…so that I may come to you with joy by the will of God and be refreshed together with you. Romans 15:32
One of middle lovelies shared a book with me last week and I flipped open to a random page in hopes of finding some inspiration for todays blog. First crack open I found something great to share. Last week I wrote about the giants that make us feel like grasshoppers and the story of St. Benezet (who I have never heard of) from Dominic’s book seems to be the perfect follow up.
St. Benezet was a shepherd but felt God calling him to solve a problem. It seems there was a spot along the Rhone River near the saint’s home where many people died trying to cross the river so Benezet felt he was supposed to build a stone bridge across the river so people could have a safe crossing. The first problem was, he was a shepherd and not an engineer. Problem two (which is a big one) he had no experience, money or materials.
I think this is about the point in the story when I would have tossed up my hands and said, “Sorry God, you asked the wrong person, I have no way to accomplish this giant task!” Lucky for the people of this village that wasn’t how he responded. He told the Bishop about his situation and he amazingly supported the project in all ways despite the obvious problems with the plan. Both men truly believed that it was what God WANTED. I don’t know about you but I sometimes tend to see the reasons things won’t work before I see the reasons God might want it to. I also often forget that God can do anything he wants.
Benezet worked tirelessly for seven years on the project. I’d like to say he cut the ribbon and stood proudly at the grand opening of the bridge to hear the townspeople cheer but that’s not the truth. The truth is , he died before he ever saw the project completed. Many people who were inspired by his hard work and his dedication to God’s request completed the bridge after he died. There was celebration both for the bridge completion and for the many miracles that happened through the intercession and prayers of St. Benezet.
This humble shepherd’s life tells a great story of faith, trust, obedience and humility. If we look at the great Cathedrals of old and a simple stone bridge over the Rhone River we see that they share something that seems to escape modern culture…humility. Most of the great architects and builders never saw their work to completion. They didn’t need the accoladed of humans to fulfill them. They set out to do a task using their God given gifts and talents and they did it to bring Glory to God, the giver of the gifts and not for their own credit or glory.
Benezet’s story is a great reminder to me that God can use us any way he needs to for his purposes. It made me think of that famous quote, “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.” Those are truthful words so my prayer is, “Lord, get me out of the way and show me where you need my service. Lord, allow this little grasshopper to do giant things when you ask!”
A Seed To Plant: Spend some quiet time in prayer asking the Lord where he might be asking you to serve or build a bridge. Then ask him for the humble obedience to follow his plan.
Blessings on your day!
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Great news; I can do ALL things! Maybe I’ll begin by leaping a tall building with a single bound or establishing world peace by lunchtime or maybe get the crumbs cleaned out of the silverware tray! Somehow I don’t think that’s what Paul was saying to thePhilippians.
The key words in this verse are not “I can do all things” but rather “through Christ”. We weren’t created by God to be super heroes, or to live each day breaking our neck trying to do a hundred things to please everyone we know. We were created to be His hands and feet here on earth. I don’t recall a single passage in Sacred Scripture that described Jesus multi-tasking, over-booking His schedule or helping only those who could help him back. The beauty of this verse is that he’s not asking us to bear the burdens of the world and do ALL things. He’s inviting us to be open to his plan and let him supply the direction, grace, mercy, love and strength we need. In our acts of loving service, it’s a good idea to take an inventory of ALL the things we’re trying to accomplish and prayerfully sort through them. Maybe we’re trying to do a task that was meant to bring somebody else closer to God! Notice those in your faith community; maybe our greatest task of the day is as simple as stopping to listen carefully to a person who just really needs to be heard.
A Seed To Plant: In your daily prayer take a look at your “to do” list and ask God for the wisdom to know which tasks are really yours. Spend some time studying the way your favorite saint stayed focused on the one thing God was asking of them.
Blessings on your day!
