Joyful Words Blog
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.
– Psalm 119:105
– Psalm 119:105
Can you think of something you loved to do as a child that you enjoy just as much today? One of the things on my list is listening to stories from my dad’s childhood. Even if I’ve heard some of the stories again and again, I just love to listen to him. I really love it on the rare occasion when I get to sit down with my aunts and uncles and listen to them all chime in and laugh and add details the other might have forgotten. Sometimes I feel like I’m being catapulted right into the middle of the story myself. I can remember the names of people and places that were never a part of my life because their stories have been handed down with such detail and emotion. I wasn’t alive when WWII ended but I’ve heard my dad talk about that day when he was a little boy and Grandpa closed up the store so they could load up the car and drive around with a picnic lunch celebrating. I’ve never lived in the day of prohibition, but I know stories about young men and their fast cars that carried bootleg whiskey across state lines. I’ve never known a life without indoor plumbing or electricity, but the stories make me realize I’m blessed by my abundance but lacking in the simplicity and peacefulness of that time. Not all of the stories are fun, some are hard to tell and hard to hear but they are all a part of the story of my family and God’s fingerprint is so clear throughout. I’m always sad when the conversation ends. I just want to know every part of the story.
Jesus had a magnificent story, a story of heaven. He didn’t talk about it like a distant mystical place; He talked about it like it was home. His stories were rich with detail and hope. He had a way of drawing people in, and they would sit at his feet and listen as long as he spoke. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to sit there and listen, to be inspired and amazed and encouraged.
A young person recently made me realize how important it is to share the stories of our life and our family and our faith. I came away from my conversation with her realizing we need to share the most important part of our story…the part that lets people know what God is doing in our lives. Some think faith is a private thing, a personal thing. What if Jesus had thought that very same thing? What if he’d kept the news of his Father private and personal and never shared the details and the emotion with his followers? What would have happened if the Apostles had kept the story of Jesus to themselves?
When you sit down to tell your stories, past and present…tell them the whole story. Tell them how God has been a part of your history, your life, your success and struggle? We can’t assume our others know about our Faith…we have to tell the story for the same reason Jesus did, to inspire, encourage and amaze.
A Seed To Plant: Make a list this week of the ten greatest ways God has been a part of your history. Share at least three of those before the month ends.
Blessings on your day!
As many of us take time this Lent to dive deeper in prayer and scripture I think we will discover that Jesus had a favorite word and he taught over and over that we should put that word into action. The word…LOVE! It covers a multitude of sins and corrects a mountain of troubles, but what does it look like? I’ve had the Beetles song “All I need is Love” stuck in my head for a week and then I came across this article below; the Holy Spirit no doubt is responsible for this post! I have no idea who wrote it or I’d give them credit and a thousand thank you’s.
A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, 'What does love mean?' The answers they got were broader, deeper, and more profound than anyone could have ever imagined!
**'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore... So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.' Rebecca - age 8
**'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.' Billy - age 4
**'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.' Karl - age 5
**'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.' Chrissy - age 6
**'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.' Terri - age 4
**'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.' Danny - age 8
**'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and just listen.' Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)
**'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.' Nikka - age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)
'**Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.' Noelle - age 7
**'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.' Tommy - age 6
**'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.' Cindy - age 8
**'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.' Elaine - age 5
**'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.' Chris - age 7
'**Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.' Mary - age 4
**'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.' Lauren - age 4
**'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.' Jessica - age 8
**And the final one: The winner was a four-year-old child whose next-door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, 'Nothing, I just helped him cry.’
A Seed To Plant: These snippets have so much to think about! What if this Lent was all about finding ways to LOVE BIGGER! It’s impossible to focus on loving others harder and be selfish at the same time.
Blessings on your day!
Happy Valentine’s day and Happy Ash Wednesday. The two don’t really seem to go together but every so many years they both wind up smack dab on the same day! When you think about it, Ash Wednesday is the first day of lent which is above all, a season of sacrifice offered to the Lord out of love so maybe it’s not such a surprising match up.
This is the first Valentine’s Day I won’t be receiving a stack of cute little cards and candies from a room full of students…that seems like an Ash Wednesday sacrifice for sure. I was thinking about that today and I remembered a conversation with a first grader many years ago and it made me laugh. One little boy asked me who ever came up with the idea of Valentines Day with the hearts and cards and mushy stuff in the first place. I told him I’d share the whole story on Valentine’s Day but as a sneak preview to the lesson I told him the day was the feast day of St. Valentine. He smiled and said “I can’t wait to see what she was all about.” I smiled even bigger and said, “St. Valentine was a boy.” His jaw dropped and he said, “No way a boy thought of all this, you gotta be kidding me!” I laughed out loud!
Although I really enjoy February 14th, one thing about the holiday I don’t enjoy are the little candy hearts with messages. My philosophy quite basically is; if it isn’t chocolate candy, it isn’t worth eating! I saw bags and bags of these little treasures the other night and as I stood reading some of the messages, I had a thought. What if we read each of those candy messages and added the words “said God” at the end of each one? I started laughing right in the center aisle of the store. Not all of the messages worked, like the one that said UR HOT STUFF, Said God…but most of them worked! When we are reminded in the New Testament letters to pray often and include God in all of our plans and love Him with our whole heart and soul, we sometimes have to think creatively. I do think God reminds us often how much he cares for and loves us; we just don’t always see it. If God is the author of love, who’s to say He can’t write a love note on a heart shaped lump of pastel colored sugar. Here’s what He might be saying to you…BE MINE said God, UR AMAZING said God, UR SWEET said God, TRUE LOVE said God, XXOO said God or CRAZY 4U said God.
If you happen to come across some of these little holiday treats this Valentine’s Day, grab a few and see what message God might have for you. For extra credit tell someone else to add the words to the messages they read. Nobody ever said love couldn’t be silly and besides, those icky little candy hearts have now been given a purpose in my opinion!
A Seed To Plant: Take some time today to prayerfully ask God how He wants to help you feel and share His love this Lenten season. And share this joke with everyone you talk to today. Q: Did Adam and Eve ever have a date? A: Did Adam and Eve ever have a date? A: No, they had an apple.
Blessings on your Day!
