”Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice! Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:4-7
Paul wrote this while in a dirty, damp prison cell. And chained up at that! How much more do I need to rejoice in the Lord on a regular basis! When I get into the habit of praising Him and thanking Him throughout the day, I notice how much more I continue to do that and how much closer I get to Him!
”Let your moderation be known unto all men” – Moderation is defined as; the avoidance of excess or extremes, within reasonable limits; to control. Moderation in all areas of our lives is important, in what we eat and drink – Proverbs 23:21 states, “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty.” In our work habits, “Six days shall thou labour, and do all thy work.” Exodus 20:9 Even when we work hard God wants us to take a day of rest! God set an example for us to follow and we should strive to live in moderation as well!
”The Lord is at hand.” – Oh how comforting it is to know! He is near to us! That was one of the most powerful feelings I had at the moment I accepted Him into my heart and felt that awesome presence!! He is there for you 24 hrs a day 7 days a week!
It’s safe to say that car mechanics know how to fix. your vehicle better than you! Either from book knowledge, special training and/or loads of experience, they know your vehicle better than you! If you have a problem with your vehicle, you want it fixed by an expert so it is done right. And if possible, the original people who built the vehicle is preferred!
So too with us in our personal lives when we face trials of many kinds (lost job, sickness, divorce, tragedy), who better to help us than THE ONE who made us! But too often the initial first response is to call a friend or try to go through the ordeal alone.
Likewise with our broken down vehicle, we may try to go it alone and fix it either ourselves or get a friend who knows a little about cars, or pay the rock bottom price for someone less qualified. It may get a temporary fix, but ultimately it may not last and stand the test of time.
In our personal lives, even though you may turn to God for help, He’s not fixing things like you want. The pain isn’t leaving quickly. The extra money you need is no where in sight.
This is where we have to realize God’s timing is not our timing. He knows exactly what needs to be done and when. While we are focused on the BIG problem, God is working on a smaller issue that needs to be fixed within us.
For example, early in our marriage I developed a nasty temper, an interfering voice and presence. I became mouthy, impatient and down right mean! Regardless of what worldly circumstances I could blame it all on, it didn’t matter! I had become my own worst enemy and my husband and children were having to live with it!
I needed to be fixed! I needed help!
I needed to: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Instead of removing all the obstacles that I blamed for my bad behavior, God worked on one little part of me at a time! And ever so slowly, I started to become closer to Him. And He began to chip away all those nasty traits. Did it happen quickly? Overnight? Within a month? No, it took time for me to slowly recognize and lean on God to help me change each negative aspect of my being! But wow, was it worth it!!
On the old TV series, “Seinfeld”, there was an episode in which an over-zealous mechanic treated the vehicles as his own property. He even got upset with the owner for not checking the washer fluid! As the owner pleaded that his washer fluid was fine, the very disgruntled mechanic barked back this response, “YOUR Windshield Washer Fluid Is NOT Fine”!! As humorous as the scene was, it is a constant reminder in my personal life to pay attention to even the smallest areas of my life and make sure they are in check, like my attitude and temper. And a lot of times I have to say my “windshield washer fluid is NOT fine”! And then I proceed to search out verses pertaining to my weaknesses and commit them to God and let the Holy Spirit work on me!
8. “A man finds joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word!” Proverbs 15:23
9. “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.” Proverbs 16:23
10. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it, will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21
11. “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11
12. “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26
13. “The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary.” Isaiah 50:4
14. “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgement for EVERY CARELESS WORD they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:35-37 (bold letters by typist)
15. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
16. “For whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.” 1 Peter 3:10
“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.” 1Peter 3:1
1. In order to keep our “tongue from evil and our lips from deceitful speech”, our thoughts need to be on the right track! We generally think before we speak, (hopefully!) so, therefore, we need to think on exactly what Christ said;
“whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable – excellent or praiseworthy.” Philippians 4:8
You may want to look up each word in the dictionary like I did, and you may find exactly what I found …
* Note that each of these words describes Christ! So think about Him!