And all this is from God who has reconciled himself to us through Jesus…2 Corinthians 5:18
A long time ago I had a co-worker who was difficult to work with. She was a bigger challenge than putting on panty hose on a hot August day! It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, how friendly I was or how efficient I became, I just couldn’t please her. Every day before work I would ask God to give me a heap of patience so I wouldn’t have boiling blood by noon. Most days I was at a slow simmer by 10 am and I would feel like God wasn’t listening or I just wasn’t trying hard enough. Luckily, it was just a summer job but I have never forgotten that experience. I remember it because just like that summer, there have been plenty of other times I have found myself in a pickle and I go into prayer asking God to give me patience or understanding or whatever the necessary grace might be and then I trot off to fix the situation. It wasn’t until recently that I realized I didn’t have it quite right. In his book God Help Me, Jim Beckman offered a thought that spun me around like a top!
“I was using a self-help approach to Christianity. I would diagnose myself and then, like a good doctor, prescribe myself a prescription like patience. Then I went to God and told him to fill the prescription. Is it any wonder nothing ever changed? The language itself is all wrong anytime we find ourselves telling God what to do we’re in trouble. At the very center of this self-help approach to prayer was ME, not GOD.” He goes on to explain that the whole mystery of our faith is realizing Jesus is the center, not us. We can never live a perfect life as humans but we can through Jesus. “God doesn’t want you to live the Christian life; if that’s what you think the invitation is, you’ve got it all wrong. He wants Jesus to live the Christian life in you! And through Jesus you are to become the very righteousness of God.”
When I did some serious thinking about this information, I realized that it wasn’t at all about the behavior of that tricky woman one summer a long time ago. It was about what Christ was trying to teach me about myself through her. He was inviting me to look deeply at myself so he could reveal and teach. I discovered looking back that I was angry and hurt at that point in my life and he was trying to get me to turn those things over to him, but I couldn’t or didn’t want to deal with that, I wanted to find another way out. Looking back it was like riding my bike into a wall every day and expecting it to move! He was trying to mend my heart and show me some truths, but I was wasting all my prayer time demanding he give me the tools to fix somebody else.
I’d like to say that I’m much older now and I’ve moved past such silly prayer mistakes but the truth is I needed these words right now just as much as I needed them that summer long ago. I need to stop complicating things and let God be God. I need to stop approaching prayer with a self-help attitude and begin to let God reveal and teach and love me; that takes an honest and open heart. Whew…I’ve got some work to do!
A Seed To Plant: Listen to your prayer words this week. Are you self-prescribing or letting God be the center?
Blessings on your day!
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!
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: Ecclesiastes 3:1
One of my big projects this summer was to decorate my front porch. It was the first project and the favorite project of the summer. That porch is where I spent time almost every day of summer break. I did a lot of praying, reading, writing and planning on that porch. At times it felt like an outdoor living room or office. I remember the first morning I sipped coffee and said morning prayers out there; I let out a sigh that morning thinking the new school year seemed so far away. This morning, one of the last few mornings I have left for morning coffee and prayers on my porch, I realized how fast the days had ticked by. I started to feel a little pouty about the end of slow peaceful mornings when all of the sudden the flys started to pester me. The little ones were nipping at my legs and ankles and the big ones were landing on my book and dive bombing my head. They irritated the snot out of me and I was a little steamed that they would barge in and ruin one of my last porch mornings.
After a few minutes of being annoyed by these pesky little creatures I rushed into the house and in a moment of brilliance, I came back out with a fly swatter. I was going to show them! I smushed a few and sat in my chair feeling rather accomplished…I showed them who was boss! I picked up my book and began reading again and read less than a paragraph before they came back with an army of their friends. It was as if they flew off to find friends and invite them back to look at the nut swatting flys outside! I did have to stop and laugh at myself. Why on earth did I think that would actually work!
