Thursday, May 24, 2012

Two Sides

"Never forget...there are ALWAYS two sides to every story".  Not the easiest bite of humble pie to swallow, but certainly some of the best advice my mom ever gave me!

As we come to the close of yet another school year, I must admit, my ears will be grateful for a short break from the 10-year-old, 4th grade, girl drama!  We have officially entered the awkward and hormonal stage of raising a pre-teen.  Hannah hopped in the car today and said, "Mom, 'Susan' is no longer on my friend list!  And it's all because of a boy - a boy I don't even like.  He and I are just friends!"   

It seems like only yesterday, I was sitting on my rainbow-colored day-bed, listening to New Kids on the Block, and crying to my mom, "Why do girls have to be so mean?!"  Her response, "Leah, what did YOU say?  How did YOU respond to your friend?  What is HER side of the story?"  She never just jumped on my band-waggon nor added fuel to my fires.  She helped me point my accusing finger back towards me, instilling a life habit of  pausing to think...."There are always two sides to every story". 

So today, after listening for quite some time, I turned to Hannah.  "Well sweetie, do you think you responded the right way? Response is everything.  Do you think maybe you were a little grumpy today because you went to bed late last night and you're tired?" She sighed deeply.  It's evening now, and I think she is still chewing on my motherly advice.  OR maybe she has completely moved on, and I am just hoping for some divine moment when the light bulb comes on and she NEVER struggles in relationships again!  Ha Ha:)

I wish I could tell her that it will get easier as she gets older, but the sad truth is, adults can often be as petty as children.   Sometimes our flesh gets the best of us. 

But WHAT IF...Before we decide to accuse or before we lend an ear to gossip...
WHAT IF, we were to consider this:

Would there be less fighting in schools? 
To consider that maybe the mean girl you hate is being abused at home-she's hurting.
Would we LOVE more and GOSSIP less?
To consider that we can know ALL the latest gossip, but don't love - we know nothing!
Would there be less division in churches?
To consider that just because you end a gripe-session with "We really need to pray for them" doesn't make the session permissible. 

"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. 

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit or God,
with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 

Get rid of all bitterness,
rage and anger,
brawling and slander,
along with every form of malice. 
Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you." 
Ephesians 4:29-32

WHAT IF Christ-Followers simply lived this out?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

At the Feet of Jesus

Well my dear readers, "Joy-Full Creations" has kept me quite busy, and I have not been able to write any devotionals for a long time. 

First, I want to invite you to join me in a little praise & reflection time today - to give God the Glory He so greatly deserves!  We have been overwhelmed by the 'God Moments' since we first started this adoption journey.  Without fail, the Lord continues to strengthen our faith!  He is faithful!!!!

This is Solon helping us at Lowe's :)
1.  The blessing of a servant's heart - HUGE Praise:  We are finally able to buy our wood in bulk for my Joy-Full Creation Crosses.  We have been blessed with an amazing friend who is now cutting the crosses for us and saving us money so that more profit can go towards the adoption!  Praising God & VERY thankful for a friend with such a servant's heart!

This is a view of our Joy-Full Creations Factory - Also known as, our living room.

  2. The blessing of our home - When we bought this house, the living room was very small.  AGAIN, the Lord provided (in miraculous ways that we will never be able to repay) for a wall to be torn down.   This remodel opened up space in our home for youth, youth workers, our growing family,
AND the Joy-Full Creations Factory:)

3.  The blessing of unexpected generosity -  At a women's retreat a few weeks ago, a sweet lady gently took my hand and placed a $100 check in it.  Her words, "I am praying for you and just want to help you bring that little child home. " WOW - Speechless! 

The other evening I went to deliver a recent order.  She handed me her payment, and right before I started to leave, she and her husband handed me a very generous donation.  God did it again - He continues to make our steps towards adoption "firm".

"If the Lord delights in a man's way,
He makes his steps firm;
Though he stumble, he will not fall,
For the Lord upholds him with his hand."
Psalm 37:23-24 

I share these praises to give God glory and also to remind you: 
When He calls you to something - He is faithful to the end!
Now, for a little Devotional time.....

When I paint, our dog Maggie often lays across my feet.  In my painting time I do a lot of praying and thinking.  As Maggie laid across my feet the other night,  I started to think about all the stories in Scripture that refer to people at the feet of Jesus:

Matthew 9:20 - The bleeding woman grabs the edge of Jesus' cloak for healing. 
Luke 8:35 - the healed demon-possessed man was found "sitting at Jesus' feet"
Luke 8:41 - Jarius fell at Jesus feet and pleaded for his daughter.
John 12:3 - Mary of Bethany anoints the feet of Jesus with perfume. 

What a humble place to be - at the feet of Jesus. 
It seems that I only find myself in this posture in desperate times...those times when I am just begging God for something - healing, help, guidance a plea for my children.  In these first three stories of scripture, healing is exactly what the people found.  But something strikes me about Mary's story. 

She didn't WANT anything from Jesus. 
She wasn't begging for healing, help or guidance.
She wasn't worried about what anyone would think of her.
She wasn't worried about how she looked - Mary's hair was covered with a mud-like substance, consisting of the dirt from Jesus' feet mixed with the fragrant perfume.
Mary's posture was a beautiful act of worship!

Many people had already begun to turn from Jesus at the time this story took place.  It took place only days before his crucifixion.  But Mary was faithful to the end. 
Not for selfish gain or recognition.
But because she loved her Savior.

We all have needs/desires and yes, God wants us to come to him - to ask ANYTHING in His name. But He also wants us to just BE STILL.

In this fast-paced world we are all busy, but if we only talk to Him when we want something,
then maybe we are just TOO busy. 


MAKE TIME to just