flashthoughts

Archive for the ‘THANKS’ Category

christmas-every-day-i-wishAfter reading my devotions this morning, as I do every morning, I began to write in my prayer journal. I say it has turned into more of my “thanksgiving journal” than my prayer journal because, most days, I’m simply thanking Him for various things. Lately, most of my actual prayers are not written – for a few different reasons. This morning, however, turned out to be a little different. Oh, it started out the same – my usual “Good morning Father! Thank You for waking me this morning” then I wrote the words “Christmas Eve” and, after that, I really didn’t even know what I was writing until I finished and read back over it. I felt I should share it and I hope it will touch at least one person’s heart and/or life. I am going to simply share exactly what is written in my journal:

Christmas Eve – the day before we celebrate the day of Your earthly birth – when You chose to put aside Your glory and Your Heavenly home to come and dwell among us AS one of us! My mind is hard-pressed to even BEGIN to comprehend the depth of Your love for ME! There are no words and, even if there were, I don’t know that I would be able to get them down on paper. I feel so inadequate and extremely unqualified to even try – so I pray and I ask You to help me live my life in a way that portrays and conveys what there are no words for – a love with no explanation – a love that can not be explained – a love that only You can give! I want my life to be a life that points others to You and honors You in a way no words can and a life that brings glory to Your Name! Without You, I am nothing and worth nothing; but, WITH YOU, I am unstoppable!

Help me to share the TRUE gift of Christmas every minute of my life – every second You give me breath; for I can not even take a breath without You filling my lungs with air! Help me to remember every day I have is a rare and precious gift FROM You and how I choose to use it is my gift TO You. I want to always be able to give You a lovely gift at the end of every day and, without Your help, even that isn’t possible.

My heart is truly overflowing this morning as I look back over this past year and remember all the wonderful “gifts” You have given me:

  • time spent with family & friends
  • growing love from & for my husband
  • a daughter making her way back to You
  • FREEDOM from my fears

and so many more! With You in my life, I truly can have Christmas every day, as can anyone else!

Thank You for all You have spoken to my heart this morning and, for all I have asked this morning, I ask it in the Precious, Holy Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth! I love You 🙂

IN JAILI spent my first day in jail Monday, January 26, 2015. The difference between me and the ladies already inside? I would get to leave at the end of the day and they would not. I was a first-time participant in an event called ReNew Hope through the We Care Program. (Those names are in a different color so you can click on them and learn more about each)

I was nervous, not scared, as I did not know what to expect. I only knew I wanted to be able to go in and encourage these ladies, share the love of Jesus with them and, hopefully, be a small blessing to them. I’m still not sure if that happened or not, but God certainly used them to encourage me, share the love of Jesus with me and bless me beyond measure!

Monday, I told the other ladies on our team, since this was my first year to participate, I didn’t want to talk with anyone “on my own”. I was not even sure if I’d be going back on Tuesday, depending on how Monday went! Needless to say, I went back on Tuesday and again on Thursday. I didn’t go Wednesday because I was going into a different place Wednesday night and wouldn’t have been back in time. More about that later….

LESSON #1

I am so accustomed to using the Bible app on my phone, I didn’t even think to grab an actual Bible on Monday before I left, even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to take my phone inside the jail! So, all the other ladies on our team had Bibles and I had nothing 😦 I thought, ‘Oh well, no big deal, I’m gonna be pairing up with someone anyway, so it will work out okay’ and it did. Almost immediately, ladies were talking with us and they were so excited we were there. Some grabbed their own Bibles and they were noticing many of the ladies on our team had lots of notes in their Bibles. They asked, “Is it okay for us to write in our Bibles?” I remember telling more than one lady, “YES! Of course! Write in your Bible. Make yourself all kinds of notes as you’re reading and the Lord is showing you things where you’re reading. Write it down!!” As I was saying this to different ladies over and over, I felt the Lord asking me, “So, why don’t YOU do that anymore?” Yes, I was definitely convicted of not using His actual love letter to me, His Holy Word, the way I once did. I went home Monday night, got my Bible out and put it in a case to carry with me Tuesday. On Tuesday, He reinforced His message to me about His Word when we were allowed to visit with the ladies in what is called the lockdown wedge. One of the ladies there had just received a brand new Bible from the Chaplain and she was holding on to it for dear life. She had it clutched to her chest and had the biggest smile on her face. She was so happy and proud to have a nice Bible. She said she had never had one like it before and she didn’t even want to put it down. That scene touched my heart in a very deep place! Since my experience there, I now carry my love letter with me to church and I am beginning to use it at home, too, as I once did, instead of the app. The app on the phone is nice and I do still use it – but I’m getting back to using my “hands-on” Bible the way I should!

