Monday, May 16, 2016

Strengthen your Brothers

          I read a verse in my Bible today that I don't remember reading before.  It was when Jesus was talking to Peter in Luke 22, fortelling his denial, and he said, "And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."  Jesus knew Peter was going to go through a difficult time when he denied Christ, but when it was over and he was forgiven, Jesus wanted him to "strengthen your brothers." Peter's failure was devastating to him, but today's believers are encouraged and strengthened by reading how Peter overcame this failure and became such a strong disciple.
         This made me think of the times in my life when I was going though some really difficult spells, but later I was able to "strengthen the brothers" by sharing my story of overcoming trials.  At the time  I was going through each stressful period, I had to do a lot of praying and was often very discouraged, but the Lord always heard my prayers and restored my soul.
          Our years in the Army gave me lots of stressful times. Watching your husband go off to war is a hard thing. Not only do you have to deal with fear for his safety, but you also have the daily life struggles of the broken washer or flat tire or sick kids to handle alone.  But after I had been through it a time or two, I was able to comfort and counsel other young wives.
         My sweet but impulsive ADHD kids gave me lots of trials -- I could write a book!! But my experiences raising them helped me encourage other moms who were struggling with the same problems. I knew what it was like to get bad notes from teachers -- I had been there -- and because of those experiences, I was a more understanding teacher.  Parents of my problem kids listened to my stories and it gave them hope.
          I also know what it is like to face cancer, Alzheimer's, and the death of my parents.  Those days were so hard -- but again, because I have been through it, I have been able to empathize and provide some comfort and encouragement to others who are facing these difficult times.
          It would have been nice to live a life without problems, but it looks like God expects us to use our hard times to help others get through their hard times.  Psalm 30 says, "Weeping may tarry for the night, but JOY comes in the morning."  And in Psalm 46 I read "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."  God has been with me through every situation, and if my problems can help me strengthen my brothers, then that is a blessing for both of us.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Still missing my Mother

You would think I would have stopped missing my mother by now. She was 70 years old when she died in 1997.  That's 17 years. I don't cry when I pass the Hallmark Store around Mothers Day anymore, But I still wish I could send her a card or call her on the phone.
I'd tell her how proud I was to be her daughter.
 I'd thank her for faithfully lifting me up in prayer. I think that's one thing I miss the most -- knowing that someone is praying for you every day gives great comfort.
I'd ask her about a few recipes -- I always used to call when I was fixing supper and forgot how to make one of her yummy dishes.
I'd thank her for always fixing all my favorites at Christmas, even when she wasn't feeling well.
I'd tell her all about her wonderful grandchildren. No one thinks they are as special as their Grammie. She would be so proud of them.
I'd thank her for all the times she came to see me -- even in Alaska -- even when the chemo had sapped all her strength. Just having her at my house, even when she was too sick to get up -- just filled my house with sunshine.
I miss her celebrations and picnics, and her voice in the church choir, and the fragrance of "Passion"  that she always wore. I miss the big family gatherings around her table  -- and laughing until we could hardly breathe. I miss her soft hugs. I miss the stories she read over and over to the grand kids.
I miss seeing her reading her Bible every morning when we got up -- she was always an early riser.
I wish I could ask more questions about trees and flowers and family history.  She knew so much!
She was such an example to us -- always encouraging -- and alway ready to go shop or eat out or go to church. She truly had a servants heart, but she also had mine. I am thankful for the promise of Heaven! A mother's love it truly a gift from God.