The Best Question Ever

By Gail Armatys

“What do you want me to do for you?”

This is a question that my dad would ask when I’d come home from college and many times since. I never really thought about it then, but it is a powerful question motivated by love. If I told Dad I needed his help, I never doubted he would follow through.

This is the same question Jesus posed as he walked through Jericho on his way to the cross.   Yet, when we seek his help do we doubt his follow-through?

How do you respond to the best question ever?

A Question of Faith

There once was a blind man, Bartimaeus, sitting on the side of the road begging. When he heard that Jesus was near he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

The people around him told Bartimaeus to be quiet but he kept calling out even more. Then, Jesus stopped and told his disciples to call the man to him. When the man came, Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”

What do you want me to do for you?

Bartimaeus told Jesus he wanted to see. “Go. Your faith has healed you,” was Jesus’ response. Immediately the man received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Would you do the same?

Blind and Relentless Belief

Bartimaeus was probably lonely and begging in order to stay alive. Perhaps over the years he had gone to every healer in town and used every home remedy he could access to restore his sight. Nothing worked. Jesus was his last resort, and now he had the opportunity to talk with him face-to-face. Bartimaeus believed Jesus could restore his sight and change his life. Is Jesus your first or last resort? Do you believe he can change you and your life?

The first words heard from blind Bartimaeus were his desperate cries seeking compassion and forgiveness. “Have mercy on me, Jesus,” he pleaded. What if instead, Bartimaeus had hollered out in a flippant voice, “Yea, I heard you are some kind of miracle worker. I’ll believe it when I see it – literally.” Or he could have been timid in his request. “Umm, Jesus, if you wouldn’t mind – and have time – do you think you could try to help me see again?” Or demanding. “Hey, Jesus. I heard you were in town. Get over here and restore my sight. I’m tired of being blind.”

But those weren’t his words or his attitude. His were cries of desperate humility in search of Grace. Do you humbly bring your needs to Jesus seeking forgiveness and grace?

Bartimaeus was relentless and unashamed. When people discouraged him, he called out all the more. Being blind, his best possible opportunity to get an audience with Jesus was to use his voice. So he did. He even increased the volume and frequency in the midst of discouragement. He felt no shame in needing Jesus’ help or believing in his power. Do life’s hurdles easily discourage you or are you relentless in pursuing him and his purposes? Do you feel shame in seeking Jesus’ help and in letting others see your faith?

Upon hearing Bartimaeus cry out in faith, Jesus responded and called the man to him. (“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you,” comes to mind – James 4:8). Jesus could have ignored him or kept walking. Surely he had much to think about as he prepared to complete his mission in Jerusalem. Still, Jesus responded. His concern was for another even as his crucifixion was near. Do you draw near to God in faith believing he will answer?

Boldly and believing in Jesus power, Bartimaeus did not walk, but ran to him. Jesus tested his faith by asking Bartimaeus what he wanted him to do – believed he could do. Without mincing words or going on about the trouble he had endured, the blind man told Jesus specifically what he wanted… “I want to see.” Do you come to the cross boldly and tell Jesus your needs?

Jesus granted the blind man’s request because of his faith. The blind man immediately received his sight and followed Jesus down the road. Do you believe or do you doubt? Are you willing to follow Jesus?

When you come to the end of your own efforts for your own purposes, Jesus remains where he has always been…walking alongside you, ready to listen and respond. Today, in boldness and humility, believing in the power of the Holy Spirit to do more than you can ask or imagine, run to Jesus and answer the question he asks you, “What do you want me to do for you?”

He will graciously respond. You’ll see.

Purpose Steps

  1. Jesus asks you today, “What do you want me to do for you?” How will you answer?
  2. Jesus asks you today, “What do you want me to help you see?” How will you answer?

Purpose Prayer

Father, I praise your name and thank you for Jesus’ love and desire to answer as I cry out. I pray to be humble, bold, and full of faith as I seek help to change my situation and me in order to accomplish your purposes. Your name alone be glorified. Amen.

Listen to Your HeartSong Here!

I Will Run to You/Hillsong

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdWGLm4zxEA

Live the song written on your heart.