Tuesday we were able to visit with ladies we had not had time to visit with on Monday. I love how God always connects us with exactly who we need to connect with. I was able to share a very, teeny-tiny part of my testimony with one of the ladies. Another volunteer shared her testimony and I felt I needed to share that one small part of mine. I knew God was prompting me to share with her because she was experiencing many of the same things I have experienced in past years.

LESSON #2

Something else I learned on Monday is GOD CHANGED MY NAME! Our team leader was sharing the story of Zaccheus and how God knew he was in the tree and called him by name and told him to come down because He was going to eat with him that day. She told them the wonderful thing is God knows their names, too, and He knows exactly where they are. I was thinking about that Monday night after I got home and God showed me, while He did not change my name from what my parents had given me when I was born, HE most definitely changed it from my nickname back to my given name because I am no longer the person associated with that nickname. I am becoming the person He always intended me to be and that is why HE changed my name. You can read more about the meaning of my name change in my story here.

Wednesday was the day I planned to stay home so I could go into Holman Prison Wednesday night for the service there. For those who don’t know, my husband is an Asst. Chaplain at Holman through the We Care Program. Some of the other wives had chosen Wednesday night as the night to attend service there so, of course, I wanted to go the same night 🙂

OH! I have to add this side note here: One highlight of Wednesday had absolutely nothing to do with ReNew Hope – well, in a round-about way it did, I guess, since it happened at We Care Headquarters – but I was able to see a friend I haven’t seen in a LONG time and it was so wonderful to see her! She has been and still is in the process of fighting breast cancer and all that entails, so say a prayer for her – God knows who she is 😉 She is doing GREAT, by the way, but all prayers are appreciated 🙂

Now – back to the evening service at Holman. What an experience that was! There were TWELVE visitors to get checked in – five in the music group, two that were speaking, wife of one speaker, three wives associated with We Care and the photographer/videographer – and it was very different from how the ladies team had been checking in at the jail! We all signed in on the paper log at 3:46 p.m. By the time the Warden had entered all the information and fingerprinted us all in through the computer, it was 5:02 when we were receiving our visitor passes and the service started at 5:30. The men were already in the chapel waiting for service to begin. As we walked in, several of the men were in prayer. They were praying for the service and for individuals. We went in and sat on the front row as we were asked to do. Sitting there, listening to the men praying also touched a special place in my heart. Hearing one man in particular praying for individuals and calling them by name, well, it brought tears to my eyes. Going through our day-to-day lives, we can find ourselves thinking the men and women in prisons and jails don’t matter. We can almost let ourselves believe they are of no concern to us, they did something wrong and they are where they should be. We couldn’t be more wrong! Father, forgive me, if I ever start to feel that way, and remind me and others these men and women are someone’s sons and daughters, possibly husbands or wives, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers. They are PEOPLE with feelings and emotions and regrets, just like I have every day and you know what? Jesus died for them the same way He died for me and I need to remember to love them with His love the same way He loves me!

The service was great and the time was over before we knew it and it was time to go home – or at least back to We Care Headquarters for another delicious supper prepared by those wonderful We Care ladies!

Thursday, back at the jail, was very nice. We were able to re-visit ALL the ladies we had seen during the week including the ones in the lockdown wedge. It was such a blessing to speak with them again. By Thursday, I also knew I would definitely be doing this again next year and, in fact, had even begun to think of others that I want to invite to join us!

It was a week of growing in the Lord and listening to Him and allowing Him to change the way I see a lot of things. While I shared two of the biggest lessons He taught me this week, there were many other lessons He taught me, also. Some may not be quite as ‘big’ as others, but certainly just as important. It most definitely made a change for the better in me and I pray I will continue to be teachable.

If you are interested in getting more information about how YOU can be a volunteer next year, be sure to click on the links in the first paragraph of this post or, if you want to ask me any questions about it, please do so. Feel free to leave a comment, if you are interested or have questions. I would love to speak with you about what a rewarding experience it is!

