PRAYER IS THE MOST YOU CAN DO

Today, I found myself feeling overwhelmed and small, as I read of the devastation that has gone on around our world.  Between all of the hurricanes, the fires, the earthquakes, the flooding, and of course the constant threat of nuclear war, I found myself feeling helpless and tiny.   I felt like, I want to help all of these people some way, some how.  I donated money to Convoy of Hope but my little bit doesn’t seem like much in comparison to the vast need around the entire world.  Don’t get me wrong Convoy of Hope is amazing but I want to do more.  (If you are interested in donating to the relief efforts visit Convoyofhope.org).

In my feelings of inadequacy and helplessness I cried out to the Lord.  I poured out my heart and told The God of The Universe how much I want to ease the suffering but I don’t feel useful.  I have limited money and resources.  Then God spoke to me in my distress and gave me direction and comfort.

The Bible says this, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  Psalm 46:1-3

God is our help in times of trouble.  I don’t have to fix it.  I will contribute whatever I can of course, but God is God.  He is the best help.  The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

In this time of devastation across the world, this time of scary news stories, of people suffering, may I encourage you to pray!  Hit your knees and cry out to God.  God hears our prayers.  If you are somehow being affected by these issues in our world, please know that Jesus loves you! I personally love you and am praying for you and so are millions around the world.

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Are You In Need of Wisdom?

Are you in need of Wisdom?  It doesn’t matter what area of your life that you are in need of wisdom…it could be really in any area of your life.  For me, I have really needed wisdom in regards to how to help my son in one area in his life.  He has really struggled substantially with feeling mad about everything that didn’t go his way.  I’m not sharing this to get judged on my parenting skills.  Let me tell you, I am the first to admit that I am not the perfect parent.  This area of his life has been troubling to me.  I have so wanted to help him.  Telling a four year old that he shouldn’t be mad so much does absolutely no good (in fact when I have heard myself say that or something like that I usually feel like an idiot but out of desperation I say something along that line anyway).  I’ve really started praying and asking the Lord for wisdom as to how to help him.

The Bible says that whenever you need wisdom to ask God.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6 NLT

According to the Bible, if you need wisdom and do not waver in your faith in God, He will give you wisdom generously!  It does not say he just gives you a tiny drop.  How awesome is it to know that God gives you wisdom generously.

Tonight as I was sitting in church, God really answered my prayer.  My heart cry has been God how do I help my son be happy and not upset all the time (when I say all the time, I really mean it).  I felt like God pinpointed an issue for me to help teach my son.  I felt like the Lord showed me that I need to teach my son to cultivate a thankful heart even when things aren’t going his way.  There is a lot of truth in this.  The start of having joy in your heart is being thankful.  Sometimes, when you really aren’t thankful you have to go back to the most basic things you can think of to be thankful for and work from there.

Let me tell you, it did not take long for me to put this new gem of wisdom into practice for my little guy.  We got in to the car and within a few seconds my son was mad at my daughter because she made a noise or something.  Really she doesn’t have to do much to make him mad.

Here it is, my open door…I asked my kids this question, “Hey guys what do you think the Bible says about how to have a happy heart even when you are maybe having a bad day?”

My son said, “I AM NEVER HAVING A HAPPY HEART AGAIN!”  At the moment, everything for him is going to last forever.

I said, “Boy buddy, that is a bummer. I don’t think that is what Jesus wants for you.”

My daughter said, “I think the Bible says to spend time with God to have a happy heart.”

I told her that she was right and it also says that Jesus wants us to be thankful.  I asked my son if he could think of one thing he was thankful for and he of course said, “I’m never going to be thankful again!”  Back to everything being forever…

I asked my daughter, “What is one thing you can think of that you are thankful for?”

She said, “I’m thankful for my new mermaid doll.”

I told her that is a great thing to be thankful for and told the kids that I am thankful for being their mommy because I think they are great.

We continued this activity for the rest of the car ride.  We started out taking turns naming something we were thankful.  Eventually my daughter was upset because my son wouldn’t stop naming all the things he had to be thankful for.  I reminded her that it is a good thing that he is so thankful and then helped her squeeze in why she was thankful.  When we got home, I asked him “How is your heart feeling son?”

He said, “Mommy I have a happy heart!”

Tonight, I am very thankful that God gave me wisdom as to how to help my son find reasons to have a happy heart.  Please know that I get that anger is a valid emotion but there is a point when it is ruling things and making you just flat out unhappy.  Unfortunately, that has been where my son has been and thus the reason for my concern for him.