The Risk NOT Worth Taking

By: Vivian Wilson

risk not worth taking

In spite of possible bad weather, Nik Wallenda is going to risk his life today by walking along the 400-foot tall ORLANDO EYE while the ride is in motion.  Just writing this makes me queasy because I am afraid of heights.  The thought of being 400 feet above the ground is bad enough but being 400 feet above the ground with nothing but a rope under his feet is terrifying!  (I guess that is what makes them the death defying Wallendas).

While I don’t risk my life in such a defiant way, I wonder how many times I have risked losing God’s best for me because I was not content with the way things were going in my life.  I had good plans.  I knew what I needed.

I remember hearing my parents say at times, “because you aren’t old enough”.  I wanted to ride my bike to school which was several blocks away.  Another time I wanted to stay home by myself rather than go with them on errands of very little interest to me.  They knew I wasn’t ready to do these things because I wasn’t mature enough.

One of the things God is teaching me about contentment is that waiting has a purpose.  He uses this time to make me ready to receive or handle what lies ahead.  It may be a time of testing or a time of great blessing.  If I choose to wait with an attitude of contentment, my feet are on solid ground because I am trusting the One Who knows the plans He has for me.  He knows the future.  He has complete control of everything.  And while I am content I have peace and joy.

But sometimes, like old Nik, I decide to step up on that rope by taking things into my own hands.  My rope is only a couple of feet above the ground which is why I don’t really see the risk.  I don’t see that I am not “ready” yet for what lies ahead.  When I venture out onto that rope, I trade my peace for anxiety and my joy for fear.

THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS TO GAINING MATURITY (PHYSICAL OR SPIRITUAL) IT TAKES TIME.

What I am risking, when out of a discontented attitude I take control, is God’s best for me.  Instead of walking in the Spirit I am walking in the flesh, which leads to sin, which leads to a distant relationship with my Heavenly Father, which leads to a hindrance in my prayer life.

But unlike Nik, I do have a safety net.  My “net” is the loving arms of God who is always ready to catch me when I fall, lift me up, and then to set my feet on solid ground once again.

Oh what a gracious God we serve!  He uses my failures to make me more mature and ready to receive all He has for me at the right time.

Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

Psalm 40:2  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Isaiah 30:18  Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!

A work in progress,

Vivian

Better may not be BEST

By: Ms. O


 


I have been around for a good many years. Hey, I don’t mind admitting it. I was told once that every day above ground is a good day. During my lifetime I have seen plenty of inventions…the brilliance of a thought that comes into fruition.

 

Our first television that I remember from when I was little was HUGE….as in it was a piece of furniture. It had a black and white picture, which did not bother me at the time. All I knew was I turned on….as in had to actually walk over to the television set and turn it on…BY HAND…and a picture appeared…poof…MAGIC! No one cared that we had only three channels…it was an escape from everyday life. I will tell you though….when my friend got a color television set I did not have the same sense of awe with our black and white…sigh.  Nowadays I wonder if having so many channels…on so many televisions sets…all in different rooms is such a good thing after all.  What used to bring the family together has now moved us apart.

 

The way I have listened to music has changed over the years. I had 45’s and 33’s…8-track…cassette tapes…CD’s…and now Ipods…Itunes. I know that I am most likely behind in whatever is most up to date…but really…I hesitate in telling you I still have a few albums that I just don’t feel right giving away. As much as the youth would like to think their music is unique I will have to say, most music…the kind that lasts…does not change….it just rewrites itself to a different tune.


I remember my first microwave….although the only reason I used it was for nachos, baked potatoes and popcorn. I could not master the art of thawing out or cooking with the early model…way too complicated at the time. It sure did heat up coffee and soup though….instantaneous gratification at it’s finest. What is crazy is that using an oven …or the stove…to make a meal…permeates the house with the smell of dinner that no microwave will ever master. 

 

We bought our first VHS camcorder and thought we were all that and a bag of chips. Never mind the fact that it was the size of a sewing machine and the battery life was less than a full football/baseball/soccer game.   I have a tub of VHS tapes… Christmas’s, birthdays, recitals, school plays, cheerleading performances, sporting events…all on tape…but no clue what to do with now.  Now we use digital everything…”trash” the ones that aren’t worthy to keep…and then file the rest away on our computers.

