03.07.19 To the mom who keeps going, by Rachel at Finding Joy

While this is about moms who keep going in all phases in life, I hope that all of the young and older mothers at our church read this. You all just keep going and ya’ll amaze me by showing up every week at church with clean clothes on, kids dressed, probably everyone had a bath (!) and you didn’t kill or maim one of them on the way to church or in church.
There are several young children that sit in front of us at Trinity. A couple of Sundays ago when we were getting ready to pray I noticed that everyone of them bowed their heads to pray. That says a lot about you moms and dads bringing your children up to respect and know God.

I have two grown sons who were raised at Trinity so I know how hard it is getting it all together to come to church. Our lives back then weren’t nearly as complicated as young families lives are now. I won’t start naming the young ladies I’m thinking about because I’ll miss someone. You are wonderful Christian motherly examples and I hope others see that in you as well!

This is for you. Yeah, you.

You might think it’s no big deal. You might not even realize the power in your ability to keep going. But I see you. I know that strength. I know the nights of no sleep met with mornings of tired. I understand the give and the take. I know the heartbreak and the love.

And I know that sometimes it’s so easy to dismiss that we keep going.

You keep going.

That family of yours knows that you keep going. That is such a gift. A life gift. A hard thing.

It’s hard to keep going when the cards all crash in. But you keep going.

It’s challenging to keep going when relationships fail. But you keep going.

It’s scary to keep going when you don’t have answers. But you keep going.

It’s lonely to keep going when everyone else seems to have it together. But you keep going.

It’s frustrating to keep going when things keep messing up. But you keep going.

It’s tiring to keep going when you get no sleep. But you keep going.

It’s humbling to keep going when you feel overwhelmed. But you keep going.

It’s simple to dismiss it.

But you keep going.

On good days. You keep going.

On bad days. You keep going.

On great days. You keep going.

On irritating days. You keep going.

On normal days. You keep going.

On throw-in-the-towel days. You keep going.

On exhilarating days. You keep going.

On so-so days. You keep going.

On first time days. You keep going.

On last time days. You keep going.

On vacation days. You keep going.

On work days. You keep going.

On never-get-a-break days. You keep going.

On just-a-mom days. You keep going.

You keep going.

You may get to the end of this day and look at your day and wonder what on earth did I accomplish today? But you are only looking at today. You are missing all the days that got you to this day. All the days where you kept on going. All the days when you didn’t know if you would make it through. All those days. So maybe your to-do list has a hundred things checked off or maybe it has none – but it does have this – you keep going.

Sweet, sweet sister.

The weight of the world will try to tell you that you need to do more, be more, change more, love more, give more, show-up more, but sister, sometimes the world misses the most powerful part of you.

You keep going.

So hold your head high. Be proud of you. Love your days. All of them.

You know what is amazing? This story, this life, this adventure – you are such a beautiful part of it. For so many. For your friends, your children, your family.

Because you keep going.

~Rachel at http://findingjoy.net

Ya’ll have a Blessed weekend!

02.10.19 What to do when it all comes crashing down, by Lisa Leonard

When Ann VosKamp invites someone to her farm’s front porch its always an opportunity to learn from someone else’s walk with Christ. I share them here from time to time because they may speak to some need in your life right now.  The one I am sharing to is from Lisa Leonard.  Information on her and her new book is below.

There’s so much pressure to have it all together; pressure from social media, pressure from friends and family, pressure from ourselves. It can be overwhelming, it can be too much. Lisa Leonard has some honest, raw words to share today about her search for perfection and how it all came crashing down. In her new book, Brave Love she tells us about the birth of her boys, one with a disability, the birth of the business she built with her husband and rebirth of their marriage. I’ve known Lisa for years and I’m so glad she’s here today to tell us about some of her journey—the ups and downs. It’s a grace to welcome her to the farm’s front porch today…  by Ann VosKamp

Every marriage goes through difficult times, and about fifteen years into marriage we were in a difficult time.

Steve and I walked through difficult things in our marriage. We walked some rocky roads but now we were facing something new.

