Mother’s Day Can Be Tough

Motherhood can be so tough sometimes. We constantly feel like we will ever measure up. We don’t have enough time to do all the things we should do, all the things we want to do, all the things we must do. We make mistakes. We carry guilt. We live with regrets.

We compare our lives with the next mom, and we believe we should be better, or we believe we are better; either way it leaves us feeling empty and so much less than. We want more. We want less. We strive to be better, different or just simply unique in this life in which we long to succeed.

Then, Mother’s Day rolls around. All the cards, all the words, all the commercials, the candy, the gifts. Do we deserve all that? Do we want all that? Do even we need all that? For one day out of the year we should be treated like a queen; yet, too often the ashes of our past and our pain cloud the skyline of love and generosity.

Too often, those who have experienced the loss of those tender heartbeats, those tiny hands and feet and those little coos, they are burdened with more tears, more grief, more torn and shattered dreams. Many times, those who have never heard, have yet to see and may never embrace, will see those precious notes of laughter like liquid gold captured in such fleeting moments, be wisped away like sand through their fingertips. They are left on these days feeling so much lower, so broken and bruised, tattered and marred.

Where is the hope? Where is the life? Where is the new birth that is promised with the dawn? Will it ever come? Was it ever meant to be? Is it ever for me? Is it ever for you?

Some will never take comfort in a Higher being. Some will never seek out the faith I have found, but I stand here as a living testimony to His grace, His power, and His promises come true. The ashes will be turned to beauty. The mourning will be turned to gladness and joy. The despair will be turned to praise like the morning sun. One that envelopes and consumes your very being and soul.

How does it come? I do not know. How does it transpire? I cannot comprehend. When does He bring it to pass? I cannot tell. The only answer I have is to confirm the Why? Because He loves you. He loves me, and through that love, all things are possible. ❤

Happy Mother’s Day!

5/14/2017

Challenge of Praise

ochsnerfamily.blogspot.com

I’d like to challenge you today with this scripture…

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord from the heavens;

Praise Him in the heights!

Praise Him, all His angels;

Praise Him, all His hosts!

Praise Him, sun and moon;

Praise Him, all you stars of light!

Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,

And you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,

For He commanded and they were created.

He also established them forever and ever;

He made a decree which shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,

You great sea creatures and all the depths;

Fire and hail, snow and clouds;

Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;

Mountains and all hills;

Fruitful trees and all cedars;

Beasts and all cattle;

Creeping things and flying fowl;

Kings of the earth and all peoples;

Princes and all judges of the earth;

Both young men and maidens;

Old men and children.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,

For His name alone is exalted;

His glory is above the earth and heaven.

And He has exalted the horn of His people,

The praise of all His saints—

Of the children of Israel,

A people near to Him.

Praise the Lord!

He is so very good. He deserves our praise!

Valley Praise

psalms-42-11What happens to your countenance when you are in the valley? What is the appearance of your face when everything seems to be going wrong, and you don’t know what to do? How do you react when trials, sickness or persecutions come? Are you sad? Do you get mad? Is confusion and chaos the ruler of the day?

Are you down in the dumps, or are you rejoicing through the valley?  My pastor always says, “What you can PRAISE through, you can MAKE IT through!” Find something in that valley to take joy in. Count your blessings. Even the smallest things can bring the greatest joys.

Honestly, there are some valleys where it seems there is NOTHING about which to celebrate. Some desert places are NOTHING but hot, dry sand and a burning sun that makes you feel you will DIE of thirst and loneliness. Some low places in life simply feel like the abyss with no light, no sound and no direction or hope. Yet, those are the times when we must stand with Job and say, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21, and “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” Job 13:15.

We must praise Him regardless of what we feel or what we see. Praising is a submission of our flesh. It is not something that comes when we “feel it.” It is something that comes as we force our stubborn will into submission. Praise helps us see hope again, because it opens our eyes to His truth beyond our current circumstance.

God is holy. God is righteous. God is gracious, merciful, loving and majestic. He is worthy of all our praise. He is honorable of all our affection, adoration and appreciation. Let us praise Him through the valley. For, it is in our loneliest hours, and through our darkest nights when His glory and grace is revealed in our lives. ❤

The Angels’ Song

“The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:8-11

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shareaverse.wordpress.com

There are so many things in the book of Revelation that I simply do not understand; however, when it talks about the angels praising God all day long, I am definitely in awe. Can you imagine that being your calling in life? Your sole responsibility is to walk around the throne of God calling out praises and glorifying His name…non-stop! I mean, seriously, we get tired and distracted just being in a church service for over an hour.

