“Abide in Me, & I will abide in you”…

Another one of the advantages that I’ve had with having the whole month of July off from taking care of grandsons is more time for prayer, personal reflection and Bible study.  In all my years of living for God, many mornings I will awake with a song on my heart, but never has God awoken me with a scripture on my heart until this past July 15th.  But when I awoke July 15th and heard Him say, “Abide in Me and I will abide in you”…I knew that would be the subject of my bible study that day.

Now, I don’t profess to be a Bible Scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but I do love to read and study God’s word.  And so the 15th chapter of John became my focus…here are just a few of my written notes:

verse 1) husbandman? hmmm…God is the master of the house, tiller of the soil; his business is to cultivate the soil.

verse 2) He prunes me!

verse 3) The word will keep me clean; the word will keep me from sin.

verse 4) There it is! What I woke up with! I can’t do anything without God! I am unfruitful without God!

verse 5) God and I are directly linked! We are connected! I will bear much fruit with God –but without Him I am nothing.

verse 6) I envision picking up all the dead branches laying on the ground when my husband mows and throwing them into the burn pile.  That branch can be me – DEAD – if I leave God out of the equations.

verse 7) OMG! Thank you God! There’s that condition again! I’ve often quoted James 4:3, but there’s a condition! In order to receive what I ask I must first abide in the vine and He in me!!

verse 8) disciple? hmmm…If I am a disciple for God, I will be able to “pay it forward”.  I will be effective for the ministry.  I will be an example; a witness. People will see a true & sincere change in me!

verse 9) my love walk will be perfected.

verse 10) A condition again!  “IF” I keep His commandments!! OMG! I will be able to replicate the love of the Father and the Son!!

Which then took me to the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17   Remember…no Bible Scholar here….just my take on things….

1) No other Gods! He comes first!!  (TV, Sewing, Fitness – they can all be “Gods” if they become more important in my daily life then Him!!)

2) No idols! No images! Love Him and Him only – He will show mercy!

3) Don’t take His name in vain!

4) Sunday is an important day! Rest, relax, reflect on God. Don’t work!

5) Whether they deserve it or not, I MUST honor my mom and dad!

6) No kill

7) No adultery – stay emotionally and physically connected to your mate!

8) No theft!

9) Bearing false witness? hmmm…To lie or accuse without evidence.

10) Thou shalt not “covet”? to desire for things that are not yours!

Good stuff and much food for thought as I return to John 15….

verse 11) If I keep His commandments my joy will be full!

verse 12) Love!

verse 13) Love more!

verse 14) Obedience!

verse 15) A “friend” of God knows God and His ways!

verse 16) I am chosen!

verse 17) Love!

verse 18) Don’t fret over being hated! The Lord was hated first!

verse 19) When the world hates you that’s a good sign you must be doing something right!

verse 20) They will heed my words “if” I abide in Him. (That “if” is the condition, see it?)

verse 21) I will be persecuted for living for God!!

verse 22) It’s easy to remain in denial about my sin if I don’t walk in the spirit.

verse 23) They are ONE!

God the Father & Jesus the Son are one…and these words (if you looked) are written in red. That means he is speaking directly to us and although He is merciful and a just God – Yes, he loves us unconditionally, but IF we want the full and abundant life there are certain things we must do – there are some conditions.

This really benefited me.  I hope by sharing it, it did you too.  His word is so powerful and so enlightening and when I go there, I just want to go there more, and hopefully while I’m relaxing with my sweetheart in the New Mexico mountains we will both be able to spend some time reflecting on God’s goodness!

Vacation pics on the way!  Be blessed my friends!

 

 

JURY DUTY…

Yesterday Paw Paw had to help me out by keeping the three grandsons while I was called in for jury selection.  Normally, I wouldn’t care to “do my civic duty” and would try to get out of it…but as I waited in a hallway full of lined up individuals in our local courthouse I was thinking “hey, this might be a way to get out of the house for a few days and have a break from the boys”…(forgive me, I’m human and a pretty tired Maw Maw).  Once we were all checked in and the judge was talking to us, I found out that there were going to be at least two trials (possibly more).  Both criminal cases, one that they would select a 16 member panel for (6 jurors +1 alternate for that case) and one that would select a 70 member panel (from which 12 jurors and 1 alternate would come from).  Hmmmm….sounding interesting.

My name was called for the 70 member panel.  Still not a juror, but a possibility…I then began listening to the prosecution and defense tell us a little bit about the case and explain to us our duties as a possible juror.  (I had sat thru this process before, but had never been selected as a juror.) Another “incentive” I discovered was that I would receive $40 a day for my jury service, if selected.  Hmmmm…During my working days that would not have been attractive, but now as a “retired” and tired Maw Maw that was quite motivating! LOL

Oooops!  Ouch! But then I found out that this case was “continuous sexual abuse of a child”…OMG! Could I now be open minded enough, unbiased enough and listen to the facts clear-headed enough to decide beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not the crime was committed?  Since I had first hand knowledge of this subject matter and felt quite emotionally charged over it all, as the lawyers continued to talk to the jury panel, I was torn but remained quiet until the very end.  The victim was 14 at the time, it happened on more than one occasion, and the perpetrator was an adult family member.  Whoa!  Hitting a little too close to home. The other wrench thrown into the mix was that I’m a spirit filled Christian – and know that there is only one judge! Ouch again! What do I do, what do I do? What if they choose me?  $40 a day!!?? Is it worth it?  Remember, it’s my civic duty to serve as a juror if I have the chance.  They may disqualify so many others that they may need me!  (I know – a little “grandiose”  LOL).

Might I also add – I was praying under the breath the entire time – or at least when I wasn’t texting my hubby or daughter. LOL  I should also mention that while they are going thru the selection process (day one) they pay you $6.00 for your time.  Yesterday was not at all profitable because I was there 6 hours – ($1.00 an hr?)  You can donate the $6.00 to a worthy cause or keep the money.  I kept mine – if for no other reason then to defray the cost of my lunch out.  (Paw Paw did not want me coming home until I was done since the boys would not want me to leave again!)  Lunch at my favorite Chinese buffet was $10.00 plus $2.00 for a tip…so once again the $40.00 a day I was going to be paid if I was chosen to serve on the jury was looking more attractive.

On the other hand, I didn’t want to leave my daughter in a lurch – since Paw Paw was not up to the task of keeping the boys for the rest of the week and the trial would possibly run all week.  She would have to make other arrangements for care and that would be virtually impossible for her.

After returning from lunch they began to question jurors individually – those that felt they couldn’t serve without prejudice or stated that they didn’t feel like they could remain fair and impartial in judging the case.  It was beginning to become a long day of elimination. They stated at the very beginning of the process that it’s really not about “jury selection” but more about “jury deselection”.  They weed out the ones they feel are not an appropriate fit.  At the very end of the process around 3 pm the defense asked if there was anything else that anyone needed to share that would help them in choosing a fair and impartial jury.  Out of a desire for “full and honest disclosure” I felt like I needed to share that I had worked with women who had suffered similar trauma as children and once led a support group for such..but that I did feel like I could be fair and impartial…Phew!  That was out!  I was relieved.  I’d done my part. Now it was up to God.  If he wanted me on the jury than – so be it.  If not, well it was back to being Maw Maw today.

I am happy to report that although the trial began today at 9 am this Maw Maw did not have to report for duty.  I’m content being Maw Maw to three young boys today and embracing the “Sonshine” of a spirit led life knowing that I am making a difference in my grandson’s lives even though some days it may seem menial and insignificant.  I will continue to pray that the trial I almost became involved in will turn out as it’s supposed to and that a tremendous healing will take place in the hearts of the accused perpetrator as well as the alleged victim.

To God be the Glory!

My Daughters Inspire Me to be a Better Human Being!!

