Monday, January 28, 2013

Quiet Reflections: Spiders in the Shower

Quiet Reflections from a Mothers Heart to her Daughters...

Dear Daughters,

This morning there was a spider in my shower. He did not belong there. I don't like spiders. We was too big to wash down the drain and the hot water seemed to have no effect on him. There wasn't a shoe for my to smash with with in the bathroom so I did the next best thing and took my toothbrush holder and put it over him until I finished my shower and could get my weapon-a shoe-to alleviate his presence from my shower.

During the whole shower I keep looking at that upside down container making sure it didn't tip or moved. Washing my face was a challenge. I allowed the fear of that hairy little spider paralyze me from something that could have been so enjoyable and relaxing. As I think on it now that was so stupid!! My bare foot alone could have stomped that unwanted guest out of existence-I was so much bigger then he was. GRIEF.

Life is like that. Too often we allow the "unwanted" to enter our life and paralyze us from what God has in store for us. The unwanted, like that spider, can be a rough time or a sin that God never intended for us to live with but we allowed it in. It comes from satan with the sole purpose to keep you from God. We allow it in by not keeping our house (body, mind and spirit) protected. We allow it in by choosing to be in places where we cannot honor God. We allow it in by not facing up to it and covering it up like I did that spider in the shower.

Anything not of God can represent that spider. It can paralyze you from reaching your full potential in life or from having the best that God has in store for you.  When I was fresh out of high school my life became my life and I lived it for me. For 10 years my selfishness yielded plenty of regrets...regrets I still have to live with today. Though God's grace and forgiveness and relieved me of the responsibility of carrying those regrets it doesn't free me of their consequences-most of which I will not fully comprehend until I come face-to-face with Christ.

I don't want that for you. Be smart. Be realistic about what satan puts into your life. Choose to be on God's side of life and watch Him blow you away with His protection and Him stomp satan right out of your life!!

And so while there has never been any question about your honesty in these matters—I couldn’t be more proud of you!—I want you also to be smart, making sure every “good” thing is the real thing. Don’t be gullible in regard to smooth-talking evil. Stay alert like this, and before you know it the God of peace will come down on Satan with both feet, stomping him into the dirt. Enjoy the best of Jesus! ~ Rom 16:19-20 (Message)

There is a simple action that can keep you from experiencing those spiders in your showers. That simple act? Keeping your focus on God. Seeking Him daily through His Word, talking to Him constantly, growing your love for Him and becoming desperately dependent on Him.

Your momma has done this. It is living this way that I have found I have less spiders in my shower. And when those unwanted guest show up, I know I can count on God to stomp them out of my life. Instead of fear for these spiders, I learn from their presence and I grow stronger when I allow God to be in control of my life-all of it.

So what did I do with that spider in my shower? It met the back side of a summer sandal as soon as I had dried off. Next time I won't wait so long to take action. I encourage you to do the same!!

Love Out Loud girls!

I love you!!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Quiet Reflections: Chain Reaction

Quiet Reflections from a Mothers Heart to her Daughters.....

Dear Daughter,

God has really laid on my heart the need to leave you His truths. I tried to live them out but I am afraid the failures of our life have created a blockage for you to see them. This verse motivated me to write these blogs just for you...
But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it. Col 1:23 (NLT)

I want God's truths I found in my relationship with Him to be a chain reaction in your life.
You have seen the TV commericals, heard the stories where one act of kindness causes a chain reaction of kindness, right? A driver let's you in their lane on the busy highway, you allow another driver that close parking space you came upon first, that person holds the door open for an elderly couple, that couple pays the extra money the single mother at the registered is in need of....and the chain reaction continues... 

Chain Reactions. They can be positive like I wrote above, they can also go the wrong way. Paul and Silas set a chain reaction that models living a life with a servants attitude, loving other unconditionally (Diakono's Living). Acts 16 reads how these two men were push to the limits but in their reaction of being chained they choose to respond in a way that is not typical. I want you to learn from this reaction and encourage you to incorporate this response into your life when times get tough. I have and it works!

A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks. (verses 22-24)

Paul and Silas were chained to their situation. Their feet were in wooden stocks. They were beat up and in pain. It looked hopeless for them. Death seemed more likely than freedom.

