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“…The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.”     – Psalm 18:28

“The light shines in the darkness, and darkness can never extinguish it.”  – John 1:5 

One night I looked out the window to see a full moon shining down on me.  All I could see was darkness and the circle of the light of the moon.  As I looked at the moon, it reminded me of Jesus.  No matter what, Jesus is always there, just like the moon.  When through the darkness of difficult or seemingly hopeless situations a light shines through, it is Jesus.  Sometimes the moon is hidden, covered up by clouds.  Jesus is sometimes hidden in our lives, too.  We don’t always see the moon, but we know its existence is there.  The same is true for Jesus.  Even when situations fade Him from our sight, when sin or evil seem to prevail in total darkness, in our hearts we can be sure that He is there trying desperately to make His light known.  Just as the moon is a reflection of the sun’s light, Jesus is the Son reflecting the Father’s light. 

“This is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” 

Psalm 118:24

My 7-year old son recently broke into a happy dance and started singing, “I love today! I love today!”  He’s been playing McDonald’s Monopoly game and thought he and his brother had won $1000.  He was so excited that it made him love that very day of his existence.  His joy was infectious and the memory still makes his dad and I chuckle when we think about it.  I should note here that my son was mistaken.  He did not have the necessary game pieces to win $1000, but he’s still trying!

Today my heart is also saying, “I love today!  I love today!”  It’s not because I might have won a big prize or because anything spectacular has happened.  My reasons for loving this day are much simpler.  This is the first day in a long time that I don’t have scheduled places to be.  My sons have gone to school so my time is my own.  Rain is gently falling outside, bringing a kind of hush to the world around me. The house is in reasonably good order and I’m caught up on laundry, so I am just here, after spending relaxed and unhurried time in prayer with the Lord, in my comfy clothes, thinking about how much I love today. 

Our church is going through a time of transition, but  I see God working for the good of our church through these changes.  Members have been jolted out of complacency.  We have a renewed energy in the church and are turning inward, as we should, to focus on the Lord and committing ourselves to prayer.  I am excited to see where God is leading us!

The Lord is blessing me with wonderful and exciting ways to be of service to Him and use the gifts and talents He’s given me. 

My life is blessed with so many incredible and inspiring people.  I go to church, school, and places in the community and see people I love – many of whom have blessed  me in some way.

The most important of those I love are my family.  We love each other and have so much to be thankful for.  We live in a nice home and have filled it with lots of love.  We’re not perfect.  The house is never in perfect order.  But we’ve made Christ the cornerstone for our home and He’s blessed us for that. 

I am healthy and able to do what God leads me to do.  And today He allowed me to sit back and think about how I love today. 

Thank you, Lord.  Let me love today and every day as I seek to spend them all with You.  Amen.

Following are the words of a father anxiously awaiting the homecoming of his son, a soldier returning from the dangers overseas.  He writes of love for his son and also on behalf of all the ’sons and daughters’ serving for our freedoms.  He refers to his son’s friend, Matt, whose family is active in our church.  We have been praying for months for Travis, Matt, and related concerns expressed by their parents on their behalf.  Great praise was ours on Sunday when Matt stood before the congregation, received with great applause of love and appreciation. He is home on leave for a short time before returning to war.  I hope the following letter will touch your heart as it did mine.  I suspect it speaks for many whose hearts are with their beloved soldiers.  Let us hold them fast in our prayers and offer them our support, respect and appreciation always

 Dear Friends, 

Please indulge our emotions as they are expressed in this letter.  Our hero comes home today.  Travis called from Baghdad at about 1400 ESDT.  He was boarding a plane that would route through Kuwait and Ireland and then to Atlanta, maybe Charlotte, maybe Greensboro or even Raleigh sometime over the next couple of days.  It doesn’t matter because Mary and I will wait for the call and we will rush to wherever he is to greet him.  We will cherish each moment we have with him, but he has many others he wants to see and much he wants to do while he is home.  We understand and accept that. 