After surrendering to the winged party wreckers, I went inside and gave some thought to what had happened. As I was pouting about the rude interruption to my peaceful porch dwelling I had failed to realize they hadn’t bothered me all summer long. I had had weeks and weeks of perfect, so how dare I get all in a yank about one bad morning. As I drove to school to prepare for next week, I realized those flys were sort of a message and subtle kick me off my porch to move on to the next thing kind of deal. Swatting at them had been as senseless as expecting summer to last forever. My peace and quiet came as a season but all season change. The great parts of our live don’t last forever but neither do the bad ones. They all come and go. Thats how God gives us joy, rest and peace to prepare us for the trials and tricky stuff that draws us closer to him. Trying to throw a hissy fit when those seasons change is as pointless as swatting flys outside. As I puddled about my classroom getting excited about the new school year beginning on Monday, I stopped to thank him for a prayerful, wonderful, restful, peaceful summer on my pretty porch. He and I had some great talks there this summer and I thanked him for that too. After I finished with my thank you prayer, I went to my desk to type the class schedule and a giant fly landed on my computer screen and followed my cursor across the screen. I laughed and realized once again, God has a great sense of humor!
A Seed To Plant: Give some thought to the highs and the lows he’s walked you through this year. Thank him for both.
Blessings on your day!
…behold, I am making all things new…Isaiah 21:5
As the calendar ticks away to the end of July, teachers everywhere are beginning to scurry. The back to school mind is beginning to plan and organize and prepare. I suppose most of the non-teacher world, sees summer for us as a multi week vacation. That would be partly true, but not completely. For me, and most of the other teachers I know, it’s a time to reflect and re-work the parts of our curriculum that didn’t quite reach the students the way we’d hoped. It’s a time to read and prepare for changes and fresh ideas, all targeted at engaging students and helping them grow. It’s also a time to catch up on projects. Today was the day I tackled my last big project for the summer; painting and redecorating the bathroom.
When I got started this morning, I was optimistic because the bathroom is the smallest room in the house so I thought I could have it wrapped up by afternoon. Well, one thing led to another and by the time I re-painted the vanity and spray painted the towel holders and light fixtures and then got to the walls, it was dinnertime. I had such high hopes for a quick and uneventful project. Well, the walls are painted, but the drawers are all out of the vanity and the ladder is still in the bathtub. The room looks like an F2 tornado passed through and there are little bits of toilet paper stuck to the floor where i bumped over my paint pan and when I stood up to wipe things up, I knocked down the toilet paper roll and it of course, rolled right through the paint splatters. I finally just turned off the light and called it a day. Instead of feeling relieved and satisfied with a job well done, I realize I get to rise and shine in the morning and give it another go! I’ll have to hold off on my shiny new bathroom until tomorrow.
As I was standing in the kitchen cooking supper I had to snicker a little. I was all huffy because the day didn’t follow my plan and turn out the way I had organized it in my mind. I had a schedule and I wanted that item checked off my list today! I wanted to look at my pretty new towels and shower curtain and clean, freshly painted walls right now…not tomorrow! I think I’ve been down that road before! It wasn’t good enough for me to realize that at some point tomorrow, I will have everything I wished for. The little toddler in me came peeking out because I didn’t get my way. Then, I felt that tender tug at my heart which was the Father trying to help me understand he had a lesson for me today.
God says “behold I make things new”. He does that with his perfectly timed answers to our prayers but we get impatient like I did with the bathroom project. If I would have rushed and re-hung everything, I wouldn’t have given the paint the proper time to dry and cure in this humid weather. I would have ended up ruining something in my haste. I realized how many times I try to rush the Father and jump to the end before I’ve allowed him the time to work things for his purpose. I will be patient and tomorrow, probably before lunchtime, I will behold a new bathroom and I will be happy. As I finish up tomorrow, you can bet I’ll take my time and do careful work knowing that the Father who loves me will be doing exactly the same thing.
A Seed To Plant: Be like Jesus, take some time to go off alone and pray. Offer your list of places you’d like to invite the Father to make you new and then patiently wait for his intercession!
Blessings on your day!