Our bad times can feel like this. Our pain can put us into stocks...chains...and keep us from moving forward with our life. Many people live in chains of alcoholism, depression, abuse, shame, fear, pain. I have lived in chains of unforgiveness and regrets for decisions that have hurt those I love the most. It's debilitating.

Is there something that chains you-, that prevents you from moving on?

People don't have to live chained to these things. You don't have to. I don't have to.

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!   (verses 25-26) 

Instead of a pity party, Paul and Silas step out in faith and others followed...

The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”....He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God (Verses 29-30, 34)

A chain reaction. Once person steps forward, another follows, then another. Love handed out unexpectedly from one person to another and passed on yet to another. One family member believing in God, living that faith, passing it on to another family member and yet another and another...

The other day on the way to work I was in line at the drive through getting my favorite peppermint mocha. When I went to pay the cashier stated the car in front of me had paid for my order. WOW. I have done this before for others but never been the recipient of such an act of kindness. I decided to pay it forward so I paid for the order of the car behind me. A chain reaction was started!

I encourage you to do this when you can...offer an act of kindness to someone. It doesn't have to involve money, an considerate action or a thoughtful word can cause the same kind of reaction.
And when the going gets tough, turn your reaction into praise and worship for how God is going to use that situation for something better in your life. I want to be that person, like Paul and Silas, who steps out and does the unpredictable and openly praises and worships the One who is above anything that chains me.

God places the lonely in families; He sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land ~ Ps 68:6 (NLT)

Praise and worship, as displayed by Paul in Silas, is a key act for breaking those unwanted chains. Coupled with acts of servanthood-doing for others, a positive chain reaction can happen from person-to-person, generation-to-generation.

Love out Loud girls. And when life hands you some tough times, give them back to God by praising Him instead of crying in your pain. And I am always here to walk with you in the good times and the bad times.

I love you.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Quiet Reflections: Love

Quiet Reflections from a Mothers Heart to her Daughters.....

Dear Daughters,

I begin this new year with a new focus...a focus on you. As I have reflected back on almost 50 years of living, I am burdened by my failures. One of the things that I regret most is that I was not the perfect mother for you. Everyone will say it is impossible to be perfect but every mother wishes for that. But no matter how many flaws I had, one thing remained constant...I loved you, I love you even more today.

Love can be amazing. Love can be tough. Love can feel good, it can hurt. Love makes a wrong decision right such as when I have to choose to disciple you for a poor action. Love is comforting and safe, such as when I could reward you for something well done.

Can we love enough? Yes, but too often we allow other things to get in the way. Did I love you enough? Yes, in my heart but I allowed other things to get in the way of my actions. How we should love was model for us by our Maker with an unconditional love.

Unconditional love. To love "without conditions or limitations; absolute". That's how I want to love. That means no matter what one does in life, you love them fully. The perfect model of this is God.

The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation. ~ Psalm 145:1-2 (NLT)

For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never been here. But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments! ~ Psalm 103: 11-18 (NLT)

We are instructed by God to love as He has loved....

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. ~ Ephesians 5:1-2 (Message)

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12 (NIV)

We are to live in love as Christ did...

And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:1

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.  ~ 1 Peter 2:21

Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. ~ 1 John 2:6

The one who says he belongs to Christ should live the same kind of life Christ lived.  ~ 1 John 2:6 (NLT)

So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him." ~  John 8:28-29

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 2:5

Here is what I can promise you after all these years can do nothing to take my love away from you. I may not be able to support some of your life choices but I will always love you. I may not always say what you want to hear but I will always love you. I may seem critical or not understanding but I will continue to love you. I may be upset and angry with you but I will love you more.

I may not have loved you perfectly in my actions but I have loved you perfectly in my heart. I have found that I cannot live this life with out clinging to my faith and belief that God is Ultimate and Absolute. His ability to love me and forgive me through all the ugly has been my strength and my healing. I want you to love as Christ has loved to avoid the mistakes I have made. I want you to know Him like I know Him, to crave Him like I crave Him and to seek Him as I have, daily. There is no love like the love of God!

And my prayer is that from this day forward, you can say you experienced this kind of Christ-like love from me.

I love you.