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Coming Home

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If anyone is still following this blog, you know that I have disappeared from the scene for a while, well almost a year.  It’s been a long year, but I want to write again.  I love you all, but I will probably not be trying to keep up with every post on everyone’s blog as it’s just overwhelming and not a wise use of my time.  I will also not be posting every day right now.  I’m going to shoot for two to three times a week for now.  I have missed you all so much!  Many things have changed in this year and my mother-in-law is moving in with us this Saturday.  Hopefully, she will not keep me from writing.

She has been in a nursing home for a while as respite care for my sister-in-law who has cared for her for about 5 years.  We aren’t very happy with how it’s going (no disrespect to the home).  She’s not happy either.  She’s also far away, so visiting is difficult.  So, we have decided to take her in.  My husband has been working feverishly to get the house ready and we’re closer than we were.  Lot’s of downsizing the amazing amount of junk we’ve accumulated plus new looks for two bedrooms – ours and hers.

I have surrendered this to God, because, quite frankly, I’m a bit frightened about this.  I know God has got my back though.  I have also taken off quite a bit of weight, largely due to medication changes that have allowed me to be much more mobile, and started personal training at the gym.  This should help with the physical concerns in taking care of her.

The blog may take a bit of a turn, as I will be adding some reviews and other items here.  Since the blog is about communication, everything really can be related to that topic, making it easier on me.  I will continue to discuss communication skills and spills between God, us, and others.  I hope you will jump back on the ride with me and enjoy!   Angie 🙂

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Stop in for some Refreshment

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After giving a lecture to the people who were standing around gawking at a man who had just been healed about how the power to perform this came from the Jesus they rejected and hung on the cross, Peter says this:

 

Repent therefore, and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.  Acts 3:19

 

We’ve talked a lot about repentance here, but today I want to talk about the last part of that verse.   Have you ever felt the need for refreshing?  I know I have many times.  “Life do get tedious sometimes” as my mother used to say, and we get tired in our walk.  At such times, we long for a time of peace and refreshment.

 

Here he is specifically discussing those who are sin-sick and in need of refreshment.  The principle works for all, however, because Jesus is the source of refreshment, peace, rest, and everything else we need.

 

For the lost:

 

Those who have rejected Jesus walk around in the darkness.  They seek to meet their needs in sin, but sin leads to death.  It’s like having a cancer that slowly eats you away from the inside.  I heard recently of a woman who found out she had cancer two weeks before she died.  She had walked around with this cancer around her and had no idea it was killing her.

 

Jesus is the healer:

 

Jesus heals the sin-sick soul.  He brings His righteousness and His refreshment and His healing to the person who turns to Him, the great Physician.

 

For followers:

 

While we have the refreshment and healing that comes from choosing to repent and follow Jesus, we still have a rough row to hoe at times and need refreshment.  Imagine a farmer out tending to his crops.  Those of you who do farm will understand the work it takes to bring in that crop.  It’s long, hard, exhausting work.  When you come in from the field, you need refreshment.  You don’t just think, hmm, I’d like some refreshment; you go after it.  You probably need a drink the most, but you also need sustenance and rest to rebuild you for the work to come the next day.

 

Jesus is the refresher:

 

Esau, after a hard day of hunting, came in to smell the stew his brother, Jacob, had prepared.  He needed refreshment so much; he was willing to give up his birthright for it.  He is an example of a person trying to get refreshment through sin.  It may have felt good for a while, but it was very temporary – unlike his decision to give up his birthright.

 

Jesus is the Living Water: 

Falling Water Falls

Falling Water Falls (Photo credit: dbarronoss)

 

When Jesus refreshes, it’s not a temporary thing.  As long as we’re walking with Him, we will be refreshed.  It’s like having a living water IV.

 

14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.   John 4:14

 

Bread

Bread (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus is the Bread of Life:

 

Along with providing Living Water, Jesus also provides the Bread of Life.  This bread fills us and gives us the strength to keep going.  It refreshes and provides life – abundant life!

 

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.  John 6:35

 

Jesus is the Light of Life:

 

Have you ever walked into a dark house and stumbled over something?  It refreshes to turn on the light so you can see what’s in front of you.  Jesus provides the eternal Light that shows us the way.

 

I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

 

Refresh

Jesus: He’s the real thing! Refresh (Photo credit: katerha)

Jesus is Everything we Need:

 

Do you need refreshment?  Take a moment to cuddle up close to Jesus and receive the refreshment He offers.  It’s better than anything sin has to offer for sure.  Taste and see that the Lord, He is good!