 

My first cell phone could have been part of a fitness regiment. Holding that device up to my ear for any longer than ten minutes required added effort. Maybe that was a good thing because we paid by the minute but no one could exceed long periods of time…unless they were exercise gurus. These days all I know is no matter what phone I get, there will be a newer model that will come out within an hour of my purchase that makes mine look like yesterday’s old news. I wonder if the next generation will even know what a land line is…to be hooked to a wall…connected in one of the main rooms of the home.


This has all come to mind to me lately because my son and his wife are having their first child…my first grandchild. I went with them to a local “baby outlet”…and was amazed…confused…beyond comprehension of what in the world one small creature “needs” these days. I know it has been a long time since I had babies in the house but mercy, how did I raise them with the limited supplies I had?! There is something for everything…I mean that literally. My mind was swimming as I heard explanations of this…and that…and more. 

 

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. “ 1 Peter 5:8

 

I have come to this realization. At times we get bogged down by all the newest gadgets…the bigger…or smaller…faster…smarter than us inventions. Sure, progress is amazing…and I don’t mean to say that we should not take advantage of what comes on the horizon…but we need to hold steady to what we DO know…what is TRUE. We cannot allow the world to consume us. There will always be something new …better…more stream lined…but we are all a work in progress…steps into the future. 

 

Truth be told…the most important thing my future grandchild needs is…love. Sure those other things will make day to day raising a wee bit easier…but…nothing takes the place of pure love. Kind of like the Father’s love for us…all we really need…that makes us grow…and flourish….the rest is just gravy…the good old fashioned from scratch kind. 


Amen

Realize the Power of Your Attitude

By Gail Armatys

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think of, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

I’ve had this quote of Chuck Swindoll’s on the side of my refrigerator for as far back as I can remember. I believe a good and positive attitude is so important I have another quote stuck to the front of the fridge on the same topic…this one is much shorter. It says, “It’s our attitude not aptitude that determines our altitude.” Maybe this was (is still) a good reminder to me even as much as it was intended for my kids. Either way, I agree with both sentiments… our life reflects our attitude.

It's our attitude not aptitude that determines our altitude

Be Intentional About Your Attitude

So how do you go about living with a positive attitude? The key is to be intentional. Like Chuck said, “The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.”

I, unfortunately, recall instances when I may have gone through a moment or a day or, okay…a period of time, with less than a stellar attitude. Like any good parent, God noticed and let me stay stuck right where I was for as long as I chose to maintain that attitude. I guess I’d forgotten what I had posted on the fridge.

Thankfully, I now know what attitude God desires – one that flows from the knowledge of His grace, to be sure. But there is an attitude that turns our key of intentionality and pushes open the door that leads to the fulfillment of God’s purposes. This is the attitude of humility.

Scripture tells us –

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,

did not consider equality with God

something to be grasped, but made himself nothing

taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself

and became obedient to death –

even death on a cross!

Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place

And gave him the name that is above very name,

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

In heaven and on earth and under the earth,

And every tongue confess that Jesus Chris is Lord,

To the glory of God the Father.

Phil. 2:5-11

God is clear. Our attitude should be that of Christ, a humble servant. Jesus intentionally chose the attitude of humility over power and pride. A choice he struggled with in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yet, he ultimately humbled himself and walked the lonely path to the cross.

Based on these verses, we learn that Jesus’ choice had four results.

  1. His obedience.
  2. Our salvation.
  3. Fulfillment of God’s purposes.
  4. Glory to God.

Have you realized what can result as you live your days with an attitude of humility?

  1. Your obedience.
  2. Salvation of another.
  3. Fulfillment of God’s purposes.
  4. Glory to God.

Chuck definitely has it right; our attitude has a powerful impact on life.

Purpose Steps

  1. Does your attitude reflect that of Christ? Choose to start each day this week with a right perspective like the little girl in the image above. The door will swing open toward obedience, salvation, and God’s glory.
  2. Memorize Philippians 2:3 this week. ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.’

