Press on Through

(Sorry, these pics are only of the backs of the shirts to protect the camp name and location. 😉 )

This week, I was at Youth Camp with 400+ 3rd-5th graders. It was hot. It was loud and crazy, and I had to do tie-dye, outside, at 2:30 in the afternoon for 3 days! On Tuesday, I mixed up some yellow dye, and apparently, I had an allergic reaction to whatever I breathed in, because by the time we finished the craft session, I had totally lost my voice and felt like I’d been hit by a Mack truck.

By the end of the night Tuesday, I really felt awful, and this feeling kind of came and went the rest of the week, mostly coming. Yet, I just made a decision early Wednesday morning that this wasn’t about me, and how I didn’t feel good, how I’d really just like to stay in bed, or how hot it was outside, and how crazy, labor intensive this job was. I decided this was for the kids. Their little faces just beamed when they saw their tie dye shirts with the camp logo on them!

They were so excited to have a “real souvenir” that they made themselves, and even more than just their reaction to the shirts, their reactions in the altars each night. The way they hungered to worship God and to know Him more.

Then, I remembered the way JMan fell in love with the horses the day before; he stayed and rode ALL of them and wanted to ride them everyday for the rest of camp! Then, I thought of how JGrizz had been so responsible, working with the canteen team, as if he was already grown…These were the things that made me remember the reason I was there. They were the reason I decided to press on through, because they’re worth it. More importantly, HE is worth it, and their encounters with Him are worth it!

 

‘Cuz, sometimes in this Christian walk, that’s just how it’s going to be. The road is going to be wearisome. The future isn’t going to look so bright, and you’re just not going to feel like your younger, “conquer all self” in that moment. You’re gonna wanna just lay down and quit! You’re going to want to back up and question, “How in the world did I get myself into this mess? Why am I doing this? Is it even worth it?”

But can I tell you? It’s gonna be worth it!! God’s got great plans ahead for all of us! He’s got great plans for those coming behind us! We can’t quit now!! No matter what this world looks like. No matter what decisions are being made in Washington. No matter what friends and family members say against us.

This is a battle for the next generation. If we don’t reach them; if we quit now; who will? The enemy will. That’s who! These children are counting on us to win! They ate desperate for us to win!

So, your question now may be, “How?” How in the world can we win when we seem to be so out numbered, so overwhelmed, so discouraged? How can we possibly win when those who have even been on our side seem to be walking away? We look to Him! We look to the Author and Finisher of our faith. We look to our predecessors. Hebrews 12:1-3 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” We look to Him, and we press on toward the mark, and we pray! 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us, “…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” It says if MY people, not sinners, not government, not politicians, not foreigners, but if MY people will pray…

If we will spend more time pressing beyond our circumstance, beyond our petty arguments, beyond what we’re hearing in the news and in social media, and we’ll press into prayer and relationship with Almighty God, we can watch Him move mountains!! We will see Him transform lives, and then we will realize that it’s truly worth it!! 🙂

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Answer to Friday’s Angle #19

Here’s the answer to yesterday’s New Angle…

Recap, first:   
A travel alarm clock:   

   Hope you’re having fun with these! See you next week. 

Friday’s New Angle #19

Are you ready for another Friday’s Angle? Here ya go! Enjoy! 

 Please remember, the answer will be posted this same time tomorrow. 🙂

Our Children See

We were eating b’fast at chic-fil-a one Saturday morning, and a young lady was walking out, crossing the street when JMan said something interesting…

“She looks just like you…well, except for the shorts. (She had on a pair of short-shorts.) Just to see what he would say, I asked him very inquisitively, “Why not the shorts, buddy?? You don’t think they’d look good on me?” When he looked at me in that moment, it might as well have been that I grew another head! I had such a hard time trying not to laugh. So, I kind of nudged him to say what he was thinking. He said, “Mom, did you see her shorts?? You don’t ever need to look like that! That would not be good! That would be so embarrassing if you did!!” I did laugh then, but it caused me to think…

Now, he’s only 9, and he is totally a boy (!), and we’ve taught him standards to live by; however, we don’t really talk to him about what I wear or don’t wear, and we haven’t really discussed too much about girls wearing short shorts, because he’s only nine. Yet, in that moment, I realized, once again, children see so much more than what we, sometimes, think they do. 

That’s why it’s so important to live according to the standards we set for each of our homes. My standards may not be yours and yours may not be the next guy’s; however, if we wish our kids to follow in our footsteps, we must at least keep them consistent and solid. We must keep them authentic and real, because our kids not only hear what we say, but they see more of what we do and how we live. We must live lives full of character, integrity and authenticity. We set the standards for them to see and to follow. 

