting in the sky!

 

 ~Angela Royse Pelleman

   © 2011

Jesus is Your ONE WAY Ticket to Heaven! Don’t Deny Him! Get on Board! 

Come on, Christian Believers… Rise up! You have to make a CHOICE! You can NOT serve two masters! Either you’re with JESUS all the way, or not at all! You can’t say you’re a Christian, and then tell other people it’s okay to worship whomever and however they choose! That’s NOT witnessing! That is denying the power and authority of GOD as the ONE and ONLY GOD! If you’re telling people you are a Christian, but you’re appealing to the masses by telling others it’s fine if they believe in another deity, or fine to participate in religious practices which are directly OPPOSED to God’s teachings; I’ve got some bad news for you… you are NOT helping the lost get to Heaven! Don’t make the mistake of denying Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for you, and gave you salvation!

Denying Jesus due to ignorance:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ignorance as: “the state or fact of being ignorant : lack of knowledge, education, or awareness.” Ignorant does not mean stupid or foolish. Being ignorant just means we’re unaware of a particular topic, or have not been educated on a specific subject. I’m intelligent, gifted, and talented in many different areas. So are you. But when it comes to Calculus, I’m completely ignorant. I know nothing about it, have never been educated in this type of Math, and frankly; I really don’t care. But one area where ignorance is NOT bliss, is the matter of receiving your salvation through Jesus Christ. Being ignorant in this area will cost you your very life… after death! 

So don’t be foolish; get educated about the truth today. Let Jesus save you now: HOW TO INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR HEART, AND RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE!  If you have been living with the belief that everyone gets to Heaven their own way; through various religions, journeys, and beliefs, I need to break the news to you… You have been believing a LIE! For the Bible says: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him’ ” (Jn. 14:6-7 New International Version).



Denying Jesus due to confusion:

Confusion is not from God; it’s from the devil. If you’re already saved, but have still been led to believe that there are alternative ways to get to Heaven; you’re living in denial of the truth. You need to renounce the lies you’ve been taught, so you can do what you were called to do, when you made the decision to give your life to Christ: Tell others about Jesus! Why would a true Christian be so selfish and self-centered, as to keep God’s Good News all to themselves, without telling another single soul?

If you have received Jesus, yet don’t believe your life will ever get better, you are in denial of what Jesus can do for you! If you are saved, yet believe you are perfect, you are in denial of why Jesus died for you in the first place! As Christians, we must continuously repent, apologize, and ask for forgiveness often; or we are living in denial of what it means to be a Christian. Ask the Holy Spirit to impress the truth deeply within your heart, so you will know, without a doubt, that Jesus is the ONE and ONLY way to eternal life.

Denying Jesus by refusing to follow him

Some people don’t want to give up their bad habits and fleshly desires. But Jesus is here to change our hearts. When we follow him, our earthly desires will give way to holy desires. Some people choose the world, because they feel they can’t attain perfectionism, but this does not mean we aren’t supposed to try living like Jesus. People choose many sinful things, believing these evil things will satisfy them. But these evil things only lead to more evil things. The truth is, people are really looking for peace, purity, and perfection; and unless they choose Jesus, they are living in denial of the one and only path that will take them there.

If you have accepted Jesus into your heart, yet purposely choose not to live the life of a Christian, you’re denying the truth about what your salvation means. Salvation means we have received the gift of eternal life through Jesus, and have decided to follow him. The Holy Spirit impresses this upon our hearts: We are to live our lives in continuous repentance, by asking for forgiveness of our sins. We are to live in the world, but not be of the world. We should pursue Jesus and desire a relationship with him. Jesus wants a relationship with us! “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’ ” (Matt. 16:24).



Denying Jesus by pleasing the world:

To be comfortable telling others that whatever floats their boat is great for them, when we know the TRUTH… is a SIN! It is a LIE; and people who die believing that lie, are going to end up in Hell! You’re not doing anyone a favor by sharing your faith as a Christian, while at the same time, telling them it’s acceptable to delve into world religions, which do not teach that Jesus is the one and only way to God! That is to deny the very foundation, the ROCK, of Christianity… God’s Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ! Christianity is the belief that JESUS CHRIST is THE ONE and ONLY way to SALVATION! Would we set a plate for our child’s lunch, yet not fill it with food? Would we buy a friend a favorite book, with all the pages torn out? Would we put our teen drivers into a car without any brakes? Of course not!  So why would we offer them a religion lacking the crucial, key component they need to experience healing, joy, and freedom on Earth? Why would we offer a religion lacking hope and truth in Jesus Christ… the one and only way for them to get to Heaven? Why?

