Talents for Him
I love the flute. Ever since I saw a lady playing one during a performance when I was about six years old, I knew I wanted to play. I purchased my first (and only) flute at a used instrument sale when I was in the fifth grade. I was so proud of my flute, but my band teacher (at the public school where I was attending at the time) told me not to put the flute together. She even went as far to say that I could not even take it out of the case! Those few days before I had my first lesson tested my patience as I sat and gazed at my flute and wished I could just hold in it in my hands. I dreamed of picking it and playing a beautiful song for the first time. I know, a crazy dream, but at 11 years old I had high hopes.
The day finally arrived for my first lesson. My band instructor taught me how to carefully put the three pieces together, hold it correctly, and make a sound in the mouthpiece. After I was finished she showed me how to properly clean it and put it back in the case. After that day, I was allowed to take it out and play it whenever I wanted. The more the better, because it meant I was practicing. True, I soon found out it was not always fun to play and practice. Some songs were extremely difficult and after plugging through all those blacks notes for a day or two, I would set the music aside, exasperated and discouraged. Who ever said learning scales and syncopation was easy and exciting? One thing I did discover was that after setting it aside for some time, it was not quite so hard when I picked it back up again.
I have now been playing the flute for 27 years. I played in a band for my first year, and then began taking private lessons when I started homeschooling in sixth grade, which I took for 7 years. The summer of 1991 I attended a camp in Stowe, Vermont for a week. At the end of the week we put on a big performace for the parents of the students.
I played during every church service for 6 years when I was a teenager, and then again in my early twenties before I was married. I have played with people who knew how to play other instruments really well, and I have also learned to play with people who sang and played off-key. I can play music by ear and I can read music. I played one night in a group for my friend’s high school basketball team. I learned to play in all kinds of situations and loved every minute of it.
After I got married in 1998, I put the flute down for a few years. I did not have time to focus on it as I began having children, but it often beckoned to me to come pick it up and play a song or two.
I am happy to say that my flute won out and I play in the evening church services again, and sometimes I participate in small group specials. I love using the gift God has given me. And I still have the same flute I bought 27 years ago.
My daughter loves the flute and wants me to teach her how to play. I am excited to be able to pass on this legacy to one of my children and hopefully, 27 years later, she will still be playing and passing on her talents to her children.
Music is mentioned in the Bible a lot. Make sure you include good, Godly music in the lives of your children. God may have given them a talent that is worth sharing with the world. If they have an interest in an instrument or demonstrates a unique talent, do not squash their desire. Find a way to make it work and see what God has in store for that child's life.
In closing, make sure you train your children to use their talents for Him and not in a worldly fashion. God does not get any glory or praise when it is all about fame and appearance. Let Him lead your children and pray they follow His leading and will for their lives in the area God has blessed them.
The box sat forgotten in the back of the closet. Hidden by rows upon rows of shoes and accessories, the box slowly deteriorated as the dust and humidity gradually wore down what was left of the exterior. It had once been beautiful on the outside. Covered with hand painted roses, lined with pearls and lace, with a healthy bouquet of silk roses over every inch of the cover, the box had been displayed in the living room of the woman who had first purchased the box.
The inside was empty, though the gorgeous hat it had once held had been the talk of the town. Every woman had desired to own a hat like that, to be like the lady who wore the hat with such grace, though she had no idea she was the envy of all around her. She was a simple woman, kind and gentle, who, even though she enjoyed looking nice, she focused on others around her more than she did herself.
The woman wore the hat until her dying day, only handing it down to her daughter as she breathed her final words. “Take my hat and wear it proudly, my dear,” she had told her daughter. “It was my life and I want you to hold onto it forever.”
The daughter had agreed, though inside she was unsure of how to answer. She had always felt a little embarrassed by her mother’s open display of the hat that seemed a bit too much to her. True, the hat had been helpful when she had become lost in a crowd and could not find her way out. All she had to do was look for the hat and she had found her mother rather quickly. She had always gone along with her mother as she had helped others. Her mother always did have a servant’s heart. Though she assured her dying mother she would do her best to keep it, she did not want to continue such a lifestyle if it meant having to keep the hat forever.
After the funeral, the daughter set the hat box in her living room, though she could not bear looking at the hat so she made sure the box was closed so none could see what was inside. Wearing hats had become out of style and she had no desire to have it become a topic of conversation in her home if she could help it. She did her duty of displaying it for as long as she felt necessary, and then set the box away in the basement.
