The "Big Guy" has had a few subtle - and a few not-so-subtle - messages for me the past few days. I've tried to jot them all down but I may have missed a few.
First thing I noticed was a post on FB by my son-in-law's sister-in-law (that's a mouthful!). She has an application called "God wants you to know..." and the message from the other day sounded like it was directed to me. It said "On this day, God wants you to know that there are no accidents. What you think of as accidents are simply your conversations with God that you haven't yet been able to understand. But take heart, all happens in God's will and every conversation has deep meaning for you."
The next message I saw was this Bible verse from another friend: For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13
Next, this statement from yet another friend's page: God's hands are full of goodness, His heart is full of grace, His arms, outstretched with mercy, as I kneel to seek his face. His wonders, never ceasing, His love is ever true, how thankful to be his child, each day, He forgives anew.
Finally, another friend (who frequently sends out the results of her Bible study) sent this to a bunch of us:
Got somethin to share with ya'll...somethin my pastor was preachin about yesterday, and it kinda hit me. It was about "Coveting". Now, I've known this word 'covet' all my life. It was just kinda one of them pretty little words that didn't really mean much to me cuz I don't covet stuff, so I'll just not pay attention to that one. Hmm.....really?? Think it don't apply to you neither? Read on. "Covet" won't sound so pretty after you read this. Oh and, by the way, have you ever noticed a correlation between coveting, jealousy, and greed? Yeah. Me neither, til now. Okay, so here's how the message went thru my brain:
Have you noticed how we're always wantin more? On a personal note, I like to watch the HGTV channel, that show called House Hunters. I love that show!! Along comes a couple lookin for a home. The realtor shows them 3 choices. But what I've noticed is these GORGEOUS homes that are just amazingly perfect. And almost immediately the couple starts nit-pickin it...."I don't like that counter top. I want granite, not formica." "Clearly, the stove and fridge need updating, cuz these are outdated." And so on and so on. On and on it goes, on how this or that needs updating. And the whole time I'm thinkin "I'll take it and you won't hear a peep outta me! It's gorgeous! Why, that stove can't be but 6 months old!! Why update stuff that's still functional and gorgeous? If it was wiring or plumbing, yeah! But these things??? Puh-lease!"
So....Pastor's message was about why do we always gotta have whatever's new or updated or 'better' or whatever? Why is it we're never satisfied with what we have? Well, Proverbs 21:26 says: 'All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.' Ouch! That one kinda hurt, didn't it? Well, if that one stings just a bit, let me add 1 Timothy 6:6-9---"(6) But godliness with contentment is great gain. (7) For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. (8) But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (9) Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." Now, that's what I call an "ouch, hallelujah". tee hee
Imagine, if you will, 3 men standin together: Their names are Jake, Kyle, and Mike. Let's say Jake is about 6'7" and Kyle is almost the same, maybe a bit smaller but not much. And they both are broad in the shoulders, like linebackers, seriously HUGE guys. And Mike...well, he's about 5'7" and weighs in at about 180 or so. Now, picture Jake and Kyle (the 2 really huge guys) standin, facing each other. And little ol' Mike, well, he's standin behind the biggest guy, Jake. Jake's so big that you can't even see Mike! You don't even know he's there! Kyle knows he's there and he's tryin to reach for him but he can't get around Jake. Got that mental pic in your head?? Ok.
Now, here comes the question(s)---How many of you have a "Jake" between you and God? What are you puttin between you and God, to where He can't reach you? Are you wantin more 'stuff' instead of more God? Are you more interested in gettin more money and leavin God along the roadside? And if you're prayin and not hearin back from God, could it be you've got a "Jake" stoppin the communication flow? What are you doin to block God? To disgust Him? Think about it.