2. “He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1Peter 3;11-12
Christ has given us His Peace! It’s already in us! We just need to tap into it!!
3. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4;29
After truely studying this verse I quickly realized that I wasn’t talking very much! And that’s okay, I started getting my thinking on track and in the positive, and continually tap into God’s peacefulness in my attitude and actions, and strange things happen!! I did start speaking a little more often, but now it was to build others up and encourage them, not criticize and bring them down! I do still need to desperately work on this DAILY!
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
Each and every day I need to renew my mind, my thinking, and be peaceful and full of God’s goodness and think the way He wants me to think!
1Peter 4:19 says, “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
I think of my friend Charlene when I read this, because in one year she ended up needing two different back surgeries and then two different hip repacement surgeries! She was unable to walk most of that year, was pretty much house bound most of that year and was in quite a lot of pain most of that year.
But she continued “to do good”! If she wasn’t on the phone encouraging others and organizing service projects, then she was inviting others over to her house, as she always does, and was always available to talk about God and read whatever verse you suggested! Charlene lived out this verse just as Christ had to live out this verse!
“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power forever and ever. Amen”. 1Peter 5:10-11
In Mark 4:35-41 Jesus was in a boat with the disciples as they traveled across the sea to the other side. A great storm came up while Jesus was sleeping. The boat was being tossed and the waves were breaking over the boat to where it was nearly swamped! The disciples woke Jesus, asking if he even cared if they drowned! Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be Still!”, and the wind died down and it was completely calm! And Jesus said, “why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Life is full of problems, and storms, that is why we need to rely on Jesus Christ to get us through! We need an ongoing relationship with Him, not just in the bad times, but all the time! Regardless…
Embrace the certainty:
-There will be storms in your life
-Christ will never leave you!
When a “storm” comes in your life, immediately say, “God help me do this right!”
-Keep your mouth closed (no unwholesome talk)
-Only think about what God has specifically told us to think about: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things”. Philippians 4:8
-Talk to God – pour it out!
-Write this list down and keep it with you and pull it out
often and read, reread!
Know that God is working on your problem
Cast your Cares!
Relax, God has this!
He is faithful!
You’ve already prayed for God to show you
what you are to do and which way to go
He will show you! You don’t need to aimlessly
try to figure out/solve your situation
Rest in His peace
If your storm is with an individual, when around them, only speak positiveness.
Speak what God told you to think; whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.
No malicious talk or accusings – You aren’t perfect yourself!
If you cannot completely get past the pain of the situation then you will need to get completely away from it for a little while!
Go for a walk and openly talk with God, pour out your heart and be open about your own faults and ask forgiveness. Then pray humbly for each person involved in situation. And stay away for as long as it takes until you feel better and you must stop thinking about the pain of the situation! Especially if the cause of the pain contains any unholiness, because God is holy – He doesn’t want you thinking in detail about it anymore!
Now, back to the “list” – Be calm!, know that God is working on your problem….etc READ IT!
ONLY talk to God about the situation, you do not need a bunch of people agreeing with you and offering their opinions! God will WALK you through your storm, not hurridly RUN you through it, but WALK!
You will get through it and you will come out on the other side a better person! That is, IF you let God help you do it right!
You will be stronger spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Which is good, because there will be more storms, but when the next one comes, it’s not going to be as painful because you are stronger!
When you have gotten through it, stay ever so close to God and continue to get stronger!
We were driving back from Alabama last evening and it was close to sunset. We passed a field being mowed by an older gentleman on his riding lawn mower, and he securely had his left big tan arm around the middle of his sweet baby girl. She was probably about 18 mo. with blonde hair, sitting on his left leg with her back against his chest and her thick legs dangling weightless over his leg like a rag doll as they slowly, yet methodically mowed the field. She looked so relaxed sitting with him and almost ready to dose off. They probably just finished dinner and mamma was cleaning up while daddy decided to take her mowing to calm her down for a good nights sleep. This was a photo that didn’t get taken. If I was to take a picture, that is what it would be. To me, that was beauty and worthy of a photograph!
