If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts... Hebrews 3:15
My mom was a wonderful cook and she insisted that I learn to cook when I was young. She would say, “Supper doesn’t just appear, somebody needs to do the work and if you’re old enough to reach the top of the counter you’re old enough to do the work!” Now before I tell this little story, I have to point out that I could only reach the top of the counter because I was standing on a chair! I was in the first grade and she thought she’d start me out with something simple…biscuits. Let me also point out that Bisquick was NOT involved in this lesson! I’m still not sure what happened (probably because I was 6) but the biscuits I made were probably even too hard to be used for a puck in a professional hockey game! I’m not sure there has ever been a harder biscuit made!
I was in church last Friday and the kids began to sing. A few words of the song hit my heart like a truck and barreled through my ears like a freight train. The words that got me said, Lord take the hardness from my heart, roll away the stony part, heal me with a love that’s true… I’ve sung that
song dozens of times and it never got me like that… God was tapping me on the shoulder. I thought about it all day and still not being clear about things I decided to stop in church after school and just sit in the silence and see if He could help me figure it out. I closed my eyes and immediately saw a bright, colorful, vivid picture of…get this…the stone rolled away from the tomb of Jesus. I just love it when God whaps me upside the head like that. I think His message was, “Sheri, I can’t show myself to you with that big ‘ole rock covering your heart! I want your WHOLE heart so ask me to roll it away!” I realized that my “stony part” was keeping me from trusting Him completely…it’s the thing that stands in the way…the thing that I think I can carry all by myself leaving His schedule clear to work on things like curing cancer or restoring world peace. Not true! I can’t move it alone! Neither could the women at the tomb on Easter morning, moving that stone away took the power of the Risen Christ. The good news is He’s here to roll back the stones covering our hard hearts so He can reveal His glory to and through us.
Well, I’m here to tell you that my stony part is as hard and useless as those biscuits I made when I was 6! This scripture passage says clearly, if today you hear his voice…well I heard it loud and clear! He pointed out my hardness five times in the month of January in very profound ways and I tried to ignore Him. Then dog gone it, 230 kids started singing that song last Friday with their beautiful, pure, innocent voices and I realized after my Friday afternoon chat in church that I couldn’t leave that stone there any longer and I certainly couldn't move it on my own. It’s taken me almost a week to write this post because I wasn’t sure I had the guts to put this in print, which is really kind of silly because my “stony part” is right there for everyone to see…it’s all my pudgy ,squishy little rolls and dimples. I can trust and follow God to do all kinds of things like speak, teach and write but I don’t seem to have enough faith to know He’ll help me tackle this out of balance relationship I have with food. I keep tryin to roll that stone away all by myself but one quick glance can tell ya how that’s workin for me!
When I wrote my New Year’s post I set out to change my lifestyle and take hold of my health in the year leading up to my 50th birthday. Well, I promptly gained five more pounds and in total exasperation scribbled in my prayer journal…God, make this your problem not just mine…show me how to honor this body you created so I can do the work you have for me in this life. Since that day, I have had 5 links to stories written by authors and women I respect all pertaining to exactly that request. Each time I read one, I was mildly motivated but still that hard heart said things like “it’s too hard” or “God loves me just the way I am…I am wonderfully made”. That statement is true but I was completely using it as an excuse not to fix the problem. The last two articles were the ones that tied it all together and made the bells and whistles go off last Friday when the kids sang. One was a column that bluntly pointed out the cold hard fact that no matter what you’re trying to accomplish you simply have to “do the work!” and the other was about getting nothing if you do nothing. During the month of January I have been praying for and following the adventures of the very wonderful Lisa Hendey, founder of Catholic Mom.com as she embarked on the Whole30 challenge. (Whole30 challenge, whole9life.com) I remember thinking…NO WAY could I do that. But every time I turned around I would see or hear something more about it. I have also read, seen or heard several times this month, if you’re doing something new, different or substantially challenging in your life, tell everyone so they can pray for you, support you and hold you accountable.
I’ve been tryin to roll away this stone for a couple decades and now I realize it’s the thing that’s standing between God’s will for my life and my stubborn, selfish nature. I have no choice but to do the work so He can take away the stony part and heal me with His true love. I’m tellin ya though…this is going to be a battle extraordinaire! It involves bad habits, attitude, stubbornness, a wee bit of self-pity and a chubby woman who LOVES potato chips and chocolate. This Whole30 challenge is a doozey but I believe I’ve been led to this spot at this time for a reason. I’d appreciate your prayers…I’m sure there will be times during the next 30 days when I think even those biscuits I made when I was 6 would taste good. So beginning February 1st…let the stone rolling commence!
A Seed To Plant: Take time this week to sit in the silence and ask God to show you the stony parts that need to be rolled away in your life.
Blessings on your day!
A new commandment I give to you: love one another as I have loved you." John 13:34
When I was a third grader, Mrs. Depperschmidt was my teacher. I have more memories of that school year than any other elementary year. I learned a lot that year; academic stuff as well as important life lessons. Mrs. Depperschmidt taught us how to spell her last name (no kidding, it was a spelling word) she taught us how to multiply, how to write proper sentences and how to say ‘sit down and be quiet’, in Spanish. She taught me how to be kind and concerned without being a ‘mother hen’ and she made me feel like a brilliant reader even thought I was nowhere as good a reader as my friend Penny. I remember wanting to be more like both of them. Mrs. Depperschmidt often shared stories of her experience as a 4-H exchange student in South America. I thought that made her the bravest woman I knew; she even had 4-H business cards with her picture on them. That made her famous. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. I’m blessed for more reasons than I can count and having a long list of wonderful people like Mrs. Depperschmidt influence my life is the reason.
