Nailed It

Since none of us are getting any smaller, the whole kitchen floor had to be pulled up and the dirt dug down and hauled out as we should have done years ago. 

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Over a year and a half ago we had a little run-in with some unwelcome guests: termites. When we found those unwanted intruders, we called pest control to come spray and assess the damage they’d done.

Since our house is an “antique”, when we bought it we had to replace almost every floor down to the joists. We even brought shovels, wheelbarrows and the teenage boys in the family in as reinforcements to help us dig up dirt close to the floor that had caused the wood to rot.

One room we didn’t dig much of the dirt down and haul out was the kitchen. The pest guy said we’d have to dig down so his worker could crawl underneath to treat for the termites.

Since none of us are getting any smaller, the whole kitchen floor had to be pulled up and the dirt dug down and hauled out as we should have done years ago.

If you’ve ever had your kitchen floor replaced, you know it is a dreaded job that is only done when necessary. The refrigerator, stove, cabinets and anything else on the floor must come out.

After the area was treated the floor was rebuilt but had a weak spot in it and was unlevel. We lived with it like that for quite a while… until this past weekend. I decided I was ready and it was time! My refrigerator has actually been in my dining room all this time because I wasn’t taking the doors off and moving it back in until the floor was completely fixed.

I pulled everything out of the kitchen Saturday morning. I put my daughter and niece to work and later, my husband too. When I found out the guy wasn’t going to be able to work on the floor until Monday or Tuesday of the coming week, I told my husband it was up to us and I couldn’t wait that long to get started.

Thankfully some friends came and spent their Saturday night helping pull up our floor, jack up floor joists and cut plywood subflooring and piece it together.

Sunday rolled around and me being determined to get the house back in order ASAP (Thanksgiving dinner will be at my house next week!), we spent time cutting, measuring, suffering.

When time came to lay what is called underlay that the vinyl will lay on, it called for staples. I’m a cheapskate and refused to buy a staple gun so we opted for nails.

My poor husband is constantly on call for work so when he was frustrated with the hammering and the phone, I grabbed my trusty leather gloves, the nails and hammer and decided to bend a few myself.

The night before, I’d hammered screws in to get them started and my friend (and reinforcement), Brandy, followed behind and screwed the plywood to the floor joists with the drill. I’d hit my fingers several times with the hammer so using my gloves the following night was a stroke of genius.

I’ve never been good at hammering so as I hit my thumb a few times I was thankful for the bit of cushion. I was bending nails left and right and throwing them across the floor (with an attitude). Suddenly I thought, “Why don’t I just ask for help?”

A simple “Lord, please help me,” and what do you know- the nail went straight through. I started saying “please” and “thank you” and found myself moving right along. Of course I bent some more nails along the way but as I started thinking about this I thought of how bad it must’ve hurt to have those nails driven into Jesus’ hands and feet on the cross. My attitude began to change.

As I hammered and the nails went straight on through, I thought of myself- my sins, causing those nails He had to feel. I began to struggle with hitting them as hard as I had to hit them. I am grateful for that act of love that was done for us.

I then thought of Jesus and how in Mark 6:3 it is written, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

It says He was a carpenter. How He could actually give me some tips on where to hammer those nails and how to get that nail in right every time, so I began to ask for that too.

It was quite the time I had down on that floor in the kitchen with Jesus. He was there helping me out while helping me remember what He did for me and how He continues to do for me.

When my husband came back to the kitchen he said “woah”. I’m not sure if he was talking about all the bent nails thrown across the floor or how much work I’d gotten done. He knelt down on the floor and asked me if I was ready for him to hammer for a while. Of course I had saved him some edges I couldn’t seem to get.

As I went for one more nail I reminded him that Jesus was a carpenter. I told him a few of my thoughts I’d been thinking and how I’d been seeking His help in there and had received it.

It turned out to be a good time, just me and the Lord. My time knelt down on the floor changed my whole way of thinking. It always does.

Thanks for reading!

Filthy Rags

Although I actually looked at it as a way to blame someone for marking up my life, the Lord reminded me of my own righteousness (ouch!). 

Sometimes work seems to dwindle down and sometimes I have more than I could ask for. Near the end of August I had so many houses to clean on my schedule, some days I was cleaning two per day. During this time I was exhausted. I fell behind on doing things at home I normally do. One thing in particular was laundry.

The first morning I didn’t have to work, I began folding a pile of laundry thrown on a chair in the living room. As I grabbed a pair of jeans part of a broken ink pen fell to the floor. I didn’t think a whole lot about it except that I could tell I didn’t do this load of laundry. I always check and clean out pockets.

Since I didn’t have to work, catching up on laundry was a must. I grabbed a load of towels and washcloths and threw them in the washer with some detergent and bleach. When they were finished, they went into the dryer.