Yet, the angels think God is truly something. One angel was sent to a young maidservant over 2,000 years ago to tell her she was going to miraculously conceive the Christ child. Just a few months later, they were sent to a bunch of lowly shepherds to proclaim that same child had been born in the city of Bethlehem. Another angel spoke to a man named Joseph in a dream a little earlier about this same baby telling him not to be afraid, to take the girl Mary as his wife, and later on, to tell him to leave the city for the life of his child was in danger. Many years later, angels go to Jesus and minister to Him after a long time of fasting and temptation by the devil. All through Scripture, these angels are constantly talking about this Savior King and glorifying Him with everything they’ve got!

I wonder if, during this Christmas season, we might be able to take a lesson from them? I wonder if we might pause for just a moment, lay down our agendas and ambitions to celebrate the presents, and take in His holy presenceCan we stand with the angels, lift our hands, and sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”?

Let’s praise and honor Him today, for He IS holy! He is Savior, and He is King! Best of all, He left His glorious throne to come to this earth to save us, because HE LOVES US!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS!

WE PRAY YOU HAVE A JOYOUS AND VERY BLESSED HOLIDAY SEASON!

Your Words

 

psalm-19-14

kellyarcidiacono.com

Your words matter. Your words count. What you say can wound or heal those around you. Choose your words wisely.

Years ago, our nine year old son came home from school sad. He felt like he had a bad day. Now, this child has always been more sensitive to those around him, to his environment, words said and actions done. He’s my rough-and-tumble, tenderhearted boy. He likes things to be peaceful and stable, fun and joyful, and this day hadn’t been quite like any of that.

He told me about his teacher snapping at him, how kids had laughed at him, and how the lunch lady had harassed him. As the story played out, I realized the teacher had “jokingly snapped” at him when he told the other kids to be quiet in line, causing the kids to chuckle around him, and the lunch lady had “jokingly harassed” him when he spilled a little of his spaghetti from his plate, saying, “Your mom needs to teach you how to do this.”

Now, to you and me, as adults and people who have experienced pain, criticism and strife, what he went through may not be that big of a deal. I could tell, by the information he had given, that his teacher hadn’t meant to hurt his feelings; she probably didn’t even think twice about it. There was no part of bullying or harrassment meant in her statement.

Don’t we all do that from time to time? We will quip our answers “short and sweet” to those around us, never assuming that it might impact them differently than we intended. Yet, the sharp remarks he received from those two adults at lunchtime, combined with the snickering of children around him, had cast a cloud on his usual joyful demeanor and caused him to feel like his whole day was just horrible.

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mybible.com

As he grows, he will learn how to handle jokes, sarcasm and harassment. His tender heart may not always remain as tender, but I can assure you, this day reminded me that we should all be more cautious with, not only what we say, but also the attitude and tone in which we say it. There are times for sharpness, and there are definitely times for rebuke.

Don’t mistake my comments here to be an agreement with the recent cultural push for a kinder, meeker society where we can give no rebuttal to anyone without a cry against “tolerance.” When there is evil and wrongdoings present, it angers me to hear those trying to settle down a conflict when the only persons they’re trying to calm down is the very one confronting the sin or wrong being done! It seems this nation is working hard to excuse certain beliefs, actions or opposing viewpoints simply because they’re “new and culturally accepted.” These actions and attitudes are not what I’m talking about here.

I am referring to the words we use with those closest to us and the tones and attitudes we portray behind these words. It is so easy to be in the middle of having a bad day, be approached by a child and respond to them by snapping their little head off. It’s so common to be stressed out, right at the time of a deadline and just “blow a gasket,” simply, because your spouse asked where a clean pair of socks are. It’s such a ‘knee-jerk reaction” to be worried and concerned over a situation and respond to your ‘aggravating’ teen in an overemotional manner instead of stopping to realize they weren’t trying to get on your nerves; they’re just being a teenager. I know. I’ve been there, and I wonder if you have been, too…

proverbs-12-18

deebrestin.com

The heart of a child, a teen, and even our spouse are at stake when we allow our emotions to rule over our words and actions. We should not only have the mind of Christ, but we must have His mouth as well! Let our words always be tempered by His grace, love and Truth.

psalms_19-14

kingjamesbibleonline.org

 

The Evidence Is In Your Hands

Our true character comes out in the way we pray.

