You Can’t Turn Back Time

I was reminded that today is the 15th anniversary of my mom’s passing. It’s unbelievable how quickly time passes. My Mom and I were close, though there were times I didn’t agree with her and I’m sure she would have said the same thing about me. Yet I can still say after all these years that I would give anything to have one more day with her. One day to see her smile and hear her crazy sayings. One day so that I could  tell her that now I understand a lot of things I didn’t understand back then. But we can’t turn back time.

My Mom died from a fall. She was not ill and no one was expecting her to die. One minute she was there and herself and less than a week later she was gone. I was living in another state at the time, but I am forever grateful to the Lord that I was at her house visiting that weekend. We had been a bit on the outs for a couple months but after a good weekend together when I left to go home, all was well. A couple hours later she had her fall. Had we not worked things out that weekend I would have felt awful forever that she died without us having had that chance.

Don’t wait to spend time with your loved ones. Tell them you love them often. If you are estranged from a loved one do all you know to do to work it out. One day it may be too late. We are not promised tomorrow. Two of my adult children have recently lost friends. One in his 30’s and one friend was just 40. Both left children behind. Another friend was in her 20’s. Just starting her life. I know that none of their loved ones was expecting them to die. Don’t leave things unspoken. Time passes too quickly and we can’t get it back when it’s gone.

We should take time every day to be thankful for our lives. Thankful that we woke up and we get to have another day to live. That we have time to enjoy our loved ones. Time to make memories and right old wrongs.

Hug that baby and rock them while they are small. Have patience when the little ones are dawdling and you are running late. Be kind to that older person you run into who wants to talk and tell you a story while you’re just wanting to get your groceries and get home. Be there in the moment. We spend so much time looking ahead we forget to enjoy the present.

When we look back over our lives the things we will remember will not be whether we got everywhere on time, or whether we were accomplished and got lots of awards and promotions at work. The things we will reflect on and remember are things like did I make a difference in this life? Did I give of myself to others? Was I the best spouse or parent or friend that I knew to be? Will people still think of me fondly and remember how I loved them when I’m gone?

Like my mom. Fifteen years later and the times we didn’t agree or the times she got on my last nerve are not the things I think about. I think about the way she loved her family and friends. The way she loved and enjoyed life. The way she served her community. The things my kids remember about her are not the gifts she gave them or monetary things but the time she spent with them. Hugs and love given. Get together’s at her house with family and loved ones. Time spent together. What will we be remembered as having “spent” our time on?

I’m guessing she would be surprised at how many people still miss her and talk about her all these years later. I don’t think she knew how much of an impact she made. I know I didn’t tell her enough how much I admired and appreciated her. And that is something I do regret. I look forward to the day we meet again and we can sit and have that long talk. Until then Mom.

 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:13

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People Pleasing Is A Slippery Slope

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the subject of people pleasing. It is rampant in our society and goes on all the time. Most of us are guilty of it in some form or another or have been at some point in our lives. It’s almost programmed in us from a very young age.

I imagine it’s been going on since the beginning of time. We can read examples of it in the Bible. Even the Apostle Peter appeared to be practicing people pleasing at one point. In the book of Galation’s in Chapter 2 we see Paul rebuking Peter for his behavior. He used to eat with the Gentiles, then when the Jews came along he changed his behavior. I wasn’t there, I don’t know his motivation. But haven’t we been guilty of those types of things? We act one way with some friends and then a totally different way when there are others present.

People pleasing comes in many forms. It’s sometimes so ingrained in us that we may not even realize we are doing it. Like the young woman going out on a date who agrees with everything the man says just to make him like her. Or the man who fudges the figures at work because the boss asks him too and he wants to feel like he’s part of something. Or the kid who cheats on a test because he doesn’t want to appear dumber than the other students. Yes we want others to like us. And yes we want to please those around us. But not at the expense of losing ourselves or our values.

