Sunday, November 17, 2013

To Be Intentional.......

Wherever we are, at home, at the grocery store, at work, visiting a friend in the hospital, waiting at the doctor’s office, away for a weekend or on vacation, we need to be intentional. We need to be aware as to who might be around us, who might need a simple hello or smile.

We may never know who we touched just because we were "in tune" to those around us. We need to make the extra effort to be kind to someone,  we need to stop and ask God what His plans are for us, ask Him what He wants us to do and who He wants us to reach out to. That is being intentional.

When you are tired…when you are rested…when you feel well and when you are sick, you can still be intentional. Who can you minister to? How can you be a good witness for Christ through your situations?

No matter where you are, no matter where God has placed you, you can choose to be aware and to be intentional for HIM. There is a reason God has you where you are.

A quote attributed to St Francis of Assisi but not substantiated: Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” What does that mean? The obvious answer is that you can actually preach the Gospel with your actions, and that words are not always necessary in order to show God’s love to others. I also believe it means to be intentional about spending time with others and letting Jesus shine through you. It means that we can go through our day and not even have to say a word about Jesus, but that if He is in you and we truly have a relationship with Him, it will be so evident by our actions, and by our non-reactions.

Why would we want to lock Him away for nobody to see anyways??? God is AWESOME!!! God is LOVE!!! We have to be intentional about sharing that LOVE!!!

An intentional life can’t be selfish. We all have a purpose. Are we being intentional about it?

Jesus said, “Go into all the world….” ; “love your neighbor as yourself”.  He didn’t say if you want to then go ahead, He said do it….  BE INTENTIONAL!

Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm right where I belong....

Oh yes, the words I just typed?  I know, I know, I know, that I am right where I belong.  I have been praying for God to use me for years.  I just didn't know that it would take me this far so quickly.  I love how God answers prayer, but have you ever noticed that when He answers and you begin serving in His will, that Satan IS NOT happy.

Two years ago, I accepted an appointment as a leader in women's ministry.  I knew that it was in God's will.  It is a passion I had had, and a desire to serve Him in this area.  Attacked within a week.  I was bathed in prayer by other women in ministry as I shared with them what had happened, and what was said.  God has blessed me with wonderful friends, God fearing women, that came along side.

Along the way in these past two years, there have been ups and downs, but through it all God has blessed me with new friends.  Women I can call on at any time.  Women that know what it is to serve and be in the will of God.  And women who know what it is to be attacked.  How blessed I am.

Recently when a vacancy came up in another area of ministry, I was asked if I would be willing to serve in leadership.  My response was that I would pray about it, and if it was in God's will then I would accept the nomination.  I prayed, even before the nomination was accepted, there was an attack.  Satan was NOT happy.  I continued to pray, sought counsel, prayed some more, and God answered.  Yes, I would accept, even though I knew it wasn't going to be easy. 

It has been a very rough couple of months.  Almost daily there is a comment made, a note left, visits to my office....  Yes, Satan is NOT happy.  My only desire is to be in God's will.  When I listen and hear His voice, I will obey.  I will not walk away until He directs me.  He is who I serve.

Yes, I am right where I belong.  There is a reason for it.  It is beyond my understanding of why these attacks happen.  But, I know who will protect me, who will guide me, who will direct my steps.  And He is all I need.

So Satan, you can just turn around and GO.  You have no place in my life.  I will not let you pull me down.  I will be standing firm.  Because God is in control of my life.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)

11 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It is testimony time.... my testimony and life.... definitely a God thing...

Last night I shared my testimony with the ladies at the King's Daughters meeting at Calvary Bible Church.  Standing in front of a group of people is something I never thought I would be doing, but I did, and it was okay...  I didn't prepare anything, just off the cuff, and shared what I felt should be shared.  So now, I think I should write something down, fill you in... as I on the way home from the meeting got to thinking of what was shared, and some of what I didn't finish sharing....  So here it is...  in the raw, from my heart...  it's me.

May 12, 1987 was the best night of my life...  it was the night that I made a choice to choose life, to choose Jesus.  To make a commitment.  Jesus became my Lord and Savior.  And it has been the best thing I could have ever done for me.

I grew up in a loving home.  Parents that loved each other unconditionally, that loved their children unconditionally.  They were great examples for us to follow.  They took us to Sunday school, and church on special occasions.  I sang in the junior choir.  It was the thing to do.  I  When it was legal, I enjoyed partying with friends, going to dances, and yes, drinking.  It was relaxing and fun and adventurous.  But...  you know what I found out?  That I can have an even better time without the partying and drinking... I have been sober now for nearly 26 years. I have no desire for any of that in my life now.  I still like to dance, but at home with my husband, being silly with my daughters, and now with my grandsons...

