The LORD preserves the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Psalm 116:6
Sometimes I worry about myself and the things I remember. I can’t seem to remember 5 things from the grocery store, but I can remember the silliest little details about things that seemingly have no relevance or importance. As I get older, I think sometimes things stick in our mind for a reason and we might do well to sit still for a bit and try to figure out what it is about simple, silly things that keep them in our mind. There is usually a reason and a message!
Last September I wrote a post about my Grandma Thelma and the flurry of conversation between cousins and aunts on Facebook on the day that would have been her 107th birthday. As the conversations continued on for days, I made mention of one simple toy from Grandma’s toy box. The toy I remembered was a red and yellow plastic motorcycle with a policeman on
it. I suppose the thing that made the toy memorable to me was the fact
that the policeman didn’t have a head. Now you might be wondering why Grandma would keep it around but the boy cousins would all explain that it was because that thing was indestructible. I thought I was the only one who remembered it but I was wrong. One cousin in particular spoke right up
and claimed to have the toy in his home. I was shocked! I remembered
it fondly because it spoke to my Grandmas resourceful character and her ability to find usefulness in almost anything but I figured the aunts and uncles had tossed it out when they cleaned out Grandma’s things. The surprise got even bigger this week when we were all tagged in a picture from the motorcycle owning cousin. The picture was of the toy, which has been turned into a Christmas tree ornament and is proudly and lovingly displayed
on his family Christmas tree every year. The simple picture drew me to tears and tossed me back in time several decades. I can honestly say I’ve
gone back to look at that picture more than a dozen times in the past few days and each time, I am flooded with memories and laughter and a sense of connection to cousins hundreds of miles away that I rarely have the chance to see. All that from a headless motorcycle cop hanging on a tree…silly; yes…powerful; you bet!
Jesus spent the three years of His public ministry traveling and teaching the people about His Father using parables. His parables were simple stories with a magnificent lesson. He chose to use something simple to grab the attention of His followers. I think He’s still doing the same thing today. When I wonder why on earth I can remember silly things He’s usually got something to tell me. That old toy/tree ornament is a great reminder of a family influenced by the simple, humble life of a faithful woman. It reminds me that I remain connected to the people who loved her even if we’re hundreds of miles apart. I remember my Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Justice because she taught with love and gentleness. I remember a classmate
in first grade who ate Elmer’s paste because it tasted minty not knowing it
could make him sick, I felt it was my duty to warn him; which he didn’t like but the teacher backed me up and I will always remember the day he thanked me for “keeping his belly safe.” I can’t remember to lay something out to thaw for supper but I remember as plain as day my next door neighbor playing along every year as my brother Jim and I put a bouquet of lilacs tied with fishing string on her front porch on May day. We'd hide in the bushes after ringing the bell and then tug the string to move the flowers each time she bent down to grab them. Every year she acted completely surprised that we could be so tricky! Why do I remember those things? I remember them because like the parables, they were simple, common things that demonstrated Christ-like values and behaviors.
Growing closer to Christ isn’t rocket-science! It’s very much about the little things; the simple things. Being a disciple is a job for everyone and if you’re looking for a way to find Him so you can follow Him…look for Him in the simple things that touch your heart…like headless motorcycle cop tree ornaments and the cousin who hangs it on his tree and then shares the picture…give it some thought and you will find Him in the middle of it all gently, sweetly, simply inviting you in.
A Seed To Plant: Pick a parable…any parable and read it, then read it slowly and ask God to show you a word or a phrase that will draw you more tightly to Him.
Blessings on your day!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” John 16:33
It was one of those days you couldn’t have made up if you tried! I just had to let God be in charge because there wasn’t a darn thing I could do to unravel the craziness going on around me! The little lovelies were excited beyond imagination about the upcoming arrival of St. Nicholas so the noise and energy level in room 1-2 was a few decibels higher than normal but there was no mistaking the cell phone ring from my computer table.
My phone rarely rings and if it does, I leave it until recess but something made the hair on the back of my neck stand up when it rang…funny how
that happened. As I picked up the phone I could see on the display that it was son number 2. Jason had two big exams that day making my laid back easy going son a bit ruffled. His voice on the phone made me ruffled too. He was reporting the indicator lights displaying on his dash board as he traveled from one campus to the other between exams. As he was reading the messages from his dash board, I hear dinging and then he said, “well, now there’s smoke coming out from under my hood so I’m pulling off the road”. Humm, what now…unless I could load 20 seven year olds into my Impala, there was no way I could rescue him. Waiting on a tow truck, switching vehicles with his brother (who just happened to be home) and still getting two exams taken all fell in place but not without a lot of stress and blood pressure increases.
