the other mama

It was 09.08.16 the first time I read the article. Today I was flipping through some files via the laptop and came across the same article and once again read it. I found myself rereading and rethinking…

Today 12.08.16, gripped and challenged, and tweaked, I write once again. Bear with me as I ramble on.

As many of us parents do in the beginning of a new school year, we take dress our kids up, get our camera’s out and start clicking. I know that is what we do. Those ‘first day of school’ pictures of our children with cute chevron sign with each new grade on them. We proudly click. We proudly post. Why? because we love our children. We are thankful for our children and want to proclaim it. 

We stand there excited as we watch them grow physically but also mentally — and Lord willing spiritually as well. We think about this new year and what it holds for them (the knowns and unknowns). There is so much ahead for them and we are nervous yet excited for them (and we even shed a few tears) but they are happy tears for we rejoice. And all this is quiet frankly the way it is supposed to be…a joyous new season for all. 

This is where the article I read comes in.  

In all our rightful postings, rejoicings, pictures, and comments, I for one, have never really given much thought about the ‘other Mama’ that might be scrolling down through her Facebook, Twitter, etc., that first day of school and be filled with voids, sorrow, hurt, agony, or loss. I am just thinking about me and my family — and where this is ok to some extent, is other ways I should be mindful of others and what they may be going through. Let me explain.  

See it is not that we shouldn’t be posting our pics of our kids or posting our rejoicings….because we should. We should be giving God the glory for the things, the people, the blessings HE has given to us. For it is HE that has given them to us…for a season, but I have been reminded that there are others out there — there are “other Mama’s and Daddy’s” out there that ‘used to do’ the same things as I am doing right now with my children, but they are not because there ‘used to’ is not longer here. Death has separated them from there child so some reason or another. For them, it isn’t happening this year and will not happen next year or the year after. There pictures sessions, posts, blogs, etc., are memories while mine this year are a time of rejoicing. 

The first time I read this article was back in September and it hit my soul like a ton of rocks. Today it brings the same impact because it reminds me that while I love my family more than words could express, and I am incredibly thankful to the Lord for each one of them, I should never become so selfish and so self absorb to only think about “us”.

I cherish our precious memories and so should you! Our children are priceless and should be rejoiced in and loved. Our family times are valuable and needed and those God-given children we have are to be ever so loved and special, but I must not never allow myself to be so consumed with self and/or we, as a family become selfish. 

The article I read in a nutshell: I saw a picture of an empty front doorway.

Let me explain. On the first day of school, a Mother took a picture of her empty front doorway. It was the same front doorway she had taken for years but this year it looked much different. The difference was, it was empty. Her daughter wasn’t in this years ‘first day back to school’ picture because she had passed away from cancer. There was no new outfit to buy, no new backpack to pick, there was no special breakfast to fix that morning, there was need to pray together before leaving the house, no hugs, no kisses; instead there was an empty front doorway picture. Instead of waving to her daughter as she left on the school bus she got into her car and drove to the cemetery. She talked with her daughter, but there was no answer. She sobs. She prays. Her mind is flooded with memories as she remembers those other ‘first days’ of school pictures.

Gripping my soul, I am in tears! 

We all go through hard situations in our life. I get that. We all have been through incredible times in our lives. I get that. We need to remember our time of hard. Remember that in our weakness God made us strong. Remember that in those weakness, God used others, who were on the look-out for others (that happened to be you) and they ministered to your soul. “who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” II Cor. 1:4. We need to be rejoicings with those who rejoicing and weep with those who weep — even if we don’t have the words to speak. (Romans 12:15) Be on the look out. Folks all around us are hurting, rejoicing, sad, struggling, thankful…we need to think beyond ourselves — we need to think like Christ.

As believers we have the true hope — Jesus Christ! We know the power-comfort of God is beyond words – you know what I mean to those who have experienced it personally. But there is a reality that we are on this side of Heaven. The presence of loss is real. The grief that must be walked through is real. But our God is bigger, stronger, comforts and does bring healing to those who call upon Him! Remember there is someone out there that has a different story than you right now. Remember that other Mama.

“Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work”  II Thess. 2:16 & 17

Is Your Light On?