We were sitting outside Starbucks in Chattanooga last Friday night and the sun had just gone down. People were walking by this way and that to get to this place and that. Cars drove by with graduation congrats painted on the windows. As we watched all the comings and goings, there was the brief moments in between where things slowed down just a bit. During one of these slower moments I watched an older Black gentleman crossing the street and coming in our direction. He instantly made me smile – he was all dressed up with a black suit that had white pin stripes on the sports coat, shiny white patten leather shoes, and a matching white brimmed dress hat to boot! He was using a cane, but only for fashion purposes, he briefly glanced over our way and saw my big smile and returned a big toothy smile to me as we caught each others eye and I said, “you sure look mighty handsome!” with that he grinned even bigger and said, “why thank ya!” and he kept on walking proudly! This was a photo that didn’t get taken. But if I was to take a picture, that is what it would be.
An older couple, that my husband is working for in Alabama, was sharing a hilarious story while we stood under their breezeway staring across at their 300 acres of beautiful land. The land used to house their 32 cows that were multiplied quite rapidly by one casanova bull of their neighbors! What made the story so funny was the slow Alabama accent she used in telling it along with the look on her sweet husband’s face – he was grinning, literally, from ear to ear at her and it was a look of complete love and devotion towards her! Because he is not quite as agile as her, he stood leaning at the top of the porch stairs, looking down at the back of her as she told the story. This was a photo that didn’t get taken. But if I was to take a picture, that is what it would be!
When we first met it was a baseball cap turned backwards for the catchers’ mask to fit. Then there came several different hats with various vendors vying for his sales. Then very clean golf hats to wear while taking customers out for a game of golf.
Then he became a builder and the hats he wore were any of the above mentioned, but they were now repurposed to block the sun, catch paint drips, and absorb all the sweat!
But none of these hats were supporting his true passion. Some of these hats he never wanted to wear in the first place – but had to in order to put food on the table for his family. As his wife, it’s important to pay very close attention to what it is that makes him tick. What relaxes, interests, calms, or simply makes him get excited, and then encourage the daylights out of him!!
It’s not always easy to make the transition from one hat to the next, but I’ve done it anyway and learned to do it cheerfully! By doing so, I’ve reaped the benefits of a happy husband!
He’s back to wearing a baseball cap turned backwards in order to catch that perfect shot, and I don’t mean a baseball – now it’s a photo! And I think he still looks pretty sexy doing so!
He loads the last bit of gear into the gheenoe (canoe with the back end cut off) which has already been strapped down onto the trailer. His daughter, whom he awakened promptly at 4:15 am is waiting excitedly for her boyfriend to show up so they can begin their bass fishing trip into one of his favorite phosphate pits, The Whiskey Hotel, to be exact! As he is known for naming his fishing spots.
Once all are present and accounted for, he drives to the local 7-11 to fill up the gas tanks and pick up 2 bags of ice, one carton of peanut butter “Nabs”, a six pack of cokes, 12 pack of beer and a large pack of oreos, After slapping the bags of ice on the ground, the first bag is poured over the bottom of the cooler, the drinks are all placed in next and then the second bag of ice is poured on top. Next stop, the Clock Restaurant for a big breakfast. His order: scrambled eggs, bacon, black coffee, toast with any flavor jelly – but absolutely NO grape jelly!
After the hour drive to The Whiskey Hotel, it’s time to back down the trailer, unhook the boat and get all three passengers properly seated into the very small three-person gheenoe. His daughter is given the middle seat to help with the balancing of the boat. He is at the back so as to control his 9.9 HP motor, especially since he is the avid fisherman and knows this spot well.