We were both making mistakes but we did not know what they were.

We were simply not connecting.

We were both trying but we could not seem to see eye to eye.

We were both hurting but did not know how to help each other.

We were both making mistakes but we did not know what they were.

During this time, we had plans to gather with friends for a celebration. I decided to make Steve’s favorite dessert, berry crumble. This was not going to be just any berry crumble—I was going to make the perfect berry crumble.

I wanted to show Steve how much I loved him.

I wanted to show him he was precious to me.

This berry crumble was going to knock his socks off.

I spent time researching the best recipe online. I gathered all the ingredients and spent a good chunk of the day making the amazing dessert. As the celebration approached, I slowly pulled the hot crumble out of the oven, wrapped it in a heavy towel and we all loaded into the car.

We parked in front of our friends’ home and I carefully get out, maneuvering the hot berry crumble to avoid a spill. I took a few steps and suddenly I lost hold of the wrapped glass dish. I watched in slow motion as my perfect crumble splattered all over the sidewalk. I felt the sting of hot tears behind my eyes.

“Hold it together.” I told myself.

But I couldn’t. The tears overflowed and once they started they wouldn’t stop. I could barely catch my breath between sobs.

This was no ordinary berry crumble; this was the perfect berry crumble. This crumble was going to show Steve how much I cared for him.

This dessert was going to save our marriage. It was going to make Steve fall in love with me again. I looked down at the berry crumble splattered all over the sidewalk and sobbed.

I tried so hard to be good enough. I tried to be the perfect wife. I tried to become less so he could be more.

But it wasn’t working. Instead I was becoming less than whole–and a relationship can’t thrive without two whole people.

I thought being perfect would bring me joy.

But I was so focused on being perfect, I was missing all the joy.

I’d clung to the belief that perfection held joy.

I’d spent most of my life believing if I could be perfect, or at least almost perfect, I would be lovable. So, I worked hard to create the ‘perfect’ life for us.

I tried to create a beautiful, tidy home. I tried to be the perfect mother—patient and fun and consistent. I tried to be happy even when I felt sad. I tried to be needless and wantless and take care of everybody else.

With four people in our family and so many differing opinions, things got complicated. I thought one way to make things less complicated was for me to be what I considered flexible or easy going. Ignoring my needs made me feel agitated and frustrated.

So, I tried to ignore those feelings—and sometimes I seemed to succeed. Other times I would explode with anger. All the things I needed and wanted, all the things I felt but ignored had to find a way out.

My good intentions to ‘take care’ of everybody were a desire to control.

If I could control everything I would be good enough. I was terrified I was not lovable, so I tried to control.

The more I tried to control Steve, our marriage and our family, the more out of control I felt. I had worked tirelessly to try to hold it all together, but we were a mess.

It was falling apart—not just the berry crumble, but our marriage too.

I was finding out, there is no berry crumble so perfect it can hold a marriage together.

Perfection is a lie. It demands more and more, never offering a moment’s rest. Perfect is never satisfied. I kept reaching further and further, thinking I was almost there, but perfection was always just out of reach. No matter how hard I tried, I could not be perfect.

I had a lightbulb moment.

There are four people in our family, and I am one of them.

There are two people in our marriage and I am one of them.

I needed to be a whole person. I needed to show up, let down my walls and be honest.

Honesty looked like me showing up and being my truest self. It looked Steve showing up and being his truest self.

It was going to take a lot more than the perfect berry crumble to fix this marriage. Marriage is two people showing up and being honest.

Honesty is imperfect and messy—but it is real. Sometimes it is more than messy; it is super ugly and dark and scary. I don’t like messy. I had been trying to make my marriage work without actually showing up and being a whole person in my marriage. I thought if I could make Steve happy he would love me, but he already loved me. He loved ME. He wanted me to be ME.

I am learning I cannot control my husband or my kids. I cannot keep my house perfectly clean.

I can’t always be happy. I am not perfect; I am just me.

I’m learning I have to let go of perfection to have joy.

