Joyful Words Blog
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.
– Psalm 119:105
– Psalm 119:105
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
General Sam Huston led the battle cry “Remember the Alamo” nearly 180 years ago. I will follow the advice of that great General myself and remember the Alamo but probably for a very different reason. I had the pleasure of speaking at a Catholic Women’s Conference in San Antonio and my hotel was literally yards away from the Alamo. I had a couple hours before the conference started on Friday afternoon so I decided to do a little exploring and I can’t even describe my shock to walk a few steps down the street and realize I was standing right in front of such an amazing sight. I was struck by the beauty and charm of the city but little did I know I hadn’t seen the greatest treasure of all yet. Friday evening as I made my way to the Convention center I began to see the real beauty and treasure of Texas…its strong women of faith! When the seats were full and the conference began I found myself in the presence of 2,500 faith filled, joyful, enthusiastic daughters of God. So, what do you suppose happens when you gather 2,500 God loving women in one room? Everything happens; laughing, crying, hugging, praying, singing and lots of praising the God who loves them. The energy in that room was overwhelming! I was invited to San Antonio to present or to give but I’m amazed at how quickly that flipped around and I became the receiver instead of the giver.
There are so many pearls of wisdom I gathered this weekend and there are a few that I really want to share. God is so smart because one of the golden threads of wisdom woven throughout the whole weekend was trust Him with a grateful heart! He has a plan and we need to get our selfish self out of the way. As I boarded the plane in San Antonio Sunday afternoon I was thinking about that and the patience it requires. I was also thinking about a fellow presenter, Noelle Garcia’s story about an airplane near disaster. Those two things had me deep in thought when the flight attendant announced that there was a problem with our plane and what they thought would be a simple fix had turned into a substantial problem so we were all taken off the plane and sent on our way to rebook flights. I just laughed as I dialed the 1-800 number to find a new way home. With trust and patience I sat in the airport for 5 hours waiting for a flight back to Michigan. There was no frustration or frazzle, the peace of the weekend left me with a feeling of gratefulness and I was so happy to be safe and patient! As I watch others stomp and storm around fussing about something that simply couldn’t be changed I realized there was a plan and it included flying home through Chicago instead of Dallas. Gratefulness is a much easier emotion to deal with than stress!
Another little pearl from the weekend is that we will all do battle in this life but we can choose the battleground. If we enter into the thinking that we are not worthy enough or holy enough or good enough to deserve God’s love we are on a battleground where we will always loose. If you find yourself wandering on to that battlefield stop and remind yourself that God’s love cannot be earned or deserved it just IS. It is our gift from the one who created us. When you feel yourself headed into that battle stop and acknowledge the truth and then realize we are expecting something from ourselves we can never achieve and that is never required. He wants us to ask him for His love and His strength and His truth those are the things we need to win the battle. Turn it all to Him and victory will be certain.
I could write three or four posts about all the things sitting on my full heart right now but I’ll save it for later. I’d like to end this post with my favorite line from the conference. This beautiful, powerful one liner came from Archbishop Gustovo during his homily. He said, “We don’t need more pious women we need more Prophets of Hope!” We need to be the voice of hope. We need to do more than just believe in the idea of hope or pray for hope we need to spread the promise and the good news of hope like a prophet. When we take a look at this crazy world we live in its easy to see that hope is what we’re lacking. We hope for safety, for peace, for love, for acceptance, for security and for all things good. God the Father is what we are hoping for because He is the answer to every worry, concern, tragedy and issue in this world. The problem is we don’t live like we know it. When we become people of hope instead of people of fear, fret and doubt things will be different. As Christians this isn’t new news but it’s our job to live like we believe it and it’s our job to share that good news.
A Seed To Plant: Spend some time this week praying with this verse from Romans and make a list of things you hope for. When you begin to feel the hope of Christ fill your heart become a prophet of hope and share it!
Blessings on your day!
