Tag Archives: thankful

Where You Are

You’ve seen the countless pictures I post of our morning walks in Borden Park.  That’s Sampson’s favorite place as we go there every day.  It’s full of blessings for him: lots of squirrels to chase, sometimes other dogs, scraps of food (which I don’t like) and smells to sniff for him.  Often in the mornings no one is there but us so I let him off his leash and let him run while I walk.

Across the street from the park there’s an empty field and a softball field.  No trees, no nothing, a literal empty field.  Sampson goes to the edge of the park and stares at the field.  He wants – every day – to go over there. I can’t figure out why.  I mean EVERY DAY he wants to go where he’s not.  He wants to leave all the things he loves about the park and where he can walk and run freely, all the trees that provide shade, all the squirrels he loves to chase, everything he enjoys to go to an empty and barren field. So today I hooked him up to the leash and we crossed the street. He walked to the middle of the field and stood there, staring at the park!

Isn’t that just like us?  We’re in a place where we have everything we need and where without a doubt God has blessed us beyond what we deserve and yet, we’re always longing for more.  We look “across the street” and think there may be something over there that will satisfy us or make us happy that we can’t find in the middle of where we are right now.  We look at it every day; think about it every day (amongst all the blessings we’re privy to right now, not appreciating any of it) and when we walk over we find ourselves longing to be back where we just came from!

Before you “cross the street”, look around you.  Consider where you are, what you have and if not satisfied, ask yourself why. Look for – really look for – the goodness of your place, the blessings in your place and make the decision to appreciate what you have and where you are.  If you find you’re always in want of more than what you have while not appreciating what’s around you, you’re missing out on a wonderful blessing that seems to be getting lost in this world we live in: CONTENTMENT.  Society compels us to never be content, to always want more and not be satisfied until we’ve nearly killed ourselves to get it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a better life and other things; just be sure you have a healthy grip on those things and don’t let those things have you.

Want what you have.  The abundant life starts right there. If you find yourself across the street into that thing or place you thought you wanted more than where you were and what you had the remedy is simple.  Walk back to your blessed place and look there.  Be grateful you could and appreciate where you are.  Sampson did.  As soon as we crossed back over and I let him loose, he found two squirrels to chase.  He was perfectly content.  We can be too, if we appreciate where we are right this moment.

1st Timothy 6:6  “…but godliness with contentment is great gain.”

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Thank You For The Tree

Let’s walk with the Israelites for a minute.  We’re still celebrating watching what we saw God do at the Red Sea – we saw the water turn in to two huge walls.  While being chased by our enemy, we stepped onto the bottom of the ocean to find it dry, just as dry as the sand in the desert.  No one but God could have pulled that off and we knew it.  We had ourselves a Holy fit and celebrated what we saw Him do.  That gave us the courage to keep following. We were full of faith at that moment, so we gladly followed Moses on even though we had no clue where our faith (or Moses) would take us.

Now we find ourselves in the Wilderness of Shur (my interpretation…sure enough wilderness).  No food.  No water.  Nothing but nothingness.  We’re tired and our feet hurt.  We’re hungry and thirsty – every one of the million or so of us.  On the heels of one of the greatest miracles we’d ever seen, we start complaining.  We’re in a tough spot.  Everyone knows survival…in the desert no less…requires at the very least, water. Walking out of bondage by faith is one thing but when physical need takes over, faith sometimes takes a back seat to what we feel, doesn’t it?

Can you feel it?  I doubt we can – I’m thinking with everything we want and need at our disposal these days, none of us have been without water – while walking – in the desert – for three days.  The complaints grew louder and they grumbled at Moses so loudly the man could hear nothing else.  Moses did the only thing he knew to do – he cried to the Lord for help.  What else could he have done?  There was water (Marah) but it was undrinkable.  I’m sure to all of them none of this made any sense.

This whole adventure from the beginning to that moment was all about full and complete reliance on God and obedience to Him.  After he cried to God the Bible says, very simply and unmistakably “…and the Lord showed him a tree…”

Allow me to indulge my humanness for a moment, will you?  A tree – this word indicates it was most likely a branch…not even a whole tree.  Can you imagine the look on his face? “OK Lord, you hear YOUR people (not mine) You KNOW we NEED water…and you show me a tree…a tree branch…??”  What?

