One of the highlights of my whole entire life was getting to pet lion cubs in South Africa! Yes, I got to get down on the ground with those cute little… well, chunky… big guys! They were just 6-month-old cubs and they were sleepy from the warm sun and their full bellies after lunch! I got to cradle their huge paws in my hands and stroke their ears!
They were so docile and sweet – as cuddly and compliant as a harmless stuffed animal in a baby’s crib!!
They aren’t always going to be so docile and snuggly. Nope. If I had hung out in their den for even another hour, giving them time to wake up from their naps, they would have been intimidating. And, if I gave them even a few weeks or months, they would eventually become snarly and fierce beasts that any sane adult should avoid.
Did you know that Plant City, FL is the winter strawberry capital of the world? I didn’t, but I do now! This weekend at Fresh Grounded Faith, we had strawberry everything — soap, cookies, afghans, rain boots, toboggans, shirts, earrings, bracelets, chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry shortcake…. I am sure you get my point! It was so fun!
And oh, sisters… it was such a great start to our spring season of Fresh Grounded Faith. God was so very present, all of the volunteers gave generously from their hearts, it was so well-organized, and you could practically feel how open to the Lord’s moving the entire audience was. So thankful.
Last November was an election like no other! The voters’ voices were heard, the protesters concerns were noted and now, the ballots are counted, the Electors have voted and… ta-da! (or uh-oh) Inauguration Day is almost here!
Now, if the election went your way, well, all that is just groovy! But, if you didn’t want Trump to be the president, well then Inauguration Day may flat-out depress you.
It’s so easy to get discouraged, isn’t it? Life hits us hard and trials last too long and we just get worn out trying to stand firm in faith. Or, sometimes we are in the thick of doing good, serving God and it just seems like progress is slow, our confidence is low and discouragement is high.
I’ve felt discouraged for both reasons lately. I’ve felt overwhelmed and under-qualified to rise to the demands of ministry. I’ve fallen into a confidence crisis and just plain felt defeated. And, at the same time, my sweet Dad has been in the hospital, fighting pain and infection. My mom is worn out caring for him and instead of things getting better, they just seem to get worse. As soon as we see some progress, the next day, his fever spikes and our hope deflates. It is just downright discouraging.
One of the most treasured things I own is broken. But, I still love it.
Here’s the back story:
In college, my friend Tony broke up with his fiancé – or maybe she broke up with him — I never really knew for sure. But, what was for sure is that the jeweler wouldn’t give him his money back when he returned the engagement ring. Bad for brokenhearted Tony. Good for supportive friend Jennifer!
So thankful for another opportunity to share Fresh Grounded Faith with my southern sisters! Last weekend we were in Warner Robins, Georgia and were so welcomed by everyone. Such a blessing! The weekend didn’t go at all like we expected- right before we were set to go onstage to begin I received a call that my father was in very serious condition in Florida. I can’t even begin to describe the emotions surrounding that… feeling a responsibility to fulfill my commitment there at FGF, while at the same time my heart was being pulled to my sweet Daddy.
There aren’t the words to express the love and support I received from all involved- our staff that was there with us stepped up, Stormie O’Martian, Meredith Andrews, and Karen Abercrombie filled in any gaps, and the church volunteers and attendees were mighty prayer warriors that weekend. God was so faithful to help me hold it together Friday night, and I was able to get to my parents the next morning. I’m so thankful to be able to report that my Dad is stable and improving. Your continued prayers for his complete recovery are so appreciated.
Conflict happens. When your ideas or plans or perspective bumps into someone else’s ideas or plans or perspective, crash… conflict. Right? The result is often hurt feelings, resentment and stress. We all experience conflict; it’s just part of being a human.
But, can we be honest? There really are some dear souls in our lives who seem to create conflict. They just plain rub us the wrong way! I call those dear souls sandpaper people! So, what do you do when that sandpaper person rubs you the wrong way?
Would you describe yourself as balanced? Okay, stop laughing! Few of us have achieved balance. I stress myself out just thinking about it!?! I could write a book called Stressed Out: How I Achieved It While Seeking Balance!
I’m just not balanced enough to write a book about balance, but I know Someone who did.
We’ve all got stuff, you know? We’ve got hurts, questions and disappointments in our lives.
I’ve got stuff. Blindness is a constant, unrelenting, challenging loss — emotionally, spiritually and even physically. I’ve asked God for healing probably a million times… but, so far, healing hasn’t come.
My friend’s got stuff. Her daughter is fighting addiction — some days she’s better, someday she’s worse. My friend has prayed for her daughter a million times too. And, so far, healing hasn’t come.
Rose was a widow who lived in West Palm Beach, and when I was in college, many of us students visited her. My friend Mike told me how one evening he popped in on Rose at dinner time and she invited him in. They visited a few moments in her kitchen until he noticed her kitchen table was set for two. “Oh Rose,” he said, “I didn’t realize you were having a guest for dinner. I will scoot out.”
She put her hand on his arm, stopping him and told him she always set two places at her table ever since her husband died over 30 years earlier. Mike assumed the second place setting was to remind her of her late husband and he commented about how sweet it was that she remembered him in that way. Rose quickly corrected my friend saying, “Oh, no. I set a place at my table every evening for Jesus. I sit with Him, listen to Him and expect Him to be with me. This is my way of showing Him.”