Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sweet Sisters in Christ


Often we feel as if we are going through this life all alone. We keep our thoughts and feelings to ourselves, and sometimes the ache of our sorrows is more than we can bear.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can lighten our load by sharing our hearts with our sweet sisters in Christ.

I have been blessed with one sweet sister with whom I have shared my entire life. Through marriage I’ve been blessed to gain sisters (in-law) as well as nieces who have grown into wonderful Christian women and mothers. I am so blessed to have these women in my life, to share our lives and our family stories .

Over the years, I have met some wonderful women whose hearts have connected with mine, and through our shared loved of Christ, we have been bound in His love. One such friend watched me as I was born again in the faith as a young mother, and shared in my joy as I grew to know Jesus as my personal Savior.

I have had wonderful friends who have shared in my joys and trials through the years as I've raised my sons. I have shared in their lives, too, as we’ve tried to fulfill our roles as good wives and mothers, while raising our children in the faith.

I don’t know how I would traverse this road of life without my sweet sisters in Christ. At first, it was difficult for me to open up, to share those innermost fears and weaknesses.

As I began to reach out to others, I realized that all of us have trepidation as we struggle to find our way in this life.  Occasionally we question our importance to other people, or doubt our abilities at parenting and motherhood.

When we share our troubles with a friend, we are released from carrying our burdens alone. When we open up about our difficulties, we may find the issue is one our friend has recently dealt with, too. They can share their experience, and perhaps work together for a solution to cope with the problem.

By sharing our joys and our internal conflicts, out loud and up close and personal, we test our faith by giving these dark thoughts to the light of day. When we open up and let those deep-held secrets out, we begin to see them as surmountable, and we are affirmed and challenged at the same time to keep pushing forward in our desire to fight the good fight.

A wonderful blessing I have received through sharing my life with others is the privilege of hearing their life stories, too. I am honored when someone trusts me with sharing a problem that has been on their heart. By opening up to share their trial or grief with me, our friendship grows in mutual respect and trust.  


It lifts my spirits to share in the joys of my friends, and I offer prayers of gratitude for the happiness and peace they have found. And when a friend shares their heart with me about a difficult situation, I am honored to pray on their behalf for God’s wisdom and guidance as they work through the problem.


Don’t be afraid to reach out to others, for your burden will be lightened and your heart warmed with the sincere love of a caring friend. And in turn, you may be blessed to share in the lives of those who are special to you.


As my circle of sisters grows, our friendships deepen, and the love and trust we bestow on one another is shared even further. And through that sharing, everyone grows.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bless the Lord, O My Soul


Sunday Scripture

and a

Song



"Bless the Lord, O my soul; 
and all that is within me, bless his holy name."

Psalm 103:1 (KJV)


Raise your hands and your voices in praise and worship as we sing with Matt Redman in this song that will lift our hearts to Jesus
"10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)" by Matt Redman


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To view the video on youtube, follow this address:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Where I Get Inspired




Nature is a balm. When I step into the woods, I feel my countenance relax as peace spreads throughout my being.  The bright green canopy overhead lifts my spirits, and the path laid out before me beckons me to wander awhile.



Wild geraniums line the path



On a recent spring day, I headed into the woods for exercise and respite from my burdened thoughts. I felt my troubles fall behind me with each step further into the woods. The darting birds and busy squirrels barely noticed me as they pursued gathering their lunch, and even they seemed light-hearted at the hope of springtime.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit
The early spring woodland holds treasures in plant life that fade quickly and can go entirely unnoticed if one is not aware. On this particular hike, I saw so much beauty in the details of the wildflowers, I returned with my camera to capture these images of their springtime blooms.

Spring foliage is the brightest green of the growing season, and being surrounded with this bright energy fills me with delight and indeed energizes me. Soon the canopy will become more broad, changing into the deeper greens of midsummer, and I will find respite here from the heat of a hot summer’s day.

Trillium
But the spring green seems to shout out its joy of new life as I wander, and the feeling is infectious. I feed on the energy of new life all around me, and the sense of joy in new life rejuvenates my spirit.



I think God has given us Nature for this very purpose. The world man has created is so busy and harsh, with concrete and steel and glass. We design sharp right angles and symmetry, when nature’s edges are soft and free form. We may become accustomed to the cacophony of vehicles roaring by and flying overhead, but our spirits seek peace and quiet if we are to commune with our Maker. It is in the quiet that we are restored.


