Cleaning My Own House

This week I’ve worked a lot more than usual, therefore I’m more tired than usual. The mountain of laundry, sink full of dishes, dining room table serving as a catchall completely overflowing, things strewn about everywhere and even cobwebs here and there are a reminder of the busy week I’ve had. I usually keep Mondays open for me to clean up the week’s mess here at home but this Monday I worked.

On the way to the shower this morning, in preparation for the day’s work outside the home, I decided to message the client and make sure we were on for today. Before I walked into the bathroom I noticed the messy house and just how uncomfortable I was in my own home. I thought about my family and how they may feel about the lack of a home cooked meal as the days of the week have passed. I’ve done less and less with each passing day. Although I am grateful for all the work rolling in, I was a bit overwhelmed.

As I was in the shower, I thought of Jesus praying before His time to go the cross. He said, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39 b)

I’m sorry to say, but this is the way I felt this morning when I was waiting for the reply as to whether I’d be working today or not. After I got out of the shower, the reply was I wasn’t needed today. I have been so exhausted I nearly cried. I took it as a much needed break and praised God for the day off to get my own house in order.

A few weeks ago my friend, Elizabeth, and I were talking about needing to clean our own house (spiritually speaking) before we tried to clean someone else’s. Many times we’ve talked about needing the Lord to cleanse our hearts. The dirt, cobwebs and dirty laundry can pile up in a split second. So today, as I am picking up what all has piled up in my own house, I am reminded I need to work on cleaning my own mess before I try to clean someone else’s.

Psalm 51:9-10 KJV   9) Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10) Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

So it is better to not be so preoccupied with cleaning up for others that I neglect cleaning my own “house” spiritually and physically.

Thank you for reading and God bless!

Toys Picked for Me

I am my parents’ 5th child and am the baby of the family. By the time I was 3 years old, my oldest sibling was of legal age. A few years later, my brother next in line was graduating high school so the majority of my childhood years at home were with my sister and my  other brother- the third son of the family.

We were tight-knit long ago, as we lived in the country and were around one another the majority of the time. My brother and I were actually babied by our older sister.

At the age of 4 years old, kindergarten wasn’t quite ready for me yet, but I was becoming bored at home. I remember wishing I could go to school like my siblings, Becky and Keith. I’m not sure if I expressed my feelings, or if it was just their good idea, but that year they started leaving toys out for me to play with during the day.

I remember a particular morning when I woke up and checked that special spot. They had a purple and white airplane laying out, among other things. I was so excited and felt so loved that they had taken the time out of their morning to hand-pick specific toys just for me! I remember thinking, “Wow! They really want me to play with this today!”

Although these were toys I had full access to on a daily basis, it was the thought that counted. Even after 30+ years, I can still feel how special and important that act made me feel. It also made me feel as if they were with me during the day.

The memories of those plans they had for me still bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart.

They cared about me and wanted me to have fun and enjoy my day.

Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Even when life doesn’t seem as joyful as having toys laid out for us to play with, our Father in Heaven has good plans for us. It doesn’t mean we won’t feel lonely at times or wish we were somewhere other than where we may be, but He thinks good things of us. He wants us to have a future and a hope, but that hope can only be found in Him.

When we walk with Him, He picks out our plans and lays them out specifically for us, just as my sister and brother laid out the toys they planned for me to play with each day.

What an act of love from our Father. He cares about our days and longs for His presence to be present in our lives. With Him, our future is far better than we could ever plan for ourselves.

I pray this will be a reminder of the hope we have in Him through Jesus Christ. Thank you for reading.

Yapping Dog

Every morning when Leah is getting ready for school, our little dog, Honey, comes prancing in the room where we are and starts doing a certain little bark. It’s different than the “someone is here” bark. Thankfully it’s a lot quieter. We always know what she wants-  us to ask her a question. What is the question? “Do you want to go for a ride?” She goes wild! She starts barking, running around, maybe grabs her bear and starts shaking it back and forth, growling. (Keep in mind she is a whole 8 pounds.) She may start scratching her paws on something as if she’s digging, but almost always she tries to howl. She can’t contain her excitement! Her answer is always yes!

When we pull in to the driveway, she jumps in the backseat, then back up front- just as excited to be back as when we asked her if she wanted to go. As soon as I open the driver door, she jumps out, running toward the woods barking like she’s going to attack.

She does this every single time.

She kind of reminds me of how I used to be, or if I’m not careful, how I can still be.

James 1:19-20 (KJV) says, 19) “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20) For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Honey may be swift to hear if she’s after a critter in the woods, but she’s certainly not slow to speak and I would have to agree that she does seem pretty wrathful. It actually has become a habit for her. It is part of her routine.

