Like Any Good Exercise, Practice Makes Perfect: Write 31 Days

31 days of JoyDay 31 of 31 Days of JOY.  

Am I going to Grumble?  Or Trust?

When I go back and count, I only posted 13 days out of the 31!   Looks like I just got my numbers turned around.

We were asked to write a recap post.  Did I learn anything as I wrote?  Will it reshape me in any way?

And thankfully, they invited everyone to recap, even if we did not complete 31 days.

So, did I learn anything?  Well, yes, I did.

On writing, I learned that if I focus and bring ALL that I know, and ALL that I want to write about, down into something very specific, like grumbling or trusting, writing comes easier.  There were days in September when I wanted to write, and I had all kinds of things dancing in my head, but nothing specific.  Therefore, no words ever made it to paper: I wrote nothing during the month of September versus 13 posts in October.

Focus is key. 

I also learned that even with a challenge before me to write 31 days, sometimes life gets in the way.  And life, living it, still trumps writing about it.  There were a few days when I clicked that “publish” button at 11:59 pm, but typically on those kind of days, life won out as did sleep.   And I’m ok with that.

Living trumps writing.

I don’t write if I don’t take the time.   There will always be 24 hours in any day.   No more.  No less.   I am a task-oriented person.  I work from a to-do list.  Writing can no longer just be an add-on — if I have time.  There will never be any left-over hours.  If I want to write, then “write” must be on the to-do list.  It gets done if it’s on the list.  Because that’s how I roll.

Take the time to write.  Steal it.   It’s ok.

So those were the easy lessons.

I chose 31 Days of JOY — will I grumble or will I trust?  Life lessons that require attitude and perspective shifts are harder to learn.   And can I just say, they hurt more.

On grumbling, I learned that murmuring and complaining are often my default settings.  Ouch.  (No one wants to know that about themselves.)  But knowledge is power, and several times last month when I wanted to complain, grumble, or gossip about something, I stopped myself.

Often that’s as far as I went; I just reined in my thoughts.  I didn’t grumble.  Done.

It’s one step to not complain, but it’s a giant leap to praise God and trust Him for whatever comes your way.

Whatever comes your way.

Was I going to just not grumble?  Or was I going to trust?

On trusting, I learned that I could not savor trust and grumble in the same mouthful.  My trust required remembering God’s faithfulness to me in the past.  My trust reminded me that God works ALL things out for my good.

ALL things.  Even “this”?   Even “that”?

Yes,  ALL things.  

Then, and only then,  could my trust bring praise to my lips.  “Thank you, Lord, for what you are doing in this situation.  I trust you.”

Trust doesn’t grumble,  trust praises God.

I will focus and take time to write.  I will try not to grumble (too often).  I will trust God by remembering His faithfulness and praising Him for what He is doing in my life.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

It was a good challenge, and I’m glad I participated.   Did I do it perfectly?  No, I did not.  But it’s like any kind of exercise — practice makes perfect.

“The secret of becoming a writer is to write, write and keep on writing.”

Just keep typing…  just keep typing…

keep typing

“A Babushka Pirate Named Maude”

2f6047de1f704dcdab78920729e5b3b5A babushka pirate named Maude.  What?

I cannot even begin to tell you the meaning behind the title of this post.

Well, let’s see…

It is the last comment of a group facebook message between my daughters and me.  It is actually the culmination of 3 different conversations we had going on, at the same time, during that particular post.   The bantering went on for several hours as the girls jumped on and off facebook to add their comments.  So, no, I cannot explain exactly what it means.  Because it wouldn’t be funny.  Now.  You just had to be there.  One daughter wrote back later, I snorted (out loud) at my desk over that last comment.

The girls were being witty and snarky and playful.

And it makes my heart happy.  Still.

They are grown now, and don’t see each other often as they live miles apart.  Two in the Midwest and two in the Rockies.  Hearing them talk in conversation — even in text — makes me get all soft and sentimental inside.

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I don’t think 4 girls so different ever existed under the same roof.  I’ve said many times, there is no learning curve in raising girls.   Nothing you learn from teaching one applies to teaching the other.

