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Father’s Day Blessings

This weekend was special because of getting to celebrate the two greatest men in my life – my husband and my dad.

How blessed I am to have had a father that loved me with God’s love. Because of his example I learned of my heavenly Father’s love for me. I learned that I could trust God. I knew that He wanted the best for my life. I knew that He was for me…and I learned these things at my father’s knee. I had high expectations in my husband because of what I saw in my dad. He loved my mom with tenderness, kindness and sweet expressions displayed in everyday life. My dad is one of the most unselfish people I know – always looking to do something for someone else, and desiring never to be a burden to others.

One example of his unselfish spirit was displayed so sweetly this weekend. I got a Father’s Day card in the mail from him! It was a card wishing me all the adventures and happiness I long for. Inside the card was a letter to me from my dad. It was a letter expressing his pride in me as his daughter. It was also a letter of encouragement for a thing he’d like to see me do and expressing his love for me. I cried. What dad would think to send his daughter a letter on Father’s Day? One like my dad. Instead of sitting in his recliner waiting to be served, he got up and served me. That is so like him, and one of many reasons that I love him dearly.

Then the Lord blessed me with a husband that has been an incredible father to our daughters. How many times I’ve seen him cuddle our girls – from the time they were infants and fit into the palm of his hand. Even today when he leaves them it’s with hugs and butterfly kisses. When they were little he’d lie down next to them at bedtime and read to them, often falling asleep before they did. He prays for our girls. How it touches my heart to see him sitting out on the deck in the early morning hours, facing an empty chair in which he sees Christ sitting in front of him. I see his lips moving, I see the tears stream from his eyes as he prays. It’s there that he presents to the Lord his wife and his daughters each day. What more could a wife or daughter want from the head of their home? Absolutely nothing, though I could tell you much more.

I praise the Lord for these men – my father and my husband, and know that I am so very blessed. I pray for men like these for my daughters, and I know that “God is able to do to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Ephesians 3:20

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Mature Love

What a special weekend this has been. On Saturday my husband and I celebrated our 28th anniversary and on Sunday we celebrated Father’s Day. Those are two very special days in my book, celebrating two of the greatest men I have ever known.

Last week my sister told me she’d written in her praise journal that she was thankful for:

  • Young love
  • Mature love
  • Everlasting love

I couldn’t agree more. When my relationship with my husband was new, it was all squishy, full of sighs and emotions. As the years have passed that love has become steady and strong. No longer is it the uphill climb and full of wondering that a new relationship holds. It’s solid. It’s sure. It’s based on God’s everlasting love. Don’t get me wrong – my hubby can make my heart flip in a minute with one of his looks. Emotions are still involved – they’re just not up and down!

I love that now as an “old married couple” we can finish one another’s sentences, or tell what the other is thinking by the look on their face. I love that we can enjoy doing simple things together. On Saturday we enjoyed a cup of coffee and a muffin while listening to some of our favorite songs. That was as much fun (maybe more) than going out. There’s something really special about mature love that we didn’t know existed in our early days, and we realize that if the Lord allows, we will come to understand that in a greater way in the years ahead. When difficulties arise (and they come for every couple), it is so worth it to hang in there, running to the Lord for His help to work through it, rather than bailing out.

Ministry couples don’t have an automatic guarantee on their marriage. We have to work at it just as hard as any other couple. The busyness of ministry can crowd out a close relationship. Children are always a demand on a marriage. Life pushes its way into our schedule and our sinful flesh rises up against us. There has to be a cry to the Lord each day to stay true and faithful, making the relationship strong enough to last the long haul.

It’s also very obvious to me that marriage has to be worked on all through the years. It doesn’t just become set for life after ten years or so. Changes that come cause the need for adjustments to be made. The empty nest adds a new dimension, and adjustment is necessary in order to sail through this phase more in love. I’ve watched couples and I’ve seen that just the natural aging process can put a strain on a marriage. The inability to hear creates a frustration. The fact that after retirement the husband is now home in the middle of what his wife has been doing alone all those years can add some tension. Failing health and the presence of medical bills can add financial strain after living comfortably on their retirement.

