Category Archives: encouragement

I Triumphed

Do you ever look at something and see “Triumph!” written all over it? I don’t mean literally, but in whatever it is you are viewing, you see that you overcame something? You triumphed? That is what this pile of clean dishes is to me. A small moment of triumph.

We were out running errands for a big part of the day and only headed home at dinner time, knowing it was going to be a time crunch to make dinner and get to church. I was so tempted to grab some fast food for the girls. It would be “easy” and I was tired so it made sense, right? I talked myself into and out of stopping several times on the drive.

I fought that temptation and drove home. There, I grabbed the frozen ground turkey that was already cooked, some crushed tomatoes, some frozen beans, and spices. And I made chili. And I had it ready in just a bit longer than we would have been sitting in the drive thru for that fast food. Yes, I still had to clean up dishes, but my girls and I ate a healthy, yummy meal that was better for us in all aspects than grabbing that fried chicken or burger. My girls all enjoyed it, complimented, and I got to spend time with Miss J in the kitchen making it because she came and helped me. She learned more about making and spicing chili.

And the follow up win? I had dinner for tonight, only needing to make rice. I put the rice and some chili in tortillas to make burritos to send with the older two girls to eat during the break in dance classes. My girl at home with me will put hers in the air fryer. (She loves air frying burritos!)

What helped me with this triumph were several things –
1) We determined long ago that we would not eat out all that often. We could allocate our money that way but we have made a conscious decision to not do it very much.
2) We are determined to help our girls eat as healthy as possible. Yes, one meal out is not that big a deal but choosing to eat at home, with a home cooked meal, is just another step in that process.
3) We want to set good examples in all things for our daughters. Last night, good stewardship of the things God has given us looked like choosing to drive on home and cook the meal, as simple as it was, and clean up the dishes. It also shows the girls service, even when tired and grumpy.
4) We also had plenty of time at home in which to relax and get ready for mid-week worship instead of rushing straight there from a restaurant or having a fast turn around at home after taking the food home to eat. Being ready and focused for worship is important.

So when you are feeling down, look around you. What can you see that you have accomplished? Did you read to that child or snuggle? Did you read your Bible or pray? Did you serve your family by doing some cleaning or cooking or yardwork that needed done? Make that your picture of triumph for today. And thank God.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew Round Up for more great posts to read.

November Online Book Club Wrap-up

I read the short writings from Beth Moore in November as part of the online book club’s theme of “thankful.” I chose these two books of musings for a couple of reasons – one, I had them but had not read them; two, focusing on the gift of love from God – Jesus Christ – is cause for thankfulness to me. I found that I really enjoyed most of both of these books.

Both of the books are similar in form and format. I have them both in ebook form on my Kindle. They are both mostly poetry with some anecdotes or other background writings included. They are fairly short. They can direct your mind to consider God’s love and gift in a new or different way.

If poetry is not your thing, you probably won’t get as much enjoyment out of these two books. If, however, you find poetry interesting and bringing a fresh perspective to thoughts, concepts, and ideas, these books will be right up your alley.

I found that the writings that took a fresh, human perspective on things – though not necessarily following the biblical accounts of history – really brought some new ideas to mind. The writing on Mary and newborn Jesus really brought home just how terrifying and difficult that time must have been for Mary. The interaction between Mary and Elizabeth made me consider the trying situation they were both in and the comfort they would have been for each other.

Poetry is used to emphasize ideas and one of my favorites follows. It is from Further Still, pp 131-132.

The Poet

You are the Poet, I am the poem.
You gather my lines from sunshine and storm

Glimpses of faith, steadfast and still
To harrowing falls and stubborn self-will

Dance down Jerusalem streets
To despair beneath the weeping tree

Sometimes pleasure – sometimes pain
Sometimes they blend ’til they seem the same

Each passage of life a poignant phrase
Challenging sense in a senseless maze

Alas, and at the end of time
Rhythm will come and words will rhyme.