 

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.  Psalm 34:8

 

Descriptions of Christ  http://www.parentcompany.com/awareness_of_god/doctoc.htm

 

Loving perfectly

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People come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.”  — anonymous

You know, sometimes people can be difficult?  What?  That’s not a shock to you?  Well, how about this:  sometimes YOU can be difficult.  I bet that one was more of a surprise, but not really.  We all have human failings that cause difficulties in our communications with others and with God.  Sometimes, the struggle to deal with difficult people (or people who are difficult in a specific situation) can bring up a few difficulties in one’s self.  It often brings out the ick in us as we struggle with the issue.

Ick # 1:  Depression.

Depression, or the pity party, hits some of us when we face difficulties, and especially difficult people.  Some of you do not struggle with this, but some of you, like me, do.  I don’t like confrontation.  I use it when necessary, but I don’t like it.  This struggle often brings me to a mood dip.  My mood dip can be a shallow dip or a great big gorge, depending on the situation.  I have learned over the years that the depth of the dip depends on me and my attitude.  If I deal with it, the moment passes quickly.  If I dwell on it, I can find myself in over my head.

Ick # 2:  Anger

The Bible says to ‘be angry and sin not’ (Ephesians 4:26), implying that anger is not the main issue.  Anger is a feeling.  Feeding anger leads to sin.  Anger has to be dealt with quickly.  The definition of quickly depends on the person and the situation, but un-dealt-with anger is a raging fire that burns the angry person and anyone in his or her path.  In the case of sinful anger, the root is often pride.  How dare that person say that to me/do that to me/treat me that way!  I don’t deserve this!  We tend to magnify the other person’s offense and minimize our own actions (like how we often do the same to others).  The only solution is to recognize the truth about the situation and then forgive.

Ick # 3:  Pay Back

Have you ever wanted to do to someone what they did to you?  You think they should feel the pain you feel, often with the thought that they would then apologize profusely and not do it again.   This is revenge, and revenge is not sweet!  This tendency to want to hurt when we are hurt.  This tendency just perpetuates the cycle and does not open up the doors of communication; it slams them shut!

I’m sure there’s more ick, but we’ll settle on these three for now.  I have been dealing with all of these issues – internally – and figuring out how to deal with it in a healthy way.  My human nature’s instincts are not of God, and they cannot bring reconciliation and open communication to the situation(s).  It’s funny how we can walk around with this festering sore inside us, while the other people have no clue there’s even a problem.

Are you self-aware?  Have you ever had the ‘ick’ies? Have ow do you deal with difficult people?  How do you respond when you realize you are being difficult to others?

 

God loves  us perfectly, imperfections and all!  How far along are you on the journey to do likewise?   I have a ways to go, but understanding God’s view helps.

 

Watching the end of the run

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This week my Mother-in-law, Ginny, is with us again.  Seeing her yesterday was rather shocking because she has gotten worse even in the short time since Ginny last yearwe saw her last!  Physically, she’s rather zombie-like at the moment (that could change any time).  But she’s in the mental mode where I have to remind her to drink or eat and she can’t do even the simple things without help.

 

Watching someone Die

It is one of the most difficult things to watch someone dying, whether slowly or quickly.  I have done this many times in my life, and it never gets easier.  You watch as the “life”, the part that makes the person who he or she is, slowly fades out.  You can see it best in the eyes.  The body begins to die the moment we are born, but when the soul and spirit of a person is trapped inside a mind and/or body that can no longer function, you know physical death is eminent.

In some ways, watching others die around you is a rite of passage of sorts.  It comes to everyone, and we all await our turn.

 

The Good News

The good news is that when someone dies in Christ, they pass through death into life everlasting.  This makes watching death easier in many ways for those of us who believe.  We know it’s only a temporary separation.

 

Entering Death Valley

Entering Death Valley (Photo credit: Frank Kehren)

Watching someone Die

There is another way we have to watch people “die” at times.  I have a family member (well more than one) who keeps making bad decisions.  We are born with the tendency to make bad choices; it’s called a sin nature.  However, as we grow, we should learn the consequences of our bad decisions and begin making more and more better ones.  The child learns that fit throwing gets discipline, so they learn to ask politely and accept the answer (well somewhat ;] ).  Once you touch something hot, you learn not to touch it again.

But some people seem set on a path of destruction.  I’m not talking about the besetting sin, or a sin that plagues

Eye death

Eye death (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

all of us in that we continue to struggle with it.  I am talking about someone who consistently makes bad decisions or self-sabatoges.  Watching someone in this mode is not fun, especially if it is someone you love.  You can see the cliff as they run toward it.  You try to warn them.  You weep as you see their steps running ever nearer to certain destruction.  You weep as they self destruct.  You weep in your prayer closet as you take them before the Lord.  In the end, God gave them free will, and they must make that decision.