YOU'RE INVITEDSomeone asked me, on our team page, what I had done to end up with a $1,200 plus party and this was my response. After I finished it and read it over again, I felt it was something I needed to share with everyone to show how faithful and true God is. All praise, honor and glory to Him, my Father! Here is my response to her question:

That is the real BEAUTY of this order – I did not do ANYTHING – GOD did it ALL!!! I am TOTALLY serious when I say that, too. I had tried everything I knew to get a “home” party booked in March (2013). I had a catalog party going but that was it. I was getting parties booked for April and May but couldn’t seem to get anything for March and I, basically, just said, “That’s it. I’ve tried everything I know to do and I don’t have any ‘tricks’ left. I guess I just won’t have a home party in March, Lord, and if that is what You want, I’m okay with it because YOU put me in this business in the first place.” And I truly was okay with it. But God….I was sitting at my desk Sunday afternoon, March 10, working away and my phone rang. I almost didn’t answer it because I didn’t recognize the number – then remembered that I better answer it because my number is “out there” on a lot of things now and no telling who it might be. So, I answered it and it was a lady that I had never met before. She was saying something about Thirty~One and I thought she was wanting to place an order (as I had just finished up an ‘online’ party) so I was reaching for an order form. THEN I realized she was saying she wanted to HAVE A PARTY!!!! This lady ordered from someone back in November that had done a catalog party for me and now she wanted to have a party – a HOME PARTY – and the kicker? She wanted to have it SATURDAY!!! As in SIX days later Saturday. (Not much time for preparation or hostess coaching or anything!) I first said, “Well, I can do an evening party because I have a wedding to attend that afternoon.” She couldn’t do an evening party because they were having a singing at her church that she had to help with. I was looking for other dates we might could do it but she was saying Saturday would be the ONLY day in March she could do it as she would be going out of town for work. So, I thought very quickly and realized GOD had this woman to call me and I was NOT about to say no to a party that He, so obviously, was sending to me! LOL So, I told her okay and we set it up for 2:00 Saturday afternoon. She and her husband stopped by that evening on their way to church to pick up her packet and I didn’t see her again until the day of the party. It was the most CHAOTIC party I’ve ever done – people in and out, constantly coming and going – I was EXHAUSTED when I left there, but not because of anything I’d done – I was tired just from watching THEM – LOL – I did the “Mary Poppins” type of party and that was it. She had a little over $900 in sales when I left on Saturday and she told me, “I will have it up to $1200 by tomorrow afternoon because I want three of the Hostess Exclusives and I want them for FREE!” When she called me the next afternoon, she had a little over $1400 in sales.

So, I know that was a VERY long answer, but I HAVE to give ALL the credit to God and I felt I had to share the whole story for anyone reading this to understand WHY I say that and so they know, as I do, WITHOUT A DOUBT, that it most certainly was ALL GOD. Yes, I had to do my part – but HE is the One that gave me the party and HE is the One that blessed me for being obedient (taking the party He sent me instead of attending the wedding).

As I said before, HE is the One that put me in this business and He has blessed it beyond anything I could ever think or imagine. I know I am doing my part, but, honestly, I feel like I am just sitting back watching Him work – it is a WONDERFUL feeling 🙂

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Also, since it took me so long to get around to sharing this testimony on my blog, there has been an update to this story. The Hostess that had this party for me sent me a text about a week or so later wanting to know about becoming a consultant! We set a date to get together so I could share everything with her and then we set a date to get together and get her enrolled. She was the second lady to join my team. Since that time, which was only two weeks ago today, God has sent four other ladies to me. Two have joined my team, one I am meeting with this afternoon to get her enrolled and the fourth one I have to call today to set up a time to share everything with her. All this just days after I had prayed and asked God to help me remember this is HIS business and He will help me go wherever He wants me to go. I had started to get a little anxious about some things and had to remind myself to give it to Him and let Him do what He wants with it. I simply said, “Lord, if You want me to grow my team and go farther with this, then it will happen in Your time – not mine”. Then I forgot about it. I think He gave me the answer to that prayer when He sent every one of those ladies to me. You better believe that now I am DEFINITELY going to be ‘actively’ recruiting every time I can. Nobody can say YES, if I never ask. So, if you want to know more about what I’m referring to, just let me know and I’ll be more than happy to share 🙂

So thankful to Him for allowing me to do this and be a part of His continuing plan. He is SO good to me!