If you know that Jesus is the one and only way to eternal life, and you believe this to the very core of your being; why on earth would you encourage your loved ones, and the people you care about, to go about practicing any religion they choose? Is it to prove tolerance? Is it to prove you’re a well rounded, open-minded person who gets along with everyone? Is that why some parents let their children flounder in the dark, believing the lie that they shouldn’t “interfere” with their children’s religion? While we cannot force our children to choose Jesus, don’t we love them so much we want to offer them the most valuable gift of salvation? Is It a Gift?  Yes! Withholding your witness to please the world is a LIE from the devil. Ask God to remove this lie in the name of Jesus, and to remind you that sharing the truth about Jesus is the most loving gift you can ever give… It leads to eternal life!  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matt. 7:13).

Denying Jesus due to strongholds:

Jesus knew his disciples had human weaknesses, such as fear. This is why the night of his betrayal, Jesus told Peter he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed. Peter, along with all of the other disciples, vehemently disagreed. But when Jesus asked his disciples to be on guard in the Garden of Gethsemene, they fell asleep! When praying for God’s will to be done, Jesus, overwhelmed with sorrow, was so distressed over what was yet to come, that he sweat blood! Yet he still asked for His Father’s will to be done. When Jesus was betrayed by Judas, and then badly beaten by the Roman guards, his disciples were overcome by fear; they ran away, abandoning Jesus. They forgot to trust Jesus their Savior, who had faithfully kept all of his promises to them.

If you’re letting fear or other spirits control your actions, you’re denying your God-given power and authority to overcome strongholds through Jesus Christ! You’re denying the fact that your very best friend in the whole world is able to spiritually come to your aid during trials, and give you miraculous victory! Peter allowed fear to take over, even though he had witnessed so many miracles of Jesus; including his own amazing experience of walking on water! When two servant girls recognized Peter as having been with Jesus, Peter twice denied it; he even denied knowing Jesus at all. “After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, ‘Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.’ Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know the man!’ Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: ‘Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.’  And he went outside and wept bitterly”  (Matt 26:73-75).

Denial of Jesus as THE Authority and Power of God:

Do you know “The Man?” If you have a relationship with Jesus, you will understand that anyone and everything in the entire universe comes under the power and authority of Jesus Christ. Every human, animal, and spirit must bow to him. Even if one chooses not to believe in Jesus as the one and only way to Heaven,  it’s still the truth. We can not create our own truth…  God is Truth! Someone might choose to believe night will never come, but it’s coming anyway; just as one can choose to believe Jesus isn’t real, but he’s coming back anyway! And Jesus comes with rewards… or consequences. We can choose to willingly worship God through Jesus, and be immensely blessed; or we can choose to ignore the truth, and end up living in hell for eternity. The Holy Spirit lives within true Christians, and provides wisdom and discernment against the world’s lies. Lies go against scripture, and they cause our spirits to feel “unsettled.” We need to seek wise counsel from our elders, look for answers in our bibles, and pray for God to continuously reveal truth in His timing.

If you are a Christian, and realize that you’ve helped to pass on false teachings of other world religions as being an alternative path to Heaven, you should feel conviction in your heart from The Holy Spirit. Get on your knees in repentance, and ask God to forgive you for living in denial of the fact that Jesus, and ONLY Jesus died for you; and that ONLY GOD’s SON is capable of wiping away our dirt, grime, and SIN. Forgiveness can only be given to us through Jesus Christ, and ONLY the blood of Jesus can cleanse us, and make us holy, and white as snow. Without being cleansed of sin, we can NOT enter Heaven, because sin is what separates us from God. It would be impossible for us to live in Heaven with Jesus without being washed clean! “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Denying Jesus because you’re ashamed of the gospel:

Let’s say you know fresh fruits and vegetables are good for you, and will keep you trim, healthy, and fit. Yet, you know a lot of your friends really like candy, and they want to be trim, healthy, and fit too! Your friends are very ill from eating just candy, and they never eat any fresh fruits or vegetables. You know the fruits and veggies will heal them, but you’re afraid you will be rejected for your advice; after all, you don’t want to offend them. So, you decide to tell them that if they choose to believe that eating sugary candies will help keep them trim, healthy, and fit; that they should keep on doing it In addition, you never even bother to tell them that eating fruits and vegetables will give them their desired results. Even worse, you have an entire vegetable garden and luscious fruit trees in your back yard, growing in such abundance, you can’t even harvest it all!