As I wind down from a great Mother’s Day weekend I am filled with awe and wonder over the two wonderful & beautiful daughters that I have!  I am so blessed to call them mine and filled with gratitude over the realization that they have grown into such awesome women! As a mother you often pray and hope that you will have a positive impact on your children and the adults that they become. But, rarely do we think about the reverse.  Rarely, do we think of how they as adults might impact us as parents or the effect they may have on our lives.  More specifically, and in commemoration of Mother’s Day – how our grown daughters may effect us as mothers!

ImageTheresa, Linda, Tanya – July 4th, 2011

I became a mother for the first time in Oct. 1969 when I gave both to my son.  That means I’ve celebrated 44 Mother’s Days!!  Wow, how time flies when you are having fun!  It hasn’t always been sunshine and roses by no stretch of the imagination – but if anyone would have told me how wonderful it would be to be the mother to two grown daughters – I would have gotten here quicker!!  

Theresa is mother to 5 children. Tanya is step-mother of one.  They have both suffered disappointment and heartache but have come through it gracefully.  

Theresa is a fun-loving, gregarious, outgoing personality.  She lives her life to the fullest among many setbacks.  She is a single mother that works very hard to provide for her family.  She’s creative & talented and loves her kids! She inspires me to be more tolerant & understanding of those around me.  No matter what race or religion you are, Theresa will be your friend.

Tanya is a more reserved but a very kind & generous personality.  She prefers a more “private & quiet” existence with her Police officer, husband, Rob.  She has great business & money sense and loves to bless others with the fruit of her labor! Because of Tanya’s influence I have found myself being friendlier with the girl at the check out counter.  Tanya inspires me to be more kind and generous with those around me and to avoid keeping score.  No matter how little or much she has, she is always planting seed in the lives of others.

This weekend it just became so much more apparent to me of how blessed I am to have these two beautiful women in my life!  It is so much fun raising little ones, but when they are grown and I see all that they have become – I can’t help but be thankful for the way God has moved in their lives and blessed me, as their mother!

ImageTanya, 34, Theresa, 36 – 2014

Friday evening, Tanya drove in from Wichita Falls, TX to spend some mother/daughter time together.  She’s a Type A, hardworking lady who rarely takes time off as a Realtor. She took me for a manicure/pedicure shortly after arriving and then we met her sister at the Theater for a movie.  Theresa had already blessed me with some really cute sandals, a wooden cross she had made and a Daytimer to keep track of all my projects!  ImageAren’t they cute?  They are very comfortable, too!

ImageThe picture doesn’t really do justice to this beautiful cross that Theresa made me.  Maybe I should have it on a blank wall rather than this busy wallpaper?  But, this is my prayer closet – a place I thought was appropriate for it.

Naturally, and as expected, neither of my daughters would let me spend any money this weekend! I am so blessed!! Tanya knew that after taking care of grandsons as much as I have and feeling the pain of a 20 lb. weight gain over the last 3 years that I was needing some “retail therapy”.  So, Saturday we had a “girl day” of shopping.  It still amazes me at how frustrating it used to be (when Tanya was a teen) when we went shopping. We never liked the same thing and she was (and still is) so tiny that the clothing she wanted and that was age appropriate was too large for her petite frame.  In order for clothes to fit, she had to shop in the children’s department or have adult clothing altered. She would get so frustrated and I would get so tired of even trying to help her find something!  We didn’t shop well together at all!  Nowadays, we love to shop together and both always find something pretty and new!  What amazes us most is how often we will spot something and call attention to it, only to find out the other was looking at the very same item!  Our taste is clothing is very similar now.  I guess my tastes have gotten “younger” and hers have gotten more mature?  Not sure, but we sure have fun helping each other put outfits together and trying on clothes together.  

We took a break while hubby met us for lunch at Cracker Barrel.  He doesn’t like Cracker Barrel much – but it was “all about me” yesterday (Tanya made me promise)…but I compromised by using an Olive Garden gift card Tanya gave me to take him to his favorite eating establishment today after church.  