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer. Psalm 18:3
The first few weeks of a new school year are always an adjustment for everyone! Sometimes I feel a little sorry for the first graders because they have so much to get used to and remember those first days. The first all school mass is always memorable. The second grade teacher whose class sits behind mine at mass always has his eyes open ready to catch a stunt or two that makes him giggle. I’ve had dancers, acrobats and sleepers over the years, but nothing tops the boys with the flyin’ elbows!
When I assign the kids to their church seating order, I always remind them to "leave room between ya for Jesus. That is of course code for…if you’re not right beside each other, it’s harder to chat and touch! On one particular Friday, Jesus had obviously achieved enormous success on Weight Watchers because the two boys in the front pew had to leave practically NO room for Him at all! As they sat there quite close, one “accidentally” had his elbow land in the other little boy’s rib cage. So, the favor was promptly returned playfully…a few elbows later, they burst into an uncontrollable case of the giggles. I slipped out of my seat and made my way toward the ruckus. As the little boy on the right heard my footsteps approaching; he slid into his proper spot and sat silently with his arms tightly crossed in an attempt to control his elbow. I took a seat between these two handsome giggling boys and it soon became very clear to me that the little boy on my left had NO idea I had taken the spot beside him. My suspicion was confirmed when he threw the next elbow and it landed in MY rib cage…his loud gasp indicated that he indeed realized his elbow had landed in squishy new territory. It took ALL I had not to burst into giggles myself! I’m sure this little guy felt like his elbow had landed smack dab into a wall (a padded wall perhaps)! The shock of it was obvious in his gasp, his posture and his tightly closed eyes and bowed head.
I know that feeling! I’ve never gotten it from banging into a teachers rib cage, but I have had the feeling.
How about you? Have you ever been crusin’ through life, thinking everything is goin’ fine and then THUD…right into a wall or a dead end? I HATE it when that happens! If you’re anything like me, it usually happens just about the time I think I have everything all figured out and I try to do some of God’s work for Him. That wall is usually a signal that I’ve strayed which is because I haven’t prayed with a sincere, still heart! Being the strong, independent CHRISTIAN WOMAN I am…I usually charge right at that wall again…same result…and usually accompanied by a LARGE dent in my humility, several scratches to my pride and of course a bruised spirit!
Why would I charge into walls when I have been reminded a dozen times a week that my ONLY strength comes from God? The sin of pride I guess…but this simple verse from Psalm 18 holds such an important truth…God is my fortress…God is my deliverer…God is my rock! I don’t have to whack into walls and try to plow through situations that are not mine to experience.
When I came upon this verse, my mind pictured God as a mighty warrior with armor and a shield as bright as the blazing sun and He was poised to crash through a mighty wall just for me. I was in the image too…I was about as big as a mouse standing behind Him no taller than the heel of His boot. He was willing to take down that wall for me no matter how meek and tiny I was… just because He could! How many times do we get a quiet invitation from God to do something but we don’t answer the call because we think the task is too big? Not for God! He is after all a fortress…He can help us plow through anything if He’s invited us to! The challenge I guess is for us to keep our elbows to ourselves and listen for God to tell us which walls He’ll be crashing through with us today!
A seed to plant: Jot down something you’ve been trying again and again to accomplish without success. Fold up that piece of paper and lay it aside. This week the “wall” on that piece of paper is what you should pray constantly for, asking God to show you how to maneuver that wall!
Blessings on your day!
Joy is the net of love by which you can catch souls.
- Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
What’s a three letter word that has the capacity to change the ENTIRE world….no it’s not PIE! My Dad might disagree with me though! In the 27 years he was married to my mom, he had fresh homemade pie in his lunch box nearly every day. That’s how much she loved him so pie can be powerful but that’s not the word I’m thinking of. The all-powerful three letter word I’m talking about is JOY!
Joy and happiness are different. Joy is bigger, deeper and much more contagious! Joy is something you choose. Joy doesn’t depend on things goin’ your way; it depends on your faithfulness and your trust in the Father. Joy is being content that things are going HIS way whether it’s easy or not.