All was going according to plan until…. WHACK! His daughter calmly tells her boyfriend, “You hooked me!”. He immediately stops yanking at his rod, realizing he has in fact hooked his girlfriend in the back of the head with none other than a treble hook lure! The boyfriend is naturally beside himself of the pain she must be enduring as he tries several times to unhook her! Meanwhile, the fishing continues for her father and he occasionally blurts out different ways to try to get her unhooked.
The boyfriend, after exhausting all attempts, announces that they should get to a doctor to remove the hook. NOW WAIT JUST A MINUTE!
She’s not bleeding is she? No.
Your not in pain are you? No, I’m fine.
See? Besides, we just got here for pete’s sake!
Finally, the boyfriend can’t take it any longer, “we need to get that hook out of her head”. A long pause………OK, I GUESS WE’RE GOING BACK! Even though the scalp is some of the toughest skin, and she’s fine!!
The father is quite bent out of shape, and uses every form of body language and throaty grunts to show just how upset he is at this preposterous situation. They make the long ride back to shore and hastily get the boat strapped back up.
It was a quiet ride to his dentist office. Once there, he puts a shot of Novocain in her scalp, then began to tug and pull, tug and pull, until the lure was finally out!
I, the girlfriend, remember this day quite well and look back on it, laughing at the crazy site of fishing and riding in a car with a big lure sticking out of my head! My father’s reaction, quite normal when you are OCD and your routine gets interrupted. My husband, his hooking me was just the visual sign of what he had already done to my heart years before!
In one of the chapters of our life, my husband owned a building supply company. God saw fit to bless our business immeasurably, and in the early stages before we could even hire enough help to keep up, we would have to make the deliveries ourselves.
On one extremely busy and hectic day, my husband could not leave the office and I would have to make the delivery myself, that is, me and my two elementary aged children that we homeschooled. Now this would normally not be a problem, but the delivery was full of 16′ long boxes of siding, trim coil, etc. – the siding boxes alone weighed about 120lbs a piece. On the upside of this adventure, we didn’t need the trailer! What a relief, as I have never been able to back it up successfully!
Well the kids and I loaded ourselves into the truck and began our solo adventure with no reassurance that there would be anyone to help us unload the heavy cargo. So I began to pray out loud that God would take care of us and give us not only safe travel, but the strength to unload the delivery and safety in doing so if no one could assist.
We arrived in the next town over and found the job site easily, I backed up the truck, and asked the kids, “how do you eat an elephant?”, their response, “one bite at a time, mom”. Yes, we were on our own to unload. We began to all three grab the siding box and struggle over to the proper spot and neatly stack them there. When all of a sudden, a big city public works truck pulled up and 4 of the largest muscle built men I’ve ever seen hopped out – all smiling and said, “need any help ma’am?” I was flabbergasted!! But before I could even answer, they quickly and effortlessly unloaded every single item and lined the material up like soldiers! In a matter of minutes they were done, and simply tipped their hard hats to us and got back into their truck and drove off. The most amazing part was, they left the same way they came in, as though they weren’t even suppose to be on that road anyway!
The alarm went off at 4 am sharp! We quickly got out of bed, dressed and headed down to St. Augustine, Florida. The boat was leaving at 5 am no matter what! We had been invited by one of my husband’s customers to go deep sea fishing for the day. My husband had been several times before and was glad to share the experience with me for the first time! I had been bass fishing with my dad many times growing up, but never deep sea fishing. I had no idea what to expect, but was excited to actually spend the day with my husband!
As we were unloading the car, his customer rushed over to introduce himself and his wife to me. They were avid fishermen and couldn’t wait to go watch me catch a huge fish! While entering the boat his wife asked a very poignant question, “do you get seasick?” – I had no idea! I wondered – if I do get seasick, what could anybody do about it at this point! I started to feel trapped! The same way I feel when riding a rollercoaster, once you are strapped in and moving, there is no going back, you are going to make a sharp drop somewhere whether you like it or not! That is why I avoid rollercoasters I get an overwhelming urge to climb out as the coaster is dropping! In fact, I’ve been photographed trying to climb out of a log flume ride just as it was making its sharp descent into oblivion! (Luckily my 8 yr old son, at the time, pushed me back in the seat!) I kept all this anxiety to myself, because MAYBE I wasn’t prone to seasickness.