He is special to us because he is our son.  But the things he has done and experienced are no different than the son’s of many have done.  Travis has faced an enemy and fought in pitched battles.  He has fired upon another human being in a deadly confrontation.  Unless you have experienced it you cannot imagine its effect.  It is important for us all to remember why he and others are going through these perilous times Soldiers become soldiers for different reasons.  But in the end we send them to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. 

Travis is not so much exceptional among the hundreds of thousands, even millions that protect our way of life.  But for us he is exceptional in that he is our son.  They are all somebody’s sons and all made in the image of God.  I believe he is also exceptional to you in that God gave you a relationship with him.  He has eighteen days at home before returning to Iraq.  Please pray that those will be days filled with rest, good fellowship and joy for him.

 It seems trivial but I also ask your prayers about a vehicle purchase.  Travis owns an older S-10 pick up truck.  But it has developed mechanical issues and is just a tired vehicle.  If I could, I’d but him a new one and give it to him but we are unable to do that.  Please pray for us as we seek to find a truck he can afford and will serve in for the next few years through ROTC/college. 

His friend Matt is also home on leave.  Please pray that he has a good time of rest.  On Friday he travels to Orlando with his family for the duration of his leave.  His parents, Tessa and Jim Dunn are sharing the same emotions we are experiencing. 

We also need to add a new name to your prayer list.  He is Pvt. Justin Goudy.  Justin is from Orrville, OH.  He has been Travis’ best friend for many years.  He is a gifted musician and songwriter, a great mechanic and a fine young man who loves the Lord.  Mary and I love this young man and we have a space reserved on our wall for his picture as a soldier beside mine, Mary’s son Sean who was a Marine and Travis’.  He leaves Wednesday for basic training at Ft. Benning, GA.  He will eventually be training to join an artillery unit.  Simply another young man answering a call to serve his country. 

We are proud of those who are called to protect our freedoms and our way of life.  We are especially proud of our son.  The anticipation of his homecoming is quite overwhelming.  If you would care to send him an email to welcome him home send it to Whaynie@aol.com.  

Thank you for your prayers for Travis and Matt and we encourage you to include Justin Goudy. In Christ, Wayne 4 Mary 2

Added by Renee:  A Psalm to claim for our soldiers: 

Psalm 91 

1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
      will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
 2 This I declare about the Lord:
   He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
      he is my God, and I trust him.
 3 For he will rescue you from every trap
      and protect you from deadly disease.
 4 He will cover you with his feathers.
      He will shelter you with his wings.
      His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
 5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
      nor the arrow that flies in the day.
 6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
      nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
 7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
      though ten thousand are dying around you,
      these evils will not touch you.
 8 Just open your eyes,
      and see how the wicked are punished.
 9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
      if you make the Most High your shelter,
 10 no evil will conquer you;
      no plague will come near your home.
 11 For he will order his angels
      to protect you wherever you go.
 12 They will hold you up with their hands
      so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
 13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
      you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
 14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
      I will protect those who trust in my name.
 15 When they call on me, I will answer;
      I will be with them in trouble.
      I will rescue and honor them.
 16 I will reward them with a long life
      and give them my salvation.”
May God’s blessings go out to all of our men and women in service, and also to the loved ones who hold them in their hearts. 

“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”   – Romans 8:15
 

Have I ever told you about my family’s farm in West Virginia?  It’s where my mom was born and raised.  My 93-year old grandmother “Granny” still lives there today.  It is an historical site. To the best of my knowledge, my great, great, great…grandfather was the first to settle in that area, living among the native Indians after having left one of the original colonies.  He was a McNeel, of Scottish origin, coming from the island of Bara off the coast of Scottland where the McNeel castle still stands today.  Sitting atop a high hill on our farm is the McNeel family cemetary with gravestones dating back to the late 1700’s. 

Why do I share this with you?  I’m proud of my history and heritage, and feel blessed to have a family base to go back to.  It gives me a sense of identity and belonging in this world. 

