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God's Dust Bunnies
Category: Member Blogs

God's Dust Bunnies

 
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust- God took ashes and breathed, and lo, here we are cruising the Internet and drinking lattes. 

If you think deeply about it, we are God's little dust-bunnies.

Unlike those dust-bunnies under our couches, we were not only given life, but given free will- and a purpose. Dust-bunnies on a mission! 

(plays the 'Mission Impossible' theme song)

Some of us are busy bunnies, rolling all over the place like tumbleweeds in a tornado, doing anything and everything we can for God and His glory. Others are just like those couch bunnies- hiding under the furniture legs until someone drags us out with a duster. Usually it's God doing the dusting, or one of those 'Energizer' dust-bunnies running forth to help after hearing God's call. Either way, those resistant bunnies will be coming out from under that couch!

I'm one of those in-between bunnies- the ones with just enough Velcro to attach herself to the cushions, resisting the mops, brooms, and vacuums until God decides to pluck us off and put us where He wants us. Good thing God likes dust bunnies or I'd be in the Heavenly Dust Bin by now.

Recently, God has plucked me out of my comfort zone and sent me tumbling across His living room floor. I won't say yet what I'm working on, but it will be awesome when it's finished! (I'll tell you then- I promise!)

In the meantime God is happy plunking my gimpy dust-bunny butt in a desk chair to write, write, write! Thanks to some other motivational bunnies God sent me, I have a schedule and a few goals set so I can put to better use the time God gave me.

What kind of dust bunny are you? Do you let God blow you across the floor, or are you still peeking out from under the couch? Remember that the same breath that gave us life will also guide us as we tumble! Don't be afraid to let Him pluck you from the cushions- what He has planned for you is awesome!  
 
Like A Child
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: child devotional God horses innocence self-reliance Christian life Christian women bloggers Christian women writers

We drove onto the farm and made our way around the silo and haystacks. Distracted by an issue I couldn’t seem to find answers for, I stared out the window in silence.
As our horse-hay was loaded, I stepped out of the truck and chatted with the farmer’s wife. Her three-year-old granddaughter wandered over and plopped in the dirt at her feet. Suddenly the little girl zoomed in for my attention. Her bright blue eyes danced as she told me about all the ways she played in the mud, the kind of birthday balloons she wanted on October “25fift,” and … would I like to come to her party? Her little legs kept in time with her chatter as they fanned wide half-circles in the soft dirt. Faded pink toenail polish peeked through the grains of sand.
That beam of innocence dissipated the cloud I’d come in with. We came for a load of hay, but I left with so much more.
As we hit the highway, I heard God’s voice in my spirit, “Like a child. Come to Me like a child.” Funny how God’s “still small voice” and interventions can almost be lost in the distractions of life.
Suddenly, my problems didn’t seem all that big any more. I felt a peculiar peace that all would be well even though I couldn’t see any details. Simple direction exchanged for simple trust. My heavenly Father wanted me to approach Him with all the innocence of a little kid. No preconceived ideas. No self-righteous, religious rules. No fear. Just a belief in the love of a Father who has my very best interests at heart.
The secret is developing that relationship. The mystery of God’s true heart is solved as we experience Him: reading His Word, the Bible; watching His Creation; recognizing His voice. And simply believing that He is Who He says He is and will care for us as His beloved children.
Demands and distractions of life quite often send us down the path of self-reliance. “I’ve got this,” our actions tell God. And we don’t consult Him. We become stressed out, weighed down, and pulled apart. Life becomes more difficult and complicated than it was ever meant to be.
When I think of Almighty God coming to us in the form of a child, lying in a feed trough with animals for roommates, humble and simple come to mind. He didn’t have to appear in this fashion, He just did. An example of how far He would go to show His love for us.
Like a child. Come to Him like a child.
 

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven”-Matthew 18:4 (NKJV).

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"February" by Thea Williams Tags: grief February Christian life Christian women Thea Williams Christian women online Christian women bloggers

A deceptively warm February 40 years ago saw my beloved father experiencing a near-fatal heart attack. I can never forget learning, after enjoying an overnight visit with a school friend, how my mom, hands full with three minor children, no job or even driver’s license, elected to leave me an extra day in the company of relative strangers while she dealt with the crisis. I remained there, blissfully unaware that my dad lay critically ill as I dressed Barbie dolls.

Fast forward 20 years to February 1991. I shivered on a cold gurney, awaiting surgery which would remove the remains of my unborn child, who had died before ever leaving the womb. Although the calendar said I was only 14 weeks pregnant, this baby already had a name – Abigail – and a huge place in my now broken heart. In short, I was devastated. I remember desperately waiting for the calendar page to turn so I could shudder off the cold, bleak month that had claimed my daughter’s life.