I am learning I have to show up and speak up and be honest—no matter how messy.

I am learning it is the only way for us to have a marriage where we connect and truly know each other.

And I am learning the only way to be give and receive love is to be completely me—nothing more, nothing less.

This article and many more can be found on Ann VosKamp’s blog at https://annvoskamp.com/2019/01/what-to-do-when-it-all-comes-crashing-down/

Ya’ll have a Blessed week!

01.16.19 Church is Hard, by Arianna Freelen

I sat in a meeting. The discussion was heated. The conversation heavy.

Hearts were burdened. Chests were puffed. Sorrow, pain, arrogance, curiosity, humility, fear, courage, and forgiveness sat together in a single room.

As I looked around the church, I just kept thinking—

Church is hard.

Church is hard for the person walking through the doors, afraid of judgement.

Church is hard for the pastor’s family, under the microscope of an entire body.

Church is hard for the prodigal soul returning home, broken and battered by the world.

Church is hard for the girl who looks like she has it all together, but doesn’t.

Church is hard for the couple who fought the entire ride to service.

Church is hard for the single mom, surrounded by couples holding hands, and seemingly perfect families.

Church is hard for the widow and widower with no invitation to lunch after service.

Church is hard for the deacon with an estranged child.

Church is hard for the person singing worship songs, overwhelmed by the weight of the lyrics.

Church is hard for the man insecure in his role as a leader.

Church is hard for the wife who longs to be led by a righteous man.

Church is hard for the nursery volunteer who desperately longs for a baby to love.

Church is hard for the single woman and single man, praying God brings them a mate.

Church is hard for the teenage girl, wearing a scarlet letter, ashamed of her mistakes.

Church is hard for the sinners.

Church is hard for me.

It’s hard because on the outside it all looks shiny and perfect. Sunday best in behavior and dress.

However, underneath those layers, you find a body of imperfect people, carnal souls, selfish motives.

But, here is the beauty of church—

Church isn’t a building, mentality, or expectation.

Church is a body.

Church is a group of sinners, saved by grace, living in fellowship as saints.

Church is a body of believers bound as brothers and sisters by an eternal love.

Church is a holy ground where sinners stand as equals before the Throne of Grace.

Church is a refuge for broken hearts and a training ground for mighty warriors.

Church is a converging of confrontation and invitation. Where sin is confronted and hearts are invited to seek restoration.

Church is a lesson in faith and trust.

Church is a bearer of burdens and a giver of hope.

Church is a family. A family coming together, setting aside differences, forgetting past mistakes, rejoicing in the smallest of victories.

Church, the body, and the circle of sinners-turned-saints, is where He resides, and if we ask, He is faithful to come.

So even on the hard days at church—

The days when I am at odds with a friend, When I’ve fought with my husband because we’re late once again. When I’ve walked in bearing burdens heavier than my heart can handle, yet masking the pain with a smile on my face. When I’ve worn a scarlet letter, under the microscope. When I’ve longed for a baby to hold, or fought tears as the lyrics were sung. When I’ve walked back in, afraid and broken, after walking away.

I’ll remember, He has never failed to meet me there.

Church is a body, a family, a place to love God and love others through our struggles!

I love MY church!!

 