It makes me think of a scene from the movie The Runaway Bride. If you’ve seen the movie you know that more than once she was set to get married and ran away at the last moment. When she was with each of those different fiance’es she became like them. Their favorite breakfast was hers. Their hobbies became hers. Finally when she was trying to figure out what she really liked, she ordered all the different breakfasts. She know longer knew what it was that she really liked. She had spent so long just trying to be like someone else.

People pleasing has roots in comparison, in judging, insecurity and in rejection. When we look at others and judge them to be better than us, better looking, wealthier, smarter, happier, skinnier, more together; In our insecurity we are judging ourselves to be less than. As unworthy and not good enough.

We buy clothes wear them once and if someone makes a negative comment we never wear it again. After all, they must know more than us and so what if we really like it we want to be well thought of. We feel we have to be perfect. Our kids have to be perfect. Our houses, our cars and our lawns have to be perfect. Because after all, what will the neighbors think?

We strive so hard to please our families, our bosses, co-workers, neighbors and friends. But at what damage to ourselves? Doesn’t it get to a point where we don’t even know who we are or who God has created us to be because we have spent so many years trying to be someone else? Trying to be what we “think” we need to be to please others can be exhausting and can eat you alive.

And by whose standard are we judging ourselves to see if we are good enough? The world’s? If that’s the case we are in really serious trouble. Because let me tell you there’s some seriously messed up people out there. Like those in Hollywood who would love to tell us all how we should look and act and believe and what we should buy to make us happy.

Let’s face it. There will always be people who may not like us. Or who will never think we are interesting or worthy of their time no matter how hard we try. Why do we waste so much of our lives feeling bad about ourselves because of how we perceive others view us? What makes them better than us, or able to tell us how we should be? Why do we feel we have to change to make these people like us?

There is really only one person whose opinion and approval we need to seek. We are made in the image of God. He knew us before we were even formed and He made us to be special. He did not make any two of us the same. He doesn’t want us to be like someone else. He wants us to just be the person He made us to be. He made us to be on this earth at this period in history for a reason. He has a path for us and things He wants us to do. But how can we do them if we are constantly looking around at everyone else’s path? We need to place more importance on what God thinks of us than on what man thinks of us.

I’m not saying it’s not OK to ask others opinions. We are all good at different things. Some people are better at home decorating or putting an outfit together than others. Some know which car can be the better value. Input can be helpful. But when it comes right down to it if you want that couch that looks like a black and white spotted cow and it makes you happy, go for it! It doesn’t matter if it’s in style or not!

John 10:10 says “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” If we are not happy with ourselves we are not living the abundant life. Ask the Lord to show you who you are and who He made you to be. Listen for the answer. He will show you.

 

 

 

 

From Grief To Great Joy

This was a post I made a couple years ago I wanted to share it again.

I was thinking this morning about how Jesus’s followers must have felt on that day so many years ago when Jesus was crucified.  Many of them had followed Him for three years.  They walked with Him, they served with Him; they believed in Him.  They saw miracles. Now everything had changed and nothing was happening the way they thought it would.

First there came that night when Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and Judas came to betray Him, and He was given over to the Chief priests. They watched as He was mocked and beaten.  Even though there was no wrong found in Him, He was tried and scourged then handed over to be crucified. 

What an awful day as they watched from a distance, as Jesus was hung on the cross.  That same man that they had followed loved.  The one they thought would deliver their people. Maybe they hoped for a last minute miracle.  Perhaps they hoped Jesus would be able to deliver Himself and come off the cross. I don’t know what they thought. But I can’t imagine watching someone you care about go through the things Jesus went through that day. And then just like that He was dead.

Can you imagine the grief and sadness?  For those three days they must have felt so lost.  Like sheep without a shepherd.  I can imagine them being afraid. Thinking perhaps they might be next.  Or maybe thinking what are we supposed to do now?  We gave up everything we had to follow Jesus, and now He’s gone.  Where should we go? 

But then came Sunday. Hallelujah the day everything changed.  The reports began to come in of those who had seen Jesus.  First the women at the tomb.  Then those on the road to Emmaus.  Then the disciples themselves. Could it be?  Dare they believe?