Wouldn’t you want to volunteer your nourishing, fresh food to your friends to help them get well? Especially when there is enough for everyone? Don’t you want to help them? Why are you not helping them? What if you find out that the candy eaters are dying from lack of the nourishment, and your nutritious fruits and veggies could have saved their lives? Would you tell them now? … Or, never? “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile” (Rom. 1:16).

Denying Jesus by not pursuing him as our Master:

Of course when we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts, the most brilliant gift is getting to spend eternity with him in Heaven! The silver lining in serving only Jesus Christ as our earthly Master, is that our prayers are offered to The One who can really answer them! Jesus changes us, forgives us, gives us strength and courage, talks and listens to us; Jesus has a relationship with us! No other prophet, deity, spirit, religion, or false god can provide us with any hope on earth, or the joyful gift of eternal life when we are gone!

If we pursue only Jesus, we won’t get confused about where to go when we come to a fork in the road. Do we really want to get lost in the forest, or take the longest path when we are searching for the truth?  If not, we must pursue only the truth! We must choose Jesus! Choose Jesus, and stay close to his side. God offers us protection, refuge, and shelter from the storm! No other prophet, deity, spirit, idol, or false god can fulfill God’s promises. The devil will use the things of the world to deceive, manipulate, trick, control, tempt and tease you. He flashes shiny material goods, feel-good passions, money; and he lure his victims with lies about the grass being greener on the other side! He even comes disguised as Christianity, which is why we need to choose one master, and follow only Jesus! The devil’s plans are all meant to destroy you, and ultimately lead to your demise and destruction! ” ‘No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matt. 6:24 NIV).

Get on board, Believers! Don’t deny yourself a one-way ticket to ride the train of truth! Hang on tight when it’s going full speed! Don’t jump off when it slows down. Pick up as many people as you can at all the stops along the way! You will be amazed at the glorious perfection which awaits you at your final destination!

There’s only ONE WAY to God, and it’s through Jesus Christ! It’s a free trip to Paradise, and we can stay forever!

How to Give without Guilt, and Fulfill the Mission of Pleasing God

Sometimes we have the opportunity to bless a reader at The Silver Lining, by meeting a specific need. I believe God gives me spiritual words spoken in discernment, wisdom and love; meant to offer you hope, healing, and encouragement in Jesus Christ. I’d also like to be the hands and feet of Jesus whenever, and wherever he leads me. 

Therefore, in my mission to help others, I may occasionally share a need, where The Silver Lining readers might be led by God to serve, sponsor, or donate food or funds; to bless those less fortunate. These are just opportunities, which I have been led to share. I ask that you participate only if God leads you, and that you will please, first and foremost; pray for the families in need. If you are able to speak to them directly, tell them about Jesus, so you can meet their greatest need… salvation through Jesus Christ. Pray for the family to pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ. Your prayers are so important! God hears them and answers them! 

When we witness to a hurting, struggling family, we are attempting to meet their spiritual needs by bringing the love of Jesus to them. But as Jesus ministered to people; he also healed, fed, and clothed them. Cold and hungry people will be too busy focusing on their immediate needs to stop and listen to our witness. It’s important to meet those basic, immediate needs; when it’s in our power to act, and if God calls us to do it. God takes physical needs seriously.

I’d like to share how God might lay a couple different areas of giving upon your heart, by telling you how He spoke to me this week in two different ways: The first opportunity came about when I saw a single mom’s post, requesting clothing for her children. That was an easy one; I had what she was asking for, so I gave it.

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you’– when you already have it with you” (Prov. 3:27-28 New International Version).


In addition, it’s easy for me to share a message asking for donations to help a local family. That’s what I did, and I look forward to sharing more giving opportunities on The Silver Lining Facebook page.

Another opportunity to give, came from a reader of The Silver Lining, whose relatives were badly injured in a home explosion in Texas. This mission speaks loads of empathy and love to me; because the woman who posted it, is the wife of the dear pastor who baptized me when I was a little girl. This tragedy was personal to me, because it is personal to someone I care about and love. 

