My Hope is in Christ – Stressed-Less Living

Anyone who knows me, knows that I can sometimes be a little stubborn. And, it sometimes takes me more than one time to “get it” so to speak.

Even with God.

I’m like King David in that way.

God speaks to me and tells me he wants me to do something.

And my response is “Really God?’ Are you sure?”

This weekend has been one of those times.

Saturday I attended “Uniquely You” women’s conference with Renee Swope author of “A Confident Heart”. During the course of her workshops, she challenged those of us in attendance to have radical hope and confidence, what she has coined as “Godfidence”.DSC00146

One thing she said really stuck with me especially as I am dealing with adult children, the possibility of a new job (actually returning to an old job :-)) and changing relationships with friends both near and far. What did she say?

“You can’t put your hope in _________ (children, husband, job, friends or anything earthly), it/they will always disappoint you.”

Okay, got it. Right?

Apparently not.

Sunday morning in church our pastor was finishing up a sermon series on the Beatitudes. His message centered around Matthew 7:24-29.

At one point he told a story about his son as illustration and made this comment. “I love Nathan more than anything. He’s my son, but I can’t put my hope in him because he will disappoint me. I have to put my hope in Jesus.”

Sound familiar?

It gets better.

625439_408667745895242_189186595_nToday, I started reading Chapter 4 of “Stressed-Less Living” by Tracie Miles and as I am reading through the suggested verses for the chapter I came across this:

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.” Psalm 118:8.

Well, alrighty then.

If I had any doubt that God was sending me a message Saturday, or even Sunday, I cannot deny it now.

 

When He speaks three times I listen.

Ashamed it takes that long, yes.

Grateful that He pursues me like this.

You better believe it.

I am on my knees with my arms wide open and my hands facing up trusting Him alone to supply my needs.

And, to those God used to bring me the message.

Thank you.

Thank you for being a vessel God can use.

Thank you for heeding the call.

Thank you for being part of the great adventure God has for me.Psal118_8

 

 

God’s Peace – Stressed-Less Living

DSC00088“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27

DSC00081“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.” Matthew 6:27-28

DSC00094The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul. Psalm 23:1-2

Grace for the Weekend – Stressed-Less Living

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

If you my friend, like I, find yourself tired at the end of a very long and exhausting week, rest.

Jesus promises that he will comfort us. He will carry us. He IS our rest.

Find time this weekend to dwell with him in the comfort and rest He brings.

I know I am!

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Stressed-Less Living – Rest and Repent

God, the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel: “Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me—The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do. Isaiah 30:15.

I have gone back to this verse over and over this week. I love the first part where Isaiah tells us that the Lord God wants us to turn back to Him putting our strength in Him and depending on Him for everything. But the part of the verse that keeps drawing me back is where Isaiah say this is “The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do.”

Guilty.

And guilty again.

And full of stories of my “silly efforts” to save myself.

I so want to “settle down in complete dependence on me (God).”Isaiah30-15YourStrength

But I can’t. Or, I won’t. And, that causes more stress. And more distance between God and me. And, the never ending circle continues.

I want to say that this time is going to be different.

I want to promise God that this time I’ll make it last.

Does he hear empty promises when I say this?

Will He laugh at me and nod his head like a loving father who knows his child cannot possibly do what they are promising to do?

Or, will he just open his arms again and let me fall right in.

I want him to.

I need hm to.

I beg him to.

And Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 30:18 that

” …the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”

He shows me compassion. The God of the universe who made everything and is everything. He “blesses” me. And then in verses 20 and 21 Isaiah says

“Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

I hear that voice. You know, the one that says “This is the way; walk in it.”

That’s the real secret for me of this chapter.

That’s the key to stressed-less living.

He shows me the way. He provides the teachers. (Thanks Tracie and Melissa and the OBS crew) I just have to listen.

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Parenting Adult Children – Stressed-Less Living

 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

When my boys were little, I worried about them all the time.

And, I worried about me.

Was I a good mom. 575086_311227868958125_1513087852_n

Did I teach them the Christian values I knew they needed to be successful, Godly men in a crazy mixed up world?

Would they forgive me my mistakes along the way and would they love me even if I didn’t let them go to every concert, every party and even if I did sometimes ground them from participating in youth group activities.

The teenage years were especially tough. I can remember asking my older son “Who are you and what have you done with my son?” because he was being so disrespectful and was so sure I was wrong about everything I told him. And, he, like Tracie’s teenagers also tried the “Everybody else gets to do it.”  line.

