Tag Archives: christianity

Abeyance?

Isaiah-55-8

Really?  Where did that word come from?  Have I ever seen it before? What does it mean? Who knows? If I learn it will I ever be able to use it in a sentence? I am fascinated sometimes by words.  Words I didn’t know, words that I might use again in a crossword puzzle or a game of Words with Friends.  Czarina.  Another good word that might aid you in competition sometime.  Wouldn’t that one be fun to add to someone else’s Czar in a game?  But, I digress.  Today I want to talk about Abeyance.

This morning was a typical rainy morning in Western PA and I was at my dining room table doing my morning devotions. I read from the book of James in the Bible and was meditating on taming my tongue, familiar but something that is always worth repeating. I went on to read from a couple of other sources and ready from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young a devotion that started with, “Come to me with your plans held in abeyance.” Abeyance?  Is that a typo?  What does that mean?  I visited my Webster’s New Young American Dictionary because it usually presents information in an easier version for me, but Abeyance didn’t make the cut in this 1995 edition.  I then had to go to Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary where I learned that Abeyance means temporary inactivity or suspension.  Hmmmm. Interesting.  But, as far as  a devotional, I wonder what that means to me.  Sarah goes on to explain that we aren’t to make plans, but we are to ask God to guide us through our day, doing what He wants us to do in his time.  OK, I get that.  I will try to do that.  As I pondered, meditated and studied more, I heard an odd noise, but didn’t really pay much attention to it.  It wasn’t that odd, I was just aware of it.  The coffee maker brewing? The bathtub draining? Just not sure.

My son came downstairs, grabbed his breakfast and before heading out, said, “Funny thing.  I fell asleep in the tub and the water ran over. See you later. I love you!”  Out the door he went.  I shrugged my shoulders and kept reading.  I even texted a friend about his parting words.  Just another day in the life!  After she replied that what I see as normal, others see as panic, I thought I should at least investigate a bit.  So, I headed to the kitchen where I could see the evidence of water upstairs on the ceiling.  I rushed upstairs to dry up the mess knowing full well that my son wouldn’t have done a good enough job when I was greeted with a dry bathroom.  No wet towels on the floor, no water, no mess.  He had done a good job mopping up the water.  He had done as much as I could’ve done.

What a gift that I hadn’t responded to the odd noise.  Had I been privy to this information earlier, the clean up would’ve entailed a lot of yelling, bickering and harsh words.  No doubt.  The abeyance I was granted to the situation helped me tame my tongue.  Both testimonies to why my morning routine is vital to myself and to my family.

Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours.

That simple truth saved me a lot of grief this morning.  Thank You God!

 

 

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Change of Plans

journal

I just have to share my journal entry for today.

March 30.  Good Morning Lord.  It’s still dark out this morning and the house is quiet.  Another start to a new day.  What a gift.  A gift waiting to be opened.  A day so filled with options.  What should I do?  Go and get my nails done? Go shopping? Furniture shopping? Clothes Shopping? Grocery Shopping? Stay home and clean? Read? I need to read. Write? I need to write.  Prepare a lesson for Godly Girls on prayer? Prepare an opening lesson for Sunday School? So many things I might do.  Let me start here….with you….and maybe you can hep me decide.

I looked up from writing and on my table I see a hot pink post-it note with some scrawled notes: “Don’t hit send.” “Don’t react.” “Journal Entries.” “Phil 2:3-4.”  Not having any idea what those notes meant, I decided to look up the scripture before tossing the note in the garbage.

Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

OK – so to look to the above list again.  Through the eyes of selfless ambition?  Wow.

The Lord spoke to me and as much as I hate to say it, I don’t think I’ll be heading to the nail salon today.  However, it did prompt me to check one thing off the list.  Write. Done.

I hope you’ll join me each morning in pausing before you make out your plans for the day to ask the Lord what He wants you to do.  You may be surprised when he actually answers.

