Friday, April 18, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

Sometimes, "little" things aren't.

I have many, many opportunities at Edgewood to do - or see others doing - "little" things:
*opening a door
*sharing a smile
*pulling out a chair
*speaking a kind word
*checking the mail
*rubbing a shoulder
The list goes on and on. Lots of little things which seem rather insignificant.
Until, you see the other side.

This week I was talking to my grandmother and she told me about one of the aides who comes to care for her. Grandma mentioned the things this woman does - which are all part of her job - and said how much she appreciates her help. Then a certain sparkle appeared in her eyes when she said, "AND, she stays a few minutes longer to talk to me."
That's when I realized the sparkle actually came from the tears welling up in Grandma's eyes. And I could see how very deeply it touched her that someone stuck around for a few minutes just to spend time with her. In a world of people rushing around to get this and that done, someone took time to notice my grandma, and it meant so much to her.
Grandma's aide probably thought she was doing a little thing. But that isn't the way my grandmother saw it. To her, that little thing was HUGE.

As you go through your day today - and tomorrow - and all the rest of the days of your life - may I encourage you to do the "little" things? You just never know what a difference you may be making in the world.

Sometimes, "little" things aren't.

Karen
Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

And That Means...

So, I have an enemy.

AND, I have a Savior.

The battles in my life are between them - the spiritual forces (See Ephesians 6:12).
That understanding has been crucial for me.
Because, for a very long time, I believed my battle was with people.
*read that: my kids, my husband, and even myself*
In fact, I believed I was battling them.
And I was always coming out the loser. Because I was believing all those lies my real enemy was telling me. "You're a failure." "You're a terrible mom." "You aren't worthy of anyone's love."
Have you been believing likes like those, too?

That time in my life - when I saw people as my enemies - had me defeated and hopeless. I knew I couldn't defeat my enemies. I loved them. I would never want to harm them!
So I was stuck in my struggle, hating my circumstance but feeling like there was nothing I could do about it.
Oh, what relief I experienced when my Savior came through for me and helped me see the Truth:
I have one enemy: Satan.
I have one Savior: JESUS.
Jesus defeated my enemy when He died on the cross - conquering sin and death; and He continues to defeat my enemy every day when I let Him fight my battles.
And that means...my children, my husband, my self, and all other flesh-and-blood-beings on the planet are NOT my enemy.
Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, thank You, Jesus!

Have you been believing you are battling against flesh and blood? Have you been viewing people as your enemy? Read Ephesians 6:12 a few times, and ask God to help you understand what is True. Then, put on your battle gear and let your Savior fight for you!

Karen

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Have a SAVIOR

It's true. I have an enemy.

And he wants to ruin me.

BUT there is a Truth which is even bigger. And it makes me a victor.
That is...

I have a SAVIOR.
My enemy does not have the last word, because my Savior has defeated him.
When my enemy tells me I'm a terrible mom, my Savior points to the cross - where He paid the price for every single one of my sins, faults, and failures.
When my enemy plants doubts in my heart about my marriage, my Savior reminds me of the Truth and gives me grace to keep on going.
When my enemy hisses in my ear about my insecurities, my Savior stretches out His arms and speaks to my heart, Remember, Karen, I love you so much I was willing to die for you.

Being honest: Sometimes I fall under the lies and pressure of my enemy. Sometimes I start to think he's telling the truth - and that I really have no hope.
But always, always my Savior reveals the Truth to me. In one way, or another, He helps me recognize my enemy's tactics. My Savior reminds me that I am a victor in Him, and I don't have to be a victim of my enemy. He stirs my heart to fight my battle by the power of His Spirit, and - with a little heavenly feisty-ness - I begin to arm myself. (See Ephesians 6:10-20.)
With Truth, His righteousness, faith, peace, salvation, and a whole lot of prayer I am able to stand in the face of my enemy. By the power of my Savior's Spirit.
And that?
That changes everything!

Karen

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Have an Enemy

Someone hates me.

He is my enemy.

