Let Him Love You

Imagine the best Father in the world. Imagine One who loves you, protects you, dotes on you, listens to you. Imagine a Daddy who holds you as the apple of His eye and has only the best intentions toward you. Imagine a Father with limitless resources. THIS is our Heavenly Father.

We live in a fallen world and none of us had the perfect childhood. Doesn’t matter! We HAVE a perfect Father if we will only open our eyes and our hearts. Meditate on His Word and let His love heal the cracks in your heart.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:8-9).

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1).

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1).

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions [sin] – it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

“…God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions [sin] – it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5).


The Power of Three

Three. Not too big. Not too small. Quite manageable, really. Three has always been my favorite number, but it’s now become my mantra.

My students will tell you it’s true. We have a little “three before me” rule in 2A. If I’m working with groups or individuals, you must check with three classmates with your question before interrupting us. It works beautifully, since most questions are ones I’ve already answered. I hope I’m also teaching them to rely on each other.

My family and friends will tell you it’s true. It’s a daily goal to commit three random acts of kindness. These range from simply being patient with others in traffic to stopping at a child’s lemonade stand (a favorite!) to running an errand for someone to giving a gift card to someone needing encouragement.

My husband will tell you it’s true. Every weekend I strive to get rid of three things. Now, you must understand that I’m a happy consumer. I enjoy shopping and no one loves a bargain more than I do. I don’t know if it’s my age or my husband’s influence, but I’m finally realizing more isn’t always better. Sometimes more is just…more…more clutter, more mess, more stress.

Enter three. I found it difficult to part with things initially, but the idea of getting rid of “just” three things appealed to me. Surely I could find three things? So, I took a deep breathe and started. It was hard, people! I finally found a shirt that had seen better days. Trashed it. Then I sold a pretty necklace I’d never worn much. I spotted an unopened CD someone had given me. It went in the charity box. And so it went. Every decision was difficult in the beginning, but it slowly got easier when I realized I didn’t miss any of the things I’d given, sold, or tossed. I actually felt great, lighter…and it became a game. Who can I bless today? Someone needs this coat I no longer wear. Look at this empty drawer! Heady stuff. And, more often than not, I’d find an entire bag filled. I went far beyond three.

Try it! Try the power of three this week. Deliver three compliments. Thank Him for three blessings in your life. Get rid of three items you don’t use. Commit three acts of kindness. Write three letters or texts or emails. Spend three extra minutes in prayer. Read to your kiddos for three more minutes than usual. Three extra minutes on the treadmill. Ah, three! Three is a lovely place to start, don’t you think?

As always, I’d love you to like and share this post. And please share your victories and struggles below. Be blessed!

The JOY Takers

I was flying high. I celebrated a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. No drama. No hurt feelings. I put together a new classroom in record time and was quite surprised with the beautiful result. My husband and I were eagerly anticipating our tenth anniversary celebration. The scale’s needle was even starting to move in the correct direction. Then, BOOM! Someone told me they saw some of my coworkers and asked why I wasn’t invited to the gathering. Someone else commented that a mutual friend hadn’t liked a Facebook post. Uhhhh . . . I was completely unaware of both. Neither was even remotely important, but the enemy sure had fun with me for a couple of hours. I went from feeling I was on top of the world to feeling friendless. I even started noticing people who didn’t text me back. Oh y’all, I’m embarrassed to admit all of this to you, but maybe, just maybe, some of you feel this way sometimes.

As my pity party was just beginning, it hit me! The Word of God is living and active. It is my weapon. I’m not warring against people; I’m warring against our enemy. (Hebrews 4:12 and Ephesians 6:12) Why do I forget this so frequently?!?!

I could’ve easily dwelled on the perceived slights for days and I’ve done just that in the past. And I did get well and truly bummed for a bit. I could actually “see” myself dwelling on these unimportant things and getting more upset by the minute. Ugh! Then the Lord reminded me to deliberately turn my back on hurt feelings, as I’ve done in the past. I said a loud NO to replaying the pain. (I’ve heard pastors call it rehearsing the hurt.) Instead, I turned my mind to the precious, generous, loving, dear friends I have, the ones I can call in the middle of the night, the ones I can bare my soul to. I focused on my God and how He has loved, changed, and blessed me. I thought about my marriage and what a tremendous blessing it is in my life. In other words, I did what Philippians 4:8 tells me to do, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” And guess what? My mood improved. I felt like me again.

This may sound like it was simple. And it actually was pretty easy THIS time because I’ve practiced it for years. It wasn’t easy the first time or even the first dozen times, but it’s important to control my thought life and practice forgiveness (for the real-and perceived-slights) if I want to rise above pettiness and live a life of victory in Him.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I highly recommend Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind. You can order it here.

There are so many joy takers. Our enemy knows us well. He knows where to strike, but we’ve been given the tools to lead victorious lives. Our God is so, so good. I’d love to hear from you, dear readers. What joy takers have you defeated lately?

Think on These Things

Today’s post is rather lighthearted, inspired by a Facebook post by a dear friend, Stacey Pybus, and Philippians 4:8.

The Word says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

We live in a sick, sad world, but we serve a Great, Good God. There is much to enjoy. Here’s a partial list of my favorite things. I’d love to hear from you.