I asked some students I was leading a retreat for one day what they thought God looked like. One boy said he supposed God would look old and tired with wrinkles like his grandpa. I asked him why he thought God would look tired and he said, “Well wouldn’t you be tired it you made the whole world in 6 days?” Another student thought God would look beautiful like a flower and still a third thought God would look like a fancy king. Next, I asked them where they thought they might see God. The standard answer was, “in heaven”. Then that one little voice said, “I think we can see Him everywhere, but we have to look with our heart.” As I was tearing up and reveling in her deep and faithful insight, I was quickly snapped to reality by one of the boys who loudly said, “That’s not right, your eyes are in your head not your heart.” Ahh, kids…gotta love it!
I came across this verse from Psalms a few weeks ago and it reminded me of that discussion with the kids about where God is found. If we are supposed to seek His face always, I suppose we’d better know where to look! It’s easy to seek the face of God in the obvious, like creation, babies and children. I have no problem seeing and feeling the presence of God when I’m doing ministry! Working with people who are seeking Jesus fills my heart with joy but it’s a bit more of a challenge to seek His face in the unpleasant, the unfair, and the unlikable.
Seeking God’s face doesn’t just apply to people…we need to seek His face in situations and experiences. Sure, we recognize God in the events that are happy and joyful like weddings and celebrations but we need to know He is present in the sad and difficult and sorrowful events as well. His love, presence and inviting spirit are there even if we recognize no apparent good in the situation. We are reminded not only to seek Him but to praise and thank Him in all situations. That’s easy to say until we’re smack dab in the middle of ugly and we have to spit out the words, “God, I’m seeking you in this mess and I thank you for these circumstances…even though they STINK!” Sometimes uttering those words can taste like vinegar in our mouth but if we repeat them again and again, we can begin to see His face and feel His presence guiding and teaching and blessing us.
We like things to be simple and easy and happy and when they aren’t, we tend to think God has left us all alone. Our purpose in seeking God shouldn’t be to make us “feel good”, the purpose is to build us up for Heaven and a life spent with Him. Very often the things we need to learn can only be taught when life isn’t all neat and tidy and happy. But make no mistake…God is there…just waiting for us to seek Him so He can take us by the hand and begin the next lesson!
A seed to plant: Write the words, “God, I trust you, God I love you, God I will be faithful and seek your face” on a notecard and read it again and again when you’re in a situation where it’s hard to seek His face.
Blessings on your day!
Sometimes when I see kids playing in the neighborhood my mind will flash back to when the 3 little Wohlferts were young. I had one of those experiences this week and it really put a dent in my perspective. There have been a few snow days lately but as I walked from window to window all I saw in the yard was fresh unmarked snow. No sled marks, no snowmobile tracks, no snow angels or tunnels, forts or snowmen. As I stood there getting way too sentimental, I remembered the wishes I’d made when my kids were in their snow stomping days.
I remember all too well how long it took to bundle them all up, find 6 gloves and 3 hats and 6 boots that all fit and matched (ok…so they didn’t always match). By the time they all got zipped and buttoned and tied up I was sweaty and frustrated and relieved that they were out the door! I would wish they would stay out and play for hours so I could have some peace and quiet. I remember all the energy it took to get them out there and it never failed, 5 minutes later someone was yelling from the doorway, “Mom, I have to go to the bathroom!” or “Mom, so and so put snow down my back, I need a towel!” or my very favorite, “Mom, I lost my boot in the snow hill!” For the amount of work it would take to get them out there to track up the snow, it never seemed to last long enough. I wished for them to be independent and creative out there in the snow without my help but before I knew it, they would be in and the back room would be a mess of wet, cold puddles and drippy snow pants and boots. It would take twenty minutes to get everything hung and mopped up and then we’d do it all over again. Flashing back to that part of winter made that sparkly uninterrupted snow seem less sentimental.
I wondered that morning as I stood there staring at the snow how many things I had wished away in my life. It seems like we’re often wishing for the day when we won’t be so busy or when things won’t be so hectic or when the kids get more independent and don’t need us so much. But are we really satisfied when that day arrives? That recent snowy weather made me realize I should do a better job of recognizing the hand of God in every circumstance and stage of life. Life comes in seasons. It won’t always be the same, which is to say if things are hard, it doesn’t mean it will always be hard and if something is simple and lovely that won’t always last either. God works through all circumstances and with each season of life there is growth and challenge and joy if we stop and look for it. There is blessing and benefit in every stage and season of life. Each one has a purpose and God has perfectly designed and arranged it to define and mature a certain part of our holiness. Little kids mean puddles in the entryway, big kids mean uninterrupted snow…each is full of blessing and beauty; I have to ask God to help me find that beauty in every season of my life. God help me find you in the NOW of my days and help me stop looking so hard for you in the “then’s” and the “when’s”!
A Seed To Plant: Say a prayer for your “present”. Ask God to help you recognize His work THIS day without comparing it to yesterday or tomorrow.
Blessings on your day!
One of my mom’s favorite sayings was, “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill!” It was her way of keeping me from being dramatic or overwhelmed and I’m grateful for the lesson because that silly little line always made me stop and check my perspective. In the heat of the moment or the center of a crisis it can be pretty easy for molehills or small problems to look like mountains. Something I came across the other day reminded me of mom and her famous line. The phrase that caught my attention was this, fretting magnifies the problem, but prayer magnifies God.
We live in a world that is programmed to look for the bigger choice. We want the bigger cup of coffee or the extra scoop of ice cream and the vehicle with more leg room. On some level most of us fall prey to the notion that bigger is better; especially when we get a “deal” on it. We seem to go through life looking for the mountains and sometimes things get unrealistically inflated and we can lose our perspective and get carried away. In a society that embraces big…the Father is often leading us in the opposite direction.