I am a grateful person.  Gratitude comes naturally to me. But, today I am especially grateful! I received 6 text messages this morning from different girlfriends wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day.  I also received a beautiful (very private) letter from my hubby that brought tears to my eyes.  While at church, my sister-in-law gave me a beautiful card that had a very personal, sincere loving message written inside.  It also made me cry.  Then, just a little while ago after getting home from Olive Garden my step-granddaughter, Lani wrote a text that said, “Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks to you, you brought a beautiful lady in this world that takes care of my dad and loves me like her own.  I am so happy you are my family! Have a beautiful day, Maw Maw! I love you.”  Wow, what more could a mom, grandma want?

I am truly inspired by all this kindness and love to be the best human being I can be and to pay it forward as often as I can.  A more recent quote I read that I truly try to embrace says, “A rejected opportunity to give is a lost opportunity to receive”.

Happy Mother’s Day, friends! Inspire someone as my daughters have done me. It costs nothing and the rewards are immeasurable.

When are you closest to God?

OMG! The person that got out of my bed this morning was not me! I don’t know who that person was, but whoever she was…she was cranky, miserable was hating her life!  Just saying…honestly.  Fortunately, it only lasted a short while.  This was at 6:30 am, before my two precious grandsons arrived.  I am normally a very positive and upbeat person – full of faith (and the Holy Ghost) I might add …but today was not starting out on a good note.  Within 20 minutes of arising and realizing my cranky state I was berating myself and beating myself up for feeling so horrible!!  All I wanted to do was cry!! Once my sweet hubby realized my state and showed a little tenderness…I was doing just that!!  Sitting next to him on the edge of the bed having a good cry!  He’s such a good man and always helps me to see the “error of my ways”…or in this case my “thoughts”.  He put his foot down when I called myself stupid.  

You see, we had enjoyed an awesome Easter Sunday with both morning and evening church services, dinner at Red Lobster with eldest daughter, her boyfriend and my grandson, Kash.  We are Apostolic.  Church for us is like a teenager going to see their favorite rock concert.  We love Jesus and believe in making a joyful noise!  There is nothing sedate about Pentecostal worship.  We came home at 9:30 lastnight, sweaty, tired and all sung and danced out! (I’m in the choir, and hubby is the sound man).

So, why in the world was I feeling the way I was feeling this morning?  How in the world can I be on top of the mountain in church and then be in the mully grubs this morning?  Am I a hypocrite?  Is what I feel in church and sometimes even at home (when I’m prayed up, and in the Word) real?  Or is it a figment of my imagination?  All these thoughts/questions were what manifested themselves into me thinking I was really being STUPID!

But, my sweet hubby reminded me of another “being” that is just as real as God and knows exactly the right time to show up!!  The devil, Satan, ie; the “Prince of Darkness”…would like nothing better than to pull me down into the PIT.  And he really doesn’t care a whole lot about me and will leave me alone most of the time….BUT, when I’m at the top of the mountain, praising & glorifying God he HATES IT!  That is when I am closest to God!  And Satan is one very mad dude!  He is not one bit happy about my joy and my love of my Savior.  Within minutes of this realization, my hubby and I were praying and rebuking the enemy from further attacks.  I was done beating myself up for not recognizing this spiritual attack for what it was.  With my chin up and a better attitude I greeted two precious grandsons who arrived within 30 min. of each other and we went on with our day.

Jackson laid down for his morning nap within 30 min. of arriving and Kash and I took a walk to the park/playground.  Walking & fresh air always helps my moods too!  We played for about an hour while Paw Paw tended to Jackson. When we got back home Paw Paw was feeding Jackson his bottle.  While Jackson was still up and we had Paw Paw’s help, Kash and I made the beds and vaccumed the whole house.  I always feel better when the house is tidied up too!

It was still Monday.   I’m sure there is something about Mondays..not just for working adults but babies as well.  In fact, I’m convinced that babies don’t like Mondays either.  Kash had not been here in almost two weeks.  He spent a week long visitation with his daddy, and when he arrived home to mommy last Tues evening he was violently ill with a stomach virus!!  Poor baby.  Mommy had to miss last Wed. and Thurs from work to take him to the doctor and nurse him back to health.  She had good Friday and weekend off.  Kash began feeling better Friday so I got to spend a few hours with him on Friday having a little Easter egg hunt in the back yard.  After being at daddy’s for a week and then being sick for several days, he wanted to be the center of my world today and didn’t want to tolerate a fussy infant (Jackson) stealing his Maw Maw’s attention.  ImageIm ‘getting wet in this shot.  Who’s idea was it to buy water pistols at the dollar store, anyway?