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Proverbs

stock-photo-the-word-proverbs-one-of-the-books-of-the-holy-bible-in-cut-out-magazine-letters-pinned-to-a-cork-167707772Many of us are not Bible scholars and we even struggle with what to read in the Bible when we do get the notion that we should.  Where do we start?  Many people suggest reading the gospel of John where you’ll find the message of salvation. Others suggest Genesis.  It’s at the beginning which is usually a really good place to start & many of the beloved Bible Stories from your childhood are there.  Very interesting.  So, no matter what else you may want to start to read, I’d like to suggest the book of Proverbs as a way to get yourself into the Bible.  This book is unique in that it has 21 chapters of useful information.  One chapter for each day.  So, simply put, you can read Chapter 1 on the first day of each month.  If you skip your Bible reading for a few days, just pick up on the chapter that corresponds with the date.  Easy.

These wise sayings that help us in everyday life, offering us advice on how to behave in various situations.

  • A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. 17:22
  • There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking. 29:20
  • Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife. 21:19
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 3:5
  • As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. 26:11
  • Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. 22:6
  • A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day; 27:15
  • He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. 28:27

Solomon gave us these proverbs and many wise suggestions for our daily living.  May I suggest we read them and heed them?  Let me know how you make out.

 

Proverbs 27:15-16 (New Living Translation)
A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.

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Crazy Faith

 

crazy faith

In October, I saw a video that changed my fall and possibly my life.  It was Crazy Faith by John Waller.  This song and video moved me and I didn’t exactly know why.  Why was I drawn to this song?  Why did I listen to it over and over?  Why did it become my prayer?  I don’t know, but I do know that it has changed me in some way.

My journal entry for October 5, 2016:  “Lord, I want a Crazy Faith – I want something where I am scared and have to rely on you and not myself.  That’s a scary prayer!  It scares me but I know I need to do something for you that I can’t do on my own.  I want to take a leap of crazy faith.  Lead me Lord.  I want it to be of you.  Let me hear your call.  Let George hear your call.  Fostering was crazy faith, adopting was crazy faith. Lord show me where you want me.  I sincerely feel I am on the brink of something big and I don’t know what it is, but it’s scary and exciting to know it will be a part of your plan.  (If I can stay out of your way!)”

When we were foster parents, it was very clear that we were responding to God’s call to help these families.  We would get a phone call and not miss a beat with our family.  We would grab a newborn at the hospital, take an older child to the dentist, drive someone to practice and then make dinner.  It was so “easy.”  We relied fully on God to grant us the supplies, the time and the energy to assist each one of these precious children and He did just that. We relied.  He provided.  With over 50 children, the phone rang, our busy schedules got busier and we didn’t fret or worry about how things would get done.  God made it all work out.  We relied.  He provided.  We had a crazy faith.

Since those days, we have had a few occurrences that we have had to hold on to God and his direction to get through the situation, but I didn’t feel it like I did when fostering.  I continue to feel like most of what I do, I could do without including God in every single detail and as scary as stepping out in faith is, sitting still in complacency scares me more. I began praying for a Crazy Faith situation.  Daily I ask God to let me know something crazy he would like me to do.

So, what has happened?  What crazy thing have George and I done since we made this our prayer?  I wish I could say that we have built an orphanage in a foreign country, or sold our house and gave the money to the poor, but quite honestly, though we are prepared to answer a call, we haven’t heard it just yet.  That said, we have done some things that appear “normal” but are really “crazy” to us.  We have intentionally taken ourselves out of our comfort zone and have begun asking questions.  We are seeking our Crazy Faith opportunity.  We have been consistent with prayer and Bible study (crazy for us at times.)  We have reached out and shared our desires with others. (Really crazy for us to share like this.)  We have attended 4 different churches to listen, learn and grow. (Crazy, I’ve sat in the same church pew for over 50 years.) We’ve asked others about their ministries, we’ve toured places, we’ve read books, we’ve kept the search alive.  We want a Crazy Faith.

As we hope for an opportunity to arise, we also recognize that we are already pretty crazy when we are able to be faithful.  As I shared in my last post, things here at home are not good many days.  It takes some Crazy Faith to love a child who has difficulty loving you back.  It takes crazy faith to repeat the same set of instructions to a child a million times. (No exaggeration.)  It takes crazy faith to keep trying to fight the good fight when the situations look so bleak.  As much as I want a new Crazy Faith experience, i’m starting to think that God has decided that we are crazy enough.  We may not need a new ministry or opportunity to present itself but we may need extra prayers and commitment to stay faithful in the crazy opportunities we have already been granted.