When they were little, the days were filled with giggles, books, dress-up, and endless hours of pretend play.  I bought old prom dresses from consignment shops so they could be adorned in “princess” gowns for tea parties and balls.  Other days, we would spend hours in the library, and each girl would come home with a stack of books.  I had to have my own filing system at home to keep track of all those stories.

Not all days were “sunshine and lollipops” though.  I remember saying before I was a Mother, ‘when I have my kids, they will not fight with each other’.  Ha!  As in any family, there were also days of scratches, bites, mean words, and fights.  Days when one girl couldn’t stand the sight of the other.  I remember lecturing about “sisters are friends for a lifetime” and “you take this paper and pen and you write 5 things you like about your sister“.  Whew.  Some days were just like that.

Where did those little girls go?  It seemed like they would be under my feet forever.  I would do anything to have a bit of that forever back.

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Lord knows I pray for these children, these women of mine.  They are my heart.  And it makes me happy when they love on each other.  So when they are witty and playful, even snarky, I cry big ol’ Mama tears.

The girls have told me there will be 2 epitaphs on my tombstone:  On one side, “She just wanted them to get along” and “Edify, Edify” on the other.

I guess I could do worse.

The days are long, but the years fly by.

And if I ever do write “that book”, I do believe the title will be,  A Babushka Pirate Named Maude.

31 days of Joy

 

 

 

Write 31 Days

The Best Gifts Don’t Come With a Barcode: Write 31 Days

20151016_153006I watch my grandchildren 2 days a week while their Mama works.  I love knowing her sweet babies in such an intimate way, and I enjoy keeping them.  By allowing me to care for her kiddos, I know my daughter has given me a gift.20150714_151605 

We are entering into the season when we think more about gifts.  Autumn is in full-swing, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  We slow down just long enough on Turkey Day to count our blessings, and then we rush out the next day to grab all the deals we can find for more gifts.  Instead of looking forward to the holidays with joy, we often complain and dread their arrival.

But the gifts I value the most cannot be bought at any store.  There are no deals on Black Friday to purchase the items I treasure.

Daughters.  Husband.  Grandchildren.  Moms.  Extended Family. Friends. Community.

People. 

Not one thing on my list.  Am I thankful for my house, my car, my things?  Of course, but if they were all lost, and I only had my people, I would be a grateful, satisfied, and blessed woman.  Thankful for the gifts in my life.

There is one other person on my list.  The most important gift I possess.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”   John 3:16

Jesus Christ.  Eternal life.

God’s gift to us.

The best gifts don’t come with a barcode.

31 days of Joy

 

 

 

 

Celebrating the Farmer In My House: Write 31 Days

national farmer dayNATIONAL FARMER’S DAY

Oops, I missed National Farmer’s Day.   Did you?  It was 3 days ago.  I’m sure I’m not alone as most of us didn’t know October 12 was the day to honor farmers.  The profession was first celebrated back in the 1800s, but no one has an exact date.  October does seem fitting in celebrating National Farmer’s Day as it is in the midst of harvest.

It was originally known as Old Farmer’s Day.  Hmm.  We could have lots of fun with that title around my house.  I’m married to a farmer.

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Did you know more than 80 percent of the world’s food is still produced by family farmers?  More than 500 million family farms manage between 70 and 80 percent of the world’s agricultural land, the U.N.’s “The State of Food and Agriculture 2014” reported.

I know I take my food supply for granted.  When I run out of milk, eggs, beans,  even cookies, I run to the store and replenish my supplies.  Sometimes I even complain about the long lines, high prices and variety of food available in my stores.  How about you?

So, even if we’re a few days late, let’s thank a farmer today for putting food on our tables.

Did you kiss a farmer today?  I did.

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31 days of Joy

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I Still Get To Eat Dinner With My Mom: Write 31 Days

31 days of JoyWrite 31 Days

I walked into the hospital room, and was shocked by what I saw.  A old lady lie in the bed, mouth open, eyes rolled up toward the ceiling, sheet pulled up to the chin over the withered, disease-torn body.  I hardly recognized my mother.  How did this happen in 5 short months?  The doctors were stumped and couldn’t find any answers as my Mom wasted away.  They chased cancer, pulmonary arterial hypertension, and several other diagnosis.  None were confirmed.

