Sunday, December 13, 2009


“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25

As I grew into adulthood I became a full blown worrier. So much so that eventually my Glenn would come to call me “Worry Care,” but he has always tried to help me let go of my worries by trusting in the LORD. This was/is, of course, easier said than done--- at least it was for me. I spent so many years of happy motherhood and as a happy wife in needless worry, fear, and anxiety. I can now look back and say, “Yes, Glenn was right. Everything I worried over, everything I had anxiety over, never turned out to happen. I did waste that time.”

My main thinking was, “What happens if this happens?” or “What happens if that happens?” Or “Why isn’t he home yet?” Or “What am I doing here? etc….” I would be all a jumble inside going from one fear to the next. The sad fact was that I was choosing to go down the road of fear and anxiety even if I did not realize this.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

In this world there is a lot to worry about. We must be concerned about all sorts of things, especially if we have children. For the most part, our husbands can be buffers to protect us from much of what is “out there” so that we can go on and do the next things for the good of our families. This must be why the LORD made men (in general) so logical, with the capability to compartmentalize. This way they can (in general) handle the “ICK” in life and we, as their helpmates, can proceed on a “need to know” basis. In this way we can continue to make a happy, comfortable, nurturing home for our families without freaking out most of the time.

I am now 53 and, although I had learned to lean on the LORD more, I began to actually trust God - for real - about 10 years ago. It was the day my son, 18, (the baby of the family) began his daily commute to his apprenticing job which was 45 miles away. I was an anxious mess inside. I was worried about car wrecks, wood saw accidents, etc. I waved as he drove away, ready to bust because I was so very worried. As I walked inside frantically praying for his safety the LORD gently nudged me to just let go, to stop the worry------and so I supernaturally did.

Of all the things I had worried about concerning just my son---absolutely none of these things have ever happened. All the anxiety I had had was not of God. Do I still worry? Do I still have anxiety attacks? Yes, but it is different now. I am able to pull away and talk with God and be in His peace, but it is my choice to do this. I could just as easily choose to go down the road of worry and fear.

How do we initiate the correct choice? How do we stop the anxiety?

“Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2

We need to think on ways to not go into those feelings that take us down this wrong road. We must think of ways to stop ourselves from going into those feelings, ways to get out of those times when we are overwhelmed in anxiety. We must make plans ahead of time that work for us individually. The strategies that work for me may not help you.

“Finally, brothers [and sisters], whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable---if anything is excellent or praiseworthy---think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me---put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

“Life” in its many facets can be full of anxiety. The holiday season can be dripping with anxiety. This is true for me especially as I now deal with broken dreams and hopes of better days ahead with truant family members.

I hope you know that I am not being flippant concerning your or my anxiety-----as I know full well what it is to be fearful and anxious. As I have written this to you----I am also writing it to myself since this life is full of trials and can be extremely difficult.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34

I hope this bit of encouragement may be used of God to lift your heads out of your general anxiety and even perhaps your greater anxiety.

“But You are a shield around me, O LORD; You bestow glory on me and lift my head.” Psalm 3:3

We do not need to fear because as a daughter of the Most High, He is with us always and everywhere no matter what worry, fear, or anxiety grips us.

Psalm 139 would be wonderful for us to read right now, but until then---

“You hem me in---behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:5

Saturday, November 28, 2009

God’s Kind Mercies, Christmas Tree Lights, and Autumn Grace

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

A large handful of years back I wrote a testimony on prayer in my own life. Over these years I have printed it out now and then to encourage other women.. Every time I give it out, I reread it and----- I am encouraged again. :oD Silly, but true. I lived it ----I am still living it, but that precious reminder that my LORD listens to even our smallest, seemingly insignificant prayers is of great comfort to me.

“Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1Peter 5:6-7

Recently I was encouraged to post it here, and so below you will find it. May you be lifted up and encouraged to trust the LORD even more.

God's kind mercies, Christmas tree lights, and Autumn Grace

So many years ago we were going through several hard trials all at the same time. My children were in public school with its many stresses. My teen daughter was dealing with much harassment, my husband's work had so many troubles; we were always in fervent prayer. At the time we were attending a mainline church. I am not a gregarious person, but the LORD drew me closer and I boldly started a prayer group there (almost unheard of at this church). We had almost ten people at first, but these women were not used to praying out loud in front of others or sharing prayer concerns, so it soon whittled down to three of us. This was fine for I knew the LORD was the one who would be honored and it was He who drew these certain women. We were blessed as a group and the LORD was glorified. I was the youngest; there was another who was ten years older and another who was twenty years older. We made quite the prayer group and became good friends. It was a special time.

