Response Time

With COVID-19 taking breath away across the country – literally – I feel a need to respond.

I might as well chime in.

If you are not aware of what COVID-19 is, consider an internet search for some true facts. There is a lot of hysteria out there. While COVID is scary – and people are in fact dying – panic, fear, and hysteria are no helpers in this matter.

My humble opinion is this: Be serious. Be concerned. Be smart. Be kind. Above all, show love in a kind, yet distant, way. Because really, this is a true test of character and integrity. All this messed up stuff – people getting sick, dying, fear – all of it will show what is within me. I heard an interesting thought from a mentor. He said something along the lines of this, “When trials come and things are tough, it is as if a person is a sponge being squeezed. What comes out is what is truly inside. You cannot hide the truth when life squeezes you.” That’s my version of his truth.

Thanks, Scott Black, for this lesson, among many others.

The truth of it all is that since things are so tough, many people are having a strong response to God at this time. Not everyone is on board with the idea that God has anything to do with this, though. In my view, God cannot be taken out of the picture. Since God created the world and since God loves, why is all this happening? Why is rarely a question that is answered. And when I have gotten the answer it brought little hope, happiness or peace. No. “What now” is the question to ask.

What do I do now?
Now is a prime time to draw near to God. Study the Bible. Stop just reading the Bible and actually study it. Pick a topic, such as peace, and study that topic. Before all this started I began a study of James. I am still working on James chapter 1, which starts with:

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

James 1:2James 1:2

“Troubles of any kind” So death? Illness? Depression? These are what?

“opportunity for great joy” How do any of these things bring joy?

This begs the question, “What is JOY?”
I can tell you what joy is NOT. Joy is NOT happiness. They are not one in the same at all. Happiness is Christmas presents. Joy is the reason I celebrate Christmas in the first place – Christ.

So all these things are an opportunity for not just joy, but in this version is says “great joy?” Yes.

Tune in next time as I discuss how that is even possible. GREAT JOY in a time like this.

In all this, have a virtual HUG!

Be blessed in this time of trial.
Sincerely,
Maggie A. ‘Spoon

Being brave

Be brave enough to be authentic…

Authenticity comes very easy to me. What does not come easily is the ability to read people well enough that I ask the right questions at the right time, or say the appropriate things when I should. It has nothing to do with my desires to please others or not. It has everything to do with my unrestrained curiosity and my intense authenticity. Basically oftentimes I open mouth, insert foot. I know how my feet taste and the awful feeling in my gut when I have upset someone.

I can think of many examples which is unsettling. I recently scrapped a post about communication where I was basically complaining about my foot in mouth issue. But I did say at least one great thing on there… when I am the common denominator of an occurrence then I need to stop and look at myself in the mirror and figure out what the issue is or may be with me.

I have been considering the issue for over a week. That is when a caring frined told me that in her opinion I, “am difficult to communicate with, lack tact, say things I should not say and, I am inappropriate as well.” Fun words to swallow, eh? I was taken aback. I thought to myself, “This cannot all be true of me, can it?” But I listened as she listed a few examples. Then the more I thought about it the more examples I thought of myself. Times when people either said I hurt their feelings, upset them in some way, or times when people even left being my friend because I had said or done something outside of their consideration of social norms.

Conclusion: I am not socially normal. I am authentic, genuine, and I speak my mind with extreme curiosity. Oh, and I rush relationships terribly, therefore often sharing way to much too fast! I am just one big overload!!

And after considering this further I realized I was way overthinking this. Yes I upset someone… more than one someone. But I have to reconcile who I am with who I should be. I must also be at peace with myself during this process of growth.

I know the curiosity must be curbed. Also though I want to speak my mind sometimes it is better to just keep my mouth shut even when the conversation is about something I feel passionate about. Believe in it or not, I believe in the nudge of the Spirit of God. I have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. I strongly believe that when I feel nudged to speak up then that is when I should speak my mind.

I have had such occasions. Last year a woman did not understand the perspective of the group and the subject matter of which we were discussing. She was sharp about it and almost hurtful, though I know in her heart she was not intending to be hurtful in any way. I could not keep my mouth shut. The Spirit inside me took over and I explained where we were all coming from. Those are the moments when my authenticity shines and I know I am being brave and speaking up for those who will not or cannot.

