Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Simple Pleasures

I have always said that I am pretty easy to please. It really doesn't take much to amuse me or make me happy. It's always been little things for me; A phone call to say 'hi', a hug, a flower picked from the garden, a good movie, spending some quality time with my family, a good book, etc. I refer to them as Simple Pleasures. Things that don't cost money, but can brighten my whole day. Yesterday God blessed me with a simple pleasure.

I had gone to the Dr. because I had a medical 'thingy' (probably not the technical term:) pop up. I was tired, worried, and really thirsty. I meant to stop by the store on my way to work, but had stuff on my mind and forgot. On any normal day I would leave at noon and go get something to drink, but because I was late getting to work I decided to work through my lunch break. Of course, the more I thought about not being able to leave, the more thirsty I was. My boss always keeps our small refrigerator stocked with Diet Coke, but I only drink that on really desperate days. As the clock ticked, it was fastly becoming a desperate day.

I finally decided that Diet Coke was going to have to do. I had to take a couple of pills and I absolutely couldn't take them without something to wash them down. I walked over to the small black fridge and hesitantly opened the door. I thought, for a brief moment, that maybe I should just drink the tap water that smells and tastes like rust. Thankfully, I came back to my senses and proceeded into the fridge with caution. I began to reach for a Diet Coke when I decided that maybe I should scan the fridge for something, anything else. My eyes gazed slowly at each shelf and then began looking at the shelves on the door. Hmmm....Diet Coke, Diet Barq's Root Beer, and a quarter of a Frappucino that I had saved from approximately 2 months ago, which was probably disgusting by now. As I got to the bottom shelf of the door my heart began to race. I caught a glimpse of something that immediately made my mouth water. At first I thought it was a mirage as I was convinced I was close to dehydration at that point. But....it wasn't. It was something delightful. Something that my taste buds would thoroughly enjoy. It was a........Sunkist Orange! I had bought it last week and had forgotten about it. That NEVER happens. I praised God!

Finding that Sunkist Orange in the fridge made my day yesterday. It wasn't the actual pop that made my day, but the thought behind it. It felt as though God was saying "I know you are having a tough day. I know you are thirsty. I know you could use a boost. That is why I had you buy that drink last week and then erased it from your mind. I knew that pop would mean more to you today."

Thank you Lord for the simple pleasures in life. I know you provide all the big stuff...a house, a car, food on the table, a clean bill of health, but I also know you provide the little blessings, too. Help me to never forget that.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
Matthew 6:25-27

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Over the past couple of weeks I have been blessed to take part in the '40 Days of Community' (I like to refer to it as 40 Days of Spiritual Spankings:) with my church. Everyone is reading the same book, sermons are built upon the weeks readings, and 32 small groups are meeting weekly for discussion and fellowship. So far, it has been pretty incredible.

As a diligent reader of the New Testament, I am well aware of how important fellowship (community) is to the Christian walk. Paul speaks of it often throughout his letters to the churches and I have personally experienced both, the power of fellowship and the stumbling of my walk with Christ when I am not in the fellowship that God desires for me. However, over the years it seems that I have forgotten that the words community and fellowship are not just about being with my brothers and sisters in Christ. They're also about being 'out' in our communities and building bridges with non believers. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Jesus commanded us to do the same.

I never intentionally set out to pull myself apart from non believers. I don't think any Christian really does. I did set out to draw near to Christ and allow Him to change my old habits, ways, and patterns, though. Through that change I found myself drawn to other believers who I could learn from. I became very active with my church, got into a small group, and suddenly I found a very comfortable place amongst other believers and a very uncomfortable place among non believers.

If you have ever heard the Bible referred to as 'the Living Word' and you question why; I challenge you to read a chapter one week, go back to it a month or two later, then go back to it a month or two after that. I can almost guarantee that each time you read that chapter, God will show you something you missed, or didn't understand, the last 3 times you read it. It's really quite amazing. That is precisely what has been happening to me. Jesus is taking things that I knew in my head and placing them in my heart.

For the first time in my walk with Christ I truly have a desire to 'seek and save the lost'. Of course, I have always said that I want to see everyone in the Kingdom of Heaven. And I do. I don't wish the fires of hell on anybody. I just haven't been doing much about it. The exception to that is the youth. I really try to reach the youth I work with. Adults, well....I leave them to other people. Simply put- Jesus' Greatest Commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself, has been my least priority.

Change is a long process. It certainly doesn't happen overnight. Look how long it's taken me to really understand a simple commandment. But change is necessary. So, today, I will begin to make the changes needed in my life to become more like Christ. I will pray about bridges that can be built with non believers. I will let Jesus show me where the troubled waters are and I will lay myself down as a path to Him.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom......

Today (Oct. 6th) is my mom's birthday. My dad took her to Minnesota to the Mall of America for her birthday and since they left me home, I haven't seen her yet:) So, since it is her day, I thought it was only appropriate for this blog to be an ode to her.

I have an amazing mom and we have an incredible relationship. A relationship that I always thought was 'normal'. However, as I have grown up I have come to realize that our relationship is abnormal. My mom and I are close. We always have been. We definitely had our share of struggles during the teen years, but nothing out of the ordinary. I have always considered my mom to be one of my closest friends. Someone I could count on and tell (just about:) anything to. As I said, I thought this was pretty normal for moms and daughters. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case.

God had blessed me with wonderful friends throughout the years and one thing my friends have in common (with the exception of one or two) is that most of them don't get along with their moms at all. To tell you the truth...I can't imagine that. I can't imagine not running to my mom when I have good news or bad news. I can't imagine going a complete day without speaking with her at least once. She is the first person I want to share things with and the last person I want to disappoint (other than Jesus, that is:). She is my strongest supporter and my weakest critic. She is the mom that I wish all women had. She is the mom I pray I become.

While I wish that all women were able to experience the beauty of a true mother/daughter bond, I guess, in a very selfish way, I am glad they don't. Because every time I hear one of them complain about their mothers, I am once again reminded of the very special, rare, beautiful bond I share with my mom. It is not something that I take for granted and I praise God for it often.

So....Happy Birthday Mom. Thank you for teaching me how to draw that fragile line between being a mom and a friend. Thank you for always being there for me, allowing all of my friends to call you mom, for the long games of Mario Brothers, the talks, the cry's, the hugs, the laughs, the way you opened your heart and door to those that needed a place to call home, for making me use my manners, for not saying things you really wanted to say, for letting me fall on my butt and make some pretty big mistakes, for not putting up with my 'mouth', for instilling in me how important family is, and most of all.....thank you for being such an incredible role model and giving me something to strive for in my relationships with my own children. You are the best mom and grandma that we could ever hope for and we love you more than you could ever know.