As time went on, my own family's troubles only increased and we were really struggling. I was always in anguished prayer beseeching the LORD and waiting for His deliverance or help. Meanwhile in the prayer group the middle woman started to drive me to distraction. Here I was in such anguish and yet, she would pray for the “stupidest, silliest” things and then receive answers from the LORD! When I say “stupid and silly” this is at least how I viewed it at the time.

Her testimony was incredible. When they were first married and then subsequent years, they went through extremely hard times and yet the LORD always met their meager needs in the right time. She would always glorify the LORD. I had heard her testimony and I believed it, but now these 'petty' needs (as I saw them) were grating on me. How could she pray for such trivial things!? and why would the LORD answer her prayers when I was praying for such serious things! (and it did not seem to us that the LORD was answering any of ours.) I never let this friend know how I felt or what I thought. It was my attitude and view that the LORD was even then working on. What brought this to a head in me was the day she told us about her Christmas tree.

Her decorating was like Better Homes and Gardens. Everything was always perfect. She loved homemaking and it showed. She came that day and told us about her beautiful Christmas tree that had 2,583 lights on it (I do not really remember the correct number, only that it was an absurdly huge amount and she knew it exactly). She then said that ONE of them had burned out. She had become dismayed at how to figure out which one was the ONE that was burned out and so replace it. This job would be enormous. That morning she prayed and prayed that the LORD would show her which light was burned out so she would be able to fix it without much trouble. She then explained how she reached out and tried one---and it was the ONE! She went on to praise the LORD! and so we as her friends did this also, but in my heart I was angry at the LORD. How could He answer such a “stupid” request?! when it seemed to me that MY requests were very real and needy.

It has been years and another state now. I have often thought of this dear friend and even shared her testimony and this Christmas tree light instance when discussing prayers and faith with others. I surely have matured in my faith (a little!). Each of us is on our own walk with the LORD. My walk is not yours and vice-versa. I had realized that this certain friend had a very child like faith......she easily believed and easily trusted.....they had gone through some very rough times and the LORD had she KNEW the LORD heard her prayers, even little, silly ones......I had learned much from her, but I needed to learn more on my own, in my walk. The LORD is so kind.

It has been a big handful of years now that our grown family experienced something completely unthinkably tragic. Of everything that has occurred - of every thought, emotion, behavior, desire, response, moaning, supplication - in all of that in these years......there was something HUGE that happened.... It really means nothing to the bystander. It doesn't really matter in the whole scheme of things....but to was/is my own little “Christmas tree light.” It shook my world and I was drawn to the LORD in a sweet way that changed my life forever for Him.

My testimony now continues with a certain cat. At that time we had two adult cats, and before our tragedy began to unfold we had a third come to stay with us for a while. It was a calico. I have loved calicos since my first cat at age three. This new calico became precious to us as if one of our own.....but it was not ours and eventually was taken away. Now along with the beginning of our family tragedy we were also grieving the loss of this calico cat's companionship.

And so this is where my “stupid”, “petty”, “trivial”, “silly” prayer began..........with all the horrible things that were happening, with all the important things we prayed for, with all the extremely serious requests for deliverance..... ...privately deep inside of my heart I had a “Christmas light” that I was praying for......I cried out to the LORD for another calico kitten to replace the precious calico that we would never see again. This was a prayer that was only in my heart at first. Months of agony over our tragedy went by. Eventually I shared this calico kitten prayer with my husband and then a close friend who was very involved in ministering to us in our situation. Once in a while I would look into the paper for kittens but mostly I just trusted the LORD. I had told Him that I did not deserve another cat....after all, we had two already...but I knew He could have a calico come into our lives if He wanted. I knew I was asking for a “Christmas tree light“....and my faith was child like......He had brought me a long way from my arrogance concerning my friend's simple childlike prayers.

