Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.” 1 Chronicles 16:35
I know many of us are feeling the heaviness of 2020, it has put a strain on people mentally, emotionally, physically and financially. Add to that record weather events around the world, and here in the US we have the election to add to all the chaos.
One of the things I have become more and more confident in this year is that absolutely no one, and nothing can bring peace to my spirit like the Holy Spirit can. On the days where I encounter people who are riddled with anger and spreading it out on everyone around them. I simply call on the Holy Spirit to keep me from reacting to them in the manner in which they engaged me.
When I tune on the TV and I see hate being spewed by the political parties, I simply change the channel, and say the name of Jesus.
Even in the middle of all that is going on around us, I am being mindful to be thankful. Thanking God each and every day for his blessings. Somedays the blessings I am thanking him for seem small other days they are huge blessings to me but probably would not matter much to others. The point is I am setting my intentions by being thankful.
When David taught Asaph how to give praise to the Lord, it was because he needed them to set the intention for themselves and their leadership once David left them.
Today I would love to remind you to set your intentions for how you are going to lead yourself and those you encounter by preparing your heart to be a thankful heart. A heart full of thanks has no room for hatred and resentment to reside.
All these were descendants of Asher—heads of families, choice men, brave warriors and outstanding leaders. 1 Chronicles 7:40
I saw an interesting question from a friend on Facebook today and it had me thinking of the perspective of everything I read. The question was:
“Men, what are your thoughts about reading books by women?
There was more to her question but that one sentence stopped me to think when was the last time I heard a man recommend a book written by a female author.
Then I started asking myself what perspective do I read the books from? Whether I am reading a self-improvement book, Christian living, leadership or the bible, how I identify with the author can dictate how much I buy into the ability for me to have the transformation promised in the book.
Early on in my married life I would read Danielle Steele novels, I was hooked, I would sit and read a complete book in one sitting. This did absolutely nothing for the upkeep of my home. I began to feel guilty after arguing with my husband over why the house was so trashed. So I would barter with myself, I can read a chapter after I clean up the breakfast dishes, I can read another chapter after I start a load of laundry and dust, I can start another chapter after I clean the bathrooms. The house was getting cleaned my husband was not happy but a little more satisfied. I was miserable, being jerked back to the reality of snotty noses, baby diapers, fixing dinner, and cleaning…. None of the characters in the stories I read had to put up with this. Why couldn’t my husband be like the romantic love interest in the story I was reading?
See, when you read a book, any book it has the ability to transform you and transport you to another place and time, but when you stop reading you are still right back where you were when you started unless you are moved to action.
Why did those Danielle Steele novels speak to me? Because she was a woman writing about the things many women long for, but very seldom talk about. However, I cannot tell you one man I know of that has read a Danielle Steele novel. There are very few that will admit they have read Emily Dickens or Maya Angelou.
All my life I have been told that the Bible is THE LIVING BREATHING WORD of GOD, as much as I believe that today when my friend asked that question I began to think there are some ways that I feel the Bible does NOT apply to me as a woman. I was feeling a little uninspired as I began flipping through the Bible reading about Warriors and I came across 1 Chronicles 7:40 All these were descendants of Asher—heads of families, choice men, brave warriors and outstanding leaders.
When you read that as a woman, first thing I notice it says is “Choice Men”. I was about to be dismissive of the verse and go on searching for something more along the lines of what I wanted to read about.
Please tell me I am not the only one who does this?
But anyway as I began to move on I felt God tell me to wait.
Asking me how could there be so many descendants of Asher without women?
It said these men were heads of families, that means they had women who handled everything while they were away at war.
It said they were choice men, choice men only associated with choice women.
Brave warriors you know what I am going to come back to this point….
Outstanding leaders, one thing I know for sure is outstanding leaders raise everyone around them to be outstanding as well.
Going back to Brave Warriors, as a veteran, who is married to a veteran, I will tell you it is very difficult to serve during a time of war, I would never minimize the warrior mentality of a service member in the field. However, as a mom of a service member, and daughter of a police officer I also know that it takes a warrior mindset for those of us at home while our loved ones are serving on the battlefield.
Yet when I read this scripture there was even more that He whispered to me. That there are many women, maybe you are one of them who are standing strong as the head of their home. Women who are Choice women, and brave warriors and outstanding leaders.
In a verse that has over a dozen words, I was letting one small word disqualify the whole sentence and how it applied to me. What if instead I stopped and asked God to reveal to me how He wants me to see His word, and even more how He wants me to apply his word.
Funny thing, when I was done reading the Bible today, I was not snapped back to the reality I started with, like when I read those empty romance novels. Instead I was transformed with a new warrior mindset by a God that loves me and knows me more intimately than any author could ever write about.
Let’s be mindful of what we are feeding our minds, our bodies and our souls so that we can be transformed from the inside out by our heavenly father.
Questions to Ponder:
What are you reading?
How is it moving you closer to or further away from your purpose?
The earth is filled with your love, Lord; teach me your decrees.Psalm 119:64
When I was a little girl people would always ask me where I got my pretty blue eyes, I would giggle and say “Key-Mart”….Yes, everything back in the day came from K-Mart, but the truth was I had my daddy’s eye.
My dad’s eyes are unique and have a unique perspective. He and I have often been able to see and recognize things that many overlook. He is an Army veteran and retired Police Officer. He taught me how to look for things.
I remember one car ride where he was telling me about when you are looking for something in an open field, like a deer. You would lookout as far as you could see and then bring your gaze back toward you. This allowed your eyes to catch what you were looking for instead of your eyes chasing where the deer had been.