12.28.18 When God Created Woman

When God created woman he was working late on the 6th day…….
An angel came by and asked. “Why spend so much time on her?”
The lord answered. “Have you seen all the specifications I have to meet to shape her?
She must function in all kinds of situations,
She must be able to embrace several kids at the same time,
Have a hug that can heal anything from a bruised knee to a broken heart,
She must do all this with only two hands,
She cures herself when sick and can work 18 hours a day.”
THE ANGEL was impressed “Just two hands…..impossible! And this is the standard model?”
The Angel came closer and touched the woman
“But you have made her so soft, Lord.”
“She is soft,” said the Lord,
“But I have made her strong. You can’t imagine what she can endure and overcome.”
“Can she think?” The Angel asked…
The Lord answered. “Not only can she think, she can reason and negotiate.”
The Angel touched her cheeks….
“Lord, it seems this creation is leaking! You have put too many burdens on her.”
“She is not leaking…it is a tear” The Lord corrected the Angel…
“What’s it for?” asked the Angel.
The Lord said, “Tears are her way of expressing her grief, her doubts, her love, her loneliness, her suffering and her pride.”
This made a big impression on the Angel,
“Lord, you are a genius. You thought of everything.
A woman is indeed marvelous.”
The Lord said, “Indeed she is.
She has strength that amazes a man.
She can handle trouble and carry heavy burdens.
She holds happiness, love and opinions.
She smiles when she feels like screaming.
She sings when she feels like crying, cries when happy and laughs when afraid.
She fights for what she believes in.
Her love is unconditional.
Her heart is broken when a next-of-kin or a friend dies but she finds strength to get on with life.”
The Angel asked: “So she is a perfect being?”
The Lord replied: “No. She has just one drawback
She often forgets what she is worth.”

To all the beautiful women I’ve known in my life!  May God Bless You All!

12.16.18 A quiet thought for this Sunday, by Rev. Bob Adams

Related imageA quiet thought for this Sunday, December 16th, by Rev. Bob Adams

Rescuing a climber trapped on the face of a towering cliff. Descending to a diver in trouble on the floor of the ocean. Digging out a child covered in the rubble of an earthquake. Stories of heroic rescues rivet our attention for, deep in our souls, all of us sense we are trapped and helpless, caught in the chaos around us and the rubble inside us.

Christmas is the ultimate rescue.

We were caught in the grip of unbreakable darkness with no power to bring ourselves to the light. But God, right on time, came to our rescue! He did the unbelievable, the unthinkable. He sent Himself in the form of His Son out of the glory of heaven and into the pit of our darkness. Through His own death and resurrection the Son tore a gaping, forever hole in the darkness, vaporized the darkness with the light of His glory. He then invited us to fall into His arms and allow Him to carry us through that great opening in the darkness into life and light in the Father’s love and presence.

This is the true Christmas story.

Let us worship with joy and reverence.

Thank you Bro. Bob for all the time you spent with us at Trinity preparing us for our new pastor. Your genuine Christian love and guidance is very much appreciated.  Merry CHRISTmas to you and Ms. Janice!

12.11.18 FRIENDS, by Michael J. Smith

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 – A few years ago a young girl at our church sang this song titled FRIENDS.  It was the first time I heard it and somehow I know she sang it because a friend of hers moved away.  I do not remember who she is but the song meant something to me when I heard her sing it and today when I saw Michael J. Smith sing it in this video I felt I should share it.

Here’s the song and the lyrics in case you want to sing along.  The words that speak to me the most are: “And friends are friends forever, If the Lord’s the Lord of them.”  My Christian friends will truly be friends forever even in to eternity where we will live in Heaven together with our Lord.  I am thankful I have that reassurance.  I hope you do as well. If you don’t our Lord is just a prayer away!

 

“FRIENDS” LYRICS
Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can’t believe the hopes He’s granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong
And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends
With the faith and love God’s given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you’ll live in
Is the strength that now you show
But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong
And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends
And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends
No, a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends
Songwriters: Majid Hasan / Sean L. Foote / Barry Eugene White / Robert Taylor / Mary J. Blige / Tom Brock
Friends lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Capitol Christian Music Group
Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!
Image result for friends scripture quote

11.20.18 The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything!

A lthough things are not perfect,
B ecause of trial or pain,
C ontinue in thanksgiving
D on’t even think of whom to blame.
E ven when the times are hard,
F ierce winds are bound to blow,
G od is forever able
H old on to Him, never let go.
I magine life without His love,
J oy would cease to be,
K eep thanking Him for all the things
L ove imparts you to see.
M ove out of camp Complaining,
N o weapon that is known
O n earth can yield the power
P raise can do alone.
Q uit worrying about the future,
R edeem the time at hand,
S tart every day with prayer
T o ‘thank’  is God’s command.
U ntil we see Him coming,
V ictorious in the sky,
W e’ll run the race with gratitude,
X alting the Most High God.
Y es, there’ll be good times and yes there will be hard times, but…
Z ion awaits in glory…where no one is ever sad…
THE ONE WHO KNEELS TO THE LORD CAN STAND UP TO ANYTHING!