Once I realized everything in his world was in order, the phone rang again…no kidding…I answered it and it was son number 1. He was home working on Miles, Shannon’s stubborn, high-strung show steer getting him ready for the big Winter Beef Classic show at Michigan State. Something spooked Miles and away he went across several fields until he came to a nice bean field a ways down the road. He had no intention of coming back home easily. The great escape occurred about noon and he wasn’t returned to the barn until nearly 6 that evening. Shannon was out in the field with her dad, brother and some great neighbors in the freezing cold. Another element tossed into the evening just for a little added fun; Shannon was being inducted into the National Honor Society at 7 and had to somehow magically transform herself from the tomboy wearing muddy chore clothes and boots to a lovely young lady dressed in the new dress hanging on her closet door. We were also in a time crunch because the speaker for the induction ceremony was me...just a little stress!
Add to all that the fact that I had been booked to speak at three different events during the week and during lunch, between phone calls from the
boys, I was working on a power point for a big presentation Friday night and
accidentally deleted three hours of work in one simple click of the mouse. I jammed the copy machine, gave half of a spelling test with the wrong words, used a permanent marker on the white board and drove all the way down our gravel road to school with my scarf half hanging out the car door. But through it all…there was calmness in my soul…partly because there wasn’t a darn thing I could do about any of it but mostly because I did the one thing I could…PRAYED without ceasing. I prayed for patience, peace, safety, comfort and perseverance. I prayed not because it was all I COULD do, I prayed with an expectant hope because it was all I NEEDED to do.
When the day was finally over and Dave and I crawled in bed we recounted the day. We didn’t know the extent of the repair bill on the Pontiac and we witnessed the disappointment on Shannon and Kevin’s faces when they realized Miles wouldn’t be going to MSU, those were the yucky parts. But
the good news was abundant! The Pontiac smoked in a good spot…not on the freeway or in downtown Lansing, but on a less busy road not all that far from home and the tow truck came in time for him to make it to his next exam on time. Miles was back in the barn and nobody got hurt. Everybody learned big lessons in patience and we were reminded of the value of great neighbors. Miles taking a run down Pratt road on a Thursday afternoon was a much better deal than him taking a run through the ag Pavilion at MSU with 1,100 other head of cattle and hundreds of people to crash into. God was good that day and He worked through some crazy circumstances.
Joy is God’s gift to us. Joy isn’t an emotion; it’s the state of being completely in the will of God. Sometimes that’s an easy, cozy place to be and other times it’s tricky, disappointing and stressful but that true joy comes sparkling through when you realize in the middle of all of it that God has you in the palm of His hand and everything will be fine; maybe not easy, but fine! Sometimes it takes things like a smokin’ Pontiac and a crazy steer to build patience, trust and expectant hope in the Lord who loves us ALWAYS and UNCONDITIONALLY. He doesn’t give us crazy days to punish us, He shows up in them so we can see how much He loves us, protect us and guide us!
A Seed To Plant: Start each day this week with a prayer for peace and for a greater awareness of God’s presence in your life.
Blessings on your day!
…this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood. Luke 21:3-4
Every time I hear this Gospel story my shoulders droop a little and the wind gets knocked out of my sails a bit. Upon hearing it, I’m always inspired to give a little more…but not from my surplus. Each time I hear this reading I recognize a new shoot of selfishness sprouting up in my heart and I don’t like the way that feels. Sometimes hearing God’s word is like looking in a mirror and the reflection isn’t always pleasant. The Gospel talks about coins or money, but when I ponder this reading I think of giving in much broader terms than money. I think about my time, my talents and my attitude.
The widow gave with complete trust! What an example for us all. I’m pretty good at half-trusting or maybe on a good day two-thirds trusting and if life is going along smoothly I might even dive into three-quarter trusting for a day or two but then satan and his seeds of doubt start to enter the picture and everything changes. That little widow gave EVERYTHING she had knowing she would die of hunger, or feast on the love of the God she trusted…either would have been fine with her! Holy Cow…I’d like to learn to do that! I’ve been thinking about this reading for a couple of weeks and the Holy Spirit has sent me several thoughts I’d like to share.