Late 1986 and early 1987....  I was working for Annalee's working as the home delivery driver to homeworkers in Meredith and surrounding towns.  Susan Adams was on that route.  When I first started delivering to her home, it was nice to see you here is your delivery, I'll just throw these finished ones on the van and off I go.  But as I got to know her better, a friendship started and my stops weren't so short, and soon I was taking my coffee breaks at her home, noticing all the time that she had her Bible and devotional book opened on the kitchen table each time I was there.  She started sharing what she was doing, and talking more about this Jesus, and I became more interested each time.  In May she invited me to her home for a Bible study led by Pastor Glen Rice.  Wow!!!  what a night.  I had never heard anything like it.  I can't tell you exactly what was taught that night, but there was definitely a gospel message in there.  I went home that evening, pulled out my Bible, read and prayed...  and on my knees in tears....  at the feet of Jesus....  I surrendered my life to Him.  and again, WOW!!!!  I felt so free, so alive....   If it hadn't been for Susan, and her obedience to God, I wouldn't be where I am today.  Thank you Susan for sharing life with me. 

I continued going to Bible study every Wednesday evening, and understanding more and more each time....  and realized that to continue in this teaching I should probably start attending the church that sponsored them...  So in late July, I started full time at CBC.   I walked in the doors and it immediately felt like home.  I was greeted by some pretty sweet ladies...  Peg Parker, Caro Hatch were the first...  I loved them the first minute of being introduced...

Now, it would be remiss if I didn't share the "love story" as Linda Wood calls it.  While attending the Bible studies I had noticed this one handsome guy, sometimes sitting alone and sometimes with a girl sitting with him.  Shucks, he's taken...  but I started hanging out with Susan and Patty and some of the others and once in a while he would hang out too.  We all would go for pizza after study and just talk.  Got to know everyone and was enjoying this time a lot.  Well, one night the phone rang and it was David Haire.  He was calling to ask me out on a date.  Um.....  YES!!!!  We would be going out Friday night after he got out of work, I would meet him at CBC and we would go from there.  And again, YES!!!!  I was so excited....  the next day I told Susan, and then realized I had nothing to wear...  I had some jeans, t-shirts, fire department parade uniform....   nothing for a DATE.  So I needed some help, and who better to go shopping than Patty and Susan....   That first date was on August 14, 1987, and I do believe in love at first sight.  WOW!!!!  On our third date, David proposed (16 days after the first date)....  and I said YES!!!!   again.  We had three months to prepare for and plan the wedding...  well, I did....  we were married 2 days after Thanksgiving, November 28, 1987 because as David put it, "we had so much to be thankful for".

We were married knowing that there was a good chance I would not be able to have children.  I was told by my doctor that there was a 95 to 99 percent chance of no children.   That was okay.  We were in love.  Well, our God blessed us with 2 beautiful daughters, Michelle in January 1989 and Melissa in October of 1990, that we love and cherish.  They are truly blessings from God.   

Life has not always been easy, it has been quite a rough ride at times.  But knowing that God is in control has made things a lot easier.  He gives us the strength to endure, wraps His arms around us and comforts us in our grief, provides for us in the most miraculous ways.  Gets us out of troubles when we finally just say, here it is God, we can't do this anymore....  and let it go.

We've had financial dealings, family issues...  all given over to God, and all resolved by God.  Not in our time, but in His time.  The more dependent we became on Him, the more peace we experienced.  God is so good!

The last part of this writing is the hardest for me.  You see I had been watching my mothers health get worse over the years (Mom was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis and BOOP in  March of 1999 and in August of 2000 was diagnosed with breast cancer).  She was doing okay, but she was getting older and weaker, and then THE news.  Dad got the diagnosis of lung cancer in July of 2010.  He would be starting aggressive treatments of chemotherapy and radiation in August.  Surgery was not an option.   We would take our rides to Concord several days a week for his radiation treatment and then a couple of days a week we would be stopping back in Laconia for his chemo treatments.  He became so sick from the treatments that he was hospitalized twice for extended periods of time.  Mom would be by his side every single day, only going home to sleep and then right back in the morning...  she was not able to drive so it became up to me and  my brother to get her there and bring her home.  The stress was horrible on all of us, but she took the biggest brunt of it.  Dad came home on my birthday October 1st, only to be hospitalized once more a week later, from there it was decided he should go to Golden View.  While he was at Golden View I would visit him every day at lunch time, and after work drive home and pick up Mom and we would spend the dinner hour and evening with him, until it was time for him to sleep...  and to get Mom home to sleep as well.  It was so difficult to leave Dad in the evenings, but knew he was getting the best care there, and knowing that Mom could not take care of him as she was becoming very fragile herself.

