Monday, November 28, 2016

The Danger of Complacency

The alarm went off on Sunday morning. As I cracked my eyes open, there was no dawn--only dark, cold, wet. And the wind! It rattled the windows and made the most nimble trees creak. I hit the snooze button once, twice, three times before exiting bed.

Padding around the kitchen in my robe and slippers, I dawdled over feeding the cats and making coffee. Later, I delayed taking a shower, knowing the cold tile awaited.

It was plain--I didn't want to leave the warmth and comfort of my home.

I did make it to church, and as we listened to the pastor deliver the sermon, I whispered to The Hubster, "I'm so glad I'm here."

As winter deepens, most of us will spend more time indoors, away from the cold. When life, and people, are hard, it seems easier to stay safe at home. Shutting ourselves away from the world allows us to "feel" safer. But are we, really?

God did not place us in this world to be comfortable. We are to confront the culture, not isolate ourselves from it. The best way to prepare for the battles we may face is to gather with other Christ followers and pray for strength and guidance.

The Hubster and I supported a missionary for several years who always signed his letters, "content, but not satisfied." That phrase always caused me to ponder its meaning.

It's time to brave the cold--and the culture.

***

Notable Quote:

"Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor."--Benjamin Franklin

Monday, November 21, 2016

Look Up!

Rolling hills of Missouri by Debbie Wray
Psalm 121:1-2 (KJV)  I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.


Despair is all around us.

Hopeless feelings from the election, the economic situation and approaching holidays build up in our hearts and bring us down. This year has been a tough one.

When your heart hurts and your soul is sad and your body is exhausted--look up. God is ready and willing to provide His hope and His help. The Creator of the universe is waiting for a word from you. He wants to shelter and protect you.

Let Him do what He does best.

***

Notable Quote:

"O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace."--Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

Monday, November 14, 2016

When Your Hut is on Fire

I attended a United Methodist Women's meeting with my mom last year. She was leading the group that night, and shared the following story:

"The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him.

Every day, he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost.

He was stunned with disbelief, grief and anger. He cried out, 'God! How could you do this to me?'

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island. It had come to rescue him!

'How did you know I was here?,' asked the weary man of his rescuers.

'We saw your smoke signal,' they replied."

Mom sent me a copy of this story soon after that night, and I pull it out every now and then when I need a reminder. Tonight, I thought you might need a reminder, too.

When all is lost, and your hut is on fire, know that God is on His way. He sees you. He knows what you're going through. He's got your back.

***

Notable Quote:

"Once you choose hope, anything's possible."--Christopher Reeve

Monday, November 7, 2016

Tailor Made

Trying on pieces from my latest Dia box. #diaandco
Psalm 119:103 (KJV) How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Recently, I enrolled in a personal shopping service, called Dia&Co. Four times annually, they send me a box full of clothing, specifically selected for me, according to my profile. I try on every piece, keep the ones I like, and send back the rest. I am only charged for what I retain. It’s a handy solution, for someone who doesn’t have time to shop.
 
God's Word is customized and tailored, specifically for us. When we study the Bible, different things stand out to us, than to others. It is a subjective experience. A roomful of people could read the same passage and get a roomful of opinions on what it meant to them.

Our Father wants us to digest His Word, and ruminate on it. When we truly dig in, the Bible opens up and we see that it is alive. I believe that is how the Word becomes individualized. 

How precious it is to know that our God would write a love letter, just for us. 

***

Notable Quote:

"An honest man with an open Bible and a pad and pencil is sure to find out what is wrong with him very quickly."--A.W. Tozer

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Gifts That Breast Cancer Gave Me

(The following post originally aired on October 28, 2013. Today is the last day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.)

God gave me beautiful jewels during my cancer journey.
My breast cancer journey is almost at a close. In the last year and a half, God gave me some precious gifts. I thought I would just bear down, and tough out this cancer battle, instead I have found delicate and multi-faceted jewels placed in my path.

Rest: I didn't ever sit and get quiet until I was forced to with cancer. Seems like I always had something to do, or somewhere to be. Now, I have to schedule in those quiet times to relax my mind and gather my senses.

Prayer: I've always considered myself a prayer person, but I really became a warrior during my cancer journey. Not how you think, though. I was praying for others, not myself. There are so many around us that are suffering. Achieving a deeper level of worship and prayer makes me hungry for more.

Humility: I realized early on that I had very human limits. My body simply gave out when it had enough. There are lovely, kind people in my life who stepped up to the plate. They ministered to me, body and soul. I'm used to being the helper; I learned to accept assistance.

Joy: I am content with my life. Having an opportunity to explore the possibilities of my existence gave great perspective. Circumstances are not perfect, but they never are. My life is abundantly blessed by God. I am ever grateful.

I'm taking a moment to reflect and give thanks for the gifts of rest, prayer, humility and joy. Thank you, Father!

***

Notable Quote:

Proverbs 17:8 (KJV)
A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Lover of My Soul (Redux)

(This post originally published on October 1, 2012, during the time I was receiving treatment for breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.)


A week from today, I will return to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, IL, and if all goes well, I will begin my chemotherapy treatment. Within a few days after that, I will lose all my hair. It won't all fall out at once, but when it starts to get sparse, I'm going to shave it off. And I'm okay with that.

My body image has not always been so great. When I was a teenager, I had a lot of self-loathing. I thought my legs were so fat, at 105 pounds, that I refused to wear shorts during the summer. Even in my 20's, after my first brush with cancer, I covered the large scar on my right arm on the hottest July days in Kansas.

I am 50 years old now, and overweight, scarred, stretch marked, gray haired and wrinkled. Losing weight, gaining weight, short haired or long haired, I am still me. With the last surgery I endured, I lost my right breast to cancer, but I know I have the love of my husband, my family and my Savior. No matter how many body parts I lose, I possess a complete soul.

Here's something to hold on to: you are not the sum of your parts. You are more; a precious child of God, that He loves and treasures above all others. Jesus is the lover of my soul, and yours, too.  Laughingly, I always said The Hubster loved my guts. What I really meant was, he loves me, not the package I came in.

Appearances are temporary and shallow. We may not always look the same, but God will always have enduring love for us, that will not fail.

***

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I never want anyone else I care about to be scared, unsure, or ignorant of symptoms, the latest treatments, or self-care. Please take time to educate yourself. You deserve it! Here's a link with great information.

 ***

Notable Quote:

 Psalm 66:16 (KJV) Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Breast Cancer: Living Beyond My Circumstances

(I am showing a few "re-runs" this month, in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This post originally ran on October 14, 2013.)


Female in Motion at the Arkansas City Relay for Life 2013
 John 10:10 (NKJV) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.


When my doctor told me I had breast cancer, I went into battle mode, full force. The Hubster and I prayed about it, then got a plan together. I went from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital, until I found the best fit for me. Here's the interesting part...I kept right on with my life. I still worked, grocery shopped, did my laundry and paid my bills.

Cancer was part of my life, but it didn't take over. What are your circumstances? Is there something that makes you want to stop trying?

I wish I could whisper this truth in your ear.

                                                       You. Can. Live. Abundantly.

You are not alone. There is significance and joy to be had in every day, good or bad. God will be in every one of those moments. Be secure in His presence, no matter what you face.

I've said it before, my faith simply wraps itself around everything I write and I consider it my mission to encourage women around me to seek God's will for their lives.

 This is my time. I was born to be on earth at this moment; to walk through a cancer journey and write these words to you. Take them...and walk on.

***

Notable Quote:

"Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start."--Nido Qubein, motivational speaker