The Father’s will is perfectly orchestrated to provide each and every experience we need to build us up for a life in heaven. I think most of us would agree that the world needs more people who are willing to live a strong Christian life. We are all called to “go forth and preach the Gospel” but how? We are called to evangelize but how? The answer boils down to that three letter word…JOY! If it is our mission to bring people to Christ, we have to make sure we are the kind of people others want to follow. There is no better “advertisement” for God than to be so in love with Him that His joy just leaks out all over.
Recently the famous Fr. Joe Krupp spoke to our school staff and encouraged each of us to wake up every day and ACT like we WISHED we FELT! Great advice! Each time we interact with another person, we have an opportunity to lift up or tear down. We have an opportunity to brighten their day and offer peace and support or to complain and be negative. If our goal is to get to heaven and bring a few others along with us if we can, how we act towards others can make a huge difference. The people around me don’t care how tired I am or how busy I am or how important I think I might be…they want to be lifted up by a smile or an encouraging word…they want a little “shot of joy” in their day. My friends…I’ve saved the best part for last…JOY is for all of us to have and share! We need to wake up each morning and invite God to be in charge of our day and lead us through it by the hand. Joy will be the feeling we get when we put Him in charge and all we have to do is hold His hand and follow along. It’s kind of like riding in
a fancy convertible in the Homecoming parade…all we have to do is ride along and smile and wave to everyone we pass by. Have you ever watched the faces of people at a Homecoming parade as the kids in the convertable or on the float smile and wave…they can’t help but smile back even bigger…that’s how joy works! Joy is like a magnet…spread some around and see what you attract!
A seed to plant: Post a sign in a spot where you will see it every day…on it write the words “I’m gonna ACT like I WISHED I FELT today!
Blessings on your day!
There an angel of the Lord appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush...Exodus 3:2
Have you ever had that experience where you hear a phrase or an idea and think…hum…that’s cool, I’ll remember that (but you don’t) and then a few days later you hear the same thing again? That’s when I know I should probably pay attention! I can be pretty thick headed so sometimes God has to work a little harder to get my attention than He’d probably like! Our Christian history is full of God’s amazing examples of “attention grabbing”.
Moses got a burning bush, Jonah got a whale belly and I got Lynn and Lisa! He may not have grabbed me with the same drama Moses and Jonah got, but last week He used two Godly women to light a fire every bit as bright as a burning bush and every bit as surprising as the gulp of a whale to grab my heart. Lisa is an author from California and Lynn works for the Archdiocese of St. Louis and I’d like to share the story of how these two women “set the bush on fire” for me last week.
The first Godly woman put in my path last week was an inspiring and extremely talented author named Lisa Hendey . On Monday of last week I ordered two of Lisa’s books. One arrived in blazing speed. When it came, I knew I didn’t have time to sit right down and read it so I asked God to point me to a really good page for a little zap of inspiration. It was the perfect page! I prayed quickly, and flipped it open to a page and read about how on a whim she had volunteered to design a webpage for the school her sons attended. She admits she knew nothing about the task but just felt God telling her to volunteer. That “yes” led Lisa to do a multitude of amazing things to spread God’s truth, love and message of hope. Among some of her amazing accomplishments she has written books, and articles and is responsible with the help of the Holy Spirit for the creation of Catholic Mom.com, an amazing website that teaches, encourages and inspires more than half a million readers a year. Those were not ideas that were a part of her life plan, they were a part of God’s plan for her life. She remains faithful and obedient to God’s invitation and her work of leading souls to Christ just keep growing! Think it was an accident I landed on exactly that page? I don’t think so! The bush was on fire and the whale had a rumbly belly!
Trust, give up the planning…just say yes to what I’m asking WHEN I ask…that’s what I heard from Lisa.