Mom decided that she would bring Dad home in February of 2011 as that is what they both wanted.  Bud and I drove to Meredith in a snowstorm and brought Dad home. We made arrangements with Hospice to come in twice a week to check on Dad and have his sisters come and visit a couple of hours a day during the week, and between me and Dad's sister Sylvia we would spend nights there.  It wasn't working...  they needed more care than that, so they called a meeting with David and I. They had been talking and decided that the best thing for them would be to move in with us if that would be okay.  Of course!!!!  So their room was readied with 2 hospital beds, a lift recliner and a rocking chair, bureau, and television, and they moved in March 5th.  They would be together in the same room once again...  It had been nearly 6 months since they had shared a room.  They settled in nicely, seemed much more relaxed...  They joined us in the living to watch family shows, have their meals...  and then that started slowing down, they spent more and more time in their room...  They would ask me to pray with them before they would go to sleep, I read the Bible to them...  I began sleeping in their room as they were to weak to get up in the night if they needed to.  We had to set up coverage for the entire day for someone to be in the house, just in case.  David and I would do the evening and weekend duties.  Sundays my brother would come and stay with them so that we could get to worship with our CBC family.

Mom became really ill, the doctor made her house call after Hospice called.  Mom had pneumonia, and there was nothing that could be done for her.  The doctor took me aside and told me she needed to be kept comfortable and showed me what to do.  Mom would most likely be gone in just a few days...  but how could that be?  She was always the strong one.  Mom passed on April 6 of 2011.  I was holding her hand and singing Amazing Grace to her....  There was peace...

Dad continued on his downward path, memory issues, physical capabilities dwindling to near nothing...   he didn't understand that Mom was really gone...  and then it clicked...  he became so lonely...  wouldn't eat...  became irritable...  He required round the clock care....   Hospice came everyday...  And then on May 17 of 2011 with me and Bud in his room, Dad was gone.  And once again, for me there was peace.

I was told after Mom and Dad's passing that I had been so cold about it all.  People were worried about me because I hadn't shown any emotion.  They weren't with me 24 hours a day, they really didn't know what my emotions were, but I did have a peace that I can't even explain.  And I knew that I would be seeing them again.  Dad had accepted Christ as his savior with Linda Wood at the nursing home in December and Mom and I talked and she accepted the Lord in March.  I am so looking forward to our reunion when that day comes.  I wasn't being cold and unemotional, I had the peace of God wrapped around me and in my heart.

For the months that Mom and Dad were with us and especially the last month and a half I had distanced myself from David.  I was so afraid of losing his love, because of everything I was doing, and the time I didn't give him, that I felt it easier if he didn't see me distraught...  I would shut that down in front of him, and appear strong and in control....  when all along I really should have been reaching for him, allowing him to be a part of this with me....  It wasn't until we went to Minnesota in late May of 2011, that I realized what I had done....  when we were walking up the back steps to his fathers home,  I stopped and looked at him and sobbed.  "I don't think I can do this".  And for the first time had really shown him my heart, and let him bring me comfort.  I can honestly say, that I fell in love with him in a way that I can't explain.  He had always been there for me, and I had kept him at arms length.  He was the man God placed in my life.  Love at first sight?  Oh yes, and again...  I fell in love with him all over again....

Now I am on a new journey, God has directed my path in areas definitely out of my comfort zone.  Doing things I would never have dreamed of. He has softened my heart, opened my mind.  The Hymn Amazing Grace has new meaning for me, and is my testimony song....  for I once was lost and now am found, was blind and now I see....

My verse...  Jeremiah 29:11.... "For I have a plan for you...."
You see I know that full well.  In 1976 a friend (Greg) and I rode our motorcycles to York, Maine to visit friends for the day...  we decided to ride up the coast just before leaving and would return to follow them home...  only...  that didn't happen.  We did go up the coast, and on the way back to the cottage, I crashed.  I went over a 15 foot embankment, through the top of a cherry tree and landed at the bottom.  When I was found by my friend, he said I was still holding onto the handlebars and didn't answer him for a few minutes.  When I gathered myself together and found that I could stand and appeared to be okay, we pushed the motorcycle to the road, it started and we road back to the cottage only to find our friends had already left.  We decided to head on home too...  instead of taking 1 1/2 hours it took us 3 hours to get home...  it was pouring rain, cold and I was in pain and shaking from the shock I am sure....   When we got home, I found a big fractured spot in my helmet...  and only a few scratches on the paint, and I only had a sore wrist that needed to be splinted for a couple of weeks....   Lucky?  NO!!!  It was divine intervention.  God had spared me from serious injury and possibly death.  God had a plan for me even then....   and He is definitely not finished with me yet.

Well, there it is....  and here I am....