Another thing my dad showed me was how to see people, not their circumstance. There were times when he would bring homeless people to our home, so they could get a shower, a hot meal, their clothes washed and even new clothes, and see if there were ways my mom and dad could help them find a safe place to stay. They would minister to these people in physically and spiritually.
My daddy’s eye’s taught me to search the world from the perspective of my Heavenly Father.
I don’t know about you but when I look at social media, the news and even sometimes driving down the road, it is hard to remember that the earth is filled with love. Right now all my physical eyes can see is pain, anger, and war.
However when I take the time to look around with my Heavenly fathers eyes I am able to see things from a different perspective. I set my vision out towards heaven, and for all those out there running scared, and in pain, I am able to see them as they run into my view. I try not to see their actions, but see beyond to what is the root of their pain.
One thing I have begin to realize is so many people just want to be accepted, to be seen, to be heard, mostly they just want to be LOVED.
To many of my friends Christian and non-Christian are spreading their “Truth” to be correct from a worldly perspective, but my challenge to myself and each of you listening today is to be relationally right by sharing God’s truth of Love, Peace, Joy & HOPE!
After talking with several friends I find it interesting how many of us said the phrase at some point of “When I’m a mom I am never gonnna….” Yet time and time again I open my mouth and words my mother once uttered to me fall out. Now as the mom of grown children I gain just a tiny bit of joy watching my children have my words fall out of their mouth and watch the look on their faces when they realize it.
Here are a few for giggles:
You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit
Look where you’re going, not where you have been.
You can get mad in the same pants you got glad in
Hands in your pockets or where your pockets should be. (had to add that last part because they got smart and said their shorts didn’t have pockets)
Slow down breathe then try telling me again
Think about it, I normally don’t ask a question I don’t already know the answer too.
Here is the deal, some of the things my mom said or did, the good and the bad (cause let’s face it we all have bad days) showed up in what I said or did with my children. However, I had a choice as to whether or not I was going to carry the things from the past into the future. I had to be mindful of my legacy. My mom is great, and so was hers yet each generation has taken what we have learned from the previous generation to be better for the next.
Sadly, I have many friends who had horrible mom’s, but they still share the same responsibility. The responsibility to learn from their past, to grow in the present and leave an impactful legacy.
One of the things I have learned in my time here on earth is some of the things I absolutely hated hearing were the exact thing I needed to hear to be a better person.
Yesterday, when I heard a young girl say to her mother “When I’m a mom I am never gonna…..” All I could do was giggle and think to myself that yes sweetheart you probably are, that is ok, and you will be better for it.
Today I am sharing a few lessons I have learned from my mom. While this list is not complete it is a good reminder that there are lessons for us all to learn even when we might turn a blind eye or deaf ear to it. So I hope this helps you see some of the lessons you have learned and you would be willing to share them with us.
Lesson 1 – Self Realization sets you free I will admit I was not an easy child in my youth, a friend asked me my Sr year (age 18) if I could go out with her one weekend, I told her “I can’t I’m grounded” to which she replied “grounded I haven’t been grounded since I was 13” I quipped back…. “Funny, I have been grounded since I was 13” my mom overheard this conversation and while still giggling did permit me to go out that weekend. –
Lesson 2 – You can still find joy when you’re stuck in a rut When I was learning to drive a stick shift my mom had a 1971 Triumph Spitfire she took me to a neighborhood just south of us to teach me how to drive it. We lived on a big hill and she knew to start on a hill would need to be the final lesson, little did she know how true that would be. At one intersection of this neighborhood, was a stop sign that had a huge dip, not depthwise but huge in width, and the incline was just enough to cause a challenge. After what seemed like hours of trying to get out of this dip, and lots of loud laughter from my mom (did I mention it was a convertible and the top was down) then eventually laughter by me even though I was mortified that any of the “cute” boys I went to school with would come out and see this catastrophe.
Lesson 3 – You can still be rich despite your circumstances Several years ago my sister asked my parents why we didn’t have any of those good meals like we used to. My dad asked what she was talking about. She replied “You know the ones with fried Spam, Cheese, Crackers and y’all had onion and tomato” (she didn’t eat veggies, pretty much still doesn’t) My dad’s response was “Because we don’t have to!” What we didn’t realize back then was that Spam back in the day was cheap, the cheese we had was government cheese, crackers were cheap, and the onions and tomatoes we ate came from the garden in our backyard. My mom was stretching the family budget to keep us fed and we never knew we were poor.
Lesson 4 – You never know how strong you are until you are tested to the limits Over the last few years, we have gained insight through personal development that helps me to have a better picture of our conflict over the years. I am someone who adapts and responds quickly but my mom is one who likes to take a little longer to process. When we embrace the uniqueness of each other we work together well, but it took a lot of years of our personalities battling each other. Even in that friction, it created resilience in me. When I went to boot camp my mom and I left things in a rough place. As a mom of adult children, I now understand some of what she was feeling. Wondering if you have prepared them well for the world they are about to face. I remember getting on the bus after boot camp and my company commander asking me “So, what did you think Davis? (Maiden name)” I quickly responded, “You ain’t got nothin’ on my mama!”
Lesson 5 – You Can’t outrun God or the prayers of a faithful MOM My husband and I were going through a particularly rough patch there seemed to be one thing after another after another coming against us. I was sitting on the shoreline at the lake with my mom, and she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, I am so sorry Angie. I have been praying the prayer “Lord whatever it takes and I hate seeing you go through all of this.” My response was probably the bigger answer to her prayer when I said: “Why are you apologizing for God answering your prayers?”