Purpose Prayer

Father, I pray to start my days bowing my will to you. I seek to be like you, to have an attitude of humility that I may obey, draw others to you, fulfill your purposes and glorify your name. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Listen to Your HeartSong Here!

To Be Like You/ Hillsong-Glorious Ruins

 

How To Parent When You’re Clueless

Are you a clueless parent? Here's my #1 Parenting Tip.

By: Amy Dalke

I originally wrote this post as a guest blogger for Made to Mother, a blog with stories by moms about motherhood. But I wanted to share it with you all today, because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how thankful I am to raise Luke in a Jesus-loving, church family. There’s nothing better than having a group of people who support you, and love you, and sharpen you as a parent. Especially if you started off as a totally clueless parent like I did. Especially if you still feel clueless.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I stared blankly back at the newborn nurse, who held a tiny diaper out for me; and it took her a moment to register that I didn’t have the slightest clue how to perform the task that she asked of me.

“Um, I don’t know how to do that, ma’am. Could you show me?”

So with a pitiful look of disgust, she taught this 27-year old how to change a diaper.

Welcome to parenthood, people.

Clueless doesn’t sufficiently describe my entrance into this parenting thing. Frankly, I wasn’t one of those girls who grew up dreaming of motherhood. In fact, I would have called that kind of dream a nightmare.

From my perspective, babies were too needy, and toddlers just threw tantrums. Why would I want one of those?

Once (once) when I was a freshman in high school, I was asked to babysit for a 7 year old boy, a 5-ish year old girl, and their 18 month old baby brother.

Poor family.

Looking back, I’m sad that they had no idea that they were leaving their most precious treasures in the hands of a unskilled laborer. They evidently missed the look of horror etched across my face as they strolled out the front door for the evening.

And I’ve suppressed much of that evening to the dark recesses of my traumatic memory bank, except I do remember the part where I had to clean poop off the walls. That happened because I asked the 7 year old to change the baby’s diaper since I was too afraid to do it myself. (Basically, not awesome.)

When the dad drove me home later that night, a ripe odor lingered in the car. I thought he had a stomachache or something. Until I realized once I got home and changed clothes that my shirt sported leftovers from the disaster I had cleaned off the bathroom wallpaper. (And good times were had by all.)

They must have lost my number, because they didn’t call me to babysit again. (Thank you, Jesus.) And I vowed to never-ever pursue a career as an au pair. Thus, that was the last taste of childcare that I experienced before my son was born thirteen years later.

When my friends had babies, I pretty much avoided them until their children were old enough to use complete sentences. Frankly, the dependance and vulnerability of a small child terrified me. And I knew enough from my babysitting failure that I was not cut out to be responsible for the welfare of a tiny human being.

Which explains why, years later, I burst into panic-stricken tears when the labor and delivery nurse told me it was time check out of the hospital. Because, hello reality. Apparently they also wanted us to take this baby boy home. With us. For good. For…ever. With no nursery staff to hold my hand and tell me how to do it.

I cannot even describe the holy fear that filled our vehicle on the 10 mile drive home from the hospital. All the how-to-parent books and magazine articles I had read over the last few months were a jumbled blur in my hormone-drunk brain.

The only preparedness I felt had to do with the organization of all our baby supplies. But  then again, what good are diapers when you don’t know how to work them? (Seriously, bless my heart.)

Because when you don't have a clue, prayer is your best bet. (Every time.)

Luke turned 9 years old in December, and I still have a holy fear when it comes to parenting. Mostly because I don’t carry an ounce of natural parenting wisdom within me. Sure, I picked up the diapering skills pretty quickly; and I mastered the art of “No-no” when he toddled through the house like a tornado. But parenting is so much easier when they can’t talk back.

So like those sweet infants who once scared the living daylights out of me, I’m desperately dependent on God to provide everything I need to mother this child he gave to me. I don’t know that I will ever be able to spell out 5 Perfect Parenting Tips.

But if there’s been one single, tried-and-true, cost-effective method that saves the day every single time, it is prayer.

It’s a mother on her knees because she has no clue how to do this thing. Luke’s diet might not be preservative-free and nutrient dense, but he is definitely drenched in prayer. (I basically pray a lot that God will turn the pop-tarts into the vitamin equivalent of a spinach omelet.) (I’m only half-kidding.)