That was 14 months ago.  We thought we would bury Mom before summer’s end.  We prayed to God; we cried out to one another; and we complained to the doctors.  “Why can’t you figure this out?”

20151014_173050Today I spent the afternoon with Mom in her new apartment at an assisted living facility.  After I was there for about an hour, she asked if I wanted to eat dinner with her.  “Sure, I would love to”.

When the doctors finally figured out what was wrong with her, my Mom’s near-death situation improved quickly.  I feel completely blessed that my Mom is still here with us.

No grumbling today.  No complaining.  Thank you, Lord.

I love you, Mom.

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She Will Write And She Will Find Her Voice: Write 31 Days

31 days of JoyWrite 31 Days (well 26 Days, maybe).

“You cannot do this.  You have nothing to say.”  Those are the words she heard over and over again in her head.  They were loud voices, even harsh at times.  “What are you doing here?”

Why had she come to this conference, this writer’s conference?  Doubts and fears overwhelmed her because she wasn’t sure she did have anything worthy to say.

As she looked around the lobby, she saw men and women huddled together, talking dcad598e49e3046cf0ef4ce58d7473e3about their latest projects.  She saw one lady, animated about her fiction novel, the one she has been researching for years, and is now ready to put on paper.  Another spoke excitedly about a Bible study she has just written.   There were stories, no pun intended, everywhere.

She wasn’t comparing herself to accomplished authors.  These writers had put in their “10,000 hours”, and deserved to be published.  No, it really wasn’t that at all.  Besides, there were some writers here who had never written a single word.   Longing and curiosity had brought them to this place.

What then?  What was causing her anxiety?

She was doubting her calling.  Had she heard God right?  Did He want her to write?  Did she have anything worthwhile to say?

Did she have a voice?

Does that ever happen to you?  You think you know what God has asked you to do.  You step out in faith, but something happens that shakes you up a bit.   You hear a condemning voice, “You cannot do that.  You are not called to ________.”  And then you doubt.  You question.  You fear.  You may even grumble and complain.  Whine, if you will.

I know I have.  I know I do.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7

Fear is not from God.  When God calls us to do something, He gives us power, and passion and peace.   He does not whisper (or yell) condemnations into our ear.  No where in God’s Word do we see him saying things like, “you are stupid.  you are no good.  you cannot do this.”  If God wants us to change course, He will guide us, but He won’t belittle us in the process.

tumblr_ku92wiwsDY1qzlgb3o1_500It took her a day or two after she arrived home to clear her head of the criticism.   To shake off the lies.  The truth was God had given her this passion, a desire to put her heart on paper.  She’s still not sure what direction her writing will go.  Does she have a fictional book inside of her?  Does she have a gift for devotionals?  It’s not clear just yet.  But that’s okay.

She is standing just at the gate.  She almost turned and ran the other way, but with new purpose and resolve, she stepped through and began to slowly walk.  And in time, as she thinks, ponders, writes and writes,  God will help her find her voice.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  James 1:17

Write 31 Days: Should I Write or Clean My House?

31 days of JoyWrite 31 Days.

I’m going to take a hiatus tonight from my theme of 31 Days of JOY.   And as I am heading into a busy weekend, and may not post again until Monday, my 31 Days is quickly morphing into a 25 Days of JOY.   That’s ok:  Structure not legalistic rules.

I’m attending Breathe Writer’s  Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and due to the late hour, I’m going to keep this post short.  My brain is full of all that I’ve taken in today at this writer’s conference, and if I’m honest, I’m a little overwhelmed by the content and the company.   I’m feeling a little out of my league.  Authors and accomplished writers are here, meeting with publishing companies, making pitches to get their work published.

My little blog posts seem lame in comparison.  I’m green.  Late to the party.

