No Title-Random Thoughts

Spent  a good part of the night awake worried about bills.  I messed up somewhere…again…and I’m not sure if we will make it to the next paycheck.  Trusting God to provide what we need and wisdom to make good choices to stretch things.  Would really love this paycheck to paycheck thing to be done.  It’s been 27 years of it.  We aren’t good at money management and have had some major setbacks.  I’m tired..

Reading on the IDisciple app today and two of them were about anxiety.  It frustrated me though because it was very basic stuff I already know.  Am I doing it though?  No, probably not.  Lord, help me.  I’m going to re-read them now.  I need Your Peace.

The Bible says to present our requests to God WITH THANKSGIVING.  I do miss that part.  So Lord, thank You today for your MANY blessings.  My family, my church, my job, our home, food you give every day, our cars, the fact that every month you DO make things work and we’ve never gone without any need.  I am truly sorry for my materialistic living and the foolish money choices I make.  Please help me to grow in this area and have self-control.  Thank You most of all for Jesus.  For the greatest need I have is to be forgiven and saved and you took care of that.  And that was hard!  These easy things I worry about so much are nothing for you.  Please continue to provide for us and help us be good stewards so that we aren’t living paycheck to paycheck every single month.  I know it is not because you haven’t provided…it’s because I have no self control with spending on food.  Help me make better choices.

Devotion notes:

John 4:27- the woman at the well didn’t have all the answers but she just said what she did know and people responded.

John 4:31- Jesus concerned Himself with doing the will of God, NOT what he would eat next.  Prioritize.

TPDL- I love where I serve.  Lately, my heart has been stirred to possibly lead a ladies group.  I would want it to be a time of growth for believers no matter how long they’ve been a Christian, as well as evangelistic opportunities to invite neighbors.  Would they even come?  Trusting God to work this out if it is in His Plan.



Saved to Serve

In thinking about yesterday and realizing that my hearts desire for ministry helping Christians overcome some of life’s struggles with the power of God, I was blessed.  It’s nice to realize two things:

1.)  I am already serving in “My Brother’s Keeper”.  It doesn’t have to be a counseling ministry as I had always envisioned but it is encouraging and teaching my junior high girls as they travel along this road called middle school.  I won’t be in this ministry forever but for now…it’s where I am and I am grateful.

2:) I don’t have to feel “less than” because my ministry area right now seems to be with Christians.  I struggle with “getting out there” and proclaiming Christ to the lost, dying world but for right now that just isn’t the season I find myself in.  God has given me this area for now and I love it.

I’m reading chpt. 30 in TPDL.  I am journaling today from the anagram “SHAPE” that Rick Warren uses.

S- Spiritual Gifts.  Every test I take ends up reflecting the same results.  Encouraging and Mercy.  I love that because they are 100% accurate in that they bring me great joy when I am given opportunities to use them.  If the purpose of spiritual gifts are to bless others, am I using them in that way.  This fits in exactly with where my heart is in junior high.  God has also sent Christians to me over the years who really needed someone to encourage them and I love that.  I’m not always perfect at it but I definitely can attest to the fact that He has given me the right words at the right time on numerous occasions.  God doesn’t just love the lost—He loves the Christian too and He knows what they need.  Sometimes life is hard and we all need someone to pick us up.  Lord, help me to use these gifts for Your Glory and not my own pride.  It is you, not me.  Give me wisdom and words.  Help me not be a flatterer. Help me say the hard things when needed.  This is not easy for me but with Your Help, I want to grow to do just that when it is necessary.  

I also found it interesting that last week, I took another one of these tests and scored higher on Hospitality than I have in the past.  Perfect timing to realize that as we now live on church property.  Lord, show me how I can use this home that You have allowed us to live in to encourage and edify others.  Thanks for blessing us and letting us live here.  Please help Chris to love it too and feel at home.  Give us wisdom to know what to do with the Ansonia home.  If we can bless someone else with it, show us who.  

