Obedience

I’ve been reading in the book of Esther. I am only to the 3rd chapter, but I have to say the one theme that jumps out at me is obedience.

Esther was adopted into Mordecai’s family, after the death of her parents. Later, Esther was chosen to be one of MANY young virgin girls to go to the King’s palace to undergo treatments and eventually spend some time with the King.

This was most likely not something most Jewish girls relished, as I am sure it meant becoming unclean in many different ways. Mordecai instructed her to not reveal her heritage, and she obeyed.

Ephesians 6:1-3

 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a]

NIV

If you are familiar with Esther’s story, you know that Mordecai’s words were obeyed as he gave her advice throughout the story and Esther was rewarded.

Obedience can be a struggle at work, at home, with your spouse, and maybe even at church. But obedience has a promise- “so that it may go well with you…”.

Today, take a look at your life and your parent’s influences. Has it gone well with you?

-Thanking God for my obedience and reverence to my parents and despite normal “life trials”, it has gone well for me. AMEN

Michele

It Happened So Fast

I certainly will not receive a medal for committed prayer for my daughter. There were many times my discouragement I gave up, took a break. It’s hard to continue to pray when you don’t have the right attitude about what prayer is and does.

A prayer is an act of faith. It is placing your hope into words, utterances, tears, and groaning. God knows our hearts. He knows we pray for things we want, we need and in our best understanding of what we think “should” be.

My final prayers became “GOD YOU KNOW WHAT SHE NEEDS, LET IT BE DONE.” I felt like I wasn’t praying good enough, but I knew that God knew my heart and that is all that matters.

Over the last few weeks, things were beginning to build. It was like labor pains, getting closer, longer, and more intense with each encounter. Then in an unfortunate moment, it all changed.

In that unfortunate moment she was set free. Boundaries were set in place. Going forward is now the only option. In her going forward will be freedom. Freedom to rebuild, freedom to explore and freedom to return to her God. Though I want to be so much a part of her rebuild, I will have to let go and find a seat to cheer her on. It’s all up to her now, she has been given the freedom to choose. I continue to pray she choses wisely.

Prayers are acts of faith in the hope things will change and be different. They go beyond your moments and circle the Lord’s bowls of prayer and forever remain. I needed this breakthrough and she especially needed this breakthrough. Don’t give up even when it looks hopeless.

-Renewing my hope in prayers with you. We pray together in faith and hope. Thank you for your faithful prayers when I was so unfaithful.

Michele

Keep Your Yard Clean

During a recent counseling session I was reminded that I was not keeping my yard clean. It wasn’t a scolding, but a gentle reminder that I had gotten so off track and needed to start cleaning my yard.

Your “yard” in counseling means the area of your life you let people in. People good and bad will come through the gate- gates are good, they are barriers, boundaries. When people come in they either drop off “stuff” and leave it for you to deal with, or they leave you good gifts of encouragement, love, laughter, some gentle reminders, and sometimes discipline. We can become so overwhelmed by our situation that the yard becomes full of the “bad”. When the yard is full of the “bad” we face depression, discouragement.

Outside of your yard are your life experiences. Some are good and some are bad. You should be drawing from the good experiences letting feelings inspire you and encourage, but when it comes to the bad you need to turn them off. Satan loves to have you remember bad experiences, he loves to pump you full of the offense, the emotions, and get you off track

I have been letting these old offenses pump junk into my yard. This has to stop. Every time an old situation returns, I visualize it as a water faucet. I walk over and turn the handle on the spout and shut it off, and then I pretend to pump the line full of cement to seal it.

The stuff that has happened to us needs to remain out of your yard. It will always be out there- a part of shaping us, but we don’t need to relive the feelings and the hurt. It’s only when we are daily vigilant in the keeping of our yard, that we will see progress.

Daily vigilance means we are in prayer, reading and meditating on God’s word, and speaking life into our situation through verses of encouragement. Your success is voiced activated!

-Busy keeping my yard clean, welcoming to those who do me good, and a “boot” to those things that don’t! Keeping the water faucet shut and sealed with you. AMEN!

Michele

Get Back In That Nest

I was pretty excited a few weeks ago when I found tiny eggshells on my lawn. This meant that my newest birdhouse tenants just had their babies! The House Wrens were busy earlier making this beautiful nest out of the tiniest twigs- so cute. Plus they placed little leaves here and there as filler.

Yesterday I saw lots of activity with feeding. Back and forth they would go. Their favorite food was a green bug with green see through wings. They must be yummy baby bird food.