 

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

10.28.18 Leave Everything In God’s Hands, from I LOVE PSALMS

How amazing to know and feel when we cast all our burdens and anxious thoughts to God? No matter what you face in life, never let go of God’s hands.

He is your provider! He is your Redeemer! He is your all in all!

Whatever life throws at you, it don’t matter, if we have taken and laid it to the Lord in prayer.

How wonderful we can bring all matters of life to our Creator! Only He can sustain you in all situations.

When all else fails, God doesn’t fail us! He will come to us and we can take comfort and rest in Him.

When you can’t see his plans and when you can’t trace his hand, Trust His heart!

He will never leave you lonely and empty. He will replace everything you lost. He will make peace with all the broken relationships!

If He asks you to put something down, it’s because He wants you to pick something greater and reveal His glory through you! His plans and ways are perfect!

Everything that God allows to come your way is always with a purpose. He uses even the greatest mistake and deepest pain to mold you into a better person!

He’s got you like He always do! Keep praying! Don’t quit.

Miracles happens every day!

So never stop believing and God can quickly make the biggest come back in your life! Trust Him!

All the puzzle pieces will fall in its place in His time! His hands are not too short to deliver you!

Don’t look back keep focusing and fixing your eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our Faith! Amen! God bless!

Psalm 16:8 – I have set the Lord Always before me because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved!

from I LOVE PSALMS.COM

 

 

10.21.18 when life gets a bit dark, try this secret, by Ann Voskamp

Yes, our New Orleans Saints have won 5 in a row and beat the Baltimore Ravens today.

Our quarterback, DREW BREES, threw his 500th and 501st passing touchdowns joining quarterback royalty. He’s also now had a win against every team in the league including the Saints (when he was with San Diego). We’ve got the best and we love that guy!

Now for today’s post!

When life gets a bit dark, try this secret, by Ann Voskamp

For thirty spins around the sun, these nine old nanas kept a secret from their men.

They did it in the middle of the night.

When that old ball of sun sunk down low and pulled a cover of dark up over the backside of the world, those nine nanas creaked open their back doors and made a their way through the cracked dark.

They called them Drive-Bys.

They did it because of MaMaw Ruth. I had my own Grandma Ruth; I knew about women named Ruth who make clandestine meetings with grace.

“MaMaw Ruth would read in the paper that someone had died and she didn’t have to know the family,” is what one of the Nine Nanas, Mary Ellen said. “She’d send off one of her special pound cakes. She just wanted to put a little smile on their faces.”

It was a girl’s night for Mary Ellen and her four sisters and their three girlfriends, sitting around a table reminiscing and laughing loud over old times.

“We started thinking about what we could do to make a difference like that. What if we had a million dollars? How would we spend it?’ she said.

Those nine women knew it:

We’re not here to make an impression —- we’re here to make a difference.

All from the new Thanksgiving Collection

The size of our houses, our wallets, our closets, our trophy case and our cheerleading squad doesn’t make any difference compared to the size of our hearts.

And frankly: The positions that we take don’t make a difference like the love that we give.

The positions that we take don’t make a difference like the love that we give.

We may be known for many things but we will be remembered only by one thing: our giving love.

Anyone can have any size of heart they want.

Those Nine Nanas began brainstorming around a kitchen table, and it was one of the sisters who came up with the idea: start doing their own laundry instead of using the dry cleaner. They sat there and came up with a list of scrimping and saving and shaving their lives clean.

“So among the nine of us, we’d put aside about $400 a month.” 

Then came part two of the Nine Nana Plan: How do you make a difference? You make a difference — by doing things different.

