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Moving Past Things I Cannot Change – Moving On

4 May

 

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”  Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr

Moving into different seasons of life is similar to changing seasons.  One thing we have to remember is God is in control.  Seasons change, but God never does.

Moving past what we cannot change sometimes can be hard. Sometimes we have to be still, and know He is in control.  I have learned that I can move beyond what I cannot change.  It can be difficult, but we have to trust in the One who is in control, and remember His plan is perfect.

Here are some things I have learned in my different seasons of life:

MARRIAGE

We marry.  Things change.  We have to adjust to different toothpaste, different ways of cleaning, being messy, being neat, introvert/extrovert and on and on.  We have to learn to love all the good things and get past the bad.  We have to learn to sit down and talk about our differences, what is bothering us, what we need.  We forget we married each other because we loved each other just as we were.  Why is it that we want to change that very person we fell in love with?  Why are we trying to change them?  Sometimes we  just need to stop and accept that person for who she/he is and how our Father made them, accept them where they are at, love them anyway, pray for them, and let God move in their lives.  Sometimes we have to forgive betrayals, and at times it is only by trusting in our Lord that we can put it in the past and move on.  We all sin every day and fall short of the glory of our Lord.  Why is it we can not forgive as our Father in Heaven has forgiven us?

CHILDREN

Psalm 127:3 (KJV) “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”

We have children, but we walked through a season of not being able to have them because of miscarriages.  You can read about that here.  Being a mom is tough and I wrote a very long post about that here. During this season we were suffering through  staying up late, ear aches, changing diapers, excited watching them learn to crawl, walk, talk and then go to school, and grades, and sports, and off to college and then there is another adjustment.

Even today being a Mom is tough watching our children suffer the loss of babies and our first grandchild being born with a horrible disease.  We have cried, prayed and always put it in the Lord’s hands and watched as He as worked miracle after miracle on our grandson and our kids.  Today we are blessed with five grandchildren after storming the gates of Heaven and trusting that He would answer our prayers in His perfect timing.  He did BIG!  We have moved past what we could not change and thank Him every single day for all He has done today.

EMPTY NEST SYNDROME

It has been years now since our nest became empty, but I remember it like it was yesterday.  I remember the day our daughter pulled out of the driveway to go to college, and I bawled.  Really!  She was only about thirty minutes away and would be coming home most weekends and our son was still here and going to the same college, but I bawled.

She finished college, moved back home and got married just three months later, and our son was still here and working and we hardly ever saw him between work and hunting and dating, but soon he married and left.  I didn’t bawl, but I sure missed him driving up each afternoon from work or worrying about him at night not being able to fall asleep until I heard his pick-up pull up in the driveway.

We adjusted easily.  I suppose many have feelings of grief, loneliness, anger, but for us it was a time of excitement.  Both left and married and we gained another son and another daughter.  They married Christians.  What a blessing!

We had each other and that’s how we began – in love and helping each other.  Sure I missed them running up the stairs.  I missed their help.  I missed them talking to me, but they were just down the road a bit.  But GOOD GRIEF there was less washing, less ironing, less cooking and it was like we were first married again.  We would lay on the sofa, or I would lay and put my head in his lap, and watch television.  We went out to eat more. And well, it has been a wonderful season.  We still DO!!

There are times I still miss them if I don’t see them for a few days, but that’s not often now that we have grandchildren.  I watch the babies and toddlers often.  Three of our grand babies were born this March so they are two months old and then there are toddlers ages two and three.  Life is full of happiness.

The empty nest is what we make of it.  Rekindle that marriage.   Build a new relationship with your kids and their spouses.  Let me tell you though that being a Mom can still be tough watching your kids suffer through miscarriages, infertility, and for some even worse – divorce and loss of a child.

TAKING CARE OF AGING PARENTS

As tragic as it was to lose my Dad at 68 with a heart attack, I can count my blessings that he didn’t have to suffer, and he didn’t have to watch Mom suffer.

After Dad died we watched Mom go through so much depression.  She could never get back to her self.  Until the day she died she was ready to be with him.  She came to live with us girls after he died and we maintained her home and her yard miles away because she wouldn’t let us sell it.