Wait!  Wasn’t my last blog post was about comparisons?  Ugh.  It’s such a natural human reaction to compare ourselves with others.

I’m going to have to do some praying and soul-searching to figure out exactly what I’m suppose to be doing.  There are days when I feel called to write, and I’m passionate about putting thoughts and words on paper.  Then there are moments when I don’t know why in the heck I’m not cleaning my house instead of wasting my time at this keyboard.

Just keeping it real and transparent.

I don’t want to compare myself to “authors”.    It doesn’t really matter what they write or how many works they have in print.  What I want to do is find out what God wants me to do.  How best can I fulfill His purpose in my life.

This may be too much to ask out of the Breathe Conference, but I’m hoping for some clarity tomorrow.  I’m hoping God uses these speakers and workshops to define more of who I am — who He wants me to be.


 

Write 31 Days: Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

31 days of JoyWrite 31 Days.

I’ve been writing recently about grumbling, and the idea that trust and grumbling are opposites.

We can’t trust God and then grumble about what He has laid before us, or the “work” He’s given us to do.  Grumbling, murmuring, and disputing testify to unbelief.  If I truly believe that God is in control, and that He has my best, my very best interest at heart (and He always does), then how can I argue or grumble?

I spoke briefly with a friend yesterday, and this young woman is walking a road none of us would ask to travel.  She has just given birth to her 3rd child, a precious little girl.   This sweet little babe has some chromosome abnormalities that present a grave prognosis.  Her life here on earth will most likely be short-lived, maybe a month, possibly a year.

As we chatted, this young mom thanked me for my recent posts, ‘They’ve been good for me because I’ve been tempted to grumble a bit…I’m asking why a lot.’  Oh, Sweet Friend, mourning and grieving, even asking why, are not the same thing as grumbling.  Expressing heartache over dashed expectations or grieving a loss are natural human reactions.  God has given us those emotions, and understands our need to express them.

The Merriam Webster dictionary says the word mourn is to feel or show great sadness because someone has died; to feel or show great sadness or unhappiness about (something).

And this about grieve:  to cause (someone) to feel sad or unhappy; to feel or show grief or sadness.

That same resource says to grumble is complain or protest about something in a bad-tempered but typically muted way.

Mourning and grumbling are totally different reactions, feelings and emotions.  God will comfort us during the first, but rebuke us for the latter.

I was given permission to share this young mother’s words.  I was even told I could post a picture,  but the timing doesn’t feel quite right.  I may share more in another post on another day or someone else may get that honor as their story must be told.  This baby’s life will be honored and people will be blessed from the testimony of this family.

I know some reading this blog are going through some really heavy stuff, and these posts are not meant to make light of those trials.  God hears your cries.  I hope you find comfort as you read the verses below…. just a few things God has to say about mourning…

 

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Write 31 Days: Comparisons Always Change Our Focus

31 days of JoyWrite 31 Days.  Am I trusting God?  Or does my complaining and grumbling show my unbelief?

My next stop during this month of no grumbling took me to the book of Numbers in the Bible.  I am not going to go into all the details of chapter 16 as I really only want to use a portion of my 500 words (that is the maximum number of 132322145words in any article before your eyes glaze over and you lose all interest in the point of the post ).

Chapter 16 is filled with jealousy and comparisons, and the awful price a disgruntled people paid for not listening to God.

It all started when a few people got jealous of their leaders, of God’s anointed leaders; they gathered a few more into their fold with their complaining and comparisons.  Then others became unhappy with this and that.  It was an opposition against Moses and Aaron.

Really?  No, Moses and his brother were  anointed by God so the uprising was actually rebellion against Him.

Jealousy is a poison. Comparisons can be deadly.  When we look at others and long for their talents, and their gifts, we become discontent with our own.  In God’s Word, we’re told that we all have gifts.

“Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly…”  Romans 12:6.   But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift”   Ephesians 4:7.

Yet we neglect to nurture our own if we keep looking around us at others.