A few years passed and the family decided to move. As the daughter was packing, she found the old hatbox and opened it up. The hat had become moldy from sitting in the basement for so many years and started to fall apart when she touched it. With a grim expression, she tossed the hat into the garbage can. For one brief moment she hesitated before putting the lid back on. What would her mother say if she knew her daughter was throwing her heart’s love away? The daughter shook her head. If her mother only could see what a mess the hat was in, she would do the same thing, she was sure of it.
Later on, the daughter of the daughter came down and saw the old hat box and asked her mother what it was. With little explanation the mother told her young daughter it had once been her grandmother’s.
“May I keep the box, mom?” the little girl had asked.
The mother had nodded and the little girl had happily skipped away, excited to have a keepsake box to put her own special treasures in.
The years wore on and eventually the box was forgotten again as it waited in the back of the teenage daughter’s closet. It sat empty, void of any treasures or keepsakes. Having grown too old for such babyish items, the girl had tossed all the things she had once held dear and now her time was occupied with shopping, makeup, and boys.
The girl decided she needed to move out. It was time to make it on her own. With two or three other girl friends they should be able to make enough to pay the rent for an apartment. She began cleaning out her closet and discovered the hatbox. With a disgusted look at the ragged box, she tossed it in the trash pile and went on her way.
That evening, the mother sat outside on the porch with tears in her eyes. Her daughter had left and she felt alone. There had been no need for her to leave, except for the idea of independence and thrill of trying to make it on her own. With a sob, the mother put her head down and prayed. “Dear God, where did I go wrong? I tried to raise her like my mother did, but this world is so harsh and tempting! What did I miss?”
She looked up and something by the trash can at the end of the driveway caught her eye. She stood up and slowly walked to the end to see what the round box was. When she realized what it was, she gave a gasp. It was her mother’s old hatbox cast aside like a piece of trash. She knelt down and tenderly picked up the box, weeping as she held it close. The mother wondered if the faded box could ever be repaired. She had to give it a try.
Later that week, she received a call from the seamstress who had been working on the box for many days. “It is ready,” she was informed. “You may come pick it up at any time.”
With a racing heart, the woman walked into the front room of the shop and waited for the seamstress to bring out her box. The lady set the box on the counter and smiled. “It took a lot of hard work, but I was able to mend everything except for the painted roses. I am not an artist when it comes to painting, but the lace and pearls I could fix, as well as put a new bouquet on
the top. What do you think?”
The mother was speechless. It was so beautiful, even with the flowers still faded in the background. She paid the money she owed and took the box home where she could proudly display it in her living room. Yet, as she looked at it, something still seemed missing. It looked okay on the outside, but something was missing on the inside. She realized she needed a new hat! It would not be the same as her mother’s, but a brand new one that would resemble the heart of the mother.
For days the mother went searching for just the right hat. Nobody seemed to carry them anymore, or even cared about her concern to find one. Some even laughed at her saying she would never find one because they were 'old fashioned', but she did not give up. Finally, she found one small corner shop that had some in stock. The clerk was very happy to sell her one of his hats and wrapped it up very carefully for her to take home. When the hat was in the box, it all seemed complete once again, and the mother felt satisfied, though she felt sad to realize that the reason her daughter had not cared, was because she had not cared to pass on the heritage that the box had held. She had not cared enough about what the inside of the box had held to share it with her own daughter. The outside shell had been okay to show, but without anything inside, the box meant nothing to her daughter. She had her work cut out for her and prayed that one day her own daughter would realize the importance of what was inside the box, just as her eyes had been opened to the truth.
Remember: it is not what we do and express on the outside – going through the motions of loving Jesus, but it is having the heart of Jesus inside. When He lives inside us, we change on the outside because He molds us to be like Him. Now go, and make sure you pass on what is important on the inside. Having your own personal relationship with the Lord is the best thing you can do for your children.
Content to Watch and Pray
We finished the last day of school with a trip to Lake Compounce yesterday. All the children had a blast, and even little Benny and his buddy finished the day with a ride down the River Rapids. We all got soaked to the skin, but laughed through it all. My husband got to tag along with us and even attempted a few of the crazy rides with my second son, who is fearless when it comes to the scariest, fastest rides. The only one who did not go was my oldest. He is the type that gets sick just driving in the car so he did not even think it would be worth it to go if he could not even ride on the carousel.