Whenever the insistence is on the point that God answers prayer, we are off the track. The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer.

We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; The Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.

Prayer is simple, prayer is supernatural, and to anyone not related to our Lord Jesus Christ, prayer is apt to look stupid. – Oswald Chambers**

I picked up a new little perennial calendar with prayer quotes from Oswald Chambers, and I find myself challenged in my prayers more often than not. He has such a blunt way of stating things, and his words seem to pierce my heart even on subjects with which I am very familiar.

“Our true character comes out in the way we pray.” This is so very true. I heard a pastor preached this past weekend on this same subject. Pastor Rhonda Holland was speaking at a ladies conference, and she gave the illustration of the women who went to the tomb after Jesus died. She referenced Luke 24:1, when Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James and Salome went to the tomb and carried spices to anoint the body of Jesus. She said, “Now, why do you carry spices to a tomb? Jesus had told them He would rise in three days. They had believed in Him when He walked the Earth. They had even followed Him to the cross. Yet, on that third day, the evidence of what they believed was in their hands.” The only reason you bring spices to a tomb is to anoint a dead body! The evidence of what they truly believed they would find in that tomb was carried in their hands!! If they had actually believed Jesus was going to be risen when they got there, they wouldn’t have needed the spices. They would have, instead, carried tambourines for singing and shouting!

Often times, we claim we believe God’s Word to be true. We say we believe Jeremiah 29:11, that promises God has good plans for our life, plans to prosper and not to harm us. We claim to believe Romans 8:28, which tells us He works all things for our good. We even boldly declare the promise found in Romans 8:37 that we are more than conquerors through Christ; yet, the evidence of what we truly believe within the depths of our hearts can be seen and heard in our prayers when the storm really hits too close to home. We cry. We fear. We doubt, and we question Him. We wail and travail, fearing the worst is yet to come!

What if we were to actually believe He was going to do what He said He was going to do? What if we really claimed the promises He gives to us in His Word? What if we actually prayed as if we knew His promises were right and true?

Remember, if those three women had come to the tomb truly believing Christ had risen, they would not have carried those spices for embalming His body. They would have come rejoicing, praising His name, dancing in celebration of what had already come to pass and expecting that stone to be rolled away! 😉

 What is the evidence you hold in your hands?

 

**See more at: http://prayer-coach.com/2011/06/10/prayer-quotes-oswald-chambers/ and http://www.christianquotes.info/top-quotes/18-powerful-quotes-from-oswald-chambers/

 

 

 

Praises or Curses

“And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!” And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” Matthew 21:8-11

Can you see Him?
He entered the city riding upon a donkey. The people lined the streets, shouting, “Hallelujah,” praising His Name. They hailed Him as King. 

 

 Can you see them?

One week later, they would curse Him and crucify Him. Hate Him for the very thing for which they praised Him just days before: He proclaimed to be King. 

How often do we do this same thing?

When things are going good, we praise Him, we worship Him, we proclaim His goodness. We smile. We laugh. We rejoice and tell of His great love to those around us. 

Yet, when tragedy strikes, when hard times comes, when things happen that we just can’t understand, we question. We doubt. We grow angry. We even curse Him, at times, believing we should never suffer, because we serve Him. 

Can you see yourself?

Fighting, clawing your way through life. Angry and broken over the things that haven’t gone right. Hurt and confused because of the broken dreams and shattered promises of this world. Lost and alone without Him. 

Now, can you see Him?

He looks upon you with eyes of love and not anger. He comes to you with His arms open wide. He wants to forgive us, and He longs to redeem us. He died for us while we were yet sinners, and He is faithful to us even when we are so less than faithful! He loves us and desires to be with us, and He patiently awaits our surrender. 

This week, as we head toward Easter, let’s stop and really evaluate our responses to Him. Let’s not allow our praises to become curses simply because things don’t turn out as planned. 

Bring your brokenness to Him, and let Him heal your hearts. Let Him soothe those fears and doubts. Let Him comfort you and help you. He loves you, and He has good plans for you. 

Can we praise Him today? 

Praise Him for all He’s done. Praise Him for His love for us and freely receive that love. It’s there just for you, just for me. Let our praises become a ritual and not a one time offering. Let our praises become a lifestyle of love to Him. 

Christmastime Blues

Do you ever feel as if you’re the only one who could possibly feel the way you do?