I do hope you’ll continue to pray for my family and our crazy faith.  And, while I wait for the next “big” thing to come along, I’ll continue to have crazy faith while serving in the capacity I already am.  I’ll have crazy faith and pray out loud with someone.  I’ll have crazy faith and volunteer for something that I don’t have the complete skill set to accomplish on my own.  I’ll be crazy and offer to help someone when I don’t think I can fit one more thing into my day.  I hope you’ll join me and have some Crazy Faith of your own!

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Are You Plugged In?

power cords

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.               2 Timothy 3: 16-17

During some rough play in my family room, tiny items fell off of a shelf and landed behind the TV stand. They remained there for quite a while as I dreaded the task of looking for them among the cords and dust bunnies. Finally a friend offered to take on the task for me and her findings were great.  In the tangled web of cords and dust she found the little glass teddy bear drinking a cup of tea and also 4 cords that were either not plugged in at all or were plugged in at one end only.  They were actually power cords that were providing power to nothing.

This reminded me of our scripture reading. Sometimes our Bibles are like those power cords, powerful, yet not plugged in to anything.  Timothy explained that all scripture is God-breathed and useful.  However, just like power cords, it is only useful if it is used as it was intended.  We will grow in our faith and our relationship with God as we read and allow His word to teach, rebuke, correct and train us in righteousness.  The Bible is our powerful connection to the One in charge.  To leave it buried in a stack of books collecting dust would be as effective as those worthless cords behind my TV.  I challenge you to find your Bible and plug in to your power source.

 

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Called to Serve?

Lately there has been a common theme in my devotional & scripture reading.  Serve.  Ugh.  I don’t want to serve.  I don’t even like the sound of it.  Serve is definitely a part of the word servant and I really don’t want to do that.  But the more I think about it and the more I attempt to do it, I find there is real joy in serving others.

Mark 10:25 says (in RED letters no less)“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

If Jesus was not above serving others, I guess I should attempt to do it too.  So daily I start on the journey of serving.  Do you have the opportunity to serve?  Is there a food cupboard that you can donate food and time to?  Is there an organization that you can meet with on a Saturday morning to pick up litter along the highway?  Those are some serving opportunities, but the kind of serving that I’m called to do is even a bit more difficult than that & I bet you can do these too.

I serve daily.  I wake in the morning, make the coffee for my husband, pick up the open bag of chips that the kids left behind in the TV room.  Move on to pick up the single sock in the kitchen.  What’s THAT doing there? Gather the snack dishes from the counter, put them in the dishwasher, let the chickens out, turn off the basement light that was on all night, walk down the stairs to turn off the TV too.  Put the butter away, put the phone back on the charger, wipe off the table, sew a button, put the batteries back into the remote (Why are they out?) unpack yesterday’s lunch bag.  You get the idea. Opportunities abound to serve!  They are everywhere.  We sometimes call them chores, sometimes annoyances.  However, if we change our attitude and look at scripture, they can become noble feats of servitude.  Wow.  That makes picking those Lucky Charms off the bottom of your sock a lot more rewarding!

Look at your serving and recognize that it is pleasing to God when we serve others.  Don’t become overwhelmed with your serving, become blessed.  And, don’t forget to share with your kids what you’re learning about scripture, they may start serving you a bit too!

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The Start of Summer

Last year I anticipated Summer and was excited for all the things I hoped I would do. Weekends at the River, picnics, trips to the Beach, Amusement Parks, all things that define Summer. I kicked it off Memorial Day Weekend with friends and family and then a wonderful trip to the Outer Banks with George to finish off May. June was full of promise, then on June 3rd my son had an accident which was serious emotionally and physically for all the family. I spent the rest of my summer setting my sights on a new Start Date to kick off summer. OK, so June might be a wash, but starting July 1, I’m going to have a “do-over.” I declared July 1 as a new beginning. I made it until July 5th when another situation arose and again after I dealt with it, I set my sights on another start date to summer. Labor Day found me looking back at a rainy, tumultuous summer full of storms from the skies and storms from the heart. I weathered them all and grew in unique ways, but it certainly wasn’t the summer that the songs we listen to while driving in our cars with the windows rolled down are talking about.

