Category Archives: personal

It’s a Wonderful Life!

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I’ve been cleaning out the attic, going through 65 years of papers, cards, letters, mementos, and items.

Taking a walk down memory lane reading letters and cards from various seasons of my life reminds me of the great friends I’ve had throughout life. Remembering so many special moments. God has filled my cup to overflowing. He’s always been there. He’s my rock. He’s often used me to encourage others.

I need to fully yield to His gifts and call and let His Spirit flow through me. I have so many loved ones in heaven now. So many who have gone on before me.

My time is short!

The years rush by and the current moves fast.

There isn’t time to wait until tomorrow to make the choices for eternity.

The time is now. The choice is this moment. What will I live for in this moment?

Eternity is what counts. All the rest turns to dust and blows away in the wind. Even this body I try so hard to take care of will turn to dust and blow away.

It’s a wonderful life!

Make the most of the time now!

 

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Choked

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S – “The seeds that fell among the thorns are those who hear, but as they go their way, they are choked by the worries, riches, and pleasures of this life, and their fruit does not mature.” Luke 8:14

O – The seeds – the Word of God. Some hear and believe and follow. But they are surrounded by thorns:

worries: bills, health, safety, world events, to do lists, opinions….

riches: money, possessions, taking care of possessions, buying, maintaining, shopping…

pleasures: food, drink, sleep, warmth, comfort, entertainment, devices, social media…

All of these grow up like thorn bushes and choke the word of God in our hearts.

Then the fruit – which is there, does not mature. We become stunted, stuck, immature

The mature are those with a noble and good heart who hear, cling, and persevere. They produce a crop. v. 15

A – I’ve been letting myself be choked. Choked with possessions, money, shopping, things. Pleasure, entertainment, comforts. Maintaining this body in an effort to find health and safety here on earth. These have grown up around me. I feel stunted. I feel stuck. I have been behaving immaturely. My fruit is not maturing.

I don’t want to stay here. I don’t want to let the concerns, cares, and pleasures of this world rob me of what has eternal value.

P – Jesus, help me refocus. Help me re-calibrate. Help me refresh my brain and my soul. Help me not only hear your word, but cling to it and persevere in obeying, living, and applying it. I’m so helpless on my own. I can do nothing without you Jesus. I can’t be good, loving, or kind without you. Without you, I choose the selfish way. The self-destructive way. I need you every minute, every hour, every day. Please take all that I am Jesus. Work your will in and through me by the power of your Holy Spirit. I love you Lord. I want my life to show that.

Time to push the refresh button.

SOAP Bible Study

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Filed under Bible Study, Obedience, personal, SOAP, spiritual growth

Living in a Glass Box

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As an extremely shy, introverted, and fearful youth I often retreated into my easily controlled fantasy world. I was reluctant to open up or talk to people or didn’t know how. I’d sit in a high school classroom and fantasize about putting a glass box around myself. A place where I could read, observe, or do what I wanted unseen by others.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t a fantasy. I succeeded but my hiding resulted in the reverse of what I thought. I put myself in a box that blinded me to others. I shut myself away so I became almost unreachable.

I escaped into a self-protective mindset that caused me to avoid eye contact, especially with strangers and to engage in non-committal conversations. It caused me, as someone once told me, to be “like a knight in impenetrable armor.” I felt safe in that armor. I could look out and determine when and where to let someone in. The problem is I isolated myself and prevented others from knowing me. I developed the habit of keeping people at an emotional distance.

Thankfully, God began to open my eyes in my early twenties and He’s been helping me since to learn. I’m in my sixties and continue to see what I’ve reaped from that box. I still avoid eye contact with strangers and honestly have to be intentional about looking friends in the eye.

I’ve come a long way since high school and I’ve had some great moments over the years of opening up to others. But, I’m still learning and always will be. The awesome news is my heavenly Father loves me exactly as I am and always has. But He also loves me enough to help me change. The grace of Jesus Christ covers every moment I ever shut someone out even though I still reap consequences. His love for me is eternal and secure. In spite of my weaknesses I have a husband and a son who love and respect me, and many faithful friends and loved ones.

My prayer is that my Father will help me take a sledgehammer and smash the rest of that glass box and crush the armor to pieces.

Is it possible I can live being who I am and stop trying to manage perceptions or keep people at a distance? No one can live perfectly open and free. Hey, we’re human! But with the help of Jesus, I’m learning to walk freely knowing He loves me as I am, knows all my sin and weakness, has already covered them on the cross, and has called me to walk in freedom.

And when I’m tempted to retreat, I can remember Psalm 32:7, which says, “You” God “are my hiding place…”

I don’t need a box, a suit of armor or any other self-protective stance.

God is my hiding place.