I didn’t notice anything until I was taking them out and putting them in a clothes basket. There were black marks all over every single piece of laundry. I looked in the washing machine and then in the dryer trying to find what had caused this. I saw marks on the inside of the dryer so I scrubbed them off with a dryer sheet. (Good little tip there.)

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I expected the black marks to smell like grease but they didn’t. As I stood there trying to figure this out, I remembered the broken piece of ink pen. The mystery was solved.

Kind of ironic really, the things we use to clean our outer bodies are marked up themselves. If I was fancy or showy I’d throw them in the rag bin but they’ve still got a lot of use in them.

Although I actually looked at it (to be honest up until about 5 minutes ago) as a way to blame someone for marking up my life, the Lord reminded me of my own righteousness (ouch!).

Isaiah 64:6 KJV  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

So when I reach for a washcloth or a towel and I see all those marks while getting in or out of the shower, I hope to remember that no matter how hard I try to get clean- Jesus is my righteousness. That’s it.

 

 

If You Get a Friend Request From…

I can’t help but think of how this “warning” has spread like wildfire

As I scroll social media, Facebook to be exact, I continually see posts about people’s accounts being hacked. Folks are saying if you receive a friend request from them, don’t accept it- it’s not them. One shared a link about this being a scam and another about it being a hoax. People are sending one another private messages with urgency about receiving another friend request from an individual they’re already friends with. I’ve received a few myself.

I can’t help but think of how this “warning” has spread like wildfire, and who even knows if it’s true. If it isn’t, people sure are taking it seriously, but what if it is?

At first I was seeing a lot of talk about accounts being hacked, now I’m seeing more talk of accounts being cloned.

As I was thinking about the change of words, I thought about when cloning animals was big in the news a few years ago. It was disturbing to me that scientists were/are using science to try and take over the Lord’s place of creating. Of course if you have a cloned animal and one God created, they make look alike, yet one is of (or made by) God and the other isn’t. At least that’s how I see it.

When it comes to this big thing about Facebook accounts, one is the maker of the account and one is a counterfeit.

When relating this to spritual matters, it reminds of a particular passage in the Bible.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 NKJV  13) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14) And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. 

We are told not to believe every spirit, but to test the spirits, whether they are of God. 1 John 4:1 (2 & 3)

Some people are all the time scamming, or seeing who they can get one over on; well, so is the devil. It is important we realize this is no hoax. Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 

If you get a friend request from him, don’t accept it, it’s not from God.

Thank you for reading. May God bless you and yours.

 

You Better Recognize

Sometimes it seems hard to really listen with the intent to apply (not reply) [to] what we hear.

As you read the title, many of you may remember that phrase from years ago, or I think it has been years ago. As I “Googled” (looked up on the internet) when the phrase was popular, I came across an article by Robert Brereton on a site called LinkedIn. He specializes in social change and conflict management. He began his article with these two sentences [regarding “you better recognize”]: This famous quote, widely known for its affiliation with urban culture is used to relay the importance of realizing what is happening in real time.   The recipients of these words are urged to process the underlying meaning within the message. 

I always think of this phrase when I go to search for something online and my phone is being sluggish. It sits on the screen and says “listening”.

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Maybe I should be glad it’s taking the time to listen. Maybe it’s listening closely so it will really register what I am saying; that maybe my words are being absorbed so deeply that there will be no mistaking in what I have said.

I’ve come across a certain quote several times that says, “The biggest communication problem is that we do not listen to understand; we listen to reply.”

Sometimes it seems hard to really listen with the intent to apply (not reply) [to] what we hear. I can be quite the “talker” at times and when I’m having a conversation with another “talker” it can be quite the battle to get a word in.

Now, back to the phone- (I told you i can be a talker). After a long aggravating wait, the words on the screen finally change to “recognizing”. Each time I see this, I say to myself, “You better recognize.”

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We have become so impatient and reliant on these devices, I believe we expect perfection. We tend to forget everything (and everyone) fails at some point except the Lord. Even at this exact moment as I write this my satellite TV has gone completely blank! I’m glad I’m not engrossed in the program that’s on (haha). (Ok Lord, so I’m getting this right?)

Proverbs 2:1-5 NKJV My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.

When it comes to the Lord, listening and recognizing is extremely mportant. It’s necessary to listen to God’s Word and recognize what He is trying to tell us! It will save us such heartache and regret.

Maybe it’ll be different next time when I see my phone slowly take in what I say. When I see the little dots rotating on the screen as it’s recognizing what I say, I hope to remember I need to be as my phone: I need to take time to hear what the Lord would have to say to me. For my own good I better recognize!

Thank you for reading and may God bless you!

Moving Forward, Going Backwards

As she stood at the doorway and told me one last time she didn’t want to go, I looked her in the eyes and told her the truth: Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. Whether it is in your own mind or out of someone else’s mouth or actions, it is the devil and he is seeking to devour you!