This is the time of year we are aware of charitable giving. We drop coins in the bell ringer’s bucket, take tags off the giving tree and we donate food to the food bank. I remember when the kids were little; they picked all the things from the pantry they didn’t like to eat to give to the food bank. They weren’t too happy when I made them pick one of their favorite foods or snacks to give away. I got one of those “see here” lessons one year when one of the boys took the last container of coffee to the collection basket. Given my enormous LOVE of coffee; that felt a little like the widow’s gift but I think the Gospel invites us to look deeper and wider than holiday generosity.
What if we took a chunk of our summer vacation spending and used it to buy amusement park tickets for a struggling family who could use a break? What if we downsized or gave up our family birthday gift budget and sponsored a birthday party at a local homeless shelter or orphanage? What if we spent a week of summer vacation helping habitat for humanity instead of renting a cottage on the lake? They seem like big ideas I know but are they bigger than handing over your last two coins? When we think of giving from our means instead of from our surplus, the possibilities could be amazing and life changing not only for the receiver of our generosity but for the giver as well.
For some reason I kept thinking about the gift of our attitude. I’ll be honest,
sometimes my attitude gives a “gift” I don’t intend. As we enter the Christmas season our heart and our faith tell us it’s a season of wonder and joy and preparation for Jesus, the greatest gift ever received. Unfortunately the chaos of the season brings stress, hectic schedules, impatience and too much attention on material things. All of that craziness can leave our attitude a bit soggy but what if we decided to give the gift of a pleasant smile or a cheerful hello to ten people each time we were out and about this December? What if we gave up our spot in line two or three times a week, that would be a gift of cheerfulness and of our time and patience…some days we only have a few of those “coins” left. What if we called someone who was struggling with something in their life; relationships, sickness, financial stress you name it and we gave them the gift of a cup of coffee and an hour of conversation focused not on giving advice and “fixing” but simply on compassion and love. Those were precisely the motives that encouraged the widow to give her gift.
I also thought a lot about giving things that really don’t cost anything at all. There are always people who need our help, our patience, our ears and our hands. Time is a precious commodity and sometimes we are stingier with it than we are with our money. I wonder what would happen if we would give up a night at the movies or out with friends and spend it visiting with a lonely elderly person. I wonder what would happen if we volunteered to help at a nursing home or soup kitchen instead of going out for dinner or sitting on our cozy couch resting. Jesus praised the efforts of the poor widow not because of the value of her gift but because of the value of her humility, trust and generosity. So; which coins are you going to give?
A Seed To Plant: Pick one or two of the ideas from this post and just do it! I guarantee Jesus will be pleased and we will be blessed.
Blessings on your day!
Stay Awake! Matthew 24:42
Holy cow…did December sneak up on anybody else? I used to invisibly roll my eyes in youthful disrespect when “older” people said, “oh just wait; the older you get the faster time goes by!” The older I get, the more truth I
discover in those words! Does anyone else ever feel like hitting the pause button long enough to get caught up?
This past weekend many Christians began the season of Advent. I have a new Advent attitude this year. My new attitude comes from some extra prayer and study about the preparation season leading up to the birth of Christ. I’ve been “hitting the books” so to speak because I have the great privilege of presenting a Woman’s night of Advent Prayer and Reflection this week…twice! I discovered some simple truths and beautiful thoughts for all of us as we stand at the edge of December. I hope they give you a new perspective on this often stressful, hectic, perhaps even chaotic month. Stay awake fits…not because we’re exhausted by all the activity but because we need to be awake and tuned in to the gift of God’s Son or Christmas becomes nothing more than another day.
Popular culture and the wonderful world of retail sales catapulted us into Christmas right after the last bag of Halloween candy left the shelf but those of us who yearn for the true meaning…the deeper meaning…the life changing meaning of Christmas need to be willing to wait a little. As a society, we aren’t very good at waiting! We like everything quickly and conveniently and we sometimes get lost in the “one-up” philosophy
that often drives our ambitions and our actions. If you feel even a little part of that thinking seeping into your heart or thoughts, sit still for a minute and think about Advent.
If the season of Advent could be summed up in two words, they would be PATIENTLY WAITING! Yikes…really…but when will the shopping and baking and decorating and celebrating happen if we just sit around waiting?