Many people do not have a recorded family history or even a base to call home.  We live in a transient world, especially here in the United States.  More and more people are leaving their hometowns in search of better opportunities and different lifestyles.  Those in small towns seek the faster pace and greater opportunities of the big cities.  People who have tired of the hustle and bustle of city life retreat to quiet, rural areas.  Others have worked hard to earn rest in retirement and seek climates and places that will offer them more enjoyment in their lives.  And many people are leaving their home countries and cultures to begin new lives in far-away parts of the world. 

With so much movement in our world today, many are seeking a sense of belonging. 

I remember moving from Indiana to Charlotte.  I desperately wanted to make friends, get involved, and become familiar with my new surroundings and community because I desperately needed a sense of belonging.  I wasn’t active in church at that time and I hadn’t come to know the Lord like I do today.  If I had, I don’t think I’d have felt so desperate to ‘belong’.  I would have been secure in my place of belonging with the Lord.

The Bible tells us that we are all God’s children.  However, the early Christians were mostly of Jewish descent and some of the first Christians made others feel that they didn’t belong in this new family of faith.  The Apostle Paul quickly assured those seeking a sense of belonging that they had been ‘grafted in’. “…and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,…”     – Romans 11:17   Jewish people had been set apart in ancient days to be God’s holy people, but after the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the invitation to be a Believer was open to everyone.  Paul spent most of his adult life reaching out to the Gentiles to bring them in to the body of faith, assuring them that they belonged in God’s family as part of the body of Christ.

 As is taught in DisicpleBible study, we needn’t be concerned about who we are because we can be sure of whose we are.  Knowing we’re children of God, that He is our Abba (Father), and that we have been grafted into the body of Christian believers, gives us the assurance that we belong to the Father.  We are His.  We are all sons and daughters of Adam.  We belong to the family of God, with brothers and sisters in Christ here, there, and everywhere.  Our sense of belonging is in Him. 

Dear God, Thank you for loving ALL of your people, and for helping us to know that no matter where we live or how we live, we belong to You.  Let us never feel alone or outcast.  Instead let us remember that you became our Abba, Father when you adopted us as your own children, and that as Believers, we can be assured that each of us has our own place within the body of Christ.  In Jesus’ holy name I pray.  Amen.

“The rain pours down from the clouds, and everyone benefits.”

Job 36:28

Our area of North Carolina is in an extreme drought.  It is now the worst in our state’s history.  But praise the Lord and glory hallelujah!  Today we got rain!  While the dawn’s darkness was still upon us, we heard the sound of rain pouring down.  We couldn’t help but rush outside to see it for ourselves.  Instead of listening to the tv or radio this morning, I have the windows open so I can hear the sweet sound of rain. 

“You sent abundant rains, O God, to refresh the weary land.”

Psalm 68:9

 

Today’s message is very simple 

 GOD IS YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER.

Think about that for a moment.  Your God, the one you worship and pray to, is not just your God, He’s your Heavenly Father.  The God of creation is your father and He loves you more than anyone on this earth ever can.  His love is forever and unconditional.

Because He loves you so much, He wants to be a part of everything in your life.  Some might think, “How can God love me?  He doesn’t know me.” Or, “How could He love someone like me?”

Well, He does know you.  He created you and knows your innermost desires.  And He loves you despite your past mistakes or wrongdoings.  God knows what you’re made of and He sees the beauty He created in you.  He knows your potential and the purpose you were made to fulfill.  He knows what will truly make you happy.  Because God loves you so much He wants you to know the joy that can only be found in Him.  And it hurts him when we push Him aside and look for happiness in places where true happiness can’t be found.

As your Heavenly Father, He wants to help you, protect you, provide for you, bless you, and shower His love upon you.  You are His son or daughter and are so very precious to Him. 

As your Loving Father, He wants to be in relationship with you.  If you’re a parent, think about how much you love your children.  Now think about the fact that God loves you even more than that! 

