I REFUSE TO PRAY

In the Bible it says to pray without ceasing and the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6)

The first time I received peace through prayer  was several years ago.

I had become concerned about a patient’s leg. She had diabetes and had gone through several surgeries to repair circulation to her foot. She had a wound on her foot that wouldn’t heal.

This patient was more than just a patient to me. She had become a dear friend. She was very intelligent and exposed me to different philosophies and the value of art. 

I used to feel like a little kid on Christmas morning when I went to visit her as a home health nurse.

I more than cared for her, I loved her. 

So when her foot wound wouldn’t heal,  I was scared the doctor would have to amputate her leg. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed.

Then one day I couldn’t pray anymore. I felt peace in my heart and there was no reason to pray anymore. In fact, at that point if I mentioned one more thing to God about this woman I felt it would be a grave sin. I had gotten through and He had this under control.

She healed without difficulty from that point on.

Then another interesting experience happened. A friend of mine called me and told me that a mutual friend of ours had a son who had gotten hit by a car. She asked me to pray for this boy. I couldn’t. God had His hand on that boy and i knew without a doubt he was going to be fine. He did not have any lasting difficulty from the accident.

The same thing happened when my brother had his accident with his four-wheeler. My mother called me and told me the tragic news. At first I was horrified, then I realized that I already had peace about this. There was no need to pray. God had protected him from death and paralysis during the accident, He was already involved.

My mother has repeatedly worried and pleaded for prayer for my brother. I refuse to test God in this arena. I have faith that the prayers are already answered.

While she hinders her prayers with doubt and worry. I give my prayer wings of faith and gratitude. 

It is important to pray until the peace is received. It is also just as important to pray with faith and not test God with doubt or worry. Once you have peace I believe the only prayer necessary is one of gratitude.

 


A response to: Women’s Weapons of Seduction by Lily

It is interesting as I age how much I realize the value that is hidden beneath the skin.
It matters not how many wrinkles I have to a baby who needs a hug.
The sad, homeless man may comment on my “beauty” but if I don’t bring him lunch he will still be hungry.
My mode of dress will not stop the killing of innocent children in Sudan.
My fragrant perfume will not prevent a puppy from getting kicked or a kitty from being drowned.
We have become far too infatuated with things which are temporal and have neglected items of eternal worth.
I look at the Kardashians and pity them. They know not what real beauty is.

SOMETIMES IT TAKES A VILLAGE

For those of you that have read my prayer request post you know that my brother had a tragic accident this fall. He was on a four-wheeler and collided with a truck. He flew off the four-wheeler and fractured his sixth and seventh vertebrae. He could have  died or been paralyzed, instead he was spared. 

It took two surgeries to get his neck stabilized and the second surgery was worse than the first. He now has a g-tube for feeding because his throat is too swollen to eat. 

This is a difficult time for my brother to be disabled because he is a farmer and harvest time is approaching. 

My brother and sister-in-law live in a small town and the town is primarily Mennonite. I don’t know if it is because it is a small town or because the town is Mennonite but amazing things are happening.

My first cousin has told my sister-in-law that my brother does not need to worry about harvest. Men in the town have come forward to volunteer their time and skill to bring in the harvest. 

My sister-in-law has raved about my first cousin. He has been given authority to bring in the harvest but in the process has involved my brother in every decision about his farm. Thereby not taking control but assisting in the decisions.

I know this town will step up to help my brother and his wife. 

Living in a big city I have missed some of the small town benefits. This past July I fell and broke my collar-bone. My seventeen year old son was staying with me on summer visitation. 

I fell on the way to go meet him at a movie theater. 

I called him and told him that I had fallen and couldn’t move my right arm. He came running.

As he drove me back home for my insurance information I told him I thought it may be a dislocated shoulder because it didn’t hurt.  We discussed the options for care, either Care Now or the hospital. As I pulled down the visor and looked in the mirror I saw the jagged edges of my fractured collar-bone almost breaking through my skin. Care now was not an option, the decision was made to go to Baylor Grapevine Hospital. (I will write a post on this hospital soon. It is beyond excellent in my book.)

My son stayed with me in the ER and was so sweet. The orthopedic doctor who came in on a Saturday night and did surgery on Sunday morning was amazing. 

The timing of this accident was difficult. I had planned to fly my son to New York City on Monday for a senior trip and then we were to travel to Pennsylvania for my nephew’s wedding. 

I had a decision to make. Do I send my son alone or do I bite the bullet and go on the trip? I knew that my son would not enjoy the trip alone and I also knew that I could not survive without my son being by my side as my new right hand man.

That boy lugged both of our bags, shielded me from strangers bumping into me, helped me wash my hair and dry it and basically was my right hand for all of that trip. He was an angel.

Sometimes it takes a village to help a person and sometimes it takes just one amazing seventeen year old son who is a gift from God. 

 

 

 

Whether it is a village or one amazing son all good comes from God. In James 1:17 the Bible says, ” Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

ARE VACATIONS NECESSARY?

I just read an article a couple of days ago about some successful CEO’s who claimed that vacations were a necessity for their success.

I couldn’t agree more.

I remember when I bought my new house in 2007. I was very excited about the purchase but there was just one problem. I didn’t know where to start with the packing and had no idea how to organize the move.

I have ADHD so executive function thinking is not my strong suit and organization is non-existent.

As I was laying in bed one morning I was stressing. I felt overwhelmed by mountain of work in front of me.

Then I got a very bright idea. I wasn’t going to pack one item until I had run away. Yep, I was going to run away to my favorite city, New York City.

I usually plan trips months in advance. This trip was spontaneous ..

I called one of my friends who had lived in NYC and he arranged for me to stay at the nicest hotel in the city for a good price. I booked the plane trip, made arrangements for the kids and I was on my way.

I had the best time ever! It was one of the few trips that I took solo and it was so nice not to have to worry about my children, or family members.

I went shopping, hung out with the jet setters and had the time of my life. I worked for a really cool company that let me go on that trip on short notice and embraced me with happiness when I came back home.

It was just what I needed. When I came back home I became focused and got my house packed up and moved in short order.

Some times the best way to get something done is to step away from it for a moment and enjoy life.

There will always be work to do but if you take a vacation it is a lot more fun to do the work when you come back.


BEST DRESSED DAUGHTER

I remember the fun I had dressing my daughter when she was in first grade. I shopped at boutiques and bought the finest items that my budget would allow. I even rolled her hair up in sponge curlers so her hair would be ultra curly. She was adorable.

I had already bought most of her sweaters for second grade when they were on sale the previous year. Some were faux fur-trimmed and some had bling on them. They were absolutely gorgeous and I looked forward to dressing her up like a doll in second grade.

That never happened. Nope, my little doll decided in second grade that she was going to wear jeans and t-shirts.

I tried to reason with her. She said, “that is what everyone else is wearing and that is what I want to wear.”

I looked at the beautiful sweaters in her closet and wondered what had happened to my little girl.
I knew that the fashion gene was in my blood. It had skipped over my sister though, had it somehow passed over my daughter also? Please say no!

I had to let go of my daughter and allow her to become what she wanted to become at the tender age of seven. It hurt. Then I remembered how I had been as a child

My mother had sewn a couple of outfits for me when I was a little girl. She thought they were so cute. Only problem was they were double-knit polyester. They felt horrible. I think I may have worn them once but from that point on, never again.

She ended up giving them to a neighbor girl whose father had died. That girl told everyone at school they were new. My friends were upset about this. I really didn’t care what she said about those outfits as long as she was wearing them and not me.

Knowing that I had cast off items which my mother had valued I allowed my daughter to do the same.

As I allowed her to be her independent little self I started to see a transformation.  I saw style coming back in her wardrobe and I would compliment her each time I saw her looking beyond fabulous. (which has become a habit for her)

By the time my daughter was a senior in high school she got the “best dressed award” in a class of over 400 kids.  Every time I see her I think she looks wonderful.

Sometimes the easiest way to get a kid to do what you want is to not make them do it. Let it be their choice. If you have chosen wisely in life it is a good bet they will too.

EFFECTIVE DISCIPLINE

Tonight on the way home from a meeting I heard on NPR that a new research study was being released on discipline. The study concluded that if a parent yelled or screamed at their children they had a greater chance of going down the wrong road.