My Soul is Sorrowful unto Death

My Soul is Sorrowful unto Death (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes you can help them put things back together when they finally get to the end of themselves and realize there’s a better way.  Sometimes, they have to touch that hot stove again and again and again before they finally get there, if they ever do.

 

The Good News

I have also watched God turn people around many times.  These people often seemed as if a hopeless case, and yet, God stepped in and softened their heart.  He used their poor choices (sin of rebellion) to teach them about Himself until they finally got it and turned around from the cliff to the path He has chosen for them.  They begin to grow and flourish and watching this is just as beautiful and brings almost as many tears as watching the other.  This time, however, they are tears of joy and hope.

As long as there is hope, we can survive anything.  We can persist through unimaginable things if we have hope.  I can tell you that there is always hope in Christ.  Things do change.  People do change.  Life goes on.  We grieve for those we lose, those who don’t make it, and we keep going until it’s our turn to step over that threshold into the shadow of death ourselves.

 

 

Have you had to watch someone die?  Have you watched some self-destruct through their own bad choices?   Has that ever been you?  How did you get through it?  Have you seen God do a work in someone’s life when the world had given up on them?  Do you have hope?

 

 

Power over Circumstances

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What a summer this has been 😀  All the grandkids’ alone weeks are finished, 3 more nights of VBS (Vacation Bible School), the Mother-in-law goes back home, and I should have a bit of time for myself, and you!  In VBS this week, we have been learning about God’s power.  Monday, we learned that God has power over all our circumstances.  What a powerful lesson, even for my 4th graders.  My 3 special needs students even joined in when coming up with things God has power over in our lives.

 

God has power over circumstances:

This morning, I was thumbing through my Bible.  A paper fell out that reminded me of one of the times in my life when my circumstances needed some God power.  The year was 2002.  My father had Streptococcus agalactiae, a very resistant bacteria many of us carry in our intestines and/or female areas.  It used to be mostly known as a problem for babies after birth, but is increasingly a problem in older adults as well.  Let’s just say, it’s not pretty.   He also had MRSA in there.

 

Man-eaters

The Strep ate up a heart valve as well as some other areas in his body.  I won’t go into all the details, but it wasn’t pretty.  I was in the middle of my final student teaching for my Master’s Degree at the time as well, teaching all week and heading to Louisville to the hospital on the weekends and working on my Capstone paper when I could.  (That’s another God story for another time.) We almost lost dad three times during this time (13 weeks in the hospital and a 3 month + stay in a rehab facility after to learn how to walk again, etc..

One night (details shared in a bit) they called the family into a private waiting room and told us his chances were not very good to make it through the current situation.  We all huddled in prayer and praise as we waited.  I had written out Psalm 3 as a prayer for my father:

 

Psalm 3

“O LORD, how my adversaries have increased!  Many (bacteria) are rising up against me.  Many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no deliverance for him in God.’ [Selah].  But Thou art a shield about me, my glory and the one who lifts up my head.  I was crying to the Lord with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain. [Selah.]  I lay down and slept, and I awoke for the LORD sustains meI will not be afraid of ten thousands of (bacteria) who have set themselves against me round about (my body).  Arise, O LORD: save me, O my God!  For Thou hast smitten all my enemies (the bacteria) on the cheek; Thou hast shattered the teeth of the wicked (bacteria).  Salvation belongs to the LORD:  Thy blessing be upon Thy people!  [Selah.]”

 

Journal entry on paper

6/1/2002  “Last night we almost lost Dad again.  His heart was having trouble pumping, his blood pressure dropped.  He stopped breathing and had to be intubated.  They found fluid around his heart and had to open him up in the ICU.  They then rushed him into surgery.  The prognosis was not good. . .  BUT God is ALWAYS GOOD! !  His heart returned to a normal beat, and he’s STILL ALIVE ! !  God has spared him once again ! !”

♫♪Isn’t He good to you!

Isn’t He good to me!

Haven’t things always been the way He always said they’d be!

Hasn’t He done for you  all that He said He’d do!

Isn’t He grand!

Isn’t He kind!

Isn’t He good!♫♪

 

{Me again}

” Yes He is!   He was!   He always will be!

Regardless of outcome or what circumstances look like,

– – – – – – I KNOW MY GOD IS GOOD ! !”

 

Yes, had my dad died, God would still be good.  I am not saying that seeming good outcomes are from God and the others are not.  I’m just saying this is one instance in which God did a miracle and allowed my Dad to live (again – many near death stories with him).