He even sent His son, Jesus, to be your Lord and Savior.  Knowing we’d make mistakes and live in sinful ways, He sent Jesus to live a perfect life and then die as a sacrifice for man’s sins.  If you allow yourself to think about that, you’ll realize what an amazing gift of love that was.  Jesus came to offer us freedom from sins through forgiveness and salvation – that all who believe in Him will have eternal life in heaven.

Are you keeping relationship with God?  Do you find ways to spend time with Him?  Worship Him?  Do you share your joys, questions, doubts, fears and other emotions with Him?  Do you let Him help you?  I hope so.  As much as He loves you, it would be a shame to shut that love out of your life.  

Dear God, Your love is so great that we cannot truly comprehend the depth or bredth of it.  Thank you for loving us as much as You do and for being there waiting for us to receive Your love and to show love to You in return.  I pray for those who are seeking to find You, and for those who have found You to make each day a new opportunity to grow in the grace of Your love.  I love you so much and want others to know you as I do – as loving God and Heavenly Father who is there for each of us.  To You my Heavenly Father I pray, with Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and with the love of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Dear Friends,

Since becoming a prayerful person,  I’ve found it interesting to discover that the most common personal prayer requests from married women are for their husbands and/or their marriages.  Some are for wives with good marriages who are lifting their hopes and concerns to the Lord, but many are for women who are struggling in their relationships with their husbands.

I’m no expert in the marriage department, but one thing I know for sure is that, in addition to praying for our own godliness, we must pray for our husbands and our marriages, too. 

We must also pray for our children, family and loved ones.

Praying is something each of us can do.  It doesn’t take fancy prayer ‘speak’.  All you have to do is talk to the Lord.  I have dedicated prayer time every day, often several times a day.  I also ‘pray’ with my thoughts throughout the day by turning off the tv and radio and having conversations with God.

If you could use a little help guiding your prayer thougths or knowing what/how to pray, the following books might be helpful:

The Power of a Praying Wife  by Stormie Omartian

The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian

The Power of a Praying Parent by Stomie Omartian

Praying the Scriptures for Your Children by Jodie Berndt.   This book was recommended to me by my dear friend, Kendra.  I ordered it from Borders.  They do not charge shipping and will ship your order to your home or to their store.  You can order online or in their stores.

Just last week I found help from The Power of a Praying Wife by going to Chapter 22 – Praying for His Emotions.  Stormie suggested praying for my husband’s heart to be led by the Holy Spirit, not his emotions.  What a wonderful thing to pray!  And it helped!  (This is a great thing to pray for ourselves, too!  Imagine how some situations might turn out differently if we let our hearts be lead by the Holy Spirit instead of our emotions.  Hmmm…)

If you could use a little guidance for your prayers and prayer thoughts, I hope these books will help.  And in addition to your own prayers, don’t ever be shy to seek prayer support from others, too. 

PRAY AND MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Love and blessings to all,

Renee

I’m in a mood of great praise today! 

God helped my husband and I to use our difficult situation to make our marriage better and stronger.  Praise! 

God spoke new things to me through my situation with my husband to help me see more deeply in his heart.  This will help me be a better wife.  Praise!

God used that experience to lead me more confidently in my callings.  Praise!

God used friends in special ways to help me.  Praise for ALL the wonderful people He’s placed in my life! (This praise includes YOU if you’re reading this!)

God used the retreat this past weekend to lift, strengthen, and inspire many of us.  Praise!

God, in His unequalled mercy and grace, used the retreat to weave lives together and touch hearts in a ‘forever’ kind of way.  Praise!

God heard our prayers and strengthened Tara in her continued battle with cancer.  She is recovering at home without a ventilator! PRAISE!

God is with us in EVERYTHING if we allow Him to be.  And He truly does work everything together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.  (Romans 8:28)  Praise!