I asked God and He gave me the wisdom to help my son.  I truly believe that although this will take time, with consistency he can learn to be thankful.  With thanksgiving, comes joy.

Whatever you need wisdom for today, remember to stop and ask God.  He’ll give it to you!

Do You Want to Hear the Coolest Thing?

We go to church every Wednesday night.  It’s my favorite night of the week.  I absolutely love being in the house of the Lord but there was one Wednesday night in particular that was most special to me.  I took my two children to church on Wednesday as usual.

After church, my children absolutely love hanging out for a little while and playing on the play ground.  This Wednesday was no different.  My son was playing on the slide and I was shooting baskets with my daughter.  My son called me over to him and said, “Mommy, I need you to come here.”  In my mind, I was wondering if he was a bit jealous of me shooting hoops with my daughter, but I didn’t say it out loud.  I just went over to him and asked him what he needed (it is all of ten feet away, from the basketball hoop, in case you were thinking this was some long distance).

My son, just so you know just turned four years old.  He is sweet, smart and can be a bit of a pistol.

Anyway, he gleefully asked me, “Mommy, do you want to hear the coolest thing about Jesus?”

I was a little surprised by his question, but of course I said, “Yes, tell me son, what is the coolest thing about Jesus?”

He said, “Did you know that Jesus died just for me Mommy and if I pray and tell him I am sorry for the bad stuff I did, He will forgive me and he wants me to give him my whole life and if I do He will live in my heart and won’t remember the bad stuff I do sometimes.”

I fought back tears of joy as he was saying this to me, and calmly said, “You are right son, that is the coolest thing.”

He said, “Yay mommy it is the coolest thing ever.”

I asked him, “Are you thinking of giving your life to Jesus?”

He said, “Yep and I am going to do it right now, but I need your help Mommy.  I don’t know how.”

That night, sitting on the slide of my church, “I led my precious little boy in prayer to give his heart to Jesus.”  When we got home from church, he excitedly ran up to his daddy and told him. “Guess what Daddy?  I belong to Jesus now and He lives in my heart and He loves me sooo much!”

Jesus loves you too.  The coolest thing about Jesus is while we were still sinners Christ died for us.  The Bible says that when we surrender our lives to him, He forgives our sins and He adopts us as His sons or daughters.

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For My Nanny

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My Nanny always wanted to be called Nana when she became a grandmother.  My sister, her oldest granddaughter, had something else in mind.   My sister insisted on calling her Nanny from the time she could talk, and somehow the name Nanny stuck.  Thus, she became Nanny instead of Nana.  The name Nanny to this day just feels like the right name for her.  She was loving and kind, generous and warm, and unique.  She is everything that her unique name, Nanny embodies.

On Monday, I received a call from my brother.  He told me that I needed to go see her.  He said she wasn’t doing well.  I loaded the kids in the car, and within about fifteen minutes we were on our way.  She lives in a different city, so it took a bit to get there but I saw her on Monday night.  She looked weak and frail.  However, she was alert and we had a lovely visit.  I left feeling grateful because although she was weak, in my mind with some proper care she was going to be ok.

On Wednesday, I got a call from my dad.  She took a major turn for the worse Tuesday night.   We again left as quickly as we could to go and visit her.  This time, there was no relief.  She apparently had a major stroke the night before.  She didn’t look like herself.  She was not able to speak and as the day wore on, she was no longer even aware of her surroundings.  Her heart rate was ever decreasing, she stopped eating and drinking.

My entire family was there surrounding her.  We sang praise and worship music, which seemed to be soothing to her, we cried and sometimes we laughed a little bit as we remembered some of the silly things she has done.  I knew on Wednesday that she likely wouldn’t last much longer.

On Friday she passed on. My heart broke, as I can’t imagine life without hearing her voice.  My Papa and Nanny were married for 65 years.  They have been together since they were kids.  I am not sure what Papa is going to do without her.

As my heart was breaking, and through my tears, my five-year old daughter shed light on this for me.  She asked me why I was sad and I explained that Nanny had just passed on.  I explained to her that I was going to miss her.  My daughter asked if Nanny had loved Jesus.  I told her that she loved Jesus with all her heart.  My daughter said, “Then why are you sad, mommy?”  I told her it is because I love her and am going to miss her.  My little girl said, “Shouldn’t we celebrate?”  I asked her, “What do you mean?”  She said, “She loved Jesus so she is with Him in heaven.  She is happy and she doesn’t have those ouchies any more.  We should be happy for her.”