Good question I suppose, but maybe the answer is right in front of us…maybe we don’t have to spend so much time focused on all those things. If those are the things that take away from really “getting” Christmas maybe a prayerful re-vamp of December priorities is in order. I think that’s the point of this post! I have a few big questions for all of us…ready…Is walking into church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning the highlight of your December? What consumes more time; shopping for the perfect gifts or preparing to receive the perfect gift of God’s Son? And finally, would you like to spend Christmas wrapped up in the Wonder and Awe lying in the manger or exhausted, sick of the decorations and ready to flip the page and clean up the mess? Jesus is bigger than one day!
God sent the gift of His Son in a tiny, humble, simple beginning…He figured we could relate to that. I think He felt like each of us could accept and believe something so “real”. Each December He gives us the chance to re-live the true meaning of His gift. Each December we have a chance to clean our spiritual house to prepare for Him to dwell in our hearts. That only happens through still, quiet prayer and a desire on our part to seek Him and be blessed beyond measure by the true gift of Christmas. I’m sure some of you are tempted to scream at your screen at me and say…geez Sheri…it’s the busiest month of the year and you are suggesting I take time I already don’t have enough of to sit still and pray for my heart to be ready for the New Born King! ABSOLUTELY!!! Scream away, but that’s exactly what I’m challenging all of us to do this December. I have to let you in on a secret…God can multiply time! If you unselfishly, trustingly, prayerfully give Him some of your day, He will bless you unbelievably. Be honest as you start your prayer, say to Him, “God, I’ve got SO much to do today, please know these 10 or 15 minutes I’m going to sit here in prayer are precious. Please take my busy day and show me how to make You a part of it. Bless my
actions and my words and my tasks.” Then my friends…stand back and prepare to be amazed at what He will do! If you aren’t sure what to do
with that prayer time, read the story…the Christmas story from the Annunciation all the way through the Magi. Read it little by little again and again asking God to get your heart ready. Ask Him to make this Christmas about His Son…His gift and not so much about all the other stuff. I know it may sound crazy but invite God to go shopping with you…He has made some amazing gifts “appear” when I had no ideas and very little
budget. Invite Him into all of it, asking Him to help you keep His Son as the focus.
I figure if I do Advent right, I will go to Mass Christmas Eve with my family and be so filled with joy and gratitude my heart will feel like it just might burst! I want to FEEL the meaning of Christmas! That’s my goal this December.
A Seed To Plant: Take the first step today…sit in quiet prayer and ask God to show you how to “do December” with a spirit of prayerful anticipation of the most amazing gift imaginable; His Son.
Blessings on your day!
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him, bless his name! Psalm 100:4
I love everything about Thanksgiving! I love the food, the weather, the decorations the spirit…all of it! There is an anticipation that comes with the last weeks of November and all the things that are just around the corner. As I prepared my list of things I’m thankful for this year, I decided that I needed to show how thankful I was rather than just think about it.
After some prayerful thought, here’s what I came up with.
*I’m thankful for my husband and my children. I will show them how thankful I am by using patient and kind words when I’m stressed or rushed. I will
also make sure I prepare each of them their favorite supper.
*I’m thankful for the freedom and the desire I have to praise God. I’ll show my thankfulness by spending extra time each morning praying for people who need to feel the love, mercy, healing and grace of the Father.
*I’m thankful for the food I have in abundance. I’ll show my thankfulness by sharing my abundance with the local food pantry and by eating a little less each day and offering that sacrifice prayerfully for those who go to bed hungry.
*I’m thankful for my warm cozy home. I will show my thankfulness by contributing to a charity that helps the homeless.
*I’m thankful for my clothes. I’ll show my thankfulness by cleaning out the closets and donating clothes, shoes and coats to organizations who can
use my excess to combat someone else’s need.
*I’m thankful for my arms and legs. I’ll show my thankfulness by doing more to act as Christ’s hands and feet on earth…even when I’m tired or impatient or when it’s not convenient.
*I’m thankful for my job. I’ll show my thankfulness by remembering to pray for those who are unemployed or underemployed.
*I’m thankful for the gifts and talents God has given me. I’ll show my thankfulness by always trying to use those gifts and talents humbly to further God’s kingdom.
I am so thankful for the rich and abundant blessings God has chosen to give me; now I better get to work so I can show Him how grateful I am.
A Seed To Plant: As you make a list of all the things you’re thankful for
this year, make up your own list of ways to demonstrate your gratefulness.
Blessings on your day…and Happy Thanksgiving!