Now, let’s go back to the title of this post.  It is the first line of what is most commonly known as The Doxology, sung in recitation at traditional Christian church services.  I’ve said before that recitation is great in many ways, but too often we get so used to what we’re reciting that we lose touch with the meaning.  Look at these words carefully:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.   All blessings come from Him, and they don’t just ‘come’.  They FLOW!   It doesn’t matter what kind of day you’re having or how hard things might be for you, God’s blessings are FLOWING for you!   

Take a minute right now to write down all the blessings that are flowing in your life.  They can be big or small.  It doesn’t matter. A blessings is a blessing!  Now, look back over your list.  Can you see how God is at the root of those blessings?  Do you feel blessed?  I hope so, because you are.  🙂  

Now go back to the first two words and PRAISE GOD.   He’s a loving and generous God who only wants the best for you.  Perhaps that is the greatest blessing of all. 

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.  Praise Him all creatures here below.

Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts.  Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  Amen. 

Love and blessings to all,

Renee

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:2
 

This past weekend I participated in our church’s women’s retreat.  It was held at Black Mountain, NC, a little mountain town.  We were on our own Saturday afternoon so some of us went into town to find a cute little restaurant for lunch.  Friends Charissa and Dianne joined Carolyn and me.  They suggested we go to Veranda Cafe.  On the way, they kept finding things they wanted to see in the shops we were passing.  I was too hungry to shop so I went on to the restaurant in case there was a wait.  Indeed, there was.  I put our name in and waited for my friends to join me.  While waiting, an older lady came in.  She put her name in and waited alongside me.  We spoke briefly.  She seemed very nice.  I wondered if she had come ahead of her party like I had done, or if she was alone.  By the time my friends arrived I could tell she was on her own.  Just as I was about to ask my friends if they would mind if I asked her to join us, the waiter came to take us to our table.  Since he would be taking us to a table for four, I didn’t say anything about the ‘lone stranger’ I’d noticed.  We entered the dining room and I quickly noticed  the tables were very small.  Adding another place might make space tight.  I was about to dismiss the idea of asking the lady to sit with us.  HOWEVER, at the very moment these thoughts were going through my head, the waiter placed a fifth chair at the head of our table!  Can you believe it?! Well, that was my sign that we should ask her to join us.  When I suggested it to my friends they agreed.

I returned to the waiting area and kindly asked the lady if she was alone.  She said that she was so I told her my friends and I wondered if she would like to have lunch with us.  She was so pleased to be asked and graciously accepted our invitaiton.  The meal that followed would be one that I’ll never forget. 

Our new friend’s name was Skip.  She was 73 years old and traveling alone on her way from the shores of Jersey to her home in Kansas.  She’d just spent seven weeks with her old high school sweetheart.  They’d gone separate ways in college, each marrying someone else.  Although he’d had a good and faithful marriage, he’d never forgotten about Skip.  After his wife died, he got the contact information for Skip.  Unaware of this, she was wonderfully surprised to receive a beautifully handwritten letter from him in the mail after having lost touch with each other for 60 years!  She was so excited that she read it more than once to make sure it said what she thought it did.  Once she was sure, she raced up to her computer to send him an email message in response!  Yes, at 73 she’s computer savvy.

In the past year they’ve visited each other several times, rekindling their old flame.  When I asked when and where they’d be meeting next, she said they hadn’t planned another trip this time.  They were having issues.  She was ready to get married, but he did not feel the same way.  When I suggested that he might need more time, she leaned closer and said, “I’m 73, and he’s 74 going on  75.  We don’t have more time!”   At that we all laughed.  This was the type of charm that would keep us captivated. 

It’s hard to convey in writing just how charming and delightful Skip was.  She had a remarkable pep and sparkle that belied her golden age of 73.  We were enchanted the entire time we were with her.  And it wasn’t just us.  I noticed the man at the next table kept turning around to listen to her, too. 

Part of our fascination with her was her adventerous spirit.  Caught up in her spirit, I invited her to join us at our retreat.  Again, she seemed so pleased to be invited and accepted the invitation with warmth and grace.  She was even willing to stay on the retreat grounds with us so I contacted the retreat coordinator to make sure this would be all right.  I briefly told Louise, the coordinator, about the amazing woman who had captured our hearts and asked if we could work things out so that Skip could join us.  This was her response: “Yes.  She’ll be an angel in our midst.” 

