LET GO OF THE MOUSE!

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

2 Corinthians 3:5  (NIV)

 

I have to tell you a story about my friend, Joe. I call him my computer pro! Over 10 years ago, a thunderstorm caused my computer to crash. A friend recommended Joe to save the day and rebuild all the computer files I thought I had lost. Computer work is often a long, laborious task. In the process of saving all my data, Joe and I became fast friends.

At that time, I was very computer illiterate. I sent and responded to emails. That was it. I’m assuming Joe felt bad for me that I had this wonderful machine that I was using only 10% of its’ ability. Joe gave me his phone and email encouraging me to call whenever I had questions.

Over the years, Joe has spent countless hours at my PC in an attempt to make things easier for me. Then a few years ago, he & his wife moved to Nashville, TN. That’s when he introduced me to Team Viewer. By using this program, Joe could get on my computer remotely and use my mouse to navigate wherever he needed to go.

The computer mouse controls any actions on the computer. While Joe was on my PC, I was always grabbing the mouse to show him what I had done. It actually became kind of comical! I’m trying to help you Mary. LET GO OF THE MOUSE!

How many times have we done the same thing with God? We plead for help, as we continue doing what we’ve always done. We expect the Lord to magically step in to make it all better for us. Like the opening scripture alludes, our competence comes from the Lord. Many times that requires a change in our own behavior and outlook.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

James 1:22 -25  (NIV)

We say we want God to show us a better way but are we willing to make a change in our attitude or our actual lifestyle? It may be uncomfortable for awhile. See my blog post https://mvarga.com/life-inspiration/uncomfortable/.

 

Uncomfortable does not mean bad. We need to embrace what the Lord is trying to show us. Ask Him how He wants to make it comfortable and routine in our life.

 

Maybe the life change we want will NOT make us uncomfortable. We’re just not sure how to go about it. Talk to the experts. Do some investigative reading. Then be sure to cover both those plans with prayer.

 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11  (NIV)

God usually asks us to let go of our control (or lack there-of!) in situations we encounter. He wants to show us a better way. Whether it’s a relationship, a career goal or a physical issue, give it to God first. Pray! Pray! Pray!

Then be sure to praise Him for putting people in our lives that will help us to let go of the mouse!

 

Dear Lord,

Here we go again…trying to control everything ourselves! Thank You for Your infinite patience as we turn away from You, trying to do it all on our own.

Help us to trust Your love for us. You may take us down an uncomfortable path. Remind us that You know what we do not know… Thank You for leading us to the right path by placing people in our lives to help us.

 

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WASHING FEET

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.

John 13:12  (NIV)

We are still right in the midst of the Easter season, so I will continue my blog post on serving others. Before His death and resurrection, Jesus shared a final meal with His disciples. And the last lesson He taught them was how they could serve others in simple, day-to-day actions.

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 

John 13:14-15  (NIV)

Jesus was certainly in a position of power in the eyes of His apostles. Showing that humble act of serving others was certainly not expected, but gave all His apostles a perfect example of how He wanted them to serve others.

Washing feet is something odd to us in the 21st century. However, in the days that Jesus lived, there were no automobiles. People got around by walking on the very dusty roads, and had to wash their feet before they entered someone’s home. Washing your feet was an expected courtesy.

Why don’t we try to imitate Jesus by washing each others’ feet? Just how are we supposed to do that?…by doing simple acts of kindness that can make their life a little easier!

Think simple! Open the door for someone. Let someone in front of you in traffic. Let them in front of you at the grocery store. That would be washing their feet.

Don’t we appreciate that when someone does it for us? Now we can “pay it forward.” It feels good to help someone…doesn’t it?

If we take that a step further… volunteer to accompany someone somewhere. Bring them something they can use…and show them how to use it! It doesn’t have to be a friend…but we may make one!

In my last blog post, https://mvarga.com/life-inspiration/how-can-we-serve/, I talked about NOTICING and PAYING ATTENTION to others. Isn’t that the same as washing their feet?

We all want to be noticed for the good things we do. So pay attention! When we see someone helping another…let them know we noticed. They’ll be more inclined to do it again for someone else. Isn’t that the way we’re all built?

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Colossians 3:12  (NIV)

 

 Dear Lord,

We live in a confusing and conflicted world.

Help us to renew our pledge for showing love and compassion for all human beings. May we all strive to find ways we can help those around us.

There is no longer the need to wash our feet after walking outdoors. Help us to look for ways to assist those around us with simple daily tasks.