That is who I wish to be: the voice for the so-called “little guy.” I want to speak up only when God leads me to. Psalms 141:3 says, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” which is a prayer I will be praying daily. I have been meditating on Proverbs 16:1 which says, “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.” This is a verse that has comforted me when I have been too outspoken; those moments when maybe I should have kept my mouth shut. (There are great Bible verses found at: https://www.openbible.info/topics/guard_your_mouth if you are interested.)

Considering all of this I have concluded that since I wish to be the mouthpiece of God, I must have peace when things don’t turn out my way. It is okay if someone doesn’t like me. A friend today reminded me of that. Not everyone is going to like me. Now if I truly upset someone and am aware of it, I will do my best to make peace. Roman’s 12:18 says, “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” As far as it depends on me… I cannot make someone like me. I cannot even make someone forgive me or make them let things go. What I can do is apologize, do my best to make amends and then I let it go! I have to let it go even if the other person does not.

I am giving myself permission to be myself even in the face of adversity and discomfort. I am an amazing Maggie. I cannot be anyone else. Just me.

Be blessed as you pursue your best self!

Sincerely,

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

Something Beautiful

So I have been really mulling over something lately and this video lead me to post about it.  First, check out the video.

Beauty of Flowers

What do you think?

You know what this really drives home for me?  It doesnt have to be this way.

What do I mean by that?  Well think about it.  Why are there so many different types of flowers?  Not just because humans breed them over and over.  I mean before that.  At some point before people bred flowers there were still many, many different types of flowers.  Why?

Why is the grass green and the sky blue?  I mean scientifically you can give me an answer.  But couldn’t God have made the questions, “Why is the grass brown and the sky grey?”  (All the time, I mean.  Because in some regions that is true.  You get my point.)

I simply mean that God made this earth AMAZING for us.  Rainforests are my favorite invention of God’s.  They are simply beautiful!  So many beautiful sights and lovely smells.

Are you seeing the picture now?  God could have made this world mundane and boring.  We could be living in a world-wide desert with nothing but hot days and cold nights.  But instead there is a multitude of regions.

I think this simply speaks to His Love for us.  I love the song, “More” by Mathew West.  The song draws a picture of how God loves us more than the Sun that He “taught how to shine,” and more than the ocean is deep or wide.  He loved us enough to send His beloved Son to die on a cross for our sins.

That is a lot of love.

Just something to ponder.

Super Mama Maggie

Here I am, Yet Again!!

So I often find myself having highs of happy moments where the whole world seems right and lows where I feel so down and frustrated.  I know that whether a person is bi-polar or not, everyone experiences these highs and lows. The fact of the matter is that there is always some good things going on in life and there are always some bad things going on. 

Examples

High: I have two amazing kids who I love and adore and am so grateful I have.
Low: Even so there are days that parenting them is so difficult.  It doesn’t negate my feelings for them however it does make the situation difficult and sometimes depressing.

High: I have this amazing dog, Mortimer, who I love, cherish and adore. He is my “first born” as I got him right before we found out I was pregnant with Cassie. 
Low: But he is with a “friend” who kindly took care of him while I was in the hospital.  Now I am uncertain of if I will ever see him again because she seems unwilling to give him back.

High: My husband is working for himself now, choosing what he wants to do and what he doesn’t want to do, directing his own clinic as he sees fit.
Low: Money is a bit tight as we work hard to build his business. It can lead to frustration as we deal with situations that arise where the only solution is more money! 😦

I could go on and on.  But the fact is that there is an up side and a down side to a lot of things.  But what then should we focus on??  Obviously the up side, right?  But how do we do that?? Sometimes it is so easy to see the bad side of things and forget that silver lining.

I have learned (and am doing my best to put into practice) that prayer is a powerful thing in this matter.  Case in point, we have been praying every night for our daughters and their temperament, their future, their lives and just everything about them!  Since we started, Serenity has become so much easier to handle (PRAISE GOD!!!) and has had less rough days and more good days.

As for our amazing dog Mortimer, we have prayed hard for health and healing and as I understand it he is healthier and doing better.  Now we just have to pray we get him back someday soon from our reluctant friend.

Presten’s job is going well and we have prayed every night that it will blossom and grow so that he can help people get well. As we have prayed his contacts have exploded and he has more new patients each week.  He has been asked to be a part of several events which will yield more patients he can help.

So each time I feel frustrated, concerned, afraid or aggravated about an otherwise good situation I pray about it and look desperately for that silver lining.

My mother is a professional at finding the silver lining.  She can find the silver lining about almost anything.  Raining? Well the flowers needed it.  Waiting in line? Well I needed to grow some more patience.  Had a rough day at work? Well at least I will get good sleep tonight!  I love her and am glad she has it down but I have not inherited that trait.

