A new perspective

I will be starting a new full time job at the end of August, so I purposely ended my current job a few weeks early so that I could relax, get organized and have some fun. My last day was this past Thursday. On Sunday evening I was getting into my running clothes when I got a call from the assisted living facility where my mom lives. My mom had fallen and was being taken to the hospital via ambulance. I had a flashback to last December when she fell and broke her back. That resulted in a week at the hospital and three weeks at a rehabilitation center. As I put my regular clothes back on and headed to the hospital with my husband, I was anxious. We found my mom in the ER and learned that she had broken her hip and would require surgery. She was admitted to the hospital and the surgery was going to be the next day.  I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but as we headed home from the hospital after midnight, I was focused on myself.

There goes the rest of my summer. 

I returned the next day to see my mom in pre-op and pray that everything would be fine. After they took her into surgery I made my way to the waiting room. Adjacent to the waiting room was a kid’s play area, so I sat as far away as possible to avoid any noise. I wanted to be alone. A few hours later the surgeon came to me to tell me that everything went well and that she was in recovery and I would be able to see her soon. As he walked away my phone rang and it was my mother in law asking how everything was going. I gave her the report and she then told me that my father in law had fallen and hit his head and was on his way to the ER in an ambulance. My heart sank and my selfish thoughts returned.

There goes the rest of our summer.

After I visited with my mom and they took her to her room, I made my way to the ER to find my in-laws. As I walked through the surgical waiting area, something caught my eye. I saw that the area that was set up as a play area had become quite full and many adults were standing, hugging. I noticed that the sign on the wall said Pediatric Surgical Waiting Area. I stopped and stared at the people for a few minutes, trying to imagine their fear. It was like a slap in the face. My mom was going to be fine, but what about their child?

What about the rest of their summer?

I found my in-laws in the ER and my father in law had received many stitches and staples in his head. The CAT scan showed some bleeding and he was going to be admitted.  As I drove home from the hospital on that second day, I prayed out loud. I asked for forgiveness for being so selfish. I thanked God for keeping both our parents alive and asked for blessings for the parents in the pediatric surgical waiting room.

Today is the fourth day that I’m getting ready to return to the hospital. I will see my mom and father in law and remember to be thankful. This may not be the way that I thought the end of our summer would look like, but I remind myself that it could’ve been a lot worse.

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

A Stress-Less December

December is here! I have usually worked myself into a full blown panic by this time. I worry about all the details that I think will make it the perfect holiday: cards, parties, presents, food, and decorations. You see, I am a lot like Martha in Luke 10:

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

This year I am going to do my best not to and want to be able to truly enjoy the holiday season and all the joy it brings. Jesus

I was tested this morning as I began to feel overwhelmed by tasks that I need to complete today. I reminded myself of my promise to myself and thought of how I could spin my “to-do” list into a list of things to be thankful for:

  1. Walk dog in the rain-I am so thankful for the big, silly dog that we rescued last year and love him to death!
  2. Purchase and deliver birthday treat to my son’s 5th grade class- I am thankful for a job that allows me flexibility to pop in to celebrate with my son during lunch.
  3. Buy 50 pound bag of dog food- I am thankful that I don’t have to prepare him a “real” meal.
  4. Bake birthday cake for my 4th son- Ok, this might not happen….back to the store.
  5. Pick up 1st son from college for family dinner- I am so happy that he goes to a college close enough that he doesn’t have to miss family events like his baby brother’s 11th birthday.
  6. Vacuum and straighten up the house before grandparents come over for cake and presents- I’m so thankful that we have family close enough to celebrate birthdays and holidays together!

There…that is much better. I challenge you to try to do the same as you feel overwhelmed this season. Think of Mary and Martha. Remember the reason that we celebrate.

 

A true gift

I’m reposting this now that it is the season of gift giving!

I was having a bad day, wrestling with a tough decision, and then you knocked on my door and were holding a gift. I love gifts! It is beautifully wrapped and layered with colorful tissue paper.

giftBut as I open your “gift” I see it is full of things I don’t want or need. I lift the first layer of tissue paper and find doubt. The next layer contains fear. As I continue to search for something I need or desperately hoped for, all I see is more of the same….my unworthiness, guilt, and selfish ways. I carefully place the items back in the box, smile, and say, “Thank you.” As you leave I feel terrible. I place the gift on the table and try to ignore it. All day my eyes and thoughts wander back to it. Unable to concentrate all day, I return to the gift. I open it again and hold all the items, one at a time. As I think carefully about each item, I feel a relief was over me and can’t help but smile as I place the items back in the box. What you don’t know is that I already have a wonderful gift; the gift of God’s love.

My mom taught me to always write a thank you note, so here it is:

Dear Satan,

Thank you for stopping by today with an unexpected gift. Unfortunately I must return it, as I will not be needing the items you so carefully wrapped. I have received a much nicer gift from God. He shows me love every day and warned me about you. So please don’t come by again anytime soon.

Sincerely,

God’s daughter

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Phillipians 4:6-7 (NLT)

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT)

On being thankful

As my family and I are preparing food for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, the smell of the pie in the oven, and cranberries on the stove make me feel happy.PAULA_DEEN_BOURBON_PECAN_PIE_H2.jpg

I have always enjoyed Thanksgiving and think of it as   a stress-free kick off to the holiday season. We welcome friends and family over and laugh, talk, and enjoy each others company for an entire day. It’s like time stops. What other day do we do this?

Each year at this time I think of the things that I’m most thankful for. My list is probably a lot like your list: my family, my church, my friends, a comfortable home, plenty of food and water, oh, and coffee. But this year I am going to add something else to my list. I am thankful for the struggles that I have endured. This seems strange to say, but I realize that if I hadn’t had the life that I’ve had, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to share my story and help others.

 

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