Sunday, April 27, 2008
EVERYTHING’S COMIN’ UP ROSES!
I looked out my dining room window today to find the dogwood tree in full bloom. And out the big front picture window, my huge magnolia fairly exploding with vibrant pink flowers. When did this happen? Overnight? Daffodils, crocus, forsythia, and tulips -- they're all popping out at once.
Everything's comin' up roses!
I love driving down our tree-lined streets on the way to town. Just weeks ago, those trees stood barren, their long, skinny branches draped across the road, showing no signs of life. Today they stand in almost prideful wonder, displaying lush, verdant leaves. They seem to be shouting, "Look at me, I made it through another harsh winter! And I'm growing taller and stronger every year!"
This is life...one day, cold and despairing, and the next, rich and full with hope and expectation.
Maybe you're going through one of those shivery, fearful, bleak spells right now. You look around and everything appears hopeless and dead. Your heart literally hurts, your stomach ties itself in knots, your head throbs with the ache of trying to stay strong.
Look up! God is there! He is standing in the shadows, waiting, ready to help; His ear turned toward your cries. He is your strength in times of trouble. The Word tells us that when we are weak, His strength is made perfect. In other words, we are at our strongest when we admit our weakness and surrender everything into His very capable hands--allow Him to breathe new life into our barren limbs!
We grow through these fruitless, hard, grueling times. And we come out stronger and better. Romans 8:28(a) says, "And we know that ALL things work together for good to them who love the Lord..."
Believe it! Whatever you may be going through right now, IT IS TEMPORARY, you will get through it.
"When I cry unto the Lord, then shall my enemies turn back; this I know, for God is FOR me. In God I have put my trust: I will not be afraid..." Psalm 56: 9, 11
Thursday, April 24, 2008
A newlywed couple had the worst time communicating. It seemed like every time they had a disagreement, it turned into a major fight--except their fights always wound up being the pouty kind where each gave the other the silent treatment.
Sometimes these "spats" could last for days. During one such spell, the husband had an early morning appointment and didn't want to oversleep, so he left a note for his wife that said, "Wake me up at 5 a.m. I have a meeting at 6." He put the note on her pillow so she'd be sure to see it. Indeed, when she came to bed, she picked up the note, read it, and quietly nodded.
Good, the husband thought. She'll wake me in the morning and this silent treatment business will finally come to an end.
The next morning, the husband awakened at 9 a.m. He had missed his appointment! Lying on the pillow beside him was a note, and scribbled on it were the words, "It's 5 a.m. Wake up."
A far-fetched story? Perhaps. But in some ways very realistic. Ever give someone you love the silent treatment? Maybe someone's hurt or disappointed you and your stubborn refusal to talk is your way of "getting even". When my husband and I married over 32 years ago, we had a few "silent" battles of our own. Neither one of us has ever been the "yelling" type, so we showed our anger in quiet ways -- punishing the other with silence. Thank God we've "outgrown" that silly behavior, learning the importance of communicating our hurts, disappointments, and, yes, sometimes our anger.
I think of all the times in my life I've given God the silent treatment. Battles I tried to win in my own strength, problems I tried to solve by myself, paths I tried to carve out without His clear guidance or direction.
How many times I've tripped and fallen flat on my face simply because I didn't seek Him first!
"Lord, remind me when I fail to acknowledge You. Nudge me, poke me, wake me up if needs be--but please don't let me get away with giving you the silent treatment."
"Show me your ways, Oh, Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth, for You are God, my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:4,5
Saturday, April 19, 2008
This "Iffy, Spiffy, Sniffy" Month... Friday, April 18, 2008 - 9:30 PM
Michigan has been having some lovely weather the past several days, and in Michigan we TREASURE glorious spring days. Why? Because April is that very "iffy" month. One day spiffy as a brand new penny--simply golden, sunny and teasingly warm, and the next, cold as a landlord's heart. No kidding! It can be convertible-top down on Monday and heaters at full-blast Tuesday. But we're so excited about seeing the sunshine that we Michiganders can take a few cold days mixed in with the warm (even a couple more snowflakes) 'cause we know we're in for a whoppin' good summer.
