Tag Archives: heart

Things I taught my children…

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Friends, today I’m bringing you a guest post from a very sweet, precious, wise woman friend of mine, Miss Terra Tucker. I believe you will find it to be worth the read!

Things I taught my children – that I would teach them all again:
1. Jesus loves you – He may not like your behavior at times, but He always loves you.
2. To treat EVERY single person with kindness – “the way you would want to be treated” – Golden rule.
3. To look every person in the eyes when talking and listening to them. Mr David and I used to make them order their own food at a restaurant from the time they were two years old to practice this one.
4. Never make fun of another person (especially for something they cannot help) or be intentionally hurtful toward someone – cruelty is never cute or acceptable for children of God.
5. When you mess up or are hurtful toward someone – apologize – (say the words – I’m sorry)- I mean sometimes it’s the very least we can do in life.
6. You are no better than anyone, but no one is better than you either.
7. Every person is worthy of being treated with dignity and respect because every person is made in the image of God.
8. For my girls, pretty is as pretty does.
9. God always knows. You can pull things over on your parents at times, and you can trick some of the people some of the time, but God sees the heart. He always knows and ultimately we all answer to Him.
10. Humility comes before honor, and to strive to have integrity.
11. To whom much is given, much is required…
12. God is always with you. You are never alone.
13. You can always come back home – both to God (no matter what) and to us – because His and our love for each of you is unconditional!
14. We believe in each of you to be all of who God has created you to be!
15. God gives grace because nobody’s perfect!

Parenting is work, but I promise that it’s worth it!!!❤️

Terra

I need a heart transplant

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I need a heart transplant

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.               (Psalm 51:10, NIV)

No, I’m not talking about having surgery for medical reasons, nor am I making light of anyone who is. Rather, I’m talking about my own heart which needs to be renewed, purified, and ultimately healed. Can you relate?

I mean, do you feel that your heart can be cold, dark, numb, blind to the needs of others? Do you find yourself in a battle, daily even, over wanting a pure heart? A heart that only God can change? Or, do you struggle with a broken heart? Hurt, stomped on, defiled, stolen, even denied? Has your heart been betrayed by someone you loved and cared for? Are you a single lady hoping to give your heart away to someone who is worthy of it? A widow, hoping to restore her broken heart? Perhaps a married woman struggling with matters of the heart? Or, a worn-out Momma in need of help with matters of the heart over your young’ins?

What I most long for when I reach heaven is to have a new heart. A brand new heart. One that is pure, cleansed once and for all, 100% God’s. I know I’ll receive a new body, which is also great but I look forward to no longer having my ugly, deceptive, divided heart.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9, NIV)

Way back when I was in the youth choir at my church, we traveled and sang in other churches in the north and southeast, public forums, and conducted backyard Bible clubs along the way. One of my favorite songs from probably my favorite musical we ever performed, “Create In Me”. The lyrics were derived from the scripture Psalm 51:10. I can still hear the beautiful girl in our choir singing “Create in me a clean heart, purify me in every part, thoroughly wash me from sin, and renew a right spirit within”.  As a young teenager, although I loved the song, I didn’t fully comprehend the meaning of the lyrics. It was several years down the road when I understood how deceitful the heart actually is. It was about that time that I re-dedicated my life to Christ, and wanted to be thoroughly cleansed of all unrighteousness. Shortly thereafter, I was sharing my newfound joy in the Lord with my besties at the time. I was so on fire for the Lord and desperately wanted my friends to discover what I had found in Him.

I learned the importance of memorizing scripture and hiding it in my heart, thanks to my parents, grandparents, Sunday School teachers, & Vacation Bible School teachers. I studied how to pray scriptures to the Lord as I got older. This verse, along with many others, has always been one of my favorites. I encourage you to start working on the hearts of your children: pray for their tender hearts to be receptive to God’s calling, ask the Lord to guard their precious hearts, teach them scripture and what pleases the Lord. Capture their attention while they are young so they will grow to love their Maker by taking them by the hand to Sunday School, church, and enrolling them in Vacation Bible School. You won’t regret the foundation you’re building in their young lives.

a nice surprise!

