Finding Peace Where We Are

We are called to walk with Jesus, not to run ahead.

This past summer, my family attended a mission trip. We helped to repair houses for some people who desperately needed help. We spent an entire week with other Christians.

We ate every meal with other Christians and publicly prayed before we ate. We openly talked about Jesus throughout all of our days. We wore crosses around our necks. We visited different churches for our meals and those people shared Christ with us.

We sang about Jesus each night and talked about seeing Him during the day. It was definitely a mountaintop week.

Then, we returned home. My hubby and I returned to work. Our lives got back to normal. Don’t get me wrong; our normal is perfectly fine, but when you spend a week doing God’s work alongside God’s people, normal just seems, I don’t know, kind of pointless. Shouldn’t I be doing more?

I was walking and praying about my frustration when I heard a hawk calling out. He was very close, but I couldn’t see him. I had been running and walking at a very fast pace as I looked for him. I slowed down and I heard him again. This time he was behind me.

When I turned around and slowly walked past a place I had already been, there he sat in a tree at my eye level. I stopped and He just sat there looking at me as if he had waited for me to find him. We stared at each other for a few minutes before he finally flew away.

I marveled at my encounter as I walked, not ran, home, and a thought formed deep inside my heart.

God has put me in this place at this moment for a specific reason. I don’t have to know or understand the what or the why of it. If I live my days focused on Jesus, nothing I do is pointless. When I try to run ahead, I miss seeing Him, just like I missed that hawk. But, when I slow down and seek Him, I mean really seek Him, He will always show Himself and let me know where I need to be.

I might feel like I’m more productive on the mountain top than I am simply walking along the beaten path, but if I trust Him and obey His call, I realize that in the end, that’s not for me to determine. That realization brings me great peace.

Perhaps you needed some peace today too.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy 🙂

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God Was There

Well before the girls posed for a picture on this couch, God was there.

Last weekend, my hubby and I drove our daughter to college. Just like the day she was born, it was exciting and painful. Just like the day she was born, a new chapter began as another one came to a close, and just like the day she was born, God was there.

It was a tough week leading up to it, bittersweet in so many ways. But, God has given me so much comfort in this journey. He led her to three roommates who are strong in their faith and He made a way for her to get to know them and become friends with them before they moved in.

And as an extra blessing to this mama, He allowed me to spend some time with their mamas, who happen to be very strong, Godly women. I’ve always believed that you can tell a lot about a girl from meeting her mama.

As moving day progressed, I received texts of prayers an encouragement from some of the people I work with. I’ve only been at my job for a little over a year, and two of the people who sent prayers have only been there a couple of months. Yes, God was there.

All day long, we received well wishes on Facebook. We even got some from our Salkehatchie mission family. But, on the way home, one of those women, who means the world to my daughter, messaged me privately to tell me that she was covering me in prayer too and reminded me that when you raise a child to love the Lord; you can’t ask for anything better, as you send her out on her own. Yes, God was there, just as He has always been, especially for loving mamas.

He was there when Moses’ mama placed her baby in a basket and into His hands. He was there when Hannah dedicated Samuel to Him to raise. He was there with Mary in a stable in Bethlehem and He was there again when she stood at the cross.

The entire experience has reminded me that there are seasons in our lives that are just plain hard, for whatever reason, but when we really look around us, those of us with faith, can see God everywhere. While He doesn’t remove the season, He sends us help and extra blessings in countless ways. I am reminded that I never walk alone and neither does my daughter. You never walk alone either.

Perhaps you needed reminding today.

Have an awesome day!
Wendy 🙂

Categories: Building Christian Character, Trusting God | 2 Comments

The Walls of Alexandria

These walls mean a lot to people who know what they represent.

My family just took a tour of some of the places used in the filming of the television show, “The Walking Dead.” Personally, I’m not a fan of the show. In fact, I’ve never even seen an episode. My hubby swears that there are all kinds of deeper meaning in all that transpires. But, I can’t past the zombies and the gore.

However, my hubby and daughter just love it and the tour was a gift for my daughter’s birthday, so my son and I went along for the ride.

When we arrived in the darling little town of Senoia, which is the town of Woodbury on the show, the man who checked us in informed us that they had actually been filming in town for the past several nights before, and that if we walked to the edge of town, we could see the Walls of Alexandria.

My daughter lit up like a candle and we headed that way. When we got there she and my hubby were very impressed. There were tourists and tour groups everywhere taking pictures of the Walls of Alexandria.