My mother was a screamer. She was also insensitive. Every time she made me cry as a little girl she said it was my fault because I was “too defensive.”

I learned as a little child not to cry. It didn’t matter to her, so I wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction.

What I would do is store the memory of the hurt and then cry myself to sleep. It wasn’t every night, but apparently quite a few, because I have a diary from when I was eleven. In that diary I wrote, “Mom was real nice to me. Tonight is 1 night I haven’t gone to bed crying.”

I had a different sensitivity to crying when I was a mother. I hated to make my kids cry.
Every time I stated consequences for misbehavior they would cry. As soon as the first tear dropped, negotiations would start for how they could work out of the consequences.

I knew that this wasn’t consistency, which is  a hallmark of effective discipline. I just didn’t have it in me to watch my children cry.

I justified this “weakness” to my Christian friends by saying, “I was showing my children the grace and mercy of God.” I think they may have rolled their eyes behind my back.

It is interesting that as my children have gotten older I have noticed one very interesting quality that they have. If I start crying because of something they said or did they essentially melt.

I may have not been consistent in punishment but I was consistent in my chosen form of discipline.

I have always believed that loving a child is the most effective form of discipline. If you love someone they will seek to please you. They will seek a connection with you and if that connection is positive and supportive they will find that avenue the most likely path to walk down.

I asked my older son once if he ever doubted that I loved him. He said, “No, I always knew you loved me, Mom.”

No matter how many times my mother says she loves me I have always doubted her love. When compared to the love of God it is lacking.

God has loved me with grace, mercy and unconditional love.

I may have had a screamer for a mother but my heavenly Father was the best a girl could hope for.

RE-GIFTING OR RE-TAKING

My twenty-one year old daughter moved back in with me this past year and we pretty much wear the same size clothing and shoes. Although it is pretty cool to be the same size as my daughter in some ways; it really sucks in other ways.

First off, when she swears she doesn’t have the right thing to wear for an event she goes snooping through my closet. If I refuse to let her wear the only new dress that I have, because I have not even worn it yet, I get the puppy dog, pouty look. That is very hard for me to stomach, so far I have stood my ground, I feel myself slipping though.

Although my closet is always the go to for her, I fail to have been given the same privilege to her closet. Somehow she thinks that her things won’t fit me.

Really?

Ok, let’s examine this logic. We are very close in weight, we are the same height and the proportional distribution of our weight is almost carbon copy. Plus she wears my clothes. If she fits into my clothes the common perception would be that I could fit into hers right?

Not so much.

One more thing, just because my daughter and I wear the same size does not mean that I look sensational like she does wearing the same clothing. Makes me want to curse gravity.

She is very particular about my clothing and I don’t recall having any items returned with stains or rips, so it could be worse.

But alas, the disease of entitlement, has now spread to my jewelry. Yep, just this last weekend she had a wedding to go to and guess who had the perfect necklace to go with her amazing mini-dress?

 That would be me of course.

Actually that was the best that necklace had ever looked, it fit the neckline of that gold dress like a crown.

Nonetheless, to have jewelry and clothing which one day are in your closet or jewelry box and the next day are gone is a bit unsettling for an aging Diva.

As I was preparing for a business lunch today I could not find the pair of earrings  I wanted to wear. I searched my jewelry armoires, looking through each drawer and divider. I searched through every plastic bag I had divided my collection of necklaces and earrings into last year.

No earrings.

Thank God my daughter was at work. It was my time to reclaim some items from her bedroom. Maybe the earrings would be among the list.

I walked into her room and looked at her jewelry. I was astounded to find the earrings which she had given me as a Christmas gift several years ago in her room, proudly displayed among all of her other fine jewels.

That sneaky Pete. I have heard of re-gifting but I have never heard of re-taking.

Although those were not the earrings that I was searching for I promptly retrieved them from her jewelry frame and put them back into my room. I was not going to let her reclaim those earrings. I have received more compliments on them than any other earrings that I have ever bought or been given. 

Furthermore, next Christmas I may just give her gifts which I can re-take also. lol 

As I have written this post I have done so with joy and gratefulness that I have a daughter who is healthy and who is worthy of loving. She is also sane enough to realize when she doesn’t find those earrings among her jewelry all she has to do is go to her Mom’s room and she can re-take them.