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Recently, while doing a rather mundane little side hustle to earn some extra money, an older lady called after me and gave me the nicest compliment for work I’d done and she wanted to be sure to let me know how much she appreciated the extra care given. Well, I can tell you that it was like cool water to parched land. I had had a particularly rough day and was feeling down about myself; you know how the devil can really get under your skin? Hearing such kind words followed by “God bless you!” really ministered to my down-trodden spirit. I often think of the following scripture:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

(Colossians 3:23-24)

It reminded me that while my frame of mind was not in a particularly happy place at the time, I had done what was right. Someone took notice and showed a kind gesture. It may seem like a ridiculously simple thing but it causes me to remember to ask the Lord to use me in spite of myself. I thanked the Lord for doing so that day and for His kindness in her response to me. Try it! It may just turn your frown upside down!

 

Generosity

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Just today I had a conversation with a friend and the subject of generosity came up. Honestly, I guess I’d never really thought of it apart from the giving of money. You know, “he made a generous donation,” or “she was so generous with her giving this year”.  As I think on topic, the giving of money is but a facet. In fact, there are various ways to demonstrate generosity.

Perhaps the Christmas season has sparked an interest within me on this subject; after all, it is quite assuredly the largest (retail) season for giving of the entire year. I began to ponder the concept of what it means to give of yourself. Whether or not it involves money is immaterial. My friend and I were discussing the fact that some of us are quick to offer our money, perhaps because it is a commodity we have, rather than giving of our time. Maybe our time is quite scarce and so, it is easier to turn loose of some cash.

Case in point: several years back, a dear couple friend of ours with young children hadn’t been out on a date night in quite some time. So my husband and I offered to keep their kids for them for a few hours so they could enjoy a rare night out. To us, it was a mere gift of our time; we weren’t babysitting for money. While they thanked us for watching their kids, truly we received the blessing! We felt overjoyed to be able to do something for our friends whom we love so much. We were able to be generous with our time and desired to bless them with a night out. We enjoyed giving of ourselves! (*)

To effectively give of oneself, the heart is a package deal. When our heart is in the right place, then we find we are acting out of a pure heart, and with the right spirit. This is the quintessential art of giving. Giving of yourself is an act of selflessness. Again, sometimes this generosity involves money and other times it does not. More important is that you give of yourself because you really want to, not because you feel manipulated, or desire notoriety for your philanthropy. Our heart matters. How is yours?

So, this Christmas as you’re wrapping up your gift buying, or just beginning your shopping, don’t buy into our culture’s model of overspending in an attempt to purchase just the perfect gift. Try thinking outside the box! Perhaps a simple card with heartfelt written words would mean so much more than the random $20 gift you were planning to purchase. Offering your time to cut someone’s yard throughout the summer, helping to provide meals for a widow or a working single Mom would be so appreciated. Purchasing a newspaper subscription or paying for winter snow removal for a parent or grandparent on a fixed income would be well received. As long as it comes from your heart, you’re giving a generous gift. In this, we demonstrate our love for one another.

*(Note: my intent in sharing this is not to brag or to receive accolades, rather to illustrate what giving looks and feels like.)

Decisions, decisions

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Decisions, decisions

Like me, I’m sure you have come to a crossroads more than once in your life as to which way to go in making a decision. It’s really challenging when both choices (or more!) are (seemingly) good. Ever been there? I have dozens and dozens of times! And, it’s not always family-related. Sometimes it’s a job decision, sometimes health or treatment, insurance/benefits, a potential move, building/existing construction. You get the picture.

I had one such rather challenging decision to make years ago. I was quite young and new to living on my own. It was an emotionally charged time for me. You see, my Mom had been recently diagnosed with cancer. I had just made a move across state lines to start a new job in which I felt called to begin a new chapter in my single life, only seven months prior to her diagnosis. I had prayed a long time about making this job move and had great peace about it, in addition to my family being on board, offering their full support. Doors opened left and right for me confirming what God had shown me. Yet, I wrestled with God more than once after hearing of Mom’s illness, “God, I just know that I heard clearly from You to move forward and take this job. Why, then, would you move me 250 miles away from my family at such a time as this?

My answer didn’t come all at once. Even at my young age, I knew that this move was part of a bigger plan that God had for me. He physically moved me to grow me up, to mature me, to be on my own and to trust Him to work out all the details. My Mom is the one who confirmed this for me! I knew she struggled with me being so far away once she was found to be terminally ill, especially, but she was selfless; knowing that this move for me was part of God growing me up and that had I stayed home, I probably would never have left home to sprout my wings and fly.