Jackson, on the other hand – just doesn’t like Mondays!! He’s no longer in his familiar surroundings.  He’s had the weekend with mommy and daddy, no siblings + their undivided attention and today Maw Maw and Paw Paw just weren’t adequate!  He never slept for more than 45 min. at a time…mostly “cat napping” and seemed to have caught Maw Maw’s early morning crankiness!! 

ImageThank God for teamwork!  Paw Paw did more than his fair share to help me with the boys today.  He also washed, dried and folded all the laundry.  We were both glad to see 5 pm roll around.  I know tomorrow will be a better day. After all, it’s Tuesday! LOL

I just don’t understand! Warning: Controversial subject

Let me first say that this is hindsight talking. It has taken many years of soul searching, God seeking and therapy to reach this place but that being said:

I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU CHOOSE TO REMAIN STUCK!! I remember back in the late eighties or early nineties saying that to the Christian counselor I had sought help from. He asked me “how does that make you feel?” I replied, “I feel stuck!” His next question to me was “what do you need to do to feel unstuck?” And then, rather than giving me the answer he let me work it out in my own way and in my own time. He was an EXCELLENT COUNSELOR and I will be forever grateful for the many sessions that I had with him. He really helped me!

Why do you continue to blame your past for why you are the way you are? Why do you continue to blame others for your faults? Why do you continue to hold a grudge about your upbringing? WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO REMAIN STUCK IN YOUR SUFFERING? Why are you still mad?

Now, if you are offended by my questions, you might have to do some serious introspection and soul-searching yourself. There are many of you that I have come in contact with thru my years of recovery and I wanted so badly to show you the error of your ways. It’s like a new convert wanting to tell everyone about Jesus after they get born again! HA! 🙂 Unfortunately, most of it falls on deaf ears. That’s why I’ve resorted to not saying anything and just praying for you. I love you. I hurt for you. And I do know a better way. I’ve not “arrived”. I still struggle. My previous blog post will attest to that fact. But Matthew 5:43-48 speaks to how we are to behave towards those that dislike us etc; It says:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

I hear you saying, “but you don’t know how bad it is. You don’t know the atrocities I’ve suffered. I was absused, molested, left alone, not fed, neglected. I can’t imagine how a loving God would allow such a thing to happen”! Well, I don’t have all the answers and this will seem unsympathetic – but IT DOESN’T MATTER! God sees your pain. And He wants you to turn it over to Him. Hanging on to it is harboring unforgiveness. Some folks CHOOSE TO wear the hurts of their past like a badge of honor. It allows them to never really achieve all that they desire to achieve in life. As long as they can blame someone else for things they don’t have to take responsibility for what happens or doesn’t happen. Is that you?

Dr. Phil would ask you, “how’s that working for you?” Resentment is grudge holding. And it’s a sin! I can’t be saved if I stay mad at you, or vice versa. I love you. Do you hear me? I don’t care what your socio-economic status is; your heritage is or anything else for that matter. But, I admit – I do lose patience and have a harder time loving you when you CHOOSE TO continue to wallow in it! Get over it!! Life is too short!! I tend to look at the glass as half full, rather than half empty. No, it wasn’t always that way…but there is too much life to be living to continue to feel sorry for yourself.

I like what the Life Connection in my Recovery Devotional bible says about getting past it.
It says,

Ultimately, what happens inside of us is more important than what goes on outside. Yes, we are accountable for both our behavior and our attitudes, and at times we need to “fake it in order to make it,” but true, lasting change in our behavior patterns needs to happen from the inside out. Even if we do good things such as give to the needy, pray regularly, fast, or stop drinking, we will not grow much emotionally or spiritually unless our actions stem from our inner being–the part of us that has submitted to God.