I too, took pictures, but quite frankly, I didn’t get what all of the fuss was about. They were tall metal walls. There was nothing at all aesthetically appealing about them. What was the big deal?

My hubby explained later that those walls protected everyone within them. There was a self-sustaining city inside those walls and they also kept the zombies out.

The walls were a big deal to the people who followed the show.

As I was later looking through my pictures, I came across those walls. I thought about how there are times when we work very hard to create something that people on the outside just don’t get.

Maybe it’s creating a family life that brings us joy or carving out a time of quiet to talk to God. Maybe it’s a scheduled date night with our spouse or maybe it’s losing a little weight or eating a little better. Maybe it’s learning to trust that God has a plan for us. It could be just about anything.

To those on the outside, our hard work may not look like much. Like me with the Walls of Alexandria, they don’t know our story. But, we have a God who does. Jesus follows our story with all of our struggles and triumphs and He cheers for us when we make progress in our journey towards Him.

He always looks past the gore of the messes we make. He gets us and He loves us.

The Walls of Alexandria reminded me. Perhaps you needed reminding too.

Have an awesome day!
Wendy 🙂

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The Light Changes Everything

The light of Christ changes our perception of everything.

My hubby and my daughter recently visited a local restaurant. We were thinking of having her birthday dinner celebration there. It looks so cool at night. It’s very tropical. There’s sand, palm trees and string lights. We thought it might be the ideal place for some fun birthday pictures.

But, when they visited the place in the daylight, it wasn’t nearly as glamorous. The boat fountain on the property was full of water and mosquitoes. It was hot and kind of shabby. The daylight completely changed their perception of the place.

The light changed everything.

As my hubby was relaying their experience to me, I was reminded of a time when I visited our local fair during the day time.

The fair used to come to town every fall. The air was crisp and there were lots of lights and music. It was always the highlight of the fall.

One year, a friend of mine and I, went on a Saturday afternoon. I had never been during the day. It wasn’t nearly as enticing or exciting. When we got on the haunted house ride, it was downright pitiful.

Under normal circumstances, at night, I would nervously get into one of those little cars and hear the scary music as the car would ride jerkily on the track. At each turn something would jump out. It would be something like a ghost or a skeleton, nothing seriously gory, but it would always startle me causing me to at least jump, if not to scream.

But, in the light of day, the sun shown through all of the cracks and lit up the entire inside of the ride. I could see all of the mechanical ghosts, well before my little car reached them. They weren’t the least bit scary.

The light changed everything.

I thought about our conversation in the following days. I thought about how the light of Christ can completely change our perception of the world around us.

I thought about how things that once appeared exciting and glamorous to us can become completely uninviting. I thought about how situations and places that once frightened us can lose all of their power to affect us in any significant way.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Light of the world. I have learned on my journey that the Light changes everything. Perhaps you needed reminding today.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy 🙂

Categories: Building Christian Character, Trusting God | 1 Comment

Learning to Drive Defensively

Focusing on Jesus allows us to safely arrive at our destination.

It’s been a very busy summer for me and my family. We have had lots of changes, all good, but changes just the same. One of them has been my son turning sixteen and getting his driver’s license.

Over the past year, we have probably had hundreds of conversations about driving and focusing on maintaining your lane. We have discussed not getting distracted by what’s going on around him. But, we have also discussed the importance of driving defensively.

As my hubby and I were driving to church on Sunday, we were talking about the importance of listening to God and doing what He calls us to do.

My son, and his driving lessons popped into my mind.

As Christians, we really don’t need to concern ourselves with what other people are doing. We aren’t called to drive all over the road or to jump into anyone else’s lane. We are called to be obedient to our specific calling. Sometimes, that’s an easy task.

Sometimes, we can cruise for miles with zero interference in light traffic. Sometimes, the weather is ideal and there are no hazards of any kind.

But, sometimes we encounter difficulties. We have to keep in mind that there are other drivers on the road and sometimes those drivers are aggressive or reckless. Sometimes there are wrecks. Sometimes it’s foggy or rainy. We have to remember to drive defensively.

Thankfully, we have a guidebook for that. God gives us His Word to teach us how to protect ourselves. He also gives us the direct 911 line of prayer, that always goes straight to Him. We are never on hold.

We can learn to anticipate those drivers who are going to try to cut us off and run us off the road that we have been called to. The longer and the closer we walk with Jesus, the better we get at avoiding them altogether.

