Tuesday, January 29, 2008


This morning I started out my day as I do most days, by evaluating the things I have to do, the things I want to do, and the things that are happening no matter what. It helps me set my course for the day and then provides particulars that I want to pray about. It happens that this morning I had one item on my list that was not so appealing. I had to talk with someone about a negative aspect of her personality. It was work related and something that had to be done, but I was not looking forward to confronting someone on their reputation.

After talking it over with God, I felt ready to go, knowing what had to be said could be done with grace. With His help, it would go well.

I continued my time of prayer, spending time praying for the ones in my life who I have found myself with resentments toward. I struggled with prayers of blessings for them as I sometimes do. My mind started to wander and giving thought to how we summarize people in our lives. I thought about reputations, especially since I was dealing with someone who had a negative one and how her mistakes seem to have pegged her a certain type of personality. I made a note to myself to think about what God was trying to show me, got back on track and finished my time with Him.

As the day has progressed, this reputation thing has come up several times. I began to play a mental game with myself as people came into my office, or emails came into my computer, or even as folks crossed my mind. I gave them a title, based on their reputation in my life. Some of the ones that I came up with are:

The friend who is like a sister.

The older woman who mentored me through a difficult time in my marriage.

The friend who lead me to Christ.

The person who always talks about herself.

The new Christian who appreciated my prayers, my encouragement and my friendship. She baked me bread.

The one who had an affair.

The pastor who taught me a lot about God, in words and in action.

The pastor who almost destroyed my faith in the church.

The friend who supported me as I walked through a difficult time.

The person who betrayed me.

The one who refuses to forgive.

The hairdresser who became a dear friend.

My husband who is solid as a rock.

The list goes on and on. I found it interesting that I can put a title to every person in my life, good, bad, short relationship, or long. If they made an impact, they are there.


What kind of titles am I leaving with those who I come in contact with? Am I a person who leaves a sour taste in peoples mouths, or the sweet aroma of Jesus Christ? I know that there are mixed answers from my life up to this point. That's OK, I am aware of where I have messed up for the most part. I continue to make amends as those situations come back up if necessary.

But where do I want to go from here? I know that I want to have a positive reputation. I have found the negative influences are just as impacting as the positive ones. I choose to be on God's side, the side of love, forgiveness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, loyalty, grace, and mercy.

They make a lot of sense, these wise folks; whenever they speak, their reputation increases.
Proverbs 16:23

A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich; a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank.
Proverbs 22:1


p.s. That conversation that I had to have went very well! Thank you, God!

Monday, January 28, 2008


When I read the words in the Bible, out of the book of Romans, chapter 12, verse 5, I take them quite seriously. God's Word Translation of this passage is one of my favorites and it reads like this:
Christ makes us one body...connected to each other.

I love what God is saying here, I love what it means, and I love how it plays out in his perfect plan. I believe it, and I am willing to live it to the best of my ability, knowing that I must walk with Him in order to do it right.

But I haven't always felt this way. And my husband hasn't either. When I met him, he wanted nothing to do with the organized church due to some pain he experienced in his life due to divorce in his family and the way it was handled in his "home" church. He worked through it and began attending again with me, then a new believer. We went together and I started out my relationship with Christ in a church family that surrounded me with love. In that family, though, I saw hurt and questioned God's plan. He answered my questions with healing and love. What was meant for harm in the situation I was witness to, turned out for the better. My faith in "the church" was renewed and I trusted that God would always work things out for good.

Now, I know that we are all sinners, and I accepted this believing that God made all things good. So, plugging right along in my connectedness, I even taught a class that sometimes dealt with lack of trust in the church, with other's who had experienced painful or confusing connections with a church/family of God. I was a firm believer in forgiveness, nobody is perfect, God can change hearts and we all make mistakes...it is what you do with them that makes the difference.
I didn't know that God was going to really ask me to put my money where my mouth is with this lesson. I eventually found myself with some insight to this church, this family of God, that rocked my faith in God's plan to the very core of my being. Still knowing that people are not perfect, we are all sinner's, I also discovered that some sinner's justify their sin...even in the church family...worse yet, even in leadership. Where are you, God??