A year went by and there was never a calico that showed up at our door as I had imagined the LORD would do. One day we went out to do errands and next door to the copy store was a Vet with a sign: “KITTENS.” I KNEW this was the answer to my prayers! I pointed this sign out to my husband and so he had me check it out while he made copies. I walked over there with great expectation and joy! only to have the woman say they had no kittens. I turned around realizing that the LORD had answered my prayer with “No, you need to be happy with the two cats you already have” the time I came back into the copy store I had truly accepted this answer and was ready to move on even though I was greatly disappointed. I was not angry with the LORD....I was now easily trusting like a child. The LORD had done a huge work in my heart.

That very night we arrived home after 9pm. On the answering machine was a message from a friend who said that our mutual friend (the one who had been ministering to us from the beginning of our tragedy) had asked her months ago to watch for calico kittens because Jill wanted one. This friend told me on the answering machine that they had two calicos! from one litter and wondered if I was interested. The LORD in His great mercy had reached down and touched wasn't from the newspaper, or a vet, or a stranger, or at our front door......but this prayer was answered with two different compassionate friends who loved and cared for us! I was a broken vessel and He cared for me! He answered my 'petty', 'stupid', 'trivial', 'silly' prayer in the sweetest, kindest way. I had never felt so loved by Him until that day when He showed me that He cares about the TINIEST things in my life! My very own 'Christmas tree light' prayer had been answered! and I knew from then on that NO prayer is stupid or silly!

The next day I went to choose our new kitten. The children of this family were excited for me but concerned if I knew how to take care of their little kitten. When they saw I had purchased a cat box and kitten food just for this little baby, they felt they could trust me. They did not know how very special this creature was already and would be to us, how they were used of the LORD, nor what it represented to us.

It was October and this little ball of fluff was full of vibrant autumn colors. I said she was our little Christmas tree light but that just wasn't the right name for her. My husband suggested “Autumn” because of her colors and so she was named and started to bring us laughs and giggles with her kitten ways. Two days later it happened that we agonized and groaned over yet another phone call concerning our tragedy and then sat on the sofa crying with each other and beseeching God for mercy, mercy, mercy!! Soon enough this little calico was climbing all over both of us and back and forth......we started to laugh through our prayers and tears. The mercy that we had so often cried out for....the deliverance we had groaned for ..... well, it was not time for that. We must continue to wait on the LORD.....The LORD had from the start of this ordeal showered us with mercies every day and now with this little Christmas tree light! And so right then her name was changed to “Autumn Grace” for this is what the LORD had bestowed on us that week with this answered prayer......a prayer that could seem frivolous to many, but was so very important to my walk with the LORD. This little Autumn Grace continues to be used of the LORD to remind us even when darker days have now followed, that He has not forgotten nor forsaken us........May each of you trust in the LORD as a child.....and we will also!

Praises and Glory to the LORD God Almighty!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Touching Up My Portrait of Two Ladies: Lady A Revisited

Well, ladies…….it has been much too long since I have been on here. “Life” goes by way too fast and I can rarely catch up.….Although I have not really caught up :oD, I have chosen to get back on here. :oD

I must first humbly write a much needed update on my previous entry of February 27, 2009,
A portrait of two Titus 2 ladies: choosing to live abundantly for the LORD!

Concerning my dear Lady A and Lady B, their lives go on and these two dear women continue to be so precious to me and a great joy.

During this year, though, I discovered something concerning Lady A and I am now ashamed of my “quick” judgment of her (when I say “quick,” this is after knowing her for a decade). I have incorrectly evaluated her as not moving on and boldly living for the LORD even through tears.

As my previous blog entry said, she has dealt with many health issues and, because of this, these health issues have isolated her. Until about a year ago she was blessed to live in her own home. This dear woman now lives in an apartment connected to a nursing home. For really the first time, I have seen her thriving while dealing with her health issues, and interacting with the other residents and staff. No matter if she is room-bound or walking around the facility, she is always encouraging, smiling, loving everyone she meets. These people tell me what a special person she is to them. Lady A is, and has been, a shining example of the Lord Jesus. I just didn’t have the opportunity to actually see it.

I learned long ago not to judge a book by it’s cover -- but obviously not well enough.  I am praising the LORD for the opportunity to watch my dear Lady A in action :oD, for she has obviously encouraged so many others as well as encouraging me.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2

As for my precious Lady B, this has been a very difficult year because her beloved daughter died unexpectedly in June, at age 46.  Lady B has been a beautiful example of drawing near to the LORD in all things even when she cannot understand why the LORD would take her child so soon.  I find myself in awe at how the LORD gives His own strength for us to move on as we actively wait for glory, and I treasure Lady B all the more.