I find it just as hard to love difficult people as well.  When someone is frustrating to know I just want to write them off and not always nicely.  I have had to learn to be prayerful here.  Oh and to learn some TACT…  Something else I did not inherit from my mom that she has an overabundance of!

So I guess my whole point is when you cannot see the silver lining and life is tough just look up and say, “Okay, God. I cannot see it but I know it is there.” and prayerfully go forward.  I know not everything has an easy-to-see silver lining; some might even say that there are events that have no silver lining.

To that I disagree.  Well maybe there are things that do not have a silver lining but they do have a purpose.  I am a deep believer that everything has a purpose!  Maybe your dog got hit by a car because it was either your dog or that kid three blocks down that would have run out in front of the same car!

There was one day my mom could not find her keys.  We looked EVERYWHERE!! Then when we found them, in some easy to see place, she laughed and said, “Well I’m sure God had a purpose for this.” as we were very late to school. Sure enough as we pulled toward the narrow bridge on our way to school we saw a half a house driving down the bridge, barely squeezing through with no room on either side for a car.  The bridge was long and perhaps, just maybe, we could have been caught on that bridge unknowingly and been hit by a traveling house! How funny and sad would that have been? A little too “Wizard of Oz” for me! haha

Any way!!  I hope this all makes sense.  It came out of my friend seeming to say we wouldn’t be seeing our dog again.  It made me feel upset and depressed and I wanted to write about the good side of the situation and how life does really have an up side when things seem down.  So cheer up!  Whatever has got you down either has a good side or it has a purpose.  Either way, stop and pray, because God loves you and is there for you through it all.

I praise you, God, for your abundant love and ever-presence.  I thank you for all the gifts you give and I respect you for all the things you take away.  I trust you, God, to do your will, looking out for my best interest.  I know you have a plan for my life and are always doing what is best for me now and in the future.  Thank you for all the blessings that surround me. Much Love. IJNA

God bless y’all!
Super Momma Maggie

Faith vs. Trust: Are they the same?

I thought I had faith in God. I thought I believed in his ability and his desire to help me. Psalms 91:14 says, “Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

This verse says many promises. God promises to: 1) rescue me, 2) protect me because I acknowledge His name, 3) answer me when I call upon Him, 4) be with me in trouble, 5) deliver me from trouble, 6) honor me, 7) satisfy me with long life, 8) show me His salvation. That is a lot of promises! Yet sometimes I find myself disbelieving in Gods follow through.

It is not that I do not believe He is capable. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” (Eph. 3:20) I know in my heart that God is capable of so much more than I could ever need or want. So why do I not trust Him?

Trust is defined as: 1) reliance on the integrity, strength, and ability of a person or thing; confidence, 2) confident expectation of something; hope

Faith is defined as: belief that is not based on proof. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and the certainty of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

So are they really the same thing? It would appear they are. To me, faith is not the absence of fear, but the courage to press on during hardships and still believe in God and His providence. It is believing that God will work things out. But if you believe someone will do something doesn’t that mean you also trust they will follow through?

So all my prayers for faith have yielded many trials: Two deaths in the family, A huge move from a haven I loved and enjoyed to a place I would never have thought to call home, A complete mental breakdown and the repercussions thereof, The rebuilding of my life since then, The consistent and ever-presence of Satan in my mind and in my life (yes I have rebuked the Devil; he still prevails). All these things have continually built my faith stronger and stronger. But still I lack the trust that God will truly follow through on all those promises listed above.

Will he really rescue me when I call for Him? Has he rescued me from Satan’s snare? Will he truly be with me during my troubles and protect me from trouble? I must say that I don’t trust that he will when I look at my most recent past. Trouble has followed me everywhere I go.

I feel alone and afraid. I feel deserted by God. Where is He? If He promises to rescue me then where is He? If he promises to protect me then why does Satan persist? Why do I continue to undergo trials and struggles?

The answer lies in my request: faith. As I said in a recent post: faith is not given freely, it is built through trials. I also cited a great verse in Corinthians that talked about how we are often put through trials not only so that we can feel the comfort and love of God but so that we may also show the comfort and love of God to others. So perhaps, just maybe, my trails exist to help someone.

I have recently taken up writing in hopes of publishing some books. One book I am writing talks about my struggles in life and how I have dealt with them. Many of my trials are not know by most of the people who know me, except those closest to me. My life has not been easy by any means. It has been one trial after another. But one theme has remained: God.

