Wednesday, December 10, 2014

God Is With Them

Well it's not an afternoon cup of coffee today, but a morning cup of coffee--an early morning cup of coffee!  I've been up for quite some time and throughout the night.  Not altogether abnormal, as I do have a baby who is still nursing.  However, my heart and mind have been heavy with something my oldest son is going through.  

I have prayed for him.  My husband has prayed for him.  We have both prayed with him.  We have talked with him separately and together.  We have talked to each other about this particular issue.  I have talked with an adult who can help, to an extent.  Really, at this point, there is nothing else to be done.  But as I sat with my steaming cup of strong black (okay, not so is still decaf) cup of coffee earlier, I realized what I want for my son more than anything in this situation:  I want him to know and feel, with certainty, that God is with Him.  Isn't that just it?  No matter what I'm going through, big or small, tragic or trivial, I want to know that God is with me!  And if I know and can feel that His presence is with me, I am okay!  I know that everything will eventually be okay.

We cannot, as parents, interject ourselves into every situation our child deals with.  We cannot come to their rescue at every difficult moment.  No matter how much we may want to, we cannot possibly shelter them from every tough battle they go through.  We can and should seek God for wisdom, help, and protection.  But at some point, we have to be willing to turn them over completely to God's care.  He is the only one who can be with them at all times.  No, He doesn't always keep them from problems and difficult circumstances, but He will be with them.  That is the one truth that I want each of my children to know with complete certainty.  I want them to know that God is with them.  

So, as I take another sip of my semi-strong black cup of coffee, I am encouraging myself with these promises from God's word.  I'd like to encourage you as well.  These are the promises that I'm praying over my son as he faces another day.  These are the promises I want my youngest daughter to know as she cries "but I'm gonna miss you!" again while heading out to the bus.  These are the promises I want my oldest daughter to know as she musters the courage to ride bare-back at horse riding lessons for the first time.  These are the promises that I want each of my children to know, deep in their soul...

"Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4 
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10 
"...And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20 
"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 

*I am having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth today.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gramma Peanut's Path

Last week was Thanksgiving, and oh so much to be thankful for.  But last week was also when we said goodbye to my husband's paternal grandmother.  I loved this woman so dearly.  Growing up, we didn't live close to either of my grandmothers, except for a few early years, so the relationship I've had with my husband's grandma--Gramma Peanut the kids called her--felt like a personal gift from God.  She always called me Steph, which to me, demonstrated her love for me.
A visit with Gramma Peanut after our annual Apple Orchard trip in Fall 2013

During her funeral service, one of Ron's cousins showed a video that was a compilation of pictures of Gramma and Grandpa, along with the story of their courtship and early family years, told by Gramma.  This was to be a video gift to this cousin's father for Christmas; it turned out to be a gift for the entire family.  It was so touching to hear her voice again.  Gramma was known for saying some of the same phrases repeatedly, and the entire room chuckled when one of them was said during the video.  One of those phrases was "Right hand to God!"  She loved God and prayed daily, but she always felt the need to clarify for us when she was being as honest and candid as she could possibly be.  The other phrase I heard from her, probably every single time I visited with her was, "God put me on this earth to have babies."  This always rang true when she said it--and she often said it to me--because I think that was one of the intimate connections we had.  She would tell me what a good mom I was and what a good dad my husband was, each time we visited.  Her family meant everything to her!  One of the last quotes in the video was "God put me on this earth to have babies", and right hand to God, she fulfilled her purpose and walked that path.

I've spent much of my adult life seeking to know--to fully understand--the purpose for which God put me on this earth.  So often I think I get carried away with making it deeper than it really is.  I had a lightening bolt revelation the night after Gramma's funeral, thinking about purpose.  My life verse, that I cling to regularly is:  
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5,6
I was thinking about Gramma's heartfelt declaration that she was put on this earth by God to have babies.  She believed with all of her heart that her greatest purpose was to be a mama.  That was reflected in how she lived her life from the early years of her marriage, and I believe all who knew her would agree.  If you were to seek to know what path her life took, you would see that she followed down the path of being a loving, involved, and possibly doting mama.  She was that kind of grandma and great-grandma as well.  Her path was clear to all who knew her:  being a wife and mama was number one.  Her path was her purpose.  Eureka!  There it is!  This is what God showed me:  it is the same thing!  Right away I thought of my life verse, and realized just how simple it is to know what God's purpose for my life is.  And without a doubt, it will be revealed to me as I continue on my journey with Him, day after day after day!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your purpose straight.* (He will make your purpose clear!)

Friends, we all have a very unique, hand-crafted by God, purpose on this planet.  Mine is mine alone.  Yours is yours to walk.   There very well may be some similarities in our paths, but none of our paths will look exactly the same.  So be encouraged!  You have absolutely no one to compete with and no one to keep up with!  Really.  You don't.  You have only your path to walk.  You have only your purpose to fulfill.  That is God's perfect design.  And don't spin your wheels making it more difficult than it needs to be.  Gramma Peanut had it figured out...and so can you!  Just trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5,6

*word changed for emphasis
**I am having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth today