Tomorrow is July 4th, our country’s Independence Day. Our nation’s motto is “In God we trust.” Sadly, I think that as a nation, we’ve come a really long way from that. Today’s frightening news headlines were prophesied in the book of Revelation. But Jesus told us that when we see all these things happening, to stand and look up, for our redemption draws near. (Luke 21:28) This gives us great hope, peace, and courage. It won’t be long now!
What we can do today for America is to continue praying for her.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)
I hope you have a happy 4th of July. Ray has to work until tomorrow night, but I’m spending tomorrow evening with some dear friends, who are grilling burgers and brats and we’re watching fireworks. How are you spending yours?
Heather made a fun scavenger hunt at her house, where the kids looked for clues all over the house, until they got to the last clue which read that they were going on summer vacation in Branson. She is such a fun mom! The kids loved the scavenger hunt!
Today I went to lunch with our youngest daughter Leah. When she was still living at home, she and I would go to lunch every two weeks when Ray was paid.
This was our mom-daughter special time together.After she moved out, I wanted to continue the tradition. Leah now stays busy working, taking her violin lessons, drawing her art, and doing stuff with her friends. We still try to go out every couple of weeks for our “mom-daughter” time.
I try to do lunches with Heather, too, only she lives much further away (an hour), she works more than full-time hours, and she is constantly busy, but we see each other when we possibly can.
Our middle daughter Eden stays very busy too, working 3 jobs, but she and Ray regularly text and video chat. We drop by to see them at times, since they and Leah live down the street from us in Butler.
While our three precious daughters stay on the go every day and live their own, busy lives, I’m still trying to adjust to the empty nest. (I digress from the first day of summer, but I’m going with the writing flow for now.)
At night when things are often too quiet, I lay down, wrestling with insomnia again, and then the mom guilt attacks me. The regrets. The painful ache in my heart, missing their beautiful, sweet faces and their physical presence here.
The haunting, condemning thoughts of, “I should have done more fun things with them” or “I shouldn’t have yelled at them so much” or “Why was I so focused on a clean house instead of just enjoying my time with them more?” Sometimes I miss them so much.
These days I do stay busy with my speaking and writing books. When I’m in between books, I get so restless, and feel like I’m just going to absolutely come out of my skin from boredom and anxiety. Today at lunch, Leah wisely told me, “You need to find new hobbies, mom.”
“Like what?” I asked her in between bites of a juicy cheeseburger and french fries drowned in ketchup.
“Creative things like painting or playing a musical instrument. For example, right now I’m learning to make origami.“
I told her that while origami is cool, I don’t want to do that and that I don’t know how on earth to draw or to play an instrument. The only instrument I’ve ever wanted to learn how to play was piano (which I quit my lessons as a child) and the guitar, so I could pretend to be Heart’s musician Nancy Wilson. But I wanted to play bass guitar, not rhythm. I never learned how, and now I have no desire to be a rock star.
“What else can I do?” I asked my child who is wise beyond her years.
Whatever I want, she said. And Leah thinks that anyone can learn to draw or to play an instrument, no matter what your age is. It’s not too late to learn something new!
Here are some things I DO want to do–this summer:
Spend time with God and our family;
Travel somewhere new;
Start my walking/jogging routine again (pray for my self-discipline, puh-leeze! I’ve gained all my weight back!)
Drink more water and continue healthy eating (cut carbs and sugar dramatically, more salads and fresh veggies);
Restore our marriage;
Possibly write a children’s book with Leah illustrating the art on the front cover (she’s thinking about it!);
De-clutter my office (tame the paper tiger!);
Go horseback riding somewhere;
Have some much needed down time at the beach, my place of rest and refilling;
Visit my family and friends in different states;
Go on another train ride;
Speak at a women’s conference (several times would be great!);
Lead at least one person to Christ, hopefully more;
See God moving in our family, drawing us closer to Him and one another;
Visit the mountains;
Ride a hot air balloon ride with Ray, drinking champagne;
Have roses bloom in my home garden;
Grow more Christ-like, in the fruit of the Spirit.
These are just some of the things I’d love to do. What about you? Share your comments below.
Valentine’s Day is around the corner. The other day when I was eating chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant, I heard a man griping to his (male) friend that Valentine’s Day is “just a made-up holiday to force men to buy flowers and candy for their girlfriends or wives.” In my head, I was thinking, “Actually, no, it’s a perfect opportunity for a man to show his wife how very much he loves her!”
The waywe learn to love God, others, and ourselves is by spending time in the presence of the One who is the epitomy of love–God. God is love. (1 John 4:3) By praying. Worshipping and praising Him. Meditating on His Word, the Bible. Having fellowship with other believers. Operating in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Crucifying our flesh daily. (Romans 6:6) Repenting of sin. (Acts 3:19)
God’s anointing–the presence of His Holy Spirit–teaches us all things, including love. (1 John 2:27)
I guess it’s easy for God to love because, well, He’s God! But what about us mere humans, we who are fragile jars of clay, so prone to sinning and who eventually return to the dust from which God made us? (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)
Let’s face it. Some people are not easy to love. In fact, sometimes they are downright unloveable.
They can be:
And let’s face it; you and I can be very unloveable, too.
What to do with these kind of people?
You and I make an intentional choice to love anyway.
The way God does with you and me. He loves and gives first. The way Jesus looked down at those who crucified Him and mocked Him and said, “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 22:34, International Standard Bible)
Jesus DIED for them, the same as He did for you and me! Love lays down one’s life and prays for others–even those who hate and despitefully use you. (Luke 6:28)
Love is a decision. Love is an action. Love is a verb.
Is it easy? NO! I really struggle with this at times. I constantly have to ask God to help me to love others the way He does. (Sometimes this is hardest to do in your own family!)
Is it what God desires for you and me, to be vessels of His unconditional (agape) love? YES!
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