We left the dock and headed out to sea, it took nearly 45 min. or so, to get to what the captain thought would be a great fishing spot! He stopped the boat (let me set the record straight you never STOP a boat at sea it is constantly moving!), and we began baiting the hooks. Now I have baited hooks before, but never while my surroundings were in constant motion! The crewman seeing my struggle kindly took over the procedure What a blessing! Everyone had their hooks in the water and we were hopeful to get a bite! Only a few minutes into this patient sport and I was already realizing just how intense the movement of the ocean was. I was starting to get that sick feeling when the captain realized the fish weren’t biting and he drove off to find us another spot.
I was quite grateful to be moving swiftly through the water I enjoyed that part, it was the so called “stopping” that I had a problem with. Sure enough he found a spot and we began casting our lines. Soon someone got a bite and I was asked to net the fish – usually not a problem, but with the constant motion, I couldn’t keep my focus! By now it was apparent to all on board that I was getting seasick. But the fishing was great in that area! I continued to cast my line, within moments though, I knew there was no climbing out of this rollercoaster or could I climb out of the boat and swim for a while and maybe start feeling better? Not a chance! I knew the inevitable was about to occur, so I waited till everyone had a fish on their lines which thankfully didn’t take long and then I proceeded to get violently ill. Before I knew what happened, an ice cold grease-ridden towel was thrown on the back of my neck! How wonderful that felt! The only other woman on board stopped fishing long enough to dip the nearest towel in the cooler and throw it on me I was ever so grateful!
The one thing about deep sea fishing is you don’t go back to shore until the end of the day. Seeing how we started at 5 am and it was by now only 8 am, I was in for a miserable day. After I lost all there was to lose from my system, I sat down and either passed out, or fell quickly into a deep sleep. When I awoke I felt 100% better! I sipped on a Coke, and that is when the captain told me the secret to not get seasick I would’ve been put out with this late breaking/life saving news, but we had a long way to go, and I needed that vital information, so I listened intently. He simply said to never stare at any one thing for too long, keep your eyes moving from one object to the next. It worked! Believe it or not, it worked! I decided not to fish anymore (mainly out of complete embarrassment), but continued to sit next to the captain and chat with my new friend!
Several hours had passed and no bites for anyone. I was getting anxious to get back, but said nothing! The only time the fishing was good was while I was so sick. Finally the captain announced he would take us to one more spot to see if they could get anything, if not, we would go back to shore. I felt horrible for silently praying for this, but if God didn’t want them to get a bite, it was okay by me! Then the most extraordinary vision I have ever seen took place, a huge beautifully colored sailfish majestically shot straight out of the ocean with his entire body in full view then gracefully dove straight back in it was as though the fish was in slow motion! I waited for someone to comment and demand the boat go to that area. No comment. What?! Was I the only one who had the privilege of witnessing that gorgeous fish?! I was silent. Within seconds the captain said he thought they were all done biting, and we better head back. The whole way back across the sea I was stunned! The only two that witnessed the incredible sight was me and God! Silence can be golden.
“Regrets are a waste of time, they are the past crippling you in the present”, this was a line from the movie, UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN. I love this saying!
I had many regrets; things I wish I had said to people, things I wish I hadn’t said to people, actions I should have taken, actions I should not have taken. But we can’t go back and undo anything – we can ask forgiveness and hope that those offended by our words or behavior will not only forgive, but also forget. Inevitably, we are left with regrets. And the weight of that can be crippling and keeping you from living like you should in the present!
We have got to stop looking back and stay focused on the present and the future! Since we can’t change the past we can decide to live better in the future, especially with all that we learn from our mistakes. Remember, regrets are a waste of time, they are the past crippling us in the present! Move on – you’ve got some living to do, and by all means have fun doing it!
