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Archive for the ‘My Daily Life’ Category

 

I heard today that a mom is only as happy as her saddest child. As the mom of five, I know how true that statement is. My heart broke when my oldest daughter announced that she was pregnant at 19, and dropped out of her first semester of college. I watched with concern when she jumped into marriage and moved away to live life on a military base and I was waiting to help her pick up the pieces when she returned ten months later with my granddaughter, and pregnant with her second child. Life as a divorced single mom at 23-years-old was not the life I wanted for my daughter. I lived the emotional roller coaster with her for those years of her life. About the same time, her little sister had decided to join the Air Force. She has been in for 3 years now. My heart was overwhelmed with worry this past November when she called and said she was hospitalized for severe anxiety. She was in another country and hurting. I felt helpless as a mom. I was filled with anxiety, as well.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we agonize over our children, instead of trusting God to protect them? If I am only as happy as my saddest child, then I am missing out on God’s blessings for my life. God does not want me to live in constant anxiety about my children’s lives. He wants me to trust Him completely. Worrying about my children does not help them, and it doesn’t help me. I have to trust God to protect and provide for them in all situations. I do not have to look on, feeling helpless. I have to choose to surrender my children to God and know that He loves them even more than I do. When we surrender our children to God, it lifts the huge burden off of our shoulders and places it where it should be. On God. He can handle it. It is such a relief not to have to live with the anxiety of trying to carry the burden alone. Our kids will deal with difficulty. It is a part of life, but God is in it with them. Don’t worry mom, your kids will be okay.

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In the wake of the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl, I am reminded of the platform that many athletes and movie stars have to glorify God. The Eagles players and coach have been vocal about giving glory to God for the blessings in their lives. It is easy to use that platform to share your testimony when you have millions of people hanging on your every word, but what if you live an ordinary life? How do you look past the mundane to glorify God in your life? 

I have asked myself that question many times. I have lived my life wishing that I was a famous Christian women’s speaker like Lisa Whelchel or Candace Cameron Bure. I have dreamed of becoming a famous Christian author like Joyce Meyer or Beth Moore. I have written this blog with love and I have patiently waited for it to take off. 5 years later and that has not happened. I have not become the blogger with thousands of followers or the social media success story. I am still the ordinary single mom of 5, working in the food service department of a local convent and living paycheck to paycheck. I live in a lower income neighborhood in a city that Steve Martin once dubbed as, “Nowhere, USA” and a county that not to long ago had the highest poverty rate in Indiana. I live an ordinary life.

So, how do you live to glorify God when you are living an ordinary life?

You:

Pray: You pray for every aspect of your community, from your family to your co-workers, neighbors, strangers who cross your path, and Government/Spiritual leaders. You pray for issues that effect your community from poverty to crime, employment opportunities, homelessness etc. If you pray over every every aspect of your community you will be glorifying God in your every day life.

Love: We are told many times in the Old and New Testaments to love one another. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 we find out what love is:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

We are not only to love our family and friends, we are to love strangers, the homeless, and those who appear unlovable. There are many ways to show love: a smile of encouragement, a kind gesture, an act of compassion, standing for justice where injustice reigns, being a voice for the voiceless, etc. There are many ways to show our love, I challenge you to take a look around and see how you can love someone to Jesus.

Serve: Matthew 20:28 tells us that Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. He gives us an example of serving as He washes the disciples feet at the last supper. Everything Jesus did was about serving others: healing the sick, teaching the multitudes, bringing the dead back to life, and casting out demons. We can’t forget the greatest act of service that He performed, giving His life, that we may live. Look around you. How can you step out as an example of Jesus to serve those around you?

Living an ordinary life may not give us the platform for sharing the Gospel that the rich and famous have, but that does not excuse us from doing what we are able to live out the example of Jesus in our own lives. I encourage you to look around and see what ways you can glorify God as you live out your ordinary life.

 

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Why is it so hard to let go of the past? Why is it so hard to NOT worry about the future? Why can’t I simply enjoy where I am today? At this moment?

This is my life. I have a constant battle going on in my head. I agonize over past confrontations and mistakes. I worry about whether I am doing a good enough job at work and in general. I worry that I am not perfect enough. I worry that I will be homeless. I worry about tomorrow. I am so caught up in agonizing over the past and worrying about the future that I rarely allow myself to enjoy the present. I never allow myself to just BE in the NOW. On my days off, I worry about work. It is a constant struggle to keep my mind focused on enjoying the peace and presence of God. That is the struggle of someone dealing with an anxiety disorder and that is my struggle. I worry about EVERYTHING and there are times when I don’t know how to stop the craziness in my mind.

But today, I focused on today. I enjoyed time with two of my kids, my future son-in-law, and the four grand kids. We went to a beautiful park, enjoyed a picnic lunch and enjoyed our time together playing and laughing. In this moment, I am not focused on the past or the future. In this moment, I am focused on the now. I feel the peace of God in this moment and I don’t want to lose that feeling.