Now, understand, I’m making a lonnnnnnnng story quite short. In a nutshell, as I struggled with my heart being pulled between two seemingly “good” things: this exciting new job in a new city doing exactly what I’d dreamed of doing versus being near my family at such a time as this. In the midst of my inner turmoiI, out of the blue I  had been offered a job which would take me back home, near my family. Oh, how my emotions pulled me every which way. The kicker was this job I’d been offered would pay me quite a bit more salary than the job I currently held. I was really feeling torn. I wasn’t making much money anyway, so the hope of making more captured my attention. Complicating things was the fact that some well-meaning families in our home church believed I should be back home, taking care of my Mom during her terminal illness. Now, I’m a people-pleaser to the core, and their opinion rocked my emotional world. My heart was troubled.

This is where the story gets interesting. While I never  heard God’s audible voice lay out His perfect plan for me, He certainly gave me direction with the details unfolding before my eyes. I vividly remember asking Him to help me hear His voice above all others. My boss had generously offered for me to go to be with my family as I needed and not to worry about my job, that he would bring in a “temp” to cover me until I could return. Wait? What?! This type of offer doesn’t just happen! I reached out to a couple friends whose advice and wisdom I valued, asking them to pray for me and the decisions I needed to make. What I learned through this process was that money isn’t everything. In other words, the job offer I’d received, while boasting a higher salary, proved to be a “short-lived” job opportunity. In other words, it wasn’t going to afford me the opportunities long-term that I was interested in pursuing. However, I was temporarily blind-sighted by the lure of the money being offered when I really wasn’t interested in the job. Not to mention, I was emotionally wracked over the fact that barring a miracle, I would be losing my Mom.

I’m not saying this job was a “bad” job in any way. I’m sure it would have proven to be a good job had I not already moved away from home. God used my trusted, praying friends to help me weed through this emotional dilemma I was facing. On one of my many trips home, my Mom encouraged me that she wanted me to be where I wanted to be and not take this job I wasn’t interested in only to be back home. I believe God allowed her to see her days were numbered and my time back home wasn’t going to last forever. She reminded me I needed to be where I felt the Lord had led me.  She had been my biggest cheerleader when I thought moving away to a new city wasn’t even a possibility for me. God used all these ‘puzzle pieces’ of wisdom to lead me to the decision I made. I had to come back to where I knew God had brought me, despite the distractions in my path. I don’t mean to imply my Mom’s illness was a distraction. Far from it! She was my best friend and the thought of losing her broke my heart. I felt that God had provided me an amazing opportunity to spend quality time with her, keep my job, and still get paid! I was able to work 3 days a week while commuting to be with my family the other 4 days of the week. I was able to go back and forth for 3 months.  It was a win-win and I knew only God could have orchestrated this solution!

I believe I had more quality time with my mom during the 4 days of the week I was home then I would have had if I’d moved back to take a new job. It was arranged that I would be closely involved in Mom’s care. I was able to be there for her doctor’s weekly evaluation visits, keep her medical diary, and get all the details of her care and updates firsthand. I took the night shift, sleeping in her room being available to her all throughout the night as she needed me to relieve my Dad of sleep deprivation as he had to continue working, and my sister was trying to graduate high school.

I am still in awe of all the many blessings God lavishly poured out upon our family at such a difficult and sad time. He truly manifested Himself through friends and loved ones in our lives. All of our needs were met by His grace. God truly showed up! He is a good, good God and He loves us more than we can even fathom with our own limited human minds.

What did I learn? Trusting Him throughout life’s most difficult moments and trials will grow and stretch your faith like nothing else. He is the only One able to make sense and order out of a messed up situation. He may not answer our prayers the way we want Him to (or think He should) BUT His Word tells us His ways are infinitely higher than ours. When we ask Him for wisdom, He generously gives it to us. He gives us direction and discernment. I cannot imagine living a life without Him. Life is hard, unfair and senseless at times. He doesn’t rescue us from difficulties, pain and disappointments but promises to walk through, even carry us through these times. He promises never to leave or forsake us.

I want to encourage you to get to know Him and His Word so that you will know His promises for yourself, as well as His character. Hide His Word in your heart. He will uphold us with His righteous right hand if we will allow Him to. He is a gentleman and never forces Himself upon us. Don’t miss out on another day’s worth of divine wisdom and guidance for the problems and decisions that constantly bombard and plague; turn your eyes upon Him and allow Him to shoulder your burdens, as only He can. He alone is faithful.

(Proverbs 18:24, Isaiah 41:10, James 1:5, Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 2, Proverbs 3, Proverbs 4, Proverbs 9:10)