May they see You as we try to simply lighten their daily load.

 

 

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How Can We Serve?

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

John 14:12 (NIV)

 

Can we really do the works of the Lord in the 21st century? We may not be able to perform miracles, but we can, like Jesus, be kind and compassionate and helpful to others.

He smiles on all the ways that we offer help to others. The Lord asks us to use our time and our talent for the service of others. Of course that includes our financial talent, but if we’re lacking in those resources, what other talents do we have that could be of assistance?

Writing a check is one thing (and certainly needed!), but giving of our own personal time and using our abilities to help someone else gives a warm feeling all over!

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1Peter 4:10  (NIV)

Not sure what to offer…or to whom? Think of the abilities we have that could be used to help others free of charge. Who do we see struggling to manage affairs with just their own resources & abilities? Do we have a talent that we usually get paid for or that comes very easily to us that we could just offer to someone in need? That’s surely a way to serve!

I keep remembering a song that we often sang in church when I was growing up. I can’t remember the name of it, but the chorus was…

Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers…That you do unto me.

 

Perhaps we don’t have the funds or extraordinary capabilities to share with others. That needn’t stop us from serving in the way Jesus did when He was here on earth.

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people

Ephesians 6:7

We all have busy lives filled with appointments and tasks we need to complete. Try to take some time everyday just to NOTICE someone. It doesn’t have to include a lengthy conversation. (They’re probably just as busy as we are.) Did they get a new haircut? Lose a few pounds? Or better yet, comment on how well they’re handling something. “I don’t know how you do it!”

Others like to be noticed. Don’t you? In that way, we are serving them by making them feel good about themselves and inspiring them to use their gift. Try paying attention and commenting to someone who’s a stranger. What were they doing that you wish you were better at…that you admire? That’s what Jesus did. He just paid attention to people.

We can ask the Lord to give us a servant’s heart. Unlike my physical disabilities, we can’t always perceive what others are struggling with. Many times they don’t want us to know.

Unfortunately, as human beings we have a natural tendency toward selfishness…so we need God’s help to put others’ needs ahead of our own. Contemplate every day what we could do to make someone else’s life a little easier…or make them feel a little better about themselves.

The ultimate gift we can give to serve others is to pray for them! As the survivor of a traumatic brain injury, I’ve seen the outcome of others’ prayers in the last 20+ years. I believe these prayers have truly increased my faith & trust in how God is working in my life. No…I have not received a miraculous healing. Instead I’ve been given a faith that keeps me always hopeful that God will use the circumstances of my life in a positive way…so that I may always be able and ready to serve others.

 

Dear Lord,

Please give us a heart to serve others. It’s so easy to focus just on our own needs and those of our family.

Help us to use our gifts and resources to serve the good of all the souls You’ve put in our path. Give us the wisdom to know where You’re calling us to help others.

 

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UNCOMFORTABLE

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10

 I always ask for God’s direction in coming up with topics for my blog. This time He sent me to my physical therapist. Denny is trying diligently to assist me in improving my balance. He knows I’m addicted to cardio exercise that gets my blood pumping. I can’t seem to stick with balance exercises because they always make me feel like I’m going to fall. They make me feel uncomfortable! Denny explained that being uncomfortable is the first step to improvement.

If we stay glued to our same old way of doing things, how can we expect our situation to improve? We are all creatures of habit. Sometimes those habits need to bend…or maybe be broken!

Mark Twain once wrote that we should do something uncomfortable every day to continue learning and growing.

Do something every day that you don’t want to do, (1897) —Mark Twain

As a former distance runner, exercise to me included an elevated heart rate, labored breathing and sweat. When I first started running, it was uncomfortable. As I kept doing it day after day, it not only became more comfortable, but something I actually craved in my daily life. I called this my endorphin high and I sought it routinely.

After my TBI I found other ways to get that endorphin high…treadmill, elliptical…  I needed to find something else to make me uncomfortable though so I could continue growing. So I am finally committed to making balance exercises part of my daily life. It’s been almost 25 years. Don’t you think it’s about time? 

Every time we act, we are learning how to make an action even better. What is it that you’ve been learning today? What is it that you want to learn tomorrow?

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12  (NIV)

 What does the Lord have to say about being uncomfortable? He asks us to be transformed into His image. Since we are just humans, I suspect that becoming more like God may be an uncomfortable achievement as we begin.

 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2   (NIV)  

He asks us to NOT follow the world and all its politics. He asks us to follow His decrees by changing the way we think. Put God first place in life. That may mean taking better care of ourselves. It definitely means loving and caring for others!