In the moment of a great physical need (three days without water), I would have cried out, “LORD! What are you thinking?!  We don’t need a tree!! WE NEED WATER!!!!” Not Moses. Not this great man of faith.  He threw the branch in the water which made the bitter water become sweet and they drank.  God met their need – every one of them who drank got their thirst quenched.

We sometimes find ourselves on top of the world after a mighty move of God and for some reason, we think we’re going to stay there!  When something happens to us, we pray specific prayers and God gives or allows something that makes no sense whatsoever: Trees in place of water, a pink slip instead of job security, an illness instead of good health, etc.  In those moments we have two choices:  1) Lean on what we think we know and have an emotional breakdown when things don’t make sense or; 2) Trust God with every fiber of our being, even when it seems He must’ve gotten it wrong.

Thank God for the tree.  Pick it up in faith and apply His word, remembering the promises contained within.  He never fails.

Exodus 15:22-25  Philippians 4:19

I Just Want to See

For the past few months I’ve been without glasses and couldn’t afford to get my eyes checked.  Thanks to getting a full time job complete with insurance benefits, when I received my cards I called and made an appointment.  Thank you Lord!

After the exam, I began the quest of picking out frames.  Folks, I get overwhelmed in the cereal isle at the grocery store.  So many choices, too many if you ask me.  If I don’t stick with my favorite brand I get so flustered that I leave without any cereal.

That’s how I felt when I tried to pick out frames.  There were literally thousands to choose from and I was overwhelmed.  I just want to see; I want a little help for my face (it needs all the help it can get) but with all these choices how will I ever choose one pair?  What if I choose the wrong ones?  What if I don’t find any?

I kept searching and found several pairs and another problem arose.  I like them all! I want them all!  My want was out of control which brought on the anxiety of having to make a choice.  I told the lady helping me to pick for me and of course, based on her commission, she chose the most expensive frame which caused me more anxiety because they were way more than I had budgeted to spend!

Two lessons came from that experience:   1)  MAKE YOUR OWN CHOICES.  Sometimes we’re faced with life-changing decisions and the choice we make matters a lot.  Thank God this wasn’t a life-changing decision but it was an important one.  I reminded myself of the fundamental need – I just want to see.  I don’t have to go beyond what God has blessed me with.  He provided for my need with the job with insurance – I just need to be able to see.  Chill.  Get what is best for you – within your means.

2)  WATCH OUT FOR FEELINGS.  While shopping for frames, I saw what I could have even if I had to make some sacrifices for them.  All I needed was what I needed.  Sometimes God’s provision is overlooked in that He always provides for our needs, not necessarily for our wants.  Every day we’re fighting a very powerful foe – ourselves and our feelings.  When we let feelings take over we can make decisions based on how we feel rather than what we need.

I just want to see.  That’s it.  When I calmed myself down and made my decision, lo and behold, I got a pair of designer frames for $12!!!!!!!!! They are exactly what I wanted, they’re perfect for me, and they help my chipmunk-cheek face.  BOOM!  I promptly thanked God for providing my needs and the beautiful frames and for letting me see in all kinds of ways.

Mom

You’d be surprised at how much you’re missed by this prodigal.  So many times…actually every time something happens I long to share it with you.  What I would give for one more cup of coffee with you, and one more chance to tell you two things:  I love you.  I thank you.

You loved me unconditionally.  In the good you were there to cheer me on; in the bad you were there to support me.  I couldn’t see it then but I surely see it now, how I broke your heart in so many ways yet you never wavered in your love for me.  You sacrificed everything for your girls, and though we tried to show you we appreciated you, I don’t think we (at least I) scratched the surface of how much I really appreciate you.

I haven’t forgotten the things you taught me – as a matter of fact, I always wanted to be the kind of mother you were to me.  Now that I’ve experienced motherhood, I’m well aware of the sacrifices, the joy and the pain of that daunting title.  I pray I’ve done you proud.  If I’ve managed to be just a fraction of the kind of devoted mother you were (still are, just because you’re gone from here doesn’t change the fact you’re still my Mom) then I guess I’ve done okay.