As I mowed the lawn I could see something hanging out of the birdhouse. So I stopped what I was doing and walked over to check it out. Mamma was not happy and began her frantic chatter as I walked right up to the house. There sitting half out of the entrance to the birdhouse was a baby, Wren. He/she looked at me but made no fuss. Just opening his/her beak looking for some food.

I decided I need a “count”, so stepping closer I peered in and there were two more babies. Aww! I could hear the scolding from the parents getting louder and more distressing so I quickly made my exit from the garden.

Do you feel like that baby bird? So hungry from a word from God, a good verse for the day, encouragement from someone? I sure do. I want to have a full belly every morning so I can be prepared to fill others as well.

-Opening my little beek to be filled to plum full with you!

Michele

What Holds You

In the last two months I have had the same questions posed by two Christian authors “What holds you, the boat or the anchor?” The first time I was going to say the boat, but then I hesitated. I read on and was somewhat taken aback by the answer. What holds you isn’t the boat its the anchor.

The anchor holds the boat in place during peaceful seas or wild seas. While the storm is raging ontop of the water, deep down by the anchor it’s peaceful and quiet.

Anchors are very heavy. Their purpose is to stabilize the boat so that the boat doesn’t drift away. Can you visualize your anchor? Do you feel the weight of the anchor as it is dropped over the side of the boat? As your boat bobs in the water can you feel the anchor centering you?

Sometimes we need to ask ourselves “What IS my anchor? What am I using to stabilize myself in the rough seas of life? Hopefully you can answer that questions by saying “Jesus” or “prayer” or “my bible reading”.

The waters around us are very rough right now. Chaos, upheaval, destruction just about everywhere we turn. Aren’t you thankful for your anchor in Jesus? AMEN

  • Thankful for our anchor- JESUS!
Michele

Beauty Broken

I was cleaning windows Saturday, and to make room I had to pick up my nativity platform (yes it was still outside). After picking it up and turning it over I discovered a butterfly cocoon.

I bent down and saw that it was already open. Shoot! I was hoping to take it in the house and maybe get to watch it emerge. As I moved my hand from the fragile, dry cocoon I saw it.

There still shriveled up was the beautiful yellow swallowtail butterfly. It had emerged from the cocoon but was trapped in a situation of no escape. I stood there for a minute and then the tears started to flow.

I cried because I thought of beautiful things placed in wrong places. People in my life giving away their beauty to only have it destroyed. I walked to the shaded grass area and cried.

God! Why? Why does this all have to be so broken? Innocent placement. Wanted safety only to be met with death. Trey was now looking at me and became concerned with my tears. So I shut down the “water works” and smiled.

Somethings can’t be fixed and that is hard. We just have to do our best to learn and move on.

-Weeping with you over beautiful things we have placed in wrong places.

Michele

Do Your Best

For my grandson’s birthday, we got him a little Fisher-Price dump truck. It has 2 pretend boulders, a driver, and an interactive dump lever. Along with all that comes battery-powered noise.

The dump truck makes a backing-up sound, idling sound, horn honk, the driver figure says something, and then a song “When You Have A Job To Do, Do Your Best”.

Listening to the song I was pleased that a toy would promote a good work ethic. The voice is always positive and work is not drudgery. All to often in current times work is made out to be “bad”, earning money is “greedy” and some folks want a paycheck to stay home and do nothing even though they are very capable of working, they just chose not to.

Sometimes in my “Grand-MOMIN”, I get bucky. Bad attitude comes around and starts talking with Self-Esteem and the two of them get going. Next thing my flesh is starting to chime in and it all goes bad from there.

I can honestly say some days I feel trapped. This may seem odd, or harsh, but it’s something very real for me and I battle it some days. I daily pray for strength and a good attitude.

Raising Trey is a very good thing. I love Trey and the impact he has on my life, my heart, and my direction. It is an honor to raise a grandchild. He needs someone to be constant, nurturing, loving, affirming of value, and Godly guidance/direction. I by no means am putting a halo over my head. This is hard. It has changed everything from my personal goals to my marriage. Nothing is what it was since October 16, 2019.

Do you struggle with “doing your best”? Maybe you have a relationship that is hard? A job that is difficult? I pray today that God will give you the strength to do your best. We can’t afford anything less.

-Doing my best with you, even if we have to crawl.- Michele

One In the Hand

I am sometimes in awe of what God hears of all my asking and ramblings. I was saying one day it sure would be nice to hold an oriole. They have such a pretty song and are so beautiful.

I had just gotten in the house with Trey and Tucker. Trey was busy motoring around the kitchen in his walker and Tucker was laid out on the floor in the dining room. I saw Tucker jerk up his head so I looked in his direction. There on the floor was a bird! WHAT??!!