You can’t make a difference by climbing the exact same ladder everyone else, by living exactly the same as everyone else, by consuming the same, buying the same, striving the same, dreaming the same. 

You can’t make a difference until you listen to the world differently than everyone else does.

You can’t make a difference until you listen to the world differently than everyone else does.

That’s what those Nine Nanas did — they started leaning in and listening at the local beauty shop or where they picked up their groceries.

And when they heard about a widow or a single mother who was in need, guess who would anonymously pay a utility bill or buy new clothes for the children?

Those Nanas would ferret out where that hurting person lived and send a package with a note that simply read, ‘Somebody loves you’ —- and the love they sent always had to come with one of MaMaw Ruth’s special pound cakes.

In the middle of the darkest night, love is always coming for you.

In the middle of the pitch black night, those Nine Nanas drove slow through neighbourhoods looking for fans stuck in windows.

“That told us that the people who live there? Don’t have air-conditioning,” Mary Ellen said.

‘Or we see that there are no lights on at night, which means there is a good chance their utilities have been turned off. Then we return before the sun came up, like cat burglars, and drop off a little care package.’

For 35 years, these love stealthers have been breaking the dark.

35 years. 9 women. 4 am pitch black. Whipping up MaMaw Ruth’s pound cakes. Sending pound cakes all across the country to people making a difference in their community. Opening up the phone book and sending pound cakes to complete strangers.

35 years of hundreds of pound cakes delivered in the dead of night — and no one being none the wiser.

There are women who do not need to be noticed out on the street corners to have their backs patted — because there are women who know those who work in the dark are the ones shattering the dark in ways those in the spotlights never can.

There are women who work in secret because they know you always make real and giving love in secret.

There are women who don’t let the right hand know what the left hand is doing because hands that move unbeknownst are most known by the Beloved.

That which is done in secret, that which is broken and given in secret, is a practicing communion.

That which is done in secret, that which is broken and given in secret, is a practicing communion.

Live eucharist. Practice communion. Taste koinonia.

Mary Ellen didn’t know when her husband started puzzling over the extra mileage on the car. Didn’t know when he started scratching his head over withdrawals from their savings account of not small amounts of cash. Pulled out his highlighter and started charting a path through their confounding bank statements.

Mary Ellen and those Nine Nanas just knew they had to gather their men and ‘fess up’ to what was suspected: an affair of the heart.

It could start a revolution and change the way this world revolves: What if the world focused on affairs of the heart instead of spending our one life on business affairs?

Kiss open wounds. Caress the bruised back of the broken. Embrace suffering because this is how you embrace the broken-hearted Christ.

Frankly, though, the husbands had had it — they wanted in on the eavesdropping and the drive-bys and the night gift-blitzing the town.

They wanted in on writing down addresses and anonymously paying utility bills.

They wanted to deliver a pound cake and press beauty out of the world.

They wanted in on the giving and the getting joy, they wanted in on breaking a thread or two of themselves to weave strength and hope into where the fabric of society was weak and torn, they wanted in on breaking out of the emptiness of themselves and breaking into the fullness of koinonia and community.

Those 9 husbands looked at how their wives were breaking and giving themselves away — and they wanted to break into the happy abundance of all that.

Small gifts of kindness are contagious. Start a joy epidemic.

Sometimes….

Sometimes you just want to break out of yourself and break into the sacred space of the other. And that Sacred Space of the Other you seek is found when you give to the Other.

The Nine Nanas said that:

“This is our way of giving forward.” Mary Ellen nodded. “We want to make sure that happiness happens.”

The way forward —- is always to give forward.

The way forward —- is always to give forward.

Life happens. And grace happens. Gifts happen. Happiness can happen. Love gives. Live given.

I do this: bake pound cake.

Bake a pound cake and pound out of hopelessness.

Bake a pound cake made in any old kitchen — and bring it out into the dark and pound out of your pitch black and out of yourself and break the isolation.

Taste Koinonia in the middle of the dark.

The sun will rise.

This and so many inspirational articles can be found on Ann’s website at https://annvoskamp.com/