What’s the answer? I believe it’s thinking biblically – Philippians 4:8 thinking. “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” It’s so easy to think on things that don’t fit into this category, get ourselves worked up over it, then respond with the wrong attitude. “He always…” Always? Really? “I wish my husband was like her husband!” We don’t have a clue what people are like in their private lives, and is it pure thinking to wish our husband was like someone else? We have to line up our thinking with the Truth. I haven’t always done that, and have gotten myself in a tizzy in the process! How much sweeter it is to look at our marriage through the lens of Philippians 4:8!

Twenty-eight years really isn’t that long a time to be married – we’re just getting started. I pray the years ahead will be filled with simple things, mature love, and right thinking ’til death parts us on this world.

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Wise or Foolish Tongue

I fight a battle every day. It is a battle with my tongue. How easy it is for me to spill everything I am thinking, tell everything I know, give my insight to the situations around me, or share my feelings about any and everything. Often it’s only after I’ve talked that I remember the wisdom in Proverbs on the tongue.

One passage I’m memorizing and trying to apply is Proverbs 17:27, 28 – “He that hath wisdom spareth his words, and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirt. Even a fool when he holdeth his peace is counted wise; and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” My interpretation of this passage is, if you want people to think your wise, be quiet! Another quote that had to be taken from this passage is, “It is better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!”

Wisdom is not talking often. Being quiet, as I Thessalonians 4:11 – “And that you study to be quiet…” – it is a learned thing; it doesn’t come naturally for most of us. Too often I spew off – sharing my thoughts, my disgust, my frustration, my opinion. That kind of temperament is not demonstrating an “excellent spirit” (good character). Even when I feel someone is wrong about something, it is my responsibility to pray for them. If they need to be set straight, God can reveal that to them far better than I can!

So today as I fight the battle with my tongue I pray I’ll do it with my lips closed more than open – revealing wisdom instead of foolishness!
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Bible Study Announcement

Do you know anyone that acts foolishly? They may be a family member, co-worker, or neighbor. How is a person to respond to foolish actions? Is it possible to live with someone who has this kind of character? The ladies of Boones Creek Bible Church are invited to join a Bible story about Abigail and Nabal that will be beginning in July. From this story we will learn:

  • how to distinguish the characteristics of a fool,
  • how to avoid having those attributes in our own life
  • how to deal with those in our lives that act foolishly.

Our first study will be on Wednesday, July 1st. Be sure to sign up on the sheet that is posted on the bulletin board so I’ll have enough books for everyone to use. This is such a practical study, and one I think that will be a great help to us all. I’ll hope to see you then!

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A Roller Coaster Weekend

This was a memory making weekend. On Friday our younger daughter, Allison officially graduated from the Academy of Home Education at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. For me it was emotional – happy over our completion of school, sad at that close of this phase of our lives. Happy over this phase of our lives, sad at the changes that are pressing in on us. It was a roller coaster! But we all pay to ride them, and this was a good one.

The picture above is of the two sisters together the morning of graduation. They’re thicker than molasses and closer than I could’ve hoped for with seven years between them. Big sister Whitney was always the mother hen watching out for Allison, bossing her around, and busting out laughing at all Allison’s antics. Time has changed that a bit – now they tell each other how to dress, who to hang with, or how to handle a situation. They respect one another enough to heed the counsel that’s given.

This picture is a bit blurry, but it was taken over the Internet by my sister. The ceremony was posted over the web site of the university, so my family who were unable to attend were able to watch and participate with us! Each graduate and their family was asked to stand while they were introduced to the crowd. A paragraph describing each student was read while they stood.