Wednesday’s Ode #20

 I am so thankful for machines which help those who are disabled. I know, I personally do not benefit from these items right now; however, I was sitting poolside at a hotel today, and what I saw caused me to start thinking…  As I sat in my chair looking at this machine operated chair that is designed to help someone who cannot easily walk into the hot tub, I just simply thought of how thankful I am that someone had the knowledge to invent it. At this hotel, on the eastern side of Georgia, in this busy little town, there is going to be a young man, an elderly woman or even a little girl, who by all other means, would never get to experience the pool or hottub by him or herself. Yet, now, he can make his way into this power controlled chair and be lowered into the pool for a nice leisurely swim, or maybe into the hottub to relax and wash away the day’s stress.  She will be able to experience the freedom of movement that I, too often, just take for granted. She will be able to enjoy the weightless abandon which only comes within the confines of water. 

 If you’ve never experienced a pain which is dibilitating, and if you’ve never had a family member who is dependent upon a machine or a mechanism that helps them to have a higher quality of life, than you may not quite understand why I’ve chosen this particular item for my Wednesday’s Ode; however, if you’ve ever been even remotely close to one of these situations, I do hope you would agree: the people who make these machines and mechanisms deserve our applause. I thank each and everyone one of them who works hard to make someone else’s life just a little more enjoyable. 🙂

Thank You, Dad

I wrote this several years back and never shared it, but in light of Father’s Day, I decided to post it today. I hope you enjoy…


Thank you, Dad

For teaching me to listen more than I know how

For training me to love nature, for it’s God’s gift to us now

For directing me in the way that I should go

For correcting me by your firm, but gentle, “No”

Thank you, Dad

For all the long distance phone calls just to hear me chatter

For all those endless weather reports, no matter where you were

For all the deliberate actions to avoid my discouragement

For all the little words of heart-felt encouragement

Thank you, Dad

After all those endless bills have been paid

After all the late night advice has been laid

After all the flowing tears have been cried

After all the growing years have passed by

I’ll still be thanking you. 

I love you, Dad.  ❤

Penned – MG – 10/30/03

Happy Father’s Day

*Lengthy post alert (just a little 😉)*

Father’s Day invokes so many thoughts, feelings and emotions for so many. To look through social media lately, you’d think every woman is “Daddy’s Little Girl,” and most men are “Dad’s Best Bud;” yet, for many, like myself, Father’s Day is filled with a pure mixture of emotions.


You see, as a small child, I hardly ever saw my biological Dad. He was an alcoholic, worked as a merchant marine and was off to sea more often than he was at home. His father wasn’t really present in his life, and he didn’t know how to be present in mine. Sure, he promised to call, promised to come, and I’d watch and wait for hours.  At four years old, I’d even have my bags packed by the door, waiting for hours on end, only to realize, in the moments of crying myself to sleep, that he wasn’t coming, once again. I do have a few fond memories of him from my younger years, and I still hold those tightly in the treasure chest of my mind, but I don’t call him Daddy anymore. As an adult, some things have changed, and we have slowly begun a new relationship, but those days of “Daddy’s little girl” have faded; for some things are simply lost over time and just can’t be regained. The emotions found here are disappointment, forgiveness and resolution.

There was another man in my life with whom “Daddy’s little girl” took on a totally different meaning… My grandfather, or as I affectionately called him, Pa”T,” stepped into my life and became the daddy I never had and of whom I’d always dreamed. He was bigger than life, purely a man’s man, rough and tough as leather but tender as a rose petal when it came to me. He treated me as a jewel and loved me with a fierce, protective love. I grew up learning what true love in a marriage should look like, what kind of man to look for in a lifetime partner and how that man should treat me through the years. In 2002, I had to say goodbye to my Pa”T, and my life was forever changed. The emotions found there are admiration, devotion and respect.  

Steve came into my life when I was at the young age of twelve. He married my mom and tried to become the father figure I had never had and the dad he had never known to be. He taught me so many things over the years. He taught me a love for the Smoky Mountains and an appreciation for God’s creatures and all of His creation. He learned to listen to my teenage chatter and helped me to see beyond my selfish adolescence to the beautiful scenery of God.  He taught me kindness and patience, but most of all, he taught me about the miracle love a father can have for a child who is not biologically his. He became the earthly father I needed who would, one day, give me away to my lifetime love. The emotions found here are appreciation, recognition and acceptance.  

