I often get gifts from friends or family members because it is my birthday, or Mother’s Day or Christmas. While I always appreciate that someone thought of me, remembered my special day and took time to purchase something for me, the best gift I just received this week was for no special day.
The person sending me the flowers said it was “just because.”
Each of the roses was a different color – and so beautiful!
I could not decide which color I loved the most. But I am definitely feeling the love!
As a mother, I like to think that I am a source of wisdom to my daughters, that they look to me for advice and counsel.
But it is really great when my daughters share words of wisdom for me.
Recently my youngest daughter, who is a pastor, spoke something in a sermon that has really been meaningful to me. She said:
“We don’t draw lines to keep people out. We cross lines to bring people in.”
The more I thought about that statement, the more I realized that sometimes I have drawn lines to keep people out.
They did not meet my “standards.”
They were not dressed “properly.”
They were not of my political viewpoint
How many times have I missed an opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ because the lines I drew shut them out? Made them feel unwelcome.
Then my oldest daughter, who is a school teacher, shared with me her experiences this year with the Covid crisis in school.
She had a coworker whose dress was eccentric, whose walk was strange. This coworker greeted her every morning when she came to work with a cheerful “Good morning Mrs. Thomas.” My daughter was struggling just to make it to school on this stressful year and that last thing she wanted when she came in was a “sunny side up” greeting. She said for awhile she just gave a quick reply and hurried past the coworker to her room.
But one day the Holy Spirit quickened her heart and she began asking God to help her see this person as He did. She began stopping to talk each morning and listen to the person.
She knits caps for all her students and when the coworker commented how much they liked the hats, she made one for them.
The person did not change – what changed was how my daughter saw them.
Again, I wonder how many times I quickly pass by that person whose personality I do not care for, that person who annoys me. How many times do I fail to see them as God sees them.
So – I have two prayers today:
God help me not to shut people out because they are different from me – help me not to be judgmental but to reach out and show them your love.
God help me to look past what annoys me and help me to see people as you see them.
When I was pregnant with both my daughters, I used to put my hand on my stomach and pray that they would grow up to be people who made a difference, who shared God’s love.
How grateful I am to see that prayer was answered.
Now I’m trusting that my two new prayers will also be answered.
What a better world we would live in if we all prayed those prayers.
I have been planning with some of the women in my church for a game night. Just a time for us to get together and have fun with one another getting to know each other better.
Not a time of Bible study
Not a time to do a service project
Not a time to fix a meal for the church
Not a time to “do” anything
Just a time to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
So many times when we go to church (or to any other type of meeting) we sit in our same spot, talk to those who sit near us or who are in our small circle of friends and only give a nod and “hi” or “how are you” to the rest. We know each other’s names, but do we really know each other? I must confess that after attending my church for almost three…
The whole point is that we are quick to find things about our self we do not like, things we want to change, things that make us feel less than satisfied about who we are.
Why do we never look at our self in a positive light? So she encouraged her followers to take a look and see the good qualities they possess.
Here goes my list:
Five Things I Like About Myself
I am a good musician and use my talent to help others. Since age ten I have been playing the piano. Over the years I have played for worship in church, played for weddings and funerals and written and performed Christmas programs. For the last 35 years I have been a volunteer at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities providing musical programs for the residents.
I am a good cook. While I have never mastered the skill of making cookies, my pies and cakes are always welcome at a pot luck. My husband will testify that my meals are not only delicious but usually healthy. (Although I do probably cook too much pasta.)
I am adventurous always taking the road not well traveled. When my husband suggested we do a two-year commitment teaching in a Bible college in the Philippines, I said “why not.” Sold everything we had and headed off on an adventure. In our 70’s when our youngest daughter took a position as pastor in a new state and moved with her family and my husband suggested we sell and move too, I said “why not.” On our road trips we always get off the interstate and follow the local roads just to see where they go. Our trips are always more interesting than following the well-marked roads.
I am a positive person. While I have had my times of depression and discouragement, basically I see the glass half-full rather than half-empty. Life to me is a blessing from God to be enjoyed even when difficulty comes because my faith tells me that He will never leave me.
I love to teach the Bible. Teaching Bible classes both in church, in homes and in the Philippines, my students tell me that I make the Word of God simple to understand and show them how it applies to the “here and now.”
So there – I challenge you to take a positive look and share five things you like about yourself. Then share them with me and/or on Cyranny’s blog. We’d love to know you better.
At this time of year I say “Merry Christmas” to all my family and friends who are close by. For those far away I call, text and send gifts and cards to wish them the best.
But as I have become a follower of many on WordPress and have enjoyed having some follow me, I feel I have gained friends I don’t even know personally. Reading the posts of many of you has enriched my life – encouraging me, challenging me and sometimes just giving me a much needed laugh.
I have also enjoyed the comments of many of you who follow my blog.
So – to all of you out there in WordPress land, it is my prayer that you have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, or a great Kwanzaa!
Several years ago on this day (I will not say how many – that’s for my daughter to tell) I became a mother for the first time.
What an awesome moment – the moment I held her in my arms.
I whispered to her how we were going to be such good friends. We had books to read, flowers to pick, songs to sing and so much more! What dreams I had for her.
Today as I look at my “little” girl who is now herself not only a mother, but a grandmother, I still see the little girl in her eyes.
As we have walked through life together, we have experienced both joy and sorrow. We have laughed and cried together and a few times even argued with each other. But through it all one thing has remained strong – our love for one another.
Growing old myself, looking back on my life I think how I have never been famous or accomplished any great achievement.