     One of the coolest things I remember is when my husband and I were in Israel sitting at the foothills of the Sea of Galilee one night. While we sat there talking, we couldn’t help but look. We were drawn to the mountains. The intense blackness that “was out there” was unreal. The longer we looked, seemingly out of no where we began to see glimmers of light appearing here, then there, and over there…out of nowhere. These little glimmers of lights stuck out against the blackness.

   It was an most amazing site to behold because just moments before there was complete blackness–you would have never known there were people, homes, life up there on those hilltops.

   I will this memory because because it draws my heart and mind to think about what Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid” [Matthew 5:14-16]. Truly, Jesus knew what He was talking about. It is impossible to hide even your small flame in the midst of complete blackness.

     I think of the ‘blackness’ that is around us–around me. We call it ‘spiritual warfare.’ It comes in many ways: the devil’s attacks, the lost world around us that needs Christ yet chooses to reject Him: it’s our neighbors, the check-out lady, the gas station person, the waitress, the visitor we fail to welcome, even the regular-attender at church, it is even my own sinful flesh and pride (from within and from without).

 I cannot help but think – “Is my light on?”

Yes, I am a child of God [thank you, Lord for saving my soul!]; I am a sinner saved by grace; I know where my eternity will be spent despite my human weaknesses and faults. It is of the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed; His love is not determined by my actions or love for Him. His love doesn’t change. He doesn’ love us anymore or anyless. 

I don’t knwo about you, but I am eternally indebted to Christ, and thinking about that mountainside in Israel, those glimmering lights, and Jesus’ words in Matthew it causes me to wonder about my heart of gratitude and love to God, have I changed over the years? Has my love increased for God or decreased? Am I like that light or candle set on a hilltop that can be seen for miles that points others to Christ?

‘Is MY light ON’  — like that very first day when my personal darkness turned to day because Jesus turned on my light on [my salvation day] or have I slowly put my light on “dimmer”? I think of others who have chosen to turn their light off [well, if truly born again, they are hiding their light under a bushel] in Revelations it is called lukewarm.


But Jesus was clear when He said in Matthew, “YOU are the light of the world.”

Is your light…

 ON???


In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

 

Me & My Rake

     It’s 12 noon. My heart is heavy and my soul has been fighting a battle for the past couple of hours and honestly, it feels much later than noon. The battle has been in body, soul and mind — all warring within. I must confess, my fighting battle has been over leaves.    Yep, you read me right! LEAVES! 

     Can I set the scene for you? You see, we live in a wonderful neighborhood. A very lovely, quiet street filled with homes built around the 60’s and 70’s, two cul-de-sacs, only one way in and that same way out. You are fully aware of every person that passing your house whether it is your neighbor or someone seeing your neighbor, or the UPS/FedEx driver or the mailman. Anyone else is a ‘stranger’ and everyone on our streets knows it. Our street is lined with the gorgeous, aged, mature oak trees, nicely decorated lawns and turkey’s that come every night at 5pm. We even have occasional deer that pass through.

     These oak trees are lovely in full bloom. In the Spring, we are reminded of new life and God’s goodness. In summer, we are drawn to give thanks for the cooling shade they bring to our back yards. But there is dark side to these majestic oak trees that I wasn’t aware of — they bring hours of work! As beautiful as fall is, I have begun to realize that oak trees have a lot of leaves and where oak tree are, there are leaves; and where there are leaves, there is a lot of work come fall. This is where my struggle began yesterday morning.

Can you picture it?

Blue sky. The sun is warm. All is peaceful. Even the squirrels are happy. Then I gaze. (you most pause here and picture it…I gaaaaaaaaaaaaze) I look at our awesome neighbors. I see their John Deer tractors; I hear their leaf blowers; I see them using their machines that suck up the leaves off their lawns with such ease and the to dispose those leaves — that’s a piece of cake! 

Then I choose.

Me.

I look at my rake.

Me and my rake! I gaze at our yard and see it begin to magnify before my very eyes.

     The task begin. One stroke at a time. I was trying. Really I was. Trying to conquer our very large yard all by hand, but it didn’t take long before it started. My mind and heart started very own battle. The war of discontent. Envy. Bitterness. Complaining. It all started to fester and what was seen was all the work that needed to be done and all what we didn’t have to complete this leaf-task job. I might as well have climbed Mt. Everest. It didn’t matter. It was huge!