Not to overly extend this little list, but I’d like to add another, if I may…my father-in-law. I guess, there are some who wouldn’t really want an “in-law” on their dad list, but I choose to, because what he has brought into my life, few other men have. He has taught me a spiritual wisdom far beyond his years, a sense of authority and confidence in God which conquers fears and intimidation, and a love for his children that surpasses personality differences, life changes and even direct conflicts. The emotions I have found here are encouragement, fortitude and honor.

 On this Father’s Day, all of these men and all of these emotions turn me to the one father figure who has been present throughout my life and even before I took my first breath. He has been here before the beginning of time, and He will remain beyond the time frame of my understanding. He is the Author and Finisher of every life ever known to be, and He is the picture of pefection. He is the best Daddy that could ever be hoped for or even imagined. He is God. He sees our faults and our failures, and He still loves us! He knew us before we were born, and He makes great plans for our future. He thinks of us as His precious creations, and He longs to have strong, unmovable relationships wth us. He redeems us from our sins, and He’s promised to come back for us again one day. I’d have to say, He thinks we’re pretty special! The emotions I find when thinking of Him are so many of these I’ve already mentioned all wrapped up in awe and wonder for who He is, who I am not, and how He could love me so much!

I have found that no matter the emotions I may uncover for the earthly fathers I have, my Heavenly Father is beyond amazing and beyond my comprehension. He is worthy of all my praise and all my adoration, and with Him guiding me through this life, He is the only Father I need for all the hopes, pains and dreams I may encounter. He is all I need.

No matter the emotions this day may bring to you, remember, you have a Heavenly Father who loves you and longs for you to come to know Him. Just talk to Him, spend time with Him, and you’ll soon find out what being a real daddy is all about.

Happy Father’s Day to all dads out there. I say thank you to the ones who have played such an important part in my life, and I say an extra, great big thanks to the One who has taken the most vital role of all. He holds my hopes, my dreams and my very life within His hands…My heart just stands in awe. ❤️

Answer to Friday’s Angle #18

So, how’d you do yesterday? Do you think you have the answer?  

If you guessed an elevator button, you got it right!! 🙂

   
I so hope you had fun. Thanks for playing. See you next week! 😉

 

Friday’s New Angle #18

Anither Friday means another New Angle! 🙂

Remember to check back this time tomorrow for your answer!

  

Perfection

If we could have achieved perfection on our own, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus. – Jennifer Dukes Lee

We work so hard to have perfection in every area of our lives. Yet, whose perfection are we working to achieve? Is it the perfection of the Pinterest mom?  Do you feel the need to be extra crafty, a perfect, DIY gal, making all the cute little cupcakes and crafts for the party? Is it the homeschool supermom who knows exactly what her child needs in every subject and on every lesson? Is it the grill perfect dad, knowing just when to turn that perfect steak, when to add that very last seasoning to make the meal of a lifetime for all your friends to drool? 

Or maybe it’s that perfect businessman, knowing exactly when to press in for the deal and when to walk away, leaving them begging for more? Maybe it’s the A+ college student…you know, the one who can achieve the highest scores in her sleep while writing that pristine perfect 20 page paper in a day, just after she read the 1500 page novel for American Lit! What is this “perfect” that we seek so hard to find??

Too often, it seems, we seek to find the perfection we think we see in someone else. We look. We examine. We analyze everyone else’s perceived goodness and realize our lacking. We compare our faults to their “greatness,” and we are left wanting more. Who told us they are by whom we should measure ourselves?? 

Who convinced us of their perfection? They are not the answer. They are not the picture of perfection. What they do or don’t do should never be our focus! Who are “they” anyway?? They can never satisfy our longings. They can never fulfill our dreams. They can never transform us from who were once were to whom we are destined to be!

Only the Creator of our lives can bring about perfection. Only Jesus should be our goal of perfection! He is the only one who was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, dies for us, rose again and has promised to come again. Only HE is the picture of perfect by which we should examine our life. Only HE should be sought after for our value of perfection. 

The only way we can reach to His perfection is to first be real with our imperfections and realize we can never achieve absolute perfection until He perfects our earthly bodies with a heavenly one. We can only reach to His perfection by becoming more like Him and so much less like ourselves. It’s a daily struggle, a daily walk toward His cross and away from our flesh…It’s a daily journey in realism. Why don’t we try a little real-ness in our search for Him? How about a little authenticity in our daily lives? 

Are you ready for a little honesty…a little truth? Let’s drop the games that we play, and let’s get real. Let’s live lives of authenticity. Let’s live lives more like Christ: love, joy, peace, patience and truth…these are the makings for perfection! Let’s chase after Him rather than all those who would try to make us think they are perfect. 🙂

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 4:48