People if you are living with your kids sell that house so they don’t have to walk through that pain when you are gone.

Mom fell one day, broke her leg, and while they were replacing the femur in her leg she got a horrible bacterial that ate thru her leg.  She went septic and spent months in the hospital, and then they had to amputate and she was in a nursing home.  It was a hard time, but it was a blessed time and I focus on that.  I focus on all the activities I attended with her.  I only missed one – her last Fall party because we were out of town.  I spent days up there taking her meals, and reading to her.  You can read a little about walking through that loss here.

This was a difficult season, and I dread our kids having to walk through this one with us, but I know it will be, and they will get through it.  Today, I cling to all the sweet moments and the precious little trinkets I have laying around that Mom gave me like her little tea cups.  I think of her every day through those reminders and I thank my Lord for her and my Daddy as I look at his old radio, pipe holder, and desk.

We can get stuck like Mom did losing a spouse.  I know it will be difficult if my spouse goes first, but I do know the only way I can walk through that season is to walk through it with my Lord clinging to all the good times we are having today, and staying active and volunteering and being with family.

RETIREMENT

I’m retired.  My husband is not, but he’s talking about it. because this March we had three new grand babies.  Three.  Can you believe that?  You can read more about that here and here and twins here and another one here.  We are excited.  We had all five grandchildren here this week together for our kids birthday’s.  What fun, what joy!

Retirement for me has been bliss, but it’s also been a little hard because well I have filled up my days.  I’ve heard of people retiring, sitting down or quitting, and they don’t live long.  Shortly after I retired, I began spending more time with my Mom.  I became a volunteer for Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies.  I began to substitute teach.  Now I help with the five grandchildren.  I am never bored.

For me every season of life is what we make of it.  Moving on with God because without Him some of them I would never have gotten through – seasons of not being able to have children, seasons of losing our parents – too hard to do alone, seasons of watching our children suffer through infertility and miscarriages.  I’m overwhelmed by His love for me through all my seasons.

Joining my friends Susie and Crystal today.

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Running For The Gold, Our Shelter

11 Aug

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Watching the Olympics this week, and reading  Suzie Eller’s prompt “running for the shelter” brought a whole lot of thoughts racing through my mind –  like running for shelter when we are caught in a down-pouring rain, running to our Father when the storms of life are battering down on us, and because I was thinking about running and watching the olympics that brought a whole new twist.

Have you been rained on out of the blue?  I have and soaked.  Have you been rained on when it had nothing to do with rain?  I think we all have.   Sometimes my parade is rained on and I can have a pity party.  You know what?  God intends for us to run to Him for shelter from the rains of life – the storms – He wants us to RUN to Him just as we would run from a real storm outside.  But He does not want us to stay there hiding.

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I think if we are all honest there are times we have run from Him or run to Him.  For me, most of the time I’ve run to Him in those storms, in those terrible times when the storms battered down and I felt like I wanted to die inside, but I’ve probably run from Him a few times when He was calling me to do something, and I did not listen.

He needs to be our shelter in the midst of the storms.

I ran to Him when my parents died, I ran to Him when our grandson was born with a disease, I’ve run to Him watching our kids pray for children and even when we prayed for children, but I can remembering running at least one time in my life.

So what is a challenge to me.  How do I want to win the gold?  My gold is pleasing God.  I want to win a medal every day in His eyes.  I want to be the best wife, the best Mom, the best Nana that I can be.  Am I going to fail?  Yes, probably every day.

It doesn’t stop there.  I always did my best at work, and as a daughter I seemed to always please Mom and Dad.   Do I fail?  Yep, I do all the time, but just like the Olympics it takes time, it takes practice, and for me it has taken a whole lot of digging into God’s Word to improve all areas of my life.  It has been a race, it has been warm-ups and trials and Bible studies and learning when I make mistakes and mess up.

Regardless of what I am running to or from or for, the gold is only through Him.  The gold is His wisdom.

How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.   Proverbs 16:16 (NASB)

Joining Suzie Eller today in #livefreeThursday.  Come join us here.

