Archive | December 2013

It Matters Whom You Marry

Oh how I wish in my early years as a believer I had read something like this. I will admit, hard as it is, if I could take what I know back 26 years, I would NOT have married the man I did on 8/13/88. I don’t regret it, but I know now that he was not the believer and leader I thought he was and I’ll carry the mental, spiritual and emotional scars for the rest of my life.

Advertisements

The Penny Story

A great story floating around on Facebook, and a reminder.  You can bet I will never fail to pick up a coin on the ground in the future and not stop for a moment to pray.

pennyYou always hear the usual stories of pennies on the sidewalk being good luck, gifts from angels, etc. This is the first time I’ve ever heard this twist on the story. Gives you something to think about.

Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband’s employer’s home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her house.
The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live… The husband’s employer was quite generous as a host, and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely~!

As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband; He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment..

Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts Still silent, the man reached down and picked
up the penny.

He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?

Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value..

A smile crept across the man’s face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?

“Look at it.” He said. “Read what it says.” She read the words ” United States of America .”
“No, not that; read further.”
“One cent?” “No, keep reading..”
“In God we Trust?” “Yes!” “And?”
“And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment… I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God’s way of starting a conversation with me. Fortunate for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!

When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words, “In God We Trust,” and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message.

It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful! And, God is patient.

Author unknown
Image by Ryan McVay/Thinkstockphotos

Being More And My One Word

I follow a fun, quirky, insanely intelligent woman, Sandi Krakowski.  I stumbled upon her due to my involvement in direct sales, as she is one of the many gurus in the business.  I actually found her because her picture appeared in comments or some such thing on another expert I follow.  I was drawn to her first because of her crazy hair.  It is Neapolitan!  Being one that likes wearing pink in my hair, especially my bangs, I had to check her out.  I have struggled at times with just being me and let the folks who take time to know me make their own determination about me that isn’t based on hair.  But just seeing her encouraged me to continue on being me and let the chips of judgement fall where they may.

Sandi has recently begun hash tagging the word combo, BEMORE.  As in Be More.  At first I thought it was cute, but it wasn’t long before it started to really hit me just how powerful that is to BEMORE.

BEMORE loving toward my enemies.  (1 Peter 3:8-12)

8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, becourteous;[a] 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For

“He who would love life
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.
11 Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”[b]

It is a pretty tall order really.  That alone could take me years to achieve but I’m to lean on Christ to help me BEMORE because on my own I cannot do this.

BEMORE diligent to spend time in prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:14-18)

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Darn, there is that evil for evil thing again too, but then praying without ceasing could be the way to do this.

The list will go on and on through the year of 2014 as I set out to focus on my One Word, BEMORE.

Thanks, Sandi Krakowski, the Lord has used you to help me find my “word” for 2014.

Aspiring To Be A Proverbs 31 Woman

If you have ever read Proverbs 31:10-31 you are familiar with the Virtuous Wife.  This and the Titus 2 woman seem to be the bar of standard set for the woman who follows the Lord to aspire too.  And if you are female and have ever tried to achieve this standard, you likely went sideways long before you ever reached the goal.

For me, for starters, I’m not married.  Divorced 3.5 years now, I’m reaching for the praiseworthy girlfriend edition of the Proverbs 31 gal.  Don’t panic, I’ve got a way to go before I win the gold medal.

My life’s landscape has changed since last year, I’m living with my boyfriend, yes in sin, no we don’t need a reminder of this, we get it.  We won’t try to justify it because we cannot.  I cannot.  But after spending 22  years married to someone who bailed on me, his faith etc, I’m gun shy.  The boyfriend is equally gun shy after being married and not having ‘happily ever after’.   We don’t need the ceremony and rings at this point, it is the level of commitment that matters.  I’m all in, as is he, and when the time is right the rest will follow.  Yes we’re aware this sounds like justifying our sin.  No we are not doing that at all, it’s simply the facts.

Back to me and that impossible level of being woman that the Bible puts out.

I’ve been living here about 7 months now.  Strange as it is, we’ve not had a cross word between us.  No fights, no arguments, no bickering.  That is not to say that it cannot or will not occur, but it is less likely.  Neither of us tries to bait the other to a fight.  There is no being insulting, no name calling.  What there is, is adult, mature discussions about things.  And believe me when you living with someone, carving out a future, being ‘step-mom’ part time to his 3 kids, with no mutual past to build on, there are discussions.  We have decisions to make, dreams to share, desires for what the future holds for us, and these in the chapters of life known as middle-age.

Without a shared past, we lack the “remember when…” conversations.  Instead we are sharing our versions, life experiences through our eyes, in getting to know each other.  We also got to come to this stage in life together with a completely clean slate.  There isn’t any “well YOU did…” and so on about our past.  This is actually good for us, no throwing the past up in each others faces.  So what does this mean for this wacky, quirky woman?