I’ve been that wife. Husband comes home, I’m not hearing by his actions how tired he may be, suddenly I bombard him about how he didn’t mow the grass (for example), then I become downright angry.

I’ve been not just that wife but that person in many instances. Any way you look at it, I’ve been pretty much the same as the yapping dog.

As far as my husband goes, I now try to wait until he’s at least had supper to start griping (haha).

But on a serious note, it can be anything or anyone that comes our way. It all boils down to self-control. It’s a huge turn off to be a representative for Jesus and act like the devil. Sure, we all fall short at times, but I know when I want to speak my mind, if I only pause and am swift to listen to that still small voice of the Lord, He controls my desire to flap my tongue and work myself up into a tizzy.

I know I’ve wasted enough time doing this life the wrong way, I’m ready for my Master to train me up. He is able to teach this “old dog” new things if I am only willing.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

How to Catch a Flea

A few weeks ago my niece came over and wanted me to paint her toenails. She was sitting on the floor in my bedroom and all of a sudden she said she got bit by something. She asked if we had fleas. I said, “I hope not!” She went on to tell me she read there is a trick you can do to find out if you have them.

You put a bowl of water under a lamp overnight. The fleas are drawn to the light from the lamp. They try to jump towards the light, fall in the bowl of water and drown. I said, “So if I put a bowl of water under the lamp on the piano, I’ll find out if I have fleas?” She said, “No, you have to put the lamp on the floor.”

I never tried this trick because four of us live here and none of us have gotten bit by anything except mosquitos, and that is outside unless one makes it’s way in occasionally. I think she just got lucky (haha), or maybe the Lord knew I’d need something to write about one day.

The other night Leah and I were reading in the book of Matthew. As I was reading aloud, I was reminded of the conversation my niece and I had. In verses 15-16 NKJV, Jesus says:

15) Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify you Father in heaven.

I glanced over at the lamp that was giving off the light to read by on the bedside table.

Although the trick with the lamp may be a good way to determine if you have fleas, we normally want to put a lamp in a higher place to be able to see better- to light up a room. This parable in the Bible speaks of followers of Christ. We don’t want to cover our light, place it on the floor or even have a dimmer switch, but let it shine bright to light up a dark world. He wants us to be a shining example for Christ, that our Father might be glorified.

Thank you for reading.

 

The Body

The other morning I awoke to my stepson, Eric, saying, “Parents! Parents! Get up!” As annoying as it was, we needed the wake up call. In Jason’s defense, he had to go back in to work the night before at bedtime so he needed the extra sleep. In my defense, well… I’ve never been much of a morning person. Jason, however, is an early morning riser for the most part.

When my daughter, Leah, wakes up before I do, she is much easier on me. She brings me a cup of coffee in bed and tells me what time it is. She’ll say, “I hope I did the sugar and creamer right.” It is always perfect. But coffee before I get out of bed can never be wrong!

This morning we were sitting on the porch before time to leave and Eric said, “Dad, how come the mornings I get up early, you don’t and the mornings you’re up early, I’m not?” I really don’t remember what was said. Maybe there was just laughter but it made me think about our Christian brothers and sisters.

Just as our family is a whole, so is the body of Christ, which is the church. I’m not talking about the local church, I’m talking about the children of God.

We are all needed, we need each other and we all play a specific role.

1 Corinthians 12:14 KJV says, “For the body is not one member, but many.”

Verse 18 says, “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”

It goes on to say that all members are necessary.

So here in this family, we supplement each other. When one is lacking, another picks up. That is what family does.

I have Christian brothers and sisters that do the same spiritually. We are all different with different gifts, yet we have the same Father. We lift one another up and minister to one another and it truly is a blessing. It shows me that we do need our Christian family as well.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Last in the Checkout Line

I’ve never really thought a lot about the self-checkout lanes in a negative way until I started seeing different posts about them on social media. I always looked at them as a convenience due to usually being in a hurry, tired or just ready to get out of the store. I never thought about it as taking jobs away from people. I haven’t used one in a while due to this reason, but I can’t say I won’t ever use one again. I’ll just try not to make a habit of it.

There are stores that don’t offer this method, such as the local grocery store in the small town where I live. I go there a lot and most of the time they’re pretty quick about opening another lane when the others get backed up. One day there were quite a few people in line. A big dirt bike event was going on in the county, therefore, extra people were in town and extra customers were rolling in. I caught myself becoming impatient but I came to my senses and realized I’d be ok with just waiting. After all, I wasn’t in too big of a hurry.