Thankfully, God answered my cry for help.

But in that answer, I was removed from the body of Christ that I was connected to. It was a struggle. My faith in God's plan for the church was shattered, I questioned whether He knew what He was doing and questioned whether we, His children, His followers, could ever do "church" the way He intended. My former hopes and dreams of what being connected as one body meant turned into disappointment and sadness over how far we are from the mark. I gave up all hope.

Out of sheer obedience to His word, with no desire to do so, I began to attend my current home church, Fellowship. I was distrusting, skeptical and only there because God would not allow me to quit. (I asked, I begged and I pleaded, but He insisted) I sat in the service week after week, evaluating, questioning, praying. Slowly, God began to reveal to me the beauty of his plan. I remember the first glimpse of hope that I experienced. I turned to my husband, and I said these words, "They are doing it!" with a little spark of hope.

Fellowship has been a wonderful place of healing. It is a church that follows God. The leaders are accountable to each other and to God. Jesus Christ is the head of this church. What a refreshing thing to re-discover. I have been blessed as I worship, as I learn, as I give, as I greet, and as I teach. I have found hope, I have been blessed through my obedience as I have followed Him through this journey of relearning what it means to be connected to the body.

After two plus years of healing, I am beginning to experience God moving. He has given me a new hope, a renewed desire to serve Him. I am ready to step out where He asks me to go, even though I don't know where that is. I am ready for a deeper connection with the body. It seems that there is somewhere else I am to be, people who are waiting for something I have learned. As I have prayed about this, God has been quick and clear in His direction. I have to act. Doors opened so wide that I have to walk through. I am excited to see what He has planned.

I am formed for God's family. I am ready to belong again. I need other's in my life. I want to be connected.

We visited another church family yesterday at God's very obvious leading. The experience was invigorating. I felt connected. It seemed I had come home. I will continue to pray and follow His lead. I know He has the perfect place for us, exactly where we fit, where we are needed...home.


Sunday, January 27, 2008


I have been a huge Carole King fan since I was about 12 years old. I loved listening to Carole sing, even as a young girl. I would sit on the floor in front of my mom's turntable with her albums in my lap and play her songs over and over, singing along with the lyrics that were on the back of the album or the insert that was inside the cover. Some of you don't know who or what I am talking about, but that is OK. She is a singer, songwriter and was most popular in the early 1970's. And I love her.

For my 40th birthday, my best friend gave me a copy of Carole King's most famous recording, Tapestry, on CD. I had worn out my only copy, an LP and no longer had a working turntable on which to play it. That CD has been one of my favorite gifts in my many years of birthdays and other gift giving occasions. That one CD is a winner! (thanks, Ruthie! You rock!)

I was listening to the CD the other day and listened to the words of one particular song with new interest. Here are the words to the chorus of the song, Beautiful...

You've got to get up every morning
With a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You're gonna find, yes you will...
That you're beautiful as you feel

WOW! Isn't that great! Look at all the results of getting up with a smile on your face! People will treat you better! And you will be as beautiful as you feel! Everyone wins! And it sounds to me as if it is a choice. Something about the words, "you've got to get up" lead me to believe it might not be natural, it might be an "act as if" situation. Behave the way we want to be, even if we don't feel it. The choice leads the way. The attitude, the mental state, and the beauty follow the choice.

So many days I don't wake up with love in my heart toward my husband, my children, my friends, or my coworkers. Sometimes I just feel like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Or I am just in the mood for someone to show ME love first. But, if I reach out, if I show them love first, unconditionally...they will love me back. And as a bonus, I will be as beautiful as I feel! Forget all those wrinkle creams, the make-up, the cute clothes. Beauty comes from within.