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:19-20
I have a confession to make. I don’t watch the news or read the newspaper. I realize that doesn’t make me informed or worldly and I also realize there are some who would say I’m sticking my head in the sand but I’m ok with that. I can’t change the world, I can only be in charge of my little corner of it; myself, my family and maybe on a great day my classroom of middle lovelies. That’s it…that’s all I can do and I have to leave the rest up to God to tend to. I choose instead to pray for my town, my state, my country and my world. There is such a need for prayer in all those places I don’t need to know the particulars; I just know I need to pray. That being said, I do often notice my internet home page headlines and the one about the shooting in Virginia Wednesday broke my heart. The words that are ringing in my heart are senseless shooting. Talk about the understatement of the decade! I just can’t seem to shake those words so I decided to change them into a concept that could make sense and make a difference.
What if we turned next week into National Positive Shooting Week? I’ll admit it’s not very catchy and it doesn’t roll of your tongue but let me share the idea anyway. The first thing to understand is the word shooting. As the title implies, it’s all about shooting stuff at people but it’s positive stuff, great stuff, important, kind, purposeful stuff. What if we spent a whole week trying to shoot positive emails, texts, Facebook posts and tweets? What if we decided to pick three people and shoot them a note with two 5 dollar bills in it and asked them to keep one and share the other? What if we shot the person in line behind us at the coffee shop or toll booth a surprise and paid for them? What if we decided to find ten people each day and shoot them a beautiful smile? What if we made a list of people who were sick, suffering or struggling and shot up a special prayer for each of them? Do you see where I’m going with this? Can you imagine what a difference it could make! I won’t un-do the bad stuff going on around us but it would allow us to create an atmosphere of Christ like love that can offer a counter balance to the crazy stuff going on in our world. We can’t change the world but we can sure shoot around some better stuff in our little corner of it.
Is it Pollyanna simple; you bet, but in our over the top, complicated, fast paced world a little simple might just do something amazing! So pull out your post-its and your sharpie and shoot some positive messages out. Leave them on desks, car windows, lunch bags, water bottles; anywhere! If National Doggy Day can blow up everyone’s Facebook newsfeed surely this can have an impact too. Each week more than 3,000 readers visit this blog and if each reader decided to shoot out three or four positive messages imagine how cool that would be. I’m sure it won’t make the homepage newsfeed or the 6 o’clock news but it will make a difference and Christ will notice!
A Seed To Plant: In the next couple of days pray about how Christ might be inviting you to shoot out some of his love and Good News.
Blessings on your day!
Children too are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Psalm 127:3
When I was a little girl I had a favorite story my mom would read to me. She could read about three quarters of the story and then I would shut the book and not let her finish it. It was right at the part where the little boy was about to cross the river but he was unaware that waiting on the other side of the river was a Bobcat crouched and ready to pounce on him. It took a very long time to let her finish that story because I was afraid of what would happen to the little boy. I wanted to believe he would be ok and the story would end happily but I was too afraid to peek ahead and see. It was easier to enjoy the story with my own ending in mind. I could imagine the story any way I pleased and I liked it best that way. Now mind you, I was only a little girl and I didn’t realize that children’s literature wouldn’t have a little boy get devoured by a hungry Bobcat on page 17 but my logic said, I like it to turn out exactly the way I picture it…no risk…no gamble…no chances. When I got a little older I remember my mom telling me that you never know what happens in the next chapter unless you turn the page. You may like it just the way it is but the odds are good that it will get even better; you just don’t know unless you turn the page. She was exactly right! I would have to add to that theory a bit though and point out that even after you turn the page to the next chapter you might not like the first few pages very much but stick with it because odds are good that it will get better.
The Good Lord popped the sweet story reading memory into my mind as we were driving home from Ohio late Friday night. We had just left Shannon six hours away at Franciscan University and I couldn’t quite seem to turn off my tears. I heard all the advice run through my head; she will be fine, she is ready to spread her wings, you wouldn’t want her living in your basement when she’s 30, you raised her to be strong and independent now let her practice what she’s learned, it’s only six hours away, she’ll be home at Christmas, Franciscan is Passionately Catholic and she will grow so much as a daughter of God, she will be surrounded by Priests, Sisters and people of faith no parent could ask for more. I repeated it all to myself dozens of times but I just couldn’t get my heart to buy into the thoughts my mind was thinking. Growing up is such a logical process. You are born, you get older, you set out on your own and the cycle repeats. Seems so simple doesn’t it…but my heart and my teary eyes just weren’t buying it!