Linking up also with  http://simplifylifewithmrsr.com/2016/08/09/simplify-wednesdays-9/

 

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That Time God Asked Me To

4 Aug

Has God recently asked you to do something?  Honestly, I have to admit I feel His calling a lot.

What is your calling today?  Is it being a Mom, having a big career, taking care of a loved one, a pastor, teacher, police officer, volunteering to help others, or any other career?

What is God asking you to do today?  Whatever it might be, we need to learn to be content in whatever it is.

In one of C. H. Spurgeon’s devotionals he says, “Therefore  be not discontented with your calling.  Whatever God has made your position in life, or your work, abide in that, unless you are quiet sure that he calls you to do something else.  Let your first care be to glorify God to the utmost of your power where you are .  Fill your present sphere to his praise, and if He needs you in another He will show it to you.”

%22Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.%22

Reading Spurgeon’s devotion this morning reminded me of a lot of times that I have followed his calling – like the time when I could not be a stay-at-home mom.  I wanted to be, but I was not going to be a discontented mom.  It was hard taking care of two children and working outside the home full-time, being at church and involved in so many activities, but I learned to be happy and content as Paul teaches us in the Bible because I looked on the blessings of life of what I had, and not what I didn’t have.  I was blessed to have a mother-in-law and a mother who watched our kids, and I was blessed to have a job where I could be off on Fridays, and I had saved a lot of leave that I was able to use to be a room mother, the president of the PTFA, going on field trips with them, and never missing a soccer game, a basketball game, a volleyball game, cheerleader tryouts, musicals, dance recitals, piano recitals, or anything else that they were involved in with school and church.    I was blessed with a calling of being the Pre-School Director at our church so that I could be in the nursery with my children through pre-school, and I even taught 4 and 5 year olds where my children were included when they were that age.  I was there to rock them on Sunday mornings when they were babies and toddlers.

Are you being called today to take care of an aging parent or loved one?  I was with my Mom.  It was tough.  It was hard.  Honestly, I would love to go back and do it over.  My husband says I should have no regrets, but I do.  I would like to go back and be a little more patient, a little more loving, a little more kinder,  and what I would give for just one more day or even an hour to hug her or hold her hand.  If you are there today bless your heart.  Remember it will pass and you will be so thankful for all you did do.

A woman’s work is never done.  How do I know that?  I am now retired and retirement is bliss, but trust me if you are listening to God, your work is never done even in retirement.  My busy schedule today is composed of being up every morning at least by 6 AM and most mornings way before that.  I spend my early morning in Bible study and volunteering for the world’s largest on-line Bible study leading Facebook groups, and then there are Bible studies at church that I enjoy participating in.  During the school year I am substitute teacher, and many days it is with special needs children so I come home exhausted, and still am blessed with a husband working who comes home hungry so there are meals to prepare.  On the days I am home I am rushing to catch up on the laundry, cleaning house, paying bills, mopping floors and blessed to be able to keep both my grandsons several days a week.

Children

Retirement truly was a calling for me.  You can read a little about my retirement here, and also a little about what changed after I retired.  God said go and I said no, but God won.

Today I have a whole lot of callings and they all have the highest priority to me. I am a child of God, a wife,  a mom,  a mother-in-law,  a Nana,  a daughter-in-law,  a sister,  a sister-in-law,  a cousin,  an aunt, a volunteer Team Leader for a large on-line Bible study,   a hard worker, a substitute teacher,  a retired federal worker,  a conservative,  a Christian, I  a loyal friend that can be trusted to keep a confidence.