In February 2003, my precious mother took her last breaths, following years of frail health. Metastasized cancer diagnosed the previous fall caught us all off guard, and swept her away from us in less than three months.

While it stings to revisit all this sorrow, I find great comfort in recalling God’s mercy during those desolate periods. In wandering through each pain-filled song of my life, I find ample evidence of amazing grace rippling through every aching chord.

After Dad’s heart attack my sister Jane, whose goodness is rivaled only by her practicality, bought Mom driving lessons, rendering her less dependent on her ailing husband. Dad mercifully remained with us another 30 years, longer than any male in his immediate family, although his health was irreparably damaged. He was blessed with good quality of life, thanks to the grace of God and the benefits of 20th century medicine. He lived to see all seven of his grandchildren grow out of diapers and into their school years. The realization that we almost lost him made him that much dearer in our eyes.

While nothing could bring back my Abby, family and friends rallied to bind up my wounds. My sister Jo Ann, herself ready to deliver her second child, realized the seeming unfairness and understood why I couldn’t bring myself to visit newborn Madelyn when she arrived March 1. Instead of insisting I celebrate my new niece, Jo and her husband Scott, whom I consider a brother, sent me a glorious begonia with coral blossoms that reminded me life could still bloom even in the starkest winter.

 

For her part, my sister Roz took me out for an expensive haircut, with the thought that a new look might bring a smile to my tear-streaked face. Best of all, the following February found me weeks away from cradling my own darling Aaron, who made his entrance March 16, 1992. Five years later, almost to the day, his precious brother, Ethan, came on the scene. February, indeed, gave way to marvelous March.


When Mom was in the last stages of her illness, Jane packed up her suitcases and nursing skills and boarded a flight home across the country. She made it in time to tend our mother and say goodbye. Roz’s husband Tom, also more brother than brother-in-law, came to the rescue, hauling Mom’s debilitated body up when she would slip down in her hospital bed.

 

In the aftermath, I cried on the phone with my counselor while emptying Mom’s closet. That dear lady wouldn’t take a cent for our phone session. A neighbor who had never before been kind cleared snow from our driveway, and others we barely knew showed up to her memorial service. We didn’t get through unscathed, but neither were we forsaken.

 

In every season of grief, almighty arms held my family and me high above an abyss of uncertainty and pain. Those arms aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. 

 

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath 

are the everlasting arms.”

Deuteronomy 33:27

 

 

Thea Williams’s short story, “Phoenix,” appears in 50 Over Fifty: A Celebration of Established and Emerging Women Writers. Her work appears in Focus on the Family Magazine and Al Anon’s The Rap. Subscribe to Thea’s blog at www.reflectionsbythea.blogspot.com  By day, Thea educates and prays for young minds at a local school district. You can also contact Thea on her FB page. Thea is a regular contributor to RUBY magazine.

"His Hands" by Alisha Ritchie Tags: marriage Christian life Christian women Christian women bloggers Christian women writers Alisha Ritchie

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious hands. Isaiah 41:10 NLT

 On August 24, 1996, I married my soul mate, Brandon, in front of all of our family and friends. As I walked toward him down the long aisle of the church, butterflies swarmed in my stomach. My palms grew sweaty as I realized every eye in the sanctuary was on me at that precise moment. I smiled as I glided along but on the inside, my nerves threatened to conquer me.

Proceeding with the ceremony, we bowed together in prayer at the kneeling bench. As we knelt there, eyes closed, heads down, and hearts open, my hands started to tremble. In the midst of the preacher’s eloquent blessing prayer, Brandon reached over and placed his hand over top of my right hand. He squeezed my palm and kept his hand there throughout the rest of our time on the bench.  He spoke no words, but it was as if he was saying to me by his gentle touch,” It’s ok, I’m here for you.  Don’t be nervous. Everything will work out fine. I’m here no matter what.”

His small act of love warmed my hand and my heart. He brought peace with his touch and calmed my anxiety. From that instant, a calmness washed over me as my nerves were pushed to the back pew and my excitement for the future welled up inside me. I knew we were meant to be and his effect on me further proved the point

Throughout our marriage, Brandon’s hands have been there to help calm my nerves and tensions on many occasions. From praying for me, to wiping tears from my eyes, his gentle touch always makes it better. He is always there to take his turn driving the kids to their activities or washing the dishes because I am stressed or too busy to get it all done.