And here's the answer---Psalms 84:11--"For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless." If you let God have it all and quit worryin about your 'stuff' or money, then you can have it all and then some! If you'd quit puttin your 'stuff' before God, and start makin HIM your focal point, you'd be alot further down the road. What...you think it's a scam and/or He won't deliver? *AHEM!!!* Stick with the group here, honey. Re-read that last verse in Psalms. Note the part "...NO GOOD THING DOES HE WITHHOLD..." Focus on HIM. Just Him. Nothin else. And when you do that, next thing ya know, you'll look around and your life will be sooooooooo amazingly awesome and filled with good things, that you'll wanna kick yourself for not seein it before!
I also have the God wants you to know app on my FB and yesterday, I got this message:
"On this day of your life, Teresa, we believe God wants you to know... that all is well. All is going according to plan. Trust that there is a bigger picture. Trust that life is unfolding as it should."
So, even though it may appear that I have been less than grateful for things, I'm really not. I was just focusing more on the negatives than on the positives. I'm sure there are those who have judged (can't think of a good word here - don't mean "judge" badly) my actions and writing harshly. That's OK - I've been pretty harsh with myself, too. There is so much more behind what I've written that I haven't posted - to do so would leave some jaws dropped wide open and leave others still in a state of shock. There are some things that are better left unsaid. Forgive and move on - right? Right!
I have experienced extreme situations in my life, so I truly know what it is to do without. I know what it's like to...
- Go to bed hungry.
- Put my children to bed hungry. (that was a painful one)
- Not spend $0.25 on coffee on Monday because I might need bread on Friday.
- Wear my hosiery with a dress until I got a "run" and then wear them with pants until there was nothing left of them.
- Eat one meal every other day so my children would have food.
- Not be able to (truly) buy a thing for my children for their birthdays or for Christmas (without the generosity of others). This included food on more than one occasion.
- Be ostracized at work because I couldn't go out to eat for lunch every day, didn't wear nice clothes, and didn't have anything "interesting" to talk about except my children - and they really didn't want to hear about my children (this was actually told to me by a co-worker at Waddell & Reed when I worked there as an accounting assistant in 1983).
- Not have a reliable vehicle and to scrape the inside of the window in the winter because the defroster didn't work well (and that was on a good day) - and in the summer, to not have air conditioning.
- Not be able to ever take my kids to places like the movies or to McDonald's so they'd have some form of entertainment.
- To live in low-income housing.
I'm working on getting dug out from the hole I'm in. There are a lot of details and things going on but I'll get there. I did stay totally within my budget for Christmas shopping and even managed to pick up an item for Keith that I know he needs (nothing frivolous - Keith forget your read this part) and I have something that I'm getting for Amy that I know she can use and it's less than $20. I bought Ron three shirts at 60% off (he didn't have long-sleeved shirts for the winter) and bought him the first season of The Sopranos on DVD off eBay. I needed some shower gel and since Bath & Body Works had a "buy 3; get 3 free" I was able to get a shower gel for each of the three teenage granddaughters. It's not much, but it shows them that I am thinking of them. I'm making each of them a covered journal, too. Bath & Body Works also had a special purchase item, so I bought it and have divided it up among my daughter-in-law, son, and the lotion from it for me (I needed lotion). We have a teenage grandson (who may get the "manly" scent shower gel from the special purchase item) and a 9 year old grandson who may get a $10 gift card. For my other step-children - I'm not sure what I'll do. One is married, one is divorced, and one still lives with his mother. We don't often see the divorced one (or his 9 year old son) so it's really hard to figure out something.
In all, it will be a good Christmas no matter what happens. Ron and I will be spending it alone and I have accepted that is how it will be. I don't have to like it - but I can live with it. I am still upset that I can't go see Shaun, Jenny, and the kids but I will get over it. It will just make me appreciate seeing them that much more when I'm able to. It's hard, especially since I know that I "could" have gone if... Can't dwell on that even though it is one area that I'm having a really hard time forgiving someone for.
God Bless you all. I thank you for your friendship and for your prayers!