Do you ever think no one else understands; no one has a clue?

That’s when the Christmastime Blues settle in like a cold, hard rain.  

They come to stay when your focus is off, life is chaotic and the main thing isn’t the main.  

Those bluesy blues will hit the heart and try to make a home.  

Don’t let them come in. Make them run away as you worship Christ alone. 

For He is worthy of all our honor, our love and our praise. 

For He is the Christ child come to change our life and our earthly days. 

Merry Christmas

Penned – MG – 12/21/15

Shimmers Like Gold

       

The lake shimmers like gold.

 

I drove across the lake today. As I looked at the water it seemed to be shimmering, as if it was a pile of diamonds glowing in the sun. It was simply beautiful. 

This moment reminded me that there’s beauty all around us, all the time. We just have to open our eyes and see it. We can get so busy in our everyday drives, in our daily routines, and in our weekly habits that we miss the beauty that God placed right in our midst. Do you ever just stop to actually smell the roses? Do you ever just pause at night and look up at the stars? 

God placed us here amongst His creation to enjoy it and to praise Him for it. Yet too often these days, I think, we are too busy to even see it clearly. Sure we might pause for half a millisecond to watch a bird on a branch, to hear it chirp it’s little song, but then, we have appointments to make, things to do, people to see, and then we leave, missing out on its beautiful praise. 

We must stop. We must get away. We must get alone until we’re not alone anymore. We must seek our Maker, and then, we’ll be able to see and hear what He has for us. His plans, His creation, His ways are so much clearer when we step out from among the chaos of our lives and step into His presence. I think I’d like to see Him today in the shimmering gold on the lake. I’d like to hear Him in the rustling of the leaves. Would you like to join me?

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.  Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord…”   Psalm 96:11-13a

Beautiful Praise

 

There is a young lady who attends every choir practice we have. She doesn’t sing in the choir, and she doesn’t play an instrument. She just sits on the pew throughout the entire rehearsal; yet, she gives beautiful praise. Rebecca is always smiling, or if she’s not smiling, her countenance is always pleasant, and when the worship music begins, you can glance her way and know that her face will be turned heavenward, and her hands will be reaching to the sky. She may not be focused on the particular notes of the song; she may not be able to perform with the singers on stage, and she may not even mouth the words which are projected on the screen. However, by the look on her face, you can rest assured she is offering praise to her King. You see, Rebecca is a 28 year old who has special needs. She serves as a greeter, and she has the most beautiful countenance of just about anyone I know!

She is very dedicated to her responsibilities, even to the point of asking her mom first thing on Monday morning, “Mom, where is my name tag for church? I have to have it for Sunday.” She anxiously awaits Sunday service all throughout the week and just cannot wait to arrive to worship her God. To me, that is beautiful praise! Often, as I stand in the choir loft gazing over the pews, and I see her lifting her offering of adoration, it simply takes my breath away. She challenges my thoughts. She confronts my apathy. She provokes my faith.

Could you imagine if we, those of us who call ourselves Christians, were so anxious to get to church that we starting thinking about and planning it out on Monday morning? Could you imagine if we waited, with bated breath, to return to the House of God in order to lift our hands and sing adoration to our Lord? Could you imagine if all we wanted to do in the week was give a beautiful offering of praise to Him? Could you just imagine?? I mean, what if our churches were consumed with more praise and less passivity? What if our pews were filled with more upraised hands and less downturned mouths? What if?? …It might just cause a revolution!

Forgive me, please, if I sound a little confrontational. She has simply sparked a flame within my soul, a desire to be more than who I am today. She has invoked inside of me a longing to be unchained, uninhibited, maybe even a little undignified. In this modern age, when the culture screams at Christians to keep quiet, to back away, to remove themselves from any type of position of boldness on the subject, she has dared my faith to stand a little taller. She has inspired my heart to shout much louder than it ever has before.

Rebecca may not have all the capabilities which some in this world declare you must have in order to survive among the “culturally elite.” She may not be able to do everything that even she would like to do during her lifetime. She may not appear to be the person you assume she should be; however, I think she is absolutely beautiful, and her praise is simply breathtaking! She challenges me to worship more, to reach more, to be more. I hope and pray that I might be more like her with each new day, and one day soon, when I see Jesus face to face, I can hear Him say what I believe He would say to her: “You gave such beautiful praise. It was simply breathtaking. Well done, and thank you.”