Lord, here I am. I want to see you, hear you, and know you. I am going to follow hard after you. And before I know what I will face today, I am saying yes to you. Use me today, Lord. Here I am, ready to do your will.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Wrapping my head around it all.....

Quite the title, huh?  Well, I have been trying for quite some time to wrap my head around a lot of things....  really not knowing where to begin.   Or even what I was really looking for and needed.

I've been doing a lot of reading, mostly how to books...  "What Happens When Women Say Yes To God",  What Happens When Women Walk In Faith", "Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl", "Refresh Your Heart", and the list goes on and on...  nothing really seeming to hit it for me.  Not that these aren't great books, and great topics.  They have helped me stay in the Word, and given me some insight, but I needed something else...  what was it?

I saw an advertisement about a book written by Dr. David Dean, titled "Good Grief".  A book he had written after his dear wife Dorothy had passed away.  I have fond memories of them as they stayed with us a couple of times when David came and spoke at CBC, and we joined them camping one weekend at Alton Bay Campground for a Harvest weekend.   I thought, why not read his book, I was having issues with this whole grieving thing...  This has been the best book for me to pick up and read about the topic.  He is so honest in his feelings, I actually read a couple of things to my David as they were issues that I was dealing with and didn't understand them.  Wrapping my head around my grief...  yes, that is one thing I really need to do... 

Then at a WH&FMS board meeting recently, a book was brought up, and a new ministry suggested about women getting healthier physically...  YES!!!!   Well, it is something I need to do, and I would have great accountability partners...  they would certainly keep me on my toes.  I ordered the book titled "Fat Chance; Losing the Weight, Gaining My Worth" by Julie Hadden.  It arrived this morning, and I have started my reading...  What a great book!  Her life seems a lot like mine...  well, what mine used to be.  Stay at home mom, putting everyone else first, and whatever was left of the day or whatever was for me...  She is so honest...  I am not very far into the book, but I have cheated and looked ahead at some exercises and healthy eating tips and recipes that I know I can put into practice now...  this is another area that I have been trying to wrap my head around...  How can I do this alone?  I don't have too.... 

And the most important book that I have recently made a much bigger commitment to read is the Bible.  I have been reading it every day, but I sometimes don't think about what it says, I go through the motions...  I read it, put it down and move on to the next task at hand.  Now, I have committed to not just pick it up and read it, but to take time and study what it says .  Read the foot notes, really think about what is saying to me.  This has been so good for me.  I want to know what God's plan is for me, I need to wrap my head around what and who He wants me to be.  I need to seek His will...  not mine... 

I've got a long ways to go....   and I will continue in my quest to wrap my head around what He has in store for me...

So these are a few things I am doing to wrap my head around it all...  It's been a tough couple of years, and quite honestly I haven't been where I needed to be a lot of the time.  I haven't known how to deal with me...  I have distanced myself from those I love...  I haven't been happy with me...  I want to change, I will work on it, pray with me, pray for me, and I will continue in my endeavors to "wrap my head around it all".

Monday, January 7, 2013

Inspired and encouraged... blessed

I don't know how to begin this really.  I've been sitting here in the office today, thinking of all those that have been an inspiration, encouragement and blessing to me since I became a Christian, and for that matter prior to...    If they hadn't been obedient to the Lord, I wouldn't be here today...  so here I go...  trying to put all of my thoughts into this blog.  I think this will be a big thank you blog...  because without you...  well, you know...

Susan, the first to show me what God's love felt like.  She was always there, answering questions, sharing her faith, friendship, she accepted me for who I was...

Betty, you prayed for me.  thank you for your friendship even before I became "one of the family". 

Cindy, an example of a godly woman, wife, mother...  a friend and mentor.

Priscilla, awesome friend and devoted wife, living by example.

Caro, my surrogate grandmother.  Always encouraging, loving, sharing recipes, accepting.

Becky, even though I have only known you for a few years, you have encouraged me, you have inspired me through your words,  I have grown because of your messages and encouragement.

Mom, your example of loving your husband, through the good and bad times, always being there for Bud and me, putting the family first over "stuff".  An example I am doing my best to follow.

Mom H., Grammie Jessie, Wendy, accepting me into your family, loving me before you even knew me.

Wow!  There are so many more women that I feel blessed to have in my life..  Patty, Madeline, Carol, Irene, Mary, Bessie, Linda, Peg, Lucille...  the list goes on and on.

And a very special thank you to Michelle and Melissa.  Your love for the Lord, desire to serve Him, your personal faith in Him....   this Momma's heart is overflowing with love for you and blessed beyond words.  I love you both so much, and am so proud of who you are becoming in the Lord.  You inspire me daily.

So, here it is a great big THANK YOU!!!!   You have all had a part in who I am today.  I can't imagine my life without you.