I’m taking a Scripture class, and the teacher was drawing comparisons between Saul the King in the Old Testament who lost his way and got tangled up with power and “bigness” and Saul in the New Testament who was also on a quest to be big…so big he found it his lifes mission to stamp out the name of Jesus. I had never really connected those two dots and thought about the similarities of the two Sauls so as I did a little thinking about the two I remembered watching Jim Caviezel (Jesus in the Passion of the Christ) speak and he taught that the word Saul means big and the word Paul means small. I’m pretty sure Paul found greater favor and did a better job living out his discipleship and seeking the Will of the Father than Saul’s did. I think when we get stuck on seeking or chasing the big things it’s easier to drift away from the Father but the more we focus on the little, the more the big things of the world lose their appeal. We begin to realize molehills are often much better than mountains. The truth spoken by someone much smarter and holier than me is this…If God isn’t bigger than my life, my life is bigger than God. Scripture is full of stories of people who showed us what happens when our life gets too big.
God wants our little…little hearts, little worries, little problems, little attempts to be holy. When we bring them, He clams all the fears, anxieties and troubles. Corrie Ten Boom said, “Anything too small to take to prayer is too small to be a burden. He turns our little tries at goodness into giant success and he takes our big troubles and worries and squishes them up small. I suppose today is the perfect day to stop looking at the big things and start thinking about the little things I can take to God.
A Seed To Plant: Where might the Father be asking you to trade big for little?
Blessings on your day!
I let His face shine upon me alright…and it made me wonder if He laughed as hard as I did! Have you ever been in a rush even when you felt like what you needed most was to just zip your lips and be still for a few minutes while you gathered your peace? I knew that’s what I should do but I just kept charging forth like a bull in a china shop…I was bargaining with Him and telling Him I’d get to some quiet minutes with Him as soon as I finished with my stuff. Bad idea!! It wasn’t until I tried to unload way too many plastic shopping bags from the back of the Buick at once that I got it. I’m not quite sure if it was the broken jar of salsa my shoes were swimming in or the rotisserie chicken that hit the driveway so hard it busted open the plastic container and rolled halfway down the driveway that got my attention, but I got the message. Luckily the salsa was on sale and the chicken was a day old discounted bird so I wasn’t out full price but I heard my Dad’s voice repeating that line from my childhood; “pay attention; it doesn’t cost anything to pay attention!” Mostly true but on this day, it cost about six dollars to pay attention.
The thing about asking the Father to help you get better at something is He actually does. I’ve been praying a lot lately about being more attentive to His promptings and guidance. Now I clearly need to pray for the ability to respond properly and not keep doing things my way until I’m darn good and ready. When I had finished cleaning up the salsa and chicken goo, I put the cold stuff away and left the rest on the counter while I made a cup of coffee and sat myself down to laugh, pray and be still. I started that little prayer time feeling pretty proud of myself for chopping off half my to do list before ten in the morning, so I started adding things to the list instead of using the time to focus on Him. I finally settled my mind and came across this a nugget that left me a little flabbergasted!
The thing I was reading (randomly selected reading…yeah right!) said if you want to follow Christ, stop using the word priorities. There is no such thing as priorities…only PRIORITY! We can’t make everything the most important thing…only the Father can be the most important thing. I was letting that ruminate a little and began to listen to a Gospel Reflection on the Hallow App and the host, Jeff Cavins started talking about exactly the very same thing! He pointed out that our PRIORITY in life is to follow the plan God has for our life…that’s it! We can’t be all things to all people, only God can be all things and when we focus on that one PRIORITY and use it as a direction for all the things we do in a day, things will always be alright. He used the example of having the opportunity to go to a big fancy pants event where he would be a big deal celebrity or go to a birthday dinner for his daughter. If the PRIORITY was the Father’s plan for his life he knew being a dad was his vocation and the work God had given him, so there was really no decision to make. The will of the Father was to be present for one of God’s greatest gifts to his life, his daughter.
I’m tellin ya, this has been kind of a big deal in my mind. The Father’s plan for our life involves commitments and responsibilities but the PRIORITY is always Him and those commitments, responsibilities and tasks are what help us grow in holiness and live out the Father’s plan. I actually had to look at all the things I considered my priorities and guess what I realized…none of them were as important as the Father and in their own unique way, each of those things were a huge, lovely part of His plan for my life. I guess chicken and salsa are pretty good attention grabbers.
A Seed To Plant: Sit with the work PRIORITY and see how this idea of having only one fits with your busy schedule…and pro tip…don’t carry too many grocery bags at once!
Blessings on your day!
Happy New Year! May 2024 be a year of grace and blessings for each of you! I typically write the first post of the new year about my “word of the year”, but the Holy Spirit has been leading me in a different direction the past several weeks. As the end of December grew closer and closer, I began to be puzzled that I wasn’t getting any sense of direction about my word for 2024. The more I thought about past words, the more I realized they were all about something I should do. Be still or be content or be open…all great words but they all put the focus on ME and required ME to do something. Fast forward to mass on New Years Day and a message I’d never considered whapped me right upside the head.
The Holy Spirit didn’t inspire a word for me to act on, rather as I listened to the first reading on Monday from the book of Numbers I realized He was inviting me to focus on HIS word to me in stillness and probably quietness…and rest in the truth of what HE wants to do in my life FOR me instead of me thinking it’s always about ME doing something “for Him”. In all honesty he doesn’t need me to do anything for Him…He’s inviting me to just be His so instead of a single word this year I will be focusing on this message instead….
Numbers 6: 24-27 interpreted as a message to me (or you) personally…I, The Lord will bless you and keep you, Sheri! I, The Lord will let My face shine upon you and be gracious to you Sheri. I, The Lord will look kindly upon you Sheri and give you peace! You shall invoke my name, and I will bless you.
I honestly think I let out a sigh of relief when these words jumped off the page. It’s kind of like that phrase work smarter, not harder. Instead of trying to muster up things to please the Lord maybe I should just sit still, shut up and allow Him to do the things that are best for me like love me, bring me peace and bless me when I call on His name. It almost seems too simple, but I tend to overcomplicate things so I’m going to make this my focus for 2024. As I begin the New Year with this truth, I realize after just a couple of days, I’m bossier than I thought and rooting myself in this truth will be tricky; the good news…maneuvering the tricky stuff with trust and faith always brings blessings. When there is chaos, Lord, I’ll let you give me peace. When I’m frustrated and worried, Lord I will look up and feel your face shine upon me. When I’m overwhelmed and feeling inadequate, I will accept your kindness. When I make decisions, I’ll invoke your name and take your hand as you walk me through whatever lies in my path leading to your blessing. Yeah…this is gonna take all year for sure!!
