Posted in Devotion, Holidays

Forgive like a cat

My cat was angry at me tonight. First I took away his food this morning, so we could travel. Then I made him ride in his crate in the car. Finally once we got home I wouldn’t let him eat the TV cords or scratch the couch. To top it all off I clipped his toenails.

He wouldn’t even look at me. If I tried to touch him, he’d nip at me. He was angry.

Two hours later and a little catnip, he was back to snuggling. I think when Jesus talked about forgiving others, he could have used a cat as an example.

Posted in Devotion, Holidays

Spiritual Hangover Remedy

I’ve never had a hangover, so this analogy will be based upon movies and hearsay. This week has been particularly busy for me with organized “church” events. I attended a church service Sunday that spoke to me, and then at school this week, we have special evening services for Spiritual Emphasis week. I’ve been preparing for a Bible study that I’ll attend this Thursday. Much like many others, I’ll attend Good Friday and Easter services and maybe some other services. I’m feeling very spiritually full; it’s as if I’ve sat down to a Thanksgiving feast this week when, if I’m honest, I’ve been metaphorically eating on the Atkins diet for the past few weeks.

Now I don’t know a whole lot about alcohol, but the general idea seems to be that when people imbibe a lot in a short period of time, there tends to be consequences the next day. Right now if I was comparing my intake of God’s Word with alcoholic intake, I would say that I’m imbibing the amount that could lead to a spiritual hangover.

All too often it seems that churches and Christians have these great revival times or mission moments where people feel full of God and excited, but the next day when they return to “normal life” the high starts to wear off. The excitement lessons, and then they start to feel guilty for losing the high. That’s a spiritual hangover, and I foresee the potential for such an event in my life simply because it’s happened before.

So what happens Monday when all of the Easter holiday is finished? I don’t want a spiritual hangover. I want my relationship and communication with God to remain just as alive and vibrant as it is now. So what do I do now to prevent such a fall?

What did Jesus do? I look to his last few days for answers. He had this awesome sweet time with his disciples at the Last Supper, telling them of things to come and encouraging them. After that, he went to the Garden and prayed. Even until the moments before his death, he was in communication with God the Father. Bam. There’s the answer. If I want to avoid the spiritual hangover, I keep imbibing the spiritual drink. Unlike alcohol, continuing to take in God-time and his Word won’t produce negative effects in my life. It’s okay to keep drinking in his Word, so after this weekend I’ll do my very best to fight against the temptation to slip back into the ordinary. I feel most alive when I’m in communication with God, so I’ll just stay in communication with him.

Happy Easter weekend, folks. Be sure to keep your eyes focused on the true reason for celebration and to keep drinking in the Word of God even after the celebrations die down.

Posted in Holidays

Women

I keep seeing people post about International Women’s Day, and there are plenty of women I admire in my life about whom I could write. Today though I want to ponder who God made women to be. Several years ago I made a list of the woman I wanted to be.

I put on attributes such as trusts God, loves, hospitable, listens, patient, joyful, and dresses modestly. Making the list was a form of worship for me because it was a recognition of the woman God made me to be. It was also a challenge to live up to that standard.

This International Women’s Day I dug that list back out and hung it on my wall again as a reminder to be a woman who seeks to be a Godly woman. I’m also hanging it there as a reminder to encourage and be thankful for the attributes I see in other women. Without other Godly women in my life, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.

Posted in Holidays, Life

The unexpected

This weekend was our 7th annual camping trip things didn’t go as planned. Two of our meats got left out. A friend at the last minute didn’t get to come. The water in the pond was really low. It just wasn’t the weekend I was expecting. For the past bit my mantra has been “God has a plan”. I’m sure this weekend was no different. Even though I haven’t quite sorted it all out, I know God has a plan. The changes to my agenda were not random or unnecessary; in fact it was still pretty good weekend. Here are some highlights.