I first published this at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

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Unfiltered, Unedited

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Why do I continually teeter on the edge of following God whole-heartedly and being aware I’m totally self-seeking? I’m 64. Have I progressed at all? Am I just a weak, flabby believer? Have I deceived myself and fallen for the easy life, comfort, warmth, never pushing myself too hard? Am I real with others? Am I just looking for the way of lest resistance? I say I want to follow Jesus, that I am His follower but am I dying to self? Jesus said the one who comes after Him must deny themselves take up their cross and follow Him. The line between following Him in self-denial and living to enjoy all He has given becomes blurred.

His word says He gives us all things richly for us to enjoy. Everything is a gift from Him. But my flesh so easily starts looking to the gifts more than the Giver. The Giver is the one who is the source of my joy, peace, and life. The gifts are to point me to Him. The pull to self-exaltation is always out there, luring me away from worship of God alone. Why else would I continually battle jealousy, pride, and comparison? My flesh looks for recognition and honor. My spirit longs to honor my Lord. I know I belong to Jesus. He is my Lord and my Savior. But will I enter heaven as if by fire, with all my works burning up? Will I have any gold or silver to offer to Him? Have I had it too easy? Is that why my flesh so easily falls back into floating along? Do I truly love people? Loving others is everything. That is the whole law summed up. Love your neighbor as yourself. Do I even know how to love?

Sometimes I feel trapped in my own mind. Trapped in seeking ease and comfort. My brothers and sisters around the world suffer just for believing. They have no choice. It’s so easy to make excuses for myself. It’s so easy to give myself a pass. But the only true evaluation is what my Lord thinks. Am I living in obedience to Him? Am I listening to His voice and following my Shepherd? What others do or don’t do has no bearing on me. My call is to listen to and obey His call on my life. Am I listening and following or am I deciding what I think should be His will for me? Am I choosing the way I want to go or following Him in faith? He will call me beyond myself. He will call me to do what I can’t do apart from Him. He will call me to die to self-exaltation, self-protection, and pride. He will call me to lay down my life for others.

Jesus, I want to be willing. I want to hear you. I believe in you with all my heart. I want to live for you with all my being. I want to be willing to die to self-protection, comfort, and the easy way. Help me Jesus. Please, help me abide in you. Help me remain in you because that is the only way to bear fruit. I don’t want to waste the time you’ve given me or whatever time I have left. I don’t want to leave this earth in regret. Please, Lord, take my strengths which are few, my weaknesses which are many, my gifts, talents, experiences, hopes, dreams, my life, my all. Take me and use my life for your glory. Glorify your name in me Father. Let your strength be made perfect in my weakness.

Luke 9:23; I Timothy 6:17; James 1:17; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 3:15; Mark 12:29-31; John 15:13; John 10:27; John 15:4; 2 Corinthians 12:9

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A Mother’s Request

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S – “Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, ‘What do you want?” She said to him, ‘Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’” Matthew 20:20-21

O – The mother of James and John was like all of us who are mothers. We want the best for our children. She was asking Jesus to give them a place of honor. She thought they deserved the best. When she asked that they have this place, she didn’t know what she was asking for. She didn’t know how much Jesus would have to suffer. She thought she knew what she was asking but her perception was limited to earthly things. Jesus knew what was ahead for James and John.

A – What is in my mother’s heart when I pray for my son? When I kneel at the feet of Jesus, what am I asking for? When I ask Him to bless my son, do I know what I’m asking? Do I know what it will take for him to fully trust God? I know what my perception is. I know what I want his life to look like and that doesn’t involve suffering and hard things. Like this mother, I tend to picture great things. But God’s perception is different from mine. He knows everything from beginning to the end. He knows what is best and He knows exactly what our son needs. I have to trust Him. His ways are not my ways.

P – Father I do trust you. I know you love our son more than we can imagine. As much as we love him and want the best for him, it doesn’t begin to match the love you have for him. Please work your will out in his life. Give him strength and endurance for whatever is ahead. Help his faith to grow. May he know the depths and heights of your love for him. Thank you Father that we can trust you and know your plans for him are for his eternal good. Help us to walk by faith and not by sight.

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OPEN

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My word for 2018 is OPEN. I want to be open to God. To whatever He has for me. Whatever He wants me to do and be.

I want to be open to my husband. Open arms, open heart, not holding back.

I want to be open to my family and friends. Available for what they need.

I want to be open to people I meet along the way. Strangers. I want to let them see me. See the light in me.

Open my heart Lord. To love and care.

Open my eyes to see those around me.

To see into their hearts. To look into their eyes.

Open my ears not just to hear but to listen intently.

Open my soul to let your light shine. To be transparent.

Open my wallet that I will be generous.

Open my hands so that I’m willing to give where you want me to give.

Please Father, help me do my part. Help me be willing to hear and obey. To trust you whatever you ask of me.

Please fill me with your Holy Spirit.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

 

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One Last Tear

countryside-1850111_no-more-tears1280My mom passed away one year ago today. This is what I wrote in response. I love you Mom! I will see you again one day.

 

via One Last Tear

 

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Filed under death, personal