Allison also had the privilege of playing the piano during the ceremony. She played, “All Glory Laud and Honor”, a fitting piece for a home school graduation. All glory goes to the Lord for helping us to reach this momentous occasion. He kept us going, kept me encouraged, and provided for the books and materials each year.

The parents – do we look stressed? Remember the roller coaster analogy! No, really this wasn’t a stressful day, it was a day for celebrating and that we did!

If I’d had a hat I would’ve thrown it too! Woo-hoo! We did it…we’re finished!
No more lesson plans, grade books, teacher’s curriculum, text books, or standard achievement tests! I won’t let myself go to the sad note of all the other things that I’ll miss next fall when Allison’s gone. Just as God’s grace has been sufficient for these last 13 years of her schooling, it will be sufficient for the empty nest. My husband’s calling it, “The Love Nest” – now that sounds pretty good! Praise the Lord for a loving husband who has understood my roller coaster moods and has soothed and comforted me. I am blessed.
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Always An Answer

When was the last time you called your doctor’s office, insurance agent, computer tech, customer service department, bank, or even your sister and actually got to talk to a real, live person? Most times a message line picks up the call and you listen to a set of instructions that leaves your head spinning so badly you can’t remember your own telephone number so you can leave a message. One message that tickles me is, “When you have finished you may hang up…” Oh, thank you! I can hang up! Otherwise I may have sat here with the phone in my hand all afternoon waiting for the next set of instructions. It can be very frustrating, can’t it, when you just want to ask a simple question and all you get is a machine?

In light of this, how sweet Jeremiah 33:3 is – Call unto me and I will answer thee... The God of heaven, our Creator is not too big to answer our call! Can you imagine calling the computer tech and having Bill Gates pick up on the first ring to help you with your request? No way! How about calling your doctor’s office and hearing his voice greet you? Don’t think so! But when I call out to my Father in heaven, He not only hears me but He answers. That is amazing. That is wondrous love. That is our God!

The next time you make a call and you hear a recording instead of the person’s voice you wanted to talk to, remind yourself of the sweet blessing of God answering you each time you call Him. Maybe you won’t find yourself quite as frustrated when you hang up the phone.

You can click out of this blog now. Sorry! Couldn’t resist! =)

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Summertime In My Heart

A sparkling jar of strawberry freezer jam. A lightening bug flickering in the yard. Eating breakfast outside on the deck. A game of badminton in the backyard. A morning dove’s coo. Fresh strawberry pie. Flower boxes laden with blooms. Fresh corn on the cob. The smell of the grill. Daylight at 8:45 in the evening. Picnics. Watching the boats skim across the lake. Driving with the windows down. Baseball. Warm weather. The ice cream truck’s bell jingling in the neighborhood. Dew on the morning grass.

These are some of my favorite things about my favorite season – summer. I thank my great God for creating the seasons. Each one is a welcomed change, but I absolutely love summer. I don’t want to take a day of it for granted. I want to appreciate the goodness of all the little things you can enjoy only in the summer months. And oh, I’ll hate seeing summer end.

When I was a little girl I remember singing the song, “It is Summertime in My Heart.”

It is summertime in my heart,

It is summertime in my heart.

Since Jesus saved me,

New life He gave me.

Ev’n in wintertime it’s summer in my heart!

I can truly relate to what the writer of this song was saying. My salvation brings with it something that is completely unique – new life! I John 3:14 – We know that we have passed from death unto life… It also brings the awe of new things – new desires, new goals, new thinking. II Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. There’s a warmth and a freshness in my relationship with the Lord. Romans 6:4 – …like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Light replaces the darkness. I John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. There are so many blessings of being saved that you only experience when you know Christ as your Savior. Best of all – there isn’t an end to this summertime in my heart! I John 5:13 – These things have I written unto you that believe on the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life

What season is it in your heart today? If there’s the deadness of fall and winter instead of the life of spring and summer, refresh yourself with the good things God has for you in His Word and at His side. It can be summer in your heart all year long.