Don’t stop listening

I love me some big puppy ears… so soft, so warm and sweet. My Samson’s got a marvelous pair. But unfortunately, he isn’t the best listener; like when he ignores my outrage and sticks his entire head into the kitchen trash can. I hate it when he does that.

Can you imagine what God must think of us when we do stupid things that we know are going to get us in trouble? Don’t you think He’d get really tired of telling us to not do stupid things like put our heads in the trash can? I bet He gets real tired of telling me. Apparently, I’m a slow learner. Or maybe I’m just a selective listener. Either way, it gets me in a heap of trouble.

You know, God is always talking to us, even when we aren’t listening. His sweet Holy Spirit is always there; His Word promises it: But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you (John 14:26).

Once again, in my experience, it’s easier said than done.

Listening to God takes commitment, it takes action, at times it takes major humility, more than I’ve got, I’m sorry to say.

You would think God would be easy to hear; I mean, He is God. But that doesn’t mean He speaks loudly. And He’s a gentleman. We have the option to listen closely or to turn up the volume on everything else around us to drown out the patient, loving voice of our Father God.

But oh thank God, He is patient with us, He is merciful every day, and He keeps talking. We just have to keep listening.

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There is always something there to remind me

Do you ever think of something really important that you need to do when you get home, or when you get to work, but by the time you get there, the thought has vanished? I hate it when that happens.

I know we all have iPhones and Blackberries and other various and sundry devices to keep us on track, but what if you can’t take the time to set that reminder?

I had a friend who taught me an ingenious way to remind myself of whatever very important detail I’m not supposed to forget. He would switch his watch from his left wrist to his right, knowing that he would notice it and that would remind him what he wasn’t supposed to forget. I adopted a similar method by switching my wedding ring from my left ring finger to my right. It feels so strange that I will look down at my hand and remember. It may sound ridiculous, but it works for me.

My point is, I have to remind myself.

Life is busy and messy and complicated. And bad things happen to good people. People hurt each other and they hurt themselves. Sometimes we are all a big mess looking for a place to land. But I encourage you to not get carried up, up, and away until you forget how faithful God is. Psalm 103:2 tells us to forget not His benefits.

Don’t forget He loves you, cares about you, and forgives you again and again. Don’t forget what He has done for you. Don’t forget the messes He’s rescued you from. Don’t lose hope, don’t lose faith. Don’t forget.

I pray there is always something there to remind you.

It’s a hard-knock life

I took dance lessons from Miss Ann when I was a little girl. Oh, how I loved the little skirt I got to wear over my pink tights and black leotard. We had a recital one year and the tap dance performance was set to It’s a Hard-Knock Life from the musical, Annie. I was so bummed because I didn’t get to wear anything pretty. I have to admit, I still am a little bummed. It was an early lesson in “Life’s Not Fair.” Thirty years later, I’m still getting knocked around a little… we all are. It’s called life.

Life is hard, times are tough, and people are going through really difficult things, but we are not in it alone. Jesus Christ was touched with our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). He felt our pain, our temptations, our addictions, our griefs. He knows our frailty, our humanity. He’s been there.

It comforts me to know that God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy (Psalm 103:8). I sure need it. He is looking for opportunities to show me His mercy and loving kindness. And when I push His hand away, He tries again. He is not willing to let me go. He’s not willing to let you go either.

Life is hard for all of us, but God’s faithfulness is constant. His love is complete and pure. And He is patient. Don’t give up.

Leave you breathless

I found this picture last night rummaging through old files on my computer; it made me laugh out loud. Even little Miss in the back is making the same face… how did they all know?

Don’t you wish sometimes that you could have this feeling… like right in the middle of a Tuesday? I seem to be always looking for the breathless moment, the event that will catch my breath, the news story that will stop everyone in their tracks, or the bit of office drama that will get the whispers and emails rolling. Aren’t I awful?

My brain needs things to chew on and for me, a busy brain is a happy brain. I get bored easily and I need something to ponder. And I especially like something to look forward to. I realize that sounds childish; like I need Christmas in the back of my mind, or my birthday, or some other event where I get presents.

I guess it’s just the way I’m wired.

I’m very task oriented too, and when I see the end of the task approaching, it literally makes me happy. That sense of accomplishment and closure is so great. But if you give me a job that’s too big, I get a little green around the gills. I can’t see the end and so it depresses me.

Recently, I was assigned a project at work writing copy for the 2012 calendar. When I was given the task, I thought it would be a breeze. I sailed through January and February, March was a little tough, spring and summer beat me down, and winter absolutely finished me. I should have broken it up into seasons; wouldn’t that have been a novel idea?

Yeah, I’m quick like that.

Life has a pretty big learning curve, and I’m not even half-way through it. I suppose I can cut myself a little slack.

Don’t be too hard on yourself today, we are all still learning!

Marriage is hard on a good day

Do you ever want to just slap the crap out of your spouse? I bet that got your attention. Seriously, I would be lying if I said I never felt the urge to resort to physical violence. Marriage is hard on a good day. The question is: how do you not quit?

While I couldn’t possibly call myself a counselor of any kind, and I would not attempt to simplify the intricacies of marriage in a blog post, I do have some experience in the art of staying when you’d rather run.

Staying is a choice, as is all of life. Life is a series of choices and consequences; some good and some bad. We pay the price for our choices, and we can also reap some pretty amazing benefits. When I choose to eat three coneys with everything, I pay the price for it. When I choose to eat a salad, I reap the benefit of that.

I mentioned a scripture in my last post that has helped me tremendously over the years, not just in marriage, but in life. It is Philippians 4:8: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy… meditate on these things.

Focus on the good, be thankful for the good, remember the good, meditate on the good, be grateful for the good. There is always something good we can be thankful for.

And I’ll tell you one thing I’ve learned from painful experience: you absolutely cannot compare your spouse to someone else’s. That, my friends, is a slippery slope. God gave my husband to me, just as He gave your spouse to you. Lynn Mize is God’s perfect man for me. He knows my heart, he knows my flaws, he knows what areas I’m weak in, and thank God, he excels in those areas. We complement each other, but we are far from perfect.

We fight like cats and dogs sometimes, but we keep working on it. We simmer down and talk to each other. We forgive each other… a lot. But most importantly, we choose to stay. And every time we make that choice, the grace of God is there to back us up.