I always knew Carole King was great. I didn't know she had the secret to being beautiful...but I think I will give it a try!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Helping or Hounding

I found myself thinking about this almost all day...what is the difference between helping someone or hounding someone? I thought about the times that I have asked people to remind me to do things. I do it pretty often at work saying something like, "If you don't hear back from me by tomorrow, remind me." Or when I have made a decision to eat healthy or exercise and ask someone to hold me accountable, I expect frequent questions as to my behavior or how I have spent my time. I have never viewed this as bothersome, but only what was expected. If I ask someone to help me remember to do something, I expect them to ask me until it is done.

One of my personality traits is being able to remember some things easily. It just comes natural to me. I remember dates, words, clothing that people had on when I met them...all kinds of strange things stick in my mind. Because of this, many of my friends have asked me to help them remember to do things. I have no problem with this, because once it comes to my attention, my mind will not allow it to dump until the task has been completed or I release any mental responsibility. I can help people remember to make doctor appointments, hair appointments, conversations they say they want to have but need to prepare for, etc. And I will ask regularly until it has been accomplished. I have never had any complaints from those folks who have asked for me to help them with my memory skills but it was pointed out to me recently that some one defined my behavior as hounding. Since this observation sort of hurt my feelings, I conducted a short survey of people who have been on the receiving end of my so called hounding to see if they ever felt I was overbearing or obnoxious. It was a relief for me to find that all of my efforts were appreciated, even by the person who was accused of allowing me to hound her to accomplish her task.

I am glad I am not left to wonder about this anymore. And because I do have a difficult time dismissing things, I post this blog so I won't be tempted to waste any more of my time thinking about this stupid comment. I am dumping it with total confidence that I have not offended anyone who matters in my life by helping.

I have better and more worthwhile things to think about.

Ecclesiastes 4:10
If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

(or doesn't really want help!)


Monday, January 21, 2008

The Ugh of Emotions, The Aah of God

Have you ever had some one say something to you that normally should be no big deal, but your heart responds with a flood of emotions that catches you completely off guard? Your mind tells you, "Get a grip! This is not a problem!" or if you are a woman, you might evaluate the status of your cycle, especially if you are prone to wicked PMS like I am. But no matter how your mind tries to rationalize the fact that what was said is OK, your heart is still beating a mile a minute and some sort of emotion has just seized your ability to act like the adult you know you should be?

This happened to me last week. A friend was passing along very normal, everyday information and I flipped out. I experienced what counselors describe as a misdirected emotional response due to a past experience, usually negative. A "primary" emotion, if you will. The emotion that surfaces is the primary emotion that one experienced in this similar, most likely painful, happening in the past. It is difficult for some of us to eliminate these responses from our reactions when anything similar occurs that reminds us of the past experience. It is a triggered response.

Even though I am aware of this particular quirk in human behavior, it doesn't make it that much easier for me to deal with at times. I have the tools, after all, I was in an intensive marriage workshop when I first became aware of this emotional phenomena. The workshop probably saved my marriage...somehow I managed to use the tools with my husband, but I can't quite figure out why I have such a difficult time with other relationships that trigger a similar reaction. I've read the material and tried to reapply it in this other relationship. I even researched and discovered the book that the workshop was modeled after. (Harville Hendrix- Getting the Love You Want...GREAT BOOK!), I have read the book over and over, reapplying the principals to other relationships but this one relationship has me at the end of my primary emotion rope!

Now, the person who triggered the response knows me well enough to know that I have clammed up, pulled away, and probably thinks that I am angry. In the past, anger is what would have been expressed, but I know the anger is a cover up for bigger and deeper emotions. I am determined to deal with the REAL issue at hand-the primary emotion that I battle with, the one that pushes me beyond all mature- and even Godly- responses and tempts me to act like a baby or maybe as old as a 7th grader?