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought great
joy to my soul. Psalm 94:19
I am an early riser, it’s just how I’m wired I guess but even I have my limits. It had been a crazy week and when my alarm went off at 4:45 on SATURDAY morning I think it’s fair to say my thoughts were not filled with joyful praise to the Lord! It took a few foggy seconds but then I sleepily remembered that the reason my alarm was beeping at me was because I
had a date with a group of lovely ladies in a nearby church basement. It was a wonderful morning. There were so many ladies there, at 8 am on a Saturday morning for one simple reason…to draw a litter closer to the Lord. They were a beautiful crowd and I’m so happy I got the chance to enjoy their company.
As He often does, God had a surprise for me in that crowd. It was a surprise that certainly made it worth getting up that early on a Saturday morning. I saw toward the back of the room, a lovely lady I knew only by face…a face I saw more than twenty years ago and never forgot. The lady I saw works for the church that had invited me to speak Saturday morning and she has devoted decades of her life to the service of the Lord. She touched my life and she never even knew it and I vowed that if our paths ever crossed again I would be sure to thank her. The story began on a May day twenty years ago when our son Jason was born. I had been moved into my room and the nurse told me there was another woman in labor and they would be bringing her in after the baby was born. She didn’t arrive until early the next morning and it didn’t take long to realize all was not well on the other side of the thin curtain that separated us in that tiny hospital room. This beautiful couple, whose name I don’t even know, had been in the labor and delivery room all afternoon and all night delivering pre-mature twin boys. The first son was still born and the other was in very critical condition. I listened to the grieving father speak with the furniture store who was to deliver the double set of nursery furniture that afternoon. I listened to the mother softly cry as the father cancelled half of the order and postponed the delivery. I was engulfed in their pain and grief as I sat on the edge of my bed cradling my happy, healthy beautiful baby boy and I felt like my heart was going to break for this young set of parents. Just when I thought I couldn’t take one more minute of it, in walked a lady named Rose. She came with a spirit of joy and peace and compassion that bathed the whole room and everyone in it. She came to represent the church the couple belonged to but she was truly there as an ambassador of the Christ who would bear them up. Her presence cast an immediate calm on all of us. She wrapped them in her arms as they saw their tiny son’s foot prints and locks of hair. She prayerfully prepared them to meet their other tiny son and when the visit was complete she sat and prayed with this couple until they collapsed on the bed in complete emotional and physical exhaustion. She was absolutely amazing! I have never met anyone like her. She had such a gift and as she left the young couple, she came to my side of the room to peek at my baby as if to re-assure me I still had the right to celebrate and be happy about the new life in my arms despite the loss of the couple next to me. As she left the room that day I thanked God for her and the gift she gave that couple and to me. Saturday, I got to deliver that message to a very humble, tearful beautiful lady named Rose. I asked her how she found the words in situations like that and she assured me she never really had to look for them because when you open yourself completely to the work of the Lord, He supplies everything you need, including His perfect words when we have none of our own. In the course of our conversation, I learned that Rose will retire this week. She smiled and said she thought it was time since she will be 85 at the end of the month. Again, she left me stunned!
The kind of compassion Rose shared that May afternoon, took courage and great faith and trust in the healing power of God. I think that’s what I admired most that day. I think we are great at spreading kindness and finding and sharing God in the celebrations and successes of life but it takes something bigger to reach out when the situation is hard or painful. I have wondered many times what that couple would have done without the loving comfort of the Father delivered by a lovely soul on that dark day. I’m just so very pleased I got to tell Rose what a blessing she was. Seeing her and hugging her neck Saturday morning reminded me of two things; first I need to remember God can work through us in any situation if we just ask Him to and then have the courage to follow in the direction He points us. And second, sometimes life is just hard, messy and sad and those are the times we are needed most to share the love and peace of Christ. Without pain and turmoil, we would never appreciate peace. Getting up early on a
Saturday morning to spend time in the company of those who love the Lord was truly a blessing!
A Seed To Plant: If your life has been touched by the peace and compassion of someone, find a way to let them know how much you appreciated it.
Blessings on your day!
"This is the will of God: that you be saints" 1 Thessalonians 4:3
I'm getting old...and some days I think maybe even a little bit wiser. One of the gifts I pray for constantly is humility. In my search for humility, I realize that there are writers out there who say things in a much better way than I do so today I'd like to share three little jewels from a book called Mustard Seeds by Matthew Kelly. The verse from Thessalonians is quite true and just maybe we can all find some truth, inspiration and motivation in these short ideas to help us on our journey toward sainthood.