As I look back at my past I see His hand in every situation. One situation that I would like to share is a car accident I had when I was 17. At the time I was very uncertain as to why it had happened to me. It was a traumatic experience for me at such a young age. I was nearly killed because I ran into a telephone pole going quite fast; I never hit the brakes to even slow down because I was in shock.

Now, more than 10 years later, I fully understand the purpose of that accident. At the time, before my accident, my sister and I were at odds with each other. I didn’t like her much and she didn’t care for me either. We had so little in common and failed to even try to have a relationship.

When I was discharged from the hospital it was my sister who picked me up. I was starving after having been on a liquid only diet for several days. We got a roast beef sandwich in the cafeteria. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship that flourished into a friendship I will forever cherish.

My sister died on October 30th several years ago. Were it not for that car accident I feel certain that we would have never overcome our differences and become such close friends. Sure we still had those differences, but we agreed to disagree and moved on, building a relationship around what we did have in common. I praise God for that car accident.

I have many such stories in my life. Times in which I suffered but now see the purpose, or at least know there was a purpose. So why do I still struggle with trust and faith in God? Perhaps it is because these trials never end. But that is part of the human life. Some might say God is cruel because He puts us through so many trials and struggles. But do non-Christians live lives of luxury and have no struggles or trials. Look at the news. Many people who are famous and do not profess to be Christians struggle every day with trials: drug overdoses and divorce to name a few.

So it is not God who is cruel. It is the choice Adam and Eve made many, many years ago. Life: a beautiful life with God by our side, walking with us in a Heavenly garden, or Death: physical death, physical and psychological pain and strife. They chose death, knowingly or not.

So we suffer. I suffer. It is a fact of life. One I must accept before I can truly trust and have faith in God. Do you accept the reality of the struggles of life and have faith in God, trusting He will follow through on his many promises to us? I am working on it daily.

Do I surrender ALL?

I think sometimes that I have surrendered all I am and all I have to God.  Perhaps I even sing that old hymn “I surrender all” with feeling and honesty.  Then the Lord takes something away – like the unexpected death of a beloved family member.  Or perhaps it is the loss of a job, only to find a new one in a place I would never choose to move to.  Then I realize perhaps this is the true surrender: to find peace when God moves in mysterious yet uncomfortable ways.

There is this awesome song called “Strong Enough”.  Here are the basic lyrics (minus repetition).

You must think I’m strong to give me what I’m going through. Well, forgive me if I’m wrong, but this looks like more than I can do on my own.

I know I’m not strong enough to be everything that I’m supposed to be. I give up; I’m not strong enough.  Hands of mercy won’t you cover me. Lord, right now I’m asking you to be strong enough for the both of us.

Well, maybe that’s the point – to reach the point of giving up – because when I’m finally at rock bottom, well, that’s when I start looking up and reaching out.

Because I’m broken down to nothing but I’m still holding on to one thing: You are God and you are strong when I am weak.

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I don’t have to be strong enough.

I know I’m not strong enough to be everything that I’m supposed to be. I give up; I’m not strong enough. Hands of mercy won’t you cover me. Lord, right now I’m asking you to be strong enough for the both of us.

Some might say I had a “bi-polar episode” or perhaps a “nervous breakdown”.  I call it “the time Mommy went totally crazy and was glad the kiddos weren’t there to witness it all.”  Never in my life had I been so out of control – forced to surrender to God.  As a “good Christian girl” I had never done drugs or gotten so drunk I was out of control. But that night the combination of lack of sleep, lack of consistent nourishment and little to no water intake, plus the sleeping pills I took — along with the tequila I drank to hopefully make me sleep (how is that for being candid?) made me more than a little loopy and completely out of control. (Yes I know, looking back, the whole thing was stupid.) The doctors said that the lack of sleep and lack of nutritious food were the larger culprits and that this breakdown was bound to happen at some point.  I was so glad to be with someone I trusted completely that night.  Anything was possible.  Tequila is bad.  Don’t ever drink it! Smile with tongue out

Now here I am living next door to my in-laws, a situation that would likely put many people more at risk of a breakdown but this time it is a blessing.  At first I wondered if they were just getting a son and grandkids and I was part of the package. But they have proved to me with their complete acceptance, love, compassion and generosity that they truly do care about me.

