A blog about finding God's way on the journey with our children, our family, our jobs and our community.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lessons from the Kitchen

Sometimes God speaks through situations and circumstances where He is least expected to show up.  At least that is how He works in my life, maybe yours, too!  Lately, He has shown up in my kitchen and this week was no different for me and God.

I was in the kitchen working on a sauce for dinner (nothing fancy mind you) and as any 'good' mother would do, I was also doing about three other things at the same time - homework helper, dog waterer and shoe picker-upper - readying our time at the dinner table.  In the great room, about 10 steps from the stove eye, I would pick up a pair of shoes or a backpack, and then run back to the stove to give the sauce a 'mini' stir.  Hopping back and forth like this for some time, I found that I could do both jobs at the same time - even though it took a tole on my energy level!  But it all worked out and the sauce was just fine for dinner.  "Mini-stirs" seemed to keep the sauce from sticking, broke up the lumps and made it very tasty, even though this wasn't following the recipe directions to 'stir continually.' 

In my quiet time with God, He showed me that ministry work is often accomplished through 'mini stirs' as well.  He said, "sometimes the demands of this life won't allow you to fully focus on encouraging someone in a deep or personal way every day.  But keeping your spiritual 'eye' on them, through 'mini stirs' often keeps the life-flow of my Word moving, changing and encouraging them enough to keep them from getting stuck!"  "After all," He said, "you could interpret the word 'minister' into the 'mini stirs' that bless others to keep moving forward!"

Don't you just LOVE IT when God talks to you like your best friend or next door neighbor?  I do!  I love it when me and God have a great laugh together.  I think He knows how very simple-minded I am, and so He and I just have conversation about things - everyday things - and He teaches me so much through those little lessons in the kitchen!

Today, ask yourself what kind of 'mini stirs' you have time for.  Can you send a quick text to a friend who is feeling sick with an encouraging scripture?  Can you write a silly note and put it in your daughter's lunch box?  Can you compliment or encourage the checkout clerk at the pharmacy or grocery store (you know, that kid with green hair and big gauges in their ears) by telling them what a nice smile they have?  Can you tell the mailman to have a blessed day?

I am convinced that all of us - no matter how busy our day, or how deeply engaged in full-blown ministry work we are - have the time to multi-task by giving a quick 'mini stir' to keep others moving toward Jesus.  Little is much when God is in it! 

           Zechaeriah 4:10 says, "For who has despised the day of small things?"

May you multi-task with purpose this day!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

God Is Up To Something!

It was a Monday evening, the southern sun setting over the hills of Tennessee.  Almost cloudless skies dotted with a white spot here and there.  I was 15 minutes late with my phone call that was scheduled, but hurriedly scooted off to a quiet corner of the house (my little bathroom, where else?) and dialed the number to Nebraska.  No answer.  But I left a voice mail message and took a long sigh. 

Before I could swing the bathroom door open, the phone range back!  Knowing it was my scheduled phone call, I expectantly answered in my Tennessee dialect.  "Well, I can certainly tell that I am speaking with someone from the south," said the sweet-sounding voice on the other end!  And from there, the journey with Rhonda Quaney begins.

You see, Rhonda and I have never met.  Our first phone conversation EVER was just this week.  With nothing more in common than the tie that binds us to Jesus, Rhonda and I began a partnership journey of encouragement for women everywhere.  We ended the call by praying with and for one another, and I felt in my spirit that my life as a woman of God would never be the same.

Both chosen to represent inCourage as a community inCourager (blogger, writer, supporter, leader) we were 
unlikely comrades connected by only thing we have in common - the love of Jesus!

Immediately, we felt a connection in our kindred spirits and we are off on a new road - a road less traveled - two women from different situations, different backgrounds, different experiences, different wounds and different joys; but together wielding over 100 years of experience in navigating this stormy journey called life.  One from Nebraska, one from Tennessee - more than 930 miles and fifteen hours by car span the distance between us.  Held together by the deep desire to encourage the hearts of women everywhere.

So.....we are off!  Working on our description of our blog/website and FB page.  Praying for each other and our respective families.  Asking God to touch and bless the life of someone we don't even know - but have entered into a partnership with that is sure to bring glory to our Father in Heaven.

Displays of His Splendor.  Yup.  That pretty much sums up Rhonda and Tracy.  And I, for one, look forward to this new bend in the journey called life!  Thank you Lord!

Do not lose your courage, then, because it brings with it a great reward. You need to be patient, in order to do the will of God and receive what he promises.  Hebrews 10:35

Monday, September 10, 2012

Health or Death? What are you speaking?

Proverbs 16:24 says, "Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  When I read this last evening in my "Devotions for Busy Moms" little book in my bathroom, tears welled up in my eyes.  Not just small tears, but those big tears that you know exclaim, UH OH!!

Earlier in the day I had snapped at a few people around the house.  Using the ultimate excuse (again) that I am, at 52, raising grandchildren, children of my own, a full time job that seems to never end, and being active in church, I simply was ugly to the most important folks in my life - my family.

As I stood in my little bathroom with that book in my hand, I could envision Jesus saying, "now Tracy, where did I display that attitude in my life? You know, that attitude that is - well, let's just say - far less than gratitude?"  I can see him saying, "I was here on this earth in an earthly body, and I experienced what you are experiencing right now.  I understand being overwhelmed.  I understand being tired.  I understand being frustrated.  But I want you to follow my example if you will.  When my emotions (because all of those things above are led by emotion) were swallowing me chin deep, I went to the Father and I stayed in His presence a while.  Yes, I got away from the world - all by myself - and I related to Abba a while.  Just me and Him."

Wow.  The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are full of Jesus retreating from the world and communing with God!  It sounds simple, almost trite now, but at the time, when you are in the heat of the battle, we just can't seem to say, "OK.  That's it.  Let's stop right here.  I have to go talk to God a little while or you won't like me very much."

But after my tears were dried by Jesus last night, and after I completely understood how to do it better next time, and after He told me that He forgives me (once again), I resided that I will, from now on, take time to talk to God before going a step farther down the road of unkind words.  I want to take the Proverbs 16:24 road - always.  Though I know I'm not Jesus, I am sure trying to be 'as like" Him as I possibly can.

Ok.  Gotta go now.  Back into the heat of the battle.  So I will finish with this prayer for you:  May your words always be like honey - for tomorrow (like me) you may have to eat them!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Not Good Enough?

Satan tries to convince us that we have made far too many mistakes for God to want to have anything to do with us.  But God wants us to get in the habit of running to him for His grace.  He wants us to rely solely on Him.  The enemy continually tells us that we simply aren't good enough for God.

But the beauty of what God does, and how He does it, is that "while we were yet sinners (not good enough), Christ died for us."  Isn't that amazing?  The truth is, we will never be good enough, and despite that, God still loves us.

Instead of saying, "I don't think God loves me" we need to boldly exclaim that "God loves me and nothing can separate me from His love!"

I need to remember this every moment of every day.  Sometimes I fail.  Miserably.  But I love it when God takes the time - through a special moment - a word of confirmation - a word from a friend or family member - that despite my sinful nature, despite my fleshly emotional reaction, He is STILL GOD and I am STILL HIS CHILD WHOM HE LOVES.

What a lesson in being a great parent He gives us every day.  Thank you Lord for your wonderful reminder and example of unconditional love.  May I always look to your example in my daily dealings with family, friends and those in my life.