It seems everywhere I turn lately I am bombarded with gun control and other similar political arguments. I have to admit that I am not a politically minded person so it makes me pretty nuts. I should also add that I’m the woman who would walk a mile around a situation to avoid a conflict or argument…it’s just how I’m wired I guess. Several days ago I was feeling a little flustered about the whole situation and I saw a quote that said, ‘the solution to the problem is not gun control, the solution is teaching and DEMONSTRATING the value of human life.’ Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees! Is it an oversimplification; maybe for some. Is it simple Christian logic; you bet your boots it is!! In about 20 words we find our mission…the Gospel mission…Jesus’ mission. It’s the Great Commandment in different words. If we don’t pay attention we’re going to get ourselves in a really big pickle!
One of the biggest reasons Mrs. Depperschmidt had such an impact on my life, and probably the life of all of her students, is that she valued us. She respected the way each of us was creatively made by God. If we were
to make a list of all the people who had a positive impact on us, most of the
names on that list would be there because of the way we were treated by that person. We each have the capacity and the responsibility to teach and demonstrate the value of human life. It happens one soul at a time…one kind action; one generous deed; one unselfish gesture…that’s how it starts. Twelve simple men without specialized backgrounds, training or credentials set out to spread the Word and Promise of their good friend Jesus…and those twelve simple, virtually unqualified men absolutely changed the world. We are called to follow in their footsteps. We, in many ways are just like them; faithful, humble, unqualified friends of Jesus who simply HAVE TO set out on a mission to spread the message and change the world. The peace and love of the Father are the qualifications we need. Luckily, we have all been equipped with both…now let’s get to the business of sharing them…it’s impossible to be disrespectful of life if love, peace and respect are the pillars of all we do and say. When you get up out of your chair and start you mission, don’t forget to look back and thank some of those people in your life who valued, respected, influenced and inspired you, then go return the favor by doing what they did!
A Seed to Plant: Be diligent about the way you value and respect others through your words and actions. Remember especially to value and respect those folks in your path who are difficult to get along with!
Blessings on your day!
I have called you by your name and you are mine. Isaiah 43:1
There was a little first grade boy who decided one day that he no longer liked the name his parents gave him, so he picked a new name. It began the day he started writing his name on all his papers with the capital letters ‘ZB’. As his teacher sat down that afternoon to correct the day’s work, she was a bit puzzled but it didn’t take long to figure out who the mystery student
was. First thing the next morning she called ‘ZB’ up to her desk and asked if he might be willing to explain. He very politely told her that his parents had made a mistake and given him the wrong name so he decided to fix it himself and just start writing the name he had chosen. She said sweetly to this completely serious little guy, “Sweetheart, you can’t just change your name. That has to be done by an official person.” He shook his head and said, “Oh, I get it. So, can I go talk to the principal right now to change my name or should I wait till recess?” Holding back her laughter, she sent him down to visit the principal right away. The principal welcomed the visit and began by asking the little guy, “So, how did you come up with this new name?” The little boy said, “Well that’s easy! I just picked a cool name that would tell everybody what I’m good at.” The principal looked at the letters
‘ZB’ and said, “I’m not sure I understand.” With all the pride one smile could
hold, the little boy stood up and said, “I’m a fast runner so my new name is
Zooming Bullet! I just write ‘ZB’ because all those other letters take too long to write and I like to be fast.” The principal sent him on his way promising to make a phone call to his mother to discuss it. ‘ ZB’ raced back to class very content and the principal just sat at his desk and laughed harder than he had in weeks as he pondered what he might call himself if he could choose a new name.
From the moment we are knit in our mother’s womb, we are named by the God who created us. I am a firm believer that there is divine influence as
Christian parents name their children. There is usually a strong story to our names whether we are knowingly named after a Saint or given a treasured family name, there is usually a reason. Do you know who you are named after and why? When Dave and I were picking names for our children we picked the middle names first. Each of them bears the name of a powerful Saint and a family member who we hoped would provide a strong example
of faithfulness and goodness and in all three cases were heavenly saints themselves. Kevin, our oldest has the middle name James. James is the name of my father’s cousin who was killed in WWII. I shiver every time I read the telegram from the US Navy informing the family of the bomb attack on his ship. James is also the name of my mother’s brother who died of Leukemia at the age of 16 and finally, it was the name given to my older brother who has attributes too many to type! His name has a history of strong, brave, faith-filled men. Jason, our second son has the middle name Richard. Richard was the name of Dave’s brother who left this earth far too early but who lived each day with a huge spirit! Shannon, our daughter is named after my mother, Barbara. Her legacy could take up a whole blog itself!
I truly believe God knew them by name before they were born! It is absolutely amazing how our children resemble the characteristics of the people they were named after. Kevin looks like and shares so many of the same interests and mannerisms of my older brother sometimes it gives me the chills. When Jason was little he was the proud owner of a huge stubborn temper…the same temper and stubborn streak that used to cause his Uncle Richard to hold his breath and pass out. In both cases that temper mellowed into a strong confidence. As for Miss Shannon I have begun to discover that she is all of her grandmother’s greatest attributes bundled into one lovely person! Is it a coincidence, I don’t think so! If God loved us enough to create us so wonderfully and perfectly he wouldn’t leave our name to chance…He had a hand in that too.
We are His and He knows our name! He knows who we are and we will never be lost! I often wonder what my name says about me and I wonder what God thinks about the life I’m living under the name He gave me
A Seed to Plant: Find out the story of your name if you don’t know it. Take some time to think about your name and the memories and impressions you and your name will leave with others when you are absent.
Blessings on your day!
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