My daughter has been taking gymnastics classes for a little over a year. She’s experienced joy, frustration, excitement and motivation. She’s experienced fear and has overcome some fears. She’s been encouraged and she has also been discouraged. This sounds like life and what we all experience throughout our days, doesn’t it?

I’ve never seen my daughter so passionate about something in her life as she is with gymnastics. She has set goals. She stretches and works on things every day and marks it off with a check on her calendar. She has learned self-discipline. For the past several months there is not a day that goes by that she doesn’t set aside time to do this.

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Although she is shy, she has become somewhat of a leader when it comes to this. Her friends that come over see her motivation and join her. Even family members have gotten on the mats and joined her in stretching and doing flips. (Myself included and it was not pretty haha.)

Last week when I picked her up from class, she said she didn’t want to go back. I haven’t seen her this frustrated since she started. This week, yesterday, after school she told me twice she wasn’t going to her gymnastics class. She made up excuses and gave her reasons but I said, “You’re going.”

Her big thing is she is afraid to go backwards. Of course I relate this to life and spiritual things with her, telling her we want to move forward in life and move forward with God, but in gymnastics it’s necessary to go backwards: that’s part of it.

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As she stood at the doorway and told me one last time she didn’t want to go, I looked her in the eyes and told her the truth: Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. Whether it is in your own mind or out of someone else’s mouth or actions, it is the devil and he is seeking to devour you!

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. 

1 Peter 5:8 NKJV  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeing whom he may devour. 

The devil wants to steal your joy. He wants to kill your dreams and motivation. He wants to destroy your goals- everything you’re working towards. He wants to devour you by taking away any confidence or hope you may have. It’s not you and it’s not anyone else- it’s the devil. He wants you to give up BUT God is greater and He wants you to succeed!

I’m not sure what else flew out of my mouth but I told her she was going and that the Lord would take care of her and He would be her strength. She surprisingly and quickly agreed. She wasn’t all that happy on the way to class but her whole attitude changed as she exited the car and walked toward the door of the gymnastics studio- all smiles and even laughter!

An hour later, I came back to pick her up. A woman was standing outside talking on her phone and she said, “Go look at your daughter! She got her back walkover!”

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I went inside and everyone was excited. I watched that young lady God blessed me with go backwards! And with such grace! I was in shock! I thought I was dreaming and was she ever beaming! I said, “Do it again!” And she did, ever so gracefully!

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She was smiling from ear to ear all the way home, as was I. It was a lesson for her, as well as for me.

I told her, “Now do you see? The devil wanted you to quit and you didn’t and look what happened! You moved forward, you pushed through, and you did what you didn’t think you could do!”

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Ironic enough, my niece called me later and I told her all about what had happened. Later in our conversation I told her it didn’t look like I was going to make it with a writing career. She quickly reminded me of what I had spoken only hours before- “That’s just the devil wanting you to quit. How is that any different than what Leah just went through? I mean, you’re writing for God.”

How quickly I forget!

I hope we will remember to apply this to our lives, even by the minute. Thank you for reading and God bless!

 

 

 

 

You Can’t See?

You have hidden their heart from understanding? I’d felt betrayed by so many, now I felt betrayed by my own Father.

I gazed upon a sunset one humid summer evening. I quickly took my phone out of my pocket and pressed the camera button to take a picture. A message popped up on the screen. It said my battery was low and the flash wouldn’t work. I pressed “cancel”. I didn’t need the flash to capture this beautiful pink sunset. I took the picture but it didn’t capture the true beauty; it was so dim. I took several more pictures but to no avail. I couldn’t capture the reality of what I saw and nor could I share it with others for them to see what I saw.

Several years ago I experienced what I found to be something with a name: spiritual abuse. I recall speaking with a few trusted individuals explaining to them what was going on. No one I confided in seemed to understand; only the few of us that were longing to be understood. How we longed for someone on the outside to hear us.

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I struggled with this. I vividly recall crying out, “Lord, why doesn’t anyone understand?” I prayed. I cried. I asked God to lead me in His Word. Just something! Anything!

In my final, lonely plea that night, I opened the Bible and my eyes fell upon Job 17:4 (a) NKJV. My heart split as I read the words, “For You have hidden their heart from understanding”. In that moment I was truly broken. This is why my cries fell on deaf ears all along?

You? You have hidden their heart from understanding? I’d felt betrayed by so many, now I felt betrayed by my own Father. Why Lord? Why?

After a minute, I put my Bible down on the couch. Weeping, I dropped to my knees. Once I was ready to listen, He spoke to me. “You listened to men all along instead of listening to Me. That’s why you’re in this position. Why do you feel the need for men to understand you?”

Ouch! My Father spoke the truth.

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The notes mid-page came from a website I found on spiritual abuse.