Three days have been spent so far in serious evaluation and soul searching and time with God. I also did what many" girly girls" do when they feel depressed and like a failure at life...I went shopping with a girlfriend. Luckily, I picked one who loves me no matter what...been friends for almost twenty years. She knows about this primary emotion of mine and tiptoes around the things that might cause it to flare up but she will also confront me straight out if I am acting unreasonable. She was understanding and pampered me through my bad mood. Even went with me to see the movie I wanted to see, forfeiting her first choice. (we saw Juno...fantastic movie...a whole different blog post on that one) I cried on and off through out the day, but new clothes put a smile on my sad face.

The following day, still weepy and unreasonable, I attended the worship services at my church. Remember? I have already mentioned that my pastor is doing a message series on Betrayal. I sat through the message and God spoke to me. "You feel betrayed by this person......" I sat, dumbfounded and realized He was right. (isn't He always??) Well, ----! I don't want to think about this. So, I went home to take a long winter nap, hoping I would feel better when I woke up. But, with all this soul searching going on, I decided I should text a friend or two (the prayer/accountability kind) and arrange a coffee date for the afternoon. I texted..."Bummd. Coffee @ 3?" And pronto, I had a date!

After a two hour nap, I arrived at the neighborhood Starbucks and met my friend. I was still weepy but ready to be honest about what a big fat baby I was being. So, I announced, out loud for all Starbucks to hear, "I am jealous because......" (completing the sentence) expecting her to roll her eyes or laugh out loud or ...something. But what she did do is reassure me. She listened to me. She told me that I was not crazy, that she would likely feel the same way in my shoes. She thought I had been betrayed, I had been hurt, and however I chose to deal with it, she would pray for me and encourage me. (and then asked me an accountability question that was related, but unrelated...in which I could answer in God's way!! Hooray! And thanks for asking!)

James 5:16 says, Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

All of this to say, blessings from God pop up in the most unexpected places and during the most necessary times. I really am dealing with some tough stuff. Some days I just want to give up and throw in the towel. But every single time I get real with God and get real with someone He has placed in my life to walk this journey together, I am amazed at the blessings of answered prayer. I still have to work on this primary emotion. And I feel exactly the same way I did when I heard the words that moved me into hopelessness, I know that emotions are just feelings. They pass. I have all I need. I am being refined and prepared for what God has in mind for my future. He will grow me and teach me as I learn to respond appropriately to things that have hurt me in the past. He has given me people in my life to walk this walk with me.

My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:19

I disgust myself with my shortcomings and this has been one of those situations. However, I am grateful that they occur because I learn how to respond better and better as time goes on. Even this time...I started out feeling sorry for myself and moping, then I went shopping, then I sought God, took His advice, asked for prayer and accountability and realized He has the whole thing in His control.

Teach me good judgment, wise and right discernment, and knowledge, for I have trusted Your commandments.
Psalm 119:66


(thanks, Angela)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cleaning House, Cleaning Heart

Yesterday was a monumental day for me. Due to a recent job promotion and an increase in salary to support this, I arranged for someone to come and clean my house professionally. I was nervous about this decision but excited at the same time. I felt a little frivolous. I tried to justify this decision with the "I just really don't have time" comments, but my dear husband reminded me of all the other things I do have time for (one being this blog) that I would rather do instead. I gave in and admitted that I just don't want to spend my entire weekend keeping my house clean anymore. Regardless of the reasons behind the decision, the day came yesterday...the first time someone else would clean our house. (thankfully it will happen while we are at work going forward but the first time she wanted us to be available.)

My lovely house helper arrived promptly at 9:00 a.m., as agreed upon. She had already informed me that she would bring someone along to help. So, the two women, one somewhere around 40 and the other in her 20's, gathered the requested cleaning supplies and went to work. Now, let me say that I have always thought I kept a decently clean house. If I ever complain about my house being dirty, someone always says, "Oh, Liz! Your house is ALWAYS clean!" So, I was fairly comfortable with the situation as they went to work.