So details were worked out as we finished lunch.  The girls and I were so excited that Skip would be joining us later!  We parted ways after lunch with plans to meet for the arranged dinner buffet.  By the time the retreat women gathered for dinner, many were abuzz with talk about Skip.  Something about her endeared her all who heard about her.  And when Louise met her she told Skip she would be an angel among us.  “What a lovely thought!”, was Skip’s pleased reply. 

Throughout the dinner women came by to say ‘hi’ and meet her, or whispered in my ear to ask if the story they’d heard was true.   Although everyone else was seated at large tables, Carolyn and I just happened to be seated with Skip at a cozy table for three.  Although we wanted to learn more about our new friend, Skip seemed insistent about getting to know us.  She asked what I’d spoken about in testimony and listened intently as I told her about my call to Christian writing.  Then the focus switched to Carolyn and her past as a minister for the Salvation Army.  Skip had a way of drawing things out of us.  The dinner passed way too quickly!

Back at the retreat, I took advantage of my position as emcee and introduced Skip to everyone.  They, too, were charmed by her spirit and her love story.  Who wouldn’t be? There was just something special about her presence. 

Sadly, the evening grew long, and Skip thought it best to return to her room.  I did not see her leave and would not see her again.  She left the next morning.  However, I have a special reminder of her.  Before leaving, she left a gift for me.  It was one of the darling quilted aprons from the restaurant where we’d met.  Attached was a sweet, handwritten note that I will always treasure. 

Although our paths had crossed for just a very brief time, there was something special – indescribable – about our meeting.  Others felt it, too.  When her gift was given to me the next morning, Louise was sitting across the table from me.  My heart sank when I learned that Skip was gone.  I wanted to cry.  Louise was the first to speak.  “I told you she’s an angel!  We’ll never see her again.”  And my friend, Kellie, nodded and said it was like the book “Dinner with a Perfect Stranger”, a book I’d encouraged our Bible study group to read. 

Whether she’s an angel from above or an angel on earth, there’s no doubt that she was a special lady who touched all of our hearts.  Skip, if you’re there, we all fell in love with you and hope to be graced by your presence again one day.  In the meantime, send me an email!  And don’t forget your recipe for Sweet Potato-Corn Chowder!   🙂 

If you enjoyed this post, I invite YOU to have “Dinner with a Perfect Stranger”.  It’s a short novel that is engaging, quick to read, and will give you much to ponder.  There is a sequel that I think is titled “A Day with a Perfect Stranger”.  I forget the author’s name.  Sorry!  Please respond if you know who the author is. 

To leave responses to any post, just click on the word ‘comments’ below the title of the post.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!     ~ Renee

I give thanks often for my husband.  He is committed 1000% (yes, I meant to type three ‘0’s) to our sons and me. I thank God that he is loving, committed, devoted, hard-working, trust worthy, of good morals, and many other good things.  I also thank God that several years ago we started growing together in the Lord’s love. 

My husband understands my love for the Lord and my driving desire to serve and please Him.  He supports me in all I do and takes over as needed with our sons when I have commitments away from home.   This weekend was one of those times.  I had the privilege and honor of being the mc of our church women’s retreat and also sharing testimony.  This meant that I would be away for two nights.  And my step-mother flew in from Indiana to attend the retreat with me, so we have had a house guest, too.

 Despite his busyness and demands from work, he’s been a gracious host, excitedly took over care of the boys for the weekend, and sent me on my way to the retreat with his love, support, and encouragement. “What a great husband”, I thought as I drove out of town, and regretted not making the time to leave him a note of my love and appreciation as I’d intended to do.  I spoke these thoughts in a cell phone conversation, but still regretted not leaving a note.  He would have appreciated it and certainly deserved it.

