Friday, July 27, 2012

Generous Living

   I love being generous. There are some days when I wish I had all the money in the world so I could give to every good thing. But alas, I don't, and I have often struggled with that disappointment. I am not, by any means, disappointment in the path God has taken our family, just the feeling of being limited in my ability to bless others financially more than I do.

Just being honest here :)

 I was sitting on my bed the other day, pondering my current situation and desire, and bringing it before the Lord in prayer, when suddenly I felt His presence.
I have been asking Him lately what more I can do to bring Him glory in my daily life, and now I knew He wanted to speak to me. He was like a still, small voice deep inside me.
At first I felt conviction. He asked how He could trust me with the big things, when I still struggle with the little things?
I knew there were probably some better decisions I could have been making with the money He has already given to me, and right then and there I decided to reevaluate my spending decisions and see if I could be using HIS money more wisely. But there were more little things other than my finances. "What do you enjoy most and how can you use it to be a blessing to others?".... Oh Lord, I don't really know how to do much. The only hobby I have and love is baking and -.......BAKING!

 "Use this to be a blessing to others." ...Yes, Lord, I will.

I can't really explain to you how much that moment meant to me. I no longer feel discouraged about my finances, because I believe God will lead and guide me in that situation! And I know baking doesn't sound very spiritual, but it is so exciting for me to realize that God truly cares about me and He enjoys seeing the gifts He has put into me be used to glorify Him. That moment has continued to play in my mind these last few day as I continue to seek His will for my life. Right now, it seems like I'm to be learning how to live generously. To generously and freely give of myself, whether that be watching someone else's children or baking a loaf of banana bread (with chocolate chips! There is no other kind ;)

I am also feeling more aware of how many simple things can mean a lot to someone. Along with the baking, I think of other little ways I can show love to the people I know, such as an unexpected card in the mail, a text message or a phone call. These things are available to me daily and I do take advantage of them sometimes, but, how many other times have I shrunken away from them because, for example, I don't really like to talk on the phone? I am realizing that I have, at times, been walking in a form of selfishness. I now want do these things, not just because they are good to do, but because my heart is the Lord's and I love Him. The more I seek Him, the more of His heart he shows to me. That fact is so fascinating to me.

The more I seek Him, the more I find Him.

What a humbling thing. I am thankful.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Love for free


   This past week had to be one of the busiest weeks I have had in a very long time. It was also one of the most fun!  I was asked to help out at a five day kids camp which prepared  the kids for a program they put on Friday evening. The week didn't come without its challenges, but those challenges were so miniscule compared to the joy those kids brought to my heart. It still amazes me of how quickly you can give a part of your heart away, in a good way. My dad has always encouraged us to "give love for free". No strings attached, expecting nothing in return. I felt like I had that opportunity last week.

I find it very interesting that the kids who caused the most challenges ended up being my "favorite" kids. They're the ones I'll remember the most because I needed to spend most of my energy trying to steer them onto the path of obedience ;)  They just wanted someone's attention and didn't really know how to get it without causing some kind of ruckus. I found it to be the same situation with some of the kids I got to know in Thailand. I am continually amazed at how God ties in experiences I had there to help me here back home. Thankfulness is not a big enough word for what I feel!

   I don't know if my life really made any impact on the kids at camp at all, but if it did, I pray that their memory of me would be that of love, kindness and patience, and they would always attach those characteristics to Jesus. I pray He uses their memories of kids camp to remind them of Him and draw them closer and closer to Him as they grow older.
 In my young age, I am learning that giving love for free is worth it, even if it doesn't seem like it in the moment. If anything, it is teaching me to be more humble and unselfish....So maybe I received something after all... :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

God bless our star-gemmed banner;
Shake its folds out to the breeze;
From church, from fort, from housetop,
Over the city, on the seas;
The die is cast, the storm at last
Has broken in its might;
Unfurl the starry banner,
And may God defend the right.
Then bless our banner, God of hosts!
Watch o’er each starry fold;
Tis Freedom’s standard, tried and proved
On many a field of old;
And Then, who long has blessed us,
Now bless us yet again,
And crown our cause with victory,
And keep our flag from stain.
Bayard Advocate (Bayard, Iowa),  1916