As I type this post it’s been about 48 hours since I’ve seen that sunny smile and heard that sweet voice and most of them have been spent blinking back tears but in those hours, here’s what I’ve discovered. It will get easier; but probably not before it gets really hard though! I suppose the best things in life, the God things in life are like that…tough but necessary. I’ve discovered that it’s only partly about her getting older, I am too, and realizing that I’m not the mother of a kindergartner but of a college freshman means I’ve changed and that reality requires some pondering. I suppose God didn’t intend for any of us to stay the same year after year; all those changes are most often the things that lead us directly to him because change is hard and we need his help. After about the 400th time of asking myself “where has the time gone?” I decided to actually answer that question and I kind of liked the answer. It made me realize that the time that passed so quickly was jam packed with lots of amazing stuff. It didn’t just pass by or get stolen; it was lived and thinking back on all my years as a mamma was a joyful experience. Good parents work with God and raise their children, they don’t just watch them grow up and all that “raising” creates some great memories. I found myself drifting off in thought about some of the stuff we packed into those years that slipped past and I pondered some of the things I think we did right and I laughed at lots of the mistakes we made as parents.
It was time for us to move on to the next chapter but just like that favorite story my mom used to read; sometimes it’s hard to turn the next page. I can tell you for certain that I am NOT enjoying the first couple pages of this new chapter but I know it will get better! I think back to that childhood book and I realize how much time I wasted wanting to keep things just the way I knew and wanted them to be. The first time I let mom finished the whole story I realized I’d been missing out. Parents everywhere are sending babies off to kindergarten, high school and college and each one of us shares that same ache in the pit of our stomach and that same desire to freeze time; that’s because we have loved well the gift of our children and that’s a good thing. My heart feels a bit more settled when I remind myself that God, the masterful planner has great work to reveal; not just in Shannon’s life but in mine as well. He has a plan for Dave and me as we try to figure out what we’ll do with our time now that the last little Wohlfert is off on her own. God is so smart; I’m sure he’s smiling at all us weepy parents thinking; oh just wait to see the goodness I have for you and those children that I love even more than you do!
A Seed To Plant: Spend some time in prayer considering the changes that are hard to make. Ask God, your Loving Father to help you turn those pages and see the story he has written for you.
Blessings on your day!
Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my beloved Son, listen to him!” Mark 9:7
“Because I said so!” Those were some of my mother’s words that I said I’d never repeat when I became a mother. That oath lasted until my oldest son was about 2 and a half and it was the only thing I could think of to end a debate with my toddler that had exhausted all of my patience and logic! The funny thing is…it worked. I don’t know if it was the surprise of a new line, or the simplicity of the words but it stopped all the nonsense. I thought about that experience not long ago when I was reading the Gospel account of the Transfiguration. Every now and again we could all use a little transfiguration of our own. Sometimes we get so used to the same routine we need to be shaken up a bit to clear up our vision and our perspective. Jesus did this in a mighty way on that day he took Peter, James and John up the mountain with him. It is one of the most profound and amazing stories in the New Testament but yet it is so simple!
Jesus took Peter James and John up the mountain because each of them would have a very specific leadership role in the new church. They must have been amazed, inspired and terrified beyond anything I can imagine that day. Knowing how weak and thick-headed our sinful nature can allow us to be, God knew he would have to hit ‘em with it straight and simple so he gave a direct and powerful command “This is my beloved son. Listen to Him.” He didn’t add the “because I said so” but sometimes I think I need to hear it. As I read this Gospel, I’m struck by the magnificence and the simplicity of it all. Eternal Life isn’t attained by correctly answering a series of trick questions; it’s attained by following the directive given on the mountain, “Listen to him”, not do as you want. Maybe this week we should pause and ask; Loving Father, please shine your loving light on the areas of my life that require me to listen to you. Reveal my stubbornness and desire to do things my way and give me the grace of submission and obedience so that I may listen to you and do what you are asking me to do; simply because you said so and remind me that you always know what’s best for me. Amen
A Seed To Plant: What are the areas of my life that are making me feel frustrated, cranky or weak?