Spring is quickly growing into the long, hot days of summer. We become accustomed to seeing green all around us, and we settle into a rhythm that hums with the energy of a hot summer’s day. This beauty was birthed in the newness of spring; this life-giving energy growing from the roots to the treetops, and spreading out to form the peaceful canopy into which we might gaze and feel our spirits renewed.


We should take our cue from nature, and slow down to breathe in the life-giving energy of the natural world. Nature doesn't hurry or rush. Everything grows in its season, and we have the privilege of sharing in this beauty. 




"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. " 
Ecclesiastes 3:1(NLT)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Trust Him with All Your Heart



Sunday Scripture


and a

Song




"The Lord is my strength and shield.
 I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving."
Psalm 28:7 (NLT)


Please enjoy this beautiful song of reassurance by Hillsong
"In Your Hands"
I know that in God's hands is the only place I want to be.
Have a blessed Sabbath


Subscribers, please click here to view this video on my blog. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

In Loving Memory


A beautiful spirit has gone Home.

Yesterday we laid to rest a woman who, in her quiet, gentle ways, impacted the generations. A woman of unconditional and unlimited love. A simple woman who served her family and her God, and shared her love for family as her lasting legacy.

I first met my mother-in-law–to-be more than thirty years ago. Back then, their family held nearly weekly family parties, or so it seemed to me. This was hard for me, as a twenty-year old who wanted to be spending weekends going out with my man. And I wasn’t accustomed to sharing that much time with extended family, as my own extended family got together only for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Not so with the Reske clan. Every birthday and anniversary was cause for celebration, and celebrate they did. Plenty of good food and fellowship were shared as the large group jostlied for space in Ma’s kitchen. After the dishes were washed, out came the cards as the men played Sheepshead and I tried my best to learn to play poker with the ladies. Grandkids ran around and played, and often my husband-to-be would be wrestling and playing with them as they all tackled and climbed on him at the same time. I knew then he would be a great father.

Fast forward several years, and it is our sons who are the little ones running through my in-law’s house. Living out of state, we would fly back home with the little ones for visits and for their Christenings. Mom and Dad would host a big party after the Baptism as well as putting us all up in their home for the duration of our stay. Their graciousness and love for family showed through everything they did.

While we lived away, Mom and Dad would send “care packages” for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Mom would send big containers of cookies, baked with love, sent across the miles. Oh, how we loved to get those packages!

Sixteen years ago we were able to move back to our home state and share Mom & Dad’s golden years together with our growing sons. More frequent visits were a blessing for all, and many more memories were made and shared.

As they crept into their upper eighties, Mom and Dad were requiring more care. As Mom’s health declined, the four siblings and other family members helped to provide in-home care. For many families, this would be a time to look into placement in a care facility, but not this family. It was difficult at first for me to understand how the siblings could sacrifice so much of their own time and their lives to care for their aging parents.

One day I figured it out. It was all about love. That beautiful, unconditional love that Mom and Dad had given all of their years was being given back to them through the loving care of their children and grandchildren. Many sacrifices were made so that Mom and Dad could remain in their home. 


As a young woman, Mom taught me many things about love and family through the example of how she lived. Before we moved away, she taught me how to make her son’s favorite cookies, chocolate nut peek-a-boo’s. Somehow mine never came out as good as hers did. And her famous carrot cake was requested for every family gathering we held at our own house after we moved back. Her cake was so lofty. Mine never rose that high! And the thick layer of cream cheese frosting was the perfect delightful topping.

 
Mom never had a harsh word to say about anyone, and she didn’t waste her time complaining. One stand-out memory for me is when we were running errands together one day. Someone was in more of a hurry than us, and pulled out around us driving aggressively. Mom simply said, “God Bless You!” in a tone that showed she meant it. No profanity or incredulity at their rudeness. But a simple blessing. I still shake my head in wonder of her example to this day.
Our culture spends so much time concerning ourselves with our outward appearance, when what really matters is who we are inside. Our lives should not be measured by the things we possess. Instead our lives should be considered well-lived if we have given with our heart to the betterment of mankind. 

Many lives have been blessed to know the generous, caring spirit of my sweet mother-in-law. And the example of her life will live on through the generations.

A favorite quote of mine from the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin states that "we are not human beings in search of a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings immersed in a human experience." Our life on this earth is temporary. While we are here it is up to each one of us to nurture our own spirit while sharing the gifts we possess with others.
 

Give freely of your love while you can. A simple act of kindness can spread further than you may ever know. Love is an easy gift to share, and the world needs all that we can give. 






 In loving memory of Blanche A. Reske
1924-2012
Love you forever, Mom