 It makes me think of part of Psalm 30:5 “weeping may endure for a night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” Oh what a glorious morning that must have been!

  Can you imagine their joy that day? We still celebrate that great joy.  Jesus was dead but now is alive! Jesus gave His all for us. He gave His life that we may have everlasting life with Him.  He took our sicknesses and bore our diseases so we do not have to carry them.  (Isaiah 53:4-5) He defeated death. All these things He did for us.  Three short days that changed things forever.

Let us remember as we gather with friends and family to celebrate Resurrection Sunday who and what we are celebrating.  Praise Him and thank Him for His great love and all He has done for us.  May you have a blessed day and always carry that joy with you.

He is risen

Music

Hello all! I’ve been awol for quite a while so I thought I’d drop in and share a few thoughts on music and such. I actually started this blog on music a year ago so I thought it was time to do something with it!

Music is a wonderful thing and it can be a very powerful force. Music brings back memories for me more often than anything else. I can be going along minding my own business when I hear a song from the past that can sometimes bring me to tears with the memories it evokes.

Memories of when I was young and the things I did, or the things that I believed back then. Memories of people and hopes and dreams. I’m no expert but I would guess most generations remember the time when they were younger as being a simpler time. Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t but it’s how we choose to remember it. Maybe we’ve just blocked out the worst and remember the better things.

There are some songs that bring back such strong memories that in some cases I can remember exactly what I was doing the first time I ever heard them. Others I will forever link to a particular event in my life. I have been a John Denver fan since I was a young teen. Two friends sang Sunshine on My Shoulders to my husband and I at our wedding reception. That song will always remind me of that day. When I hear Amazing Grace it can bring me back to sitting in church at my fathers funeral and the way the sun was shining through the stain glass windows and the peace I felt.

Of course we know how something set to music is easier to remember. And what about themes from old television shows? All I would have to do is say remember the theme song from Gilligan’s Island? Anyone old enough to have watched it will start singing “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip”. Ha! Now you know that song is in your head and you’ll be singing it!

Or who else has had it happen to them that you were out somewhere, maybe even in an elevator, music is playing and you find yourself singing along.  Later you realize when you still have the song in your head that the lyrics you are singing are not something you want to even be singing about or think about.

That’s the thing about music. Music is a gift from God. It can touch us, it can bring us peace and joy. We sing to glorify God and we feel closer to Him while we are doing it. We can sing along with friends and have a wonderful time. Of course it stands to reason that just like anything that is good from the Lord the enemy will seek to pervert it and use it for evil.

The perversion of music lyrics has been going on for a long time. It just seems to get worse with each generation. It becomes normal. We become desensitized. We’ve gone from songs that glorify drugs, drinking and free sex to songs about murdering people and no one seems to bat an eye. You sometimes hear very young children singing songs they have heard and you know they  have no idea what they are singing about. Nevertheless it does become ingrained in their subconscious. It’s not an accident. It’s not just someone practicing free speech. It is a battle for our minds and souls.

Of course it’s not just music that has this effect. We know we are being programmed by what we watch on television, advertising we see and things we read. Once we get something in our head whether it be an image we want to forget, or song lyrics it’s very hard to get rid of them. That’s how we remember theme songs from shows we watched 30 years ago.

We are in a time where our brains are being bombarded all day every day from so many sources. Short of moving to a dessert island with no electronics at all it can be a struggle. We get images we don’t want to see and language we don’t want to hear. Just walk through Walmart and you can have images you can’t get out of your head.

Just a thought but next time you’re humming a tune, or watching TV, or the kids are begging you for the latest music, ask yourself this question. Would I be watching this or listening to this if Jesus were sitting next to me?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go back to secular lyrics being about things like singing in the rain? Or at least lyrics that aren’t about hate and violence? If we stop buying those kinds of things it could happen! In the meantime maybe I’ll just be a little more watchful to what I’m singing along with!

 

Through The Valley

After blogging the other day about the Gofundme page we set up for my brother after the fire in CA, I had promised to come back and add a few thoughts. It’s taken a few days. It’s hard to know what to say. 