On Friday of the same week I attended a professional development day with all the Catholic School teachers in the Lansing Diocese and we were privileged to listen to a presentation by a lovely woman named Lynn Lang from St. Louis. She was sharing her program, Virtues Based Restorative Discipline. The whole model is based on our role as peacemakers, carefully following the example of Jesus Christ and the virtues His life exemplified. She was fabulous and her voice, her presence, her personality; everything about her inspired peace! How blessed the Archdiocese of St. Louis is to have her and how lucky we were to have her share her words and ideas with us in Lansing. Even more inspiring than the program she shared was the example of trust in God that led to the creation of this beautiful program. Lynn was a mom who had left her career to stay home and raise her babies and one day…as clear as a bell, God put an idea on her heart. A few years later, it has developed into a program that is spreading God’s peace and changing children’s lives! God‘s message for her was to listen, trust and let Him lead the way. She was the second strong Godly woman I came in touch with last week whose message jolted me down to my ankles.
Ya see, I have been tangled up a bit lately trying to figure out how to manage all the pieces of my life. The blog, the family, the speaking and teaching, my first graders, the laundry and canning the bumper crop of tomatos exploding in our garden! Right in the middle of trying to figure it all out, God lit the bush and put both Lynn and Lisa in my path. The words from two women, one from Missouri and one from California were God’s messages to me and probably to many others who will read this post as well. The message: trust me…listen to me…let me be in charge and I will lay out a plan that will be far more than you can imagine or accomplish by yourself. Be still, and let me do my job…that’s what I think He’s saying. Sheri…just be my hands and feet…let me be the brains of the operation and the star of the show! Ok…I got it! Thank you Lisa, and Lynn for answering God’s call and allowing God to work through your beautiful hearts and lives and thanks for helping me see the bush that’s burning right before my very eyes!
A seed to plant: What’s on your heart? Take a minute to toss out all your plans and ideas and ask God to make you still so He might do a mighty work in you and through you!
Blessings on your day!
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost. Luke 19:10
When I was in college, I had my life all mapped out! I was very careful to organize each and every detail. I had everything written out in a notebook including how many children I wanted, what color my house would be and what kind of job I would have. According to my plan, I was to be married by 23 and be finished having babies by 30. I even had their names picked out, of course with alternates in case my future husband didn’t like my first choice. It was fool proof ... my happily ever after was all right there written in the notebook! I was so organized…what could possibly go wrong. Before I knew it I was 25 and absolutely nothing written in my notebook was happening, in fact, there were quite a few things that had happened that I would have never considered putting in the notebook…things like the death of my brother, and losing my Mom to cancer…those were not in my plan! I was melting inside and I remember feeling a little lost!
During this “lost season”, I went to visit my Grandma. A visit with Grandma Thelma always made things better! As we were sitting on her porch swing and she was trying once again to teach me how to crochet, tears started to fall down my cheeks into the yarn on my lap and Grandma gently took the things from my hands, knowing completely well that the tears were not due to my miserable attempt at crocheting. A couple questions later, there I sat blubbering like a baby spilling the whole tale of the stupid notebook and all my foolish plans. I distinctly remember telling her in the middle of my hissy fit that according to my plan, I was supposed to be half way done having babies by now but instead I was sitting on the front porch with her on a Friday night. I also told her that in the meantime I was quite sure all my eggs were rotting! I told her I’d been so careful in my planning, I just didn’t understand what had gone so terribly wrong!
When I had finished, Grandma sweetly said, “I know the problem!" She always did, but her explanation wasn’t what I expected. She didn’t mess around with her words…she cut right to the heart of the problem. She said, “You need to throw that darn notebook of yours in the trash.” I looked at her in shock and she went on to say, “The problem with your notebook is that it’s your plan and that’s never going to work.” She went on to lovingly remind me that everything happens for a reason, both the good and the bad, it’s all part of God’s plan whether we like it or not. She told me to ask God to write the plan for me, she also assured me that He was a better planner than me and that I would indeed have a few good eggs left when I needed them! Thank you Grandma!