Each moment is an opportunity for me to find the peace of God. It is there. The peace is always there, as God is always there. I just have to quiet the crazy in my head and allow myself to find it. Today, I found that peace.

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Seasons change. Kids grow up. Hair goes gray. People leave the things they knew. I am facing a change of seasons. My kids are growing up. My daughters are now in their young 20’s and are building families and lives of their own. My sons are 18 and 16. They are growing into young men that are testing their independence and boundaries. I will be 48 in three months and as I look in the mirror, I see more strands of gray everyday. I realize with some sadness and with some excitement that 50 is right around the corner and my life has just opened up.

I’m tired of struggling as a single mom living in poverty. I’m tired of fighting to keep cars running and having to beg for rides to work and the store for a year at a time because I couldn’t afford any car at all. I’m tired of working a dead-end job that doesn’t even pay enough for me to rent a small apartment at market value. I am tired of money being the reason I stay in that job instead of taking a chance and doing what I really want to do. I am tired of living a mediocre life. Please, don’t think I am saying that raising my kids was something I hated or that I was dissatisfied in that role. I love my kids more than I could ever express, but I will not hide that those were hard years and sacrifices were made in order for me to be the mom I needed to be for my kids. They have always been my first priority.

I currently live with my daughter, Cherokee, her fiance, Chris and four kids combined. The house is perfect for them, but it is tight with me in the mix. My time here is coming to an end and even with working 32 to 40 hours a week, I can’t afford a place on my own, so where does that leave me? It leaves me with some uncertainty about the future, but I feel an excitement about the possibilities. The sky is the limit. My past does NOT define me. My age will NOT limit me. My lack of money will NOT stop me. I have a three step process that I will use as I go into this next season of my life. I call them the three P’s:

Pray: Before I take a step forward, I need to pray for God’s guidance. I need to make sure that I am heading down the path that God has marked out for me. I have to depend wholly and completely on God. I don’t have a significant other that I can enter this next season with. I am alone to face the future. I will be praying for answers to these questions: where will I go? How will I make a living? Where will I live? God knows the answers, I just need to be patient in the process.

Plan: Any type of change takes some amount of planning. Deciding if God wants me to move to another city or stay where I am. If I decide to move, I will need to find a job or source of income, a place to live and health care since I am a diabetic. Is the area close enough to make some research trips to get to know the community and available resources? I will need to list my needs and find the resources to meet those needs before I proceed with any action. I will need to make a list of possible obstacles and solutions. If I stay, I still need a place to live that I can afford, without going on housing. I will need to find a source of income that doesn’t drain me of energy and passion for life.

Proceed: After I have planned out my course of action, then I can proceed with my plan. If I have planned well enough, hopefully everything will go according to that plan, but life is unpredictable and ultimately God is in control. If I have prayed and have planned according to God’s will, then I know that I can trust God with the outcome.

If you are facing a new season in your life, you are not alone. Life is all about change. Change can be good. Change can keep us from becoming stagnant. Change can keep us from living a mediocre life. Embrace the change. Embrace this new season in your life as I am embracing the new season in my life. If you pray and plan before you proceed, then you can be certain of success. You may face some bumps in the road, but God is in this with you.

I will keep you updated on my decisions as I embrace this new season and as I embrace the gray.

 

 

 

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I work in the food service department of the Sisters of Providence. Part of my job is to check the Sisters and any guests in at lunch time. A regular guest happens to be an elderly Professor that teaches at the college that is on the same campus and was founded by the Sisters. He came in yesterday and we greeted each other, as usual, and then he started talking to the Sister in line ahead of him about the book he had brought with him. As soon as he said the name, “The Five Little Peppers And How They Grew” I butted in enthusiastically, “I LOVE that book! My grandmother read it to me when I was a little girl!” He brought the book over to me and showed me that it is an original copy. It looks just like the one my grandmother had. He pushed it to me and told me to take it. I hesitated. I’m not good at taking gifts. I’m always afraid the giver will be mad if I take it. He noticed my hesitancy and says, “the school library is always getting rid of older books. Go ahead and take it.” I did take it and the memories of my grandparents flooded my mind all afternoon. My grandmother instilled a love of reading in me. From her I inherited a love for Little House on the Prarie, Anne of Green Gables, and of course The Five Little Peppers. I still hear her singing the lullaby that she had written. She never failed to bake a ton of goodies at Christmas, even though she could not eat them because she was a diabetic. She would make my favorite breakfast of  Cocoa Pebbles and toast with the butter melted on it just right as my grandfather and I watched I Love Lucy.  She was a wonderful woman and I loved her dearly. This unexpected gift also brought back sweet memories of my grandfather, who was a man of few words, but I knew that he loved me. We always enjoyed watching I Love Lucy together in the mornings and Lawrence Welk in the evenings. At other times I would watch him as he puttered in his garage or the yard or sit with him on the front porch and listen to AM talk radio. These were sweet times and I was blessed with the memories that this precious gift brought back. It truly was a gift from God to encourage me in the mundane tasks of daily life. God does care about the simple things in our lives. He cares about what we care about and He often sends simple gifts to remind us that He is with us always. A gift of a smile or encouraging word when we are having a bad day, A note from a faraway friend, A double rainbow, a bright red cardinal on a snow covered tree, or a book written in 1881 that brings back golden memories of a time long since gone. I encourage you as you go about your tasks to look for the simple gifts of God in your life. They are there, you just have to be open enough to receive them.

