Tag: God

roadmarks, and guideposts

Why having guideposts is a really good idea

I love Jeremiah 31:21

Set up for yourself road marks, Place for yourself guideposts,

Direct your mind to the highway……..

So often we expect God and everyone else to do this for us. But most verses of instruction in Scripture, if not all, always put the responsibility clearly on our shoulders.

Let me just ask, have any of you even thought about setting up road marks and guideposts for yourself? Much else directing your own mind?

Most of don’t even believe it’s something we should do, much less that over and over in scripture we are commanded to take control of ourselves and our lives.

For example, “Be still, oh, my soul”. Again, we are the ones to do the “stilling”. The Psalms are full of like instruction. King David address his soul in many of the Psalms.

Instead, we prefer to be pushed in every direction by the standards of other people and they don’t even have to be people we know. We naively believe that if it’s in print, it must be so.

How foolish.

Like the post I recently wrote about the Target ad. Really? Everybody should wear this blouse? Why? Because someone somewhere has decided this is the latest and greatest fashion trend?

Or we hear something on the news and all our good sense goes out the window. Why? Because this person is on TV? That makes them an expert?

I am not suggesting that we can’t listen to others and shouldn’t listen to others. But it depends on who the “others” are, doesn’t it?

I won’t mention the author or the book by name but years ago this author wrote a book about marriages and what makes good marriages work. I read the book jacket to learn that this author had been married and divorced three times! Now, why in the world would anyone take his advice his beyond me. And yet the book sold millions. I can see the value in reading about his mistakes and what he should have done differently but if I want marriage advice, I’m going to listen to someone who’s been happily married for many years.

It’s like taking advice about money management from a compulsive gambler. Makes about as much sense.

Yes, we can learn from other’s mistakes but I think it makes a lot more sense to learn from people who’ve gotten “it” right, whatever “it” is. Because even those who do have “it” right have made mistakes but they’ve stuck with it and come out on the other side.

It’s the same with our road marks and our guideposts.  We need them in all aspects of our life, our marriages, our faith, our time, our relationships, etc. Without them, we have no way of knowing if we’re on track or not.

Road marks and guideposts are NOT plans. They are not goals. They are not a schedule. They are more general than that and they work no matter what your plans, your goals, and your schedules.

For example, one of mine is “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” I steer clear of drama that isn’t mine. I leave that up to the players involved. Too many times we allow ourselves to get caught up in someone else’s’ drama when we clearly have no stake nor responsibility for the outcome.

Another one is my daily time with God.  I more clearly see the deviations along my personal roadway when that is intact.

“Road marks”, however, are kind of like traffic signs. I’m going too fast. I need to stop. Watch out for the curve in the road!

When I have my road marks and my guideposts in place, it’s so much easier for me to direct my mind to the highway. Otherwise, I’m just driving along, paying no attention and then find myself on a path I didn’t mean to take.

Even this morning, the road marks and guideposts I’ve set for myself got a little askew which is why I’m late with this post. I don’t get upset about it as I know “life just happens” sometimes.

But an occasional detour is never a problem.

It’s when we get lost along the way because we haven’t been following after the path that we know is good for us that gets us in trouble.

Have you ever thought about setting up some road marks and guideposts for yourself? It takes some thought and they will evolve during the different stages of your life.

Mine were very different when my children were living at home. They were very different as recently as last year when almost all my attention needed to be directed towards my mom. Now that she is gone, I have found that I’ve felt quite “directionless” for a few months as my life is very different now. But I am slowly adjusting and thinking it through. I will be establishing different guideposts for myself. There will be different road marks. The point is to examine your life and make sure you have some personal guides in your life. The parameters with which you surround yourself and keep you headed where you want to go.

God bless and have a “detour-free” day.

 

 

Jesus on the big screen

Why Jesus shouldn’t be on the big screen

(I wrote this post a few years ago when the movie “Son of God” was playing. I was scroslling through some old posts and after I read it, I still felt the same way. I like what I wrote so I decided to post it again.)

Majesty

Majesty

Long post warning!