I must admit that looking at those rides through the eyes of a parent is extremely different than when I was a teenager. I can recall the time when I went to visit a friend in North Carolina and we took a trip to King's Dominion in Virginia with her, her brother, and one of his friends. Coming from the small state of Vermont, I had never gone on anything more than a ferris wheel or maybe a little roller coaster at the Champlain Valley Fair, but they informed me that we were going to ride all of the biggest, scariest rides the park had to offer. I did not want to, but the old peer pressure thing came up, and I found myself behing pulled along with them to the Pirate Ship, the first ride inside the gate. This would have been okay, but not only did this Pirate Ship go back and forth, but it also went upside down and hung there for a few seconds before swinging back around again. My heart beat rather fast as I climbed on and got buckled in. I kept informing myself that I could do this until someone in the back felt inclined to yell, "We're all going to die!" and my eyes grew wide and my palms began to sweat. I did not want to die while riding some crazy ride! I could imagine my parents getting the call about how their daughter had met her doom on the Pirate Ship by being tossed from the boat. Talk about nerve wracking!
Well, obviously I lived to tell about it and once I got over my shaky nervousness, I had a great time with all the rest of the rides. I even had fun on the standup roller coaster that went upside down too. We went home completely wet, just like we did yesterday, but at the end of the day, the water rides were completely worth the journey, even if you do fall off the little sled down the waterslide and land completely dressed in the water. :P
At the park yesterday, my second son took to all the crazy rides with his friends, and even dragged his daddy on a few where he thought it was the end for him. The forces that pull on your body are extremely strong and it felt like his insides were going to rip out of him, he said. No thank you, I said. I was quite content to stand with my feet firmly planted on the ground and watch them get dizzy and sick to their stomach. The roller coaster did look exciting, but I was not willing to stand in line for an hour to take a two minute blast through the woods. It says in Matthew 26:41, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." I knew my flesh was as weak as it gets and though I felt tempted, I was content to watch and pray for those who did end up taking those rides.
My views of these rides have changed since those teenage years, and I spent quite a bit of time watching and praying that the chains holding my children would continue to work properly and not choose to break down with my family on there. I found myself hoping that the master builders, who constructed each ride, knew what they were doing and their product would not fail them now. The only chains that I want to let loose on my children are the chains of sin that bind them; that separate the unsaved ones from our Savior. I am glad to say I know the Master Builder of this earth; the Creator of my body; the best Illustrator Who painted such beautiful colors in nature for us. I can rest assured that all that His hands have constructed and put together will never fail. I know He loves me and gave me the greatest gift of all- His Son, Jesus Christ. My God will never fail.
The End Is Near
We can count the days on one hand. The small dot of light that was once seen at the end of the tunnel has now become full sunlight streaming through the doorway that leads to summertime. With three days left of school, the children are extremely excited and bouncing off the walls. Not just my children, mind you, but the entire crew of students at Heritage have already mentally begun their summer vacation, while their bodies still sit behind their desks. The aftercare room is proof that they have simply lost it and demand freedom. Even the parents seem to be leaving them in aftercare longer these days, and I suspect it is because they do not want the 'crazies' running madly around their living room! The rain has not helped me either because it has kept us stuck inside all week.
As I mentioned before, we can count the remaining days on one hand. Three days to be exact, though the last day really does not count. That is the day where we will all be at Lake Compounce where the children can tire themselves out with lots of exercise and scary rides.
Looking back to the beginning of the school year, I am amazed at how God has blessed this entire school year. His handprints can be seen on everything from the teachers, to the students, right down to the smallest detail. Just the fact that we had a school to attend is proof of God's hand. Because the classes were small, the children were allowed to experience almost one on one teaching, and grew quite close to their fellow students and teachers.
I personally learned a lot over the course of the year, mainly from the three months of teaching that I experienced as I covered the K5-1st grade class. Even though I had taught my own children at home for five years, this was something completely different. I had every emotion imaginable tear through me throughout those months - frustration, anger, nervousness, joy, peace, a sense of incompetence, disappointment, excitement - all because I was teaching that group of crazy, wild, temper-prone children who were adorably cute, and sometimes very frustrating and loud. I found it extremely challenging. I had to keep on my toes with those seven, mentally staying three steps ahead of them or else they would have plowed over me with their antics. I shed a lot of tears and sent many desperate prayers to the Lord to help me get through, but He helped me every step of the way. He had something He wanted me to learn through it all and I hope I remember all that I took away from this school year.
