God loves us especially in our messes. This whole mess business was inspired by a huge renovation project that is going on at my church and a lovely email I received from a Guided Life Ezine reader who shared her story of transformation to trust God in the midst of her messes. (You’ll love her dialogue back and forth with God.)
Our church project involves getting a new pipe organ to be installed over the period of almost a year. The first step is renovating the front of the sanctuary.
The choir had a rare Sunday off from singing, so instead of sitting in the choir stalls, Robert and I sat in the congregation in our usual spot, pew two (I’ve heard the self-assigned pew is a Presbyterian thing).
Reaching up to the three or four story ceiling was scaffolding surrounding the area where the chambers hold the organ pipes. In our direct line of sight was a sign which read:
I was immediately struck with the thought; God loves us in our messes. After the sermon I took a picture of the sign and told my pastor that I was going to do a post on this subject. He added the word, especially. He said, “God loves us especially in our messes.”
As I mentioned, this mess subject made me think of a lovely email I received from Loretta. I asked her if I could share her story with you and she gave me an enthusiastic yes.
Hope is what we cling to when everything around us can be falling apart. Having hope keeps us motivated to keep on keeping on. In the original Star Wars movie Princess Leia sends out her plea, “Help us Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re our only hope.” Obi Wan answers.
When we embrace hope our confidence increases. We believe that things will get better. Proverbs 13:12 says,
Hope deferred makes the heart sick.
There is the hope in the earthly realm and the ultimate hope of the heavenly realm. In Titus 1:2, the Apostle Paul wrote,
In hope of eternal life, which God, cannot lie; promised before the world began.
Most of us will ponder the question sometime in our lives – “Is this all there is?”
There are several books written by people who have died and gone to heaven and returned to tell their story. Two books I’ve read personally are:
This is a story of how we are all connected. This supernatural encounter happened at a local diner. Robert and I sing in our church choir, and we had a rare Sunday off. We decided to skip church and sleep in. Robert suggested we go out for breakfast at one of our favorite places, Spencer’s Grill. Little did I know that I would experience church that morning sitting on a bar stool instead of a pew.
Ten years ago I lived in a little rental house. My neighbor’s wife died of cancer. She owned a bookstore that focused on spirituality. After she passed, her husband had a yard sale. A huge part of what he was selling off were hundreds of books and audio tapes. I made out like a bandit, buying up books and cassettes (remember those?) for just a few dollars. One book I purchased was A Course in Miracles.
I was fascinated by this 600 plus page book because I had heard so many spiritual teachers quote from its text. After acquiring it, I dove right in eager to devour the message. But, to be honest, it didn’t resonate with me. I found it extremely difficult to comprehend. Ten years later, however, I have picked it up again. Since I’ve learned the power of practicing to be still, its message is speaking to me in a profound way.
As of this writing, I am not quite half way through the book. But summing up what I’ve learned is that we have two choices to make. We can choose fear or we can choose love and that we are all connected. When we choose love, we can also be healed from past hurts and experience wholeness. Healing always produces harmony. I am reminded of 1 John 4:16-21:
So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. The commandment we have is this; those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
I had just read about healing, harmony and how we are all connected when the lesson came to life at Spencer’s.
Thanksgiving and giving thanks is not just something we can do during a given season. Giving thanks is a worthwhile, spiritual practice. When we approach each day with thanksgiving and gratitude, our hearts and souls feel lighter. When we ask God to help us to be more giving, we can open up our true potential and increase the positive impact we can make on the world.
There are two parts to this word, however, thanks and giving. The word thanks is a noun and giving is a verb. Giving requires action.
We live in challenging times. Since Robert lost his job, we have had to make some huge adjustments and micro manage our purchases. It seems that every time we go to the grocery store the prices have gone up. We feel like commodity brokers when it comes to filling up our tanks with gasoline! Will we time the market right when we have to fill up? The prices vary substantially from one moment to the next. We are always trying to fill up our tanks when the prices are the lowest. It’s kind of become a game, but not one I want to play forever! Which brings me back to the giving part of thanksgiving.
It’s natural and common to pray for more finances. It’s also easy to say, “I’d give more if I had more to give.” But that statement goes out the window when you read the passage from Mark, Chapter 12 and verses 41-44:
I usually find myself saying that with age comes wisdom. It makes perfect sense when you consider all of the life experiences we have to learn from. Well, that saying was just blown away by a five-year-old!
Robert and I took a road trip to meet the gentleman that has helped me with all of my websites and technical knowledge. It was a real joy to meet him and his wife in person. I had been working with him for three years through e-mails and phone conversations. As part of our trip, we visited Robert’s son and two grandchildren.
Our visit was filled with fun activities like a trip to the zoo, botanical garden, history Museum, playing on playgrounds and coloring in coloring books.
Helen is five years old and was my coloring partner.
Finding purpose in life is like taking a road trip. Have you ever taken a long road trip as a child or with young children? The line always comes up after a while on the journey – Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? It usually comes in multiple repetitions too!
Part of the reason behind this question is pure enthusiasm and anticipation. The destination may be to a new place where we’ve read and heard how wonderful it is, but we’ve never been there. We’re so excited that we want to get there now!
The other part of the reason behind the question is due to impatience. How come we’re not there yet? How long will it take us to finally get there, already? It’s taking too long to get there!
Our lives are a journey. If we want to be fulfilled, if we want our hearts and souls to sing, we must find, “there“. There means reaching our full purpose and potential. There is different for each of us. Some people will find their joy and calling in raising children, being a teacher, selling insurance, creating art or music or being a CEO.
We all start out with a birthday, have a dash in the middle and finish with an end date. How are you living your life in the dash?
My best friend’s father just passed away after a painful period where Alzheimer’s had taken its final toll. I may have met my friend’s father briefly at some point, during our thirty plus year friendship, but I didn’t know him.
I attended his memorial service and one by one members of his family and close friends shared their fondest memories. By society’s standards, Howard was just an ordinary guy. But listening to the love felt for him was quite the opposite. Howie, as he was affectionately called, was quite extra-ordinary. Continue reading
There always seems to be depressing headlines in the news, but I heard a story this week about some good news. It’s the story of a modern day Good Samaritan (the original, in case you wanted to look it up, is in the book of Luke 10:30-37). The story comes from my mother, and it was too good not to share.
Time really flies. It will be one year next month that we added Wilson, the yellow lab, to our family. When we adopted him, he was about to turn two years old. We were the fourth family he had been with in a period of 20 months.
Now, I’ve never owned a Labrador. My last dog, and best friend, was Duffy, a Golden Retriever. I quickly found out that the breeds are entirely different. While both are known to be chewers, Duffy at least had some restraint. Wilson, on the other hand ate anything! In a very short period of time we lost a Handel’s Messiah score, the cover to one of my favorite journals, the cover to one of my favorite books, an I-Pod, two pair of eye glasses…. Need I go on? Continue reading