H-Heart– What interests me?  What drives me and brings me joy?  God has given me the unique personality I have with the unique desires, motivations, passions and interests.  I have said many times that I love my job and my ministry with the girls.  I am so thankful right now that God has given me the opportunity to do what I love.  He doesn’t want us to serve out of duty.  None of these things are duty for me.  Although, if I am honest, there are times when I’m tired and maybe don’t “feel like” going but once I’m there, I lose that feeling and there is energy and joy.  I often feel selfish because I felt like I get more out of each of these than I could ever give.  I don’t want to serve for selfish reasons.  Lord,  Thank you so much for chances to serve you that fill places in me that YOU HAVE CREATED that could only be filled by serving in the ways that YOU HAVE PREPARED ME FOR.  I’m so grateful.  And so affirmed that I am right where You want me.  Please help me to be sensitive to Your Spirit.  No ministry is forever.  When I am not effective in this way any longer, remove me.  And thank you that You won’t forget me but You may have a new season of service for me.  I’m willing and trust that You will have me ready to do whatever You call me to do.

Abilities-Often I have felt like I had no special talents.  I am realizing today that God has equipped me to serve Him well in the office at Calvary and now in cleaning the church.  They are grand abilities by the world’s standards but I am doing well at both because that is who God made me to be.  These are the talents/abilities He has equipped me to do.  I have ended up working for the church in some capacity in every church we have attended. (3).   Thank you Lord, for this ability You have given me.  It is fun.  It’s not grand and mostly unseen by all but You.  I am glad to do it.  And I love it.  Thank you so much.

Personality-an Extroverted People Lover.  Again, perfect for the “jobs” He has given me.

Experiences –

  • Family-  Being a first born I am naturally more organized and it is within me to care for the “flock”.  It began with Nancy and Kevin.  Has carried over to my own family and even in the ministry with the junior high girls.  To do the jobs I have in the office, organization is also key to success.
  • Educational – Loved school but had a rough junior high experience.  Not a lot of friends.  Junior High kids need someone to build them up because they spend an awful lot of time tearing each other down or tearing themselves down with negative thoughts about themselves.
  • Vocational- Any job I have ever had has taught me work ethic and a desire to “please the man”.  Now I have learned it’s better to “please THE MAN” in my job. Being a people pleaser can be a negative for sure.  But it does create work ethic and the desire to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
  • Spiritual-So many things to say here.  Not enough time to do it.  But God has taught me SO MUCH through great teachers and preachers.  I’m blessed when I can share that with others.
  • Painful- I think of the “barren years”.  I think of the “loner” years.  I think of losing my dad when I was about to become a mom.  There has been pain.  But He has redeemed it.  Lord, help me trust you with future pain to do the same.

I have enjoyed studying my SHAPE today.  It has affirmed me in  many ways that I am where God would have me.  None of this is written with a prideful heart–God knows that.  I feel weird even writing it unless I emphasize over and over that any good thing in me is because GOD PUT IT THERE for HIS GLORY.  I know for sure that there is “no good thing in me.”  My natural inclination is sin showing itself with selfishness and pride.  And also laziness.  But God is good and He knows all about me.  I read also about the woman at the well again and I love that Jesus knew all about her.  Everything she had ever done and He still chose to meet her where she was and teach her more about Him.  She had heard of God–but that day she met Her Savior.  If God had chosen an introverted person…or a person with no public sin….someone whose life was all together, would they have even listened?  Would they have gone to tell others about Who she had met?  It’s so cool that even in her SHAPE God CHOSE HER to serve Him in this way.  And it’s recorded in the Bible!!!!

A Missing Few Days

No internet meant no devotional blogging for a few days.  In the absence, Chris had his surgery.  It was much more complicated than anticipated and took about 5 hours.  It’s all over now and the recovery is in progress.  He’s already frustrated at sitting around but I’m so grateful the worst is behind us.  At least I hope so.  We wait to see if it is cancer or not but the doctor was very confident it was not.  It will just be nice to know for sure.

The people in our lives are awesome and to see them rally around us with prayers, texts, calls and even a visit in the waiting room from Gramps and Grandma was amazing.  Thank you, Lord, for our people.

Had a profound release today while reading TPDL.  I am always feeling badly that I am not able to influence the unsaved to have a relationship with God.  I am serving in a variety of ways in the Church and I love that.  But I have often diminished that and saw it as second best.  We’ve been focusing on evangelism in church lately and that has increased my desire to reach people for Him but it has also left me feeling like I’m not fulfilling my call to the unsaved.  There are definite ways I can grow in this area.  I am thankful I am in a conversation with Lisa about that now.