They went after it...attacking the dirt in my house like it was poison. Blinds were washed, corners were cleaned, lamps that hadn't seen the natural light of day were brushed clean, floors were mopped and I didn't know my shower doors could shine like they are right now! Wow! In less than 3 hours these ladies worked a miracle on this house! As they were leaving, I asked how it was. The one in charge said, "Not too bad but there was a whole lot of dust! It will be better next time." I embarrassingly thanked her, paid her and confirmed the next visit but then enjoyed living in a spotless house...at least for the next day or two!

I had scheduled some social time with a friend for the rest of the day...shopping and a movie. (woo hoo...SO much better than cleaning house all day!) and when I picked her up, she asked how it went. I told her I was amazed that in under three hours, these two ladies swept through my house, finding all the dirt and filth and making it clean! I couldn't believe it. As I went through the day with my friend of going on 20 years, talking about our lives, our struggles, our joys, and our worries, I pondered...Wouldn't it be nice if someone could just come in to our lives and clean them up in less than three hours? So many things that I am worried about, anxious about, areas of regret, lost hopes and dreams, lost time, pain, hurt, that betrayal word I talked about before...all of these things that keep me awake at night like dust bunnies screaming under my bed...what if I could hire someone to come in and wash and dust them all away?

Hmm. I know someone who can. Maybe it will take more than three hours. That might be my problem...not wanting to wait! I would like for it all to be gone immediately and never return. But there are some days that I feel all shiny and clean, I have let God clean my heart, allowed Him to control my thoughts, but it doesn't stay that way forever. Just like I had to reschedule the house helpers, I have to reschedule time with my heart helper to keep my life clean too. I believe it is time for a three hour visit with Him!


Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why Blog?

When people find out that I keep a blog, the next thing that occurs is usually the question, "Why do you blog?" This question comes most often from people that are in my "peer" group, also known as the older folks. The question that I get from younger people, by this I mean ones who are under 30, is, "YOU have a blog?" Their eyes are usually wide with large toothy smiles on their faces. I find myself defending my blogging enjoyment as if blogging is restricted to the younger generation as in MySpace, FaceBook, etc. (I have both of these also, but for different reasons than why I keep this blog.)

When my hubby and I got together with our cousins over New Years, they did not even know what a blog was! (they are only SLIGHTLY older than we are!) I got the feeling they were very bewildered by my hobby and I found myself talking in circles trying to explain why I do this. The past couple of weeks, I have dedicated a fair amount of time to evaluating what it is about blogging that keeps me coming back to this particular web page.

Keeping this blog is a way for me to express thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, and even sometimes disappointments and hurts. For many years, I had close friends whom I confided some of these things to. And what I didn't confide in them, I talked to God about. However, after I moved away from my home of over 10 years, I felt isolated. Even though I had regular phone conversations with my closest friends it just wasn't quite the same. Then my mom was in her accident. It seemed my entire network of support was a world away and I was left to think things through, to process information, to cry, to worry, and to rejoice by myself. This was an exaggerated response because I did have my husband, my family, and those friends in Virginia really did a good job of letting me know they were thinking about me. But, it was difficult to experience the intimacy that comes with a face to face conversation, eye contact...a hug when needed.

As time went on, circumstances created more distance between some of those friends and myself. Lack of privacy for one. A shaky marriage. A conflict. Also some of the betrayal I referred to in my earlier post contributed to some lost relationships. I had not lived here long enough to have established relationships that allowed for sincere sharing and support. I know these things take time, but I still felt very alone.