By the way, on the tenth time I looked through my jewelry armoires I found the earrings I was looking for and I even received a compliment on them.


WHO DID WE CRUCIFY?

I was raised in a home where I learned the story of salvation at an early age.

I don’t remember which day in my childhood I asked Jesus into my heart for the forgiveness of my sins but I can’t remember a day when I didn’t believe in him. 

I struggled with the whole concept of salvation. I didn’t understand why Christ should die for my sins. I didn’t do that much wrong. I didn’t say bad words, I didn’t bully, I went to church. 

I took this conflict to my mother. She may have been used to my spiritual conflicts.

I believe at four or five years old I had been troubled to the point of tears because I had tried to find a starting point for eternity. (If anyone can figure that out I would love to know just when eternity started.)

My mother explained the righteousness of God to me.  She quoted the verse about all of our good works being like dirty rags to God.  So I got it, even though I was a good kid, God was so much better.

Throughout the years I became complacent with the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood for my sins. I mean that was why He came to earth wasn’t it? I knew God loved me and I knew He had mercy on me. What was the big deal if I had habitual sins?

Then one day I had a “God thought” that rocked my soul like a hurricane and left me sobbing.

If the trinity was actually what it claims to be, Jesus wasn’t alone on the cross.

God was beaten and they put the crown of thorns upon His head. They mocked Him as the King of the Jews when in fact He was the King of the Universe. They whipped HIm. They drove the nails through His hands and His feet. 

That is why Jesus said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” If God wasn’t on that cross with Him then who was He talking to?

I believe God was present until Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” 

The complacency of my habitual sin evaporates when I consider this. I am reduced to tears  when I consider the crucifixion in the light of the trinity and I have repented of the sins which became so commonplace in my soul.

Because it really shouldn’t have been God or Jesus on the cross. It should have been me.

 


DOES GOD TURN AWAY WHEN YOU DISOBEY?

I am not one of those Christians who hears from God often.. I wish I did. When I hear the voice of God the wisdom and truth in the message are breathtaking. 

I try to obey the voice. That still soft voice which I know speaks words to comfort, encourage and lead me in His paths.

There was a time in my life when I didn’t listen.

It was because of a man. He was funny and he was an editor of a magazine that I had aspirations of writing for. 

God had called me to be a Christian writer. Wasn’t that the same as being a secular writer? (NO, it wasn’t the same.)

The Holy Spirit warned me about him. “He is toxic” were the words that I heard. 

I didn’t see any toxicity. I saw opportunity.

The Holy Spirit gave me one more warning. “He doesn’t care whether you are successful or not.”

That was all right, I could handle the success department and I dove right into the pits of hell. 

The man had been very successful but when I met him the bubble of success had busted and he was struggling to pay his electric bill. 

I could pay mine though so what did it matter? 

He verbally and emotionally abused me. It got to the point where I knew the next step was physical abuse.

He never drove to my place. He finally told me he had lost his license because of drunken driving convictions.

I was the one who drove him to the courthouse so that his probation officer could verify that he wasn’t driving. On these trips he heaped more verbal and emotional abuse on me. 

Why did I put up with it?

I don’t know but I know God never for a moment abandoned me. He went after me like a crazed lover.

I was surrounded by friends who constantly told me to get away from this man. 

My children said that I wasn’t as nice as I had been before I started dating him.

My daughter even said,”If you marry him, I will go live with my Dad and stepmother and you know I don’t like them.”

Then the dreams started coming.

I dreamt that I was walking in his backyard and I could hear the rattle of a rattlesnake but I didn’t walk away I walked to the snake and the snake bit me. 

I believe that this dream was symbolic because I had stopped smoking years before I met this man and since he smoked I thought I could just try it again. I did and even though I puked the first few times, I became addicted to a daily dose of nicotine through the cancer sticks called cigarettes. 

I had another dream. He lived by the lake. In my dream the lake was dry and barren. I knew if I continued with him my Christian life would not have any bounty for God. 

I still continued to date him. He had the typical character of an abuser. He was a perfectionist. The only thing in his house that was out of place was the dust on his furniture and I dusted that for him. 