Sometimes I wish I approached all of life like I approach parenting. Because I’m wise enough to know that I am unsuited to do this mothering business on my own. So I do it with my face buried in the carpet as pleas fly up to heaven.

I’ve clearly made a strong case for you to consider me a parenting expert…so I’ll refrain from offering you any practical recommendations on how to deal with picky eaters or something. (I mean, pop-tarts and all…). Instead, I hope you will forever hold the image of a determined mother parenting on her knees; and my prayer is that you will parent with a holy wonder, steeped in awareness that you don’t have a clue…and that’s the best place to be.

Amy

What’s Keeping You From Blooming?

Are you blooming?

I ask the question because I spent a good amount of time last weekend pulling weeds. As usual, God used nature to speak to my Spirit. This time, He impressed upon me that there may be things in my life that if allowed to remain, will keep me from fully blooming – keep me from all the goodness He has intended until they are removed.

Needless to say, I got on my knees and began digging.

Hidden By An Imposter

I allowed the weeds, which actually had pretty pink blooms, to remain in the flowerbed for quite some time because the little purple ground cover that was supposed to be blooming wasn’t, and I preferred some color over no color. I told myself that the weeds would soon die away and I’d be left with the flowers meant to be there. I decided the issue would take care of itself because truthfully, I wasn’t interested in taking the time or making the effort to pull the weeds.

As you may have expected, the weeds didn’t die out of their own accord…they spread. I had no choice. I finally took action before our yard and the neighbors’ became fields of what I would have to claim to be Texas’ new state flower if I wanted to save our neighborly relationships.

It took some doing to dig down deep enough to get to the root of these deceivingly dainty weeds. I had to get on my knees, dig deep, pull, and toss to accomplish my mission. With perseverance, the right tools, and ultimately a little Advil, I did it! The weeds were gone. The little purple flowers that were there all along, but hidden by an imposter, could now fully receive the sun and bloom.

What's keeping you from blooming?

Getting Rid of Weeds

So often the weeds of our lives seem to cause no harm and may even provide fleeting happiness. Still, God allows us to sense or experience that something is hiding the truth of who we are and it is keeping us from living the life we’ve envisioned. Better than that…the life God intended.

Sometimes, our weeds come in the form of habits. Sometimes they are a way of thinking, an attitude or fear. Whatever they are, God always graciously offers us the option to decide whether or not we are willing to get down on our knees and start digging, pulling, and tossing.

If you choose to remove – big and small – the things that are keeping you from the purpose-filled life you desire, here are five tools in the form of questions that will help you get started.

5 Questions That Dig Deep

  1. What habit do I have that keeps me from living my best life? Acknowledge it and its negative impact. Take the door God provides to leave the habit behind. Replace it with something God-honoring.
  2. What are my motives? Are they pure, selfish, self-less?  Do they glorify God?
  3. What, if anything, do I fear? What does this fear give me permission to do or not do?
  4. What would my life look like in full bloom? Imagine it. Write it down.
  5. Why not choose to live that life?

Flowers in full bloom fulfill God’s intended purpose by spreading seed and perpetuating beauty. You spread Christ’s love when you choose to live fully the life God planned and purposed for you.

It’s easier and less work to let things take care of themselves. But they usually don’t, and is that really how you want to live anyway? Don’t let the weeds of life keep you from being all you were designed to be and do. Be discerning and on guard, often our weeds are deceptively beautiful imposters that keep us in the dark.

Choose to bend a knee, dig deep, pull, and toss. Your life will begin to blossom.

Purpose Steps

In your quiet time this week, write down your answers to the questions above meditate on them and take the action steps included. Ask God to reveal the changes He desires in your life and freedom from what holds you back.

Purpose Prayer

Father, thank you for being the Master Gardner and revealing the weeds that keep me from my best life. Help me to identify and remove what causes me to stumble or stay stuck. I seek your face and pray to fully blossom, live out my purpose, and reveal your beauty. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Listen to Your Heartsong Here!

Bloom/ Moriah Peters

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPeudF7tcD8

Live the song written on your heart.