Love y’all!

All day today I was joking that I threw myself in front of a bus this morning. I made comments like, “I threw myself in front of a bus this morning but I’m having a great day now” or “Considering I started the day by throwing myself in front of a bus, it’s going really good now”.

Of course, I was mostly trying to laugh it off and convince myself the pain wasn’t so bad. I mean, it really could have been a lot worse than it was. I was able to go back in the house, clean myself up and get out the door and go to work. So, you may be asking yourself,  “Why in the world did she throw herself in front of a bus?”

Here’s what really happened – someone was coming by my house this morning to pick up some merchandise she had ordered from me. When she arrived, she just pulled over on the opposite side of the road from where I was. I looked to see if I could cross the road and I saw a school bus coming but it was far enough away that I knew I had plenty of time to cross the street and give the lady her merchandise. I stepped out with my right foot (most likely a little ‘quicker’ than I would have if nothing had been coming) but, when I moved my left foot, it hit a hole instead of solid ground. The next thing I knew I was falling and the only thought in my head while I was falling was “Oh no! The bus is coming! I have to get up!” I truly wish I could see it on video because, in my mind, it had to be the funniest sight ever! All I can imagine is that, anyone who saw it, saw me hit the pavement and jump right back up as if I’d hit a trampoline!

I gave the lady her merchandise, assuring her I was fine and that I only had scraped knees and jammed fingers. I was trying to hurry up and get done and get back across the street (without falling this time) and get in my car so I could leave for work. Once inside my car, I made sure she had gone on and made sure the bus  – anyone that had witnessed “the spectacle” was gone – and I pulled my pants legs up to reveal two scraped, bloody knees. I knew I needed to go back inside and clean them up before I left for work, so I did. Right before leaving the house, I managed to post this on Facebook  (still trying to see the ‘humor’ in the situation instead of my embarrassment): Tupid hole! On the bright side, I’m sure I gave all the kids on that school bus a huge laugh for the day. OUCH! My fingers and knees hurt! Bring on the ibuprofen and let’s try this leaving for work thing one more time!

And so it went with me all day UNTIL I was taking my shower tonight. I was remembering the accident that happened yesterday right in the church driveway after church and how that lady had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital. {She wound up being okay, though, and walked out of the hospital on her own to go home. 🙂 } Then something a friend posted on Facebook earlier today came to my mind – this was her post:

Did you hear Moses (Pastor Glenn Weber) talk yesterday at Grace Fellowship? He said, in 6 weeks ONLY, the people who loved and trusted God turned away! He told us to “stay on the road”, “dig into your Bible” and “seek God”. 6 weeks ????? I want to share what happened to me this morning. I went to get some eggs from dollar general. I was praising and thanking God for giving me courage yesterday and jamming to 88.5! On the road, by myself. As I made the turn with the yield sign ahead to the right, I made sure there was no traffic coming in the turn lane (on the highway). Still thanking the Lord, I looked up at the beautiful blue sky. Tickled like a kid, I delayed in looking….right in front of me was a 18 wheeler! I crossed the line, he blew the horn, my heart started racing and my thankful excitement changed into thankful to be alive. I swerved to the far right and noticed the long stretch of road ahead of me. The 6 week example of how easy God’s people forgot about His laws turned into a reality of a split second….how easily we can be gone. Hummm 6 weeks to 1 second…the reality of we don’t know what the future holds. But, God does. I’m so blessed to be alive, to cook breakfast, and pick my son up from school. Just thought I would share a little bit of my reality this morning. Have a good day everyone!

No, I did not remember her entire post. What came to my mind was how she mentioned our service yesterday and how, in an instant, her life could have been over today. I remembered how nervous she was yesterday morning about sharing part of ‘her story’ during the service and how God was able to get glory because she overcame her fear of speaking in front of people and shared. I thought, “Yeah, she made the enemy mad and he tried to take her out today.” THAT is when it clicked in my mind! Of course I had not “thrown myself in front of a bus” – I was THROWN in front of that bus! Instead of joking about it all day, like I had done, I should have been giving God the praise for having His angels there to jerk me right back up as quickly as they did. It made me start to wonder how many times I have “missed” giving Him glory because of my own embarassment in a situation. In fact, it made me realize that I had no reason to be embarrassed. Why should I be embarrassed because somebody pushed me onto the street? How many times has God rescued me from something and I’ve never taken the time to realize it was HIM that rescued me and never even bothered to thank Him for saving me?