A Seed To Plant: Pray a few days with these words from Numbers and see where the Lord might be leading you.
Blessings on your day!
As we enjoy these days of Christmas we should take some time to focus our thoughts and prayers on God’s gift of perfect love; His Son. Love is, after all the only reason God could possibly have for lavishing such a sinful people with such an extraordinary gift.
Many things have come along over the years that have changed the world. Henry Ford’s Model-T weighed 1,450 pounds and it changed the way the world moved. The first washing machine weighed over 250 pounds and it made cleaning things easier. The first computer weighed nearly one ton and it gave the world access to more knowledge and communication. As valuable, helpful and convenient as these and other modern changes are, they haven’t always changed our life for the better. In fact, sometimes changes in our world just muddy up the water and clutter our focus. Bigger, faster and more convenient isn’t always better. Sometimes all these changes lead us away from the love, peace and joy God sent His Son to this earth to bring us.
The most significant change for the people of God’s earth weighed only seven pounds and arrived in the humblest surrounding imaginable. There was no million-dollar marketing scheme to prepare us for His arrival. There was no multi-million-dollar Super Bowl commercial to get us all hyped up about His coming. There was simply a seven-pound miracle that came to change EVERYTHING! If we would embrace it and all the Christ Child brought us, we could move through our days with hearts overflowing with joy. We would travel through life here on earth more easily than the first passengers in a Model-T. If we opened ourselves to God’s mercy and forgiveness, we would be washed whiter than any garment to pass through even the most efficient washing machine. If we shared the love that little seven pound wonder came to bring us, we would speak and act with more wisdom and knowledge than any computer could generate. Maybe, if we would slow down this Christmas to absorb the absolute Wonder and Awe of the coming of Christ, we would begin to find our balance and see that God sent His Son to earth to change us significantly.
A seed to plant: Take time this Christmas to gaze at the Christ Child in the manger and ask God to help you see what changes are needed to draw closer to Him. It’s ok to start small, after all the biggest change ever only weighed seven pounds.
Blessings on your day!
Raise your hand if at least once in the past couple of weeks you’ve looked at the Christmas gifts you’ve purchased and wondered if they were just right or fancy enough, fun enough, thoughtful enough or impressive enough. I completely understand how important gift giving is, but I also know it can suck the joy right out of the season. It can be such a comparison game and that doesn’t usually lead us to a good place. As we ramble through these next few days leading up to Christmas it might be time to look at things the opposite way and refill our hearts with some peace and joy.
If we really think about it, I would be willing to bet we can all think of a gift from our past that we remember fondly, and I would also hazard a guess that it is probably a simple reason we remember it. For me, it was a doll bed made by my dad out of an orange crate from my Grandpa Ted’s grocery store. My mom painted it and made a little pillow and mattress and blanket for the bed. I still have it…my daughter used it and someday my granddaughters will too. It isn’t special because it was fancy, expensive or impressive, in fact it was quite the opposite, but it was the love that adds so richly to its value. It was perfectly wonderful, but it was completely opposite of what the other little girls in my class got for Christmas that year.
The gift of God’s Son was the greatest gift we could imagine, and the story of His birth has some opposites that we can learn a great deal from. As a Christmas gift to yourself, take a look at these and ponder the depth of this 2,000-year-old gift and how relevant it still is today.
**We think about being noticed…clothes, cars, position, houses, what our kids are doing but Jesus entered in the darkness and danger of night as a simple “nobody” who quietly and with hardly any notice entered the world only to bring a power, majesty and grace that we still struggle to comprehend. Lord, when others see me, may they really see YOU!
**We can get a little steamed up when things become inconvenient or untimely for us or when people make too many demands on our time. Mary rode for days and days on a donkey over rugged, dangerous terrain while 9 months pregnant only to get off the donkey just in time to give birth in the same spot a bunch of stinky animals hung out. Lord, remind me you will bring GOOD from every situation in your own time!
**We worry about money, investments, savings and nest eggs seeking the security we think they’ll bring but the most powerful, influential, memorable, virtuous, magnificent one to ever walk the earth had absolutely NOTHING except a devotion to His Father who provides every treasure we can imagine…he’ll do the same for us. Lord, help me trust in the riches of being your child!
**We fuss about being socially approved. We ponder what others will think and the impression we make on the people we meet. Two of the holiest humans of all time, Joseph and Mary were socially scorned and by many were treated as outcasts but they were firmly rooted in the Will of the Father and that was WAY MORE than enough. Lord, help me grow in obedience and humility like Mary and Joseph!
**We sometimes consider the company we keep and whether or not they are good for our image, but the birth of Jesus was made known first to the Shepherds who were one of the least impressive and desirable classes of people of the time. Lord, help me be like the shepherds!
**We worry about giving our kids “all the things” so they will be accepted and won’t feel unloved. Jesus was raised by parents who didn’t even have enough money to buy the prescribed offering for the Temple Presentation. They had to opt for the pigeons, which was the lowliest gift given by the poorest of the poor. Lord make me poor in the things of the world so I may truly enjoy the riches of your love and grace!
We should subscribe to the notion that ordinary is the new excellent! Every single detail about the birth and early life of Jesus was ordinary to the casual observer but what made the ordinary excellent or extraordinary was faith and obedience to the Father’s plan. We have a false notion that ordinary means insignificant. If you’ve watched, It’s a Wonderful Life, you know that’s the whole story line. George Bailey saw himself as insignificant because he never got to do fancy, exciting things but his whole life had been a series of good, ordinary things that had a profound impact on a multitude of people. If we could just slow down a bit and realize from the moment Jesus entered the world, He was teaching us that the path to His Father is paved with opposites.
A Seed To Plant: Spend some time praying with one or two of the opposites between Christmas story and your thoughts and attitudes. Ask God to help you discover the beauty of being ordinary.
Blessings on your day and May you have a Peaceful, Joyful, Merry Christmas!