  • My first calling is always my Lord and my Bible studies and time alone with Him.  I usually am in at least a couple of studies – one with Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies where God called me a few years back to be a group leader, and now a volunteer team leader and I am usually in a study at church, and then there is the First 5 App Devotional on my phone which is also a part of P31.
  •  Second, is being a wife trying to stay up with housework, trying to have a good hot meal waiting when he gets home, but right now it’s cold meals.  He loves salad so salad it is these days, and then just being the loving, devoted, in-love wife that I am.  I am so thankful for my man and we celebrate 47 years of marriage on August 16. I pray for many more years of bliss like we’ve had.  He is a keeper.
  • Third – my kids.  I want to be here for them anytime they need me.  Yes, they are both grown and I try not to meddle.  I may give my opinion occasionally, and once I do I shut up.  They are grown, they have families and they love the Lord so they can take or leave my advice.  I pray for them daily.  I’m here for them at least one day a week to take care of their sons, or if they just need a date night.
  • Fourth – We have an 18 month old grandson and a three year old.  They rock our world.  I never could have imagined how wonderful being a Nana could be.  They keep us young chasing after them and yep you stay-at-home Moms I am privileged to say I am a stay-at-home Nana on those days the boys are here and I’m cleaning up messes, chasing them around the sofa, sitting with them on my lap reading them books, playing ice breaker over and over and over with the three year old, working puzzles and playing with cars and teaching them about our Lord.  I would not trade this job for anything. I want to help “train them up” and I want to be a role model.
  • Fifth – Being a substitute teacher because God put me there.  I never in a million years would have told you I could do this, but one day God said go just like He said retire and well I did it and I LOVE it.  My first job I landed right in a special needs class and scared out of my wits, but God leaned down and smiled and I walked out that day forever changed.
  • Sixth – Writer.  Don’t laugh.  I know from reading others blogs that I am not the best at writing, but it is truly from the heart and what God is placing on my heart each time I can find the time to sit down and write.  I listen to things I should not like I can’t write, her blog is so beautiful, I don’t have the time and it wastes so much time I should be doing other things, and who is really reading what I am writing, they have a book, who am I? My writing is a ministry and it is a legacy I want to leave for my kids and grandchildren, and hey if the internet is around a hundred years from now who knows who might be reading this post.
  • So many other roles I have as ministry and as a calling – too many to write about one by one, but each one is special with family and friends to be there when I can in their joys and sorrows.

I leave you with this because it’s not about me – it’s about HIM.

%22When you realize God's purpose for your life isn't just about you, He will use you in a mighty way.%22

Joining Suzie Eller and my #LiveFreeThursday friends today

 

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You Don’t Mean Me Lord, Do You?

30 Jul

“Oh no Lord, you don’t mean me, do you”?   Yes, it’s confession time.  I’ve said it.  How about you?

My mind has jumped into that impossible mode so many times.  I can’t do that.  I don’t know how to do that.  I’m not equipped to do that.  People will make fun of me, and on, and on, and on.

I REMEMBER:

When my Mom died, He prompted me to get up and speak at her funeral.  Lord, I am so broken, you can not mean me.  I even wrote a poem that day because my Dad always wrote poems, and it was a remembrance of Dad and Mom, and I felt like it was the last thing I could do for Mom.  God was truly there giving me the courage to speak, and He gave me the words that I wrote.

I REMEMBER:

For many years I dreamed of retiring, but I would start thinking about finances and I had also told my boss I would give him a year’s notice.  My job was going to be hard to replace, or so he said.  HA!

My best friends at work retired at the same time two years before I did.  I felt the nudging at that time, but then I also felt commitment and obligation because there were three of us doing the same job for different contracts, and I knew it was going to be hard for us, our customers and oh woe is me with the additional workload waiting to fill their jobs. I was too important.  They needed me.  I did not listen.

On the spur of the moment one day God nudged me to move, to get out, to do what was important. Say What? WHO me?  WHAT was the future going to look like? How could we live like we had been living if I retired and my salary was much less? What would it be like being home all the time if I said Yes to God. I said yes, and I retired with only two months notice. I spent the year of 2012 visiting my Mom, taking her meals, reading to her out of the scripture and devotionals not knowing how precious these times were because she would be gone two short years later.

I also joined Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Studies, now a part of Proverbs 31. I wanted to go to studies at church but they were only at night and I wanted to be home with my husband so I found these studies convenient and God led me there one day searching.  Now I can study 24/7.