OK, here’s where I get into trouble. A lot of you are not going to like what I say.  But I promised to be honest. This is about as honest as it gets. It is not my intent to discourage anyone from seeing the movie, the Son of God,  but just to get people to think before they jump on board. If you’ve seen the movie, then please read no further. I don’t want to rain on your parade.  Continue reading “Why Jesus shouldn’t be on the big screen”

decision-making

How to make good decisions?-part two

(This post today was a follow-up to yesterday’s post. This happened four years ago and I had kind of forgotten about it. That’s what is so great about blogging. I have a record of past events.

I was very vague when I wrote this but now with the recent death of my mom, I can tell you this post was about her. I loved her very much. I still do. But we had some difficult times. I tried really hard to make her happy. Sometimes I know I did but I often felt inadequate because I didn’t know what else to do. 

I can tell you now that this was about a trip to Florida. My husband and I love our two weeks away. He loves fishing there. I love the beach. To cancel our trip would’ve been a big deal. We had already reserved our usual place, stopped the mail, were packed etc.

The day before we were to leave, my mother told me she felt really sick.. I saw her every day and she had not mentioned it the day before.  It seemed she only had a cold with a slight cough.  When I asked her how long she had felt “really bad,” she said “days”.  I was not happy that she had sprung this on me at the last-minute knowing we had been planning this trip for months. I told her she was going to the doctor the very next morning then if she was that sick. She balked but I insisted.

I took her to the doctor the very next day and she was diagnosed with bronchitis. This was the day we were to have left for our trip. We cancelled it. And while I didn’t like it, I knew I couldn’t just go off and leave her.  Before you say, “Well, of course not,” I need to tell you my brother lived with her. He had lived with her about four years and lived with her until her death.  But let’s just say I was the one who kept on top of her health. I wasn’t sure he would take proper care of her. 

I look back and am very happy with that decision. God knew there was no way I could go off with a clear conscience and so he made it clear what I should do. Yes, my husband was fully supportive. I didn’t mope or carry-on or any such thing. I had a real peace.

The following post is all about that process of decision-making.)

 

 I just want you to know that my decision-making process has begun all over again because of new developments.  Developments that took me by surprise and threaten to completely mess everything up.

Remember I said in the last post that I was counting on God to make it clear if I am to change course. I should’ve added that it’s sometimes hard to know if God is telling us to change course or if it’s the enemy’s (you can call him what you want) way of causing us to doubt what God has revealed.  This can be very difficult to figure out.

There are some who would say otherwise, that God always makes things crystal clear, but I try to avoid contact with these people because it has been my experience that those people generally live with their heads in the clouds.) It would be wonderful if life were easy to figure out. Maybe for some people it is. Their life is easy; things just fall into place. My life is not like that right now-not at all.  It’s complicated. Very. And just a few hours ago, it got a lot more complicated.

So how will I know now what to do? I have a very narrow window to make a decision.  I’m honestly not trying to be vague. But the details of what’s happening in my life or yours are not as important as discussing this whole business of decision-making overall. I need to be general enough to help everyone. But if I’m aware of that, you ask, why can’t I just move on? Well, this same person is very elderly and not emotionally stable having suffered severe depressive episodes their entire life. Our decision is whether we leave on a trip tomorrow or not. If I had days to write and you had days to read, I still wouldn’t be able to explain it all to you. It’s that involved.

You can know that this is an elderly person who is not emotionally stable and has suffered severe depressive episodes their entire life.  Consequently, sometimes it’s hard to know if there is a valid crisis or not. Our decision is whether we leave on a trip tomorrow or not. If I had days to write and you had days to read, I still wouldn’t be able to explain it all to you. The history with this person is that complicated.

So once again I’m on my knees, if only figuratively. This morning the decision was made to go. We’ve rented the car. We’ve stopped the mail. We’re packed. Are you getting the picture? Now I’m having to reconsider. But I’m very proud of the fact that once again wisdom has been provided and once again I’m on the right track in my thinking. Tomorrow’s doctor’s appointment will seal the deal one way or the other.

I am hoping this will now be an easy decision to make but considering this person’s history, it won’t be. This is leading me to make an important point about decision-making.

A decision that is right for us may not feel that way to someone else. As long as God is behind our decision, it’s ok.

What do we do if our decision is going to cause someone some degree of discomfort? It depends on the degree and who’s going to feel it, doesn’t it?