“The righteous cry, and the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 34: 17-18

Update 5/27/11

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Oh, How I Long for Spring!

“Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my groaning. Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray. In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” Psalm 5:1-3

Living in the mid-west means winter could last about 6 months. Spring is always on our minds even if we love winter.

Oh, how I long for spring!

I have always been the person who looks out any windows. I look out at the sky, the trees, the birds, and just to look out! :oD But as February and March draw on, I start to look out for any signs of spring bulbs coaxed up with the rays of the sun. I know it could be one or two months before the bulbs really come up and bloom, but it is the looking and the anticipation that bring me such hopes of spring.

Spring: new life, renewed life, brand newness, clean, clean start, repentance, breath of fresh air, new anticipation, renewed anticipation, renewed joy,…..just joy!

Spiritually speaking, oh! how I also long for spring! In the desert of a painful tragedy the winter goes on and on. It is bleak and cold. It never ends. My eyes are always looking, looking for spring! Oh, how I long for spring!!!

I know the LORD is working. He is not surprised or wringing His hands. My tragedy did not slip by Him. My pain does not go without His notice. I am always looking. I am looking for something new, something that will mean the winter will be over soon and that breath of fresh air with spring will be here at long last!

If you are in the midst of a never ending winter of pain and you long for spring……continue to seek the LORD’s face. He hears you! He never wearies of your cries. He collects all your tears and if you allow it He will use you in your pain to do great things for His glory!

“You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalms 32:7

Good news! I looked out of my window today. The sun has coaxed my farthest daffodils to poke up about two inches! :oD I can actually see that spring is coming….more importantly, Biblically speaking, I can know that my bleak winter days will someday break open to brand newness.

Look out your window---what do you see in the LORD?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

School of suffering

This quotation was on The Berean Call email on March 3/09 (
I thought it would be of encouragement to you.

"Are we learning love in the school of suffering? Are our hearts being mellowed and deepened by the summer heat of trial until the fruit of the Spirit-love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance-is ripening for the harvest of His coming, and our sufferings are easily borne for His sake? This is the school of love, and the lessons make Him unutterably more dear to our hearts and us to His. In this way only can we learn with Him the heavenly charity which suffers long, and is kind. We see that the very first and the very last features of the face of love, as delineated in Paul's portrait of it (1 Corinthians 13), are marks of pain and patient suffering-suffers long, endureth all things. So let us learn in the school of love to suffer, to be kind and to endure all things. Surely it will not be hard to love through every circumstance when it is the heart of Jesus within us that will love and continue to love to the very end. I want the love that suffers and is kind, That envies not nor vaunts its pride of fame. Is not puffed up, does not discourteous act, Is not provoked, nor seeks its own to claim. "
--A.B. Simpson

Friday, February 27, 2009

A portrait of two Titus 2 ladies: choosing to live abundantly for the LORD!

I have many dear older ladies in my life, and more than I can count are Titus 2 ladies. How blessed I am!

Today I want to draw a portrait of two of them.

“Lady A” loves the LORD with all her heart. She married her beloved husband and lived happily, blessed all these years. From the beginning, she has suffered from a myriad of sicknesses, even to this day. Life has never been easy for her because of these maladies, which is certainly understandable. Over ten years ago her beloved died and, sadly, “Lady A” has hardly moved on, rarely leaving her home (nor hardly changing anything in her home since he died), practically living in the past, always living in fear. The grief of losing her beloved husband has stymied her life, although her love of the LORD still shines through her. I mean no offense to her because she is a dear, a treasure, and a joy to me.

“Lady B” loves the LORD with all her heart. She married her beloved husband and lived happily, blessed all these years. She has also had her physical failings which “nag” at her. Over ten years ago her beloved also died, but “Lady B” has chosen to get up and do next things for the LORD, even though she grieves deeply every day for her beloved. Her heart’s desire has always been to encourage others because of the LORD. She finds joy in all she does. She finds joy in people and lives every day to the fullest. The love of the LORD shines through her and is spread to others, and all are encouraged because of her. She is also a dear, a treasure, and a joy to me.