So, forgive me if I seem preachy sometimes, or seem like I know it all. I don’t! But, I do know that “letting go and letting God” has gotten me to where I am today. I’ve been around that block more than once.

To “Let Go” Takes Love:

To “let go” does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can’t do it for someone else.
To “let go” is not to cut myself off, it is
the realization I can’t control another.
To “let go” is not to enable, but to allow
learning from natural consequences.
To “let go” is to admit powerlessness, which
means the outcome is not in my hands.
To “let go” is not to change or blame
another, it is to make the most of myself.
To “let go” is to not care FOR, but to care ABOUT.
To “let go” is not to FIX, but to be SUPPORTIVE.
To “let go” is not to JUDGE, but to allow another
to be a human being.
To “let go” is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.
To “let go” is not to be protective, it is to
permit another to face reality.
To “let go” is not to deny, but to accept.
To “let go” is not to nag, scold, or argue, but instead to search
out my own shortcomings and to correct them.
To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires but to take
each day as it comes, and to cherish myself in it.
To “let go” is not to criticize and regulate anybody
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To “let go” is not to regret the past, but to grow
and to live for the future.
To “let go” is to FEAR less and to LOVE more.

I have tried to live by this creed for many years. Some days are easier than others. Unfortunately, I am carnal – and still wear a coat of flesh. And I still have many friends and family that I still want to rescue from their despair. The way I see it – rescuing is enabling. They will remain STUCK by their own behaviors and attitudes but I can also facilitate them remaining STUCK if I don’t follow the Lord’s leading. Right now, the Lord is prompting me to remain SILENT and pray and fast.

If anyone knows the author of the above creed, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

TO BE CONTINUED…

If I can’t be AUTHENTIC I’d rather not Live!

By people who like me, I’ve been told that I’m “real”.  Others will say, that I “tell it like it is”.  Some say, that I’m “all business” or that I’m “brutally honest”.  I’m sure there are other things that I’m forgetting but suffice it to say that I agree with all of them.

On the other hand for those that don’t like me or don’t know me well some of the adjectives that have been used or things that have been said are that I’m “rude”, “brash”, “snarky”, “too outspoken” etc; I’m sure there are MANY other adjectives in the “don’t like” category as well, but if they don’t like you, they don’t usually tell you to your face what adjectives they are using.

My husband’s favorite depiction of me is that I am “short spoken”.  I had never heard that one, until marrying him 14 years ago.  He blames it on me being born a Yankee, transplanted and grown up north, and then migrating to East Texas.  People here “just don’t understand me”.  Ha!

I freely admit that I’ve had my fair share of relationship difficulties, with friends, family and bosses.  And yes, I’ve asked myself the age old question, “what’s the common denominator?”  DUH, that would be ME!  That realization has caused me much soul-searching, many hours of therapy, and tons of pain and heartache.  But, the most important thing it has done for me has caused a hunger to grow in my heart for something bigger and more powerful than me – a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

I’ve heard it said that “the only person you can change is YOU”.  I couldn’t agree more, but to reiterate the title of this blog, “if I can’t be AUTHENTIC, I’d rather not live”.  So, although I have changed a lot over the years it has not been of my doing. It has been because of my hunger for God. It has been because of my willingness to turn my will over to God’s will for my life.  It has been a “divine” change.  Minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day I am becoming who God created me to be. He chose me for more.

MARK 8:34-35

Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

How many mores times & ways does it have to be said?

Matthew 10:39, Luke 17:33, Matthew 16:25, Luke 9:24

Those relationship difficulties still exist. I am not FREE from pain or heartache.  I still struggle to be who God’s wants me to be and to not offend anyone but especially those I truly love. (I’m also referred to as a “people person”.)

But, as I continue to abide in Him and abide in His word I find myself being made over in His image.  That is what He desires for me, and that is what I desire too! He gives me strength and He gives me peace and He shows me in His word how to be “authentic” in Him. Non-believers would call it being “brain-washed”.  I call it “finding the REAL me, the one He intended for me to be.

Follow dancingthruyears on WordPress.com