It means staying in constant communication with Him through both prayer and reading His words. See my blog post https://mvarga.com/life-inspiration/our-invisible-friend/.

These are NOT uncomfortable tasks. They should make us feel we’re more connected to the Lord…connected to other people…and we will find that doing the uncomfortable is often the most comfortable way to move forward with our lives.

 

Dear Lord,

Why is it so hard to step out of our comfort zone? We ask for Your guidance, but we want everything to be easy. Remind us that moving to another level takes work and sometimes it will be uncomfortable.

Please make us comfortable with the uncomfortable so we CAN be transformed into Your image.

 

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TUCK YOUR TAIL

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58  ( NIV)

It’s about time for another fitness blog! We all want to stand and move steady and strong. Here’s a body cue (prompt) that will keep our bodies positioned correctly to do just that.

We need to keep our hips in the right position to walk effortlessly AND with stability. This body cue will keep our hips exactly where they’re intended for the most efficient movement.

The title of this blog post (Tuck your tail) is the body cue I’ve been using for years to keep my body from losing it’s balance. I even get my class mascot Susie to help me demonstrate when I teach!

Susie has a long monkey tail that she’s able to tuck between her legs. Once she demonstrates, I ask the students in my class to pull that tail up toward their chest.

If we do this… our bottom tucks under, our hips push forward and our stomach muscles ignite. Then since we’re also pulling our tail up towards our chest, we will feel our ribcage, our chest and ultimately our head be raised up!

Try this right now even sitting in a chair!

If you’re a regular gym-goer, instead of asking you to Tuck your tail, a fitness trainer may ask you to ACTIVATE YOUR GLUTES.

When I had my traumatic brain injury (TBI) 24 years ago, I have a vivid memory of my brother, John telling me if I wanted better balance, I had to get a stronger butt. That was years before he became my primary care doctor. Even still, I immediately added bridges, squats and dead lifts to my weekly fitness routine.

So today, I do indeed have a stronger bootie. In order to get it working for me, I need to ACTIVATE it. Strong muscles are great…but they need to be FIRED so they can do a job for you.

Squats are a great way to get the muscles in our backside working while IN MOTION and WITH GOOD POSTURE.

  • Start with standing tall.
  • Pretend to sit back in a chair. (Stick your bootie out!)
  • Don’t let your knees come out past your toes!
  • Keep chest & head up. (Make a long kneck!)
  • Fire your gluteous muscles to come back up to standing.
  • This move will tuck your tail between your legs.
  • Bottom tucks under as your hip bones push forward.

 

 

Then just like the opening scripture, we will be standing firm and not allowing anything to move our bootie!

Dear Lord,

It seems strange to ask You to keep our bottoms strong. It will allow us to move more efficiently though. Then we’ll be free to do whatever You’re calling us to do.

Once you are on mvarga.com, you can subscribe to receive future blog posts, read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

Our Invisible Friend

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

Colossians 3:15

My traumatic brain injury was in 1997. After emerging from a coma, I imagined an invisible friend named Michele. I have no memory of this…but family members have told me I was always gabbing on the phone, going shopping or out for lunch with Michele.

My mother told me of a time when I had children’s art work on the bulletin board in my hospital room. She was commenting on how pretty they were and wanted to know who sent them to me. Apparently I shrugged and said, “Must’ve been Michele’s kids.”

I think that must’ve been my mind’s way of NOT letting me feel so isolated and alone. That was almost 25 years ago. Michele is no longer a part of my life. Now when I feel isolated or alone, Jesus is my invisible friend.

When we are in trouble or feel separated from others, it should become very natural to turn to God for direction. It’s hard for me to fathom not having our invisible God to give me solace and companionship during those times.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

1 Timothy 1:17  (NIV)

God is not just the God of bad times though. He wants us to acknowledge Him in all things. My invisible

friend is always with me…even when I’m not thinking about Him. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Let’s try to make it our ‘default’ position to keep God always in the back of our mind.

 

When I ALMOST lose my balance…which unfortunately is more often than I like, I immediately think, “Good save Lord!” We could give credit to our own abilities, but it seems to be MY normal to give credit to someone/something bigger than my own aptitude. That always leaves me with a feeling of gratitude as well.

 

Starting our day with the Lord is always a noble idea. So is special evening prayer time. Time spent in church, prayer groups or Bible studies are also exceptional ways to spend SCHEDULED time with God. We should be careful in our scheduled prayer time though. The objective is not just to check something off our ‘to do’ list. We’re communicating with the Lord.