This “portrait” I have painted is an excellent example of the life choices one can make after tragedy. After the tragedy I suffered (which has continuing consequences), it would be easy for me to “hide” and never come out; never to do anything because I am so full of grief. My tragedy struck a few years ago, and even to this day, as I continue to greatly grieve, the LORD has lifted my head and put me on a higher rock. I have chosen to get up and do “next things” because of Him. I don’t see myself as being strong or shining His light, or showing great love and compassion. I see and feel only my weakness. In my weakness, though, He allows others to see Himself through me because my desire is to continue. It is all because of the LORD.

"Hear my cry, O God; give heed to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a refuge for me. A tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.” Psalm 61:1-4

I am in awe at what the LORD has done in me and through me. Although humanly I may not want to move on, in His strength my faith has not been shipwrecked, and He has been glorified in my pain.

I want to encourage you that, no matter what circumstances come, choose to live as “Lady B.” May God receive all the glory!

"I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD” Psalm 40:1-3

update 5/27/11

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spur one another on to love and good deeds

Here I am again writing on encouraging the saints, but how can we do this if we don’t feel like it or are in pain ourselves?

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings so also you are sharers of our comfort."
1 Corinthians 1:3-7

Most of the time it is naturally easy to share our joys with others. Sharing our testimony of pain, though, leaves us vulnerable, but it shows the hearer that you are trusting in the LORD for the outcome. Allowing others to see the testimony of someone who has shared their pain, shown their continued obedience to the LORD throughout an extended period of time, and then seen eventual answered prayers, glorifies God.

Every day there are trials. Every day we need to seek the LORD’s face. In my own experience with God’s people, I continually see hurts. When a friendly gesture or an offered prayer is shown, what I have always witnessed is gratefulness. We are needy people who desperately need to be reminded often that God is in control no matter what the circumstances.

I again implore each of you to get out there in person, on the phone, on e-mail, or standard mail and start building up each other in the LORD. The LORD will help you with His strength and oh, how His name will be glorified.

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25

Monday, February 23, 2009

Titus 2 - Let the older women teach the younger women

How blessed I am! I can barely remember the years I lamented to the LORD that I had no older Titus 2 ladies in my life. Then came that fateful day when a younger woman called me her older Titus 2 woman!

How the LORD has allowed me to mature! :) Now years later, the LORD has woven so many older godly Titus 2 women into my life that I am blessed a thousand times over!

As godly women, here are three things to remember:

1) When we reach out to others to bless them, the LORD usually works in our own hearts and it is we who are blessed multiple times over.

2) No matter what your age, you can be a Titus 2 woman. There is always someone younger than you, in age or in spiritual maturity, that you can minister to.

3) Be willing to observe and listen to the beautiful Titus 2 women in your life and see how the LORD can bless you and them.

I hope this encourages you.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Peeling Potatoes

(This was originally posted at "The Watchman's Bagpipes" on 2/11/09)

Years ago, I think it was Kay Arthur whom I heard on the radio encouraging women by saying that, if you are peeling potatoes for dinner, do it for the glory of the LORD. Her point was for us to do what is in front of us at the moment and to do it joyfully for the LORD. We are not to do things for our own kudos or in drudgery or feeling guilty.

There is the false thought out there that, as Christians, we need to be missionaries in a foreign land or at least ministering across town, or else what we do isn’t important for the LORD.

Let us not forget that our husbands and our children are our first mission field, in which we need to be joyful as we tend to them, and then we can reach out to the world. What we do and how we behave at home is far more important. We can do marvelous things for the LORD out in the world, but if we do these things by neglecting our families, we fail to adhere to the instructions in Titus 2, let alone Proverbs 31.

The great news that sets us free is that you do not have to be a wonderful cook, an immaculate housekeeper, super mom, or an all round “Jill of all trades” with your children to please the LORD. He sees your heart and your loving desire to do next things for Him.

As we do “next things” in our day, we need to find His joy and do them well for Him. When the LORD sees our hearts, when He sees right motives - this is when He is glorified.

“For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17

Titus 2: Keeper of my home

(This was originally posted on “The Watchman’s Bagpipes” on 2/9/09)

I am a busy woman even though I do not work outside my home. I am busy loving the LORD, loving my husband, keeping my home, ministering to people, doing creative projects, and everything else that comes at me.