We had an increbliby blessed time at the retreat and I loved every moment!  Some of the sharing on the retreat included reminders about being loving wives.  And in a prayer for the women I prayed that they’d let Grace be with them when they got home and found things out of order or discovered things might have been done differently while they were away.  After all, our husbands HAD taken over so we could be away.  Someone else also warned us about Satan trying to attack and undo the good we’d done while in sisterly fellowship. 

When the retreat was over I was anxious to get back home to my family.  It was so good to see my husband and boys again!  I’d had a spirit-lifting time and was ready to share the love with them.  🙂   And what a pleasant homecoming I had.  My husband and the boys had a great time together camping.  Since they’d used my van for the camping trip, they’d cleaned it all out and filled the gas tank.  To help with the laundry that piled up in my abesence, he’d started a load before I got home and even gathered up everyone’s towels to reduce the loads that I’d have wating for me.  And since we’d all had a busy weekend, he brought dinner home from one of our favorite places.  My husband not only sent me away with love and support, he also went out of his way to make things as nice as he could for me when I arrived home. 

I’m ashamed -very ashamed to say – that although I initially recognized all these things and appreciated them when I got home, I let one petty issue later in the evening come between us.  The ‘good’ voice in my head told me that I was tired and that if God didn’t give me the words to say, and if I couldn’t say anything nice, that I shouldn’t say anything at all.  But the ‘other’ voice spoke up and had the last word.  It convinced me that I should speak up for my feelings.  My husband and I haven’t argued in a long time, but I started quite an argument last night. 

This morning, after a good night’s sleep, I clearly saw the situation for what it was.  Despite all the loving, caring, and considerate things my husband had done, I accused him of being inconsiderate of my feelings regarding an issue that now seems SO NOT worth it!!   He had taken the boys out shopping for Halloween decorations to replace some we’d thrown out last year and came home with skulls, chains, and gruesome type stuff – the stuff boys like.  I, however, do not.  And with the ‘bad’ voice as my guide I voiced my opinion, stating that I was hurt they hadn’t considered my feelings when buying these things.  Can you believe it?! 

Looking back now, I clearly see my husband had done everything he could TO CONSIDER my feelings!  And how selfish and petty of me to get upset because they’d come home with things I didn’t like.  As soon as he pointed out that he’d done it for the boys and would have preferred staying home to get work prepared for an EARLY a.m. business trip this morning, I realized how foolish I’d been, but it was too late. Now I ‘d made him mad and an argument ensued.  Then I was angry with myself. After praying in the retreat for grace with our husbands as a reminder to all of us, and knowing how Satan works in my mind by planting seeds of doubt, I’d come home and probably been the first to fall to his destructive ways.  I cannot express in words how ashamed I am.

After all my husband has done, he deserves so much better.  Although I thanked him for helping me and thanked him for dinner, I didn’t show appreciation as warmly I should have or as greatly as I should have.  I forgot to thank him for sweeping out the van and filling the gas tank.  And after spending the afternoon with boys replacing halloween decorations and then his evening getting them set up, I should have praised his efforts and shared in their joy and excitement about them. I should have risen above my own selfish thoughts to do these things.  Instead, I was exhausted and too preoccupied with my conversation with the ‘other’ voice to do any of that. 

I’ve given my husband my apologies and now I must go to the Lord to do the same.  You see, in letting my husband down, I let God down, too.  He’s the one who got me through the weekend retreat, giving me words to say and inspiring me with messages to share.  He’s the one who gifts and enables me to fulfill my desire to serve Him.  And above all, He’s my Heavenly Father who expects righteousness from those who love Him.  And He’s the one who sends His Holy Spirit to lead and guide us.  He tried to speak to me through the Spirit, but I listened to ‘the other’ voice instead. I should have gone to Him in prayer before hastily accepting the tempations of the destructive one.  Had I prayed in the name of Christ, I’d have avoided this whole situation and probably been the iniator of goodness and love instead.  He (God) deserves so much better.

Love and blessings to all,

Renee

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