Shortly after, a young man opened another register. He said, “I can get someone over here.” I looked, not wanting to jump in front of anyone, but no one left their place in line. I went over, thanked him for opening up his lane, paid for my two items and went on my way.

As the electronic doors opened for me, I thought of being the last one in line. It seems I’ve often been last at a lot my whole life. Last to arrive (haha), last to get the punchline of a joke, last to finish eating or, even going way back to the old days, being the last one to be picked on a team in P.E. class.

In Matthew 19:30 KJV, Jesus said, “But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” In Matthew 20:16 KJV, He said pretty much the same thing- “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”

I know it’s a bit repetitive, but I am thankful He understands those of us that need that extra reminder, or the extra reassurance. He knew what it would be like for us to live in this world of “keeping up with the Jones’s” so I believe He knew He needed to stress this point.

If you read the chapters, you will see when He was speaking of “the last”, He was speaking of those that followed Him, regardless of who or what they lost. To the world it means being last, to Him it means putting Him first.

So next time I’m waiting in line, I hope I will remember to take advantage of the extra time given and use the self-checkout method to check out my heart. The condition of my heart will determine the destination of my soul. One day, when I breathe my last, I want to walk through those doors that are opened for me after my name is called.

Thank you for reading!

 

Why Am I Even Doing This

Yesterday I thought, “Why am I even doing this?” I’m not even a week in and I was already so discouraged with blogging. They say post on Instagram. I haven’t even tried that one. Twitter? I have an account somewhere out there in cyber space but I just never really got it. If I want to make it in the writing world, I’m going to have to take the proper steps. I just have to pray that God will grow it and I already know that writing grows me.

They say patience is a virtue, right? I’m writing about waiting on God’s timing, yet I’m ready to throw in the mop and bucket and write for a living RIGHT NOW! I have a lot of passion when I start doing something, whether it be painting, making wreaths, wood burning, selling stuff, cleaning, etc., but this is different. Writing is from the very depths of the heart. It becomes discouraging, to say the least, when you pour out your heart but don’t see a lot of interest- especially the people you would hope would support you the most. Selfish, I know. Human, yes, that too.

I even went to bed early last night. My back hurt, I was sad. Actually I was heartbroken. But then I typed in the search bar, “when your discouraged about your Christian blog”. (Yes, I randomly Google things but I find a lot of answers.) My search sent me to a fellow Christian blogger’s post. IT WAS AWESOME! It was just what I needed! It hit many points and reminded me “there is no new thing under the sun”(Ecclesiastes 1:9 b). Every blogger gets discouraged. Every blogger looks at numbers, but it isn’t about numbers. If God says write, then you write, right? Right!

The funny thing about it is, I started a blog over a year ago. I created the cover page, then it got a little harder so I quit. That is one thing I am good at – quitting. That isn’t good.

This past June I had been thinking about writing again. After all, I write all the time. It may just be a sentence or an idea that I jot down that may not go anywhere but on the top shelf with all my other thoughts. So, I created this blog right here, got confused and stepped away. I watched two different movies around the time I started this, and to my surprise both of them were talking about writing and blogging. I felt it was the Lord speaking to me, yet again, but I quit (yet again).

Fast forward to mid August, last week. The day before my first blog post I Googled my website and there it was! I thought I deleted it and there it was just sitting there. Blank. So I grabbed my laptop and started typing.

A couple of days later I figured out how to make my little icon for my blog. It was so tiny, yet so huge to me! I decorated it up like I paint my toenails in the summer- with all sorts of colors spotted up all cool looking (to me and some of the gals in my family anyway). I was so excited and overcome with joy that the Lord had helped me figure this stuff out. I just sat and cried and thanked Him. I am not one to figure this kind of stuff out so I know it was only made possible because of Him.

How quickly my emotions change. There’s a lot I don’t know but I realize that doesn’t mean I can’t change that and grow instead of doing the usual – quitting. I enjoy doing this! And what a humbling experience that God would speak to someone like me and to help someone like me, with all my imperfections I can’t hide from Him. So I’m thankful for this experience. I’m thankful I can work for Him in this way. It’s an offering. It’s all I’ve got to give right now and in His time all will be made right! If God is in control of all things and I’m doing this for Him, then I guess I should think this is already right.

If you have a dream, go after it! Sometimes I feel silly being a small town girl wanting to be a “real” writer, but hey- “all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23) – And Jesus said that so I’m going to go with His answer.

Thank you all for reading, sharing and encouraging me to continue on with my dream! May God bless you!