*God provides enough for our need, not our greed. Give and share!
*You may want to know more, but you do not want to live what you already know.
*Sin is to step out from the umbrella of God. It is not so much that God will punish you for it, but that you have stepped out from under His loving protection. Separation from God is the worst punishment of all.
Blessings on your day!
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be glory forever, Amen. Romans 11:36
I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as random happenings. You may disagree with me and that’s absolutely fine but I’ve begun to believe that every event, situation and person provides an opportunity to learn and grow in faith. This weekend there were more than a dozen young women in and out of our home. They were all here to say hello to a lovely teenager who flew in from Maryland named Lexi. Most of the girls met each other at a summer youth conference at Franciscan University in Steubenville Ohio last July. Some stopped by and quickly became new friends. Lexi was my daughter Shannon’s “randomly selected” roommate at the week-long conference. It doesn’t seem very random to me that a group of girls from Michigan gathered to laugh and pray with a friend from Maryland that they met in Ohio. Humm…seems bigger than random to me!
I shiver when I think of all the times we dismiss the deliberate work of God as random, coincidence, karma or fate. I think our loving Father is much more personal and spectacular than that! I remember the night I met
my husband. He was taking my roommate out to dinner and I answered the door and chatted with him while he waited for her to finish getting ready.
Several weeks later I sat down in a meeting with a room full of strangers
and guess who was seated right across the table from me…yup…my husband. I don’t think that was random. I also remember the cold snowy winter evening I was coming home from the Orthodontist with three kids and a trunk full of groceries and I got a flat tire. The wind chill that evening was more than 10 below zero and after digging the spare tire out from under all the groceries, I couldn’t get the frozen lug nuts off to change the tire. As I
knelt in the snow frozen and frustrated, a gentleman stopped and invited me to drive my car to the farm right up the road. It turns out he owned a tire shop and he had all the equipment necessary to change my tire in his heated shop. Random… I think not!
I really think Christ dwells among us and works through us. When I think about my days here on earth, I realize every single thing is meant to
draw me closer to Him. The sooner I realize that and lift my heart to Him in thanksgiving for the million ways a week He works in my life, the more exciting it becomes to see His works. When I recognize things I might have
once called random, as His handiwork, I feel loved and protected and blessed. Those are great things to feel for sure!
A Seed To Plant: Take some time this week to write down all the things that seem like “random” events. At the end of the week, lift your list to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to show you how He was working purposefully in
each of those situations.
Blessings on Your day!
P.S. I have been writing this blog twice a week for nearly a year and a half and for the first time, a computer glitch caused me to loose the entire post except for the title line. I have no idea how or why but I just had to laugh and realize my first set of words must not have been the way He wanted them so he invited me to try it again! He is so funny and so bossy isn't He!
My Peace I give you, my peace I leave with you. John 14:27
For a couple of years when the kids were little, they stayed two days a week with the fabulous Coffee Cindy. There were lots of fun kids to play with
and a woods to explore and bikes and toys and fun at every turn. One of the many, many fond memories they have of their time with Coffee Cindy was
her story reading. They often took field trips to the library and they would return with a bag full of books. She would line them all up on the
couch and read story after story. One day she read a story called Five
Minutes of Peace. It was a sweet little story about a mother elephant who
just wanted five minutes of peace and quiet to rest and drink her tea. Mother elephant went from room to room only to have her little elephant babies follow her and disturb the peace. After reading the story, Cindy asked if
all the kids gave their mamma five minutes of peace. Kevin spoke up in a loud voice and said, “No way!” Jason responded with a loving, “She likes it when we’re with her all the time.” We still laugh about their concept of mamma’s personal space. I find it strange that later in life I switched from High School to lower elementary education. Spending 7 hours a day with a room full of little lovelies doesn’t provide much peace and quiet. We’ve recently had some indoor recesses and our first snow of the year so the past few days have been anything BUT peaceful and quiet.