Paper yellowed, wrestled, and worn
Still You are my Poet … and I am Your poem.

There were several favorites in Things Pondered. These include Seasons (p 108) and My Every One (p 135-136). Heroes was a stunning look at “heroes” of the Bible but the focus was on who was their hero. Time and again I found myself considering how wonderful each of the poems were.

As I find I have to do with writing from those who are Christian and part of a denomination, I need to warn of a place to be wary. There is a part where what denominations refer to as “the sinner’s prayer” is discussed. While much of the writing about this is in line with God’s word, the Bible includes much more in the plan of salvation than just saying a prayer in your heart. Please read and study the Bible with someone who understands that the plan of salvation is not found in a single, independent verse of the Bible. It is covered in many place and includes hearing the word of God, believing that word and that Jesus is the son of God, repenting of your sins (and this includes changing your ways), confessing your belief out loud to others, and being baptized for the remission of your sins. This is how you come into contact with the blood of Jesus, which is the only thing that can save your from your sins and the consequences of that sin. I would be happy to chat with you about this if you would like to. Please contact me.

These books are both very good. They are not study tools for the Bible, which sort of surprised me since I got them at a time when Beth Moore was sharing all of her Bible studies. But, they can bring a different perspective, causing you to pull out your Bible and read what God actually says in the historical account that fueled the poetry and stories written down by Beth Moore. I did enjoy these and there is much to be gleaned from them if you “pick out the meat and ignore the bones.”

Don’t forget to visit the others who are participating in the online book club. You can find them at the following blogs:

Hopkins Homeschool
Life on Chickadee Lane
School Days
At Home: Where Life Happens
The Life We Build
Let’s Get Real
Homeschool Coffee Break
Tots and Me
Bossy Homeschool Mom

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Hard Times To Seek God

Habakkuk knew hard times. He knew, even more than we do, the difficulty of living among those who don’t seek God. His world makes ours look nice. Both worlds, though, need the message that Habakkuk shares from God – I am here, I know what is going on, I see you, I hear you, and I will act at the right time.

Dannah Gresh has written a heart-reaching Bible study engaging the reader with the book of Habakkuk and the life of the prophet of God. Habakkuk: Remembering God’s Faithfulness When He Seems Silent (Moody Publishers, September 2020) is an in-depth look at what was happening in the days when Habakkuk was seeking God and how he sought the Lord. He didn’t sit quietly. He was hurting, aching, and desiring for action NOW. God knew and responded. He told Habakkuk, in 1:5, “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

In this study, Dannah encourages us to do the same – look and watch for the Lord is going to act. Throughout the 6 week study, we are encouraged to follow Habakkuk 2:20 “The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” Be silent and listen. Be in your watchtower, as Habakkuk was in 2:1. Seek, search, and watch.

Dannah writes about six habits of living by faith, especially in times of difficulty and trouble, that we see born out in the life of Habakkuk. These six habits are keys that help us understand God when we have a posture of hurt, a heart full of pain, and cannot see the sunrise. Dannah reminds us that this is okay and by examining the life of Habakkuk and his relationship with God, we are given an example of how to seek God when He seems silent, how to sit quietly to seek him, to look for him, to listen for him, to fear him, and to praise him. Set up in two distinct parts, the study covers How to Pray When You’re Devastated and How to Hear God Through The Hurt.

This study brings together weekly podcasts or videos (same content, available online), daily readings from God’s word, readings and discussion questions from Dannah, and in-depth Bible study. The printed study is a beautifully printed book of about 225 pages and is soft-bound. The textured cover is printed in calming purples and greens. The beautiful book guides the study along day-by-day. It is truly a peaceful and beautiful study in all aspects. I would enjoy having a answer guide for those moments when I just can’t figure out what answer is expected for a given discussion question but that is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

My personal study has been greatly enriched by going through this study. It has brought about peace when I didn’t know I was seeking it. Looking at how Habakkuk wrestled with God in the silence was touching and I know this study will help me in the future when I am struggling. I found the podcasts and videos powerful and each time I listened, I shared statements from it online with my friends because they touched me. Her personal insight and struggles have really enlightened this study and shown how God can touch those who seek Him through His word, through Bible study, and through others who love Him deeply.