We can also learn to slow down during bad weather. We don’t need to stop, although it can be tempting. Sometimes a slow crawl is fast enough.

Let’s face it. It’s easy to get distracted when there are so many people on the road. It’s also easy to just pull over and come to a complete stop when the weather is bad. However, we have to remember as long as we stay focused on Jesus, we will always get safely where we are going.

My teen driver reminded me. Perhaps you needed reminding too.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy 🙂

Categories: Building Christian Character, Trusting God | 2 Comments

Taking a Break

May God continue to bless our great nation.

I will have family in town over the next few weeks and so I’m taking a break. I pray that you and your family have a wonderful 4th of July. I hope that we all take a little time to give thanks for this country that God has so richly blessed and ask Him for continued blessing and guidance. I hope to meet you back here soon.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy 🙂

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Eliminating Srongholds

Wasps are particularly vicious around their nests.

On a recent Salkehatchie mission trip I attended, we encountered lots of wasps and found many wasp nests. When we eventually removed the nests, the wasps moved on too.

I felt prompted to take a picture of one of those many nests. I wasn’t sure why at the time, but I’ve learned to follow those promptings which commonly come from the Holy Spirit.

I didn’t think much about those wasps after they were gone, but as I was scrolling through my pictures after I returned home, the shot of the nest caught my eye. It doesn’t look like much and is completely harmless once it’s taken down, but when it’s attached and supporting wasps, that’s an entirely different scenario altogether.

When wasps have an active nest, they will aggressively defend it. It becomes larger and larger if left unchecked. It can become a home to many stinging insects and can become very dangerous.

But, once it gets knocked down, those dangerous wasps will move on to a different location. They won’t just simply rebuild in the same spot.

That wasp nest made me think about strongholds that we have in our own lives. We all have areas of weakness where we allow the Enemy to whisper in our ear and to build a nest of sorts. It could be anything ranging from pride, self-doubt, anger, hurt or unforgiveness to name a few. The list of human weakness is vast and when we don’t put on the Armor of God, we can find ourselves unprotected.

Over time, strongholds for Satan can be built and when people come near to challenge them, the wasps will fly. Those stings hurt.

Think about it. When we come across the path of someone who has been hurt in the past, we can reach out to them and they can strike out us for what seems like no good reason at all. We can in turn become angry with them and the wasp nest for both of us continues to grow and thrive.

But, there is another way. We can prayerfully ask God to show us those strongholds and ask for help removing them. The Holy Spirit will help us knock them down. It’s not always easy and we may sometimes get stung. However, once they are gone, they can no longer harm us.

We can be free.

A picture of a wasp nest reminded me. Perhaps you needed reminding too.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy 🙂

Categories: Building Christian Character, Salkehatchie Series, Trusting God | 2 Comments

The Enormity of Grace

Grace is huge.

On the final night of our Salkehatchie mission trip, we all participated in communion. We do that every year and it’s always a meaningful service. But, this year, was a communion service like I had never participated in before.

We were all called to kneel at the alter. As we waited for the pastor to come around, he handed us each an enormous hunk of bread. I’ll have to admit that I found it kind of strange. I have taken communion at many different churches over the course of my lifetime.

Sometimes it has been in the form of perfectly round little wafers. Sometimes it’s been tiny pieces of bread. Sometimes it has been small pieces of Saltine crackers. I have stood up and knelt down and even passed the communion tray. The procedures may have varied from church to church, but one thing never changed.

The bread that represented the Body of Christ was small. This makes perfect sense because communion is remembrance and there are often many people to feed.

It’s also usually a solemn service with few words spoken as we are called to contemplate with quiet reverence, the enormity of Jesus’ sacrifice.

But, that night as I waited for the cup to come around and made a mental note of the very large piece of bread in my hand, the pastor addressed us. He told us that he was sure we had noticed the large portion of bread that we all held in our hands. He told us that grace was big like the bread that we held. He told us that we would have to spend some time chewing on that bread in our hands and that we should spend some time “chewing” on the idea of the enormity of grace.

I suspect his message was specifically meant for the teenagers present, but it struck a cord deep in my own heart.

How often do we just breeze through communion and life for that matter, taking grace for granted? It’s complete forgiveness of sins, forgiveness for anything we have ever done. It’s the bridge to a relationship with God and to Eternity. It’s huge, but like the communion service, we can sometimes allow it to become commonplace.