Isn’t it amazing how the Lord can speak truth  to us through children.  I immediately felt comforted because I know that she is right.  I know that my wonderful Nanny is in heaven with Jesus, praising him. I know that she is no longer in pain and that I am going to see her again.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Matt 5:4

Thank you Jesus for bringing comfort.  Thank you Jesus for allowing me to have the most wonderful Nanny, a girl could ever ask for and for allowing me the opportunity to visit with her one last time.  Thank you for speaking to me through the words of my little girl.

Is God To Busy?

When I contemplate God, I am awestruck.  I often wonder how God does everything He does and I think is there anything God can not do.  Since God created the heavens and the universe, the answer to that question is no, definitely there is nothing too big for Him to do.

My pastor asked a question this morning that I have been considering all day.  He asked, “Is there anything to small for God to do?”  Now that is a good question.  I know that there are times in my life that I have had the thoughts that my small, insignificant problems, may not be all that important to God.  Does God really care that we needed that commission and it fell through?  Does he care about the little details of my life, when there are literally billions of people praying to him all the time?

My husband and I have struggled financially.  He works in sales, and manages a retail mattress store.  His commission depends on him making budget and on his personal sales.  A couple of months ago, we were having a particularly difficult time.  I had lost the job I had babysitting, which cut our income.  He was having a great month at work.  He had written enough sales that, as long as they all get delivered, he was going to get a nice commission check.  Needless to say, we were looking forward to that check.  We needed that check.  Then it happened.  A truck, with several of the beds he had sold, did not show up!  It was about $6,000 in product.  This happened the day before the period was to end.  That meant, it would literally take a miracle for him to get his commission.  He had one day to sell $6000 worth of product that he did not have, the truck no showed after all and have it delivered in the same day.  I personally felt broken, we have taken many financial hits in our lives, like I am sure many of you have, and this time, I didn’t feel strong enough to handle it.

I decided to reach out to a good friend of mine.  I know this lady well, and I know she is a prayer warrior!  She loves Jesus with a passion and so does her husband.  I asked her to pray for me.  I told her the truth.  I felt depressed, I felt like God didn’t really care about us, and I felt like there was a giant vacuum sucking all the money out of our checking account.  She prayed for me on the spot of course, a simple prayer and gave me some verses to encourage me.  What I didn’t know, was that when she got home that night she and her husband prayed for us for hours.

The next day, was the last day of the period.  My husband went to work, without much expectation.  He was pretty beaten down too.  Fortunately, God does care and He isn’t too busy.  A person moving to Texas came into his store that day.  He decided to buy the most expensive bed  on his floor and have it delivered same day out of the facility in Texas to his new home!!!  It was a $7000 sale.  Let me tell you, that doesn’t happen, but that day it did.  God provided.  He cared about that check we needed.  I called my friend and told her what happened.  She started to cry and told me that she and her husband spent their entire evening praying for a miracle.  I of course started to cry too, tears of thanksgiving.

This incident largely changed how I view God.  It made me realize that He cares about the little things and showed me in a practical way how much He loves me.

Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Thy faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psalm 36:5

Thanks you Jesus that you are never too busy!  Thank you that nothing is too small for You and You desire us to take all of the things on our hearts to You.

My Cliff of Crazy.

Sometimes I really envy my husband.  He has an amazing ability to only think of one thing at a time.  He has a long lists of things to do, but he manages to do one thing, get it done and then move on to the next thing.  He stays pretty grounded and focused.  Me, not so much!  My brain does not do that naturally.  If you picture my brain like a computer, it has at any given time a window open for every single thing that needs to get done at any given time.  Most of the time, that works.  I have learned to manage it.

Then there are days like today.  I already have the normal stuff that I need to get done that are related to raising my two kids, taking care of my home, ensuring everyone is fed, that we don’t live in a total pig sty and home schooling  each day.  Then there are the not so normal things, planning field trips to the farm, planning kindergarten graduation, planning a birthday party, starting a business (there are about a thousand windows in my brain open just related to this one, it is big), researching homeschool curriculum….and you have a recipe for total circuit over load.  I feel like I don’t know what end is up or what to do next.

I approached my husband and said, “Ok honey, talk me down from the cliff!”  He is so loving and good to me.  He calmly helped put things in perspective.  I am going to make a list of tasks that need to be done, and simply start going down the list, at whatever pace I can.  He reminded me that my first job is to simply be faithful to the things God is calling me to do in my life and I don’t have to go at a break neck speed, striving to get it all done immediately.  That calmed me some, but I still was having the feeling that I just don’t know if I can do it all.

