A God Nudge

Hello, again. It’s been a minute.

Life is like that sometimes, and sometimes we just have to grab on and ride the tide.

I’ve ridden the tide of my life long enough, and now it time to blog.

Early one morning I was sleeping one minute, and wide awake the next – for no apparent reason. At 68 my reasons range from bathroom trip, to a call/text,  or the dreaded alarm clock. None of those were the culprit on this day.

I was wide awake and didn’t know why until I smelled the unmistakable odor of natural gas. I had never smelled that odor in our bedroom.

I quickly made my way to the kitchen and found one of the knobs on the stove slightly cocked just enough to allow gas to escape, but not enough that a burner was lit. I carefully shut it off and went about the task of opening every window in the house. I let the dogs out on the deck so they could breathe fresh air.

I woke Matthew, turned on all the fans, and we sat in a well vented area as the dangerous gas began to slowly dissipate.

Upon reflecting on that event, I can’t help but KNOW that God gently nudged me awake. I received a God nudge that morning!

He didn’t startle me. I didn’t wake up in fear. I was calm, yet wide awake, and capable to jump into action.

I shudder to think what could have happened had I not been awakened. At the very least our three pets could have succumbed to the gas, and at the worst all five of us could have succumbed.

I know God is with us always, but being reminded as I was on that morning is a humbling. I am so thankful for that God nudge.

I praise Him for all He does, and all He will do. I encourage you to be aware of God’s Presence in your life, and of the God nudges He gives us along the way.

See you next time,

 

 

Life Keeps Throwing the Curve Balls

Remember playing baseball as a kid? I don’t mean SOFTball, I mean BASEball!

Every day during the summer, the kids in my neighborhood would meet out in the  cul-de-sac to play a good ole fashion game of baseball. It was much like the movie, Sandlot, except rather than sand, we played on the asphalt. It was during this chapter of my life that I learned to not only pitch a curve ball, but I also learned to hit one. The only way to hit a curve ball is to never take your eyes off of it. You must focus on the ball in order to hit the ball.

Learning to handle curve balls is not always about baseball, though. Life is FULL of curve balls. How we handle those curve balls of life determine the people we become and the life we live.

No one is immune to life’s curve balls. They are not respecters of race, economic status, religion, gender, age, political views – EVERYONE has his/her fair share (and sometimes UNfair share) of curve balls.

Just as a major leaguer’s batting average depends on how he handles those curve balls thrown to him, our lives and how we live them depend on how we handle our curve balls.

My family has certainly had our share of curve balls. In a span of six months we had three family members die. One was murdered, one succumbed to Alzheimers, and one drowned. If those curve balls weren’t enough, each court date involving the murderers were curve balls in and of themselves.

And it isn’t just our family. An 18 year old young man in our church took his own life. The young daughter of one of our friends was run over by the daycare bus. One of the football players broke his neck during a high school football game one Friday night. The list goes on and on.

Curve balls are a part of our lives, and just like baseball players, we must learn to keep our eyes on the ball. We must also learn to keep our eyes on the Power that keeps us focused.

My Power is Jesus Christ. Only through our faith did my family survive those six months, and the subsequent years since. Our faith is the only reason we’re still standing. The only reason we continue to put one foot in front of the other, and live without those precious three people walking amongst us.

Sometimes it seems bad things come in groups. I’ve heard it said that they come in threes. For us that seemed to be the case during those awful six months.

Matthew 11:28-30 (from the Christian Standard Bible) is a Scripture that speaks to me about the curve balls in my life: Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. [The text is red because those are the words of Jesus.]

My purpose isn’t to preach or push off my faith on you. My purpose is to help you see the importance of recognizing the curve balls you receive in life and responding appropriately to them. I firmly believe faith is the key. Whether you’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or Agnostic – you must believe in something/someone greater than yourself to navigate life.

You may say, “I don’t have any faith at all.” Really? You board a plane with faith it stays in the air. You take medicine prescribed by physicians with faith you’ll get well. You flip on a light switch with faith the room will be lit. You go to sleep at night with faith you’ll wake up in the morning. Really? You don’t have faith? Come on, who are you kidding?

I submit we all have faith. Figure out what yours is, and allow that faith to see you through the curve balls life will lob your way. Remember, how you respond to the curve balls determines who you really are.

See you next time,

 

What’s in a name?

So, what IS in a name?  Names are important, not only our given name, but also the names we earn along the way in life. Names define who we are. Names are many times endearments. Names make us unique.

My given name is Deborah.  My friends call me Dee, Deb, or Debi (some spell that Debbie or Debby, but I prefer Debi). My sisters occasionally refer to me as Sis. Daddy’s pet name for me was  SNAFU.

It wasn’t until I was an adult working for Uncle Sam that I learned the true meaning of the term SNAFU. One day a co-worker whose desk was near mine, said, “Awe, SNAFU.” I thought he was talking to me and replied, “How did you know my nickname, and what have I done, now?”

He began to laugh and said, “I didn’t know your nickname. SNAFU is an old Army term used when things are messed up.” I should have known. Daddy served in the Army during WWII. And the meaning of the term?:  Situation Normal,  All  Fowled Up! Okay, so maybe I got myself into some situations that would have warranted the nickname, just sayin’.

A little over three years after Daddy walked SNAFU down the aisle, I acquired the name, Mommy. As the years passed, that was shortened to Mom and now, Ma.