I can’t say which I enjoyed more – the daily study or the podcasts. Both were enriching with this study. I greatly appreciate how deep Dannah reaches into the Bible for this study. So many Bible studies are superficial and their daily study is intended to be a few minutes. Dannah’s is not like that and is so rich that it takes about 30 minutes of daily study. And that is without spending too much time in meditation on the word of God and the ideas for the day. This is what I desire in Bible study – rich, deep, and changing. Dannah gives us just that. I am excited to see what she comes out with next because I have been changed by this study and want to have God continue to change me through more study like this.

About Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh is the bestselling author, speaker, and founder of True Girl (formerly Secret Keeper Girl), America’s most popular Christian tween event. She has authored over twenty books that have been translated into twelve languages, including And the Bride Wore White and Lies Girls Believe (co-authored with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth). Considered one of the leading experts on the subject of sexual theology and parenting tweens and teens, her resources have equipped over one million moms and leaders as they seek to raise their girls in confidence and Truth. Over 400,000 have attended her live events. Dannah is the co-host for Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s Revive Our Hearts as well as a popular guest on programs like Focus on the Family and Family Life. She has appeared on CNN, Fox News, and the TEDx stage. She lives on a hobby farm in State College, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bob, and over twenty animals.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow – hymn

Who Holds Tomorrow

My commentary is brief today. Read through these lyrics. Let them flow over you and infuse your soul with peace and hope. God has this. Let this be our reminder for these times when the world is full of fear and scare. Be full of peace and hope and know that God holds tomorrow for those who live according to His purpose.

 

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

Ira F. Stanphill

Verse 1
I don’t know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to grey.
I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what lies ahead.

Chorus
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

Verse 2
Every step is getting brighter
As the golden stairs I climb;
Every burden’s getting lighter,
Every cloud is silver-lined.
There the sun is always shining,
There no tear will dim the eye;
At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky.

Verse 3
I don’t know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow,
Is the one who stands by me.
And the pathway that be my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Love One Another

Love one another for love is of God.

This song has been running through my head today and it is based off of I John 4:7-8. The words:

Love one another
For love is of God.
He who loves is born of God
And knows God.
He who does not love
Does not know God.
For God is love.
God is love.

In our songbook, this one is titled The Greatest Command and has three other melodies for the other voice parts to sing with some different but related words.

But I have sort of stuck on the “love one another” part.

Jesus said in John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Well, what are those? We find them throughout the New Testament but they often fall under one of two options:

1 – Love God.
2 – Love others.

(See Matthew 22:37-40 for one example of this.)

Love. It is a theme that we cannot ignore. Yet, it is so easy to do let it go by the wayside. By getting busy or distracted, we can easily be taken away from seeing the needs of others and stretching to meet them.

My youngest spent some time one day this week, hours really, working on a project or two. I didn’t know what she was doing but she just asked to have the art materials. So, she got the boxes and worked, and planned, and figured. And this is what she came up with:

It is an example of love to me that she thought about doing for others with her time. This sits in an area where I see it several times a day. It makes me smile but even more reminds me to serve others through acts of love.

These acts don’t have to be gigantic. They can be small. My middle daughter likes to surprise me with little notes on my pillow thanking me for something I might have done for her during the day. I try to show my husband that I love him by taking care of things he might need before he needs them, such as clean uniforms for work or getting his food bag packed for work, making his bread for sandwiches or picking things up so he won’t trip on them when he comes home in the dark from work. I can write notes to someone who made me smile or who is having a hard time. Small acts matter.