When the pastor finished offering us all the cup, he pointed out all of the crumbs on the floor. He reminded us that grace was messy just like sin is messy.

After the service, we all went on to individually share the ways we had seen God that week. He was everywhere, but of course, He’s always everywhere just as grace is ever present, we just often don’t take the time to look.

An unconventional communion service reminded me to seriously consider and give thanks for the enormity of grace. Perhaps you needed reminding too.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy 🙂

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Removing the Bad

Sometimes we have to allow the removal of all of the rotten, before we can build something better.

On a recent mission trip that I attended, I was throwing old shingles into a dumpster. When we began our work, the dumpster was completely empty. But, after we had been at work on the home for a few days, I noticed that the dumpster was getting full.

We had to tear off all of the old shingles before we could put on new ones and they had to go into the dumpster. After we removed the old shingles, we found quite a few boards that had rotted due to weather exposure. They had to be removed and put in the dumpster as well.

If we would have put new shingles over rotten wood. The wood would have continued to rot. Those old, rotten boards would not have been able to support the weight of the new shingles and they certainly would not have held up over time.

No, the bad had to be stripped away entirely before we could build something new and lasting.

That dumpster was ugly as was all of its contents, but it was completely necessary for transformation. Its symbolism spoke to me so loudly that I had to snap a picture.

Don’t we go through a similar process when we allow Jesus to work on our hearts?

We often carry around ugly and rotten things underneath our shingled exterior. Sometimes, like that roof, no one can even see them or knows that they are there, but us.

But, like a good roofer, Jesus knows, and He comes along and chips away at that exterior, exposing the bad underneath. Everyone’s bad looks different. It may be anger, hurt, shame, pride, anxiety, resentment or anything that separates us from the love of Christ.

After He exposes it, He cuts it out and throws it in the dumpster, replacing it with faith, hope, forgiveness, and love and then He shingles over all of that with grace.

But, we have to be willing to allow Him not only to expose the bad stuff, but to remove it and throw it away. That dumpster can get pretty full and ugly, but we have to allow it to fill up so that it can be hauled away for good.

Jesus calls us to live an abundant life with Him and to be transformed into something new. In order to do that, we have to be able to worship Him with our whole hearts. We can’t do that if we are carrying around rotten parts that need to be let go.

A half-full dumpster reminded me. Perhaps you needed reminding too.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy 🙂

Categories: Building Christian Character, Salkehatchie Series, Trusting God | 1 Comment

Trusting God

The Creator of the Universe always has the final say.

On a recent mission trip my family took to South Carolina, we were planning on working on two houses on two different work sites. Both sites required new roofs which is not unusual for Salkehatchie mission houses.

What was unsettling was that the weather report called for 80% chance of rain on Monday and 100% on Tuesday. We were undaunted.

When a man came to our site to help us get the shingles on the roof, he told our site leader, “that there was no way he would open a roof today.”

Our site leader smiled. He told me that he started to tell him that we were working for Jesus, but he didn’t.

I had reminded the teens before we got on the roof that the Creator of the Universe was not in any way bound by its laws.

On Monday, we completely tore off the shingles on one side of the roof and replaced them. We got a few sprinkles of rain at most. After we returned to the church where we were staying and after we all got showers, it began to pour. I smiled as I ran through the drops and gave thanks.

God had come through.

The next day, the rain chances were even higher. There was a discussion about just tearing off a quarter of the shingles, but our site leader, a man of deep faith, thought better of it and gave the go ahead to get them all.

I sent out a prayer request that the weather would hold on Facebook.

I was sent to pick up some boards to replace the rotten ones. As I drove, the rain began to drizzle. I prayed out loud that God would show Himself to these teens. We were acting in faith, opening up that roof and would He please keep the rain at bay.

He once again came through. I kind of pictured Him in the heavens somewhere with His mighty hands holding back the rain, just as He had done with the Red Sea for Moses.

We finished that side of the roof with little to no rain once again and once again, when we left our work site and returned to our church, the rains came.

I giggled as I gave thanks. I will never have any idea how many people prayed for our weather on those two days, but I do know there were warriors involved. We got two roofs put on while the occupants inside stayed dry.

I am reminded that man’s laws, knowledge and predictions mean nothing to God. He has always had the final say and He always will. He demonstrated that fact to me and a bunch of teens not long ago.

Perhaps you needed to see it too.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy 🙂

Categories: Building Christian Character, Salkehatchie Series, Trusting God, Watching for God | Leave a comment