It was 1990 and my 2 year old daughter’s first plane trip! We were going to my cousin’s wedding in Iowa. There were going to be many family members from my mom’s side that she had never met. After changing planes 3 times we finally made it! Out of all the relatives, I was very much looking forward to seeing my grandmother! My grandmother had never met her great-granddaughter!
I have very fond memories of my grandma, she and grandpa were the ones that housed us in their nostalgic basement when we visited for reunions. I remember the wonderful, mouth-watering smells of her making apple butter! I loved talking to her, and the stories she’d tell. I also loved to hear her laugh, it was quite contagious! I was named after her, Anne Bennett, “Anne” means grace, and my grandmother’s maiden name was, Grace Bennett.
She and grandpa came to Florida to visit in the winters and they would stay in either trailer parks, or a downtown hotel for extended stays. They usually would visit for about a month or two. It was so much fun having them nearby! I can still remember in the evenings my mom and her laughing while making dinner. And boy could she cook!
It had been way too long since I had seen her. I wrote her often, but she was now living in an assisted living facility, and I had lost touch with her. Needless to say, I wanted her to meet her great-granddaughter.
My aunt took us up to see her and she warned that my grandma was quite forgetful. As soon as we stepped into her room, I was instantly reminded of her home in Burlington! (The facility let them furnish the rooms with their own furniture) It even smelled the same to me! I rushed over and hugged her so tight! She didn’t remember me at first. My aunt kept saying, “it’s Anne B Nancy’s daughter”, now my mom (her daughter) had been deceased for about 13 years, so I could understand her not knowing who Nancy was, much less who Nancy’s daughter was!
Finally it clicked! Her whole countenance changed, and I could see I had my same grandma back again! She was so sweet and loving and absolutely loved seeing my daughter! Then out of nowhere, she wanted to write me a check! What?! “I don’t need a check grandma I just came up to see you”! “No, no, I want to write you a check for Christmas for everyone”. My aunt said to take it, so I reluctantly did. My aunt explained they had to watch her, because they didn’t know who all she had offered to write a check to!
She took us on a tour of the facility. She made sure to show us where she played Bingo, and the Thrift Store where they could exchange their winnings for “stuff”. Regardless of memory loss, some things never leave you! When we got back to the room she showed me her closet that was filled from floor to ceiling with her Thrift Store finds!
You see, one of my grandma’s wonderful traits was to seek out really good deals! I can vividly recall during their 50th wedding celebration, my mom, grandma, and others all went to an estate sale, and came back with all kinds of furniture, including an old buffet. I’m not sure of any other details about the deal on this buffet, but I remember watching them from the pool at the Holiday Inn (I was swimming with my cousins there were 15 of us!). That buffet is in my house now it is the only material object I chose to keep of my mom and grandma. But I do have their sense of humor and the ability to seek out bargains!
“Let me write you a check”, she said again and again, forgetting that she had already written me one. Even though this was the last time I’d see her, there were no sad last goodbyes, no drawn out sad words, only these, “Let me write you a check”!
“LIFE IS NOT ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS, ITS ABOUT LEARNING TO DANCE IN THE RAIN”
I saw those words painted on a piece of wood in a shop recently. There was no author mentioned, but I can tell you the person who penned those words had suffered much to gain this realization. How true it is that we cannot sanely wait for the storms of our lives to pass – it may take weeks, months, years! While we must go through the suffering and agony of terminal illness, death of loved ones, separation, divorce, job loss, teenage rebellion, etc. we must learn to dance in the rain!
Ive been through quite a few storms in my own life, and Ive realized that laughter can make the trying times bearable. I remember coming home from school and laying in bed next to my mom,( who was dying of cancer), and laughing together about the silly stuff that went on at school that day. She knew about dancing in the rain, she loved a good laugh and was often seen throwing her head back in laughter! We werent making light of her situation, we were simply taking the focus off her impending death, and enjoying a good laugh! It does the heart good!