I encourage you to find small acts of love that will encourage others each day. Big gestures are great – being one of the greeters at the church building where you worship so visitors will feel welcomed, taking a meal to someone in need, or giving extra to a specific need such as sending to a missionary who has a particular project. But sometimes, the small acts of love make a bigger impact so don’t forget them.

What are you planning to do today to love one another?

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Grace and Compassion

img_20200131_110519_405

I was scrolling through Facebook land and stumbled across this meme that said “If I needed you and you weren’t there, I’ll never need you again.”

How sad! On so many fronts.

The sadness of this really got me thinking.

First off, it made me thankful that God is always there. Always. Even when I turn away from him. Even when I struggle. Even when I sin. When I turn back to God and drag myself home to him like the lost son of Luke 15, He is there. He is waiting and watching and sees me a long way off. He runs to me and is THERE. I am so thankful for that comfort.

Immediately after it made me feel achy for the person that posted it. Humans are fickle. They have many issues, often much bigger and more intense than those around them know about. Not everyone shares their entire life on social media and thus, there is likely stuff going on in other people’s lives that we know nothing about. We stick to our social media for updates – and yes, I am just as guilty as anyone else – without going to the person that failed us for some reason and finding out if there was something in their life. Maybe it wasn’t about you at all.

Next, it made me sad that this young person felt the need to share with the world this attitude. There is no grace in it. I don’t know about you, but I need others to have grace in dealing with me. Please! If I take the attitude that you better be all in, have no issues yourself, and never dare to be forgetful with me, I am not gracious or compassionate. I will have no friends. And, I am not being like Christ. At all.

But God . . .

You know, that idea – “But God” – occurs often in the Bible and I am so grateful for it. It means that God is forgiving. He is compassionate. He is gracious. He is love. He is greater than I am and allows me to be human and make mistakes. He allows me to have moments where I stumble and fall yet He is right there to be the parent – to kiss the proverbial scrape, pat me on the head, and then wrap me in a warm, tender hug with the words “it will be alright.” What a great God we have.

Grace and compassion.

We all need these. And I know that I need to use them in greater and greater abundance as I grow, mature, and understand more about how human we all are.

I pray that the young person who posted that meme is able to find peace about whatever hit her in the gut. I pray that she will be able to step out in grace towards the person that hurt her and perhaps, be the friend that she had been desiring herself. When we are able to do that, we can change the world by showing the love of Christ to others. One person at a time, we can change the world with God’s love.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Work Before Play. Or??

Work Before Play OR Play Before Work

Work Before Play.

OR

Play Before Work.

Now, does it really matter?

Many will say “Yes, it absolutely matters. You have to do your work before you do the things you want to do. You have to earn it.”

I am going to challenge that notion. I have had to challenge it in my own life. I grew up where you did the work and then you go the play time or the time to relax or do whatever it is that pleased you. And I am NOT saying, at all, that the work does not have to be done.

But, like everything else in life, times are a changing in this realm. When I was growing up, it seemed like everyone who worked was gone from 7:30 to 5:30 or thereabouts. There was not a lot of shift work going on. This was what happened in my family and it worked well. That was my dad’s work schedule. We went to school during the day and then got to play after chores when we got home. Nothing wrong with that.

My life as an adult has been quite surprising and this is one of those places where things are not quite what I expected. My husband works from 3 PM to 1 AM. If he has to work and then have time to play, he is doing so at the wee hours of the morning and that does not allow time with his family. That old notion doesn’t work for our situation. With his schedule, the girls see the down time first and then the work time. They see the work commitment being honored, the hard work, the time frame consistently held. But they see that after some down time and time around the house.

So why should I push them to complete all of their work before they have any down time? It doesn’t jive with what they see. And you know what? They work a ton better when they are stepping into their own work after just a bit of down time first. So that is what we allow.