He constantly made fun of me and insulted me for being who I was – a creative, intelligent and joyous soul.

He denied that he was an alcoholic despite three DWI’s. He didn’t drink until after five pm.

In the evenings, when he had been drinking,  he would call me and tell me how wicked I was and how selfish I was. I would dissolve into tears. 

I had begun to doubt myself. I asked my children if they thought I was selfish. They said, “No, you are one of the most generous people we know.”

The doubt still lingered and each day I would try to do something good for someone or something. 

The abuse continued to slash at my heart and soul. It was like I had opened the door to the devil and he was wrecking my soul with his hate. 

Then one night as I was sleeping I heard three words which changed my life. I knew the voice. I  heard it before. It was that gentle whisper of God. “You are good.” 

The next night I saw a piece of paper in a dream and a pencil was writing a message to me. The message was “You are who you are.” Very similar to what how God defined himself when He said, “I am that I am.”

I have never in my life had people accept me as I was. They always have wanted to change me, so when I heard this it was astounding.

I broke up with the man soon after. I held a lot of anger against him.

One of my dear sweet friends said,”You know you have to forgive him.”

I replied,”I know, I just have to figure out how.”

I did figure out how to forgive him. Every time a bad memory would come knocking on the door of my brain, I would slam that door shut with praise for God. 

The God who passionately pursued me with love and acceptance when I had clearly walked into the embrace of the devil. 

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HOW TO MAKE A MARRIED MAN RUN BACK TO HIS WIFE.

I have dated for fifteen years and have had some awesome adventures with some really great gentlemen but I have become tired of the dating scene. 

I heard about a thing called “Meet Up” through a neighborhood Bible study. Well, this sounded like something I should check out. 

I searched the list of events and found one that was close to my house.

The group met at Bronson Rock, which is a cool outdoorsy bar.  It is always packed with people and there has been more than one time when I have driven by wishing I had an excuse to stop. 

When I walked in I cased the place, realizing I didn’t know a soul that was a part of the group. I asked a few tables if they were part of the group and fouled out on each swing. 

Finally, I spotted one man who looked familiar from his photo on the computer and asked that group if they were a “Meet Up” group.

Bingo! I found them. 

The first few minutes I was berating myself for having come. What was I doing there? I didn’t know anyone. Plus this was a loud bar and meaningful conversation was nonexistent. 

Well, I decided to order something to eat. I had been so busy all day I had failed to eat a meal. I left my glasses in the car.  (More self blame for leaving glasses in the car) The sweet waitress had to tell me what was on the menu. 

I chowed down my hamburger and made small talk with two lovely ladies across the table. We talked about the broken bones that we had. (Oh, God, have I really reached that stage? When the topic of conversation is my latest broken bone story?) 

Then suddenly I noticed a man was slipping in and sitting down beside me.

He asked me what I had eaten.

I told him I had just finished a hamburger.

He asked if it was good.

I said, “It wasn’t the best I had ever had but it wasn’t bad either.”

He said he ate before he came because he didn’t think that the place would have a clean kitchen.

I thought, “Oh great, I am probably in for my first bout of food poisoning ever.”

I changed the subject so that I wouldn’t be tempted to puke. “What do you do?”

He looked me square in the face and said,  “I am an ass model.” 

I busted out in giggles. “Really? I thought you would be a hair model.” I said, looking at his bald head glistening in the lights from the bar. 

The conversation just disintegrated into more laughter and further jesting about what fictitious roles we could assume when meeting strangers. 

I finally came up with one that was a winner to use if a married man approached me with less than pure intention. (If you take a look at my archives you will realize that is not a smart move to play with me)

I would say, “I am a jock strap model.” 

I would wait for the man’s jaw to drop and his eyes to enlarge into saucers, then say, without skipping a beat, “And no, I am not transgender.” 

While he was still trying to grasp that concept I would get up from the stool and take a few steps, then stop, put my leg out and readjust my fictitious “jock strap.” 

I bet a hundred bucks that man makes wild passionate love to his wife when he goes home. 

late note – it has been almost twenty-four hours and no food poisoning symptoms have surfaced. Bronson Rock obviously has a clean kitchen.