Memorial Day Weekend 2015. As it approached I was determined to make this the summer I had hoped that 2014 would be. I was proactive, realistic and sensible in my planning. We bought bicycles so I could exercise on the trail by our river house. I bought a lap top to take with me on weekends so I could focus on my writing more. I know that 2015 will have some challenges because the kids (my kids) who used to enjoy lazy summer days boating will not be around as adulthood has called them to employment. But, knowing that it would be a “different” kind of summer, I was excited about my bike and my laptop and my control of my destiny.

Enter Thursday Evening, Memorial Day Weekend Eve….Rushing like a mad woman to get the work done so I could enjoy this weekend to the best of my ability, I tripped over a root and broke my hand. I am now donning a cast that limits my typing and makes biking impossible at this point. I spent the first weekend of River Season swollen, sore, barely able to walk and with scrapes on my face. What’s a girl to do? I allowed myself some pity, I enjoyed the family and friends and the distractions of the weekend, but now, reality has set in. Summer 2015 has arrived with an injury and an inconvenience. I guess I’ll have to schedule a “do-over.” Really, Memorial Day isn’t the official first day of Summer. Maybe I’ll go with June 5th – The last day of school….that’s the official first day of summer. Or if something happens that day, I think I might start again mid June and call Father’s Day the kick off to my fresh start. Or if something spoils that, I can choose June 21st, the Summer Solstice and official first day of summer. If I’m not all better by then, July 1st would be the perfect time to start over. Etc…

So, when things don’t work out as we hope, we have a choice. We can be disappointed about the change of plans, or we can choose to start over. We can choose joy in all circumstances. We can give thanks in all circumstances. I’m considering kicking off a new summer season right now.  I’m going to grab an iced tea, some ibuprofen since this awkward typing has hurt my hand and I’m going to read on the back deck under my new umbrella.  Life is good. (And I’m so thankful I’m right handed!)

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” –Nehemiah 8:10

.give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. –1Thes 5:18

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Snapshots in My Mind

A few weeks ago, as I sat in the choir loft at church, I looked down at the two children who were listening to the children’s sermon.  It was my eight year old daughter and her 18 month old cousin.  They were sitting on the front pew and little Ella was listening as intently as I have ever seen her.  Even the Pastor mentioned how she appeared to be taking it all in.  When it was time for the prayer, my daughter put her arms around Ella and took her hands in her own to show her how to fold her hands in prayer.  They were both dressed in black and white and it looked like they were posing for a picture to be used as an advertisement for a church or something.  It was a perfect scene and I so wished I had had my camera to take a picture.   I took a moment for prayer myself.  I prayed that God would allow me to take a snapshot with my mind of that very moment so that I could always remember these two little girls, their innocence, their sincerity.  I looked at them with intent and clicked a button in my mind.

This wasn’t the first snapshot that I’ve taken without a camera in my hand.  I remember another occasion where my older daughters were playing in the sandbox.  They were probably 5 and 3 and they were just chattering and playing nicely.  I remember looking at them through my kitchen window while doing lunch dishes and wanting to remember that moment forever.  When would it ever be like this again?  They were both wearing pink and they were smiling and giggling as they dug.  I took the picture for my memory.  Years later, when my oldest daughter returned from college for a weekend, I looked out the kitchen window and saw them sitting in the sand box.  The sun was shining and their long, lanky legs were bent, they really didn’t fit in the box, but were seated on the edge.  They weren’t giggling, they were talking very seriously while they watched sand trickle out of their hands.  Again, click, Lord let me remember this moment.  My daughters, still friends, still in the sandbox.

Today I drove to the end of the lane to get my youngest on the school bus.  With a cup of tea in hand, I sit in the car and watch her board Bus #13 every day.  Our routine.  I watch her greet the driver, walk back the aisle to the 4th seat on the right, she slides in and she looks out the dirty window and waves as the bus pulls away.  Click.  Lord, let me remember this moment.

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The Lord Spoke To Me

I wanted to share an “ah-ha” moment with Paul.  We were sitting at the dinner table sharing about our day and I said, “Today while I was doing laundry, the Lord spoke to me.  He said in a loud, deep, booming voice, ‘ Lii…inn……da….”  No. No He didn’t, but I did get Paul’s attention and I do believe I had a “moment.”  Maybe it was God speaking to me though I’m not one of those people who says the Lord speaks to them in an audible voice.  I have never had that experience, but yesterday, my “moment” felt like it was God sent.

