Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Building Up or Tearing Down

One of my favorite passages in God’s Word is II Corinthians 2:3-7.  A dear pastor from years gone by had sent me his message on this Scripture, and oh how many times it has been a blessing to me and my family.  As I write this post, however, I am not sure in which direction this passage will take me.  But, I do know that God is leading.

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.  And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.  And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation.

I am a firm believer that one of the reasons we go through situations /experiences /crises or whatever we want to call it is to draw alongside of someone else who experiences something similar and be a comfort to them.  We don’t need to say things such as “If I were you …”  I believe God is saying  “I brought you through this other crisis, now it’s your turn to help someone else.”  And sometimes we really don’t have to say anything in order to be a blessing to someone else --- just being there is enough.

And I believe this happens many times in our lives.  We are either the ones in need of comfort, or God has equipped us to be there for someone else.  I have been both sides of this – and there are probably many others who have too.  Unfortunately, though, there are many times when someone needs encouragement or support, but what they get is just the opposite:  “She should have known better than to …”  “He brought it all on himself, now he needs to get himself out of this mess” “They’re just getting their payback now.”  I’m sure there have been times when I have pointed my finger at someone and have thought or said those very words.  But you know, I praise God for the crises that He has allowed me to go through so that my heart and my eyes would be opened to others’ needs. 

I can recall numerous times when I’ve just needed some encouragement … some comfort … some hope.  Not only do I have family & friends to turn to for these, but with today’s technology I can get those very things in just a matter of seconds.  I’ve introduced my daughter & her family's blog and I can say that I am very impressed with their military online community.  I have felt the pain of a young wife whose husband laid down his life while deployed.  He only saw his daughter in pictures – she was just 2 months old when her daddy became our hero.  I’ve felt the pain of the sister and mother of one of our fallen from the Ft. Hood massacre as they have tried to obtain a proper headstone for brother and son.  None of our Ft. Hood heroes ever thought that they would lay down their lives for us on our own soil.  Numerous times I’ve read of uncertainty for future plans - hurt - deployments – broken friendships – loneliness. 

There have been times also, I hate to say, that I have seen comments left in writing that are so negative and only tear down.  I just do not understand.  But, just as Paul has told us in the passage that as we endure our sufferings, it is with hope that we will also accept God’s comfort.  This is just my opinion, but I believe there are some people who do not want to accept God’s comfort through their trials.  It doesn’t make sense to me, because why wouldn’t anybody want the God of all comfort to bring them through a situation?  And if a person doesn’t allow God to bring them comfort and healing, then they cannot be a comfort to others.  Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why there’s negative comments left online, why there’s friction in everyday relationships, and why there’s no healing. 

I believe we were put on this earth to bring honor and glory to God.  How can we do this when we tear down instead of build up?  How can we reach out to those who are hurting if we ourselves won't accept God's healing?  I, for one, want my life experiences to count for something -- and that just could be reaching out to those who hurt.  