Blessings on your day!
Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. Psalm 32:5
I spent some time in my classroom the other day trying to unpack and get ready to start a new year. After spending three hours there the best way to describe the way it looked as I turned off the light and walked out is “the cupboards threw up!” There were stacks of books, bulletin board fabric and border containers open and bulging out everywhere and piles of “things” on each available flat surface. The chairs are all stacked in a tall pile and the computers are still draped in blue plastic bags with cords coiled into neat spools. It looked so awful I’m not sure I want to go back! It’s amazing how much faster and easier it is to pack it all up in June than it is to unpack it all in August! It reminded me of a cartoon I saw recently that said, “I love vacation; it takes me 4 hours to pack and 4 weeks to unpack!” It was a painful reality when I consider the task every teacher faces when it’s time to get the room ready to go for a new school year.
The reality of the piles and the mess will make it hard to go back in there on Monday but it just has to be done. There is no magic spell or closet full of helpful elves that will sneak in under cover of darkness and get the job done so I’m just gonna have to buckle down and slug through it all. I have to focus on the first morning I will walk in and see that shiny floor, curtains hung, bulletin boards finished and everything all in its place. Eye on the prize kind of thinking I guess! I suppose it’s all so uncomfortable because it causes us to tackle the undesirable and most of us would like to slink away from that any chance we can. As I tripped over piles all afternoon I got to thinking about my bad habits and sinfulness. I’d much rather avoid those than deal with them! It’s pretty easy to take the bad stuff like my shortness of patience or my quick judgements and tuck them away like books in a closet but they need to be dealt with from time to time. If I didn’t acknowledge the mess in my room and the stuff on the bottom shelf I wouldn’t really be ready for my best school year. I suppose my eternal salvation requires the same attention. I realized as I was dusting, sorting and organizing, it’s about more than supplies; it’s about my soul. Every corner of my life needs some inspection, evaluation and action. There are things I need more of and definitely things I need less of!
When my room is ready I will waltz through the door with a light and cheerful heart but in order to get to that point I have to be willing to do the heavy lifting, the scrubbing and the sorting. As I plopped down next to a pile of text books and school supplies I figured I’d better pay twice as much attention to cleaning up my soul and addressing the things that distance me from the Father. Just like my classroom in June, it’s much easier to tuck it all away that pull it all out and deal with it! I think I’ll take some time this week to treat my soul like I do my classroom in August…unpack it all, sort it and do what’s necessary to put it all in order!
A Seed To Plant: Pick a cupboard or closet this week to unpack and clean…after you finish with it, go through the same process with your soul!
Blessings on your day!
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. Luke 12:34
Have you noticed how some things are harder to do as you get older? Sometimes I just try to ignore it and find something to blame it on but other times there is no getting around the fact that things just don’t happen quite the way they used to. Putting on panty hose is a great example. Twenty years ago they just slid right on, one little tug at the end, on went the skirt and Bing…ready for the day! Today however the same task is practically an Olympic event that requires a piece of sturdy furniture, a fair amount of wiggling and hopping followed by some sweat beads and a rest to top it all off. I don’t know what they’ve done to those crazy things to make them so hard to put on these days but I’d like to write a strongly worded letter to somebody about it! After we commiserate about the things that are harder I always have to stop and think about the things that are easier than they used to be. This week I had a big dose of something easier than it used to be; family pictures.