Thus, the beginning of blogging. I like to write. I can express my thoughts and my heart easily with written words. It is natural and flows easily from my mind to my fingertips. When I found myself feeling like I had no one to talk to, this computer screen was always willing to listen. The more I blogged, the clearer my thinking became. I loved the way it sometimes turned out to be a testimony as to what God is doing in my life. It was not my intention, but as I wrote about my thoughts on some things, it turned out that God had challenged me to a lesson, or taught me something that He wanted me to learn. Cool. I was becoming hooked. And even though I have kept a journal for over 15 years, there is something different about blogging. It is a "letter", open to those who want to read it and many of my friends were actually reading my blog. (so were some of the NON friends, which did not please me, but what's a blogger to do?) The real friends, the ones that care about me and have my back, they found my blog interesting and even emailed me privately or called me to respond. (sometimes a comment will be posted, but the real personal responses came to me via personal contact)

What began as an outlet, a private way of expressing myself, also became a method of communicating. My friends and family can keep current by reading my blog and I have made new friends too. What started out as a way to provide a "listener" to my undiscussed thoughts that I wanted to share, turned out to be a wonderful way to share what is going on in my life with people who actually read it.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Prayer for Today

God does not insist on our forgiving others for the sake of that person alone but for peace in our own lives.

Lord, as hard as this may be for me to comprehend or rationalize, You Word is clear, if I forgive others when they sin against me (betrayal), You my heavenly Father, will also forgive me. But if I do not forgive others their sins, You my Father, will not forgive my own sins. (Matt.6:14-15)

So empower me to bear with others and forgive whatever grievances I may have against them. Help me to forgive as You, Lord, have forgiven me.

If someone sins against me seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to me and says, "I repent", I desire to be obedient to You. Strengthen me, Lord, to forgive him, to forgive her.

-Beth Moore
Praying God's Word Day by Day
January 14

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Betrayal vs New Songs

My pastor, Ed Young, is doing a sermon series on the topic of betrayal. He began last week and even though I had many obstacles to overcome in order to attend last weeks service, I made it to the final Sunday night service. I suspect that Satan may have been reeking havoc on my schedule on purpose since I really wanted to go and hear what Ed had to say about this topic.
I was so curious to approach this topic from a personal standpoint, that I looked the word up in the dictionary. Here is Webster's definition of the word

transitive verb

: to lead astray; especially : seduce
2: to deliver to an enemy
: to fail or desert especially in time of need <betrayed his family>
4 a
: to reveal unintentionally <betray one's true feelings>
: to disclose in violation of confidence <betray a secret>
intransitive verb
: to prove false

I intentionally studied my own life in effort to prepare for the upcoming messages. When I got to that first service, my pastor encouraged all of us to allow betrayals to come to mind. He even asked us to to think of the names and events. Oh, I was not liking this at all.

You see, I regularly struggle with feelings that come from a series of betrayals . I have studied book after book, talked to various counselors, and prayed until I am blue in the face over this one particular issue. I despise betrayal. In my life, I have experienced enough situations to last a lifetime of feeling like I was lead astray, or I was delivered to an enemy, or I was deserted in a time of need. I have had information about me revealed unintentionally and also had my confidence violated.

When I was a child, I felt betrayed by my biological father. He and my mother divorced when I was very small. I didn't think he cared much about me since he didn't spend much time with me when it was his "turn" to have me. When my mom remarried, he (easily?) gave up his parental rights so that her current husband could adopt me. It turned out to be a good thing, but it was the first circumstance of betrayal that I worked through. It was tough being very young and not understanding these things. This situation most likely assisted in the creation of a character flaw in me that still threatens to steal my joy for life.

Throughout my life, I have had to work on the pain that comes with being betrayed. My first instinct is to hate, to get revenge, to hurt that person more than they hurt me. I know I am not a Godly person by nature...in fact I am one of the worst of the worst when it comes to to reacting to betrayal. But, since I decided to let God run my life, I quickly found out that my natural way of dealing with hurt was not His way. I heard what He said about forgiving others and He even gave me opportunities to put my belief into action. He was kind and gentle and started out with small assignments. Forgotten phone calls, missed birthdays, being left out of things that I wanted to participate in.

But as I grew in my relationship with Him, He started to hit me with some big things. I made it through of few of those and then He refining got even deeper. I have been betrayed in ways that still make my stomach turn and my head spin. I have trusted and loved people, given my heart and revealed my true self only to be rejected, talked about, hated and slandered. (by fellow church members, trusted friends and one whom I loved like family) These most recent betrayals threw me in a pit that I thought I would never get out of.