Sometimes we feel totally alone in our suffering. We can’t find one that understands. Even if others are going through it, it seems you’re always searching for someone to tell you it’s really real. Or maybe we’re searching for someone to fix it or make it go away. We oftentimes search among men looking for answers when we really need to search for God through His Word.

In this situation fear was instilled within by the twisting of Scriptures. I was fearful to even speak of it- fearful because “the verbal warning” flashed over and over in my mind, “Don’t disagree with an anointed man of God,” and other familiar lines, boasting of their “authority”, followed by what the Lord would do to us if we did. (Again, the internet was my friend as I searched phrases, finding again, there is nothing new under the sun. Abusive authority in the church seem to have their own personal guidebook with these familiar quotes.)

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I think that was what was so difficult. Once I got the courage up to tell someone what was going on, they didn’t get it. It’s not always because they don’t want to. It’s because their understanding has been hidden. We, as humans, feel we need someone that’s tangible to be there to tell us what to do. How to escape the situation. We feel the need to be understood. Someone to tell us we’re not crazy. This can make you feel as if you’ve lost your mind, your salvation, your security, even your family in Christ.

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

I learned that our Father is fully capable to supply the need we long for. He’s there. He sees the fear, the hurt, the pain. He understands and I finally realized He was the only One that could help me. He’s still helping me. He gives me the strength to break the silence of spiritual abuse.

Another thing He helped me realize is that I didn’t “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

Relating this to the picture I took, I was unable to display the full color of what I was going through. The message on the screen warned that the flash wouldn’t work. God said He wasn’t going to enlighten everyone with the truth of this situation. My battery was low. I canceled the warning yet still expected for others to see what I was seeing.

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Just my thoughts I wrote down

I actually wrote this post years ago, but as I edited it today, such sorrow struck my heart. I know I must remember to be thankful for this situation I went through. I dug in to God’s Word, my guidebook– the Holy Bible, deeper than I’d ever dug before. I don’t blame Him- I thank Him.

**Please keep in mind this doesn’t happen everywhere, but it does happen and it’s something that isn’t widely discussed. I’m only sharing a piece of the experience I had, which was totally unexpected, yet nothing surprises the Lord. Matthew 4:1-11 tells us that the devil knows Scripture and used it to try to tempt Jesus. Jesus quoted it right back to him and the devil left Him.

This may help you better understand an earlier post I wrote. Click here to read “The Brick Wall”

Thank you for reading and God bless!

 

 

 

 

Nothing New Under the Sun

Although what you have to say may have already been said, you never know who might read your posts when others’ have gone unread.

I used to love to read Christian books. I loved finding deals at yard sales, thrift stores, book stores and anywhere else I could find them. I would come home and put them on a bookshelf. Any time I would walk by and look, one would catch my eye. I would pull it off the shelf, open it and it would be something that would speak to my heart.

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When I first started working on my own book, I quit reading other books. I even got rid of a bunch of them. I feared something would stick in my mind and I would unconsciously plagiarize. I didn’t want to be labeled “copycat” so I chose to stick with the Bible as being the only book I would read.

Although I read articles from time to time, I still haven’t touched but a handful of books over the past 4 years.

It’s been a little less than a month and a half since I started this journey in my life called blogging and it has been a roller coaster of a ride. I’ve had moments of excitement as well as moments of discouragement. Not long in, I even wished I’d never started so no one would know I had quit.

One night I was so discouraged, I desperately picked up my phone and “Googled” when you’re a discouraged blogger (or something to that effect). I read the first thing that popped up on my screen, which was a blog and just as the books I used to open, that post was exactly what I needed. It spoke to my heart.

Recently I ventured out onto the blogging site I use and read some fellow bloggers’ posts and even subscribed to some of their sites! I joined a social media group of blogging women. I have found a special community and they have welcomed me in with open arms. It has been a huge blessing to say the least!

And do you know what? I’ve read a post someone wrote about getting a speeding ticket (and they wrote theirs before I wrote mine). I’ve read posts about some things I wrote about in my book. I’ve read posts where someone used the same Bible verse last week that I used the other day. I’ve read posts about things that have been weighing on my mind and heart heavily. I’ve read good godly advice about blogging and the Christian life. I’ve read about our faults and His grace. And do you know what else I’ve read?

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 NKJV   9) That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.  10) Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.

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I have realized I’ve been robbing myself of blessings for quite some time now. As my friend Elizabeth told me- the root word of relationship is relate. When you can relate, it builds relationships. We understand one another! So, to all my newfound blogging friends, I want to thank you!

If you’re not a blogger and you have something to say, start a blog!

Although what you have to say may have already been said, you never know who might read your posts when others’ have gone unread.

Now I’m beginning to sound like Dr. Seuss so I’m signing off for now (haha).

Thank you for reading and God bless!