Most often we don’t appreciate those closest to us.  Sometimes we can’t see the cost and all that was poured into us until they’re not there anymore.  I want you to know I see it and I’m forever grateful.  Thinking back you were the best example of God’s love – tenacious and unwavering, that determined gonna-love-you-no-matter-what real love and I thank you for that.  Wish I could have seen that then…

I understand you, and I feel you now more than ever.  I get it.  I’m sorry.  I’m deeply grateful, more than words can say.  And, I love you, really love you, and appreciate you.  For everything.

I look so forward to seeing you again.  Life here was so hard for you.  I get a lot of joy knowing you’re safe and not suffering anymore with anything.  I can’t wait to see you like that – with all the sorrow and pain gone from your eyes and heart, completely restored. What a moment that will be.

Oh and one more thing.  You were right.  About everything.  I love you.

A Dinner To Remember (John 12)

Just last week, he awoke hearing that familiar voice calling his name.   Bound by death-wrap in a cold tomb, he obeyed his Master by getting up and waiting for someone to unwrap him.  What had just happened?  I wonder what Lazarus remembered (?did he remember he died) what did he think about finding himself one minute on his deathbed and the next, standing while his loved ones unwrapped him? Can’t wait to talk to him about that experience!

Now alive, he finds himself sitting at the table with Jesus. Just a normal dinner; He had probably eaten with them many times as Lazarus is identified in the Bible as being loved by Jesus.  I must laugh.  This occasion had to be anything but normal.  Sick. Dead. Body wrapped in a tomb.  Over. The voice. Awake. Alive.  Out.  Now…sitting at a table with the One who called Him back to life.  Can you imagine?

No wonder Mary had to break out her best bottle of fragrance to anoint Jesus.  That kind of gratefulness for what Jesus had recently done for her family required a major display of gratitude.  I imagine she just had to do something to show Him what was in her heart.

Jesus has done the same for us, in a way.  We were walking dead, perhaps with no hope, little happiness, getting through this life as best we could then He came to us and changed us. Perhaps we were wrapped in the death-wrap of some addiction, chronic bad lifestyles or haunted by life-stealing horrible memories and never-ending pain when we heard ‘The Voice’, saw His face and became alive…really alive for the very first time.  If you haven’t had that experience, you can by simply calling His name to save you.  Believe me I know.  Jesus has changed everything for me, and continues to, every day of my life.

Let Jesus give you a “dinner to remember” today.

Don’t Forget!

I was talking to my aunt this morning about the humid Mississippi weather and remembering the humidity of Alabama. If you’ve never been there it’s brutal and suffocating. As soon as you walk out of an air conditioned building it masks your face and soaking sweat envelops your body.

Here in these mountains, it seems relief is just shade away. There seems to be a breeze…although slight at times…to relieve one’s suffering. Yet we complain about how hot it is.

Murmuring seems to come no naturally. It’s not hard to find something to say something negative about. The wah-wahs roll off our tongues without even a thought.

The upstairs of my house has no air conditioning ducts so it gets pretty hot up here on hot days. It’s easy to fuss when I walk up here to work or to go to bed. Ahh, the human condition. Always something.

I wish it were as thoughtless to say something positive instead of spew the negative.

Forgetting that one kind person I come in contact with, I easily, resourcefully remember every unkind person. Instead of being grateful for what I do have, I willingly recant what I don’t. Why are we that way?

I’m going to try harder to call to mind all the good and let the bad go. On hot days, I’m going to seek a cool breeze. Without complaining, I’m going to turn the fans and/or window unit on to relieve the heat and be thankful I have them. I’m going to thank those who speak blessings rather than be ill with those who don’t.

I’m going to remember a fresh season in my life when I was literally afraid of everything and thank God I’m coming out. Yesterday and the trials associated with it are gone. Today’s a brand new day with brand new mercy, grace for my needs and love from my always-loving Papa-God.

When unfavorable comes and uncomfortable visits, seek the good and be grateful it’s not as bad as it could be. Seek reprieve and remember when it was worse. Be grateful where you are…and enjoy. Don’t forget the pain but remember God’s grace that got you through and be thankful.