It’s really hard to practice patient waiting when things like Amazon Prime, Door Dash and drive-through everything are a common part of our daily lives. We really don’t have to wait for much of anything but here we are in the second week of Advent where the goal of the whole season is to wait patiently, and we struggle. The Father loves us so much we begin each new church year with a season designed to help us brush up on our “waiting”. All three of my kids were overdue but so worth every minute of the extra wait but even though I was pregnant seven extra weeks and had three amazing kids, I still didn’t learn my “waiting is good” lesson and I still struggle with being a patient waiter so I’m pretty sure Advent was invented for me! In case patient waiting is tough for you too, here are some things we can do to get better at it.
*Give God permission to make the decisions and do the heavy lifting in your life. There is a huge difference between waiting FOR God to do something and waiting WITH God while He orchestrates the plan he has for our life.
*When impatience creeps in, trade it for prayer. Let your prayers be prayers of surrender as you wait. Sometimes our prayer can simply be a conversation where we advise or counsel God about what we need but the kind of prayer that helps our waiting be fruitful happens when the root of our prayer is; “You are God and I am not!”
*When you feel like rushing instead of lingering, ask the big question…” Where am I WINNING and where am I SINNING?” The first questions helps us see all the places God is busy in our lives and leads our hearts to be grateful. When we ponder the second question and invite God into those places, we grow closer to him and depend on him to help us turn our sins into his wins.
* Think outside yourself. My mom was the master of cutting to the quick and she would often remind me that “life wasn’t all about me”. Often our impatience or unsettledness is because we’re caught up waiting for God to do what we want and we forget he might be working through us and our circumstances to bless someone else. If you find yourself stuck in a “woe is me” funk the greatest way to snap out of it is to do something kind and generous for someone else and remember God will never be outdone in generosity.
*When considering if waiting is worth it, consider whether you’d like to feel closer to Jesus on Christmas Eve than you did at the beginning of Advent. The difference will come from what you allow into the middle. One of my favorite lines from the Chosen series was after the demons had been cast out of Mary Magdalene and she said, “I can’t explain it, I was one way and now I am completely different and the only thing in between was Him.”
Learning to wait for the Lord is a blessing…let’s use the remainder of this Advent season to allow Him to be “in between” where we are and where we’re He’s leading us.
A Seed To Plant: On a scale of 1 to 10 how good are you at waiting? If you’d like to bump up your score, choose one of the ideas above and put it into action this week.
Blessings on your day!
We live in an “on demand” world. Movies on demand, drive through meals, pharmacies, groceries and dry cleaning just to name a few. We can order practically anything under the sun and have it on our front porch in two days, so waiting and being last aren’t usually part of our daily routine. I’m constantly on the search for ways to get things done faster and more efficiently in order to save time so I can cram more stuff into my day.
As I worked my way through this Gospel, I got excited reading about what will come to me, what Jesus will do for me, where my faithfulness will lead me. It’s such a hope filled collection of verses. I need to see Jesus, believe in Jesus and know that my faithfulness is what he’s asking of me. St. John lays out some beautiful steps to eternal life in this short Gospel but then comes that ending; the last day. I have to wait until then? What???
My fast paced mind wondered if I could speed things up a little because I don’t like waiting and who knows when the last day really is anyway! As I prayed with this reading a while I remembered my Grandma who taught me how to make the perfect Angel Food cake from scratch when I was little. She would smile and remind me that beating all those egg whites took time and baking it took time and cooling it upside-down on a coke bottle took time. She would pat my impatient hands and say, “Great things happen in the waiting!” So, I will keep believing, hoping, praying and wanting him ferociously while I wait for that last day!
To each day I need to add the words, “Loving Father, please use you gentle hand to slow me down. Grant me a spirit of patience as I notice the ways you are working in my life and help me prepare to be raised up on the last day!”
A Seed To Plant: What are you hurrying with? Where are the areas in your life God might be calling you to slow down and wait for him to work?
Blessings on your day!
It’s not scripture but it’s a powerful truth I seem to forget. Sacrifice often takes a back seat to convenience and comfort. We prefer easy, speedy and painless and then wonder why we don’t feel fulfilled. The important stuff; the stuff that leaves us joyful and alive; that’s the stuff that involves love and requires sacrifice.
I’ve had several nudges lately that remind me how true this statement is. We are called by the greatest commandment to love, and the truth is, we can’t follow that commandment without sacrifice. Sometimes that sacrifice is small, for instance, I loved being a teacher but spending time in the evenings and on weekends grading and planning was a sacrifice. Other times the sacrifice is much bigger. I hugged a good friend at her father’s wake this week and she lovingly told me she was so happy for her dad and found peace just thinking about him rejoicing and being free from pain. Her perspective and strength were inspiring but the sacrifice of that love will weigh heavy on her days for quite a while.
Sometimes the sacrifice needs to look like patience. Sometimes it needs to sound like a swallowed opinion. Sometimes it needs to appear to be sand slipping through our fingers as we let go of the past or of our own agenda. Sacrifice is loving people exactly how they are and where they are. Sometimes we’re called to love someone just by being present and there is sacrifice in keeping quiet and not trying to fix or change them. The people who love us back make it easy to love but we’re also called to show Christ’s love to those who can give nothing in return and that is truly a sacrifice.
I think about all the times I’ve tried to find the perfect gift to show my love for someone. When I heard this line spoken by a movie character I realized I’ve been shopping the wrong way. I suppose the more we love, the more we should be willing to sacrifice. I loved my children but I’m not sure they always saw my carpool complaining as a loving sacrifice. This simple little line can bleed into doing the laundry and helping with homework and holding the flashlight in the rain so Dave can figure out why the tractor is making a weird noise. This kind of love happens in the middle of the night after a bad dream or at the end of the day when you want to tune out the world but someone you love just really wants to spill their heart.
