Behind the Scenes of Family

Photo by Liane Metzler

Photo by Liane Metzler

I have to say that I have loved every stage of our family life! Now, that being said, I have not loved every moment. Some have been trying, some extremely hard, but for the most part, it’s been wonderful!

Before my husband and I married, I told him I wanted a very large family. Seven to ten children, in fact. But after my first child was born, I was done. Infancy was hard work! He didn’t sleep. He threw up everything he ate and then some. For two years, we both (my child and I) cried ourselves to sleep. Of course, I’m exaggerating…some. But then it happened again, with our second child. Whew! Don’t tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor.

Like many families, ours grew and grew up. Nope, no grands just yet, but we are holding on to hope. :)

Today, we are helping our adult children with getting settled in their first homes each. This is more that just helping them move. My wonderful husband totally renovated my daughter’s fixer upper. And it’s beautiful, I might add. And now, we are twenty hours away from home renovating a kitchen in my son’s new home. And you know it, too, will be beautiful.

While it’s been exhausting, especially for Dad, we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are so thankful to our Lord that He has given us the health to help them. And we are so proud of the adults they’ve become!

But flesh and blood are not our only family. Just this weekend while we were driving I posted a few photos on social media about our travels. Our pastor commented that our church would miss us in worship. I quickly responded that we, too, would miss being with our “family”.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35

I don’t know where you are in regards to family. But I do know this - no matter what may be going on behind the scenes of your family, Jesus offers us to become members of His family. For us, we definitely feel such a part of our church family that we really miss them when we’re away. We count on them when we’re there. And we want to serve them and along side them as often as we can.

Growing up in my family, we might have been rough with one another, but no one else was getting away with that. In other words, no matter what was going on between us, we loved each other extremely. Jesus said that the lost world will know we are in His family by the love we have for one another.

So stop and think a minute. Whatever may be going on in your family - “family” - love them. Love them. Love them. I have found that in our blood families and in our Jesus families (hopefully, they are one in the same) , we sometimes get cross ways. And that’s often due to just plane old misunderstandings. Life is so much better when we love one another through it all. With the love of Jesus in us, we can do just that!

Let love be what’s happening behind the scenes of your family.

For the Love of Doing It

Photo by Nathan Lemon

Photo by Nathan Lemon

What do you do for the love of doing it? Recently, I’ve been sewing. Nothing fancy and certainly nothing that requires a pattern, but sewing for the love of sewing.

I heard someone who quilts say that you start quilting because you want one and then you want to make quilts for your kids and then for your grand-kids and then for friends and then, well, just for the love of quilting. Many folks who quilt end up donating quilts to causes they support because they love sewing quilts so much they just have to keep at it.

So let me ask you again, what do you do for the love of doing it?

They say if your job is something you “love”, then it’s not like “working”. Not sure I’m on board with that one or not. What do you think?

Well, I mentioned earlier in this post that I love to sew. I love to read. I love to crochet. I love to work in the yard and see blooms from my labor (and from my husband’s labor). I just love doing a lot of things for the love of doing it.

When it comes to our faith, what do we do for the love of Jesus? I love helping others. I love being an encourager. I love seeing the light of life in someone’s eyes when they accept Jesus as their Savior. I love studying the Bible. I’m sure you love all these things, to.

34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’
— Matthew 25: 34-40 ESV

I think when we love Jesus, we want to do good for others. After all, serving others is serving Jesus. How excited are you (am I) to tell someone the wonderful things Jesus has done for you (for me) in comparison to our latest project that we have “loved” doing?

So tell me, what good shall you do this day? I’m going to find someone to encourage!

Transforming in a Time of Conforming

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

The pressure! Do you feel it? It’s like a vise. Coming at us from every side. Pressing. Squeezing.

There’s only one way out! The “world” wants us as believers to conform to it’s standard. Melt us into it’s world-view. Blend in and be like everyone else.

Thankfully, Jesus teaches us to be transformed, not to conform. How do we do that?

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
— Romans 12:2 ESV

We are transformed by the renewing of our mind. So how do you renew your mind? Through the Word of God. The Word of God is Jesus (the Living Word) and Scripture (the written Word).