Dear Lord, Please help me to draw alongside of those that You send my way.  I want to comfort not hurt … encourage not discourage … support not point fingers.  You brought me through my tough times, now it’s my turn to be a blessing to others.  I call myself a follower of Jesus Christ, please let that be shown in my actions to others.  Amen. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Miss Lucy Michaela

~~~ Happy 2nd Birthday, Lucy Michaela ~~~

Two years ... WOW!!! I know, "time flies when you're having fun" ... but time seems to zip by at the speed of lightning with grandchildren (even one grandchild).

Lucy Michaela entered our world at 2:17pm September 23, 2008.  Mrs. 'Joe had already decided that she was birthing all natural (she sure didn't get that from her Mother).  'Joe was driving 8 hours (actually should have been longer, but ...) from a temporary post to be with his wife (he actually got to the hospital 20-30 minutes after Lucy's grand entrance).  G-G had driven almost 2 hours in morning rush hour traffic to get to the hospital to be with her granddaughter & meet her great-granddaughter. 

Lucy arrived as her Mommy's OBGYN was down the hall attending to another mommy who was birthing too.  So, with only Granny & the attending nurse in the room with Mommy, Lucy Michaela entered our world.
I would love to introduce you to our daughter, son-in-law, and Lucy by inviting you to stop by Mrs. 'Joe's blog .  Granddad & I are very proud of 'our kids' -- not only for them giving us the greatest gift imaginable, but for their service & devotion to God and our country.  And what better day for the introductions as we celebrate Miss Lucy Michaela!

Lucy & Granddad on Sept 24 ... one of my favorite pics

Sept 25 ... Good thing it wasn't Granddad's busy season!

Happy Birthday Lucy!!!

Love, Granny & Granddad 

Monday, September 20, 2010

From 2 to 27 ... Just This Week

This afternoon I had written a new blog post.  This is a monumental week in our household and I had written a monumental post (well, maybe not so monumental, but still ...)  Then, it happened.  With one slip of the finger on an unknown laptop key ... everything gone.  Not in the drafts nor in the history.  Not in Word (like most posts) nor in any other program.  I'm sure the words of the post will come back to me at some point in time.  But, here is a summary of how this one week spans 27 years.

On Wednesday, September 21, 1983  the guy of my dreams asked me out on a date -- 
I could not believe it!!!  I only had 3 days to find the perfect 'outfit', go to classes & go to work ... oh my, not enough time for everything!  Then, Saturday, September 24 ... our first date!  Yeah, I can recall every detail of the perfect date that almost wasn't -- power outage, no hot rollers, no curling iron, no light to see to put on make-up ... But, we actually had a second date, and a third ... 

And that brings us to Tuesday, September 23, 2008 (in a matter of time-traveling for this post).  The day that our world was turned upside-down.  Around 5:15am my cell phone beeped that I had a text message: "my water just broke"  So, Granny & Granddad shift into gear.  'Joe had been called and he was about 9 hours away on duty.  He hits the road as soon as he can get clearance.  The Great Ones (my parents) were called at 5:30am to let them know that Lucy Michaela would make her appearance within the next 24 hours.  
Lucy with her Granny & G-G
The proud Granddad
Granny & Lucy
Granddad couldn't let go of Lucy!
I can honestly say that neither Granny nor Granddad knew what was in front of us when we went out on our first date 27 years ago ... But we wouldn't have missed this ride for the world!  I am so very thankful for my husband and my family.  God is good ALL the time!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lord, Make me a blessing ...

Several years ago a (former) student of mine gave me one of the best gifts I've ever received.  It wasn't a gift card to a restaurant or store ... it wasn't a box of candy or cookies ... it wasn't a monumental, over-the-top "Teacher of the Year" award.  Instead, it was a shadow box with this picture:

I found this today as I was rearranging some 'stuff' around my house.  Then 'it' struck me.  Okay maybe not 'it' ... but rather GOD asked me some pretty tough questions:  

How often have you prayed this short prayer with a servant's heart?  Do you really want Me to make you a blessing or is this just a passing-thing that will soon fade away?  Are you willing to go where I want to lead you to be this blessing? And what if I want you right where you are?  Is this for My glory ... or yours? 

These questions found me wondering: what does it really mean for me to "be a blessing to others"?  Well, one of the things it doesn't mean is self.  In order to "be" a blessing to others, I need to think of someone other than myself --- to place myself lower on the totem-pole.  It means that I may need to take a minute to smile and ask how the cashier's day has been ... or check on how the manager's new grandbaby is doing ... or greet the receptionist with a "good morning" instead of brushing by her in an act of fury for being late.  It may require that I 'go the extra mile' to show someone that I appreciate them -- whether it be family ... friends ... work ... ministry ... or really just about anybody that God puts in my path.  

This Granny is finding herself with some extra time on her hands these days.  And one thing that God is challenging me on is to focus on "being a blessing to others".  I'm learning with each new day just what this really means.  Sometimes I'm a slow learner, but thank God for His new mercies everyday!  I've had some missed-opportunities that I wish I could 'do-over'.  Some I've been given a second chance, but I know others have been lost.  Our former pastor's motto went something like this  
"If you come & go (on your daily life) to get a blessing, you'll lose, but if you come & go (on your daily life) to be a blessing, you can't lose."   What would happen if everybody actually went about life with this attitude?  I will confess that I wish I did more often than I do.  So now ...

My prayer is that God would set me aside so that He can make me a blessing to others 
each and every day.    

And I hope this post has blessed you in some way tonight ...