 

When we see Jesus as our invisible friend, prayer time becomes much more personal and natural. We’re not just reciting memorized prayers with our mind on something else. We’re talking to a dear friend…someone who cares…someone who can help us.

 

Traditional prayers are certainly valuable. If prayed from the heart, they also put us in direct communication with God. Whether talking to an invisible friend or reciting a long-held conventional prayer, always remember we are talking with our God. Enjoy the fellowship…and if making requests, have faith that the prayers have been heard.

 

Dear Lord,

I’ve read so many books on the right way to pray. The bottom line though is that You just want to hear from us.

We don’t actually see You. So in that regard You truly ARE an invisible friend. We see You in the faces of family, friends and total strangers. We see You in circumstances…in nature. That’s usually where we hear from You too.

Please give us the wisdom to hear Your voice in all the clatter of this world.

 

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HE’S STILL ON THE THRONE!

The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.

Psalm 14:2  (NIV)

It’s been two years since COVID-19 shut down our world economy and sent everyone into quarantine. The United States continues to be divided and polarized along political lines.

Our sovereign God does not have a political affiliation. He is the Father of us all….and yes, He is still on the throne. Look back at my 1st blog to see how our worldly views have changed AND yet remained the same. 

September 3, 2020 blog

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33  NIV

This opening scripture may seem like ‘pie in the sky’ to some. To people of faith it is a great comfort and a call to action to pray for our country and our world.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first shut our world down, it seemed America, including our government, was pulling together to help each other as best they could. My prayers were one of thanksgiving that people in power were putting their differences aside for the good of all Americans.

Then concern for the health and wellbeing of our citizens seemed to be replaced with concerns for racial equality. Our government once again became polarized in the midst of a presidential election. What happened to pulling together?

Where is God in all this chaos? I see him every day in the faces of our essential workers. I have a much greater respect for our trash collectors, our postal workers and our grocery store employees. I deeply appreciate our small-business owners…especially the ones who keep my hair and finger nails groomed and provide transportation for me.

Where is God in the shootings, the riots, the violence and the political attacks? What about our failing economy and the businesses that have had to close their doors?

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.    1Peter 4:12 NIV

I think it is human nature to think that through our own will and human effort we can control our outcomes. Perhaps that is why we see people turning to God always in times of crisis. That’s when we realize we can’t do it on our own.

I’ve seen this personally these last twenty-plus years as I’ve struggled to live a positive life with the effects of a traumatic brain injury. Boy has God become real for me now! Perhaps COVID-19 is our wake-up call to remind us of who, in His great love, is controlling our universe.

God is still right here with us. This is a perfect example of the name of my blog: Life Happens. It has certainly happened to all of us with COVID-19!  How are we handling this crisis? Do we believe that with God, all things are possible? Do we believe He loves us…ALL OF US? Do we truly have trust in Him when we pray?

He commands us to pray for our country and our leaders. He commands us to love one another as He has loved us. We’re supposed to pray for His will in all things.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.        Philippians 4:6 NIV

So we are not powerless in our desire to make our world a better place. We are not powerless to stand against this virus, injustice, and inequality. As I said in Welcome to My Blog, I believe with all my heart that ‘GOD’S GOT THIS’. I’ve made a conscientious effort to remove from my vocabulary the saying, “All I can do is pray.” Prayer is the most powerful force in the universe!  It should be our first line of defense when life happens.

Please pray for peace and healing for our broken world!

 

Dear Lord,

Bring a sense of peace to all of us, so we know that You have this troubling and chaotic time under Your control. Take our worry and replace it with resolve to continue loving and taking care of each other. Help us to bite our tongue when tempted to criticize what others are doing…or NOT doing.

All of our lives have changed from what we thought of as normal. Keep reminding us that You are right there, guiding us through our ‘new normal’.

After clicking, please read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

DOES IT HURT?

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

 Romans 5:3-5  (NIV)

We all suffer pain…both physical and emotional. Are we able to live our life with pain without bemoaning our circumstances to others? Can we truly glory in our sufferings?  As the opening scripture says, suffering produces perseverance.

Perseverance  means to persist or endure when things get tough. That builds character. Character can’t be built if all we do is complain about our issue. We have to earnestly look for ways to make our hardship a learning experience for ourselves…maybe for others.

I like to think that how I manage the physical deficits of my traumatic brain injury (TBI) inspires others to persevere and make the most of hard situations in their life. Let me give a perfect example of when I did NOT inspire others!

