Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blessings of a Bargainista

This might sound silly to some, but if you're a woman of faith who also happens to love shoes as well as a great deal...........I'm sure you'll understand!

I was taking my oldest daughter to get a new bathing suit for an upcoming trip. I had a few stores I needed to stop at and as my car pulled out of the driveway, I instinctively pointed it towards Boardman. Then a thought came to my mind, "Why not go to Niles instead? If I go there, I only have to unload the kids once instead of three times!" So, I redirected my car to the Easwood Mall, which contained all of the stores I needed in one place!

I had a coupon for JC Penney, as well as some birthday money,although there was nothing I particularly wanted or needed. While browsing through Penney's, I found the cutest pair of camel colored, cowboy boot-inspired, slouchy boots on the clearance rack! There was no price sticker on them, so I took them to the counter and asked if the lady there could tell me the price. I could barely contain my excitement as she told me that these boots, which had been $100.00, were now just $19.97! After my coupon, they ended up being slightly more than $15.00!

This may sound like a silly testimony to some. But you see, I had been wanting a pair of these boots back in the fall to wear over my skinny jeans, but I did not want to pay the price for them at the time. So, as with many things in life, I got over them and as the temperature rose, my attention turned toward sandals and flip flops. At the beginning of June, these boots were the furthest thing from my mind. Until, that is, I saw them on the clearance rack, and my heart skipped a beat!

I drove home, bubbling with excitement over my new boots and the fact that I had paid so little for them, when it hit me. With tears in my eyes, I said, "Lord, thank you, that you continue to go out of your way to bless me. It amazes me that you would redirect my path, even in something as seemingly trivial as a shopping trip, to show me how you desire to bless me! Even though these boots were far from my mind, you still know the depths of my heart and every need and want that it contains. I am humbled to think that you are that mindful of me and am reminded that you are and always will be a most thoughtful and loving God!"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Grandma's seed

My maternal grandmother was what I used to call a "holy roller." She loved God, and it showed. I spent many nights with her. I recall thinking that once you got that old, you must not need to sleep anymore, because when I stayed with her, Grandma was awake when I went to sleep, when I woke in the middle of the night, and when daylight began to peek through the window and I slipped out of bed, she was still awake. Most of the time she was reading her Bible, on her knees in prayer, or watching a young Pat Robertson on "The 700 Club." Many of the nights I stayed with Grandma must have been Saturdays, because spending the night often meant church in the morning.

I treasured these times spent with Grandma and was devastated at her passing when I was just 8 years old. Grandma may have left behind many things, but the thing I am most grateful for, to this day is the seed of God's word that she planted in my heart. I believe, to this day, that much of the time I saw her on her knees, she was praying for me. I like to think that perhaps she even prayed over me as I slept.

That seed that Grandma planted in me is a miraculous thing. Although there were many years of drought in my life, there were times in between, when the seed received little drops of water, which came in the form of bits of God's word as I drifted in and out of churches and relationships with believers. That seed got enough to survive until the day, nearly 18 years after Grandma had gone to heaven, when I finally surrendered to God's love at the age of 26. Today, that seed Grandma planted has grown into a beautiful tree, taking root deep within my spirit, receiving a steady supply of living water as I continue to feed on God's word and everlasting love.

Growing up, I always thought it was about believing in God. Thanks to Grandma's seed, and to those who watered it along the way, I have finally discovered that it's not enough to simply believe in God. Now I see that it's about forming a relationship with God that cannot be replaced by anyone or anything in this world.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Traffic Lights

So, today I was on my way to the bank and many of the traffic lights along the main road were not working. They weren't blinking yellow or red. They simply weren't doing their job at all. At first it was cool, because everyone on the main road, myself included, was just cruising along. Then I began to feel sorry for those who were stuck trying to get out onto the main road or go across it. It wasn't long before my feelings once again changed to worry. The further down the road I travelled without the direction of the traffic lights, I realized the chaos that was being caused by the absence of the order that they were designed to create. I started to pray for safety for all of those who were travelling along the road without their "guiding lights."

I made it safely to the bank, but as I made my way back home, I decided to take a different route and see if it made a difference. I noticed the first traffic light up ahead hung blank and lightless just as the ones along the other road had. I prayed again and then began to think about what a pain those traffic lights can sometimes be. They always have you stopping, starting and slowing down when you're trying to reach your destination. It can be especially frustrating when you're in a hurry to reach that destination and it seems as though every single light turns red and prevents you from making it wherever you're going in the time you think you need to be there. At times, when we're particulary impatient, we choose to ignore the traffic signals, even when they are working properly. This has proven, for some, to be devastating or even fatal.

I thought about it the rest of the way home. Though I did make sure to pay extra close attention to what everyone around me was doing in case they weren't paying attention. As annoying as they sometimes are, experiencing this time without them, truly made me appreciate traffic lights and the job they do.

God often works in our life like a traffic light, telling us to stop, go or slow down. Most of the time, we're on our way somewhere in life, and we do not want to be slowed down. We don't want to be stopped once, let alone again and again. We especially don't want to be detoured. Even though we don't want these things to happen, they're often necessary. God uses the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us direction. He may also place circumstances in our lives that cause us to be detoured, and our life takes a completely different direction than we had planned. I've been there.

Like someone running through a red light, or a stop sign, I've even gone as far as completely ignoring what I knew God was trying to tell me. All the while, thinking my way of achieving my goals was better than His. Those times in my life proved to be some of the hardest and most difficult. I did not appreciate it or understand it at the time, but the directions He was giving me were for a purpose. I've come to a place in my life where although I still may not understand why God may guide me the way He does, I do appreciate it and know that it's out of His love for me.

It made me think today, "What if God, like those traffic lights, had stopped giving me the signals I needed to make it through life?" My life would be pure chaos. I would not be where I am today. No matter how much I have been frustrated at times in my life when God was giving me yellow and red lights or detour signs instead of the green light I wanted to see, I am thankful that even though I didn't get where I wanted to be when thought I needed to be there, God got me where He wanted me, right on time.

Welcome to my blog!

I've always loved to write. It's probably the best way I communicate my feelings and thoughts. I've been wanting to start a blog for some time now. Lately I have felt a stirring in my spirit. I feel that God has begun to restore to me the passions which He placed in my heart which I lost somewhere along the way. For years I tried to be what everyone else wanted or needed me to be, now I know I am free to be who God created me to be! Being a mom of 3, I'm not sure how often life will permit me to write. However, I look forward to every opportunity I'll be given. If you've found yourself here, I pray you find a little encouragement and laughter for your day!