When the kids were little we would get a family picture taken every November so I could put it in the Christmas cards. Since my family is so far away it was important to show everyone my family even if we couldn’t visit with each other. Let me tell you, family picture night was always an ordeal! I can’t even count the number of times the “outfits” were carefully planned only to have someone blow out of a diaper, fall into something messy or spill a sippy cup on their clothes before the first click of the camera. There were hair-dos and wiggles and itchy tags that presented themselves like giant speed bumps in the process time and time again. There were eye rolls and sour faces if the kids were asked to put their arms around each other or sit too close. I will always remember the picture when Shannon was 14 months old and the photographer had Dave lying on the floor with her sitting on his back. Her latest trick at the time was wrapping her wet little lips on somebody’s arm and making that big loud bubble blowing sound. It was adorable until the photo shoot started and she decided the top of her daddy’s bald head would be a great place to blow her sloppy bubbles. The sound was hilarious and her 3 and 5 year old brothers could not stop laughing which encouraged her all the more. Looking back on that event I can laugh now but at the time, I remember being very thankful that the photographer was my sister in law or we might have been tossed out of the studio or at least charged triple! I wouldn’t trade those memories for all the money in the world but it was tricky stuff. When the kids started to get older and involved in stuff, we gradually stopped taking that yearly picture and settled for candid snap shots here and there. That trend needed to change before Shannon moved off to college and the nest became empty. I needed an updated version of my whole family on my wall before they all took off and got busy doing what we’ve spent all these years praying for and teaching them to do.
The big trick this time around was finding a spot in everybody’s schedule. Once we got that organized we were good to go. At the appointed time everyone showed up, pressed, dressed and looking wonderful…no thanks to me at all! As we loaded in the Traverse to head to the picture spot, there was no incident…no spills, dirt, hair trouble or arguing! The lovely Jessie met us with a big smile a great camera and a God given gift for making us all fit together and look good in an instant! We did many poses and locations and there was not one eye roll or sour face. The little Wohlfert’s actually got as close together as they were told without incident! It was so much fun…just laughing with my family and knowing for a blip in time we were all packed together in a small spot and I didn’t have to share them with the world! It was a breeze…smiles, snap, switch and 25 minutes later we were back in the vehicle all done. It was so much easier and so much fun to be surrounded by my greatest treasure…my family. The ending was easier too. When the kids were little, we would promise ice cream after pictures if everyone did a good job. This time it was burgers and beer at a local brewery and that was WAY easier than waiting for three little kids to pick one scoop from 47 flavor choices at the ice cream counter!
When I think of my family as my treasure, I know that they are simply a wonderful gift from my greatest treasure…my Father. I realize that living life as a good disciple isn’t always easy. Sometimes making choices that lead us to holiness is hard to do and requires struggle and sacrifice. I’m really hopeful that as I get older, growing in holiness might get easier…kind of like taking family pictures got easier. It’s a wonderful thought. When you really think about it the two have a lot in common…you just keep working at it, make some re-adjustments, encourage each other and find contentment in the process. As I look back at our family pictures through the years I see so much change and growth…I hope Christ sees that same thing when he looks at my heart and our relationship over the years.
A Seed To Plant: This one is a two parter…first, spend some time in prayer this week thanking God for all your treasures and second, prayerfully consider your holiness and ask God to show you how he wants to mold you so it can be easier to grow closer to him.
Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
Every now and again I run across something that just doesn’t seem to belong or have relevance anymore. I was cleaning closets recently and found an old rotary dial phone with a long spiral cord. I also have a potato slicer and French fry cutter that belonged to my Grandma Thelma. She used it in her kitchen when I was little girl. Both of those items have been replaced with more modern, convenient, efficient updated models so the old ones are cast aside as if they are no longer useful. There is a key word in this scripture passage from St. Matthew’s gospel that might seem as irrelevant as those old treasures hiding in my closet. That word is meek.
We strive to be strong and successful. We pray for the grace of patience, perseverance and wisdom. We admire people who are confident, powerful leaders with vision. To tell others our goal is to grow in meekness would be a little like seeing a rotary dial phone in a Verizon store! To be honest, when I came across the word meek the other day I decided to give it a look and some prayer. I think I need to change my opinion about that word. I think it’s a word we might all be able to relate to better than we thought and I’m certain it’s something we could use more of.
Long ago in biblical times the quality of meekness was highly respected and aspired to. We tend to view it as weak, timid or passive but that was not the message Jesus was teaching when he shared the Sermon on the Mount. Meekness in its true meaning is the opposite of those things. Being meek doesn’t mean you are weak and have to take everything like a door mat, it means an active and deliberate acceptance of undesirable circumstances that are part of a bigger picture we can’t see. Being meek doesn’t mean throwing in the towel, it means giving God authority to do what he wills with our life. True meekness can be measured by how closely related we are to the will of the Father. When we make that relationship first, we are content in his love and his control of our life. If we let him be in charge we realize everything happens for a purpose and we trust in his plan. If we are more centered on ourselves and our comforts and our pride we tend to fuss and complain and point out all the things that don’t go our way. If we are low on meekness we tend to see the world through the lens of poor me instead of God’s got it all figured out!