For years I have had the name, “My Brother’s Keeper” in my heart.  I saw it as a counseling ministry but since I am not a qualified counselor it was a desire unfulfilled and seemed actually impossible to ever become a reality.  I am thinking now that my entire purpose is just that and I am involved in it now.  With my youth group girls, Sunday School and even my full time job.  I am serving God in the local church and this is highly valuable to Him.  Yes, I am called to share Christ and as God gives me opportunity I pray I’ll be faithful to that.  But… I am so grateful and will stop apologizing that my ministry is mainly with the saved family of God.  This is a privilege and I’m so excited to realize this today.  This is the life He gave me.  That He chose for me even before I was born.  These are the people He has put in my life.  These are my neighbors. This is my home.  This is my church.  These are my youth group girls.  These are my friends.  This is my family.  This is my job. (and when I say “my” I am very aware that none of if it actually MINE but what I mean by that is that He has given them to me to serve Him).  To God be the glory for great things He has done.

Grateful to be “My Brother’s Keeper”.  Lord, you are good.

To balance this God also had me read John 4 today.  I realize that Jesus’ ministry was teaching once he had called his disciples and then He released them to serve Him and do the same.  I also can teach those He has brought in my life and release and prepare them to serve Him well as they grow.  But Jesus also took the time away from His inner circle and met the woman at the well.  His meeting with her was intentional and even though he was tired, hungry and thirsty He was ready to teach and proclaim truth to this woman.  Lord, help me look for those “well moments” and be faithful in what You would have me say to those you bring into my life who do not yet know you.

Lisa’s Journey

I am really loving the book, “The Purpose Driven Life”.  It’s not a new book but I’ve never read it.  I only chose to read it because of Lisa’s text asking me questions about faith.  I felt compelled to share this book with her which was odd because I have never read it.  I purchased her a copy and a friend gave me one of her extra copies.  We’ve been reading it “together” and I am really enjoying it.  I will need to text her today because it’s been a week or so since I’ve heard how she is doing with it.

I read chpt. 23 today about growth.  It has some great analogies to explain some questions she may or may not have at some point.  It blessed me.  Thinking about how to change your life means changing the way you think was a great place to mediate on today.  “Behind everything you do there is a thought.  Every behavior is motivated by a belief, and every action is prompted by an attitude.”  Lord, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart acceptable in thy sight..”  I often pray that prayer but I am asking God today to really change my thinking, behaviors, beliefs and actions as He changes me to be more like him. “Christianity is not a religion or a philosophy, but a relationship and a lifestyle.” Lord, let my choices reflect that today.

I also read John 4:1-6 today.  I had Lisa on my mind and I think that all those years ago when God had our paths cross in high school it may have been for this reason.  She is my “woman at the well” currently.  I am stretching Scripture here probably but I can’t help but think that this friendship of 27 years may be leading to something huge for Lisa.  We haven’t talked much about faith but she is very open.  I’m excited to share with her and praying that she is able to formulate the questions she has and trusting God to give me the answers.  But mostly relying on the Holy Spirit to continue calling her and working in her heart.

Lord, I HATE that I’m so rushed today and the above thoughts are rambled.  But I am asking You to continue working on Lisa.  To cleanse my heart and change my “autopilot” to reflect Christian character and choices that glorify You.  

I love you,


What is God’s Will?

So often in my life I have been caught up in the idea that when I hit a crossroads and there are two choices to make I must get it right or I won’t have God’s best.  Sometimes there is a clear path and other times there are two great choices to make.  A profound thought today for me was found in chpt 22 of TPDL  “There are many different careers(substitute choices) that could be God’s will for your life.  What God cares most about is that whatever you do, you do it in a Christlike manner”.  He’s about the WHO not the WHAT.  He is developing our character because that’s what we take into eternity with us.  Of course it’s still right and good to pray and ask for direction but instead of being at a standstill, afraid of making the wrong choice, ask Him to make you more like Him whatever you do.  Sometimes God doesn’t let us know clearly “which way is best” because BOTH are fine and He has created us with personalities and allows us to make choices.

I also love John the Baptist quote, “He must increase, I must decrease”.  Whatever I do…let this be the cry of my heart.  Whatever choice I make, let Him be exalted and seen by those He brings into my life.  Keep me from anything that would hinder Your work in me and through me.

