1. If it’s not helpin’ you grow, prune it out of your life.
2. Sometimes what looks like a cage is the best support you’d ever find.
3. It doesn’t matter what the situation looks like, God is always in control.
4. You were created for a purpose, rise up out of the muck and mire and achieve your full potential.
5. Get what quenches your thirst, no matter what’s going on around you.
6. Fight against whatever weeds come into your life with the tools given.
7. Take care of the talents God’s given you by giving them the attention they deserve every day.
8. When you feel like you can’t make it, trust your roots, and remember to look toward the Son.
Ahhh, the quest to save money. My parents taught me well. I didn’t retain it at the time, but they taught me well. I became aware that I didn’t need to buy books on how to save money or cut costs because after the first one I read, I realized I know more than these people. I simply channel my Grandma (who used the elastic from my uncle’s Fruit of the Looms to hold the garbage bag up in the can) and hear my father’s voice, “We DO NOT cool the outdoors!” secretly wishing we could. I sweat a particularly abnormal amount.
The “Going Green” lesson was adapted to my dad unscrewing each of our lightbulbs if we left them on, leaving us to wonder each time we returned, “Did the power go off AGAIN?” Intelligent as my brother and I were, I must admit it took a few times, but it stuck. Recently I decided enough is enough: I don’t want to be paying for my education when my offspring is looking into retirement villages for me. (Picture it: My child sits down with the lawyer after I’m dancin’ with Jesus and he lets her know, not only did I leave her nada, but she also still owes the interest on my student loans. *Shudder.)
So, here I go on a green quest so to speak. As Larry Burkett says, I will be a “utilizer of resources” instead of a “consumer.” I plan to spend money on necessities (does anyone know what those are anymore?) not wants and desires. The cute outfit will have to wait, especially since my daughter is not even old enough to know cute, she just is. I’m going to save my pennies for the day when she simply MUST have the Hypercolor Tshirt from the mall. (Where did those go? I’m convinced they’ll be back one day and I pray I live to see it.)
The plan as of now is to use up what I have in my cabinets and freezer and fridge instead of buying new. I will be spending as much as a family of 3 will be on food stamps.
It wasn’t until I got older, got married, and got with it that I realized my parents were geniuses. The amount of money they must have saved by simply not wasting their resources would be unbelievable. They were green before green was cool. Country living is green living.
Just this morning, I thought, “I need new kitchen towels.” Instead of robotically (is that a word?) writing it on the WalMart list *hiss* I grabbed one of my daughter’s receiving blankets as we are no longer using them and cut it in two. Voila! 2 new towels. I couldn’t be prouder. In the words of my Grandmother, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
So I wake up to a hungry baby, but also to this title. Ouch! Wasn’t exactly how I’d planned to start my day…neither at 4:30, nor having God bring this to my attention. Lately I’ve been struggling with feeling somewhat proud. Maybe not so much with friends or my church family, ok, maybe those too…but more so with complete strangers. The ones who don’t look like me, or think like me, or act like me, or have the same values as me. (Who does that leave?) I mean, let’s face it: Some people just make you feel smarter! The guy at the grocery store who can’t seem to figure out how much more money he needs to give the cashier in 10 minutes or less. The woman who cut you off while chatting on her cell and doing a quick polish check simultaneously. The spouse who seems oblivious to the piles of not-so-clean clothes and stacks of less-than-shiny dishes scattered across what can only be the “Before” picture of some home makeover show that resembles your house.
Women have a tendency to take on everything. Let’s face it ladies, we are good at a lot of things! Organizing, categorizing, cleaning, encouraging, collaborating, cooking, listening, the list could go on, but I have too much to do to finish it…
Our minds dart from our children’s lunches to our husband’s appointment to what to fix for dinner to how much money’s in the account. All those thoughts, a lot of times, take less than 5 minutes! It’s easy to take on this, “Why can’t you see it my way??” mentality and look down on those around us who aren’t goin’ with our flow. We must humble ourselves before the Living God each and every day.
