Monday, February 25, 2013

Stop! Be Still!

We don't stop.  Our lives are filled with craziness and we just keep moving from one thing to the next.  Work is busy, the kids schedules keep us hopping and our church ministry is ongoing.  Teaching a bible study, making dinner, getting homework done….it just doesn't stop.

Our family was forced to stop over the past several days.  "Christian" had another really intense knee bleed and everything came to a screeching halt so we took him to the hospital where he was admitted for five days.  Work takes a back seat, making dinner definitely does not happen, and running back and forth from home to the hospital commences.

When you are in the hospital with a child, there is only so much you can do.  You are forced to put your life on hold and take care of what is most important.  I think this is one of those "God things".  I am forced to take a moment to breathe without the worries of everyday living.  It's not exactly the best way to slow down, but sometimes it takes these moments to make us focus.

Waiting teaches us who we are.  That still, small voice in our heads is God trying to get through to us.

We should use the Lenten season to listen to what God is trying to tell us as we prepare for Easter.  Slowing down is not in our vocabulary, but it's amazing what becomes important when you do take a moment to really look at what is going on around you.

"Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!"  Psalm 46:10 (AMP)

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Thursday, February 14, 2013


When I found my soul mate, at the time I didn't know he was "the one".  But God sure did.  By all accounts, Joe MacDonald and I should probably never have gotten together.  People said we were too different, he was wild and crazy, I was extremely uptight.  He was spontaneous, I loved knowing what was coming next.  He was Protestant, I was Catholic, wasn't that a big enough difference? :)

"The most wonderful of all things in life is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a growing depth, beauty and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing; it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of divine accident, and the most wonderful of all things in life."  Sir Hugh Walpole

All these years later after career changes, children, relocating, losing parents, ministering...I can honestly say that the thing that has bound us together through everything in our lives is love. 

  • Love so deep that I never dreamed it existed.
  • Love so profound and overwhelming that you can hardly breathe. 
  • Love so rich that if God took you from this world at this very moment, you would say that you had experienced everything life had to offer with no regrets.

You don't have to be a "soul mate" on this Earth to experience this kind of love.  You already have it, Beloved.  God loves you this way.  He loves you in a way that you can't put into words.  He loves you at this moment, just exactly how you are.  We are all broken people.  We struggle with something and God will meet us right where we are at.  You just have to have an open heart.

My prayer for you today is that you know you are loved with an everlasting, unfailing love that only the Creator of the Universe can give you. 

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."  1 John 4:7-8 (NIV) 

Today I Am Thankful For:

1.  A surprise serenade by a barbershop quartet!
2.  Old sweaters
3.  Surprising my children
4.  Sunshine in Winter
5.  Joe Keith MacDonald, the love of my life

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013


One of my new roles at our church is head of the Worship Committee.  This committee ensures that every part of the worship experience is thought through for each service.  Are the bread and juice ready and set out on the altar, is the music playing at the appropriate times, are ushers and greeters available to direct people, and are the paraments and banners hung and displayed in the appropriate colors for the season? 

Last night I enlisted the help of my family to get the sanctuary ready for the Lenten season.  We have long pieces of fabric that drape the sides of the church and it takes time (and going up and down a high ladder several times) to hang it correctly.

It took a while, but we changed all of the colors on the altar to purple, hung the banners, straightened up the choir loft...and I hate to admit it, but I was stressed out and in a terrible mood when I was doing it.  I failed to realize that I was doing one of the most important things I could be doing for the Lenten season...I was helping to prepare.

Today I was thinking about John and Peter and how they were sent in to Jerusalem to prepare the Passover Seder for the disciples.  They had to get the food, make a sacrifice in the Temple, clean up, set the table….there was much to be done.  I am not sure what their attitudes were while they were in the midst of preparing, but I like to think that they were mindful and prayerful, knowing that something amazing was going to take place in that Upper Room.

In what seems to be unimportant to many can be miraculous to others.  We can take the times of preparation in all things to glorify God.  The time it takes to prepare a meal, to prepare clothes to be laundered, to prepare a presentation for work, to prepare a bath of warm water to bathe a child.  All of these moments can be used in prayer...not just speaking the words, but in demonstrating through our actions the importance of each act.

As we enter the Lenten season, remember that this is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ.  Use these 40 days and nights to prepare your heart to become closer to Christ.  Join a Bible Study at church, read a daily devotional, be intentional about your prayers and most importantly work as though you are working for the Lord (Colossians 3:23).

Today I Am Thankful For:

1.  Ring pops
2.  Wheelchairs
3.  My stylus
4.  trying a new restaurant
5.  a compassionate 1st grade teacher

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Monday, February 11, 2013


Some people try to find joy in "things".  Material things.  They may find joy for a moment, but not the kind of joy that lasts a lifetime.