Then I look at this daughter – a school teacher, who really loves her students and I see how many lives she has touched. How many children came to love learning because of her interest and love for them. How many children experienced for the first time a sense of their own ability because of her encouragement to them. How many parents she has helped understand how to help their own children.
I see the beautiful hats she knits for each student at Valentine’s Day, the fleece blankets she has given to many at Christmas. The hats she knits for cancer survivors. The homeless she has fed.
If I had even a small part in helping her to become the caring person she is – then I have achieved much!
Today, on her birthday, I share some quotes about mothers/daughters that I love.
“A daughter is just a little girl who grows up to be your best friend.” – Unknown
“Mother and daughter never truly part, maybe in distance but never in heart.” – Unknown
“Someday when the pages of my life end, I know that you will be one of the most beautiful chapters.” – Unknown
“A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future.” – Unknown
A daughter is God’s way of saying, ‘thought you could use a lifelong friend.’” – Unknown
A mother’s treasure is her daughter.” – Catherine Pulsifer
And just in case she reads this blog today – here’s one for you, Beka Boo
“What’s it like to have the greatest daughter in the world? I don’t know ask your grandmother.” – Unknown
Today’s devotion was the story of Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana found in John’s Gospel. Every time I read this story I try to imagine how the servants must have felt when Jesus had them filled up the jars with water and then told them to take it to the guy in charge of the wedding feast.
Questions I have:
Did they hesitate at all?
Did they taste the water first to see how it tasted?
Could they tell the change in the water by just looking at it? I’m guessing that wine would look much different than water.
Did they hang close by to see the man’s reaction when he tasted the wine?
What stories they must have had to tell their family that night about this miracle!
My first few times reading the story I wondered why Jesus had them fill the jars with water. Could he not just have spoken and had wine fill the jugs?
Of course the answer is open to anyone’s interpretation but here is mine.
They could verify that the liquid in the jars had been water and that Jesus did not somehow find wine and put in the jars.
More importantly, they would be a part of this miracle. They could say “we filled the jars with water for Jesus.”
And my own personal take away from this is that I should not just sit and wait for Jesus to meet a need. I need to be willing to do what I can.
My husband often says:
When I have done what I can – God will do what I cannot.
Do not mean to imply that we do what we can before we ask God or trust Him. But too often I think we tell someone we will pray for their need when we should also ask what we can do to help meet their need.
Often we are helpless. But many times we can and should be the hands and feet of God to meet a need.
If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:17-18
Reading the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke today I noticed the two questions in the story.
The first set of questions was from a young man who asked Jesus what were the requirements of obtaining eternal life. Jesus said you could summarize the entire Law and Prophets with two basic commandments.
Love the Lord with all your heart, your soul, your strength and your mind.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
At that, the young man then asked “Who is my neighbor?”
What follows is a story told by Jesus that has been retold over the years. Anyone who has attended church for any length of time has heard about the “Good Samaritan.” This story has been shared as a lesson to show us who our neighbor really is. The idea is anyone we come into contact with that needs help is our neighbor. Our neighbor is more than just the people who live next door to us.
While that is all well and good today I compared that young man’s question to the one Jesus asked him after He finished telling the story. When we look at Jesus’ question I think we might get a different take on the point of the story.
Jesus asked the young man “Which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” When he answered it was the one who actually took the time and spent of his own finances to help the man, Jesus told him to “go and do the same.”
From the young man’s perspective, the question was:
Who is my neighbor?
From Jesus’ perspective, the question was:
What kind of person do you want to be?
Have you ever stopped to think about that? What kind of person do you want to be?
It’s not just about acknowledging that everyone is my neighbor, but actually taking time to determine just what kind of person we desire to be.
As I approach the final chapters of my life and look back at the earlier chapters, I realize the big flaw (do I dare call it sin) in my life has been my tendency to speak before I think.
Many times my motives have been good. I’m the kind of person who likes to fix things, make things better for others. So when someone comes to me to share a concern, a problem, a difficult situation, I am often quick to give advice on what they should do to take care of the problem. Quick to share my opinion on how they should handle things. Even quick to do something myself to make things better.
Good intentions – to help.
BUT – perhaps they do not need or want my advice. Perhaps they just need to have someone listen to them and maybe give them a hug.
Other times, I must confess, my motives have not been good. I have spoken quickly out of anger or hurt.
However, I do not think I am the only one with this flaw. Reading the Proverbs this week with my husband I could not help but notice how many times the writer tells us to watch our words.
Proverbs 17:28 – “Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.”
Proverbs 18:13 – “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.”
Proverbs 21:23 – “Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.”
But the one I love the most is Proverbs 10:19 – “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.”
Now if we could just get our politicians and news reporters to follow that advice.
More and more I find myself praying the words of Psalms 19:14 – “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
It’s Valentine’s Day. A day we are supposed to celebrate our love. I imagine it can be a painful day for those who do not have a “special” someone to celebrate with. After my first husband died, I dreaded that day.
But although I have been single, then widowed and spent Valentine’s Day without a boyfriend or husband, I have always had a great love to celebrate.
I met Him when I was six years old.
My earliest memories were hearing my parents talk about Him. Finally, at six I realized I wanted Him to be my special love.
So I asked Jesus to come into my heart/my life and I would love Him too.
I asked – He said yes.
Being baptized after making a public commitment to follow Jesus
We have been sharing our love ever since then.
I could share so many stories of how my love has been there for me over these 65 years since I accepted His offer of friendship and love, but one of my blogs from 2014 tells it the best.
Hope you will take time to read it and see why I celebrate this love, not only on Valentine’s day but every day of the year.