Not only do comparisons cause us to grumble, but our complaining is often contagious.   God dealt gravely with those who rebelled in that book of Numbers, but let’s read the last sentence in that very same chapter, “The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron…”. (Numbers 16:41)

Poison.  Spreading to others.  The rebellion of some had caused discontentment in the”whole Israelite community“.

But , “The very next day...”?  The very same chapter, the very next day.  How can that happen?  How can memories be so short?  Unfortunately, as a fallen people, they didn’t always learn the lessons God put in their lives.  We don’t either.

your-talent-is-gods-gift-to-you_what-you-do-with-it-is-your-gift-back-to-god-srqqkb“I wish I could sing like you”

“I want to speak like her”

“I would love to write like him”

“Why can’t I teach like her”

Comparisons. Grumbles.  Discontentment.

We sometimes  see the error in our way, and ask God to forgive us.  And we are happy with our own talents and gifts…. for about 2 days.   Then we do it all over again.

We are those people.  At least I am those people.

Friend, stop looking around.  Look up and then look within.   What is your talent?  What are you good at?  Where are your passions?  Find those things and nurture those things.  When you are doing what God created you to do, you will find satisfaction and contentment.

And God will be glorified in you.

Oops, I used all 500 words;  I hope you stayed with me!

 

 

Write 31 Days: Breathe, Relax, And Let God Be God

31 days of Joy31 days of JOY

A friend of mine is struggling as  one of her adult children is going through something right now that is breaking her heart.  We sat over a cup of coffee and talked about life, marriage, children, parents, and God ….  yeh, that kind of friend.    After we moved to this area, God answered my prayer, and put this kindred spirit into my life.   I have only known her for about four years, but it feels like I’ve known her my whole life.

I have four children of my own — all girls, all grown.  They are beautiful, strong, and gochenaurs-4167independent women.  Each daughter has faced her own challenges; and if I’m honest, some are still trying to figure a few things out.  But then, aren’t we all?

Parenting is hard.   And whichever stage of parenting you’re in — babies, toddlers, tweens or teens — that stage seems to be the hardest.   Because every season is hard and takes it’s toll on us as moms and dads.    I always thought when my kids were raised, I could take a deep breath and relax.

No one ever tells you that whether your child is 5 or 35, you hold them in your heart and think about them, their decisions, and their well-being every single day… forever.

No breathing.  No relaxing.

I know that is not exactly true, and full-time parenting minors is certainly different than “parenting” adult children.   A wise woman once told me, ‘when your children are little, talk to them about God.  When your children are adults, talk to God about them’.

Which brings me to my point (finally)… I’ve been reading the book of Philippians recently.   There’s a really simple verse in chapter 2 that we often teach our children.  It’s a Sunday School favorite for memorization:  “Do all things without grumbling and disputing” (Philippians 2:14).  As young parents, we arm ourselves and quote that verse as we separate squabbling children.  At other times, we make them repeat it as they march off to clean their rooms.

il_570xN_319280390But THAT verse recently jumped off the page at me during a quiet time of reading and reflection.  I had actually been having a conversation with God — about my children.  I was arguing about a situation in which one of my girls finds herself.    What, Lord?  Even that?  I can’t grumble about that?

And I heard, “No, trust Me” (not audibly, but loud, just the same).

“I do trust You, Lord.”

“Then why do you grumble?”

“Isn’t it my right to grumble when things are not going well for my kids?   I want the best for my kids.  Can’t I complain when things stink?”

“Do you trust Me?” 

And there it is again.

Grumble or trust?

As a parent, the hardest thing for me to do is let go, and let God take care of my kids.  I want control.   I want to make things right.   I want to fix things.  I want to grumble.   I want to complain.  I want…

But it’s not about me.

And I think that is what God is trying to teach me.  My kids are His.   He is in control.  He will make things right.  He will fix things.

… in His own time

… and in His own way.

And He will get the glory.

And my children will be stronger and better when God works in their life (not Mom).

Do I trust God with my kids?  Yes, yes, I do.  So it’s about time I acted like it.

“Thank you, God, for what You are doing in their lives.  Thank you for loving them… even MORE than I do.    I praise You.”

My job is to pray and praise.

