Choosing the Good Part

I sat on my six-year-old daughter’s bed and clasped her tiny hand. In her sing-song voice, she began her nightly prayers.

“Lord, bless my mama. Lord, bless my daddy. Lord, bless my bubba. Mama, you’re sitting on my leg.”

I apologized and scooted over. “Is that better?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Okay. Let’s start again.”

Head bowed once more, I waited.

“One plus one is two. One plus two is three. One plus three is four…”

A smile spread across my face. I peeked out of one eye and waited for her to realize what she was saying.

“One plus five is six. One plus six is…,” she began giggling. “I was saying my addition facts.”

“Yes. You’ve been busy today. You have a lot on your mind, don’t you?”

“I want to start over.”

She started once more and finished her prayer. I kissed her good-night, tucked her in, and switched off the light.

Twelve years have passed since that night. But the memory is still as fresh as if it were yesterday. Not only does it hold precious memories, but spiritual truths.

Work-Work-Work

During the years, when my children were small, my husband worked crazy hours. At one point in our lives, he worked three different shifts in three weeks. No full days off. So, I was alone with the kids most of the time.

elephant-830782_1280

Pixabay

Both refused to sleep once they arrived. My son was colicky and cried for hours. My daughter, the same. As babies, I rocked them while crying and praying for their relief. I did everything I could to ease their pain while ignoring my own needs.

Not bragging. That’s what mothers do.

Hair? Forget styling. Pull it up in a ponytail. No one is coming. Teeth. Don’t worry, you can brush, later. Eat? You have three meals. You’re bound to eat one. Never mind going to the bathroom.

When it came time for school, my husband and I agreed to homeschool so that our weekends coincided with his.

During those early years, I grew tired. I loved being a wife and mother more than anything! But, I missed my alone time with God. At times, I felt guilty for not spending time with Him like I did before motherhood.

Ever been there?

As was His loving way, He led me to His Word.

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11 KJV

Funny how you never see a scripture until the Lord opens your eyes to it.

I knew the time would come when my children were older, and I could once again have my time.

But, during those years I became accustomed to the busyness of life. I quickly learned to adapt. I ate on the run, wrote on the run, prayed and studied on the run. That was life.

I quickly realized I had a problem when the Lord called me to Him. I no longer hungered for the alone time. I was satisfied with what I viewed as normal.

My prayer routine usually started with me kneeling on the floor, my head on my Bible. The days I didn’t fall asleep, I fished forgotten Lego blocks and sippy cups from underneath the furniture.

It’s not easy breaking a habit. But break it we must if we are to see what’s before us.

A Needful Rest

The Bible tells us when Jesus entered a certain village, Martha invited Him to her house. Can you imagine the hoopla that took place? Everything had to be perfect.

One problem.

Mary, Martha’s sister, wasn’t helping. She had chosen to sit at the feet of Jesus. Mary’s action—or inaction irritated the industrious Martha to the point she complained to the Master.

I don’t know about you, but I can see both sides here. 🙂

But, on the other hand…  Imagine Martha’s story.

“Oh, honey, let me tell you. I had to set up two extra tables. I didn’t think I would ever fit everyone inside. But you know me. I can do anything I set my mind to. For the main course, I served roasted lamb. And if I have to say so myself, it was delicious. In fact, the disciples said they had never tasted anything like it.”

Exaggerated? Sure. But, my point is, if we listen carefully, it’s what we sound like when touting the accomplishment deemed necessary in this life.

Yes. Things must be done. But, there’s a “good part” that we are missing.

Now let’s listen to Mary’s story.

“Oh, my dearest friend, I could never explain to you what I felt while seated at His feet. When He looked at me, nothing else mattered. Everything vanished. Every trouble, every care. And then, His love washed over me like warm oil and filled every part of my being. As I listened to the sound of His voice, my strength was renewed. I found new hope.”

Seasons change and so must we. In the busy times of life, we do what we must do. And when the time comes, we change. Whether we are running, walking, or sitting at this time, let us be mindful that we always have a guest. May we cast aside our cares of the day, sit at His feet and focus only on Him.

Blessings

Gail

 

 

Forgiveness After Infidelity

Wedding Photo~Pixabay

Pixabay

The dress and veil, tuxedo and flowers, family and friends, all speak of happily ever after. But what happens when our dreams are shattered by the very one who promised to love and honor?

Below is an actual interview that took place six years ago. However, I changed the woman’s name not to hide her or her husband’s identity but to protect the innocent in their lives. I hope by hearing her testimony you find strength for your own journey.

God bless,

Gail

 

If you happened to pass Mary on the street, you wouldn’t bother taking a second glance. She isn’t a movie star or a pop diva. Her name has never been in lights. But Mary, like so many others, is an extraordinary woman living an ordinary life full of wisdom learned only by brutal experience and sheer faith. What she has to offer enriches all those who will listen.

Married forty-seven years to one man, she is the mother of five, grandmother of nine, and great-grandmother to eight. Along with her husband, she has worked in the ministry for over twenty years. Sixty-three-year-old, she has now set her eyes on the mission field.

I recently visited Mary in her newly remodeled home to ask the formula for a long and happy marriage. She ushered me into her cozy office where we were surrounded by pictures of her children and grandchildren. I sensed a strong familial pride from the woman who now sat across from me. Settling on the overstuffed couch, I began our interview by thanking Mary for her openness.