Whose discomfort is going to be greater? I didn’t realize until I started to post tonight that this is what this decision is all about. Their discomfort or mine? I can handle a lot. I have a track record that proves it.

So here I am tonight. Not looking forward to tomorrow. Knowing there’s no way, no matter what decision I make, that I’m going to come out on top. Finally, God knew all this was going to happen so he must have a plan. Tomorrow it will unfold. I am trusting God will once again put a stumbling block in the way if going ahead with our trip is wrong. If he doesn’t I’m going to assume it’s still a go.

But God knew all this was going to happen so he must have a plan. Tomorrow it will unfold. I am trusting God will once again put a stumbling block in the way if going ahead with our trip is wrong. If he doesn’t I’m going to assume it’s still a go.

God is not a God of confusion. Scripture is clear about that. If I’m confused tomorrow about what to do, it will be my own confusion that I must muddle through.

God bless and I hope you have an non-confused day.

stones

Why rocks “rock” for me.

I love rocks. Or maybe they’re stones.

If you really want to know the difference, you can look it up here. The upshot is this: All rocks are stones but not all stones are rocks.”  Hmmm.

For me, rocks have hard and rough surfaces while stones are smooth.

I love collecting “stones” of all sizes. I’m trying to make a border around the bunkhouse and the cabin.

bunkhouse

I like to write on stones and have them placed where I can see them.

stones

I love this big one in the middle. It’s almost perfectly round. I’m thinking of writing a verse reference on each one and then one word on the other side that captures the meaning. 

Sometimes I write a reference to a special Bible verse but mostly I write, “Remember”.

This is based on the Bible story where Joshua tells the Israelites to gather stones from the Jordan River for a remembrance of God’s faithfulness. It’s from Joshua, chapter four.

When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down.  Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.

Sometimes, especially when I’ve been praying hard about something and it doesn’t turn out the way I want, I get discouraged. I need to remind myself that for whatever prayers haven’t been answered, there have been more that are.

So if you need to have a visual, try it. It really works.

Another thought. I have read that some people carry around a small stone in their pocket, purse, etc, and rub it between their fingers when they need to remind themselves of all God has done for them. I’ve done this as well.

Now some of you may not need a reminder. But I’m just honest enough to admit that sometimes I do.

God bless and have a good day.

How do brownies and tears work together in grief?

Monday was a hard day. My mom is nearing heaven’s door with every breath she takes. I see her footprints getting closer all the time. There are times she reaches with her arm outstretched as though she is, in fact, searching for a door knob.

In my selfishness, I want to tell her to stay just a little longer. I’m not ready yet.

But instead, I come home and move bricks and broken cement blocks. I spread bark and pull up weeds. I take up old landscape edging, crying through it all. It’s my way of dealing.

It felt good. The work and the crying.

Then I thought about brownies. My mom loves brownies. This was one of the last things she might enjoy.

I used to always bake her special desserts. If I saw something yummy at the grocery store, I would buy it for her. She has not enjoyed food for a couple of weeks. But I thought maybe, just maybe, she might enjoy a brownie.

Besides, I had to do something her. It was the only thing I could think of.

A last gift from me to her.

I don’t know how many tears ended up in the brownies.

Isn’t it strange the things grief compels us to do? Like baking brownies for someone who probably isn’t going to eat them, who probably can’t eat them.

But we all handle our grief differently. Is there such a thing as pre-grieving? If there is, that’s where I am.

My husband is scheduled to go on his annual spring fishing trip with my son, grandson, and some other fishing buddies.  They go every year and have a ball.

He’s balking about going but I am insisting. I know me. I know that I’m ok with my tears. I’m ok with grieving. He’ll come home if needed and it’s only four or five hours away.

The cycle of life. Death and birth. Since the beginning of time daughters have grieved their mothers. My grief is no different except that it’s my grief.

I think part of trusting God means we learn to accept heartbreak as a part of life as much as joy.  Even now God is preparing me for this unwelcome journey.

I do not look forward to missing my mother. I think my tears this past week, (and there have been many of them)  are God’s way of letting me know her homecoming is soon. I’m releasing some tears a little ahead of time so when I am needed to think clearly, I will be able to.

God bless.

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