One of the girls prefers to get up, get breakfast, and dig straight into her schoolwork. We don’t stop that because it is what she prefers. It works for her. Another of the girls does much better when she has had some time to read her own choice of material first so she reads in bed for a while before getting up, showering, and moving on with her schoolwork. The third, well, it depends on the day for her. Sometimes she wants to dive right in and other times she wants to read or color first. So, I am flexible with that.

When we add to the equation that their dance rehearsals are later afternoon and evening, and they are working hard at those times, it makes sense to allow some down time and free time before that during the day.

So, I am going to ask you if you have truly evaluated what your family does and sees in this arena. Does it really work for you? If not, feel free to challenge the standard notion and the old sayings. It just might create a beautiful, peaceful situation in your family.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

20 Things I Want To Work On In 2020

20 things

A year ago I wrote a post titled “Cultivating An Attitude.” I wish I could say I did well with it. In some ways, I did. In others, not so much. I am holding onto that idea this year but editing the process a bit. So, here you go – 20 things I am going to work on in 2020 – in no particular order.

1 – I have started by downloading a daily devotional program from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. (affiliate link – If you click on it and purchase, I will receive a small commission.) This devotional is titled “Encouragement for Homeschool Moms” and is written by Bonnie Lisech. It is not a long set of devotions, only 31 but it is getting me started this year. There are more devotions on SchoolhouseTeachers, so I may try another one when I finish this. I may move on to something else. Either way, I will continue to set my mind on God first thing each morning, as it sets the tone for my day.

Print

2 – I am going to continue to work on is sending personal notes. I understand the beauty of receiving a hand-written note and I want to do more with this. Again, by sharing my thankfulness of other’s with them, I am more thankful myself and pass on a small bit of joy. I am also seeing this one reap benefits in that my daughters are working hard every couple of months to send cards to let people know they are thinking of them. It is a wonderful thing so I need to do more of this.

3 – I am going to read some hard books. Hard in this case is going to be ones that are challenging to me and make me think. I have some one my shelf – Walking The Bible is one. Farenheit 451 is another. I want to read some Dickens. And to go through some of the “classics” that I have never read.

4 – I am going to work on consistency in schedule. It is easy enough for me to keep the schedule for things outside of the house but I am going to work on keeping a home schedule for myself, also. Getting up and moving, cleaning schedule, laundry schedule, exercise schedule – those sorts of things.

5 – Exercise. I am on a good schedule with walking 2 -3 miles 5 or 6 days per week. I am going to continue that.

6 – Be brave and add a yoga class to my exercise. I don’t know when this will start but I know where I want to add it. I just need to contact the studio and ask about doing so.

# 7 - Declutter!!

7 – Declutter. This is always on the list, isn’t it? I want to get rid of things we no longer need or use. This is going to be the smaller things, such as kitchen utensils (did that today, actually, and got rid of about 10 spatulas and such that we don’t like). Books are next and I already have a pile. 🙂

8 – I am going to continue having the charity group come by each month to pick up a box. It is great incentive to continue with number 7 all month long.

9 – Get rid of desks. Yep – we have too many desks and they need to go. This is a “one-time” sort of thing but it needs to happen.

10 – Start a teen girls Bible study. This one needs to happen soon so I’ve got to get a move-on with it. I think it will be over Psalms, for now.

11 – Take a trip to the UK. This one is in the “plans” but I have to get it actually going.

12 – Get my passport. I have never left the country so this is a must if number 11 is going to happen.

13 – Do a fun school day with the girls one time per month. Drop the books and study something interesting or unique or do a game board school day. Something fun to keep us all in good spirits and working hard.

#14 - Add read-alouds back into our day.

14 – Add read-alouds back in. The past few months, we have not done a very good job of doing read-alouds with the girls. Since they are all working so independently, it is much harder to settle them all at the same time. This may need to work hand-in-hand with number 4.

15 – Handmade gifts are beautiful so I want to do more of that for others. Maybe a “just because” gift but maybe things like birthdays or holidays. I want to do more making of things. I miss doing things like cross-stitch or embroidery or sewing. So, more of that stuff.