Through our storm of financial struggles, we have found ways to dance in the rain. In our college years weve gone so far as to move the copy machines in the library to gather up the change that fell to the floor – then use that money to by Jamocha shakes from Arbys! Weve gone into a Pizza Hut to see if theyd sell us 1 slice of pizza, and while waiting we noticed a family leaving half of a pizza on the table – so we (being college students), quickly grabbed up the pizza and ate it ourselves, while only ordering water to drink. The waitress was glad she didnt have to throw out the pizza! In our married life we waited to go see a minor league baseball game until the Get in Free and Hot Dog Free Night occured. Dinner and entertainment for the whole family, FREE! Weve chosen to dance instead of sit and feel sorry for ourselves – nothing gets accomplished that way!
Even in the storms that relationships can bring, and some of these storms can be lengthy, remember to dance! Treat the other person with the utmost respect – even if they dont deserve it. Be forgiving and ask for forgiveness. We are all suffering with one storm or another, and there will be more to come – so be flexible and resilient. Naomi Judd wrote a little book called, The Transparent Life , I highly recommend this book!
Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain! Get good at dancing!
Two things to avoid during marriage – remodeling your kitchen and building your own home. They will try your patience! We unknowingly tackled both of these in the matter of two years! I say unknowingly because neither of us knew at the time we started remodeling our kitchen, that we would soon be selling that house and be moving to another state to build our own home.
The kitchen remodel occurred in our first home that was built in 1901. So you can imagine the structural issues we encountered. The entire kitchen was gutted out from floor to ceiling, not to mention the total removal of one wall in order to enlarge the space. We had unlevel floors and a sagging ceiling to tend with, along with redirecting the plumbing. The project that we figured would only take us a couple of months ended up lasting five months. You see, even though your husband may be in construction, that doesnt mean your house will get worked on first!
We separated the opening from the kitchen to the rest of the house with heavy plastic in hopes that the unrelenting dust would stay out of the main house. Didnt happen. Our dining room became the kitchen. We kept the refrigerator in the corner, and the dining room table served as the kitchen counters. The crock pot became our stove and oven all in one. The water source was our bathroom sink and the garden hose outside. We were basically camping! Which reminded me of what I had told my husband when we first married – I dont care where we live, I could live in a tent with you! That statement was so true! I love him and could live in a tent with him! I had to stop all my sarcasm and complaints. It was time I became a helpmate to him, in word and deed! Once I fully acted on this, the entire job went so much smoother.
We only got to enjoy the fruits of our labor for about 3 months before we moved and eventually sold the house. The kitchen remodel was a huge selling feature and helped us get top dollar. It also made our marriage stronger. We got to once again see each other at their worst, and at the end of the day laugh at ourselves for our stupidity!
The building of our own home had many adventures in and of itself! I should probably write a book. After all the back-breaking labor, from the installation of the many windows and doors to the installation of all the wood flooring (a very large home with more square feet of wood flooring than I care to think about), to the sanding, priming and painting of all the interior walls I can honestly say that it strengthened our marriage once again! All struggles make us stronger and wiser! And yes, I could still live in a tent with him!
I was 14 years old at the time, and the woman I was babysitting for was driving me home. It was summer time in Florida, so even at night we had the air conditioner on in the car – which meant, windows were up. The radio was playing, and we were talking. Without the presence of a railroad guard gate, all we noticed was the green traffic light on the other side of the tracks. And, no we didn’t notice the red blinking lights. We did not even notice the train approaching, or hear the blaring whistle, but before we knew what, hit us – BANG!! – we rammed right into the side of the train, just as it approached the tracks! As the car kept feeding into the train, all I could say was, “PUT IT IN REVERSE! PUT IT IN REVERSE!”
Neither of us thought to open the car door and run, we just stayed in there until the train stopped a little ways down the track, at which time the entire hood of the car was almost completely eaten by the train.