Church. Worshipping. Hugging my hubby. Hugging my students. Coffee in bed. Not waking up to an alarm. Sitting on the beach, listening to the waves crash the shore. Puffy clouds. Church bells. Blue skies. The laughter of children. A sincere compliment. Checking things off my to-do lists. Funny cards. Sweet cards. Notes from children. Babies. Finding a true bargain. Avocado enchiladas. Christmas lights. A great book. Reading to my kids. Air conditioning. Light traffic. Hanging out with my besties. Being understood. Gentle rains. Exploring new places. The Word of God. Hearing my favorite songs. Laughing so hard it feels like a workout. Puppies. Chocolate. Group texts. Christmas carols. Easter. Fun times with my family. Snow. Chaco sandals. A great purse. A job well done. The cry of seagulls. Sand between my toes…

Top 10 Thoughts for 2015

I’m unable to let go of this fresh start we’ve all been given. I’ve always loved beginnings, but this year something’s different. I sense God stirring my spirit, calling me deeper, gently nudging me to change and break free. And so I post and post again.

1. Give. Give a little more money, a little more time, a little more kindness. This hurting world needs to see Jesus and some will see Him in my giving. That’s incredibly motivating.

2. Simplify. No to too much food, too much unnecessary activity, too much stuff.

3. Love. I’ve always said that’s Job 1 in teaching. It’s actually Job 1 in marriage, in friendships, in running errands-in life.

4. Hope. Dare to hope things will improve.

5. Be still. Oh my, this is an important one for me. When I “forget” to sit quietly with Him, I fall apart. Being still keeps me focused, centered, calm, and able to do all He’s called me to do.

6. Joy. Stop, look, and listen. A beautiful snowfall, a child’s laughter, a free hour to read-there are many reasons to be joyful.

7. Give thanks. I’ve been actively practicing gratitude for a few years. Wow! The difference it makes … I’m not sure I can adequately describe it. It. Changed. My. Life. Try it. Please.

8. Forgive. You don’t have to like them. You don’t have to like what they did. You don’t have to do anything except forgive them. Just do it. And keep doing it. I’m able to forgive some people quickly and move right along, but others… I have to forgive them daily.

9. Move on. Move away from unhealthy habits and relationships.

10. More of HIM and less of me. I saved the best for last, didn’t I?

I’ve finished unpacking and decorating my new classroom. I LOVE it! Yes, I gave up two days of vacation to do it. Yes, I got up earlier than I like. Yes, it was hard work. And yes, it was worth it. I’m soooo grateful for two things I’m learning (shared in earlier posts): (1) Don’t complain, especially when you cannot change things. (2) Accept sincere offers of help. My husband and dearest friend spent 9 hours with me, doing grunt work. I literally couldn’t have done it without them. And they helped me on New Year’s Eve! We celebrated with a lovely dinner out and not one of us made it to midnight.

Back to our list! There are hundreds of things I could add, but I’m concluding with just three things to consider.

8. Do good. Make it a point to do ONE good thing for one person every day. I love this! I try to do more than one, and the ones I choose are often quite simple.

A friend was going through a very tough time a few months back. I loathe talking on the phone, but I made it a point to call her several times a week for a couple of months. Letting her vent and process was my gift to her.

My husband has several things that make him feel loved (making the bed every morning, running errands with him, etc). You’d better believe I try to do these things regularly. What an easy way to bless him.

Because of the new wing and so many teachers moving, our custodians have had double the work load during our holiday. A coworker brought doughnuts one cold morning. I bought lunch another day. Little things mean a lot.

Many times, the simple act of listening, of being in the moment is the greatest gift of all.

9. Enjoy. Breathe. Look up. Look around. And remember, this is YOUR life, so take a moment to enjoy it.

10. Declutter. This is an issue near and dear to my heart-at school and at home. I’m a work in progress. My guiding thoughts: if I don’t use it and/or love it, it goes. Period. If you’re anything like me, it’s often painful. Some things I can easily give away. Others go into a holding closet until I can make a decision. I’m also learning to make sure I truly love (or need) something before buying. No more things in my closet just because they were 70% off!

Make 2015 Your BEST Year Yet (part 2)

As I share some thoughts on resolutions, I’d love to hear from YOU. What are you resolving to do in 2015?

Here are some more ideas for us:

4. Take care of YOU. You know exactly what your heart is whispering to you. Is it telling you to lose weight, make that appointment, floss, go to the gym? Perhaps you need to slow down. Only YOU can take care of you. I know how difficult it is. I fight these battles, too.

My newest thing: I’m taking one bite less. Every. Single. Time. Sounds funny, I know. What’s really happening is I’m retraining myself. I’ve allowed my flesh to set the rules for far too long. Taking one less bite just occurred to me recently. I’m embarrassed to tell you when I first tried it, my flesh rebelled. Okay, fine. My flesh has thrown a hissy fit almost every time. It’s been an eye opener I sorely needed.

5. Unplug.

6. Journal. It’s important to record your thoughts, feelings, and insights. It doesn’t have to be in diary form. Journal in your iPhone’s notes section or with photographs. Create a private board on Pinterest of things that speak to you. Be creative.

According to The Health Benefits of Journaling by Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP, “There is increasing evidence to support the notion that journaling has a positive impact on physical well-being.”

Journaling leads to reflection, which can lead to positive change. It’s a stress reliever. It helps me get perspective. It’s also helps me dump my bad days.

7. Forgive. Oh, I know! But He tells us to forgive. And I’ve finally learned it’s for OUR good. You’re not excusing their behavior or allowing them to repeat their crimes against you. Nope. You’re just refusing to hold yourself hostage to bitterness.

More next time.