And those hands have shared in an abundance of happy moments, too. They were there to cradle both of our newborn babies closely to his chest. They shoot basketballs with my son and hit volleyballs to my daughter.

They toss sticks to our rowdy dog as he playfully fetches them. They hold me close as we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. They guide me on beautiful walks on the beach and in the forest as we hike to see waterfalls. They teach small group Bible studies at church and type on the computer countless hours to provide for our little family.

Brandon is faithful to always be there, no matter what- just as he “said” to me with his graceful hands on our wedding day.

God is a lot like that. He is always available to help me with His trustworthy guidance…any day, any hour, any second. He promises in Isaiah to provide strength and assistance when I’m struggling. He desires to calm my fears and give peace with His presence. He gives hope with the reassurance in my relationship with Him as my Lord and Savior.

I have confidence in His ability to be victorious over any obstacle. His relentless love constantly pursues me and continues to work personally in my life every day He cares so much about me (and you) that He reaches out to grasp me tightly with His Holy hand when I’m too feeble to stand on my own.

As I think about how God moves in my life, I realize part of God being faithful to His promises in Isaiah is by sending Brandon into my life. He has blessed me with a devoted husband to do life with- through the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. It’s almost as if Brandon’s hands are an extension of God’s own hands, always there guiding, protecting, and helping.

Take comfort in the knowledge God loves you and wants to share in every part of your life, no matter how big or small. He is dependable and loyal to His Word. He will not fail as you trust Him in every area of your life, giving over all your thoughts, worries, dreams, and hopes to Him. Let the Lord’s hands provide tranquility on your amazing journey of life.

Lord, thank you for being my Lord and Savior and for caring so much that You desire to have a personal relationship with me.  You are steadfast as You share in all the moments of my life, whether good or bad.  Grow my trust in You as I learn to depend on You completely.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

 

Alisha Ritchie writes from North Carolina where she enjoys spending time with her husband, Brandon, of almost twenty years, and two busy but wonderful teenagers, Zack and Abby. She is a Physical Therapy Assistant by profession but in recent years has also become a multi-published author of devotions and inspirational stories to inspire others in their walk with God. You can read more of her writing at www.seekhimdaily.wordpress.com

"Sing like the birds . . . " by Cynthia Knisley Tags: daily devotional change Christian life Christian women Christian women writers Christian women bloggers

Change is around us everywhere!  By now the New Year is well underway, and we remember to write 2017 on our checks and correspondence. Our nation has a new leader who has promised all kinds of change that will affect Americans and countless others around the globe. Change in our personal lives occurs, embodying both joy and pain.

Elementary children grow up and move on to middle school. High schoolers begin to drive and date, and before long they select a college and prepare to live independently. Sweethearts decide to marry and newly-weds begin a family. Now that involves huge change!

If a bundle of joy has arrived at your doorstep recently you know that schedule and household are turned up-side-down, and you wonder if life will ever be the same again. Work assignments change and families sell homes and move to far-off places, leaving behind friends and familiar settings.

Parents suddenly find they live in an empty nest or one spouse decides to leave, or both occur at the same time. Older folks become frail and require new living situations and special care.

There is one thing that is certain in life, and that is change. It can result from conditions that are out of our control or from decisions we make. In either case, change requires adjustment and the way we approach the process determines the outcome.

I recently reached a significant crossroad in my life and discovered that faith played a major role in my ability to reach a decision and to adjust to the result. This is what occurred.  While attending women’s retreat at a beautiful seaside resort I found myself wrestling with a key life choice. Should I retire from a career that I loved?

I had considered the pros and cons for several years. The quiet retreat setting gave me time to pray and suddenly a lovely metaphor came to mind, the words of a pastor some time ago:

“Faith is like the birds that sing joyfully in anticipation of the morning light— in the darkness, before the sun rises.”

Then I knew that God would be with me in the change experience and I could be at peace about it, even though the outcome was still unclear.  I could sing like the birds, in advance, trusting in the unseen, and goodness would follow.

He would be there in the uncharted territory of my new situation.  And He was!  May your faith carry you onward into change and happily into the new adventures on the other side.

 

 

Cindy Knisley:  After years as a “stay-at-home” mom, Cynthia enjoyed a fulfilling second career as a high school language teacher and curriculum developer. Recently, she took a leap of faith and left the classroom in order to devote more time to family—aging parents, adult children, and lively young grandchildren. Her home is in West Chester, PA, where she plays classical music, bakes bread, and tends a “secret garden.” A novice blogger, she welcomes you to her posts at faithtofigs@myblog.com.

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