16 – Less time on social media but when I am on, I want it to be more meaningful. This doesn’t mean I am getting rid of accounts but I am going to be more attentive about scrolling. I will continue to share and post but when I find that I am not thinking about what is going past on the newsfeeds, I will shut it down and go do something else.

17 – Call my family and friends more often. Putting this down in writing may mean I get called on it but accountability is good. I want to talk to my family, particularly my siblings, more often. And friends that I will not see as often. Or haven’t seen in a while. You know what I mean, right?

18 – Visit with friends more often. I don’t yet know what this will look like but, again, I want to be more intentional about seeing the people I don’t get to see as often. I want to make a trip specifically to see my grandmother and I want to try to get to see a friend who doesn’t live that far away more than once a year.

19 – I will be more intentional about my time use. I am blessed by a good bit of time waiting – you know, dance studio time. 🙂 I want to use that better to take care of some of the things I have already listed (like my reading) but also to be more efficient in doing some other online tasks I need to do daily. This will give me more time at home to spend with my family or to work around the house. #20 More intentional time spent with family.

20 – Last But Not Least – More intentional time doing fun things with my family. My husband and I have enjoyed having 2 hours one night a week when he is off while the girls are at dance. That is a precious time for us. But I want to find that kind of time for each of my girls. Maybe not 2 hours per child per week but some dedicated time to just hear them and allow them to be. Miss J really enjoyed having that time in December while her sisters were doing youth group and dance company Christmas parties. She and I spent some time doing things together and it was good. I need to set that up for each of the girls.

Now that I have put down 20 things for 2020, I need to add them to my “pay attention to” list. I need to print this out or write it down somewhere so I can be reminded and not forget. Because that is what happens in my busy life. I forget. I get tired or lazy or forgetful. So, feel free to hold me to it and check in on me.

Did you do a “word of the year” or a list that you want to work on? Share it with me below. Let’s encourage each other.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

20 things to work on

 

Linking up with the Homeschool Review Crew and their Word of The Year link-up.

Welcome, Not Just Invited

Welcome

Do you think about the fact that there is a HUGE difference between being invited and feeling welcome? Honestly, I had not thought about it until a while back. There was something small that was being done at church with the youth group. My two older girls did not participate. When we got down to brass tacks on it, they both stated “we felt invited, just not welcome.”

So what makes the difference? What makes someone feel invited? What makes one feel welcome?

Invited –

The dictionary.com definition is “make a polite, formal, or friendly request to (someone) to go somewhere or to do something.”

Do you get that? Invited is formal. It is polite. It is something that is not necessarily personal. It isn’t warm. But it is kind. Kindness is a good thing and being invited is a good thing.

There are times, though, when it is not enough. We need to feel welcome and we need to help others feel welcome.

Welcome –

The dictionary. com definition for this says “very pleasing because much needed or desired.”

Welcome says you are needed. Your presence is desired. You are wanted.

Both invited and welcome are friendly but one implies that your presence will make a difference.

If you can’t do welcoming, then definitely make sure to do inviting. But wouldn’t it be better if we were striving for more than invited?

God’s word directs us to do things that build each other up, to encourage one another.

I Thessalonians 5: 11 – Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. . .

I Thessalonians 4: 18 – Therefore encourage each other with these words.

Hebrews 3: 13 – But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 

Hebrews 10:25 – Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

We also see the apostles sending others out to encourage the churches and exhorting those churches to be welcoming to those who are coming to them. Look at Ephesians, Colossians, and I Thessalonians for just a few letters sent along with someone to encourage churches in the first century.

I find it very easy to say “Yes, I am doing these things.” When in reality, it is taking every ounce of strength I have to be welcoming. But, that is the key isn’t it? Doing something for the building up and encouraging of the other person and not ourselves?