1) ...that when you ask the Lord for a job and some help in your finances, be specific. He might give you what you ask for, but it will not be in the form that you thought it would be. I believe He has a sense of humor.
2) ...that you should not ask God directly for patience. He knows our character (because He is the One that knit us together) and will always place us into the worst possible situation to answer that request.
3) ...that I will never again be able to say I cannot handle teaching my own five children should the Lord call me to do that again. That would seem like a breeze!
4) ...that you should always be prepared for the unknowns that may be just around the corner. God will use any means He knows that will get our attention so He can teach us complete surrender and total reliance on Him.
5) ...that you should never tell little children there is a mummy in the closet. They will take your idea and run with it until they have convinced themselves that it is true. The loud banging of the heaters will not help you tell them otherwise.
6) ...that you should never think you know somebody until you have worked with them or spent any time with them. Great friendships can be made that will last a lifetime.
7). ...that God will send encouragement to you through ways you would never have imagined. He may even use the child that you were having a hard time with to teach you an honest truth.
8) ...that God is faithful through it all and will give you the strength you need to endure and is always on time.
Hooray for summertime!!
A Tender Heart
I do not understand why God has allowed me to see, three times so far, a hawk go flying by the window of my car as he carries away some poor little creature struggling for his last moments of life hoping to escape the clutches of the enemy. God knows how much I love animals, something I inherited from my dad and his love for all kinds of creatures. I spent many hours as a girl tending to all sorts of animals. Some of them I found sick and though I did everything I knew how to help them get better, I often found myself burying them in the small animal graveyard in the woods out behind our house. Others I rescued from a predator, or found lost and alone without their mamas. Sometimes it was a bird that had hit the window and needed a few moments to clear his foggy brain. These usually mended well from their mishaps and I was always excited to release them to their natural habitat, hoping I would one day see them again eating at the feeder.
So, I must admit that each time I witness this horrible 'hawk event' - three times now! I am always traumatized for days after. I have a hard time getting that mental image out of my head and I try to figure out if there was anything I could have done to stop the hawk from taking off with his dinner. Yes, I know that hawks have to eat too, but I often wonder why God had to create creatures to feel pain and fear. It is pretty obvious that He gave them these feelings in order to save their life - if they did not have any fear then there might not be any left because they would not know when to run away from the dangers that lurked overhead. But couldn't God have given them only a little bit of that fear and pain feeling? There is nothing sadder than having my kitty look at me with a pained expression, like she expects me to take it away. A little baby cannot understand why they feel the way they do when they are sick or hurt. There is no way to explain to them what is going on and that it is all a part of life. We only can do what we can to make them comfortable and soothe their questioning minds with soft whispers of love in their ear.
I got to thinking about the people around us and how they are like that little squirrel that was snatched away so quickly by the enemy. If I have such a soft, caring heart for a little squirrel, then should not my heart be as tender toward the people of the world that have an even bigger, more dangerous enemy lurking to snatch them away? The devil walks around this earth like a lion, searching whom he may devour. He knows he is not going to win in the end, but he is working as hard as he can to take down as many people as possible because he does not want to go alone. He does not want anyone to surrender their life to Christ because it means he will be down in his count.
I need to have the eyes of Christ and view the people of this world as He views them - needing a Savior, Who can and will rescue them from the clutches of the "hawk." My prayer today is that the Lord will make my heart as tender for the people He has created as it is tender for the animals He created.
A Blast From the Past
When I was a little girl, it never occurred to me that I might do the exact same thing to my children that my mother always did to the six of us as we were growing up. I am not talking about anything she did that was bad, but something that always made us roll our eyes and wonder if she was for real or not. According to the saying, 'the apple does not fall far from the tree,' I guess I did not roll far enough from the base to escape the same "strangeness" that I heard more than once a day.
My Mom had this talent of coming up with a song for every word or phrase we said to her. If we said something like, "Will you get up?" she would begin singing a song about 'Lazy Mary, will you get up, she answered back, "I am not able..."" If we mentioned something about a ball, she began singing, "After the ball was over, Maggie took out her glass eye..." If we said the word 'somewhere' she would begin singing, "Somewhere over the rainbow..." If we mentioned gum, she would start singing, "Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight..." The list goes on and on. Sometimes in our desparation of trying to make her stop, it only added fuel to the fire because everything we said or did brought back another song memory.