There have been times when I’ve wondered if all the sacrifice of a relationship was worth it or if it was really supposed to be so hard and one-sided, but as I’ve prayed with these words for a few weeks I realized I was looking at it out of balance. Love and sacrifice aren’t always equal. Sometimes we receive love far greater than we sacrifice and more often than not it is opposite. We’re able to sacrifice and love others but at some point, we expect to receive love in return. We want to feel there is something in it for us. I forget that my call to love others isn’t to get something in return. Love is so much bigger than all the warm fuzzy feelings. Love is the duty of a disciples and the way to keep that in balance is to realize each person that crosses our path is there so I can show them the love of Christ. It’s not about loving so I can get something back, it’s about loving so I can love Jesus himself. When I look at Jesus on the cross, I find the truth because it reminds me that there is more love poured out on me than I could ever imagine. I know I will never be called to love with a sacrifice anywhere near that magnitude but when I recall his sacrifice for me, it helps put my teeny little sacrifices for others in perspective. Again, I remember it’s not about me at all!
A Seed To Plant: Who can you love today?
Blessings on your day!
Did you ever noticed how many ways we identify and announce who we are, what we like and what we are involved in? There are yard signs, t-shirts, hats and bumper stickers just to name a few. These things send a message about who we support, who we connect with and who we like best. I’ve been thinking about this for a few days and it all started at a Detroit Lions game. The kids gave Dave the greatest Christmas gift ever and took the most loyal Lions fan I’ve ever known to his first game. As we walked down the streets and into Ford Field I noticed that I was practically the only person there who wasn’t wearing Lions apparel which made me feel a little out of place. In a world that can seem to fuel division, it makes my heart happy to see simple things that can connect us. Everyone in that stadium (except for a few Carolina Panther fans) were united by a common thing and seeing people laugh together, high five each other and celebrate was a fun thing to soak in. What started out as a Sunday NFL game has turned out to be a couple of great lessons.
At the game Sunday I was interested in the back of the players jersey because I wanted to know their name. I found myself wondering who they were, where did they grow up, where did they play college ball? I wondered about the ones who never hit the field or had their name announced? Then it hit me, it didn’t really matter because they all had the same name on the front of their jersey. The morning after the game I came across this quote from author Jeff Cavins, “When you truly and humbly play for the name on the front of the jersey, people will remember the name on the back of the jersey.” That was lesson one.
Lesson two is still unfolding but it started with the question…whose jersey am I wearing? I suppose we have many jerseys…teams, groups, clubs, companies but which one is most important…which one do we want to be identified with the most? Of all the “jerseys” I could wear, most of them will cause a little good-hearted riff like the opening game of the NFL season when I wore my KC Chiefs shirt and Dave wore his Detroit Lions shirt. We wore them with pride and loyalty knowing in the end only one of us would be wearing the “right” one. When I think about the quote from Jeff, I realize being a good disciple means I really do have to have one jersey that is way more important than all the others and that jersey can most certainly raise some eyebrows and for some, cause quite a riff but I need to ask myself if I’m a big enough fan to wear it for all to see. If my jersey bears the name of Jesus on the front, do I play like I’m really on the team and am I playing for the name on the back or the name on the front? If that jersey is a symbol of my discipleship, how will I feel if I’m the only one wearing it or how would it feel if everyone was wearing it? I’m not sure I’ll be able to look at jerseys quite the same way for a while…I’ll thank Jesus, Jeff Cavins and the Detroit Lions for that.
A Seed To Plant: What jerseys do you wear? What would it be like for you to wear the one for HIS team and how would that change things in your life?
Blessings on your day!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Every marketing genius works their entire career in hopes of being the one who creates that slogan that catches everyones attention and makes their product a household name. Some of those slogans stick for years. I’m pretty sure I can still sing the McDonalds Big Mac song and I can still sing “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.” We know how to “Just Do It”, “Have it your way.” and “Leave the light on.” If only we could get the really important stuff in life to stick like a commercial.
I ‘m leading a retreat for 75 middle school kids today and one session is based on one of the most powerful slogans my disciple heart ever heard. I saw it on a pack of scripture cards and it said, John 3:16…BE A WHOSOEVER! I had to think about it for a minute and then I just laughed. It was a perfect one liner. One of those statements that just sort of snaps you to attention. The goal in this life is to live it in such a way we get to heaven. The question then is, who gets to heaven. The answer is right there in John 3:16; whosoever believes in God. I want to be a whosoever! The beautiful part of this verse is that I have to realize being a whosoever is possible because of what God gave us through his Son, Jesus.
It’s all here…the motive, the result and the promise. A whosoever lives like they recognize and appreciate the gift of Jesus. A whosoever realizes what they need to do and what the reward will be. The whosoever knows the promise and tries to live like they believe it! A whosoever is who I want to be. If I take control and forget to ask the Father for his plan, I’m not being a whosoever. If I gossip and behave selfishly, I’m not a whosoever. If I fumble my way through the day leaning on God’s guidance and believing in his power, then I’m on the road to being a whosoever. I think I might be saying to myself, “That wasn’t very whosoeverish!” Maybe it’s a slogan that just might help you point yourself in the right direction too.
A Seed To Plant: Make a “Be a Whosoever” sign and stick it somewhere visible this week and see if it changes your thinking and your actions.
Blessings on your day!
Do you want to be well? John 5:6
50 years ago Burger King rolled out their ad campaign with a jingle that went, “Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce. Special orders don’t upset all we ask is that you let us serve it your way. Have it your way at Burger King.” It may have been a genius way to sell the Whopper but it’s not exactly the motto for growing in holiness. For some strange reason that jingle has been tumbling in my head and it struck me that sometimes I expect my relationship with Jesus to be just like ordering the perfect burger. The truth is, I’m not always sure what it is I really think I want.
Someone recently pointed out that we have so many choices it can be really tough to figure out what we want most. We seem to chase thing after thing. We buy stuff and more stuff trying to figure out what that one thing really is. How many times have we eaten four or five snacks before we really even figure out what we’re really hungry for? I read a question not long ago that made me giggle and think. The gentleman asked, “What do cats like most? Mice, right? So if mice is what the cat really wants why is cat food made from chicken, pork, beef, lamb and fish instead of mouse?
I’ve given it a lot of thought and I think sometimes I don’t figure out what I really want because it’s easier to just try several options and complain when they aren’t what I really wanted than it is to really stop, pray and ponder what I want, examining all the consequences and unintended consequences that go with my choices. Jesus’ question to the crippled man in Johns Gospel was a bit strange but it really digs down to a deeper level; a level I think I need to visit more often. The lame man had been there on his mat crippled for decades. Actually being healed would require responsibility and change for the man, after 38 years Jesus asked a very fair question. I’m sure it made the man wonder how much he really wanted the change that meant moving, pain, work and responsibility. Jesus wanted to know if it was really worth it to him.