I REMEMBER:

In September 2012, I was approached to be a leader for a Facebook group in the studies. I thought I am not equipped and no way.   Really Lord, you don’t mean me.  I am not equipped.  Yes it has been a dream to lead women, but Lord I really can’t do this.   I prayed, talked to my family and finally said YES to God. What happened is He took my obedience and equipped me to lead a group. At first my groups were quiet. One group I had only one lady responding and she was growing in the Lord because she was working so hard to help me, and little did I realize until later that God was grooming me for something big and preparing me for sad days ahead.

I REMEMBER:

Melissa Taylor calling me one day and we talked about the studies and my leading and dreams.  She encouraged me to start a blog and to write.  I was like there is no way I can figure all that out.  God said there is a way.  I am the way and I am going to walk you through WordPress and teach you.  The rest is history.

 

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“Saying yes to God is always the right thing to do, but it’s not always the easiest thing to do. In fact, sometimes it’s really hard, uncomfortable, or inconvenient. But God has a purpose in those difficult moments. He uses them to challenge us, refine our hearts, and make us holy-pure-in-heart women He can use for a noble purpose.” Lysa Terkeurst – What Happens When Women Say Yes to God Workbook

I would love for you to share about a time that you said, “Oh no Lord, not me.”

I am joining Suzanne Eller today on #LiveFreeThursday and the prompt this week is You Don’t Mean Me Lord.  Come join us here.

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All My Nevers

30 Jun

Never.  Do you use that word?  Do you limit God when you say never?  Have you ever said, “I will never, ever do that?”  Ever heard the saying, “never say never?”  I believe most of us are capable of doing things we might say we would never do.

Are you shocked when one of your friends calls and says that her husband or his wife is leaving them because of an affair.  I am, and think I thought they would never do that.  People try drugs, alcohol, and gamble or get involved in porn, and you think I know they thought they would never do that.

I will never get fat.  Yes, that fat one overtook me by surprise after two kids and the weight of a stressful job and the responsibilities that went with it.  Never, say never because Satan knows every weakness we have, and mine has been food.  It is so sad, BUT God is not finished with me yet.

I don’t want to get tangled up in those nevers.  I’ll never cheat or have an affair.  I’ll never walk away from my faith.  Oh, how Satan will try to change our hearts.  We have to keep focused on our Savior.  One thing I know for sure.  Jesus said He would never leave us (Hebrews 13:5)

I remember some of my nevers like the time a doctor told me that after three miscarriages there was not much hope of ever having a baby.  I would like to say I never gave up, but I did after five or six miscarriages.  I quit hoping for a baby – the pain was too hard, and one day,  God showed me and the doctors what He can do.  He never left me even though I thought He had.

When our baby girl was born almost three months early I just turned it over to God and decided whatever happened would happen.  It was too painful listening to the dismal hope from her doctors.  Not once were we encouraged she might leave that hospital.   They were never positive until the day she came home, and even then they gave news that she would be slow and sick.  Well, they got that one wrong because God showed off BIG.  She was valedictorian of her graduating class and was Magna Cum Laude in college and straight “A’s” working on her masters.  I’m not bragging about what she did, but what God did.  He deserves all the glory.

I never thought we would see our grandson crawl, much less walk.   God showed us that His miracles are never-ending, and that grandson is running and can wear shoes.

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I never thought I would be able to lead women.   What a dream for one who did not have the confidence!  God showed me that never was possible when I put my trust in Him alone, and let him equip me as only He can do.

I grew up pretending to teach my dolls, but did I have the confidence to study to be a teacher.  I did not.  I went to work in a business job and worked myself up and got my business degree, but when I retired God put it on my heart to go into the public school system locally and show other teachers and students about Him.  He equipped me again as only He could do.

It’s time to throw off those insecurities.  God is looking for us to say “yes”, not never.  Yes I will be faithful, yes I will be drug-free and alcohol-free, and yes I will eat healthy thinking about what I am shoving in my mouth.

Have you heard Him speaking to you today to say yes?  No, He doesn’t speak audibly, but the more I study His Word, the more I feel Him tugging and showing me where He wants me to go.  What is God calling you to do today?

I’m joining Suzanne Eller today at #LiveFreeThursday.  Come join us.

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