My younger son presented different challenges as a teenager. I traveled for work, missed ballgames, made him feel neglected and his anger became an issue we all dealt with as a family with a Christian counselor. He also is the reason I went from corporate America to my lifelong dream of teaching. I taught at his school, we rode together each day and he hung out with me after while I graded papers and did lesson plans. I wouldn’t change those three years with him for anything.

Both of my sons, now in their mid and late twenties, are the heart of my heart. I am blessed to have them both living in the same city with me and see them regularly. They are both so much fun to hang out with as adults and I am grateful for the opportunity we have been given. They are strong, independent, committed, caring, loving men. I am proud of them each and every day and happy to call them my friends.

But.

This opportunity also presents its own kind of challenges.

I commented to my husband the other night that I know way too much about my children’s lives. And sometimes I wonder if we are too close to them and if I try too hard to make everything okay for them, preventing them from learning valuable life lessons. They always know I’m a phone call away and that I would give them the shirt off my back if they needed it. In fact, the only real arguments my husband and I have stem from my inability to say no to them.

Don’t get me wrong, they are both self-sufficient adults who for the most part take care of themselves, pay their own bills, live their own lives, and have their own friends. But, when something out of the ordinary occurs and they need a safety net, we are there. Maybe that’s made things too easy. I don’t know. I just know that it would feel wrong to say no when I am able to help.

Our younger son is now married and his wife has become like one of our own children. She also happens to be my best friend (that happened before they started dating!) and so this complicates things as well. We have to remember sometimes when we are chatting that when she talks about her husband, that’s my baby. And when I talk about my husband, that’s her father-in-law. Makes for some interesting conversations!IMG_0541

This son also made me a grandmother for the first time in August of 2012. That type of parenting is a whole new adventure that we are just beginning to enjoy. I truly am the grandmother who spoils him rotten and then sends him home. I figure I’ve earned the privilege!

Parenting never ends. From the moment they are born until either we or they take our last breath, that relationship is one of the most important in our lives. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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Lynn

 

Reflecting on the week – Being Quiet

This week has been chaotic to say the least. As a nation we have mourned not once, but twice as lives have been lost first in Boston and then in West, TX.

Tears have been shed. Cries have gone out to God. Our nation has bowed, but not broken.

So, this weekend, take time to reflect on this week. On the sorrow and the pain of our fellow Americans.

On the innocence lost and the world gone just a little more crazy.

Thank God for your family’s safety. Hug your husband and your children a little more tightly. And lift up to God those who lost their lives, who were injured and whose families will never be the same.

And remember. God has not turned His back on those He loves. He just reminds us:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

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DSC00094For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians1:16-17

Quiet Time – Mourning for a family – Remembering a hero

I didn’t know Officer Sean Collier. I had never heard his name until his death. This brave MIT policemen gave his life protecting his community and those we had sworn to serve.420626_501752769872897_635146512_n(3)

I may not have known Officer Collier, but I do know someone just like him.

My son, AJ, is also a campus police officer. Sworn by the state of Florida. Dedicated to serving his community.

Until this week, I never really worried about him going to his job. In fact, I considered myself lucky that he worked on a college campus because he wouldn’t get hurt.IMG_2875

Officer Collier’s death reminds me that this sense of security is false. He puts on a bullet-proof vest, straps on a gun and a night stick and he goes to work to serve and protect just like Officer Collier did.

Just like the brave men and women of Boston, Tallahassee, Laurel, campuses, cities and towns all over this country.

These angels in disguise allow us to live lives of freedom and allow us to go and come as we please most of the time not even noticing that they are there.

And, today, I am mourning with his mama, who will never hug her boy again. With his father who won’t be able to go to ballgames or fishing or to the beach or whatever special thing they shared. And I mourn with his brother, Andrew, who has lost his brother, and if it’s like my boys, his best friend.P1010042

I’m saying a prayer for this family that God’s peace will surround them, that His love will comfort them and that His grace will cover them in ways they could never imagine.

Yes, their son is a hero. And may we never forget the sacrifice that not only he made, but that his family made as well.

And for all the officers in Boston today risking their lives to bring closure to a horrendous situation. Godspeed.

When AJ was a little boy, his grandmother used to quote this Psalm to him. It helped him sleep then, and today, it reminds him that God’s got his back when it seems like no one else does.

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

I’m going to go hug my son and tell him how much I love him and how proud I am of him. Because today I can. And if it’s the last thing he ever hears me say, I want him to know how much his sacrifice means to me, and to the community and country he serves.

Lynn