I don’t know how many people go through this, I would like to think that it is common and thus making me not crazy.  I get overwhelmed easily with new things.  When I get overwhelmed, it is hard for me to function in general.  The new things I need to do can overwhelm my thoughts to the point that it is hard for me to think of the normal things I need to do on a daily basis.

After my wonderful husband took the time to talk me down from my cliff of crazy, I realized I need to take some time and allow the Lord to encourage me in these new ventures.  I want to share this for any of you that are teetering on the edge of your own cliff of crazy.

I felt like the Lord led me to Psalm 18 today.

Psalm 18:1-2 says this, “I love Thee O Lord my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

This by itself was super encouraging.  Just knowing that the Lord has my back so to speak encouraged me a great deal.  The Lord didn’t stop there.

Psalm 18:31-33  For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God, The God who girds me with strength, and makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and sets me upon my high places.

Psalm 18:36 Thou dost enlarge my steps under me, And my feet have not slipped.

My wise husband often tells me that God will never give me more than I can handle, but He doesn’t give me less either.  I think my husband is right about that.  God wants to give us enough of a challenge so we grow.  If he never challenged us, I guess we would probably be pretty stagnant.  Thank God that He promises us that he is our rock, our strength, our deliverer, our salvation and our stronghold.  He also promises us that he will gird us with His strength and make our feet like hinds feet!  Whatever is overwhelming you today, take it to the Lord.  He will give you the ability to walk through it.  Blessings to you.

MY ULTIMATE VALENTINE

Valentine’s Day and I have long had a love/hate relationship.  I remember a time in my life when I was sincerely lonely.  I remember before I gave my life to Jesus, Valentine’s Day was a reminder of the love I did not have in my life.  I would set a goal to attain a boyfriend before Valentine’s Day.  Yes, that is kind of embarrassing to admit, but I have a feeling that I am not the only one. Even when I succeeded, I still found this day depressing.  It was nice to get flowers of course, but still something was missing.

Even after I gave my life to Jesus, I still found it kind of depressing, a reminder of my singleness.  At the time I was permanently worried I was going to grow old and be alone.  I had known I couldn’t fill my heart with lots of cats or dogs, I am allergic after all.  Yes that is right, no crazy cat lady for me!  I felt sure that I was destined for being lonely.  I let my fear outweigh the fact that I already knew my Ultimate Valentine.  For anyone out there that is wrestling with this same fear let me take a moment and reassure you.

“For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

After I got married, Valentine’s Day would always be fun right?  Well no, not necessarily.  My husband decided he got a get out of Valentine’s free card because our Anniversary is in February.  Yes, you got it, it still bummed me out, until one Valentine’s Day God showed me something.  You see I was depending on people to make Valentine’s Day special for me.  I had foolishly forgotten my Ultimate Love.  Take a moment with me, and let’s look at God’s definition of love.

Love is patient, love is kind, It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud,.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always persevered.  Love never fails.  1 Cor 13:4-8a NIV

Allow me to challenge you.   Insert your name in this scripture and see how far you can get.  Let me tell you how far I got….Sharon is patient……NOPE!!!  Good grief I couldn’t even get past the first line.  Sharon is kind, well sometimes.  Sharon does not envy….uhhhh yes I do!  You get the idea.  You see if you depend on a person to be that Ultimate Valentine for you, you are in for a disappointment.  The only one who loves you perfectly is Jesus.  My desire is to become more like Jesus every day and I hope I will eventually get past love is patient. Now when I think about Valentine’s Day, it no longer matters if the day doesn’t go perfect or my husband takes a get out of Valentine’s Day free card because I know Jesus loves me perfectly.

You know what is funny, right after I came to this understanding and was content on Valentine’s Day because Jesus loves me perfectly, my husband stopped using the get out of Valentine’s Day free card.  We don’t go crazy buying chocolate and roses usually but we do little things to express our love for one another.

This is what I received for Valentine’s Day.  My husband got up early before work and baked me blueberry scones for breakfast in bed.  I so love this man.  He is wonderful.  This was absolutely delicious.

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My daughter drew me a Valentine’s Day picture.  This is me and my favorite girl dancing under the lights.

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My son just gave me a big Valentine’s Day hug.  What else is needed?

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Thank you Jesus for blessing me with my wonderful family and for being my Ultimate Valentine.  May you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.