Blessed Santia Szymkowiak had the perfect answer to the question, “What do you want?” She lived her entire life with one motto, “Jesus make me want whatever you want.” She believed what Jesus wanted most for and from her was holiness. I don’t know about you, but that isn’t my usual thought process, but it sure should be. If I want what he wants then I can’t always have it my way. If I do things his way, it means change and being uncomfortable; two things we don’t readily sign up for! Burger King made a fortune off making customers feel like they could have anything they wanted and there was happiness because of it. I guess that leads me to ask myself the big question; where do I want happiness; on earth so it can last about as long as that delicious burger or do I want the bliss for all of eternal life? My way will be temporary, his way will be eternal. It’s really what I want most but what am I willing to do; what changes am I willing to make in order to want what he wants?
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of all the things you want, and make a list of all the things you’re pouting about because they didn’t go your way. Pray with that list and ask God to show you what he wants for you.
Blessings on your day!
…for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. Luke 6:45
Now that’s an entire Holy Hour in ten words! Even though my heart is buried deep within my chest, my mouth is its perfect reflection. Sometimes that’s a great thing and sometimes not so much! As I prayed with this Gospel, so filled with gems and treasures, I just kept coming back to this one line again and again. The sad reality that washed over me was…sometimes my heart and words are judgmental and fickle.
The Holy Spirit painfully allowed me to see that more often than I’d care to admit, my heart and words were different based on what the person I was speaking to would think of me. I realized that sometimes my heart and words are more patient and kinder because I might get something in return. That led me to discover and prayerfully confess that my heart wasn’t always full of his gigantic love for me. If it was, the only thing that would come forth would be HIS love, HIS attitude and HIS words. I am His creation but I don’t always bear good fruit and that stems from the gunk I let settle into my heart.
If my mouth is complaining and judging and arguing and sassing, my heart needs a “Love of Jesus” refill that only comes in prayer. Keeping my heart right so my mouth follows requires desiring the holiness of myself and of others. It also requires that I contemplate the fact that HIS is the only opinion of me that matters. Praying on those truths should get my tree filled up with HIS good fruit.
A Seed To Plant: Spend some time in prayer with this line and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the people and places that don’t always bring out the best of your heart and words.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…Ecclesiastes 9:10
Anybody else have a thing or two that just isn’t getting done? It’s crazy how I can look at a pile of papers or the ironing and acknowledge that it needs to be taken care of but yet day after day I can just keep looking at it and say, not yet…I’ll get to it! Shoot, I’ve even been known to move the thing to another spot…not sure if I’m trying to justify that as “working on it” or if I’m just hoping it won’t nag at me in a different spot. In the grand scheme of life I don’t suppose papers and clothes are a huge deal but I read a quote from St. Augustine that made me realize how many times I say “not yet” to God and that is a different thing entirely.
If you remember his story, St. Augustine was quite the colorful character. His early life was about as far from sainthood as you could imagine. His story offers plenty of “blush worthy” adventures but the Father doesn’t give up on anybody. As St. Augustine was beginning to feel the pull of the Father’s unfathomable love, he was curious and longed for a life that was different but he is famously quoted as saying “Oh Lord, give me chastity and continence (self-restraint) but not yet.” When I first read this I thought, “geeze Augustine, are you in or are you out?” No sooner had that thought tumbled through my brain than I thought, humm, “geeze Sheri, are you in or are you out?” Thump right to the nugget compliments of the Holy Spirit! I surprise myself often at how quickly I can sum up somebody elses “stuff” before I clearly study my own!
This quote inspired me to make a list of the physical and more importantly the spiritual stuff I keep saying “not yet” to. I think the Holy Spirit is just being bossy right now because the list is big! I told Him in prayer that my paper was full but yet stuff still keeps poppin into my head. As I was pouting about all the stuff on my spiritual “not yet” list in prayer the other day, this thought jumped right into my head…if any one of these things is getting in the way of my closeness to Christ, is it worth it? Uuuuh…NO it’s not so how do I tackle my “not yet” list. As I looked over my list, I planned to begin with a couple of smaller ones…you know, just ease myself in but one stood out on the page like it was screaming at me and it’s a doozy.
I’m gonna spill something out right here…for more than forty years I’ve had a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with the scales. Swimsuits and zippers are two of my greatest enemies! I’ve gone from “not yet” to “all in” to “all out” more times than I can count. I’ve been motivated by vanity, pride, and even a skewed notion that God would love me more the smaller the number. There has been guilt, shame, embarrassment, disappointment and 32 dozen other ridiculous emotions and notions. St. Augustine’s quote helped me realize it wasn’t about a size or a bag of Ruffles but a discovery of the root and God’s why. Augustine’s journey points to the fact that our spiritual “not yet” is keeping us at arms length (or further) from the Father’s love. If we run to the “thing” instead of running to the Father or if we use a “thing” to fill us with joy, pleasure, fun or comfort it will never last and it will never offer the satisfaction we’re looking for…only He can do that. So the question is, how do I turn to Him “now” instead of “not yet”. Here are some thoughts…
*Begin each morning with prayer asking specifically for help chipping away at ONE thing from your “not yet” list.
*Get to the root and know God’s why.
*Write down 3 things you are grateful for and focus on those things instead of focusing on how hard it’s gonna be to work on your thing. It’s a little like how a mom mixes a toddlers medicine in with applesauce. One drowns out the other and makes it easier to swallow.
*Find people and resources that have tackled your same “not yet”. As much as technology can be a pebble in my shoe, it’s a wonderful tool for finding stories and videos of people who have won the battle we’re beginning. Augustine had some big “not yet” things on his list and he sought help and support; same goes for us.
* “Not yet” happens with partial effort…”all in” requires first and foremost a desire to be closer to the one who loves us most…if you want that head into it will all your might?
