Monday, December 16, 2013

Being Mary in a Martha Season

As Christmas approaches, I find myself wanting to switch into "Martha mode". I'm referring to the Scripture in Luke 10:39-42 where Jesus and his disciples came to the home of sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" Jesus replied, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed, or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her."  I can't tell you how many times I've read this Scripture and reminded myself that Jesus said Mary has chosen what is better. What was Mary doing? She was sitting at the feet of Jesus... listening. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the Christmas season hustling and bustling around buying gifts, preparing food, making Christmas goodies, wrapping presents, decorating homes, cleaning and preparing for family that we often forget the purpose for which we do all these things.

Jesus is the reason for the season. 

I repeat this phrase to myself and believe it to be true, but do I let it alter my activity? Do I stop and take time to sit at Jesus feet and listen? "But there's so much to do! Who will do it if I don't?" We think all these things are necessary-decorating, buying presents, creating delicious foods. But as Jesus said, "few things are needed". This year I haven't had the ability to do all the baking and decorating that I've done in the past. And truly it has been much more peaceful. I have had more time to sit at Jesus feet and listen. As I spend time reading God's word, the anxiety and frantic pace of the season melt away. The things that need to get done get done. I am left with peace and precious family time.

So before you wrap another present or bake another cookie, take time to be still before the Lord, read His Word and listen."And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus". (Philippians 4:7)

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE, goodwill toward men!"  Luke 2:14

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I'm still here!

Four years after a diagnosis that changed my life, I'm still here.
My body continues to decline, but me… The one you know, I'm still here.
My soul, my mind… The essence of who I am, is unpolluted by mind-altering drugs.
My body can't do all the things I love, but I still love those things.
I love a cool rain on a hot summer day.
I love pecan pie.
I love the smiles on my grandchildren's faces.
I love hot buttered popcorn.
I love laughing with my husband.
I love the first bike ride of spring.
I love playing cards with friends.
I love camping in the mountains.
I love the sound of a lighthouse on a foggy morning.
I love having breakfast on the gazebo.
I love crawling between freshly washed sheets.
I love roasting marshmallows over a campfire.
I love reading the Bible first thing in the morning.
I love… Because He loved me first.
My body is decaying… But I'm still here.
I'm not giving up so don't give up on me.
I'm still here!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


The day that I waited to arrive for six months has come and gone. The tears are dried and it's time for transition and reflection. Backpacks, duffel bags and various military items are strewn throughout my dining room. There are piles of laundry, dirty dishes, wadded up blankets, and giant steel toed boots left in toe-stubbing locations. The bed covers are stirred and tossed every which way. Meals must now be planned for two instead of one. The object of my affection sits for hours playing an incomprehensible game on the computer. My perspective on these things has changed 180° in six months.

Clothes strewn throughout the dining room… He's home! Steel toed boots left for me to stub my toe… He's home! Bed covers turned and tossed are preceded by the slow, steady breathing of him sleeping beside me at night. Meal-planning for two means I have someone to share a meal with. He's home!

Is it only when our lives are emptied that we are surprised by how truly full our lives were?1 

Being without my husband for six months has allowed me to realize just how truly blessed I am. Philippians 4:19 states, "my God shall supply all my needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus". In each of the 180 days that my husband was gone, the Lord supplied my every need. 

God extends his grace toward us through people. 2

I was surrounded by the loving kindness of people. I was cared for by friends and family who opened their homes to me, fed me, drove me places, took me to dinner, entertained me, gave me incredible gifts, bought me groceries, did my laundry, cleaned my house and made me laugh! And this provision was not limited to people that I knew.  When I took a trip to Utah, I was amazed at how God provided for me through the strangers I encountered along the way. The Southwest ticket agents and gate agents were especially kind. Even the TSA agent was friendly and kind. When Cindy Evans sat down next to me on the plane just before the door closed, I thought, "great, no chance that I could have an empty seat next to me". Cindy turned out to be an angel of mercy. She was so friendly and kind and helped me with little things that I would have struggled with. At every turn, in every situation, God showed himself to be a Provider. It took my husband's absence for six months for me to realize how much I am blessed! Sometimes those blessings come in the most ordinary ways or through the most ordinary things. Step back and view your world through the eyes of our Provider. You can't help but be blessed!

1 Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, (Zondervan, 2010) 170.

2 Ed Dobson, Seeing through the Fog,(David C Cook, 2012), 133

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Can I vent?

PACKAGING. It has gotten ridiculous! I received my box from Amazon today and was so excited to open it. Was I deflated when I saw the packaging! Three items… Three different types of packaging. All three were difficult for me as a disabled person to open. I daresay they were difficult for anyone to open. The first was a clamshell package. Utterly impossible! The second item advertised that it was not in a clamshell package. However, it was packaged in one of those “all one piece” cardboard boxes. Can anyone find the top or proper place to open one of those? The third item was a nutritional powder that was packaged like many vitamins are packaged today. A screw type lid with the plastic seal underneath. I don't know about you, but those plastic seals can be impossible ! To add insult to injury today, I also had to open a new bag of cat food. Just pull the string, right? Anyone who has purchased one of these knows exactly what I'm talking about. Does everything have to be packaged in tamperproof packaging? REALLY? Is that what we've come to? What a sad state of affairs! Okay, I feel better now! Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1

Do you ever feel like your purpose in life is changing? During the last few years, I've watched my ability to do some of the simplest things decline. This has made me feel worthless at times. However, when I think about it, I realize that I've been measuring my worth using an outdated measuring tool. I assumed that my life purpose would be the same throughout my entire life. What if my purpose has changed?