If someone rich in meekness is treated unfairly or wrongly it doesn’t mean that doesn’t sting, but vengeance or revenge isn’t part of their reaction. Their first reaction is to pray for the person who has wronged them and give the rest to God. A meek soul realizes that God is the source of justice and that all situations contain lessons. Sometimes the lesson is for us and sometimes the lesson is for somebody else and taught through us. In order to grow in meekness, we have to admit regularly that we are not equal with God. Through our great dependence on Him we grow and we trust and we think WAY more about him than about ourselves. I suppose meekness is a bit like realizing we truly need to settle into second place and stop trying so hard to be in charge, on top and number one. I don’t know about you but I have a lot of meekness building to do!
A Seed To Plant: What are some of the areas in your life that could use a little more meekness? Spend some prayer time this week with this old word with a great and misunderstood meaning.
Blessings on your day!
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. Proverbs 21:5
Summer is supposed to be a time to rest and reflect for teachers. It’s supposed to be a time to quiet the mind and re-charge the batteries but judging by the pace of the summer I’ve had I don’t think God got that memo! He has sprung one new adventure after another on me since June and it’s been a fun ride! As some of these things take shape, I’m sure I will have many new things to write about in blogs to come but for now things are in the “work” stage and I’ll be honest, that isn’t my favorite stage! As I have tried to hammer out a training manual, a Discipleship teaching series, a few scattered writing tasks and some fun speaking adventures, I’ve learned a lot about myself.
I’ve learned I’m good at motion; not so good at still. Writing and planning tend to be still type activities so I’ve struggled a bit. When I make myself sit down at the computer to plan and write I just want to go 100 miles an hour and get it finished. One day last week I sat down to work and I was scribbling and typing notes and gathering information lightning fast and wound up with a mess. I giggled as I remembered when Kevin was old enough to feed himself. I would put him in the high chair and put small pieces of food on his tray. He was not such a good “be still” person either so when I’d pick him up from his toys and put him in the high chair he wanted to get down to business and get back to playing. He would gobble the food so fast with both hands I would have to hold one hand down just so he would slow down, chew and not choke. Humm, genetics are funny! I wonder if I could get someone to hold me down in my chair until I was finished.
I’ve learned even the most unpleasant tasks can seem delightful when you’re trying to avoid something. Yesterday I got stumped and frustrated so I got up to hang out a load of wash. Before I finally headed back to my computer, I had hung the wash, taken out the trash, swept the floor and decided to make a cup of tea to sip while I worked. I opened the microwave and noticed some splatters so of course I had to wash out the microwave. When I reached into the drawer to get a tea bag there were more than the allowable limit of bread crumbs so obviously I had to empty the whole drawer and scrub it out before I made tea. As I was ready to settle back down to the computer the next load of wash was finished so I had to hang that load out and as I put up the last towel I remembered I needed to pick the cucumbers. I think it was a good hour before I got back to the writing!
I’ve learned even emotionally tough stuff seems to take priority during procrastination. Shannon asked me to help her do something in her room yesterday and before I knew it two hours had passed as we organized piles to take to college. We talked about her moving and ordered her text books and sorted closet junk. None of that was in the plan for the day and honestly I don’t even want to admit she’s leaving in a few weeks but all of the sudden it seemed to be the task of choice! “What is wrong with me”, I asked myself in frustration!