*We can’t muscle our way through it…we have to ask for God’s Grace. My Grandma Thelma used to use the phrase, “But only by the Grace of God” often and man was she spot on! Good things, Godly things only happen because of His grace and it’s free…all we do is ask…there isn’t a punch card or a maximum amount. He gives it in ample supply because he wants us close and he wants us to move past “not yet”. We just have to ask for the grace to be “all in” and want Him more than the thing we’re putting in between us.
*Hope…God can turn our “not yet” into “not ever again” even if we can’t imagine how.
A Seed To Plant: Make your spiritual “not yet” list? After you make your list, sit for a few minutes and imagine what your life would be like if you didn’t have to devote thought and energy to those things again…and what would happen if we shifted all those minutes and all that energy to the Father? How very different our days would be!
Blessings on your day!
For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate. Romans 7:15
We had a snap of cool summer weather a few weeks back so I made an industrial sized batch of chili. After it had cooled, I grabbed a glass measuring cup to scoop the chili into containers for the freezer. It wasn’t a new task or one that required any kind of special skill but yet I managed to find myself in the middle of a disaster! As I was getting ready to pour the first scoop into the bowl, my brain must have entered some kind of warped fog because I dumped out the chili before I even reached the counter top where the bowl was waiting. In some bizarre turn of events, I found myself standing in a puddle of splattered chili. It was on my feet, my pants, the floor, the rug the cupboard doors and many other tiny little spaces. I’m still not sure how it happened but it took me thirty minutes to get everything cleaned up! YUCK!
As I was scrubbing up the mess trying to figure out how I had managed to do something so crazy I thought of this verse from Romans. Talk about an experience in not doing what I want and doing what I hate! While I was doing clean up, I decided to think about the positives of the whole situation. One of the tasks on my summer to do list that hadn’t been completed was to scrub all my kitchen cabinets so I got to take that off my list. Another bonus was related to my kitchen rugs. I have a habit of purchasing kitchen rugs with a bright pattern. Make no mistake, that isn’t because I am a master designer with artsy flair, it simply means that kind of rug hides lots of spills and I don’t’ have to wash the rugs as often. It was past time for a good rug washing and thanks to the chili event I had no choice. The third positive thing that came from the disaster was probably the most important of all. As I crawled around my kitchen scrubbing, I realized that I was on my knees; a good place to be and I had to slow down and focus on just one thing. I don’t know about you but I’m not as good at either of those things as I should be. I spend a big chunk of time each morning in prayer but I’m nestled into my comfy prayer chair with my coffee and it’s a very cozy way to begin my day. I’m tellin’ ya, being on my knees on that hard tile floor made prayer a different experience. My mind didn’t wander like it does in comfy prayer; I was focused.
I know for a fact that when St. Paul wrote this letter to the Romans, he wasn’t thinking about chili spills and scrub buckets but I do believe Scripture has a way of grabbing you right where you are. Splattering chili was not what I had planned but as I crawled around scrubbing, I realized I focused on what I wanted, and on doing things with my own power far too much of the time. We like things to go our way and according to our plan. I think that is one of the ways sin sneaks in and takes over. When I realize sin has gotten a hold of my attitude or my behavior, I find myself in the middle of something I hate. I’d like to say that only happens once in a while but that wouldn’t be true! It was great food for thought as I crawled around on my knees. When I finished, I was determined to spend more time on my knees in focused prayer talking with my Father about all those things I hate doing that I need His help with. I realized the truth of this verse is that unless I surrender everything to Him the cycle is just going to continue again and again. Who knew a chili spill could contain such an important spiritual lesson!
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of things you seem to do that you don’t want to do then hit your knees with that list and ask Sweet Jesus to help you make a change.
Blessings on your day!
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous but, on the inside, you filled with hypocrisy and evil doing. Matthew 23:28
Fancy Nancy is one of my favorite children’s book characters. She’s over the top and can’t be outdone in the “Ooo-La-La department.” She’s all about the “look” of things and as I read this line from Matthew’s Gospel I thought of a list of ways I’m like Fancy Nancy. Although I love that book character being a Fancy Nancy Christian is probably not the direction I should be headed.
I spoke at a conference recently and as I was chatting with some folks after the talk one very blunt little lady asked a question that’s been bouncing around in my heart ever since. She thanked me for the talk and spoke of ways she would carry it with her but then she asked, “Was this the real you or was this just for the stage?” I swallowed and quickly said the Come Holy Spirit. Come Now. Come as you wish prayer before I spoke and then listened to the words that came from my mouth. I replied to her question, or rather the Holy Spirit did with these words, “Oh gosh, I sure hope I am; I sure try to be but I guess that’s a question I’d really better to take to prayer and ask Jesus how to answer truthfully.” Instead of being insulted or embarrassed, I saw it as an invitation to ask myself a hard question.
Since that big question is still sitting on my heart these words from St. Matthew’s Gospel, reminded me He wasn’t done teaching yet. The line I chose from this Gospel is the softer verse. The line before it Jesus uses the term “white washed tombs full of dead mans bones.” That seemed a little harsh and then Fancy Nancy popped in my mind. After a giggle, the connection made sense. I do love Jesus and I do try to be joyful and humble but what about those times when I’m not.
Fancy Nancy is all about the look so the question is, do I worry about how I look to the world or how I look to the Father?
Fancy Nancy is all about the shock and awe so the question is, am I in awe because of all God does or is my focus simply on what He’s doing for me when it happens to match what I wanted?
Fancy Nancy is out to impress so that creates two questions. Who am I trying to impress with my “holiness” and would living my faith look different if nobody was looking?
Fancy Nancy does everything for attention so I have to ask myself if where I sit, the books and stuff I carry into church with me or what I wear are all done with the right motivation.
Fancy Nancy is light hearted, whimsical and always looking for more. She has an aversion to the plain and simple. When I think about it, she is the opposite of what Jesus was speaking about in this Gospel. St. Matthew and Fancy Nancy have made me see the lady’s question with truthful eyes. This unlikely duo has made me realize how often I need to stop and ask myself if what the world sees matches what Jesus sees.
A Seed To Plant: Take some time to read chapter 23 of Matthews Gospel and ask the Lord to show you where He might be whispering a shift.
Blessings on your day!
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Sheri's writing can also be found at Faith Catholic Publications and on CatholicMom.com