The body imbalance caused by my TBI has never ever caused me any physical pain  (unless I fell the wrong way)! Last week though I experienced true physical pain. I had been dealing with soreness in my arm for weeks, but kept on teaching my exercise classes. It really didn’t hurt unless I was lifting a weight from low to high across my midline. Then one morning I woke up and couldn’t move my left arm without pain.

I took an Ibuprofen, canceled my morning class and went to Kroger. Every time I turned my basket to the left, I winced with pain. It’s hard to smile and wince at the same time, so I couldn’t keep a happy face. I wanted to cry out for someone to stop my pain.

I didn’t say a word but kept thinking, “Don’t look at me! Don’t look at me!” Others always look at me when I walk because I’m so imbalanced. I knew I couldn’t handle that with a smile on my face that day. The pain caught me by surprise, so I hadn’t prepared for how to handle it graciously.

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.

1 Peter 2:21 (NIV)

I thought of Jesus carrying the cross after being beaten and scourged. He didn’t say a word either. He was surely in pain, but I bet He wasn’t thinking, ‘Stop staring at me!

Jesus endured the pain of the cross out of His love for us. He wasn’t even angry with those who persecuted Him. Could we be that forgiving of our enemies? That’s what He asks of us.

Suffering happens just like Life Happens. It’s part of being human. Can we try to handle it the way that Jesus handled His…not making excuses  or blaming someone else?

When tough times come, we need to seek God. We need to aggressively look for Him. “What would You have me do?” I did NOT turn to Him in my pain. I did later when I was alone with my thoughts. Me…of all people… should have instinctively turned to Him. I seek God when I want energy to teach a class, transportation to Kroger, stability in all things. This pain tripped me up though.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

1 Chronicles 11:11  (NIV)

If we can endure our pain, it will develop our character. Character will bring us to that wonderful longing for a better tomorrow that we call HOPE. Hope can put a smile on our face…even when the pain is unbearable!

 

Dear Lord,

Help us remember to seek you especially when the pain is bad. You are the God of good times AND bad times…the God of the ordinary AND the unordinary.

We believe in Your love for us as Your children. Let us remember that love when pain or hardship comes into our life, trusting that You are working everything out for our good.

 

Once you are on mvarga.com, you can subscribe to receive future blog posts, read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

EXASPERATED?

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,

Ephesians 4:26

Webster defines exasperated as irritated, angry or vexed. I had to look up the meaning of vexed. It means agitated, disturbed, or annoyed. Ever felt that way? I know I have.

A few weeks ago, my dishwasher broke down. I didn’t want to bother anyone about it. So I just looked in my phone contacts under Appliance repair. Obviously this was something I’d dealt with before…because there were 3 contacts listed. So I called the 1st one. BIG MISTAKE!

He came out immediately. My dishwasher was running alright, but the door would no longer close and latch. That would require a new part that should be readily available. So I renamed that phone contact Dishwasher Rob to keep me from confusing his number with the other Appliance repair contacts I had listed in my phone.

Dishwasher Rob had to fix the side hinge on my dishwasher door and wait 24 hours for it to dry. When he came back the next day, that’s when he determined I needed a new door latch. He charged me for half the job…seemed reasonable to me since he’d spent several hours in my kitchen. He set a return appointment for the day after the New Year holiday. I never saw him again.

We texted back & forth numerous times. He was always busy with other customers and would try to squeeze me in. I was livid because I had moved other appointments to wait on him. At that point, I had been without a dishwasher for over a week. Dishwasher Rob scheduled and didn’t show 2 more times before I finally ordered a new dishwasher.

My friend, Nicole was helping me with a new computer program I was trying to set up during Dishwasher Rob’s 3rd missed appointment. My demeanor gave me a new appreciation for the word ‘vexed’. Nicole kept telling me to let it go. “You think he’s worked up about this?”

Then Nicole used that familiar saying, ‘What would Jesus do?’ I have to admit that stopped me in my tracks. So I did what Jesus would do. I shut up and washed my dishes.

Jesus doesn’t just tell us to stay silent when people wrong us. He asks us to pray for them. I now understand why Jesus asks that. I didn’t want to, but I prayed for Dishwasher Rob and immediately saw him as another precious human life…instead of a curse on my life.

 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Matthew 5:45 -46  (NIV)

 

The sense of peace I felt was unexpected and very much appreciated. How many times have we worked ourselves into frenzy over something that we had no control over? Those can be difficult times for control freaks like me!