For years I wondered if she had made up the songs because it did not seem possible to have so many songs about so many common words. I must admit I have looked up many of them on the internet and found most of them - at least the ones I remember. To this day certain words will strike an old memory chord in my head and I can hear her singing different lyrics to old songs.
So, to the annoyance of my children, I must say it has happened. The "strangeness" that overcame my mother daily has hit me and now I often have my five children rolling their eyes at me, wondering if I am for real or not. The funny thing is that I find myself singing some of the exact same songs my Mom sang to me. Though I do not know all the words to the songs, the small phrases linger in my brain and come out at the oddest times, when my children least expect it.
Yet, not only do I sing those songs, but I have songs from my own past that I love to sing. They make me remember the carefree, young days as a child, when I was twirling around my living room listening to our records - you know, those big, giant black cds? 'Supergang' and 'Animals' were two of my favorites. My girls have heard me sing the penguin song about not complaining many times when they were griping about something they did not like. Herbert the snail's song on patience has been another one that my children have become familiar with when it comes to my singing.
Many of the old record companies have made their records into cds now, but a few of them are not available as of yet. So, I must say that I was very excited the other day when my dad emailed me and told me he was putting all of our old records into MP3 form and if there were any I wanted to let him know. He emailed me a couple of the songs and sent me on a brief blast from the past as I listened to the original 'Animals' song from days of old. I played it for my children and the eyes began to roll and the looks of utter shock appeared on their faces. Either they could not believe that the songs I had sang earlier had been for real, or they could not believe I was enjoying this "childish" music as an adult. It does not matter. They do not realize the memories those songs hold in my mind and all the special moments that made my family special. My children will have their time, which is coming much faster than I ever expected, when they will look back and remember the special times we had as a family and the songs they hear now will get them through any tough times ahead.
See, it's not only the fun songs that come to remembrance, but it's the songs that are Bible verses, hymns, and spiritual songs that also come when we need it. The more we hear uplifting, Godly music, the more it will remain forever etched into our brain-computers and we will be able to pull it up at just the right moments. It does my heart good to hear my Benjamin singing the songs, "He Knows My Name," and "I Have Been Blessed" by heart. Those words are getting into his own little heart and one day, at just the right time, he will hear the word, "blessed," and that song will come back to his memory. God will use the songs for His glory and get my children through the trials that life most certainly holds.
Make sure you have lots of good music in your home. With the future as shaky as it is, get the word of God into your family's hearts as songs and nobody will be able to take that away from us.
I was outside watching the little helicopters (seeds from the Maple trees) float down from the sky and came up with this poem. I love spring!
By Cara Simmons
Way up high above your head,
From the Maple limbs I hang.
Waiting for just the right time,
When the wind will take me away.
I feel the breeze; a tug and a pull,
And suddenly I’m free!
Spinnning and turning, floating with ease,
I’m on the ride of my life!
It’s the moment I’ve waited for,
My chosen hour, when I set out on my own.
For one blissful moment,
I’m free as a bird, without a care in the world.
Suspended in space, floating with grace,
Then gently I land on the ground.
Though the short ride is over,
My task’s just begun,
The promise of new life within,
I will be a tree,
Which one day in turn,
Will send out more seeds of my own.
The Heart of the King
Written by Cara Simmons
He sat in the darkness of his room, the dank stuffiness of the air surrounding him adding to his gloom. His servant had brought him breakfast and offered to open the curtains, but he had quickly shooed him away. There was no need to let the sharp bright light into the room just yet. He needed more time lay in bed and be miserable. There was nothing to get up for...nothing he could really do. He had no hopes or dreams for his future; that is at least any that he felt he could speak of out loud. He had his lame feet to thank for that. Well, maybe his feet were not to blame. Maybe it was the nurse's fault that dropped him as she raced out the door in haste to get him away so he could not be found by their enemies. Then again, maybe it was the fact that his father and grandfather had been slain in battle by the Philistines and for one split second of a hopeful future, the title of prospective king was held over his head. His father, Jonathan, had been King Saul's eldest son. He would have been the rightful heir to the throne and could have ruled the kingdom with such grace and selflessness. Yet, to his amazement, even at five years of age he had wondered at his father's words when he heard him talking to his mother about David, the shepherd boy hiding in the mountains from King Saul.
