Sunday, March 5, 2017

Created By the Past, Not Ruled By It

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

In doing some reflecting lately I began to think about a saying I have heard, and have repeated at times. That saying: We are the sum total of our life experiences.  This is a true statement, however, we need to look beyond this statement to the future.

Some people continue forward in life and want to shift all responsibility for their decisions and actions to everything that took place in their past... I don't accept this.  Sadly society has accepted this, and even encouraged it, unintentionally I would hope. When people refuse to accept that they are responsible for their actions, and not all the events of the past, then they can move forward.

We all have those defining moments, or even series of events that we can allow to dictate everything that we do in life. Almost 4 years ago I lost the man that I loved since high school, he was part of my life for over 30 years. At that moment I had 2 choices, I could let his death put me into a "why me" cycle or I could make the choice to move forward and continue to live. That's what I did, I chose to move forward from the depth of a broken heart and walk forward into the future.

What that future is, I still don't know, but that's okay. What I do know, is that just like in years past, when something hurt me or angered me, as I chose to release it I would then able to move on to something good. Rom 8:28 tells me: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." And that's what I have chosen to trust in. 

There is nothing positive to be found by blaming things on events, people or situations in the past or allowing them to birth bitterness in our hearts.

Pro 15:13 A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Pro 17:22 A merry heart does good, like medicine,But a broken spirit dries the bones.

Luke 6:45 says “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."

I want to have a joyful heart, so I chose to release the past and let the Lord fill my heart with His goodness. I want to speak life!! 

Be Blessed!!
                           Mary... a.k.a Prairiemouse

Monday, January 2, 2017

Life's Moments and Snow Storm Reflections.

Right at this moment I am sitting in a hotel room, instead of at home where I really want to be. But things like this happen at times... the trick is learning to respond rather than react to them... If I am honest, today was a bit of both. I was calm and practical in my response, but I then found out that if I had done, what Glenn and I would have done when it was the two of us, that I would actually probably be there right now.... and that moment evoked a short term attitude reaction.

Now I am sitting somewhere where I am forced to be alone with myself, and my thoughts... no friends, or family to distract me, yes, there is Facebook, but that's not the same as being close enough to others that you know that you can physically get together if you need or want to.

The reason I am here? Snow storms... they have been hitting off and on all up and down I-5, and due to a closure of the freeway, that the troopers said would be 3-6 hours, I made the decision to stay in a hotel rather than wait and chance driving a potentially icy mountain pass. This was the practical response... then I found out that the closure only ended up being about an hour and a half long. Of course by then I had already checked in, and I was frustrated with myself for not having waited longer and trying to press through, that's what would have been what Glenn and I together would have done... but then again, he's not here, it's just me.

This adventure started a couple days ago when I made a decision to take a short unplanned trip to see my dad and stepmom. They are in their 90's and she is in the hospital, it was important to me to go and see them. The: "love them while they are still here," theory completely dominates me at times... probably more so since Glenn's passing, and when you are talking parents... you need to cherish them when you have them. I still can't believe that it's been nearly 23 years since my mother passed. Life is short, value those you love.

Because of this love, I took the chance and made a trip knowing the weather forecast for the weekend, I had great roads north and of course that put me in a good mood, in spite of the circumstances for the trip. Admittedly it's still weird to check into a hotel by myself, and I knew that there was the chance of an extra night by myself, but I didn't think it would happen. Yes, I was alone up there, but it was just the evening when I got there and the next day in the evening when I left the hospital... kind of like the time frame when you get home from work... but this, sitting in a hotel room, in a little town with no reason to be here and a lot of hours... not what I like.  I didn't really want to sit and watch TV, I also didn't just want to lurk on Facebook for endless hours.

So getting past my whining, some of which did end up on my Facebook page, I have taken a part of this time to look at myself, I realize that I need to learn better how to be by myself when I am far from my 'world,' I am taking part of this time to be transparent about the newest discovery that I have made since becoming the single me again. I honestly never had to face 'alone stuff,' until Glenn passed, because I went directly from my parents home, to my husbands and my home... No living alone, not even living in a college dorm. So it's all been a learning curve, and I feel I've done pretty good, but this... the silence, I really don't like it.

I have always been a verbal processer, when I am stressed, upset, worried, or happy I have always processed my feelings by talking... I was blessed with a husband that would talk with me, we always had the ability to have conversation... I remember once we missed a turn on the way home from Reno and ended up going 30 miles before we realized because we were just chatting. I still process out loud, I talk to myself and the Lord while I am in my car... A LOT! But it's not the same, this is the area I have had the most difficulty in adjusting to, and today I got smacked hard in the face with it.

I am really trying to enjoy my true alone time, really enjoy it, not just look for stuff to do to keep myself occupied until it's time to sleep... it's a process, but the realization is there, I learned some today about myself, and if I take the time, I will learn more and be able to rest more in the Lord during those moments.

Happy 2017 Everyone!!

Be Blessed!
PrairieMouse (a.k.a. Mary)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

What They Did and Didn't Do....

Pondering today-- what are the motives behind the things we do in life.

The topic at church lately is "Wise Does." Doing wise things in the eyes of the Lord is always the right choice. 

Every day of our life we make choices, from the moment we open our eyes and choose to get up in the morning, to the choice of when our head will hit the pillow at the end of the day. Those choices that we make in between are what truly define who we are.

Today Pastor Steve mentioned Ananias and Sapphira from the book of Acts. They made a choice to do something deceptive, and it quite literally cost them their lives. Not every choice we make will result in something that immediate, but we never know. (Read below if you haven't heard that story.)

Why do I (we) do what I (we) do? The parable of The Sheep and the Goats" from Mathew 25 comes to mind, there were those doing things to be seen and there were those just doing things that came naturally as a part of who they were. (Read below if you are unfamiliar with the story.)

What is the motivation that guides the decisions that I make in my life? Are my decisions based on how I feel at that moment? Are they based on what will be most advantageous to me? Do they come from fear? Or, are they based on what the Lord would have me to do? The root of our decisions is based in our heart, that is where the very core of who we are is formed, it is where our integrity is set, and our motivations come from. The more we live a life of what the Lord would have us do, the easier it is to make the decisions that are going to take us in the direction that the Lord wants us to go.

I am sure that I have been guilty of making the self-serving decisions. However, that being said, the cry of my heart is to walk a life so firmly rooted in the Lord that all my choices would be based on what He would have me to do. I still have a ways to go before I do that every time. All I can do is continue to soak in His word, and listen for the Holy Spirit's guidance in my life.

Blessings! PrairieMouse (a.k.a - Mary)

Acts 3:32 - Acts 4:11
Sharing in All Things
    32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. 36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

(Acts 4)Lying to the Holy Spirit
    But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
    Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.
    Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”
She said, “Yes, for so much.”
    Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

Matt 25:31-46 (The Sheep and the Goats)
The Son of Man Will Judge the Nations    
    31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
    37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
    41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ .
    44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” 

The Sheep and the Goats by Keith Green