First, we must be saved, born again. Being a believer in Jesus is so much more than to “believe” He exists. It’s confessing you’re a sinner, asking Him to forgive your sin and trusting that He will save you. Then you wholeheartedly follow Him. That means not following your own wants and desires, but obediently doing His will.

In today’s society, there are self-help books everywhere! In secular reading and in the Christian realm. To be better, just do this or that. God didn’t save us to be better, He saved us to be a new creation! Hallelujah! And the greatest news about that is that we don’t do that on our own - He does it! Whew! My only responsibility in the process is to surrender to Him and be obedient. He does all the transforming! The results of our transformation are up to Him. Isn’t that great news!?

That leads us to the second step. Surrender. To surrender is to submit to another’s authority. Jesus teaches that we are to die to ourselves and take up our cross - that’s surrender. Putting our own wants and desires aside and obediently following Him. Jesus lived a suffering life on this earth. So when you follow Him, you should expect some suffering.

Think of it this way, if you were to find a precious metal or stone in the earth you would have to heat that metal until all the dross was burned away or chip off all the parts attached to the stone that were not pure. If we think about that in relation to our lives, it is a painful process; often accomplished by suffering.

Part of surrender is obedience. When we submit to authority, we obey the rules, guidelines and laws set before us. The time for kicking and screaming is over. We surrendered so now we are to obey willingly.

God, not your self-effort, is the source of transformation. www.bsfinternational.org

The above quote really spoke to me in my Bible study this week. We have been studying Solomon and his proverbs. The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord. It is Jesus Christ who changes, transforms us. Not self-help books, not sheer will and determination, but Jesus.

If you’ve known me throughout my lifetime, you can easily see the transformation that Jesus has done in my life. Every day He is changing me even more. Sometimes the process is slow and difficult, but as I surrender and am obedient, He proves true in His transformation power!

Will you be transformed today through Jesus? He is always ready to forgive when you confess and ask. He will happily make you a new creation. Just trust Him!

Am I Coming or Going?

Photo by Guillaume Jaillet

Photo by Guillaume Jaillet

My heart’s racing and I’m so behind! I’m hurrying as fast as I can and still can’t get it all done. The house is chaotic, work is overwhelming and there’s no time for family; let alone for myself or God…

Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel like you don’t know if you’re coming or going?

It’s so easy to get caught on the hamster wheel, so to speak. Running and running but always staying in the same place. Feeling worn out and, yet, not getting things done. I think sometimes we find ourselves there and have no idea how we got there. Don’t you?

So what’s a girl (or guy) to do when we find ourselves in such a rush that we don’t know if we’re coming or going? I’m glad you asked!

First, stop. Let me say that again, stop... STOP… S. T. O. P.

You have to stop right where you are. It may take a while for you to mentally stop, but do that. Stop both physically and mentally.

Just rest a while. That’s right, rest. Sometimes the feeling of overwhelm comes because we are exhausted. I know that I have been pushing too hard too long when I start to have that feeling of desperation.

Next, shift your focus. Take your focus OFF of the things that are chaotic and overwhelming and put your focus on the ONE who is in control. Jesus has this (whatever “this” is). I have found that when I am focused on my problems, they seem larger than life…larger than God, even. But when I am focuses on Jesus, He is larger than life, certainly larger than any problem I have. And He is, by the way!

Spend time with Jesus. I believe the Bible has about 365 verses that tell us not to fear. That’s one a day. Start spending time EVERY day with Jesus. Read the Bible and listen for Him to speak to you through the Holy Spirit. Pray. Not the just the “gimmie” prayers, but talk with Him. Praise Him for who He is and that He cares for you. Tell Him what’s been on your heart and give those cares to Him. He’s strong enough to take them for you!

Lastly, think on things that are pure, lovely and good. As you stop, rest, shift your focus and spend time with Jesus your thoughts will change; your heart will feel peace (even in a chaotic and overwhelming world).

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil. 4:8 ESV

So the next time your don’t know if you are coming or going, just go to Jesus and rest at His feet for a while. He’ll lift your burdens and calm your soul.