Even so.  My husband has no salaried job (again), and has opened up practice for himself – which is good but makes me feel insecure.  Sure we are blessed with plenty of clothing, food on the table and a roof over our head, not to mention all our crucial bills paid.  But I still feel uneasy and anxious if I do not keep reminding myself to continually surrender, especially when the anxiety creeps in and the fears start to ramble through my inner dialogue.

So I am left again with my need to surrender all to Christ.  I love the song “Great is thy faithfulness.”  I rewrote it with more modern language.

Great is your faithfulness, oh God my father.
There is no shadow of turning with you.
You never change, and your compassion never fails me.
As you have been, you will always be.

Great is your faithfulness,
Great is your faithfulness.
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed your hand has provided.
Great is your faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun. Moon and Stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To your great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Great is your faithfulness,
Great is your faithfulness.
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed your hand has provided.
Great is your faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endure.
Your own dear presence to cheer and to guide.
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.

Great is your faithfulness,
Great is your faithfulness.
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed your hand has provided.
Great is your faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

This song brings me so much peace.  God is faithful.  Each day brings new mercies – new challenges that are overcome quickly by God’s doing.  All I have God has provided.  He has pardoned me from my sins, strengthening me each day to face every challenge. And I know every night as I lay my head on my pillow that He will still be there tomorrow to do it all over again!  What a blessing!

So when I feel unable to surrender, or unable to just let it all go, I remind myself that God’s faithfulness is great and He is ever-present to guide me through each struggle.  Letting go is the only true way I can open myself to His help and guidance.

So surrender all and feel his peace and see his faithfulness!

Lots of Love,
Super Momma Maggie

I want more Faith in God.

I have often prayed something along the lines of “God make me have more faith in you and your plan for me.”  However, I realized today that praying for faith is like praying for patience.  How do you get patience? By experiencing things that are difficult and thereby forcing you to have patience with the situation.  I am certain many of you have experienced this one time or another.

Many of you know that I have been through a lot of trials lately.  I had a nervous breakdown in June and was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. (Yeah maybe I share too much… Oh well.) Smile with tongue out   Presten was out of work for nearly 6 months.  Then he found an awesome job!!  The pay was great, the atmosphere was serene and he felt confident.  I don’t know what happened – why the *ahem* woman fired him – but she did. Oh and about two weeks before Christmas, too. Such a nice woman. Grr…  (Forgiveness still pending.)  In addition to all that, my health has been a roller coaster.  One day I feel great and happy, the next I feel distraught and paranoid.  Yes, my friend who loves me, I AM on medication, and have a great doctor who manages my meds.  He says it is all “normal” for me.  Yeah, like me and normal are friends at all!!  Riiiight…

So anyway… Through all this I have prayed “God grant me faith in you.” and “God give me peace.”  But today I realized he is teaching me faith and granting me peace through experience.  See I believe that is how God works.  Everything is lesson.  Pray for patience – get TAUGHT patience.  Pray for peace, faith, love, joy… really almost anything and he teaches it to you through your experiences.  Perhaps some of you knew this already but it’s a revelation to me.

So is this a good thing?  Is this method mean, unkind or uncaring?  Why does He not just GIVE us these skills.  Why when we pray are we not surrounded by a sense of peace, or just given that patience we need??  Now I am not saying this never happens.  I mean there have been times I have prayed specifically for peace and God has just covered me with a blanket of peace.  There have also been times I have been prayerfully working on surrendering to Him and he grants me peace about my choice to relinquish my control.  There are moments for me when God just covers me with whatever I am requesting.  But for me (maybe not everyone) those are just moments.  Then the moment passes and the feeling fades and I am left with whatever I already had within myself.

But when I am taught a trait (patience, peace, faith, love, joy… any fruit of the spirit) that lesson sticks with me.  And no this is not like a school lesson from elementary school.  One that fades with time.  No.  This is eternal.  Once my level of patience reaches a level through experience it stays there forever, or increases but never diminishes.

So back to the questions then…  Why does God do it this way? See previous paragraph.  Because it sticks with us.

Why doesn’t God just give us these traits?  Because I think its not the same.  What do I mean… well how interesting that I happen to be listening to the song “Stronger” by Mandisa.  The message of this song is that hardships will make you stronger.  How true this is.  When we come out the other side of a struggle we are stronger.  However if we were given these traits perhaps we wouldn’t be as strong as when we earn them.  Now I do know that some of us are created with certain gifts.  Some of us can love anyone where they are at and do not struggle with this.  Some people have an amazing enduring patience with everything.  Some people are just peaceful about life – living without worry or anxiety.  I personally have the gift of compassion and encouragement.  I love to encourage others. I’ll stop at that or I will sound like I am bragging or something… We each have gifts but there are some things we don’t have.