It’s hard to grumble and praise in the same breath.

God’s got this!  God’s got them!

Breathe in, breathe out, relax.

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Write 31 Days: Walk Confidently Away From Your Egypt

31 days of Joy31 Days of JOY — that is my challenge.  Grumble or Trust?

When I began this challenge, it wasn’t my intention to go through the Bible, looking for every mention of grumble, however, it has become a fascinating word study.   I’ve gotten very intrigued, and humbled, by the texts.

God takes grumbling very seriously.

All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!  Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?”  So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.” (Numbers 14:2-4)

Egypt_SlaveryReturn to Egypt?  Return to slavery?

The people were afraid because Moses had sent men into Canaan to “spy out the land”.  The people received a bad report from 10 of the 12 men.   Ten men came back and stirred up fear.  Two men came back and said, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—a land which flows with milk and honey.”

Yes, the people living in the land of Canaan were strong;  the cities were large and fortified.  The men were gigantic!   Both the location, all the people, and their neighbors were formidable.  It did look hopeless, but God had said He was giving the land to the Hebrew people.  God said it was theirs already.  Surely they would trust Him.

As I read that familiar story, I thought, why did Moses send men into Canaan to spy out the land?  Hadn’t God already promised the land to them?  Why did Moses need to scout it out?   So I went back to the beginning, and look what I found…

Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying,  “Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their fathers’ tribes, every one a leader among them.”  (Numbers 13:1-2)

It wasn’t Moses’ idea to send spies.   He was being obedient to God.   God sent the spies into Canaan.  Why?  God didn’t need spies; He knew what was in the land of Canaan.

Well, well, well….   That puts a whole new perspective on this story.

God was testing the faith of the people.  He wanted to see if they would trust Him.

What did they do?  They grumbled.

And there it is again. 

Grumble or trust?

1280px-Death_Valley,19820816,Desert,incoming_near_ShoshonesAren’t we a bit like those people wandering in the desert?  We may be sure God is leading us in a certain direction, but when something happens that upsets the plans, we often retreat, doubting that we heard Him correctly.  We don’t see it as a test of faith, a time to speak up and remember God’s faithfulness to us.  We see it as defeat.  We run back to “Egypt”, our own state of slavery.  It may not be a bad place; it might be a comfortable place, but is it THE place God wants us to be?  Trials and tests don’t scream “retreat”; they often beg for, “I serve a faithful God.  Let’s go!”

I don’t want to grumble and miss the blessing of my promised land.  I want to remember that God HAS been faithful.  God WILL go before me.  God has ALREADY defeated my enemies.

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’  (Isaiah 41:10)

 

Write 31 Days: Did God Bring Us Here to Die?

31 days of Joy31 days of JOY — Grumble or Trust?

The Hebrew’s exodus out of Egypt is a very well-known Bible story.  It makes for a great cast of characters in children’s Sunday School class or any drama presentation:   A powerful Pharaoh, an adopted son-turned-enemy, and an enslaved people… all lend to an amazing narrative.

But those of us familiar with the history know that those very same freed people were not such great travelers.  It’s not a surprise that the first mention of grumbling in the Bible appears in the book of Exodus (even though I’m pretty sure Adam and Eve did their share of complaining after their little snack in the garden, nothing is recorded about their discontent).

“But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left”.  (Exodus 14:29)  Can God get any more REAL?  The Hebrew people had seen wonders, they had seen God.

They saw God when Moses rescued them from 400 years of slavery.  (Exodus 3:10-12)

They saw God when He “gave them favor in the eyes of the Egyptians”  so they walked away with their Moses-and-the-Divided-Red-Sea-Explained-Revealed-East-Wind-Parting-Israel-Hebrew-Egyptians-Crossing-Exodus-14-21-Bible-Story-Science-Scientific-Explanaticaptors’ silver, gold, and clothing.  (Exodus 12:35-37)

They saw God as He guided the Hebrews around in that unfamiliar territory with a cloud by day and a fire by night.  (Exodus 13:21)