Let’s face it. Disasters and tragedies happen often. All you have to do is look at the news in any town, anywhere and you will see the stories. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, fires, floods you name it. And those are just the “natural” disasters. It can be so overwhelming sometimes. 

In these days where we see news from around the world in an instant we are bombarded with these kinds of stories. And though we may think they are awful and perhaps pray about them or donate to help, they don’t touch us personally. But when these things happen and affect our own life, or that of someone we love its a challenge to know how to handle it. Though this particular fire happened 3,000 miles away from me it feels so much closer. You’re more invested somehow. Still, It’s hard to know how to give support when you are so very far away.

I know that many people have experienced things such as this and worse in their own country or city. All can be equally devastating. My question is if we can’t even wrap our heads around these things from far away how can the people who are in them possibly handle it?

I looked up the latest stats on this fire last night. It’s now 60% contained. Almost 150,000 acres burned so far. Well over 12,000 structures destroyed. More than 70 confirmed deaths and over 1200 people still missing. Each of those numbers represents a person or a family that is affected. Not to mention all those first responder’s and those working tirelessly to fight the fire. Or those who are going through the ruins of homes looking for bodies. Those who are working to help feed and shelter those who lost their homes. The untold heartbreak and mental anguish of all involved is something that can’t be measured. Lives have been forever changed.

I especially think about the children. There is no good time to experience something like this. But at this time of year especially, how can a parent explain to their child that they have no home for the holidays. Perhaps no job or income. How can they think of Christmas presents when the more pressing need is day to day survival. And with no home where will these children be able to go to school? 

We know we are so very blessed that my brother is alive and not among the missing. We are counting every blessing. We didn’t know where he was or if he was OK for many hours. We are so thankful that the Lord got him to safety. At one of the motels he stayed in, the neighbors around the motel chipped in and each cooked a different night for the folks who were staying there due to the fire. Each of these things is a blessing we count. It’s a blessing to know that he is not alone as he is going through this but has others around him who he can talk to. Perhaps he can help them when they are down as others have helped him. 

It’s kind of a helpless feeling to know that we are not able to be there when the roads open and he goes back to see the devastation of the area, and the place where his home used to be. But we can pray. And be a listener and an encourage-er when possible. We can help in whatever ways we can. Mostly we can trust God that He will be with him through this most difficult time in his life.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel; your Savior.

 

Do You Have A Minute?

It has been a while since I have posted a blog. I guess I haven’t had much to say. Would you mind indulging me for a moment and would you check out the GoFundMe page I am posting a link to? It is for my brother who was recently in the wildfire in the Paradise, CA area. If you feel so led any donation of any amount is greatly appreciated. I am asking folks to please share the link for us so we can get the word out there. I will have more to say on all this later. Thanks for taking the time! To those of you on my Facebook or that I know I know you’ve already seen this! 

The link to share is at the bottom of the page but here is the overview. This is where his house was. If you notice the bench and his propane tank are untouched even though all the houses on his street including his were burned.image

 

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Help Will-Paradise Fire

Hi all. Some of you who have known me for years know my youngest brother Will Heaton. I am doing this fundraiser for him. I’m sure most of you have heard of the deadly wildfire that destroyed Paradise, CA as well as parts of neighboring towns.
Will lived in Paradise for many years and was still working there. A couple years ago he moved about 10 min down the road to Magalia, CA, another town that was decimated by the fire. The house that he was renting is gone, along with all his worldly possessions other than what he threw in his car before fleeing for his life in the middle of the night.
He had hopes the fire would not come near his home but In the middle of the night the wind shifted again. As the roar of the fire and the exploding propane tanks got closer and closer he decided it was time to flee. He and we his family are incredibly grateful that the Lord spared his life. This is an untold tragedy for thousands of folks in his area and other parts of CA. We are so incredibly saddened by those who lost their lives and those who lost all.
He is also blessed in that before the fire he was in the process of buying a trailer. As so many will return with no place to go he is grateful that he will have a camper to live in until such time as a place can be found for him to rent. As you can imagine with over 6,700 residences burned in Paradise alone, finding a place to live will be a challenge. He is staying in a hotel until he can get back to a nearby town to get the camper. That and food on the road are an added expense at this time.
Our goal with this fundraiser is to raise money for him to buy bedding and kitchen items to be able to live in the trailer along with clothes, and shoes and jackets and all those necessities we take for granted that we need for everyday life. Then if monies are left over when he finds a place to live he will need to buy furniture and a bed and what not.
Any size donation you care to make would be gratefully accepted. And if you are unable to give we would ask if you could share this fundraiser on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else you can think of.
Bless you for taking the time to read this!