BEST KEPT SECRET: Michigan summers are almost always AMAZINGLY WARM AND WONDERFUL! April to October = Glorious
Can you tell I love spring? Everything about it speaks of new beginnings. It's almost like New Years' Day, in fact--when you get that chance to start all over. Spring is that time of fresh beginnings, new sights to see, new scents to sniff, new grass to touch. (Remember those first days, as a child, of skipping barefoot through the grass, that splendid tickling, daring feeling of shedding shoes and socks and running laps around the house? Wasn't it marvelous?)
I think God created spring so we could experience His creation through bright, hopeful eyes. Yes, winter is long and grueling, especially for we northerners, but the promise of spring and new life somehow charges our weak batteries, gives us newfound strength -- puts the vigor back in our steps!
Yes, April may be "Iffy", but it's wrapped up in promises, and it's a special reminder, to me anyway, of God's faithful, ever-present love and goodness.
A Happy, Blessed, Joy-filled spring to all of you!
With love and warm-weather hugs...
Friday, April 18, 2008
OKAY, I ADMIT IT – I AM IMMATURE!
I am way more than a grown woman. I'm going to be 60 years old this summer! I'M A GRANDMOTHER, for Pete's sake. So why do I still find myself doing the most childish things just to get a laugh? My darling hubby is forever pressing me in the side during church--or at funerals or weddings--if I start talking to someone next to me, or, worse, get the giggles. (IMAGINE! Who does he think he is???)
Well, onto my story...
Tonight, I was sitting in a very important church business meeting with about 200 in attendance (IN THE SECOND ROW, OF COURSE), my best girlfriend, Debbie, and her hubby sitting on my right, my husband up on the platform discussing church budget matters. I mean this is serious. He is our church administrator.
Out of boredom, I looked in my purse for a mint and laid eyes on a little McDonalds' toy my grandson had gotten in a Happy Meal last week when Cecil and I took him to lunch. It is the butt-ugliest little toy I've ever seen. It must be a character from some movie, but I haven't the first clue which one. It's hot pink and black and round, and has these weird little moveable arms that when you pull them upward, a LOUD song comes blaring out. I knew this, of course.
Feeling mischievous, I handed the toy to my girlfriend and whispered, "Here's a present for you."
She picked it up, studied it, smiled, and said, "Gee, thanks. What is it?"
"I don't know. It's Dylan's. It's been in my purse since Saturday. Isn't it weird looking?"
"It's a little disco dancer or something."
She tossed the toy on the pew and gave her full attention back to my "serious" husband.
The place was just too quiet for its own good. I mean, really.
DON'T ask me why I did it, but I reached down and pulled that toy's arms up. I knew what would happen, mind you, but something in me just wanted to create a stir. I'm naughty, what can I say?
Well, the LOUD blast from that hideous little toy vibrated our pew. Debbie nearly jumped out of her pants and started giggling while I fussed with the thing, trying to find an OFF button. There had to be one somewhere, but nope. It was one of those toys that HAS to play itself out to the bitter end. The pews behind us started cracking up. One lady leaned forward and whispered, "I've known for years someone should've separated you two!"
Well, our shoulders shook for the next three minutes while my husband tried to conduct business. My mascara ran, and so did Debbie's, but oh well. What about my Debbie's hubby, Rich? I think he moved about three feet away from us.
After the meeting, someone came up to me and said, "Haven't you learned yet how to put that thing on vibrator mode?" Hahaha! He thought it was my cell phone ringing. I love that.
I know your question--was Cecil mad at me for causing the disruption? Nope. After 32 years, he's learned I'm a bit hard to control at times, and he just accepts it and loves me anyway!
And so does my Heavenly Father. WOW!
Isn't it great that with all our quirks, faults, goofiness, mistakes, and imperfections, we can still count on our God to love us unconditionally? Whew! I'd be up a crick if He didn't.
LOVE AND BIG HUGS...