I’ve learned that distraction is powerful. The stuff I’ve been asked to work on is completely God inspired stuff so I suppose that’s why satan crept in and sent me off chasing squirrels with a vengeance. I love the stuff I’ve been invited to help with so I’ve learned that I need to leave my house to work starting tomorrow. I need an environment without a phone, washing machine, broom, stove or crumb ridden drawer to distract me. I’ve learned that starting tomorrow I have to show satan who my boss is. I’ve also learned that this work should be less about my efforts and more about the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The last thing I’ve learned; distraction sneaks in without you even really realizing it sometimes. I’ve been amazed at how busyness can separate me from the true task at hand. In order to meet my deadlines I need to be more diligent, mindful and intentional. I wonder if God is using this summer to make a very important point to me. If I could hear his voice speaking to me I bet he would say “eyes on me sister…eyes on me”! Lord help me stay focused on you and the tasks you put before me and help me ignore the squirrels and the bread crumbs!
A Seed To Plant: What distractions are creeping into your life and your relationship with the Father? Call them out and ask God to help you focus on him instead of the busyness we fill our days with.
Blessings on your day!
So do not fear,1 for I am with you;2 do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen3 you and help4 you; I will uphold you5 with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Fair week is always nuts! There are so many details like feed, show clothes, equipment, event times and chores just to name a few. It seems like it’s one big whirl-wind from Sunday afternoon until Friday morning. This year as if all that craziness wasn’t enough, Shannon lost her phone somewhere between the hog barn and home. She plopped into bed exhausted Monday night thinking it was in her back seat with forty pounds of other “stuff”. She was too tired to go out and get it and decided she could live without it until morning. Tuesday morning she was in a frenzy of last minute details before the pig show. The frenzy escalated to a panic when she realized her phone was NOT in her car as she thought. She re-traced her steps from car to barn and back, checked the fair office and searched everywhere it could possibly be and came up empty.
The problem with a teenager and a lost phone isn’t just the loss of a phone…it’s a disconnect from everything. Their phones are their calendar, photo album, navigators, memo pads and address books. Everything that is important is stored in those little mini computers they call smart phones so when it comes up missing it leaves a hole! I love the 4-H family because so many of them jumped right in to try to help. A good friend came to the rescue! She worked her google locater magic and hopped in the car with Dave to locate the phone according to the very precise directions google indicated. It led them right to the spot along a busy Michigan highway where the speed limit shifted from 35 to 55 mph and right there along the gravel shoulder of the road was Shannon’s phone. It seems she laid the phone on the trunk of the car as she packed the back seat and it rested there nicely for the first few miles of her trip home but as soon as she sped up to 55 off flew the phone. It rested there along M21 peacefully and unharmed for nearly 12 hours.
When Dave and his cell phone finding buddy returned to the barn with the phone, there was relief and happiness to say the least! As Shannon went about the business of showing pigs all day I marveled at what had happened. As we discussed it with others, one gentleman brought up an interesting point. He said, “Isn’t it a little freaky … if a phone can be tracked so easily don’t you worry that the government can keep track of us; knowing where we are, what we’re doing and who we’re with at all times? It’s like they know our every move.” Without any thought at all, my mouth opened and said, “Well the government may know where I am and who I’m with and what I’m doing but so does God and that takes away the fear and replaces it with peace!” I told him it reminded me of a bumper sticker I had seen recently that said; It doesn’t matter who the president is, Jesus is the King.
As mainstream and social media blow up over babies and lions and marriages it’s so easy to want to crawl under the bed and hide. Hearts are sad, people are broken and compassion and honesty are becoming such slim commodities among the people who profess to be in charge of the rules of the land. It’s easy to let fear creep into our lives and become our ruler. Fear paints everything ugly and hopeless! God did not make us to be a people of fear; he made us to be a people of faith. The problem is we oftentimes put our faith in the wrong things and when that happens it always winds up creating fearful and fretful thoughts and actions. He made us for so much more! Technology like most everything has an up side and a down side. We were able to enjoy it for good last week and I wish things could always be used for their intended, positive purposes but I know in my heart satan is pushing for exactly the opposite. That is a reality I have to pray my way through each and every day. What I need to remind myself when my faith starts to feel like fear is that I was created by a God who loves me, protects me and is standing by waiting to sooth my fear every time I call out to him in faith.
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of things that make you fearful; take that list with you into prayer this week and ask God to take those fears and give you the grace of faith to move past them. Remember God is bigger than everything we might fear!
Blessings on your day!
Sheri's writing can also be found at Faith Catholic Publications and on CatholicMom.com