Though I already knew Jesus when I was five, my loving pastor made sure I understood I was taking the step of showing my brothers and sisters in Christ that I had made the decision to follow Jesus Christ. This act of baptism allowed me to fall even more in love with Jesus, and to have some security in knowing there was someone up in Heaven who loved me unconditionally. I remember writing, painting, drawing, and reading the Bible a lot after I was baptized. I seemed to have a heightened sense for the simple beauty of blue skies, little birds, sunsets, a new song, and fragile flowers. And though no one else noticed that I was blooming… God did! 

Later, I was honored to have this same pastor, Brother Jarrell Griffin, lead my husband to Christ while we were undergoing premarital counseling in his office. I had thought my fiancé was a Christian, because he believed in Jesus. Yet, he had never been offered Jesus as a gift, nor had he considered having a relationship with him. I watched as he prayed to receive Christ, and it was absolutely beautiful. Going into our marriages as true Christians, would help us get through many of life’s greatest, difficult challenges; since neither of us had an idea of what a healthy marriage was supposed to look like. 

This pastor whom I loved, officiated our wedding ceremony, and I will never forget the joy I had in my heart, to have this precious man of God be the one to marry me to my beloved husband. I’d like to think he’s smiling up in Heaven, upon hearing that I want to offer comfort to his relatives, by participating in a mission to encourage, and help them get back on their feet again. 

The Bible says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

Spruiell Medical and Home Campaign

This fund supports an elderly couple and three visitors who were sleeping in their home, when it collapsed due to an explosion. Praise God, for the silver lining: a miracle, in which all five survived! However, they have endured a traumatic event, and have sustained critical injuries, requiring a long recovery process and the need for much healing. 

The fund is to help with hospital bills and the rebuilding of their home. 

To give, click: GO FUND ME SPRUIELL

The news link is also located at the Go Fund Me page. 

May God bless this dear couple, and their three dear friends. May God bless them with a beautiful testimony, and may He fill them with great hope to bring them through this dark trial. May He bring them joy through Jesus, and may they each experience a miracle at the Hands of God! In Jesus name, we pray, Amen. 


The missions opportunities to help these families, and others, will also be listed on The Silver Lining Facebook page. 
There are many, many needs out in the world today. Your giving is always between you and God. My husband and I talk with each other, and we pray first, asking God if He wants us to give to a particular cause. Sometimes it’s yes, and sometimes it’s no. When it’s yes, we ask God to tell us the amount He wants us to give, and usually we end up with the same dollar amount in mind. If not, we are always very close; in which case we either meet in the middle, or go with the higher number. 

Once we give, it’s out of our hands, and we trust God to do with it as He sees fit. There have been occasions where we felt were deceived into giving. Yet, those occasions have lessened as we’ve sought God’s counsel more and more. We’ve learned from those mistakes, and we know God has blessed our giving anyway, because our motives have been pure. 

We’ve also had occasions where we planned to give, and God put a stop to it, and told us not to do it. It was clearly God shutting the door. Usually we find it’s because God wanted us to give elsewhere. Other times, we don’t know why. Maybe we weren’t supposed to be involved, or maybe it was simply because God chose someone else to do the giving, so they could be blessed. 

In any case, God’s direction is always clear. The devil’s direction is not. The devil nags and gives people anxiety, and false guilt. God doesn’t use guilt to manipulate us into giving. If you’re struggling with guilt over not giving, that’s not God; it’s the devil using false guilt to eat away at your self-worth. The devil likes to try and steal your day with anxiety, and make us agonize with stress over making the right decision. Don’t let him! 

If God wants you to give, He will tell you firmly, and he will use conviction. This means God will boldly, yet peacefully get your attention, when He calls upon you to give. He will provide you with clear instructions on how to give, and He will remind you to follow through in obedience. Once you give, your heart will be light, and you will feel joy at knowing you have pleased The Lord, God.

No matter where, or how we give, our mission is to first please God. We can only do this by pursuing Jesus, and leading others to receive his gift of salvation. After this, all the rest of our giving will fall in line, right where God wants it. Give the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Be a light, and ask God to direct your giving. He will!

“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:6-7).


Let your mission be “Jesus First.” God will show you where to give, and He will bless you accordingly… and abundantly!

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!

                                 

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

Local lover of healthy, homemade, natural foods?

 Rachel’s Farm (703) 785-8089

 Homemade Granola, $8/bag

All proceeds go towards family adoption fund! 💙



Lover of handcrafted, natural products?

Visit Shelley’s Etsy Shop: Shea’d Tree 

thesheadtree@gmail.com  (540) 692-6158

Handcrafted Bath and Body Products 💙


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