Next thing we knew, people were knocking on our window asking if we were okay! The paramedics were there in no time and they were the one’s to finally convince us to get out of the car. Amazingly enough, we escaped without a bump, bruise, scratch, or blood from anywhere!
For several months afterwards I started to ponder the whole unbelievable incident! I could have died!…Was I ready to die?…I think I’m ready to die…Surely I’d go to Heaven…I mean, I’m a good person, no drugs, no cussing, no alcohol, respectful, I go to church every Sunday!
It was the following summer, when I was 15, that I attended our youth group’s summer conference to Jekyll Island, Ga. It was called “Fun In The Son”. A man by the name of Jay Kesler was speaking that night in August. He spoke about the unique member of the lizard family, the chameleon. He pointed out their defense mechanism of being able to camouflage themselves. When they land on something yellow – they turn yellow, land on something green – they turn green. Essentially, they blend in. He then pointed out how easy it is for us as humans to do the same thing. When we go to church we act like a Christian – when we go to a party we act like a partier – when friends are telling course jokes, or mocking others, we join in. We blend in. But when you believe on Jesus Christ that He died for your sins on the cross and after 3 days rose from the dead and accept Him as your Savior, you become a new creature, Christ lives in you! “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father. but by me.” John 14:6 KJV
What’s truly involved in asking Him to live in you, is that you must be willing to live for Him! That means you take Him everywhere with you! You aren’t going to “blend in” anymore! And yes, you may lose some so-called “friends”, and not be very popular, but look at who you are living for – the one and only God, the Creator, the one that loves you no matter what, forgives even the worse offense, comforter, healer, and most important, friend!
On that particular night in August, I became painfully aware of just how lonely I was. My mom had died 3 years before, and I was very close to her. When she died, I lost a dear friend. Humans will die, leave, and disappoint us. But God is there for us, forever! I can talk to Him whenever!
It was at that moment after hearing how much Jesus must have loved ME to suffer and die for my sins that I surrendered my sorry life to Jesus, and decided to live for Him! To this day, He is THE ONE I live for! Even as much as I love my husband, he is not the one I live for. My husband can let me down, just as much as I can let him down. But God will never let us down, or leave us!
Yes, I really was HIT BY A TRAIN AND LIVED! That train was my wake up call, none of us knows when we are going to die, but we can know where we are going to live after we do die. I may be a nobody on this earth – but I am definitely SOMEBODY to God!
” Doc” was the name my 20 year old daughter had given her grandfather some 18 years ago! After his very sad and untimely death in 2000, we were all getting back on track, talking and laughing about fond memories with him. Some of the best memories with him were unplanned trips to anywhere! We usually left on a Saturday morning and would just start driving, we might have a town destination in mind, but that could easily be changed if any passenger in the car saw someplace else that interested them. The whole day was spent as though we were on vacation! We’d visit whatever was prevalent to the area; antique shop, museum, antique book store, etc. But the day would no doubt involve an authentic restaurant. He liked to try foods from the area!
Yesterday was a “Doc” day! My husband and I invited our daughter and her friend to ride along with us to Chattanooga, Tennessee for the day. We started off explaining to her friend what a “Doc” day was, and if on the way we saw somewhere else to stop we would.
We ended up in Chattanooga as planned and visited the art district with its outdoor statue displays, hidden gift shops, romantic narrow passageways, Bed &Breakfasts, etc. We left the art district by way of a glass walking bridge, and then walked down the hilly streets to find a place for a late lunch. Afterwards we were all freezing from the cold February winds, but walked briskly back up the hills to our car.
We wanted to end the day with a hot drink, after we parallel parked and walked towards the coffee shop, I spotted a suburban parked across the street with painted writing on a side window, “What’s up Doc?”!
After staring at each other in awe, I thought, he must be glad he passed on such a wonderful, spontaneous trait, and that we were all enjoying each other’s company so much!