God forgive us for putting our day and our to-do lists before You and not placing them before You at Your feet. We know that it’s only through You we are able to get anything accomplished. Thank you for showing us that woman in Proverbs 31 as she provides the example of what our thoughts and actions should reflect.
So as I’m reading in my Bible(I have lofty goals of finishing within the next month…I started 2 days ago), I find myself starting with Matthew. I must admit I skipped the “Genealogy of Jesus” in the 1st Chapter, but decided the “Visit of the Magi” which just sounds oh-so-cool was a great place to pick up! Lately I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed and defeated. You know the kind of stress you have when it actually hurts to relax your shoulders? I’ve been dealing with stress far beyond my capacity to conquer, but hey, that’s what our God’s for, right? Thank you Jesus!
As the story goes, the Magi, or wise men (for the life of me, I wonder what makes them so wise, other than being able to follow a star to find the baby of a lifetime…or maybe that’s enough. Hmmm…) find Jesus, yet neglect to tell King Herod at that time where He was. The reason they left and took another route outta the country was not because they were so wise, but because of a dream! God talked to them in their sleep! Are we that open to hearing God? That we would follow a star, then not do what the KING told us to do? Rebellious Magi…even cooler.
So the first idea that stood out to me was the fact that we need to be more open to God and His gentle voice.
The second? Herod didn’t win. He had the money, the fame, the power, the lackeys, and more! He wanted Jesus dead, a “defenseless” baby Jesus at that because of his jealousy. What an ego!
As believers, we fight. We continue the fight, and listen for and to God’s calling. We follow Him, not the one who appears to be in power here on Earth. There is a fight and there is a winner. Herod didn’t win. And the stresses and obstacles in your life and mine will not win either. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be described as Magi someday!
His Timing At Times
Here I am God. I’m discouraged and disheartened. It is not one event that takes your faith-filled breath away; it’s one event, then numerous smaller ones. It’s not one huge sucker punch to the gut, a pretty big one, then many more jabs and kicks. This has been one of the roughest months of my life. I have felt condemned, guilt, overwhelming sadness, and an overall lack of…of…something. What? What is it that I feel like I don’t have? Connection? Intimacy? Love? Self-worth?
I know God’s there, always. Why don’t I feel Him in situations we’re dealing with at times? Death, illness, suicides, accidents…attacks. I’m supposed to sit back with my sweet tea, repeating, “God’s workin’ in mysterious ways…” (Southern accent optional)
Why don’t I feel equipped for these attacks? Isn’t this what we as believers are supposed to be prepared for? Aren’t we the ones that unbelievers are supposed to say, “Wow! That HAS to be God in her life! I don’t know how else she would’ve made it through!” Where are my bootstraps I’m supposed to pull up? Why can’t I quote Scripture and everything will reverse itself? Why can’t I stand with my Bible up in the air, screaming, “Amen! Let it be so!” and all the idiosyncracies fall single-file into line with the Word of God?
Please don’t misunderstand, I do not mean this to be disrespectful to my God and Creator. I am simply seeking the answers He personally promised to me. I am coming boldly, yet fearfully, to His throne. I pray and yet don’t seem to be heard. No, that’s not the truth. I am heard. I know this. I don’t feel as though my prayers are being answered. Why does it always seem to take our Father FOREVER? His timing, I know…Dare I say I detest His timing at times? Is that too bold? He knows what I’m thinking anyway. Let’s get really honest here! I don’t like the way God mosies about in some situations. My brain moves fast (He should know this, He created me), so fast I’ve tried medication to little avail. I find myself trying to slow myself down and at the same time, speed God up!
How hilarious! I’m attempting to rush the Almighty God of the Universe to fit into MY plan! That’s the most ridiculous revelation I’ve had in awhile! Jesus loves me, this I know. Why would I ever try to play God and pretend I know better than He…why would I think I could run a universe? I have trouble picking out what clothes I want to wear.