 

 

Finding Your Place

Have you ever felt like you were searching to find your place in this world? I have. Often. I believe many people have a desire to know where they belong, and what their purpose is in this life. Most people want to know that their life has meaning. I believe the Lord puts a desire inside of us not only to know Him, but also a desire to be able to walk in the path that He has chosen for us. 

Some of you reading this may not even believe in God. Far less believe my opinion or my thoughts. That’s OK. Nevertheless, I still believe it to be true. Sometimes we don’t even have a clue as to what we are searching for. Maybe we just feel like something is missing. It could be that walking in God’s plan may be the very thing we are looking for.

Have you ever felt a longing for something other than the way things are now? Or had a feeling that you know there is more you want to do, or to be but you don’t even know yet what it is? I believe that only God’s plan can satisfy these kind of desires. He created us, He knows us. He knows that it is His plan for our lives that will satisfy us.

We may know the Lord, and maybe we’ve even walked with Him for many years.Yet we can still have this longing. That’s normal. Seasons change. So do we. Sometimes we may feel this way because we know we are supposed to be doing something different but we make a conscious choice not to do it. Other times it may be that the Lord is preparing us for a new season.  Seasons do change, and what we were doing last year may not be what we should be doing this year.

Each and every one of us was created by God for a specific purpose. Ephesians 2:10 tells us “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. 

We can be creatures of habit. And we do tend to like our comfort zones. Many of us don’t like change. Or, when we think of change the thing we focus on is what we would be losing, or leaving behind, instead of focusing on what the Lord has ahead for us.  I think that sometimes God puts these longings in our hearts, or circumstances in our paths just to prod us into seeing the things He has for us, or for us to do, if we would only open our eyes and take a step. 

There may be times when we feel ready for change but we just don’t sense any direction from the Lord yet on which way to go, or what we should do. That can be challenging. We may rush to do something we think might be the right thing just so we can be doing SOMETHING! That can be dangerous. Waiting to hear the Lord can sometimes be hard but jumping into something that is not part of His plan will end up being a lot harder.

When we jump into plans of our own making it can take weeks, months or even years to untangle ourselves from what we got ourselves into. That effectively makes our wait even longer to be in God’s perfect plan for our lives. When we are doing something we aren’t supposed to be doing we can’t expect God to bless our plans or reward us in that situation. It doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us or will stop caring for us, He will just patiently wait until we are ready to get back to His plan.

When we are longing to know what to do next and we seem to not hear from the Lord it’s not that He’s hiding things from us. Often its just that He’s waiting for the correct timing to show us what’s next. He may be going ahead of us to prepare things for our next step. Many times He may be perfecting some aspect of our character that needs work before we can move forward. We need to trust Him that in the right time the next step will be revealed.

An oft quoted scripture, (and one of my favorites) is Isaiah 40:31. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

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It paints such an awesome picture. In and of ourselves we can look at waiting as frustrating. We feel as though we are not doing anything to move forward. When we look at this scripture we can see it’s just the opposite. When we are waiting on the Lord we will have the renewed strength to carry on and do what we’re supposed to do.

So I guess the question is, will we trust God enough to believe that He has the perfect plan for our life? And will we trust Him enough to wait for Him to reveal it to us in His time? It’s up to us. We can trust God, or we can rush forward like a bull in a china shop, doing our own thing and hoping it will work.

I think I’ll trust God. What about you?