So one might bring up the story in the Bible of the men with the talents (which was a sum of money). [This is in Matthew 25:14-30] At the end it says that those who take care of what they have will be given more and those who do not will have theirs taken away.  The talents were given to them without merit (or lesson).  This is talking about money and not the same at all.

Lets look at one of my favorite verses about hardships.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

So the word “comfort” is used in there A LOT!  But the gist of it is that we go through trials so that we can be comforted and then later comfort others.  So our struggles, hardships and trials are not just for us – not just to teach us some lesson – but also for others in the future.  Have you ever been able to say “yeah I’ve been there”?  What is more is have the words “I’ve been there” ever comforted you?

When I lived in Oregon my daughter Wren was struggling with temper tantrums.  She would hit, kick, throw things, yell and scream and just be a terror. I had no clue what to do.  What I really felt I needed was for someone to say, “honey I have been there and this will pass. It will be okay.”  What happened when I shared it with most people, asking for prayers, was they laughed at me and said, “yeah she will get over it”.  It was mainly the laughing that hurt.  Wrens full name is Serenity Elizabeth Joy, however she was in no means serene or joyful during that time of her life so I am guessing that is why they laughed at me. Any way… There was one woman – Nona Skinner – who smiled at me, hugged me and said “honey, I have been there!”  She proceeded to tell me the story of one of her children who was as difficult as mine. She said, “This too will pass.  She will get better.” and then gave me advice of how to deal with her.  Every time I saw Nona she would hug me and remind me that it will get better.  She became such a comfort in my life.  Why?  Because she had been there, survived and had love and comfort to give.

SO in conclusion:  God often teaches us traits (such as the fruits of the spirit) through trials and situations that give us experience.  Why do I personally believe he does this?  To make us stronger and so that we can feel his love and comfort and generously give out his love and comfort to others as we see need.  This method of teaching rather than gifting is a good method because it sticks with us eternally, with increasing knowledge.

So if you are struggling in one way or another know that it will get better.  You will come out on the other side stronger and some day you will be able to comfort others because of your experience. Experience makes us stronger and wiser.  Oh and praying for wisdom is the same as praying for patience, too! haha… I could tell you stories about that, too.

Hope this wasn’t too long.  Thanks for the read.

Lots of Love
Super Mama Maggie

If you are a first time reader please read my bio so you will know why I am so very super. Open-mouthed smile

The Ultimate Friend

Ever vent to a friend? Ever have them complain you vent to much? Not GOD! He doesn’t mind us venting to Him whenever, where ever and however often. He wants us to focus on the good things in our life and Philippians 4:4-9 tells us how – to not feel anxious but instead tell him our troubles and ask for a resolution then believe he will take care of it and LET IT GO.  Then think of all the positive things in life!

Philippians 4:4-9
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 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. 9 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.

I know, it is much easier said than done.  We have all been in a situation where someone wronged us and did not know or perhaps did not care and it really hurt.  What do we do with that? Sometimes we bottle it up and just feel upset forever; even the mention of their name makes us relive all those emotions of the painful situation.  But God calls us to be people of forgiveness.  He charges us to forgive as he has forgiven us.  What has God forgiven you of? We have all sinned and have much to be forgiven for; so extend forgiveness as you were forgiven.

Of course letting the feelings go, even after telling yourself you forgive them, can be difficult.  I find the best solution is to focus on the good of the situation.  What did you learn?  How did your relationship with God grow because of the difficult situation?  How have you become wiser or stronger?  And it also helps to think of the good within the person or people involved.  Though it can be tough sometimes to find the good in someone, there is good in everyone’s heart somewhere (I believe) and you just have to find it.  Focus on that good.

Most importantly always remember in every situation – both good and bad – to turn to God.  God wants to hear our joys and appreciates a simple thank you.  He also wants us to share our struggles with him.  Hey, he already knows your sins even before you commit them! So why not talk to him about those too!

He is the greatest friend you could ever hope for.  Not just because He is a good listener but also because more than any other friend God actually has the POWER to DO SOMETHING about your struggle! Smile  Just because he does not instantaneously remove our pain when we tell him about it does not mean he is not present and working in our life.  His mighty hand is there and he is working the situation our for ultimate good.