     I struggled because I knew that I shouldn’t be thinking such thoughts, but it happened…discontentment had taken root. “We must be the poorest folks on our street – well at least financially” I told myself. (I did try to spiritualize it) “What a waste of my time, I could be doing….(and I had a whole list of things that I told myself).” “There are a million other things I could be doing right now” and “Why doesn’t our neighbors help us, don’t they see?” “Leaves! More leaves. I don’t want to rake another leaf in my life ever again!” Then the pressures of my “to do list” did begin to mount. There I was. Outside on this beautiful fall day with that baby blue skies. One of the kids was helping Daddy, the others at play and singing, and there I was complaining to my rake (yes, I was talking to my rake!)  Painfully, I did indeed finish my piles – all four of them – all half of the front yard! But, I was done — attitude and all! 

   I went inside after rounding up the children and told them I needed to pray. I knew my heart attitude and thoughts were wrong, but sadly they didn’t change until I went into the house and chose to pray! I needed to go into the sanctuary of God (at this point it was my bedroom with the door closed) It didn’t take long for God to reveal my sin. (God has a sense of humor and a way with my heart!)

     As I began praying, in love the Lord began revealing this girl’s true colors. My heart was so filled with self, discontentment, complaining, pride, comparison, envy, anger, and I confessed right there and then {with a lot of tears}.

How foolish I was today! Very very foolish!

I wish I could turn the clock back. Reverse my selfishness, my foolish choice to rather bathe in discontent (and all the above) and replace it with seeing God’s goodness, provisions, and blessings. I wish I could take back the time I wasted, but I cannot. Those moments lost — lost forever.

     We all know that time lost is lost time. We can never get it back. It is forever either wasted or forever wisely used. Though forgiven, my decision to waste this precious time on such foolishness is time lost and it hinder my relationship with God — I lost out! It bring sadness to my soul for I could have done so much more than murmur and complain. My rake and I could have had God and I time.  

Phil. 2: 11-17 “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.”  Ephesians 5:16 “Redeeming the time…” 

My I never talk with that rake ever again — unless it is giving God the glory for the leaves it is helping to clean up. My this soul of mine remember to be thankful in all things!

How are you doing?

Praying for you friend, Colleen

In Christ I Am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.} 

 

In Christ I am She

ps 46 5

Before any conclusions are made, I want to make one thing clear…I am a work in progress. In Ephesians 2 in says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…” He is truly the Potter and I the clay and I am thankful for that. The other day in my personal time with God, I was reading I Corinthians 15. In verses 57 and 58 is says, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” WOW! these are powerful and encouraging verses to this soul of mine. In my journaling Bible I wrote this {in much fancier letters} :0)

Whenever discouragement arises…

{{REMEMBER}}

  1. be steadfast [means: resolution, dutifully, firm, loyal, faithful, committed, dedicated, constant; firmly fixed or established; not fickled or wavering]
  2. be IMMOVABLE [never distracted; giving ourselves over to that which we know is not vain; locked on one = Christ; not affected; not having the passions excited]
  3. always ABOUNDING [always excelling] in the WORK of the LORD, {and this next part is just the sweetness of God towards His creations} KNOWING this [you can know; you do know], that in the LORD your labor IS NOT IN VAIN.

Nothing you do for Christ is a waste of time or effort. 

Nothing! Time with Christ is never time wasted! In Christ I am She is truly & simply born out of a deep longing and personal desire for God. I need God. Without Christ; I am nothing; I can do nothing. This heart, soul, and mind is continually needing reminding, spurring, challenging, rebuking, comforting, leading, loving, directing, and fastened to the One and only that can truly fulfil. And this is how In Christ I am She blog blossomed; a needy heart for Christ and thee incredible working power of Christ in a soul = a changed life.

I do have a deep prayerful desire: that in some small way the Lord uses His working in this heart of mine, as weak and needing as it is, to somehow be an encouragement to you; that others may see the wonder working power in a life, and in return give Him all the glory and praise due to His name. May we ne pointers to Christ. May we live an abundant-intended Christ life and glorify our Maker along the way together!

Today, 12.01.2016, In Christ I am She: Saved. Hopeful. Empowered. I pledge to my Lord Jesus Christ, from this day forward, may I be willing to obey and walk willingly, serve and love Him with all my heart unconditionally, then share that obedience, walking, serving, and love with others {in both written and verbal form}. May your hearts be challenged yet encouraged to love Christ with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. May Jesus Christ be praised!

Rejoice for you are a daughter of the King,

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}