Then I remembered the name of this blog…Life Happens.

My broken dishwasher happened to me. It was the original dishwasher in my condo unit. So it’s been here longer than me. It was time for a new appliance.

 Admittedly, I was mainly upset because I assumed Dishwasher Rob was taking advantage of my disability. In retrospect though, I think the only reason he kept communicating with me is because I was that ‘nice little disabled lady’. He was unreliable and unprofessional. I assume he knew what he was doing…but maybe the job was too big for him and he didn’t want me to find out.

Who knows what really happened? I knew I had to forgive him and as my friend said…’just let it go’!

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

Mark 11:25 (NIV)

 

Life Happens! Sometimes it’s messy. Many times it changes our plans. We can’t let it color our whole outlook on life. We can’t let our broken dishwashers let us forget all that’s beautiful and meaningful in this life!

 

Dear Lord,

We will sometimes become exasperated with what’s going on in our life. When it happens, remind us to look to You first. Help us not to speak or act in our anger.

Remind us always that we are Your representative here on earth.

HOW DOES OUR STORY AFFECT OTHERS?

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,

 For they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.

 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 3:1-3

 

As a Christmas gift, my father gave each of his six children a book he had written entitled, A Collection of Life Stories. With the help of my sister-in-law, Tracy, he answered 51 questions about his life and Tracy compiled his writings into a book, with many precious family photos. Most of the questions were of topics we had discussed many times as a family. We were actually present for many parts of the story. There were a few surprises though

It was very heart-warming to read Dad’s reflections on the 51 topics chosen. It also gave us a chance to remember the joy, humor and sadness we had shared in the last few decades as brothers and sisters.

For most of us, family ties are a strong indicator of the kind of person we will become. That’s why the way we train our children will have a lasting impact on their lives. When my nieces & nephews were younger, I used to chuckle at the way my brothers disciplined their kiddos. It was just like hearing my father when I was a little girl.

In my book The Light Through My Tunnel, my book dedication is to all the members of my family. I refer to my dad as my hero…and the one whose opinion matters most to me.

In HIS book, A Collection of Life Stories, I can see clearly where my values & beliefs came from. Dad speaks of the necessity of practicing your faith and leading a Christian life. He also believes…”There is no substitute for discipline, but it must be tempered with love. It is also important to stress being the best you can be and not to accept mediocrity when you know you can do better.”

Faith was of the utmost value in our home. So was smart work and personal fulfillment. We had more than our share of happiness, joy and achievement. Our family also had sadness and tragedy mixed in with the good times though.

My traumatic brain injury (TBI) was one of those tragedies. When tough times hit it affects the whole family. I could not physically do many of the tasks I did before my accident. God’s grace has given me the opportunity to stretch beyond my tragedy to live with my physical limitations in a way that inspires and encourages others. Because of my parent’s influence, I’m still trying to be my best and not accept mediocrity. So MY story is a direct result of the story I grew up with.

A tragedy can definitely change the way we live life. It will become part of our story… but we shouldn’t let it become our whole story. Life is so much bigger than our personal struggles. If we choose to make them our focus…we risk missing much of the beauty in life.

Maybe we need to REINVENT our story. When difficulty changes the circumstances or direction of our life…try to see it as an invitation from our heavenly Father to focus in a new direction…a better, God-inspired life path. We can’t be afraid to replace the old with something new. The Holy Spirit is there to lead us. Our job is to be perceptive to His calling.

If not family, we can always find someone to give us encouragement and positive direction. This is the time for prayer. Ask God where He wants you to go. How many times have we asked, not thinking He’s listening? Then poof! A door opens.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:21  (NIV)

I feel blessed to have been raised in a loving family where God was always put in first place.  Doing our best was simply a way of life. So too was sarcasm and humor, but that’s a topic for another blog.

We are all the author of our own story. If we don’t like the way it reads right now, ask the Lord where and how He wants to change it. Remember that others are watching our story too. We can influence others without even knowing it. We may not be best-selling authors, but our story will affect all those watching it…especially our loved ones.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11  (NIV)

Someday we will all answer to God for the actions of our life….of our story. So let’s live the best life we can and give God the glory for our accomplishments!

 

Dear Lord,

You give us a lifetime to write our story. You also know that there will be shining parts…and dark spots. Let Your spirit lead us as we make our journey.

Let our story be an inspiration to those who hear it…and give us all a happy ending in Your kingdom after we’ve followed Your directions here in our earthly life.

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