May you feel the blessings of the Lord in your life today!

xox
Maggie

If the innocent suffer then there MUST be NO GOD!

What a statement, huh?  Why is there suffering in the world?  Does God even care?  Does God even exist? Innocent bystanders — especially children – frequently suffer for the evil or poor choices of others.  Children starve to death (even in the US).  Innocents are sexually molested by older people who know better (and even some who don’t).  Innocents are murdered, sometimes very painfully and brutally, often without reason.  If there is a God then why do these things happen??  I do not propose to have all the answers or to be able to adequately answer this question to the satisfaction of every non-believer.  However, having suffered some myself (haven’t we all?) and having negatively effected innocents I do understand this a bit, especially having maintained an intimate relationship with God.

These questions have often stumped me; not because I do not know or understand the answer to the question, "why does God allow the innocent to suffer" but rather because I do not know how to answer it as if to one who does not believe in God or understand who He is, His purpose, etc.  The simple answer is a question:

How can God, no matter how powerful, effectively protect innocent children from the evil of the world without making the world perfect and thereby removing the ability to choose?

The world was once perfect; there was no suffering, no pain, no hunger and every child — were there any — would be happy, healthy and well fed.  We chose this earth.  Maybe not you and me personally but we do effect others’ lives with our mistakes.  Take my life for example:  I have in the past abused my health which makes me very stressed and extremely irritable which makes me short-tempered with my children.  Though that short-tempered fussing at them is not as damaging as starvation or sexual molestation or something more extreme, it does negatively effect their lives.  Or take my sister, Mary, as an example:  She had sex before marriage — her right to choose such — and became pregnant.  Though she did her best she was not the perfect mother (though none of us are) mainly because of the difficulties of raising a child at Mary’s young age.  Mary was not mature enough to be a mother and both her and her child suffered for it.

Take more extreme cases like hunger to the point of starvation:  What are YOU doing to feed the hungry? What am I doing to feed the hungry?? Nothing! (Well I am doing nothing.  I don’t know what you are doing.)  So "is there a God or not" is not really the question but rather "what is my responsibility and what is the responsibility of other people OR ‘greater power’?".  Is it God’s responsibility to feed the hungry?  What should He do about hunger??

I have given a lot of thought about this.  I know two ladies who refuse to have a relationship with God all because of the suffering innocents.  However in their lives they have made others suffer by their poor choices.  We all do. (Even if it is only the suffering our parents feel — because of their love for us — when we make poor choices.)  Is it God’s fault or our own?

To say that God should feed hungry children is to blame God for OUR poor choices when in fact it is NOT God’s fault that we choose poorly and others suffer but our own.  I cause innocents to suffer and I am certain that some short coming you have has caused an innocent person to suffer no matter how small.  Simply: pain, suffering, hunger and every bad, evil or negative thing exists because sin entered the world when two people made a BIG mistake.  Sin enters your life (and my life) when you first choose to sin.  But GOD in His infinite mercy and love wipes away those sins and will make our lives more purposeful and whole if we choose the forgiveness He so easily and eagerly offers us.

I respect the difficulty that people have with this whole thing.  I have suffered a lot in my life but I can look back and most of it has a definite purpose in my life.  In fact, I cannot think of a single major difficult event in my life that did not have a purpose.

Take, for example, two instances that stand out in my mind as major suffering moments for me:

When I was 17 I had a bad car accident.  It was a really tough time for me and I couldn’t understand why God allowed it to happen.  At the time I thought it had something to do with the guy I ended up dating.  I was sure he would have never noticed me if I hadn’t had a near-death experience (and also lost weight making me 120 lbs!).  However, God had a much deeper purpose than that (though I did learn a lot from that failed relationship).  When I was released from the hospital it was my sister Mary who picked me up.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  She took me to the cafeteria to get my first real food in a while. (I had been on a liquid diet the whole time in the hospital. NO FUN!)  I ate a roast beef sandwich and I can still remember how great it tasted after a week of clear liquids!  But it was not the sandwich that made the event so important. Before this life altering event my sister and I were no more than blood relatives.  She didn’t like me and I didn’t like her.  We loved each other as you do any sister – good or not – but that was it.  I still think that my car accident made us both realize the fragility of our lives and made us wake up and realize how little we knew or cared for each other.  That day was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Additionally, another suffering moment, I chose to attend York College in NE to be close to my sister instead of going to Harding or Ohio Valley College.  She had urged me to move closer to her.  During the breaks from school and over the summer I lived with her and her husband and children.  I was still a teenager and she parented me the best she could, even though she complained about it to Mom.  We grew even closer as sisters and friends.  I remember sharing a lot of good talks and great laughs during that time.  It was a suffering time for me, though, because I did not really enjoy going to school in the land of no trees so far from my parents.  Having grown up in the woods of North Carolina and never having been away from my parents for long I didn’t enjoy the trek across the US.  I wanted to stay close to my parents.  I missed my friends from NC and also greatly missed the woods!!  So in the end I went back to NC after my freshmen year of college.