They saw God dry up the Red Sea and allow for their miraculous crossing.  The Pharaoh and his army weren’t so lucky. (Exodus 14:27-29)

And as the people stepped onto dry ground, they were ecstatic and they danced and sang songs to the Lord.  They recognized God’s control and gave Him praise.  (Exodus 15:1-21)

GUWG-GRUMBLINGHowever….   almost before the water was dry between their toes, there was some grumbling.  It most likely began with one or two, spread to a few, and before he knew what happened, the whole crowd was yelling at Moses, “We need water to drink; this water is bitter!  We need food to eat!  Did you bring us out here to kill us?  We should have just died in Egypt!”  (Exodus 16:1-7)

We read that story, and we are shocked:  ‘Seriously?  How can those people be so spoiled.  So forgetful.  So disrespectful.  So ungrateful.’

They had been given so much.  God was taking care of them.  Yes, they needed food and water, but surely they knew God wouldn’t bring them this far only to let them die.  He would provide.

Trust?  Faith?  Nope, grumble, grumble, grumble.

Wait.  What?  Am I any different?  I have a house, food, water, clothes, and so much more.  I am blessed.  God has been faithful.  Yet I grumble because I have to load a dishwasher, yet those very dishes are proof that I have food.  I complain about the laundry, yet those are the clothes that keep me warm.  I don’t like dusting my sturdy, lovely furniture.  I whine because I have appointments conflicting on my calendar — I have to choose between two good friends!

No, I am no different.

I am that people.

I am so spoiled.  So forgetful.  So disrespectful.  So ungrateful.

“…your grumblings are not against us but against the Lord.”  (Exodus 16: 8)

Ouch.

When I protest to my husband, my children, or my friend, it is a complaint that God hears loud and clear, and takes personally.   I am talking directly to Him — the Giver of all that I have.  Whew.  That’s pretty heavy stuff.

50576f919e08719fb8d22dca0585afa9I’m so glad I’m living under God’s grace, and that He is always willing to forgive.  I’m thankful He’s given us His word, and placed stories within those pages that speak to us and teach us His ways.   We fail sometimes, yes, but we have His Spirit available to us, to help us be gracious and thankful.

The idea that grumbling is the opposite of trust has just started to resonate with me.  And I’ve bitten my tongue more than once today, and then offered up a prayer, ” I know You’ve got this.  Thank you for what You are doing in this situation.”   

 

 

Write 31 Days: Two Choices: Grumble or Trust

31 days of JoyI grumble.

I don’t want to be a grumbler.

But I am.

Evidently.

As a woman who looks for Divine intervention in her life, I read my Bible, study my Bible and journal from my Bible.   And lately the word, grumble, has come up way too open-bibleoften for me to ignore any longer.  Once, I hardly even saw it.  Twice, I read back over the phrase.  But after I saw it (and heard it) 4 or 5 times,  I knew God was trying to get my attention.

When I grumble, I allow my circumstances to steal my joy.  And my trust.

Psalm 106: 24-25 “Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe in His word,  but grumbled in their tents; They did not listen to the voice of the Lord.”

When I complain and whine about anything (and everything) in my life, I am not listening to the voice of the Lord.

GUWG-GRUMBLINGGrumbling, complaining, and whining are not attributes of Christ.

They are not Fruits of the Spirit.

They hamper the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.

Can I go 31 days without grumbling?  Can I replace that grouchy attitude with sweet gratitude?  They are opposite.  I can’t be grumbling and offering thanksgiving at the thSL3UBJNAsame time.

I want to be a woman who trusts God when life is merry, and when life is tough.  I don’t want my circumstances to define who I am.

I am a woman of God.  I trust God.  I believe God.

Do I?

Hmm…  does my grumbling attest to my trust?

Psalm 16:11 “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

trustSo am I going to grumble?  Or am I going to trust God?  I think it’s either/or — can’t be both.

 

Big challenge.

31 days!  I’m taking the challenge!

Seems daunting — both for writing, and for…. well, trusting.

Here we go….  hope you join me!

Are you going to grumble?  Or are you going to trust?

31 days of Joy