Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Do you spit in public?

While standing in a check-out line, I overheard the conversation of the two women standing in front of me. In the ten minutes it took waiting for their turn, they complained about their husbands, children, neighbors, ladies from church, and the young guy at the register. I pretended to ignore them so that I wasn’t added to the list of targets.

I’m sure these frazzled moms were just stressed out and letting off some steam. But unfortunately, that wasn’t the first impression I was left with. I couldn’t help but feel I was standing in a snake pit. These ladies were spitting venom like cobras and I was doing my best to stay out of the line of fire.

I’m not trying to sound judgmental, I have been a cobra. I’ve vented frustrations to a trusted girlfriend before too, but never really considered how others perceived me. I didn’t think about how quickly my pity party could turn into witch hunt. Meanwhile, I was destroying my witness.

Can you relate? Have you spit venom about people you know? Or even worse, have you ever aimed your venom directly at someone in your life knowing you would hurt them? I have. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true. And, unfortunately, I can be as accurate as a cobra.

Our words can bring death or life and they travel farther than we realize. What we say about others can leave an impression in ways we may never realize. (I guarantee those ladies never thought they’d be the subject of a blog). What kind of first impression do you want to give? Speaking encouragement to others or spitting in public?

Be blessed,

Jennifer

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” James 3:9

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Gift of Blessing

Our family loves to vacation on a cruise ship! The very first cruise came with an unexpected surprise—free childcare. Our kiddos were about 7 and 5 at the time, and the idea of having them engaged in a morning of games and activities was very appealing. They would get to participate in some new, fun things while Greg and I relaxed and enjoyed the time alone.

Sounds perfect doesn’t it? It would have been, if only I wasn’t constantly watching the time and didn’t feel riddled with guilt for not spending every vacation moment with my kids. I spent three of our five days feeling horrible that they were going into cruise ship childcare so I could sit by the pool and read a book in peace.

Fortunately, one of the kids’ leaders, Casey, noticed my dilemma. She was so sweet to point out that the opportunity for the kids to spend time together and do fun things was building memories for them. They wouldn’t be able to have scavenger hunts and whipped cream art class if they were hanging out with us all day. The morning was their time to experience new things.

While she managed to comfort this frazzled mom, Casey also helped me to recognize the blessing. The blessing offered to my kids and the blessing available to Greg and me. I realized that I wasn’t a bad mom for letting them spend time with the other kiddos; I was receiving the blessing that was being offered.

Do we recognize a blessing when we see one?

Whether it’s an act of kindness or service, words of encouragement or Scripture being prayed for us in the proper season, blessings come in all shapes and sizes. But do we know them when we see them? Do we allow people to use their giftedness to serve us in a time of need?

Do we accept blessings from others?

I can’t tell you how many times I have felt guilty about receiving someone’s generosity. Instead of seeing their actions as an offered blessing, I will be hard on myself for needing someone’s help. Have you ever done that? Why are we so quick to condemn ourselves for needing help instead of just being thankful the hand has been offered? It took me three days of vacation to realize that allowing my kids to be blessed by the childcare program wasn’t a failure on my part.

Are we grateful for our blessings?

Gratitude is a mindset. When we recognize and accept the blessings offered by others, we should be grateful. It’s humbling to know that someone has taken time to meet your needs. If we’re not feeling an attitude of gratitude, then we probably don’t recognize the blessing for what it is or we didn’t receive it with the intention it was given to us. Either way, it’s a shift we have to make in our thinking. Are you grateful for the blessings in your life? Or has the blessing been squelched by a negative mindset? Let’s open our eyes and see how richly we’ve been blessed!

Be BLESSED,

Jennifer

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

M&Ms

Have you ever thought about the importance of M&Ms in your life? Think back to when you were a child. Didn't they make you happy? Think of every holiday you've spent with them. Did you enjoy the occasion more because they were a part of it? Wouldn't you like to have some right now?

You may think I'm referring to the colorful candy that “melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” But the M&Ms I'm talking about are Models & Motivators.

Models are placed in our lives so we can learn by example. Through models we are able to understand things like being a good sport, living with integrity, and being a Christ follower. Can you think of some of the models you've had in your life? What have they taught you?

Motivators provide the encouragement we need to get the job done. They not only want the best for us, but they honestly believe we can do it! Motivators remind us that the situation around us is no match for the strength that lies within us. Who has helped you stay motivated? Who is motivating you now?

If M&Ms are so great, shouldn't everyone have some? YES! Everyone deserves to have a handful of M&Ms. So that means everyone of us should BE an M&M in someone's life. We are called to be Models & Motivators for those around us. When we receive instruction and encouragement, we can give instruction and encouragement to others. In the end, we'll be a whole big bowl of happy!

Be blessed,

Jennifer

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Waiting...

The alarm sounded at 5:30 this morning. It's blog day. I lay in bed praying silently as my husband snoozed beside me.


Thank You, Lord, for this day. Thank You for all You will do in it. What would you like me to blog about today?


I waited in silence allowing my mind to think back over my week. Where had I seen God move? What example would He want me to share with you?


Nothing.


Lord, I know You are present in each day. Please show me an example that will bring you glory.

I laid silent, but still no word came. I called out to Him for over an hour, but nothing came. Nothing at all.


By the time 6:30 rolled around, I was completely disheartened. Why didn't God give me a message to share? What was I doing wrong? I got out of bed and got ready for my day.

In the car on the way to my first meeting, I confessed my sadness to God. Before the next mile had passed, I felt God speak to my heart.


You waited for Me, but did you wait with expectancy?


Wait with expectancy? My heart sank because I knew the answer. If I had been waiting with expectancy I would have been sitting at my computer at 5:30am waiting to write out what I felt God was prompting me to share. Instead, I was laying in my comfy bed waiting for Him to lay out a story in my mind before I got up to write it.


Scripture instructs us to wait on God. Not to run ahead and try to do things our way. The Bible is full of examples of waiting on God's timing. But waiting to see God move and waiting to move when we see God are not the same thing. Whoa! Read that again. Waiting to see God move is not the same as waiting to move when we see God.


Are we waiting to see if God will move or are we waiting because we trust He WILL move?


Be blessed,

Jennifer

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5