He wants to ruin my life. Wishes to do anything he can to make me miserable. To trip me up and make me fall. So he can watch me squirm, helpless and hopeless.

My enemy wants me to despise motherhood.
He wants me to get frustrated and discouraged, so I throw my hands up in the air and just give up. He sets me up to hear lies, lies, and more lies.
Like, "You're a terrible mother."
"Your kids deserve so much more than you can give. You're a failure."
"You will never be able to control your temper or your tongue. So you might as well quit trying."
And he loves it when I start believing what I hear.

My enemy wants to destroy my marriage.
He wants to drive a wedge between Brian and me. Perhaps he'll plant doubts in my mind so I start to think I can't trust my husband. Sometimes he tries getting me so preoccupied with work and kids and running-the-home that I'm flat out too exhausted to spend quality time with Brian. I know my enemy knows there is great power for the kingdom of God in a healthy marriage, and he doesn't want that threat coming from Brian and me. So he'll do whatever he can to crush us.

My enemy wants to sabotage my Christian witness, too.
He wants me to defame the Name of God. Nothing would please him more than for me to stop trusting God. To get frustrated with the wait, or the struggle, or the uncertainty - and just turn my back on Him. And even to believe the lie that God doesn't really love me. That He could never love a failure like me.

That's what my enemy wants me to think.

Yes. I have an enemy. But that isn't the end of my story.

I also have a Savior.
And, because of Him, I can be victorious.
Because of Him, I have hope. Even in the face of my enemy.

Karen

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sweet Jesus

Karen

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

There is no such thing as "coincidence".

Most days when I'm praying in the morning, I ask God for a very specific thing. I say to Him, LORD, please order my steps today.
I ask Him to do this because I'm forgetful, and I need Him to cover for me.
I ask him to do it because I get stressed when there are "too many" things to do, and I need Him to make sure I get the necessary things done.
I ask Him to order my steps because I know His plans are so much better than mine.
I ask because I want to be where HE wants me to be.

And can I just say? God was so obvious in the ways He ordered my steps this week.
When I forgot something and had to go back to my desk to retrieve it - and on the way back to where I was going, I encountered someone who needed assistance - I knew God was ordering my steps.
When the lesson "I" chose for Bible study spoke so directly to the hearts of those who were present - I knew God was ordering my steps.
When I got held up in one activity, only to encounter a needy someone - whom I would've missed if I'd been on time - I knew God was ordering my steps.

Since praying this prayer, and seeing the ways God orchestrates my days, I have become absolutely convinced - with God, there is no such thing as "coincidence".

Karen
Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

There's No Denying it Now. Er, Tomorrow

As if the grey, curly hair wasn't enough, as of tomorrow I will definitely not be able to deny the fact that I am getting old(er).

As of tomorrow, I will have an adult child.
That is, Elizabeth is turning 18.
Which makes her a legal adult.
Which makes me feel old.
Annnnd, this sweet daughter of mine has reached another major milestone. She has decided where she wants to spend the next four years of her life.
Come this fall, my girl will be leaving us to attend Wheaton College.
Yes, Wheaton.
As in, just west of Chicago.
As in, that's a very long drive. And I'm sure going to miss her!
But her college decision has been much prayed over, and I feel very good about her choice. All through this process we have been asking God to show us where He would have her go. We've been asking Him to prepare the way. Because there is NO WAY we could get Elizabeth through Wheaton ($$$$) without Him making it possible.
He has made it possible.

So, I am readying myself for some big changes. And I'm not even going to get into the whole they-grow-up-so-fast bit. Though, they do.
I still remember sitting in the hospital while Brian went back to our apartment to get the car seat, so we could take Elizabeth home. It doesn't seem so long ago that I was dropping her off at school for the first time. Or that she lost her first tooth. And started writing in cursive. And riding a two-wheeler. And going places without me. And, and, and...like I said, I'm not going there.

For today, I am just going to enjoy the fact that I still have a house full of CHILDREN.

Karen