When grandbaby #1 was on the way, I chose the youngest sounding grandmother name I could come up with at the time which was Grams. After all, I was a mere 50 years, 364 days old when that grandbaby arrived. I  needed a cool, young sounding name. A few years later, grandbaby #3 decided I looked more like a Mimi than a Grams, so I now answer to both Grams and Mimi.

All of the various names throughout my life have special meaning to me . Yes, even SNAFU.

No matter what I’m called, and who knows what grandbaby #4 will come up with, I want to be known as someone who is real, and genuine. Someone who loves her Lord,  loves her family, loves her friends, and lives life to the fullest.  May each of you do the same.

What’s in a name? A great deal! A great life! No matter what we’re called.

See you next time,

 

 

Band of Strangers

Last month on vacation I was part of a “band of strangers” with a common goal. There were roughly 17 of us participating in a water aerobics class offered by the condo where we were staying.

The class took place in what is called “The Lazy River” pool. As you can see from the above picture, it’s an oval-ish*  shaped, pool built around a relaxingly beautiful island.

It was an hour of  sweating, walking, running, and dancing with the current, and occasionally against the current, as the directed.  The entire hour we also carried Styrofoam weights that we used for arm exercises.

While a few of the women were traveling together, most of us didn’t know each other. Several of the women realized I was having trouble hearing the instructor because my hearing aids are not water resistant, so I had removed them. Even though these women didn’t know me, several of them took turns making sure I’d heard our instructions.

Not only did several help me out, but collectively we helped each other as we made our way around the island time after time.

It was a refreshing workout that helped my sciatica and my knees tremendously. It brought people from all walks of life together for a fun event. I’m sure different political parties, different religions, and different views of life were all present in that class. And yet, we all got along. We all had fun!

When we stop seeing the differences in each other, and begin noticing the things we share and the ways we are alike, perhaps we’ll find the middle road that leads us to where we all need to be as a society.

Laughing is universal. Having fun is universal. Being human is universal. I make a motion we start looking for the ways we are all alike, and begin enjoying our journeys together on this planet. Can I get a second?

See you next time…

*If that’s not a word, it should be.

 

The Body of Christ – Part 3

This will be the final installment of The Body of Christ.

I was led to one passage that sums up what we, as The Body of Christ, need to embrace.

James 3:7-18 is the entire passage. I’ll share a few key verses here.

Verses 7-9 (NIV*): All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.

James did a great job of telling it like it is. These verses describe clearly what both camps in The Body of Christ are doing to each other. I’m guilty of being less than kind in my thoughts and words. I’m sure others will also admit to that.

In writing these three blogs, God has worked in my heart to help me tame my own tongue. God has helped me take baby steps toward being a part of the solution rather than the problem.

Verse 13: Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom.

Verses 17-18: But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

It won’t be easy to mend the chasm our two camps have dug in The Body of Christ. Thankfully, nothing is impossible with God. Something tells me God wants this fixed. He will give us the power and strength to do so.

Who’s with me?

See you next time,

*New International Version

The Body of Christ – part 2

God alone knows our hearts. What I write in my blogs are my opinions based on what I see happening, and what I believe in my heart of hearts.

I wonder what camp Jesus would join. I wonder what words He would teach us and what parables He would share with us.

My wondering led me to the Scriptures, because both camps say they embrace the Word of God to be the Truth. Below are the verses I want to share today.

Revelation 2:4 (This is God speaking to the church of Ephesus.) Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. In verses 1-3 of this passage, the church is praised for the good works that they have done; however, in all their efforts the key to God is missing: LOVE. They have somehow bogged themselves down doing this and that, and have forgotten WHO they are serving. God is love, and all we do for Him should be based upon our love for Him, and should flow from us to others. Doing otherwise is futile, and we miss the point of what we are to do and be for God.

2 Corinthians 2:15 (St. Paul is writing to the church in Corinth.) For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are saved and those who are perishing. Apparently some things never change, and the people of the church of Corinth were hurting one another just as we are today. We all have victory in Jesus, and all we have to do to overcome our differences is to remember what our goal is. The goal is to spread the aroma of Christ to the world. How can we do that if we are fighting among ourselves? I really like the word aroma used here because the sense of smell can transport us back to another time in our lives. Perhaps if we’re sharing God’s aroma of love with all we come in contact, it will transport them back to an earlier time when their faith was new and all they wanted to do was share God’s love. Just a thought…

John 13:34-35 (Jesus is speaking.) A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, it you love one another. In these verses Jesus is giving us a command, it’s not a suggestion! This command is just as relevant today, as it was centuries ago when Jesus said it. The term “church” refers to the Body of Christ – all Christians regardless of denomination. The different beliefs regarding the social issues that appear to be at the center of the fighting within the church are not building the church up. They are tearing it down.

We as the Body of Christ are neglecting our responsibilities to share the love of God with everyone. Not just the people who look like us, act like us, think like us – EVERYONE! That what the Bible teaches. Sadly, both camps are missing the mark.

As I was preparing this blog, I ran across a quote from John Wesley: “Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God my unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.” Can I get an amen?

Based on the verses herein, God clearly teaches love, compassion, and acceptance. Regardless of all the unloving actions going on within the Body of Christ, we need to make a choice on how we will personally conduct ourselves.

I’m going to do my best to live the teachings of God. Y’all with me?

See you next time…