“Thank you, Mary, for sharing your secrets to a successful marriage. Also, I would like to extend thanks to your husband for being willing and allowing you to share a little of his past. Not in pride or shame, but as a victorious testimony of God’s faithfulness. Both of your lives reveal God’s ability to do all things if we’re willing to allow Him access to the problems. So, my first question is, has it always been easy.”

Mary smiled. “No.”

“What made you want to stay with someone who had been unfaithful?”

“I believe the Lord put it in me to look at the pros and cons of walking away from my marriage. Although it was hard, I chose to stay. But, I found it even harder to forgive. In not forgiving, I kept repeating the same mistake over and over again.”

After a brief pause, as if wondering what to say next, Mary continued.

“When we choose not to forgive, we have a tendency to bring unfaithfulness into every argument. And it keeps eating away at us. When I chose not to forgive, I didn’t walk away physically, but I walked away spiritually, causing a division in my marriage.”

“And yet, no evidence of that division is seen today. Can you now say that someone can truly forgive infidelity?”

“I can’t speak for those who don’t know the Lord as their personal Savior. But, I can honestly say forgiveness was only possible with the Lord’s help. How can I not forgive when He’s forgiven me?”

“What a profound statement. Isn’t it amazing that we often forget that? How did you get beyond the pain of betrayal?”

“By walking hand in hand with Jesus, casting down the thoughts of the past, and bringing everything under the blood. I cannot tell you that I am free from the thoughts of the unfaithfulness, but I can say by looking to the Lord that I am able to walk in victory each new day.”

“Do the thoughts of the past include physical reminders?”

“Yes. There’s a child.”

“Would you say it’s harder to forget the past when there is a child involved?”

“I don’t think so. I have accepted her. Through the years, we have developed a relationship. I know that she loves me and I love her. I am thankful for her marriage. She too had a rough beginning, and her husband has been there for her. I am thankful for that.”

“I am so glad to hear that. Can one love their mate as they did before infidelity?”

“First, let me say, both of us were young, and I can say I didn’t know how to love. Add not knowing how to love to two people who don’t talk their problems out, and they will eventually drift apart. When they do, someone will be there to make a spouse think it’s okay to break the marriage vows. But it doesn’t have to end there. I love my husband more today than I did the first twenty-two years of our marriage. When we gave our lives to the Lord twenty-six years ago, God drew us closer together because we chose to forgive each other.”

“What would you say to someone who is going through this situation as we speak?”

“I’d ask them if they loved their spouse. If they said yes, then I would ask is that love strong enough to forgive and not bring up the past? If they couldn’t answer, I would tell them how the Lord was my lifeline to forgiveness. How He taught me that what He has cleansed isn’t unclean, but forgiven. I believe forgiveness through God’s love can bury the past and cover it over so deeply that it can’t be revived.”

“What would be your advice to young people contemplating marriage?”

“Your love for each other is going to be tried. When it looks like you don’t know where the next penny is coming from do all you can to hold to each other. Hold through sickness and health, the loss of a baby, and infertility. Look to the Lord, and He will make a way when it seems there is no way. Trust in the Lord always. He will never lead you wrong.”

It has been six years since talking with Mary. I am happy to report she and her husband are still happily married and working for the Lord. To God be the glory!

 

 

Maple Pecan Ice Cream

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV).

With July coming to a close, I’m trying to make every minute count! Seasons change. That’s an undeniable fact.

Children growing up is another fact. My kids are twenty-three and eighteen. These are precious days to me. And when they decide it’s time to leave and make their own way—maybe miles away—it will still be a precious time, but not like now.

So I cherish this season. And in the midst of all the changes, I hold to the Creator of all seasons. For no matter what the season holds, there is a purpose only He knows. And so, I will trust Him and show my love to all those in my care while I have the chance.

For who knows what tomorrow will bring?

 Today, I’m sharing my favorite. I warn you, this stuff is addictive. Again, this is half a canister. If it were doubled, I would eat it. 🙂 Not good for Gail!

ice-cream-2334323_1280Johnson’s Maple Pecan Ice Cream

2-14 ounces condensed milk

4 ½ cups whole milk

1 can evaporated milk

½ teaspoon Maple flavoring

1 cup pecans, chopped and roasted (place under broiler)

 

Directions

Mix condensed milk, cream, milk, and maple flavoring in the canister. Stir well. Add pecans. Place canister into the ice cream churn. Lock into place. Turn on the machine. If you wait, the ice and the salt can freeze the canister in place and it won’t turn. If this happens, you have to work until you get it to turn or start over. Bummer! So, turn on the machine and begin to layer ice and salt—1 part salt to 8 parts ice according to the salt box.

Layering is an art you learn as you go along. I like to add thin layers of ice with more salt. That way, the ice cream can be eaten when the churn stops.

If you like hard ice cream, drain the salt and ice when the churn stops, repack and allow to harden 1 hour, or pour ice cream in a freezer container and freeze.

This recipe makes half a canister because we like it fresh, not frozen. So we make enough for one afternoon and eat it all day long! If I were making a full canister, I would just double everything.

 

 

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