I saw joy last night as my little "Christian" went to bed with a painful ankle bleed.  I went into his room several times to check on him and in bed with him was the light saber that his friend bought him at the  circus.  It drew his attention away from his pain.  He was experiencing joy in the midst of pain.

At that moment, he asked me to rub his foot.  Whenever he has a bleed in his ankle, he asks for someone to lightly stoke his swollen joint.  It's soothing to him.  In that moment where my son was feeling pain, a pain I cannot understand, I found a moment of joy.  Joy that I have an amazing child who endures more than most people I know.  Joy in knowing I had everything I needed to care for my son.  Joy in the fact that I have been taught how to be strong and courageous when I didn't think I could. 

Joy is a "source" of happiness.  Having joy doesn't mean we are happy all of the time.  It means we have that deep down connection inside of us, knowing that God is truly our inspiration for all things.  He is the one who brings us joy.  Often times we have difficult situations thrown at us and those are the times when it is hard to find that joy. 

We need to stay strong and courageous in our daily living.  There is nothing that is given to you that you are unable to handle...absolutely nothing!  Believe that, Beloved!  Dig down deep within yourself to find joy in every circumstance and in every situation. 

God loves you more than you can imagine.  That should bring you joy to last a lifetime.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Today I Am Thankful For:

1.  Rice
2.  Frozen, precooked chicken = lunch in a flash
3.  File folders
4.  A new t-shirt
5.  Ice packs

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Thursday, February 07, 2013

A Bad Attitude

I had such a yucky day on Tuesday.  I wasn't feeling good, I had to work and I had zero energy.  And to top everything off I had to teach Bible Study in the evening.

The absolute last thing I felt like doing was teaching Bible Study. I mean I was in the kind of mood where I was ready to pick a fight with someone!

I had no one to call in at the last minute to teach for me and I had to get it together.  How in the world could God use me when I felt so crummy and I didn't want to even be present?

The Word of God just does something to you.  You read it, you speak it, you share with others and you can be transformed.  That evening of Bible Study brought laughter to a soul who needed a lift, a new scripture to a woman who needed something to hold on to and a bond to a group of women that are looking for connection.

Beloved, God uses you in ways you can't even places you would never dream and even by doing things you consider routine.  If you live your life to serve others as if you are serving Christ, you just can't go wrong. 

"Oozing" is a way of life.  It doesn't always happen when you feel great, but if you step out in faith and do the next right thing...especially when you don't feel like it.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."  Colossians 3:23-24  (NIV)

Today I Am Thankful For:

1.  A stack of new magazines
2.  Blow dryers
3.  iPad's
4.  Missed appointments
5.  Dinner at church on Wednesday's

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Monday, February 04, 2013

Having The Right Words...when my Facebook Chimed

Have you ever been in a situation when someone needed your help and you just did not have the words?

I have an amazing friend who lives in a neighboring state.  To say she has difficulties in her life is an understatement.  She has a husband, kids, job, and tons of responsibilities and I have never seen her get angry with God or run away from what she believes to be true.  She is a solid example of what a woman of faith looks like. 

I have to admit that I ran away from her.  She confided in me regarding a terribly difficult situation and I just absolutely had no idea what to say.  I didn't know how to comfort her or help her make sense of anything.  And I have not talked to her since...until my Facebook chimed in tonight.  I know that we don't always have the right words, and sometimes just being a presence for someone, even on a telephone line, or the other side of a Facebook chat is all someone needs.

But what about those times where you can't spit out the words fast enough?  As I was sitting in the hospital last weekwith my little one, my Facebook chat chimed again.  It was a very dear friend of mine from High School!  I haven't talked to her since our 10 year reunion (in 1996) :)

She was my "Baptist" friend who was always at church.  She always went to "youth group" or VBS.  In my Catholic upbringing (not everyone's Catholic upbringing), religion was not discussed.  We just "went to Mass" and my mom never let me go to her church even after I pleaded with her time after time.  I think I was always searching, even at that young age. 
"Gina" had some questions about being "Methodist" as she and her husband just joined a wonderful Methodist church.  I told her, "Call me anytime!"  And my phone rang five minutes later.  Hearing the twang of her Southern accent warmed my heart and when she asked me questions I had the words.  She even said, "Cazandra, isn't it funny that all those years ago God knew we would come together talking about faith even though we didn't back then?"
Yes, Gina, He did know that.  And I will continue to pray to God to give me the strength and wisdom to have the words when needed and the wisdom to know when my presence is enough.

Today I Am Thankful For:

1.  Discharge papers from the hospital
2.  Pretty boxes
3.  Friends who trust you
4.  Extension cords
5.  chimes

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Recommended Reading

  • Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, Joanna Weaver
  • Praying the Names of God, Ann Spangler
  • The Shack, William P. Young
  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers
  • Bad Girls of the Bible, Liz Curtis Higgs
  • The Mark of the Lion Triology, Francine Rivers
  • The Mitford Series, Jan Karon

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