Loss, Dread, Emptiness: Perfect Soil for Grace

By:Vivian Wilson
snowflake
It’s Tax Deadline Day!  (Which has nothing to do with this blog).  Or does it?  For many people April 15th is not a date that is joyfully anticipated.  Nope.  On the contrary, it is a dreaded day that, if possible, would be completely avoided.
March 28 is the day I would have avoided if I could have.  I knew it would be difficult emotionally, but I underestimated the intensity and duration of the ache that would settle in my heart.  Let me say that on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the least significant, my circumstance is a one when compared to other losses of much greater significance.
Nevertheless, the pain was real.  I sold my house.  This is a very good thing.  So three weeks ago I began the process of packing to move.  The plan was simple.  Store what I want to keep and get rid of everything else.  But having lived in this house for almost 39 years, it wasn’t as easy as the plan sounded.  I am very sentimental.  So letting go of memories in the form of stuff is hard.
I had plenty of help.  My sister and her husband drove three hours one way for three weekends in a row.  My children were also there every weekend as well as a friend.  I rented a dumpster.  (I think this was to “encourage” me to throw stuff away).  My family diligently packed, wrapped, and organized.  My primary job was to determine the destination of the “stuff”-storage, dumpster, or give away.  This wasn’t easy either, because I have two very practical sons who kept reminding me that the storage facility and their garages could only accommodate a limited amount.  We were very organized and prepared when “moving day” arrived.  As the door on the rental truck was closed, the reality of loss and change hit me.
I thought I was prepared for the day.  I expected some sadness.  I expected to feel some pain over leaving the place that had been “home” for most of my life.  I had no idea that I would feel a sadness that would lead to deep despair.  I was an emotional wreck because of grief and fear.
In the days leading up to March 28, emotions began to surface.  In the days following “moving day”, I was engulfed by them.  I felt like I had lost the ability to control myself.  My emotions were dictating my thoughts and actions.
In the midst of my emotional crisis, I had dinner with two good friends, a dinner that been planned for over a month and then rescheduled. (Did you know, God’s timing is perfect?) They affirmed my feelings of grief – it was normal- and gave me encouragement. Then I began to consider my experience in the light of Truth.
It is natural to grieve over a loss. In this case, I was leaving my home of almost 39 years. The truth is, “home” is in heaven, I am an alien here, and while I am on earth, home is not about a building. It is about family and relationships.
My house is not my security. The truth is, God is my security. I can always count on Him, He never changes, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He will supply all that I need.
Change is not something to be afraid of. The truth is, growth requires change. God has prepared me for this time. Nothing is an accident, or unnoticed by Him.  Two years ago, He put it on my heart to intentionally work on Trusting Him. Last year we worked on surrender, and this year we are working on contentment.
I have the opportunity to apply these very relevant disciplines to my life in my current circumstances. I can trust God to do what is best for me and to meet my every need. I can surrender, let go of everything, all the stuff, and worship Him only. I can be content with what I have and where He has placed me.
For now, I am living with one of my children and his family and enjoying the opportunity to strengthen the relationships with my family. I am learning to be less independent and allowing my family to give as they are so willing and desirous to do. I am learning to accept the grace offered by others.
If my earthly family desires to show their love for me in such gracious ways, how much more does my Heavenly Father desire to shower me with His love and grace?! Two weeks ago, I was an emotional wreck. Today I know the joy and peace that I have in Jesus. Freedom from grief and fear triumphed when I decided to trust God with my circumstance and my life; when I opened up my hands and let go of earthly things (which includes my will) and when I chose to be content with my life as it is.
I am grateful for the events of the last month – all the good and especially the difficult things. Change is not welcomed by some and I am definitely one who does not like change. But as I reflect on recent events, God has revealed one change I must make: to move from an independent attitude to an attitude that embraces total dependence.  I depended on a house for security. I depended on “stuff” to remind me of my worth.  Now I will depend on the one who is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and who loves me with an everlasting love.
So while I thought I would have avoided March 28 if possible, now I see what a blessing it is. Thank you for missing me these last few weeks. I missed you, too, and it’s good to be back.
A Work in Progress
Viv
PS: Maybe you avoided April 15, only to learn you get a refund!