"He is going to be king someday," Jonathan, his father, had said one day. "I believe God has called him to sit on the throne instead of me."
"Jonathan, how can you say that?" demanded the boy's mom. "You are the son of Saul, King of Israel! You are the rightful heir to the throne! How can you let some common village boy take your place!"
Jonathan had just smiled at his wife. "Because it is the way God wants it to be. Samuel has already performed the anointing of David and only a few know of what is to come. My father suspects something is up, and has tried to kill David so many times, yet I will not allow him to hurt David. Our friendship goes deep to the heart because it is God that has knit our hearts together."
His mother's lip had trembled at the words. "I only wish our hearts could be knit together as closely as yours and Davids. It makes me jealous to see how you pine for your friend as he is out hiding. Why can't I be that close to you?"
Jonathan took his wife in a hug and held her close. "You are close to me, my love, yet I can't explain what it is that draws me to David. Maybe it is because I know he is going to be the king someday and I know I won't be alive to see him fulfill God's destiny for his life. I see God's hand in his life and I want to have that same closeness, that same relationship that David has with God. It is God's love that draws me to David because He radiates from his very being."
Those words spoken so long ago. It was the last conversation he had heard between his parents. Shortly after, his father Jonathan had left to join the battle, never to return again to his family. It was probably King David's fault that he lay in bed, unable to walk again, unable to take his rightful place on the throne. Maybe his father had been willing to give David the throne, but if he had been able to walk and take a stand, he would never have let David rule the kingdom that was rightfully his.
A knock on the door startled him out of his daydream. "Come in," he grunted, clearly unhappy to be bothered. The heavy wooden door opened and his servant came in. "What do you want?"
"Sir, you must get up, wash, and dress." The servant threw open the curtains and the warm sunshine filled the room.
"I will get up when I feel like it! Close those curtains! How dare you take control of everything!"
The servant hurried over to the bed and grabbed his hand. "Sir, you MUST get up. King David has sent a messenger to the door and requested that you go to his home."
"Me? Why me? What does he want with a useless crippled man like me?" Suddenly his heart grew cold. Could the king have heard his thoughts somehow, thoughts of anger and spite about his father and the throne? If God knew every thought then maybe He had sent the word to David and it was time to take his miserable life away. Well, so be it. What did he have to lose anyway?
An hour later he was settled into his wagon, with a blanket pulled over his ugly, gnarled feet. He was taken to the door of the palace of King David where a group of servants carried him inside and gently set him down at the feet of the king.
King David said, "Mephibosheth."
And he answered, "Behold thy servant!"
Then David said unto him, "Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually."
He could not believe the words he had just heard. Unsure of the meaning and still feeling a bit ashamed and afraid, Mephibosheth bowed himself low, and said, "What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?"
The words that poured forth from the King at that moment cleansed the hurting heart of a poor, lonely man that had lived in misery, thinking his life had no meaning, that God had forsaken him. The king actually loved him! He desired to take care of him for the rest of his life, he and his family, gaining back the land that once had been his father's and grandfather's. With the promise of servants to tend the gardens and fields, he would become a rich man and have all he had ever wanted. But the best part of it was the fact that he would be allowed to sit at the table of the king, to share in his dining, and be able to live inside the palace, where he should have been in the first place. With tears of joy, Mephibosheth humbly took the offer and happily took his family to the home of the King, who loved him for who he was. The heart of the king was good and kind, and now he knew why his father Jonathan had loved this man so much. The heart of God radiated from David's very being and now Mephiboshelth wanted to be like his king in every way that he could.
Is this not the same story we all can tell about our life of sin and misery and the great King that gladly took us in and someday we will live in a palace with Him in heaven? Think about it.
The story of Mephibosheth can be found in 2 Sam 4:4, 9:6,10-13, 16:4, 19:24,25,30, and 21:7-8
Am I Still the Glue?
Once again we have come to the time of year when we have to examine what God's will for our lives is and pray about what He wants us to do for the upcoming school year. There are so many opinions about what to do with our children, whether we should homeschool them or send them to Christian school. For some families, homeschooling is the only way to go and they would never think of doing anything different, and that is fine. For some families, sending them to Christian school is the only way to go and they would never think of doing anything different, and that is fine. For some families, they cannot afford Christian school or maybe they live too far away to even think about traveling every day, and that is fine. What each family chooses is between them and the Lord. Let it be the Lord Who will decide for each family. As long as they are in His will and doing what He wants them to do, that is fine.