That visit on the porch was like Jesus rounding up a lost lamb! I had gotten so tangled up in trying to take care of myself I had forgotten that really was Gods job. I still keep a notebook, but it’s a prayer journal. I still write my lists and organize my plans in the notebook, but the big difference between the first notebook and the ones I write in now…these are the plans I ask God to bless if they are according to His will and strike down if they are not. I often remind Him I’m pretty thick-headed so please be very clear with the directions because I don’t have Grandma to clear it up for me anymore.
How could we possibly think that a God who loved us so much He would send His only Son to save us wouldn’t know better the plans for our life!
Let Him take over your plans…you won’t be disappointed!
A seed to plant: Grab a piece of paper right now, and write down your plans for the week…then ask God to bless the list…invite Him to take charge of the list… and then stand back and see what He does with your week!
Blessings on your day!
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Wow! Good to know…I can do ALL things! Maybe I’ll begin by leaping a tall building with a single bound or establishing world peace by lunchtime or maybe just getting all the closets organized and the crumbs cleaned out of the silverware tray and out from under the toaster! To tell you the truth though, each task seems as daunting as the one listed before it. So exactly what do you think Paul meant when he spoke these words to the Philippians?
I think the key words in this verse are not “I can do all things” but rather “through Christ”. We weren’t created by God to be super heroes, or to live each day breaking our neck trying to do a hundred things to please everyone we know. We were created to be His hands and feet here on earth. I don’t recall a single passage in Sacred Scripture that described Jesus multi-tasking, over-booking His schedule or speaking only to those people with the most urgent needs.
The beauty of this verse is that it is simply calling us to do the tasks that God puts before us each day. He’s not asking us to bear the burdens of the world and do ALL things. He’s directing us to ask Him what His plan for us is each day and then He will supply us with all the grace, mercy, love and strength we need. I think it’s a good idea to take an inventory of ALL the things we’re trying to accomplish in a day and prayerfully sort through them…maybe we’re trying to do a task that was really meant to bring somebody else closer to God! Maybe our greatest task of the day is as simple as stopping to listen carefully to a person who just really needs to be heard.
A Seed to plant: Take a look at your “to do” list for the next few days and ask God for the wisdom to know which tasks are really yours. Then take a few minutes to ask for the strength to be His hands and feet as you accomplish them.
Blessings on your day!
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.
Key words..."I have in mind"...meaning God is in charge of the plans not us! News flash...He is a much better planner because His eyes see what ours cannot...His ears hear what ours cannot and His plans for us are sprouted from a love so big we can't even imagine it!
God is a God of surprises and they are quite excellent! I'm from Kansas and every December Dave and I pack up the three little Wohlfert's (although they are all much taller than mamma so little isn't the best adjective but it makes me forget how old I'm getting so I'm gonna go with it) and drive the 800 plus miles to visit my family. A couple years ago as we were traveling back to Michigan on New Year's Eve we were racing against the clock because the boys had suddenly become old enough to have a social life and heaven forbid we missed one minute of fun. I remember stopping at a rest area and hearing a loud hissing sound as we crawled out of the Suburban...YIKES...not a happy sound coming from a tire! The boys groaned and began to see their evening plans turn to mud. I said a quick prayer for our safety and the kids patience and understanding. And...as the God of surprises would have it, we hopped back on interstate 70 and the next exit was only 2 miles away and guess what the first thing we saw was...yup...a tire repair shop. In the time it took the kids and I to walk to the fast food place across the road and order lunch, the tire was fixed and for a surprising cost of less than $15 dollars New Years Eve was once again a happy thought.
You can't plan that kind of wonderful...you can't invent that kind of surprise...only the God of surprises is THAT good. I spent the rest of the trip home wondering how many times had God surprised me and I'd been too wrapped up in my own plans to recognize His work?
A seed to plant: (aka..your homework...man I love being a teacher!)
For the next week, before your feet hit the floor, tell God good morning and then ask Him to plan your day without any help then keep a running tally of all the surprises and blessings that come from living Jeremiah 29:11. Please pass them along so we can all enjoy your surprises!
Blessings on your day!
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