My family has been battling illness for 17 days (but who’s counting?)  In an attempt to keep from sharing germs I have been diligent with changing hand towels, sanitizing door knobs, and doing mountains of laundry!  Piles of sheets, throw pillows, and afghans have been a laundry room floor covering. Laundry has been non-stop.  Yesterday, I had my head inside my front loading washing machine to get that last dingy white tube sock that was stuck to the top of the drum, when I recognized how blessed I was.  (The “moment.”) I was doing laundry.  I was well enough to complete this job.  I was doing a mundane task that I typically dread, but I was aware…very aware of what I wasn’t doing.  I wasn’t frustrated with my husband’s choices like a friend of mine was.  I wasn’t struggling with how to support an unemployed child.  I wasn’t choosing a casket for my parent or spouse.  I wasn’t rushing to the emergency room.  I wasn’t in crisis yet many people I know were.  I was not & I was grateful.  As aware as I was of the fact that I wasn’t doing any of those things, I also recognized that some day I will probably have to.  Today my prayers are with those who are not doing laundry.  I wish you strength during this time and I pray that someday, you, too, will be doing laundry again.

A Time for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 New International Version (NIV)

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

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The Stories

IMG_1401

The annual family Christmas party is over and once again, if we are rating adventures, I feel like our “crazies” have won first place.  When this party was held in 2013, our exchange student from Russia was being introduced, Lori had graduated from college and Nicole had moved out of state in the previous 3 weeks and Kevin had just returned from a 9 week stint of teaching surfing in South Africa.  What would 2014 bring?  What stories would we have to tell at the annual Beck Cousin Christmas party in 2014?  Well, not to disappoint, the kids continued to be adventurous.  Kevin traveled to Israel, Lori moved to Pittsburgh, Victor, the exchange student, returned home to Russia, Nicole enjoyed living on Park Avenue in NYC, & Paul shot his thumb with a 9mm,  But I think the story that wins top prize is Kevin biking across the United States on his bicycle.  Thirty-Four Hundred Miles…Alone…Staying with strangers he met…on the internet!  The part I like best about the story is the gasp that comes out of the mouths of mothers when I say those words.  I almost wait for it and I’m excited when it comes because it gives me the opportunity to share one of the best things that happened to ME in 2014!  I discovered how to trust and rely on God more deeply.

When Kevin decided to do this trip, I once again hit him with, “I don’t think this is a good idea.”  That was soon followed by “I don’t have peace about this.”  To that, he wisely replied, “You won’t have peace about this until you realize you have no control over it.”  How true he was.  How true he is.  We don’t have peace when we are trying to control situations and/or others.  We have peace when we trust and rely on God to be in control.  When we let God be God, we can rest in that.

Though Kevin attempted to check in by text daily, there were times when I had no idea where he was or how he was doing, yet I had peace.  I did not lose a night’s sleep, I did not worry, I did not fret.  So unlike what I expected.  It was hard to explain.  I was just okay with it.  When I’d run into someone at the store and they’d ask about Kevin’s whereabouts, I would have to admit that I wasn’t sure where he was that day.  They would respond with alarm, but I was comforted knowing that God knew where he was even if I didn’t.

I had a visual in my mind that I kept to comfort me.  It was an image of the United States map, my family standing on one side and Kevin on his bike pedaling across the map.  The important part was that there was a string on Kevin’s bike going up to God.  So, on any given day, even though, I didn’t know where Kevin was, God had him tethered to Him.  He was safe & God knew where he was.  I joked that the only problem with my image was that since I’m a left to right thinker, in my vision, Kevin was always pedaling left to right, which is actually, from California to the Atlantic Ocean when in reality, he was headed the other direction.

I shared this story with Lori’s boyfriend one evening at dinner.  He blessed me the next day with an original painting of what I had shared.  I was so excited to have my thoughts on canvas in addition to in my mind.

Kevin’s trip was a huge success and also a huge success for my mothering journey.  I didn’t think it was a good idea.  I didn’t have peace, but when I decided I had to give control to someone else, I gained peace and get the incredible opportunity to share the story with cousins, friends and now you!  I wonder what my family will bring to the story board next year!  Here’s to PEACE and adventure in 2015!

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