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This is only a section of the magnificent show God put on Tuesday evening (August 1st). It had been raining with the sun still shining, and I commented to my friend that it was perfect conditions for a rainbow. We went into Wal Mart, and came back out about an hour later to this glorious full double rainbow. They both looked like they were close enough to touch. The bottom one was so vibrant that we could see the outline of each color. I don’t think anyone could capture the true magnificence of this work of God. Those of us who saw it were truly blessed because within 5 minutes it was gone. It was gone as quickly as it came.

I had been praying about a certain situation. I have worked in the same job for 6 1/2 years. I was hired in under the assumption that I would have every other weekend off. Although, I would have liked every Sunday to go to church, I was okay with every other weekend, because I had been out of work for 2 years and needed a job. 6 1/2 years later and I very rarely get a Sunday off. I am now on a stretch of working 8 Sundays in a row and possibly more depending on the next schedule. I CAN’T do this anymore! I try to tell myself that I can do without church, if I pray and read the Bible, but you know what? I’m just kidding myself. We NEED that connection with other Christians. I hunger for that connection. We had just left our home church of 6 years right before I started this job and I have not had enough Sundays off to connect anywhere. I have a Sunday off to go visit a church and then I work the next 4 to 8 Sundays. I’m at a breaking point. I have brought this to my bosses attention, obviously, it hasn’t helped. I am seriously at the point of quitting my job, so I can go to church on a regular basis. I don’t have another job lined up, but I know that if I sacrifice for God, that He will provide. God comes first. ALWAYS!!!

Anyways, I had been crying out to God about this situation for a few days and when I walked out and saw that double rainbow, I knew it was God telling me that everything would be okay. I knew that it was His promise to me that He would answer my prayer. He will honor my request.

There are times when we cry out to Him about some life situation and He honors us with a perfect double rainbow or some other awesome show of His love for us. In that moment, we know that that gift is just for us, as an answer to our prayers. I know that that double rainbow was just for me. It was God telling me that He loves me and He hears my cries for help. I serve an AWESOME God!

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I am reminded daily that God cares about the small things in our lives. He cares about those situations that stress us out. It is my personal opinion that He delights in helping us out in stressful situations. I know that I delight in being able to help my kids out when they are facing struggles in life. God is no different, in fact, He loves us so much more.

I was at our local BMV yesterday with my paperwork to register a car that my 17 year old son, Talon had just bought. A female worker calls my number and I go up to her desk. She looks over my paperwork and asks about my proof of insurance. I had driven a different vehicle and had forgotten it. She was starting to tell me that I would have to step aside and call the insurance company when a worker down the line called another number. I was starting to get stressed, when my worker waved me down to the other worker, for no apparent reason and took the customer with the other number. My new worker took my insurance policy number off of my other vehicle information in the computer system and never blinked an eye. I got everything done and it ended up okay. This may seem like a coincidence. It may seem like a positive alignment of fate or something of that sort, but I know better. It was my God. Why would He help me out in such a simple matter? Because He loves me. Why do I help out my kids in simple matters? Because I love them.

Another incident happened a couple of days ago, with my son Talon. He was driving his dad’s 1990 Chevy truck around, doing whatever 17 year old guys do, when he decided that he would swing by his house (he lives with his dad and co-mom). He suddenly felt like stopping by the house and when he pulled into the alley beside the house the A-frame on the truck broke in two. He had no plans on stopping by the house. He just felt the urge to stop by. So, they just had to move it a few feet into the yard instead of having to deal with it miles from the house. I am also, reminded that Talon may have escaped injury because he paid attention to that little nudge to go home. This is not coincidence. This is not some cosmic favor. This is God. I pray over my kids and God hears my prayers.

My 15 year old son, Ty was thrown from a 4-wheeler in March. Had the 4-wheeler landed on him, he could have been killed. Coincidence? Nope! God sent His Guardian Angels to protect Ty and all he ended up with was a scrapped up leg. The Angels made sure that Ty was clear of the 4-wheeler.

Psalm 91:11-12

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

There are little things that God does on a daily basis to help me out. He works out little details to let me know that He is with me and I am not carrying this load alone. When I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, God shows up and performs little miracles to let me know that I am loved by the Creator of the Universe. Life is not perfect and sometimes I struggle on a daily basis, but I am blessed to be loved by my Abba Father. I don’t deserve His intervention, but I am so grateful for it.

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