I remember as I was back in the car this morning, getting ready to pull out and head to work – still crying like a baby – the thought went through my head, “Thank You, Father, for always being there for me. I don’t do half what I should for You and yet You are always right there when I need You, ever so faithful. Please forgive me.” Guess I should have thought on that some more and maybe it wouldn’t have taken me all day to realize what had happened this morning; but, I am thankful that He got through to me tonight and I am thankful that I have a way (this blog, Facebook and Twitter) to SHOUT to the world of how THE ENEMY TRIED TO DESTROY ME TODAY BUT GOD HAD A DIFFERENT PLAN! Do you remember me saying at the beginning that it must have looked like I jumped right back up “as if I’d hit a tramploline”? Maybe so, but I now KNOW how I got back up so quickly – I KNOW it was His angels that jerked me right back up and from this day forward I will give HIM all the praise, honor and glory for it!

I would like to take a few minutes today to say Thank You to someone – My MOM!

52 years ago today she was giving birth to me. I wrote a message on her facebook wall (YES, my MOM has a facebook page *smile*) and I suddenly realized that I wanted EVERYONE to know how much I appreciate her. This is what I wrote on her wall:  

Ahhhhhh – you say you can’t remember things but I bet you remember what you were doing 52 years ago today 🙂
 
I just want to say THANK YOU for being the wonderful Mom that you are and always have been. Thank you for being willing to take care of me, love me and bring me up in a home full of love. We may not have always had the ‘latest’ or ‘greatest’ of whatever material things were out there, but we ALWAYS had a house FULL of love and caring and those are things that are so much more important than the material stuff. Thank you for loving not only me, but for loving my Daddy and my sister and brothers. Thank you for always showing me that, no matter what else may be going on around us, family is what matters the most. Thank you for ALWAYS showing us Christ’s love – even though you may not have realized you were doing it. And please accept my apology for taking 52 years to say THANK YOU 🙂
 
I love you Mom!
 
I’m quite sure that during my ‘growing up’ years, I didn’t always feel so thankful to have a Mom and Dad that loved me so much. They loved me enough to care who my friends were, where I was going and how I was spending my time. They loved me enough to punish me when I was disobedient and I believe I am a better person for it. Horror of horrors, YES, they even used the belt on me!!! I grew up in the days when most parents disciplined their children and I am so glad I did.
 
While I don’t really remember it on my own, I know that my older sister has told of how our parents always took us to church – wait – I don’t mean they took us and dropped us off at church – we ALL went to church as a family. Somewhere along the way, though, I think my Dad got hurt and quit going. But that didn’t mean he didn’t love me or the rest of us – he just had to deal with things in his way. I am happy to say that before he died I KNOW that my Dad was at peace with the way things were between him and his Lord and I KNOW that I will see my Daddy again when I get to heaven. I tell you that part so that you can understand what I said to my Mom about always showing us Christ’s love, whether she realized she was doing that or not.
 
My Mom will tell you that she gave her life to the Lord AFTER my Daddy died. Yes, she will tell you how they went to church before and how she THOUGHT she was ‘saved’. But she will also tell you how she realized how wrong she was and that NOW she KNOWS she has a relationship  with the Lord that she never had before. What a wonderful feeling to know that I will ALWAYS have my Mom AND my Dad! Death may separate us for a little while, but even that doesn’t change the fact that we will ALL be together FOREVER!
 
WOW! I guess I kind of got ‘off track’ a little bit but ALL those things are why I am able to say Thank You to my Mom today. My Mom still does a lot for me these days – like allowing me to drive her car next week when I have to go to North Carolina for a conference. She is always ready and willing to do whatever she can to help me or any of her children. She is most definitely a very special lady and that is why today, on my birthday, I had to do what I could to give her a little special recognition – even though she will say I shouldn’t have. That’s just another reason I love and thank her so much!
 
What about you? Who is a special person in your life you are thankful for. Take a moment and leave a comment to share with me and others who you are thankful for today and how they have blessed your life.
 
In His Love always 🙂
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