Wednesday, May 15, 2019

It Takes Time

Years ago, I was counseling kids camp and about midway through the week, I received a phone call from my husband.  He informed me that our dog had been sprayed by a skunk. 

This is not the kind of news you want to hear when you’re an hour and half away from home caring for 12 elementary girls.  I was helpless to render any useful assistance, but I did lay down the law.  I ended the call with this statement, "When I get home that house better be clean."

Yet, I knew in my heart this kind of clean-up was going to take time...and true enough, when I returned home and opened the door, I was greeted by an overwhelming stench.  That's when my husband told me the rest of the story. 

The morning of the incident, my husband let the dog outside, and as he was holding the glass sliding door open, he saw the skunk.  He tried to call the dog back into the house, but alas, it was too late for the dog and too late for my husband to shut the sliding door. 

After the skunk did her deed, the dog bolted past my husband into the house and ran up to our bed and proceeded to roll her stinky, dog fur all over our bedspread, pillows and sheets.  My husband shooed the dog out of the bedroom, and she ran to the sofa to roll her stinky body all over that piece of furniture.  He yelled at her again, and she jumped down on the carpet and proceed to roll all over until my husband was able to quarantine her to the bathtub.   By this time, our whole house was affected by the skunk's spray.

My husband made a few more phone calls to reach out for help.  He tried all the  remedies he could on our stinky dog to no avail.  The deed was done, and no tomato paste, lemon juice, baking soda, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide was going to right this wrong.

If anyone has ever had to deal with a dog that's been sprayed by a skunk, you can identify with this story. 

The spray of the skunk didn’t just affect our dog.  It affected everyone that came in contact with our house or dog for quite a while.

Our actions can also have far reaching consequences.  As much as I tried to clean up the odor that lingered in our house, it was months before it was gone.  

Sometimes it just takes time to right wrongs.  There are no quick fixes or formulas to follow--just time.

The skunk spray was meant for our dog, but we were all affected by it.  And only time helped remove the stain.

If you are hurting today from the spray of words from someone remember this; He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their woundsPsalm 147:3

When you’ve been sprayed, remember who you are in Christ.  You are precious and honored in my sight, and I love you. Isaiah 43:4

After a skunk attack, surround yourself with people who speak encouragement into your life.  Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

And remember, try not to spread the stink around.  A gentle response diverts anger, but a harsh statement incites furyProverbs 15:1

If you've been hurt by the words of another, it takes time, but eventually, all will be good again.  Hang in there.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

National Day of Prayer

It was an honor to be asked to pray this year at the National Day of Prayer in Flint, Michigan.  The area I was asked to pray over was families and education. 

I heard a song recently by Josh Baldwin from Bethel Music called, This is how I fight my battles.   The next line said this, It may look like I'm surround, but I'm surrounded by You.   These two lines are the only words in the entire song.  A few words, yet they say so much.

The whole time I was singing this song, my thoughts do I fight my battles?  The answer was crystal clear, through prayer.  This is how Christians fight their battles--they pray. 

For my devotional today, I'm sharing the prayer I prayed at the National Day of Prayer.  As you read it...pray it!  Because...this is how we fight our battles!

National Day of Prayer 
Families & Education 

Father, it is with humble hearts; we enter your presence with the assurance that you hear our cries.  We come, asking for Your divine intervention in every family and educational institution of these United States of America.  

We pray for the marriages across this nation.  Lord, only You can raise up a standard that will stop the erosion of the American family.  Shore up the crumbling foundations of broken homes with Your transforming and life changing power in our own community and around this great country.    

 We ask for Your protection over mothers and fathers.  Protect them from the fiery darts of the enemy and allow children to have both parents to teach and guide them through their formative years. May it be the privilege of every parent to know the joy of pointing their children to that straight and narrow path, that leads to eternal life.  

And Lord, we pray for the educational system in our country.  This is a battleground, where the enemy of our souls has worked feverishly to silence Your Name, but today, we as a nation, stand in the gap.  We lift our voices in unison asking that you would raise up teachers and students who would boldly call on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for help and guidance.  

Lord, prepare the hearts and minds of teachers and students to pray, to speak, and to be ready to give everyone who ask a reason for the hope that is within them.  

Give this generation, the tears and brokenness of the prophet Jeremiah who cried out a message of repentance.  Give them Daniel like courage to stand up against the pressures to conform.  Give them the boldness and faith of a David who stood face to face against his enemy, yet he knew His God, Our God, You—Father God would deliver him from the hand of his enemy.

Lord, we pray for the teachers in our country, whose voices have been silenced.   Make a way for the flood gates of your Truth to pour out of every Bible believing teacher.  We invite your Holy Spirit to be present in the classrooms of America.  We come against the spirit of apathy, discouragement, fear, violence and lack of purpose.  

And we ask that You, Lord Jesus would empower each grandparent, parent, child, student, administrator and teacher regardless of age, occupation, or education to use our allotted days to do Your Will.

Father, I ask these things, as we agree together, in the powerful name of Jesus--Our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

If you'd like to hear the song I mentioned above, this is the link. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Choose Something Wonderful

This is the only picture I could find with me and my mom
together.  I am the baby in this picture.
Mother's Day can be the best or toughest day of the year.  On this special day, words of appreciation will be shared, cards bought, candy given, and the restaurants will be filled with families who don't want to attempt cooking a meal for the best cook in their world--Mom!

For many, Mother's Day can be a sad day too.  Maybe you never experienced the joy...and sorrow (yes, there is plenty of sorrow that comes with the job) of motherhood or maybe you have recently said your final good-bye to your own mother.

Whether you are in joy or pain...Mother's Day is coming, and this year you get to choose what you will remember.  So, here is your challenge...choose something wonderful. 

Here's my memory.

When I was in the 11th grade, I had a new friend at school, and the first time I went to her house she walked in, grabbed her mom and lifted her off the floor with a hug.  I could see by their relationship that this was not a one time occurrence.  My friend had cultivated this type of relationship with her mother.  And, it warmed my heart to see this expression of love.  Her actions inspired me to do something special with my mom.

Seeing I'm not a lift your mom off the floor with a hug kind of person, I moved on to Plan B.

I chose to greet my mom when she came home each day from work and follow her to her bedroom.  I'd lay on her bed while she changed her clothes into something comfy.  I'd ask her anything that was on my mind or ask her how her day had been.   I don't remember receiving any life changing advice or spiritual counsel in those few moments together, but it was a purposeful time for me to be with her and her to be with me.

It was sometime in the 11th grade that I made the decision to take that five minutes with my mother when she came home from work.   I'm sure she wasn't thrilled to have an audience while she changed her clothes, but she never once discouraged me from being with her.  I cherish that time, and I had no idea how short lived it would be.  In February of my senior year in high school, my mom died unexpectedly.  I was 18 years old.

I don't have decades of memories about my mother to pull from, but I cherish the time we did have and especially those days of just being with her.

In Isaiah 66:12-13 The Message Bible describes a mother as one who brings comfort with the sweet promise that God will comfort us in the same way.
“...You’ll nurse at her breasts,
    nestle in her bosom,
    and be bounced on her knees.
As a mother comforts her child,
    so I’ll comfort you...”
What is your good memory of your mother?

Choose something wonderful.

A recent photo of me with my first born!  
My second born son and a very young me!

One of my favorite pictures of me and my daughter (3rd born).

Happy Mother's Day

It Takes Time

Years ago, I was counseling kids camp and about midway through the week, I received a phone call from my husband.  He informed me that o...