If it were not for those two major events I would have likely never formed such a close bond with my sister Mary.  I cherish those times of trial and how close they brought us, especially now that my sister is in Heaven and I don’t see her much anymore and she never seems to respond to my phone calls…  I did not understand these situations when they happened or why they were so hard on me, but God had a purpose and He understood them.  These are not the only times I have suffered or even the most significant but they are the times I cherish the most since the loss of my sister.

You see the real answer is that time – from beginning to end – is like the most enormous puzzle you could ever imagine, with each choice, event, person, and trial being a tiny piece of it.  Only God can see the whole puzzle so who are we to question one tiny piece and why God let it happen? 

I hope my perspective has shed some light on God.  If not then thanks for reading anyway. I know this was a long one. 🙂

x ❤ x
Super Mom

P.S.
I could have provided Bible verses for much of this but didn’t see the point since a non-believer wouldn’t care what the Bible has to say if they do not believe in God.

Easter – Who cares??

So I was thinking about Easter weekend.  It has been said, though I am uncertain of the truth of it, that Easter is one of the few holidays that people who are NOT avid church goers tend to go to church.  That is, more people go to church on Easter than on a normal Sunday.

Why?  I cannot of course answer this as one who does such a thing because I try to attend church on a regular basis. (The subject of “why bother going to church at all” is a subject for another time.)  However I would like to write a bit about the topic, “why does Easter matter?”

First of all, to my knowledge, I do not recall the Bible ever commanding us to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, aside from the practice of “Communion” (as it has come to be known).   Why is it that we celebrate this time?

The answer is much simpler than most questions about religious practices.  Jesus died and was buried but He is now alive and in Heaven preparing a place for us to join Him someday. (John 14:2-3 – Thanks, Patti!) It is not just the amazing act of coming back to life that we celebrate but, rather, what His resurrection means for us. So you may be wondering, “How do you even know there was a Jesus and that he died, was buried, resurrected and lives in Heaven?”  That is an excellent question.  Frankly, I can explain all the evidence supporting it and how the Bible is truth, etc, etc, but in the end it all comes back to faith.  Every religion is founded on FAITH.  Atheist, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhism, Christian, whatever! all require FAITH.  How does an Atheist know that there is no God? They don’t; they just believe there is no God.  How does a Buddhist know that Buddha ever existed? They don’t; they just believe!  And that is exactly the same for all the rest and their beliefs.  Even you – whatever you believe – believe with some certainty, I hope.

What is faith?  According to Hebrews 11:1-3

1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for. 3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

According to the dictionary:

1: Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2: Loyalty to a person or thing

So why should Easter matter to the non-believer?  Because you are imperfect; we ALL are! We make mistakes, screw up, fail, fall on our face and the only thing that cleans up all our manure and makes us perfect is Christ Jesus.  You don’t have to believe in Him for that to be true.  You do, however, have to believe in Him to be saved from your imperfections.  Sin cannot exist in the presence of God; therefore we need to be covered in Christ’s blood to go to Heaven and reside in the presence of God for eternity.

I want to quickly address, also, the arrogance of Christians.  Some have said that Christians act like they are better than everyone else.  I suppose some do act that way.  However, I believe some people mistake our eternal certainty for arrogance.  We are no better than anyone else.  I am just as sinful and imperfect as any other Jane, Mary, Sue or whoever!  I still sin.  I try so very hard not to but I mess up.  It is not what we do that makes Christians special or “better”; it is what God has done to us that makes us different.
Galatians 2:17-21

17"If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

We are made spiritually DEAD by sin but made ALIVE again through Christ! AMEN and Hallelujah!
Romans 6:10-11

10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

We are all spending Eternity somewhere be it Heaven, Hell or, as some believe, “nowhere because there is nothing after death”.  Well I hope you are certain about whatever your beliefs are because I wouldn’t want to be caught in Hell because it turned out there was something after all!

ENJOY your eternity!!

I love you.