I love most of the things which keep my days filled, although my favorite is being the keeper of my home. There are those days when I am off doing “next things” for the LORD; during those days I do not have time or energy to do normal housework - much less anything creative. Although I am out doing whatever needs to be accomplished, my heart always longs to be home.

I love being here when Glenn is home. In over 30 years I have rarely ever planned things to do outside the home when he will be here. I believe this has been extremely beneficial in our relationship as we continue to become one. Juggling children, ministry, work shifts, etc has made this difficult at times, but completely worth it. I will never regret putting him first.

Last week I had two consecutive days away from home. When the next day dawned I went right to work putting my home in order. As I vacuumed (one job I do not like) I realized I was feeling joyful and it came to me that I was just so happy to be home, putting my house in order, soon to be able to work on something creative and just have the satisfaction of having a calm, smooth running home for Glenn when he returned.

You may well understand that my choice is unique. Although I love the path I chose it is not an easy one. The “world” definitely does not respect women who choose to stay home. Sometimes even Christians do not understand. Now in my fifties, I have for over a decade listened to well meaning people suggesting I return to school for a career. Some of these same people (career women) later lament privately to me that their desire has been to come home but they feel they cannot. My heart is always broken for them as it is usually “things” that they want which keeps them working.

My mother was a wonderful example of a loving wife and mother. I am so very thankful for her. Even so, I grew up with the world‘s agenda teaching me that women without a job or career outside the home are unworthy - thus homemakers are not worthy. This lie has haunted me my entire adulthood, even though I am happy in my choice.

Wherever you find yourself----homemaker to career woman, single or married, young or old-----seek the LORD’s face in His word, drawing near to Him as you live. Keep your home for Him, finding joy in all things (even vacuuming) giving thanks to Him.

Praising the LORD! Thanks for listening---Jill


(This was originally posted on "The Watchman's Bagpipes" on 11/26/07)

It is the holiday season once again. For me the "holidays" begin in September each year. This is not only because our season changes into another beautiful autumn, but because our family birthdays begin at this time.

Soon enough our own celebrations blend into November’s thankful mood and then into the Christmas season with all the memories and activities that fill our days. These are wonderful times when we focus on what our LORD has given us in the bounty of our harvests and in the marvelous gift of grace in our precious Savior. It is a cheerful time as we all enjoy it, very happy to see it come.

Joy and happiness are not the only emotions which are felt during this season, though. You only need to look around to notice people next to you. As you get acquainted with others you discover there is much pain and heartache even among believers. Holidays tend to bring the heartaches to a painful crescendo that may be agony for them to endure through these months, only to finally end by entering into the dry, desolate desert of January and February.

There is, of course, a clear reason why the non-believers around us are not truly joyful during any season, especially this one. Bible-believing churches rightly encourage us to evangelize the lost since we have such Good News to share! This is our commission to which we must be obedient. So let us be willing to reach out with love and care for the lost, but when they choose Life let there be grace and mercy when they join us in the Body.

Let’s not let our love and care for people end when they enter our church Body. When considering believers, our problems do not necessarily end when we choose Jesus as our Savior. Sometimes this is just when our real hefty problems begin. Scripture is full of reminders for us to come along side and continually encourage each other in the faith.

Encouraging a fellow believer costs us much in time and emotions. It takes considerable time to listen to another person’s problems. It takes an emotional toll to consider their troubles so that you can then give Biblical advice or just bind their wounds temporarily. I say temporarily because trials are usually not over quickly. Trials for fellow believers could mean a long haul for them. When you choose to come along side them it is a must to run to the Father on their behalf. Just as you need the Father’s strength in all of your life’s activities, you will definitely need His strength when you tend to the wounded.

I personally have chosen to encourage others. Binding their wounds and loving them through their agonies is well worth the cost. Because of the LORD, this changes them. He also changes me, and His mighty name is glorified. Although their trial is not over, they are able to get up to do the “next things” in the joy of the LORD.

I have also been one of the wounded who has been tenderly picked up, my wounds bound, and then lovingly encouraged. I know it is well worth the cost. The LORD changes me, He changes the encourager, and His mighty name is glorified. Although my trial is not over, I am able to get up and to do the “next things.”

Yes, with the LORD it is well worth the cost. Let us go out encouraging as we build each other up in the faith.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thessalonians 5:11-18