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We Are All Hansels and Gretels. We Leave Behind a Trail

Hansel and Gretel Stamp

Funny story

Once upon a time, at the apartment building where I live, there was a strawberry salad thief. A resident was planning a party. She had stored the food in the refrigerator of the Commons area kitchen. Thinking it safe, she went to her apartment and to bed, looking forward to the next day’s celebrations. Only to discover the next morning that her strawberry salad was missing.

It was quickly discovered that there was a RED trail from the kitchen, down the hall, and up the stairs, right to the door of the thief. There was no doubt what had happened. It is funny to think back on, but at the time, it was upsetting to my friend who was planning a party.

The story of Hansel and Gretel

Remember in that story there was a trail of white stones that caught the moonlight and led the children back home. (We won’t discuss their home life in this article. YIKES!!!)

AND, the second time they were left in the woods to die, there was a trail of bread that was eaten by hungry birds. Eventually, they got home again, but it was a much harder journey.

What kind of trail am I leaving?

A story in a devotional book is actually what started me down this path: “Earlier this year, the owners of a restaurant called Build-A-Burger in New York State called the sheriff’s office to report their cash register was missing. Deputies checked a nearby hiking trail and found a steady trail of macaroni salad. Hansel and Gretel didn’t leave a better trail; and within a short time, a gang of three men was captured and charged with theft. It seems that along with the register, the men had also swiped a large bowl of macaroni salad.” — Turning point devotional for Thursday, Sept 17.

Scripture reference

“Be sure your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23) Hmmmmm…Even when we think we are pulling off the “perfect crime”! 😉

Isn’t that amazing?

What got them caught was their lust of the flesh. They were apparently hungry, careless and sloppy (leaving a trail of macaroni)!

Challenge question

Years ago, a group of us were asked the challenge question: How will you live your life? What would you like your tombstone to say?

I decided right then that I would want it to say: SHE CARED!!! Of course I too often fall short in my selfish humanness, but it is ever in the back of my mind, driving my behavior and attitudes.

Another Scripture verse

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 “We have spoken freely to you…and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange…open wide your hearts also.”

It is a fearful thing to open our hearts to others.

To trust. Opening our hearts to others can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit. The people at Fort Street Christian Church in Omaha Nebraska opened wide their hearts to me about 40 years ago now. They were patient and kind. Gentle. And they loved Jesus above all else. Their “trail” was one that led me to the foot of the cross.

And in this month of greater focus on Gratitude and Thanksgiving, I am thanking them for that trail! They showed me the way HOME!!! To my REAL HOME!!! To JESUS!!!

What do you see as you look at YOUR life?

Isn’t it great that you can actually CHOOSE what kind of trail you leave behind! AND…it is true that…

It is never ever too late to tweak the trail of your life. I can help with that…

God bless you bunches!

Until Next Time,

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
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Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Wedding Plans & Alpha Moms

Most couples have expectations that after the engagement, there comes the blissful and effortless planning of a wedding celebration. However, sometimes, the wedding plans become a challenge when one or more Alpha Moms vye against the Alpha Bride for the power to plan.

Let’s be fair. Seldom does the Alpha person see the relational fractures they are causing. What could be some of the possible reasons this is happening?

Alpha Manifestations:
The money rules. Whoever pays the most thinks (and rightly so) that they should have a greater input … but unfortunately that often translates into the “Right to Rule” all things attitude.
Power struggles. “Where, what, who, when” decisions become nightmares as formerly sane people try to be heard. It appears that they feel that their way is the only reasonable (translated: correct) decision.
Focus on tasks/decisions. It is easy to forget to be kind when so many tasks and decisions are piling up.
Past experiences. Perhaps their own Mom was a Wedding Alpha Mom and they don’t know there is another option.

Is there an alternative? Is this all inevitable? Does the best Alpha win?