 

No matter what the circumstance,

God is in it.

He goes with us through it.

He has a plan in mind.

He has HIS plan in mind.

He has His Best plan for me in mind.

He is in control.

He has power over all.

What a great place to rest!

 

Do you have a circumstance that looks impossible?  Do you worry or trust when life gets hard?  Do you have God stories about times when God’s hand was obvious in your life?  Have you learned to trust Him despite the waves crashing around you?

 

By the way.  I finished my Student Teaching (not as well as usual, but well);  I checked into a hotel to finish my paper and excelled; and I graduated with my Masters of Education Degree.  The only explanation for making it through all this at the same time:  God’s power 😀  Thanks for letting me share this story with you all.

Among the many issues with my dad is a fun one. Look closely at his eyes. Have you ever met someone with “buffalo eyes”? This is one thing he is in medical journals for. The other we’ll save for another time.

Ten ways to love: Keeping promises

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The last of our 10 ways to love series is:   Promise without forgetting.

12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.     Proverbs 13:12

 

Have you ever made a promise and then forgot to fulfil it?  Maybe your intentions were good, but busyness got in the way.  Has anyone ever made you a promise and not kept it?  This reminds me of a post over on M3 by Anne Marie Dwyer called “The thought does not count“.  When it comes to promises, the thought does not count!

♥x♥x♥x♥x♥

Sure, son, I’ll take you to the ball game.—–Sorry, son, I had to work overtime—-translation:  I got busy at work and forgot.

I’ll pick up the dry cleaning on my way home from work—–Sorry, I forgot—-translation:  Sorry, I forgot because I was thinking about something else.

♥x♥x♥x♥x♥

I’m sure you’ve all been on both sides of the equation.  It’s easy to promise and not so easy to keep the promise.

When someone goes through a certain mood cycle, this person will promise about anything.  The promises made during this time, while well meant, are worthless because follow through is non-existent.  The promises are to convince me to let her have her way.

♥x♥x♥x♥x♥

Think teen:

I’ll be home by 10:00; I promise! —  You can trust me; I promise! — I can’t wait because I love you; I promise! . . .

♥x♥x♥x♥x♥

When someone makes a promise and then doesn’t do it, it “makes the heart sick.”  I have been there a few times when someone made a promise and then it never materialized.  This is multiplied exponentially when it comes to children.  Since they tend to hear the word “maybe” as, “Sure I promise I’ll do that,” they may need to learn the difference between those kind of ‘promises’ and the real thing.  However, they trust; they think people keep their promises; they are devastated when those promises are not kept.

 

Saying I love you seems simple, but it’s very difficult.  After all,  love is patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud, not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil, rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.  (I Corinthians 13)

♥x♥x♥x♥x♥

So, if you want to show love to another:

Listen without interrupting.

Speak without accusing

Give without sparing

Pray without ceasing.

Answer without arguing.

Share without pretending.

Enjoy without complaint.

Trust without wavering.

Forgive without punishing.  and

Promise without forgetting.

♥x♥x♥x♥x♥

No one loves perfectly outside of God, but how do you hold up?  Have you learned how to truly love?

You Matter!

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As mentioned earlier in this blog, I have a now defunct blog from a year or two ago that I’m deciding what to do with.  Rather than cause issues until I can make that decision, I am going to share this post in part here with a link to the post.  It is a beautiful story and part of a larger, even more beautiful story that I will probably share as we go.

 
“My friend’s funeral was amazing, as expected. I knew it would be a glorious uplifting, not only of Melissa, but of the God she so faithfully served. During the open mike period, I stood to give a shortened version of a poem I wrote for my mother and then adapted for my friend. Later, her pastor read a testimony she had given in service, and in it she talked about what I had said. Truly a kiss from God.

 
I thought I might retell that story here. I won’t tell it as well as Melissa would have, but here goes. My mother had been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive uterine cancer. After a surgery and several chemo treatments (short version) she was given six months to live and placed on hospice. I spent as much of that time as I could with Mom, helping her physically and emotionally to prepare for the end. During part of that time, Mom kept worrying about her relationship with God and if she had done enough and if she really mattered.”

 

Read the rest of the story here:     Please make any comments here instead of at the other blog. 🙂    AND —

*****The poem included in the post has helped several people since its inception.  Feel free to use it, changing the name of the person.  I would like attribution, but as long as you don’t take credit for it, use your own discretion.  Maybe you needed reminded that you matter to God today.  Maybe you know someone who needs this reminder.  That’s what this poem was written for, so pass it on as a legacy to my beautiful mother and my best friend who now rest in the arms of Jesus.    Thanks, Angie

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