Luke 10:38-41 tells a story about two sisters with different purposes:
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I have always been a Martha-type person: planning, organizing, paying attention to every detail, fretting and worrying. Except for the fretting and worrying part, I believed it was my God given purpose. I was a detail person and was supposed to take care of details. Planning and organizing was who I was. Or so I thought. Losing the ability to perform administrative duties seemed to be a cruel joke. I thought I was losing my identity.God has shown me otherwise. Slowly, but surely, He is showing me that He is repurposing me. The administrative gifts that I had practiced in the past were overshadowing the purpose that God has for me now. Jesus said, “Mary has chosen what is better.” What was Mary doing? She was sitting at the Lord's feet …listening. Since I'm no longer working and am unable to do some of the housework around the house that I used to do, I have lots of time to "sit at Jesus feet and listen." It has taken a while to get through this thick head, but I believe God is showing me a new purpose. This new purpose is not as tangible as the previous purpose, but it is much more satisfying.

Being repurposed is sometimes painful. I liken it to melting down a broken tool in order to refashion it into something more useful. The melting is painful, but necessary to eliminate all the impurities. I need to be "melted” in order to let go of the old identity and embrace the new.

What is my new purpose, you ask? Encouraging! God teaches me and encourages me through His word every day. My purpose is to turn around and encourage someone else with what I've learned. It is liberating to realize that even though I cannot do some of the tasks I used to be able to do, I still have purpose.
If you feel like you are having an identity crisis, take heart! Maybe you are being repurposed!

Monday, January 21, 2013


Nouržish: to promote the growth of; feed, maintain, support

I've been thinking about this word for a couple of weeks now after we had one of those long soaking rains. We have been in a drought for several months now and the ground is dry and cracked. A quick downpour would not solve the problem, no matter how many inches came down. The ground needs moisture delivered to it in a slow and steady manner. It needs time to allow the moisture to soak in and nourish all the plants affected.

How about us? We need nourishment as well. Our bodies need nourishment. Our souls and spirits need nourishment also. How are we going about administering that nourishment? In this fast paced world that we live in, I daresay most of the time we administer nourishment in quick downpours. Unfortunately, much of it runs off and never sinks in, thus, providing little, if any nourishment.

To truly receive benefits from the nourishment we administer, we need to pay attention to two things: substance and time. A clean pure rain falling in a quick downpour loses much of its nourishing qualities because it reaches the ground too quickly and runs off. A long soaking acid rain is also detrimental due to the substance contained in the moisture.

The same goes for nourishing our bodies, souls, and spirits. Fast food is not known to be the most nourishing. Neither is a quick pep talk or hurried Bible reading just to check it off the list and move on to something else. The average American day lacks margin. We fill up every hour and then fall into bed for a short night’s sleep only to start all over again. Unfortunately, we are teaching our children the same thing. We not only need a good night’s rest, but we need periods of time throughout our day that are peaceful and meditative. Psalm 46:10 says, "Cease striving, and know that I am God". Other translations say, “Be still and know that I am God”. Not only do we need to make time to be still and meditative, but it's important to pay attention to what we're using to feed our bodies, spirits and souls. That's the substance part. The expression “you are what you eat”, can be extended to say you are what you watch and hear. If during our relaxing times we fill our heads with violent games, scary movies and the like, are we truly nourishing? The definition of nourish is to promote the growth of. When we feed our mind and spirit with negative thoughts or actions, what are we promoting the growth of?

I've stated it before but it's worth mentioning again, in Philippians 4:8 we are told, "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things." When we do this, we refocus our mind on things that truly nourish our soul and spirit. It provides rest and prepares us for the next mountain to climb. Think about these things when you’re sinking your teeth into your next fast food sandwich J

Monday, November 5, 2012


"Don't let your well-being depend on your circumstances. Instead, connect your joy to God's precious promises." This passage was found in my Jesus Calling devotion book this morning. It is a theme that has been going through my head for a couple of weeks now. My daughter-in-law covered the subject well a couple weeks ago in her blog called, “A Pilgrimage to a Promise”.  I encourage you to read it. Since the subject is still rolling around in my head, I will proceed to share some of my thoughts as well.

Happiness is a result of our circumstances; however joy is a choice we make in spite of our circumstances. When adverse circumstances hit us in the face every day, it's difficult to keep it from affecting our well-being. My body fights back at every attempt at productivity whether it is laundry, cooking, washing my hair, or anything else that uses my hands. However, it's exactly in those circumstances that God calls us to choose joy… to connect our joy to His promises. James 1:2-4 states, "consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything."  The Message version says, “Consider it a sheer gift when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed not deficient in any way." It's God's promise that if we persevere through adverse circumstances we become mature and well developed. And this is not without His help. He also promises to never leave us nor forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6) He promises to meet all our needs according to his glorious riches. (Philippians 4:19) He promises that nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from his love. (Romans 8:38-39) And with God's promises comes contentment and ultimately peace. This is pure joy… so much deeper and more fulfilling than mere happiness. The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)