So, why are there times when I feel unsettled inside? I thought I knew what God wanted for us. Seeing that the children are doing very well at the school they attend is encouraging to me. Am I simply feeling guilty for not doing what I always thought I would be doing, and that is always being home with my children, teaching them and not going outside of the home to work? Titus 2:5 says, "To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." What exactly does being a keeper at home mean? If I look at the Proverbs 31 woman, I can get a good idea of what it may mean. She was up late at night tending to the needs of her household, and rose up early. She made sure they had meals, always had clean laundry for them to wear, and supported her husband in everything he did. She worked making clothing for people, and then went out and sold them. She went out to look at land and bought it. Yet through all this, she still had her priorities straight. She knew her home was her domain and that her main focus was her husband. She did what she could to keep it that way. She knew the husband had his job in the home and that was to protect his family and provide for them, but she also knew she had her job in the home and that was to be the glue for her family. She was the one that kept it running smoothly, pulling the family together.
It does not matter what everyone else is doing around me. He has a special plan for my life that is different than anybody elses. God has made each individual differently, giving different personalities to each and every one, molding us to be separate persons so we can make up a unique tapestry of colors in this world. If everyone was the same, it would be a very boring world to be sure. We would know what everyone was thinking and what they were going to do, and there would be no variety in life. The same goes with families. If every family was molded the same, we would all be like robots, mechanically doing what everyone expects.
So, the truth is, God has a plan for each and every family. God has a plan for each and every child in that family and knows what is best for them. He knows what they need in order to raise them up to be Who He created them to be. All I need to know is what His will is for me and once I know and have that peace in my heart, I can rest in the fact that Father knows best. As long as I am putting my priorities straight, God first, then my husband, then children, then my home, and then everything else, I will remain the glue for my family that will help pull us together. If the heart of my husband can safely trust in me no matter where I am and what I am doing, then I can rest in the fact that I am doing God's will. That is the safest place to be - in the will of God.
The Lily of the Valley
Son 2:1 I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
When I was planning our wedding back in 1998, I wanted Lily of the Valleys to be my main flower in my bridal bouquet. To my disappointment, I learned that the season would be over by the time Joe and I got married, so I had to choose a different flower. There is just something about that dainty little bell that I love so much.
A few years ago I planted two Lily of the Valley plants by the side of my house. I looked forward to the time when they would bloom and bring forth some of the prettiest, sweetest-smelling flowers around. Two years passed before I remembered the delicate flowers, but once again I was too late and found they had already bloomed and died before I had time to enjoy the white flowers. I was extremely disappointed, but made a mental note not to forget them again.
Last year I remembered just in time and picked a stem of the flowers and brought them into the house. They do not last long at all, but the good thing is the plants are spreading and I may have more to savor for a longer time in the future.
This year I have been carefully watching the flowers bud and open up, and any day now I am going to go out and pick them so I can smell them for a few days and I cannot wait! As I was thinking about the Lily of the Valley this morning, I thought about it says in Song of Solomon about the delicate flower and wondered just why the Lord is compared to that particular flower. What I found blessed my heart and I hope it does yours too.
First of all, the flower is usually always white, which is a symbol of purity. Jesus is the pure Lamb of God, Who has no sin to stain His life and heart. We need to strive to be like Jesus and keep the stain of the world away from our walk with Him and ruining our testimony.
Then there is the sweet perfume that radiates from such a small flower. The bell is may be tiny, but its aroma penetrates the air leaving a sweet pleasant smell. Our Lord is sweet, and with Him in our life, we should radiate His sweetness to all those around us, to both family and strangers.
Lastly, the name, Lily of the Valley, can represent the low places in our life. The trials, humiliations, and hard, stony grounds we face as we go through our Christian walk can be tough and discouraging, but we can rest in the peace that He has already been through what we are experiencing. He will not leave us to deal with our problems alone. He will always be by our side. He is there with us as we go through the valley, never leaving us alone.
I do love God's beautiful nature He gave to us. If you have not stopped to actually take time to 'smell the roses' so to speak, slow down a little and learn to enjoy the beauty that God has placed around us. You will be surprised at how blessed and encouraged you will be, not to mention awestruck at how intricate the littlest details really are. And, before I forget, I am going to run out and pick one of my stems of lilies right now! ~♥~