It means I go at being significant other, mother figure, etc with no baggage or ill feelings.  I cook dinner often because I enjoy doing it.  I’m playing with recipes and enjoying knowing the tummies are full after dinner is cleaned up (She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household).  I bake brownies because they are enjoyed.  I gladly clean up after dinner because I want too. Laundry is a labor of love, as is the simple things like making the bed.  I’m appreciated immensely for my efforts.  I work full time too, helping as much as possible, with the expenses of this household.  I have 3 direct sales businesses (She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard) that I am trying hard to make into something profitable.  There are many more things I could add that are, in my opinion, modern takes on the verses of the Proverbs passage, but you get the idea.  I’m trying.  My faith is back on track and my focus where it belongs.  Funny, I don’t have to work at it now, I’m happy, I love my life and love where I am, and love the man I’m sharing life with now.  All that I do to help make this a home, comes from the heart and a desire to make everyone happy here.  It doesn’t feel like work at all most days, it’s just what I do.  It’s just me.

I have a long way to go, but I am enjoying very much where I am now.

The Virtuous Wife

10 Who[b] can find a virtuous[c] wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Being Less & Wanting To Be More

“Simply shouting on Facebook about your Bible believing tendencies with a verse quoted every few days isn’t enough to convince anyone that you truly do believe what you say you do. When you post pictures of someone you dislike and you discredit them, malign them and seek to gain likes to yourself by discrediting others NOW we really show what we believe and hold as truth. In this case, we show others that ego runs my life.” ~ Sandi Krakowski

OUCH! Guilty!

First let me explain, I follow Sandi as a sort of online business coach.  She is amazing.  I had no clue who she was, just stumbled on her on Facebook one day because of the pink in her hair.  Being a woman who likes sporting that color in my bleached locks, naturally I was drawn to check out another woman, this one amazingly successful, who is not afraid to be in her 50’s with Neapolitan colored hair.  She is a Christian, and a business woman who is the social media guru for online selling as far as I can determine.

Today in her daily email, she was talking basically about what we truly believe, and to paraphrase, walking the talk.  That paragraph above jumped out at me, especially in light of things I’m studying lately in the Bible.  Mostly about speech, the tongue, words etc.  I’m totally guilty.  When it comes to loving my enemies, when I’m the one being talked about and maligned, well let’s just say it is extremely difficult to find them lovable and act accordingly.

Sandi is hash tagging #BEMORE on everything of late and I love it.  Constantly reminds me that I need to BE MORE than I am now.

I also came across this over the past week, and went as far as to print it off and post in our offices at work, to encourage everyone as we are working through a difficult time in our company with the passing of one of the owners, and getting things back on track:

Start by doing what’s necessary; 
then do what’s possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
~Francis of Assisi

What is necessary for me personally is to keep studying God’s word.

What is possible for me personally is to BE MORE, pray more, love more.

And the impossible?  It’s in God’s hands!

So, I’m going to continue to BEMORE, follow Christ, read my Bible, and walk out my faith.

Loving My Enemies

love your enemies

Matthew 5:43-48

New King James Version (NKJV)

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do more than others?Do not even the tax collectors[d] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

It IS easy to love those who are in our camp, who love us and support our view.  Those who rally around us telling us what we want to hear even when we may be dead wrong.  But when it comes to loving those who do not like us, maybe hate us, speak evil and unkind words about us…those we’d consider enemies.  Well that is a much more difficult task.  Seemingly impossible, and maybe it IS within our own strength.  But then nothing we do is to be in our own power, it is from God that we find the ability to forgive and let go of grudges.

I know, I’ve been there.  For several years I had harbored bitterness in my heart.  And bitterness takes root and if you’ve ever tried to kill weeds you know how tough that can be to remove them for good!  But I also knew it was what I had too do.   Once I released the hold I had on that bitterness, and yes you read that right, I had hold of it,  I was the one not letting go, it died.  An emotion only has power over us if we hang onto it, nurture it and help it grow.  Every time an unkind thought came into my mind toward the persons I felt bitter, I would refuse to think it, and replaced it with a positive one.

Don’t misunderstand, it wasn’t and some days still isn’t always easy to pray for an enemy or someone who has hurt me.  When  I reach out and try to extend an olive branch and it is shot down, it is very difficult not to go on the defense and lash out.  Sometimes I do trip over the issue and post or say unkind things.  But this work in progress manages to let God’s spirit speak to my heart and I again try to right the wrong.

So, I keep praying for my enemies, and love them from a distance.  No matter what they do or say, they cannot stop me from doing this, and in the end it isn’t really about them.  They will answer for what they do, I have to worry about answering for what I do.