As I sat today in this house that God has allowed us to have, listening to the sounds of pouring rain, enjoying coffee and reading, I am filled with such contentment and joy.  This house was one of those choices where it wasn’t perfectly clear what we should do.  It was a desire…but not a definite clear path.  I’m grateful He allowed it and worked out all the details for us.  My prayer then was, “God, put us wherever you can use us best.”  We now live in Trumbull with a whole new set of neighbors who don’t know You.  Lord, Please use us to reach them for you.  And thank you that you allow us to serve you at Calvary Church.  Be glorified in us and through us. 


Church Unity and John 3

I love my church.  We’ve come through a few churches and while none have been perfect, each one has been perfect for us for that season of our lives.

Reading TPDL and chapter 21 is talking about church unity.  Several great points.  I’m keeping this book as it’s a great resource for many different issues.  My main point today for myself is summed up in this sentence, “Let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other.  Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault.”  Because I’m so bad at confrontation, I don’t usually tear people down to their face.  I’m better at the encouraging words part of that.  But, that being said, there are times when someone’s personality or convictions get on my nerves and if I sense that I can “vent” or share my frustrations with someone who has the same opinion I run off at the mouth.  This is SIN!

Lord, forgive me and help me to be mindful of the words I say.  If you want me to correct someone because of something YOU want corrected, help me be bold.  Thank you for the many different personalities you have brought into my life and grant me patience to love them even if their personality is not something that I am drawn to.

“Coincidentally” as I finished that and opened the Bible I am reading John 3 beginning in chapter 16 which sums up the reason for my above prayer.  Because God so loved THE WORLD (not just those I find easy to get along with)….  It is because of Christ that I am part of the family of God.   But by the grace of God I would be a lost sinner bound for hell.  Who am to judge another?

Lord, thank you that it is You who “chose to give us different personalities, backgrounds, races and preferences, so we should value and enjoy those differences, not merely tolerate them.”  Lord give me patience with those who differ from me.  I am not one to judge based on any outward appearance usually but I know that there are those who “get on my nerves and I am quick to criticize just because they were created with different personalities than I.  I recognize that there are some that will never be “my favorites” but I need to let that go and love them because they are your children.  I’m feeling very humbled right now.  Seriously…who am I?  Lord, forgive me and help me to grow.

John 3: My Favorite Chapter

John chapter 3 will always have significance for me.

I can remember childhood days of sitting in my top bunk with my Bible, which was like a foreign language to me, trying to read it.  None of it made any sense but I had deep desire (which I now recognize as the Holy Spirit’s prompting) to read it and understand it.  As time when on, the old Bible became less and less important because it didn’t make sense and life got busy.

Fast forward to young adult years when going through some struggles and being sure I was destined for hell because of some bad choices I began to search again by reading The Word.  I distinctly remember reading in John 3:3 and hearing the phrase, “born again” for the first time.  My heart stirred within me.  “What does that even mean?” became a heart felt cry.  I asked people..  I got no answers other than, “You’re a good girl.  You’ll be fine!”  I was so frustrated because the only thing I knew for sure was that I was NOT a “good girl”.  I remember thinking, “I don’t know what born-again means, but if that’s what I need to ‘see the kingdom of God’ I better find out and take care of that.  If I don’t know what it even means, it must not be something I am.”  It had to be a personal decision that I had not yet made.

Fast forward to a few years later when attending a Baptist church on our street, things began to make sense.  I went forward during an invitation and yielded my life to Him that day.  There are so many more details about that whole experience but that’s for another time.

Today, I sit in gratitude that John chapter 3 is in the Bible and loved reading it again today.  I can’t wait to meet Nicodemus and thank him that even though it was in the dark of night in secret that he asked questions I needed answers to.

I am currently reading “The Purpose Driven Life” and today’s reading was about restoring relationships.  I don’t know of any that I need restoration at this point but I’m sure that will come.  Thinking of a friend who really needs reconciliation in her family.  Praying for her.  Since she is the one who gave me this book, I want to talk to her about chapter 20 today.  Just to remind her that God has a plan and great way to make sure we have done all we can in the process of restoring relationships.

Thank you, Lord, for today.  Thank you, Lord, for Your Word.