GOOD NEWS! Through betrayal, I have learned how to pray for myself. I have learned that betrayal is always rooted in envy and jealousy. I have also learned that the only way to combat betrayal is loyalty. Loyalty to God and loyalty to the people in my life. I will never be betrayed by God, He is loyal. I will never betray someone who I am loyal to. Which brings me to another thing I have learned about betrayal....there is an UP side! Can you believe that? When I have been betrayed, I have always been able to turn around and see who has my back. These are my true friends. These are the people I trust. I can see, as Ed put it, the difference in the posers and the players. The players in my life are the ones on my team. My husband is one of these and he has stood by me through the most difficult of betrayals. My best friend is another one. God continues to bless me with real relationships who imitate God, love as He does, forgive as He does, teach, extend mercy and grace and never give up! I don't need those betrayers! I have REAL friends!

I have learned that I there is a way to live and learn through betrayal. I have committed myself to being on guard against becoming the betrayer.

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

Monday, January 7, 2008


Here is a picture of me and Fred with cousins Jim and Jayne! Fred and Jim grew up like brothers and Jayne and I are convinced that we are blood related because we immediately loved one another from the start of our relationship nearly 20 years ago. We spent a lot of time with these folks until we moved to Virginia in 1995, at which time we sort of lost track. God brought us back together this past New Year's, (answer to prayer) and it is as if we never spent a decade away from our relationship. There is a lot to catch up on, and that will be fun! What a blessing to have them back in our lives, to find out we have even more in common than we did back then, and to be able to pick up where we left off! We are looking forward to great times ahead!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Year Surprises

As New Year's Eve approached this past 2007, I decided that I was not going to make any New Year's Resolutions. The past two years, I have relocated the resolution's list to my birthday. For example, the year of turning 45 was the year to have more fun (since my doctor had told me my stress level was going to kill me if I did not get a grip on relaxing more). When I saw her for my annual exam around my 46th birthday, she suggested that I have a little more fun with salads instead of hamburgers! Ha! So, I guess that my 46th year will be more about health. Anyway, New Year's Resolutions were not on my list of priorities. I found myself discouraged with writing down all of the things that I wanted to do differently at the start of the New Year only to find most of those things unaccomplished at the start of the next. SO NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR ME! Or so I thought...

On December 30
th, I unexpectedly ran across something that my middle son had written that hurt my feelings. He said some things out of anger toward his family that were quite harsh and the way that he described me was critical and unfair. He did apologize, explaining that he was angry at the time but his words continued to ring in my head. I realized it was a good time to act on something that God had taught me some time ago: if someone says something in a critical spirit and not in love, still take that to Him and ask Him if there is any truth in it. “Is there something offensive in my heart You want to change, Lord?”

The floodgate of possible New Year's resolutions opened up! God is faithful to answer prayer and He especially likes to answer prayer that results in growing holiness in His children. This one incident in my life on December 30th lead to a good list of resolutions and answered prayer. I saw some things in my son's words that I needed to work on. I realized that this would affect several close relationships for the better. A long time prayer for a reconciled family relationship was answered with a chance to reunite with our cousins who had been very, very special to us. We now look forward to picking up where we left off 14 years ago and it is so exciting! An email came to me from someone who was part of a situation that has caused a great deal of unresolved hurt and bitterness-another situation of words spoken with a critical spirit. Love and honest forgiveness took place. The incidents continue but the point is that God seemed to be creating my New Year's resolution list for me! It was a mysterious experience but one that I am very grateful for.

If I trust anyone to make my New Year's resolutions for me, it is Him! Wow! What a neat way to start the New Year and what a wonderful way to resolve to change in my life...my creator caring enough about me to write my list for me...in absolute love and grace and giving me all I need to accomplish them! I look forward to 2008!

Happy New Year!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

2 Corinthians 5:17