We relaxed in hammocks.
Each person had her own hammock.
Even though the water was down, the view was still beautiful.
We’d already celebrated my birthday once, but they brought cupcakes anyway.
The land owner took us on a nice tour of his forest. It’s always a nice excursion. This time we saw baby raccoons.
I was the fire master. Not once did we have to use any fluid to start it. Even though it rained Friday night, we still had a fire to heat water for tea and coffee each morning.
Posted in Holidays, Life

Contented Christmas

“The secret to happiness lies not in getting what you waver, but in wanting what you have.” -Joanna Weaver.

One of my life goals is to be content with my life. I know it’s not a goal I will ever be able to completely check off because my level of contentment wavers each day, most especially at this time of year. Christmas is hard because I so easily get caught up in the “give-me” attitude of the world rather than the “give-to” attitude of Jesus. Each year, though, I come to the conclusion that I already have more than I need. This year that is especially apparent since I’m moving, but still that little bit of greed leaks into my heart.
This Christmas I encourage you to join me in being grateful for what you have rather than wishing for more, whether that more is more wealth, more happiness, more time, or more stuff.

Paul says to Timothy: “True godliness with contentment is in itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” (2 Timothy 6:6-10)

If you need a song to help in this process check out Audrey Assad’s “I Shall Not Want”.

Merry Christmas!

Posted in Holidays, Life

Groundhog’s Day

Tomorrow is Groundhog’s Day and from the looks of the weather today, we are in for some more winter.  Today there is snow on the ground, but then again it was 70 degrees on Tuesday.

After a quick debate with my roommate this morning at breakfast, I did some research about Groundhog’s day.  Did you know that the first Groundhog’s Day was in 1887?

Apparently Phil the groundhog in Pennsylvania drinks a special elixir each year in the summer  in order to give him seven more years of life.  That means that it’s been the same groundhog since the start.  Okay…sure.

“According to legend, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.”  Okay. That bit of information clears up the debate with my roommate.  I have this feeling that Punxsutawney will be seeing his shadow.  Or at least I hope, because I want snow.

I wonder how far his prediction stretches.  Is it good for the entire world?  Or is it just the United States?  That doesn’t make a ton of sense since it was started with German settlers of Pennsylvania.  Maybe it only applies to the weather in Pennsylvania or more specifically to the town of Punxtsutawney.  These are important details I need to know.

I did learn while looking around on the website that Phil will share his weather prediction with Bill Deeley, who’s favorite drink is Diet Coke.

All in all, there seems to be a lot of hype of this day.  While it is kind of fun, I have a hard time buying into all of this, and I wonder what those men in the Inner Circle think of themselves.  How did they even get that job?

Posted in Holidays, Life

Letting Them Know

About six years ago this time, my Sunday School teacher at the time encouraged our high school class to let our family and people special to us know how thankful we are for them.  She suggested we write them all letters to give to them at Thanksgiving.  Being the oh-so-busy sophomore that I was, I didn’t get around to writing the letters for Thanksgiving.  That Christmas, though, I wrote a letter to each member of my small family telling them how much I appreciated them.  I tried to  include memories I had with them and thanked them specifically for what they had done in my life.  I sealed them up and those were my Christmas presents that year for my family.  Since I still felt a little awkward about showing such emotion to my family (my family is not very big on showing emotion or talking about emotions), I told them that the letters had to be read in private.  I received a few thank-you notes back from some of my family and life moved on.

Little did I know that was the last Christmas we would spend with my Papaw.  Shortly after that, while I was on a class trip to Alabama, my Papaw died.  It was sort of out of the blue.  He had had a stroke/heart attack earlier in the year, but he had been getting better.  His death scared me.  I didn’t know how my family structure would change.  God definitely used his death for His glory, but that is a story for another time.

I didn’t remember at that exact moment, but it makes me feel very thankful for writing those letters when I did.  Like I said, my family is not very vocal about emotions, and I had never told my Papaw just how much he meant to me before that time.  Looking back, I am very thankful for that Sunday School teacher who encouraged me to write letters to my family.  I am glad to know that I let my Papaw know how much I loved him before he went to Heaven to be with the One who loves him way more than I do.

This Thanksgiving, I encourage you to let special people in your life know what they mean to you, especially your family members.  I can say from personal experience that you will not regret this.