Advantages in the Christian Wedding:
 We can choose to keep God in the center…to pray first, pray during, and pray after each decision, each meeting, and each event.
 The wisdom of the Word of God is the Rock to stand on. Reading the New Testament book of Philippians is a good place to start each day. It helps to keep our focus on the Joy in the Lord…to keep our thoughts of Him front and center.
 It helps to keep reminding ourselves that God is on our side. He wants us to ask for His help. He desires the wedding plans to be as blissful as the joy of the engagement was. Jesus’ first recorded miracle was at a wedding feast with his mother. He understands.
 A priority must be in keeping our guard up against the evil one that desires to destroy the good testimony that can come from a Christian wedding done well.
 We can choose to have an “accountability partner” to help us keep focused on what is eternal.

It is also important to remember that just because we are Christians, we are not immune to the temptations brought on by wanting everything to be just right. With all the busyness, it is easy to forget we are sinners needing God’s mercy, guidance, wisdom, and grace.

In Luke 18:9-14, the Alpha church leader – the one that knew and taught the Scriptures – the one that spent most of his days in a religious lifestyle (and should have known better) tried to convince God of his “Alpha-ness” (translated: worthiness).

In the story, we also see the lowly, despised man – feeling his sinfulness (translated: UNworthiness). He is begging God for mercy.

The question is – in any of life’s circumstances – do we want to be the Alpha person or the one asking for the Lord’s mercy and guidance…and receiving it because God sees our heart. Being an Alpha person is a hard habit to break. But the first step is awareness that it’s not worth the ultimate price – being out of God’s favor.

It helps to keep the perspective that it is truly only one day. Future relationships can be strained when we insist that the Alpha way is the right way…controlling things with either attitude, tears, or outbursts of anger. Whether you are the bride, the groom, the mother, the father, a relative, or friend, it simply is not worth it in the long run. How much better to seek to be a blessing in the planning of a wedding.

Yes, decisions have to be made and deadlines have to be met. And yielding is difficult, but done with eyes wide open and on the Lord, it can be the difference between being a Kingdom Person rather than a Church Person. Our ways are earthly. His ways are Heavenly.

Luke 18:14 “I tell you that this man {the UNworthy one…the one who knew that he was a sinner}, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled; and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

May God bless your wedding plans, your wedding, and all the rest of your days on earth. For His glory!

 

 


Being a Mom is Like Walking a Tightrope

Discrimination. A big word —  back in the news because of the Arizona law.

Have you ever considered that celebrating Mothers’ Day discriminates against the rest of the population?  So,  am I recommending that we eliminate it? Not on your life!

After numerous illnesses and many long periods of hospitalization, my Mom died when I was 12.  And now she is out of my life forever. We never think that can happen to us and yet it did!  How I wish I could spend the day with her tomorrow. (Do you ever stop missing your Mom?)

Mom’s are unsung heroes most of the other 364 days of the year. We just kinda get used to them being there whenever we want them to be.  Taking them for granted.  Sometimes we want our “Mommy” and other times we want to be an adult and stand on our own two feet…without their “interference”. And that can change back and forth even within a five minute  time period. Being a  mom is like walking a tight-rope.

How is it we go about not realizing their sacrifice until we have a child of our own? T H E N … we understand and we grieve the lost opportunities we had had to connect on a deeper level all those years before the birth of our own child/children.  And our Moms must then again walk that tightrope of wondering which hat they should wear at any given time, when–even as parents ourselves–we are back and forth between wanting our “Mommy” and standing on our own and making our OWN mistakes.

I am a mother and proud of it. I loved the privilege of homeschooling my kids, coupled with the privilege of praying with them as they asked the Lord to be their personal Savior. Glory! What can ever be more rewarding than all of that?  Each phase of their lives has had its own challenge and reward.

It has been said, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”  My mother had a great influence on me.  Her faith in the Lord made me hunger for what she had. We never had a chance to sit down and talk about it, but  I knew she had something very special that I wanted…and…after her death, I searched until I found the Source of her strength — Jesus.

Are mothers perfect? Not on your life! Mine wasn’t and I am not. Moms are sinners and their kids are sinners. Do we make mistakes? Numerous ones and often! Would we die for our children? In a heartbeat! Isn’t that what childbirth proves?

Back to the original question: Should we eliminate Mothers’ Day because  it is a discrimination against others?  Or rather decide to make EVERY day Mothers’ Day, forgiving her for her mistakes and all her sins and choosing to enjoy her with all her warts and flaws…every day.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow. I know. I was not guaranteed even the 13th year of my life with mine.