About ten this morning I realized I really needed five minutes of peace so during lunch; I snuck off to my favorite spot during a crazy school day…the church. Our church is so beautiful and so peaceful I knew some quiet minutes with the Lord would be the best idea of the week. On the walk next door to the church I remembered the Mother Elephant story and I giggled thinking Mamma Elephant was finally going to get her five minutes of peace. I was already composing this blog in my mind as I pulled open the huge heavy wooden door to my peaceful spot. I slipped into a pew and knelt down to pray and was suddenly jolted right down to my cotton socks by a rather loud and off-key sound coming from the pipe organ up in the choir loft. A few more seconds passed and then I realized that they were tuning the organ so I left not really getting my five minutes of peace. I just had to giggle; God does have a great sense of humor!
There is a little bit of Mother Elephant in all of us! We really do need some
peace and silence each day. It’s good for the soul because the sounds and events of the world don’t always build us up and draw us closer to Christ.
Quite the opposite is often true. We need those minutes of still silence to empty our heart and mind of earthly concerns so God can speak to us about the concerns of heaven. God won’t yell, He speaks to us only in the beauty of silence. It’s the best…we don’t have to worry about what to say or think or do…we need only to be present and still in the silence asking God to come into our hearts and give us a word or a thought to guide us. We simply can’t accomplish that if we don’t put down the ipod, ipad, lap top, tablet, tv and smartphone. No training or equipment is required; just sit down, open up your heart and invite God to meet you in the middle of the
silence. He will reveal more to you than you can imagine.
I suppose when we really stop to think about it, God is like my son’s interpretation of mother elephant…He wants us with Him all the time. Why not make a date…don’t worry about what you wear and certainly don’t worry about what to say…it’s a silent date which is the best kind of all when Christ is your date.
A Seed To Plant: Get out your planner and schedule five minutes of peace each day! The Father will be happy to meet you in the silence.
Blessings on your day!
And God saw all He had created and said, “It is good.”…Genesis 1:31
It was a beautiful day for a Sunday drive …all the way to Iowa! I know it sounds pretty crazy to go all the way from Michigan to Iowa (14 hours)
in one day but it’s just the way the schedule worked out. We needed to pick up Shannon’s show steer and between post-season volleyball, work and all the other things that can fill our days, we were left with only one day to get it done. Crazy…but it was a wonderful Sunday drive!
The sun was shining (that is, once it came up) the whole day and the sights across Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa were so pretty! What other Sunday could you enjoy the crisp sunny fall air across 4 states. We saw a few leftover splashes of fall color, and drove along the scenic Mississippi river. It really was the prettiest Sunday drive ever! The greatest sight of the day was at the Wilson-Kedley Cattle Company barn…my oldest son! I hadn’t seen Kevin since the beginning of August so he was truly a sight for sore eyes. We got a great tour of the place he’s called home the past three months and when we pulled away two hours later, we brought a little piece of his world with us…a 600 pound steer named Miles. The goodbye wasn’t too bad because he will be home in two weeks…I can’t wait to have his feet parked under my supper table again.
I’ll be the first one to admit that the thought of 14 hours on the road pulling a stock trailer didn’t do much for me…but the thought of seeing my son and the excitement on Shannon’s face seeing her new 4-H steer made it all
worth it. Isn’t that just how life is sometimes; we get it in our heads that something is going to be a drag and all of the sudden God turns it into a wonderful experience. I had no idea the Mississippi river drive would be so beautiful. I had no idea I would eat the most delicious hamburger I ever tasted and I had no idea God would make the whole day so enjoyable. What I thought would be an endurance test, was a great blessing. I’m
glad I got to meet the great people Kevin has spent so much time with. I’m glad I got to see the places he’s talked about and I’m glad he drove so fast on those hilly Iowa roads that it made me feel like I was on a roller coaster. My dad used to do that when my brothers and I were little and the lurching stomach and the giggles that followed brought back a long forgotten happy
I began typing this post somewhere in Illinois late this afternoon and the battery on my laptop died after the first two paragraphs so I’m wrapping it up on this late Sunday night. I guess the message today is very simple…don’t box God in. He’s bigger than our best day and He loves to show off with huge blessings when we least expect them. Looking back at the day…I got to see two of my children very happy, I got to sit next to my sweetie for hours and hours, we laughed, prayed and chatted together, I saw beautiful landscape, met some wonderful people and even though it wasn’t a highlight of my day…I got to listen to the Detroit Lions beat the Chicago Bears on the radio! God is good…all the time!
A Seed To Plant: Think of one thing you have to do this week that you aren’t looking forward to. Now ask God to surprise you in that circumstance…I can’t wait to see what happens!
Blessings on your day!