So, let’s get practical. How do we do things so that others feel welcomed, not just invited? I think it comes from the personal approach. When you have a large group and you say to the whole group “You all can do this thing,” we tend to be inviting. But it isn’t personal, is it? If we were to do the whole large group thing and THEN make sure that everyone has been personally asked, that would make a difference.

If something is being decided upon ahead of time, make that known in the large group invite but don’t assume that everyone knows. When decisions are made ahead of time and THEN you do a large group invitation, it is felt. Those who weren’t on the “decision” side of it feel left out and therefore, not welcome. Yes, decisions have to be made but we can ease that feeling of left out by the way we approach it and the way we word it. So, pay attention.

Acknowledge, also, that large group invitations are perhaps not the right way to make people feel welcome. They will feel invited and I will have done my part to “invite everyone.” But I won’t have made people feel welcomed. In this day of social media and electronic interactions, it takes being intentional and choosing relationship over ease.

But, in my life, I work at it. When our family has hosted devotionals, we have intentionally gone through and spoken to the people who were being invited. We did this in person or on the phone but we spoke to each person or family. When we are getting together somewhere with others, we talk to them; we do not send out group invitations that are impersonal.

We tend to host small get-togethers so that people feel like they are a part of it. When the girls enjoy an activity, they write letters that are personalized and hand-written to let others know that the activity was a hit and to encourage them to participate the next time.

We don’t do these successfully all the time but the point is that we try. At least part of the time, hoping to make a difference.

The key here, I think, is the personal interaction. I recognize that this is not possible for every single situation. But shouldn’t we try to make it? Aren’t we called to be family with those in the church?

One of the reasons I don’t like large gatherings is because of just this. I have worked really hard to not pass that feeling onto my girls. I guess I have not been successful in this. They don’t feel welcome, either. And that saddens me beyond words.

So, I am challenging you and myself – make it personal next time so that the person you are inviting to an event feels welcomed, not just invited.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

welcome pin

Insignificant

insignificant

I am sure we all have those moments. You know the ones. I feel small and like I am living a life that is of no consequence and very insignificant. I have no purpose and no matter what I do, no one notices.

My heart and head know the answer to that thinking –

  • God has a plan. – Jeremiah 29:11
    For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
  • We are all a part of the body and with a purpose. – I Corinthians 12:12-31
    For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. (verse 12)
  • My life was determined by God before I was ever knit together in my mother’s womb; I was made. – Psalm 139:13-14
    For You formed my inward parts;
    You covered me in my mother’s womb.
    I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    Marvelous are Your works,
    And that my soul knows very well.
  • God is working in the lives of His children, who serve Him. – Rom 8:28
    And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
  • I have purpose and calling. – 2 Timothy 1:9
    who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purposeand grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

I can spout the thinking that should buoy me up with the best of them. But sometimes, it just isn’t enough.

  • When I have brought up concerns and am brushed off.
  • When I am told that something important is going to happen and to be prepared, just to have nothing happen and it not to be mentioned again.
  • When someone looks at you and tells you, literally, you wouldn’t understand because you are not smart enough.
  • When you are told that the only thing someone thinks of when I walk into a room is a particular program that I work hard to serve.

And then someone picks up the phone and calls. And you see, very clearly, God’s hand in it all.

This is what happened yesterday. I had literally just been discussing how very inconsequential I felt my life was in the grand scheme of things. The phone rang. It was my mom and one of the first things she began telling me about was the apostle Andrew and the sermon she had heard that morning.

Andrew is not known for very much. Really, we don’t know much about him, even after scouring the scriptures to know more. But when I heard my mom talking about how quiet his life was compared to his brother, Peter, I realized very quickly that God was speaking.

He was whispering, through my mom’s voice, “you matter” and “Just like Andrew, I have something in mind for you.”

I spent some time early this morning studying more about Andrew and found myself amazed about how important he was, yet he is mentioned very little in scripture. But God. . .

I need to sit quietly and wait on that “but God” moment in my life. I will wait in prayer, for myself and for you. God has a moment coming in your life, too.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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