Then the bird flew into the kitchen. It was tiny and brown and it fell at my feet. Shoot! Quickly I grabbed the bird up. Goodness he was so small. As I scooped him in my hand I noticed he had a feather in his mouth. Hmm. I bet you hit something. So I walked to the front door and sure enough. I had left the front door open and he must have been flying by and WHAM-O! Dazed and confused he flew deeper into the house, till he fell at my feet.

As I held the house wren I noticed he wasn’t afraid. Usually, their heart is pounding because they are scared. I know this because I have rescued many a bird from one of my best-hunting cats. My familiar routine of holding them loosely and being quiet kicked in.

I inspected him for any wing damage or damage to his feet. Nothing! It was so neat to just look at him and see the beauty of him. Tiny, fragile and being very calm. I bent down to Trey and showed him the bird. He was wide eyed and reached his hand for the bird.

Opening the patio door, I quickly took him to the nearest tree which was my lilac. The lilac is my favorite recovery tree. The limbs are small enough for any bird to safely wrap their toes around, the foliage protects them from other birds or cats.

I found a nice branch and slowly set him on the branch. He still was very calm. His dark eyes following me and my every move. As I gently set his feet to the branch he locked on and then I let go. Slowly I back away and walked back to the house.

God loves you so much and provides you with safety when you need it. Just like that poor house wren, flying along enjoying his day and WHAM-O! Life hit him out of nowhere and he tumbled right into my kitchen.

When we are struggling or have something hit us out of the blue, God provides us with help. Sometimes it is help in ways we would never imagine, from people we would never have dreamed of.

Though I didn’t get the Oriel… I did get to hold what needed to be held, the House Wren.

– Grateful for my landings and recovery places when I am hurting. Honored to serve those who land in my kitchen. AMEN!

Careful Who You “Keep Company With”

One of the funniest sayings my mom would say was ” So and So keeps company with…”. I found it interesting when she would say that. Then as I got older I figured out that she was saying XYZ is friends with ABC- they have an active friendship.

More than often, my mom would remind me that I was going to be judged by the friends I kept. If they were good friends, I would be thought well of, if they were bad friends, it would be assumed I did the same.

As we were driving to our outdoor, socially distant compliant church service yesterday I spotted to large crows. They were walking together on a driveway. What made them interesting was their antics. At first, I thought they were a mating pair, but soon I realized they were not, they were buddies! Friends… and I bet, even for their size, they were juvenile males.

They walked around the front of a car they bowed, then stood way up, extended their wings, snapped their beaks, and bowed again. Huh? What are they doing? Then I saw it… they saw their reflection in the black car. They thought they were seeing two other crows.

I smiled and thought it was pretty cool to see crows showing me the importance of choosing the right friends and my behavior is reflected by the friends I keep.

I have always been blessed with very good friends. I like my friends… nope, I love them. They are so important to me. Especially living away from friends that I have known since my early 20’s. I am grateful for their place in my life. I miss them terribly and mourn our geographical divide.

Proverbs 18:24 teaches, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, / but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” 

God has given me great and wonderful friendships in MN as well. I am grateful for their love and support. I can’t imagine doing life without them, they are like my family.

Later, during the service when Trey didn’t want to remain quiet, I took a walk and found the two crows on the road, goofing around. There they were, picking up twigs and being silly, flying up to a tree and down to the road. It was nice to see animals having fun, just being and enjoying each other, just like friends.

-Enjoying great friendships with you, even if we look silly sometimes.- Michele

Blossoms

Google photos sent me a notification yesterday. It wanted to show me what happened on this day or this week last year. It was interesting to see all that has happened over the last 8 years.

Of interest, was a lilac tree that I had taken a picture of last year. It was in beautiful bloom. So I took my phone displaying the picture and compared it to this year.

This year my lilac tree suffered some damage. A few limbs had to be removed due to wind damage and old age. Also happening this year is just cold, yucky weather. So the blossoms are just starting to bloom.

Even though some tree limbs were removed that lilac was doing all it could to continue and blossom. Isn’t interesting how God can cut things out of our life, things that no longer produce, are dead or diseased. He does this to improve us, make us better than before.

Sometimes when He prunes, it hurts and may feel like serious damage has been done. But give yourself time to recover, heal and bloom again.

John 15:1,2

Jesus the True Vine

1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the keeper of the vineyard. 2He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, and every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes to make it even more fruitful.

NIV
  • Enjoying what the pruning has done or is doing with you.- Michele