others from God's perspective.
A reminder of the brevity of life came my way a few days ago as I attended my mother's sister's funeral. She was a generous, joyful, godly woman who was loved dearly by her immediate and extended family. A few key decisions clearly marked her life as someone who submitted to the influence and grace of Jesus. One such decision was her extension of grace and compassion to even those who were difficult to love. Shunning was not a part of her vocabulary, nor was condoning the individual's questionable behavior or activity. She found a balance between these two attitudes which opened doors to those who knew her to a healing pathway of God's amazing grace. She often extended a helping hand of mercy and kindness. She was a fine example of an individual who viewed
others from God's perspective.
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I had so much fun, a few weeks ago, making and canning ("putting up") applesauce. It certainly was a lot of work, but the process was greatly satisfying. It afforded me many subtle, but rich, sensory experiences that I wouldn't get from buying a jar of applesauce on a grocery store shelf.
In the grocery store I don't get to experience the sweet aroma of simmering apples and the rich spices of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cardamom wafting through every corner of the house tantalizing my senses. Nor, do I have the opportunity, in a grocery store, to watch apples delightfully transform into applesauce. Watching the transformation inspires me to anticipate many happy mealtimes where I can share the abundance with family and friends. When the apple season has ended, the canned jars of magnificent fruit are a feast for the eyes, a showcase of blessings, and a reminder of the beautiful autumn day the fruit was preserved.
Each season has it's own blessings, challenges, and endings. When my mother had her stroke she lost her ability to talk due to aphasia. She couldn't say much of anything including our names or the words "I love you". Her season to speak those words had ended. Wonderfully, though, just as the canned jars of magnificent fruit are a feast for the eyes, and a preserved blessing, so are the many beautiful, positive, and encouraging words my mother spoke to me over my lifetime.
You have amazing life giving power as you daily seek to live for Jesus and yield to the Holy Spirit's tugs on your heart. What are you preserving though your children?
After my mother's massive stroke, nearly two years ago, I had to listen carefully "between the lines" if I ever wanted to relate significantly to her again. For, you see, she was left severely handicapped. Not only was she unable to walk or to use her hands due to apraxia but additionally, and even more devastatingly, she was left speechless due to aphasia. She knew exactly what she wanted to say but only occasionally could she put the correct word in the right place. So when she said to me, "Her hair looks giver," I knew she meant to say something more like, "her hair looks good." And when she said pick a waffle off the tree," what she meant to say was "would you please hand me a tissue."
Listening to understand Mom after her stroke was a very involved activity. It took much concentration and study of her as her words were insufficient. To understand what she was trying to communicate I learned to, not only watch her expressions and body language, but to additionally reflect on her previous comments, attitudes, and decisions which she made over the years. In this manner it was at times possible to engage with her in a meaningful two-way communication. As you could imagine, this listening required full engagement, focus, and energy. Though this was challenging and difficult, for many reasons, I was motivated to have a listening spirit towards her because of my deep love for her. I wanted to "restore" my relationship with her as much as possible. In fact my whole family, including my father, sister, and brother wanted to "restore" our relationship with her as much as possible. This desire wasn't born of guilt. Rather,this desire was born of a deep love and respect for her. Our invisible (yet costly) gifts of listening to her enabled us to strengthen, bless, and encourage her.
I came to realize this is exactly what God does for us. He intently listens to you and me.. His powerful listening is born from a deep love for each one of us. And His desire is for us to reflect this listening spirit, powered by His love, to our family. Even if their words are tangled, unclear, or get in the way.
I would love to hear from you.
How have you listened intently to someone and then noticed a change for the better?
Were you ever the recipient of a wonderfully suitable gift? A gift that came from someone who studied you unaware. Someone who read you "between the lines" with the intention of blessing you with a thoughtful suitable gift. I imagine you were, as I was, over the years.
One gift I received as a little girl that falls into this category is a delightful set of pink suitcases that my parents gave me for a Christmas long ago. Another thoughtful, and unrequested, gift was from my mother who professionally framed a piece of my own art to surprise and bless me on one of my teen birthdays. And yet another unrequested but delightfully suitable gift is a cute little hutch my good husband gave me just for fun.
These gifts weren't
borne from a list I provided,
but rather from
the gift giver's
Being the beneficiary of a listening spirit is itself one of the most precious, though intangible, gifts one could receive. A desire to bless someone through an attentive focus is at the heart of who God is.
Psalm 139 NIRV reflects God/s concentrated focus and longing to bless each one of us.
"Lord, you have seen what is in my heart. You know all about me. You know when I sit down and when I get up. You know what I'm thinking even when You are far away . . . Lord, even before I speak a word You know all about it . . I'm amazed at how well You know me. It's more than I can understand . . . God, your thoughts about me are priceless. No one can possibly add them all up. If I could count them, they would be more than the grains of sand. If I were to fall asleep counting and then wake up, you would still be there with me."
May you be refreshed this week as you experience God's attentive listening Spirit towards you. It's His exorbitant, priceless, and endless gift to you.
I would love to hear from you.
How God is reaching out to you?
My mother was a peaceful and contented person. I write often about her because she had a profound and positive effect on my life, and I long to share treasures I received from her with you. I gleaned a trove of treasures from her 85 years of life. Her influence lives on even though she passed away a little over a year ago.
She was inspired by many hymns, One that was particularly dear to her is the hymn Move In Our Midst. It was written on a hilltop nestled close to two of my favorite places . . . our family cabin and, a mile down the twisting wooded road, our church camp, Camp Harmony. The setting in which this hymn was born is indelibly recorded in my mind's eye. It is in this setting that I was given many happy growing up years where I gathered with others, in a variety of ways, for a peaceful and simple life.
My mother taught each of her children how to build new worlds in Jesus name. For her this was not a daunting endeaver, though it may seem to be, she did it one day at a time. She did it by relating to us and others in a manner that was Christ-like, positive, and restorative. It's that simple. Think about it . . . when we relate to one another, as Jesus would, we are building new worlds in His name,
"Finally, brothers, 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 such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice, and the God of peace will be with you."
Philippians 4:8-9 NIV
"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
Romans 12:18 NIV
Building new worlds along with you,
The power of a Mother's influence is profound.
I pray that if your relationship with your mother wasn't positive and godly, that someone else has, or will, reach out to you in this manner.
Hi! Welcome to my
My passion is to help wives and mothers reduce stress in their family relationships by providing encouragement and resources, from God's great riches.
I am humbled by an immeasurably wonderful God and my earnest desire is to bring joy to His heart by exchanging my thoughts, attitudes, and actions for His. It's His grace working through my imperfection that enables me to inspire others to do the same.
I'm blessed to be married to my pastor husband for 21 years, and delighted to share in his ministry. As a trained and certified counselor I'm well suited for the calling. Additionally, I'm thrilled to be a home educating mom to our three sons for 14 years, and honored to learn alongside them.
Together as a family, we love to linger and laugh around the mealtime table. I have a heart for the homemade, home canned, and home educated. Creating cartoon characters, laughter, and listening environments are my passion. I see beauty in restored relationships, restored furniture, and most importantly, I see amazing beauty in the author of restoration, Jesus,