Monday, June 22, 2020

Daddy's Child


There is NO DOUBT that our Missy has been a Daddy's girl for as long as she has been able to show it, and while it is precious to see most of the time, I confess, that it has induced some 'eye-rolly' moments 😉.

There are many indicators of her being a Daddy's girl, but the one that brought this lesson was her desire to show her Daddy everything when she was much younger - and by that I mean E-VERY-THING.  Sometimes that got to be a bit much, especially when her Daddy wasn't even home!; which meant having to hold on to stuff that did not need to be held on to.  Like, Seriously 😐😉!

Well, this one day, as I got ready to sigh and roll my eyes at another 'I want to show Daddy...', GOD checked me, and HE opened my eyes to see that it is EXACTLY what HE desires from us, HIS children.  

HE desires for us to want to show HIM (to tell HIM..., to ask HIM...), all the things in our lives -  big and small, serious and not.

JESUS explained this in Matthew 18:2-4 (NIV, biblegateway.com),

2 He [JESUS] called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.


No, we cannot regress to our childhood state like Benjamin Button 😊.  Yes, this may go counter to what the world and our culture tell us. We may worry that doing this may lay us bare or make us vulnerable. Sadly, for some, the truth is, being a child is not something they know about - they never got the chance to be one.  

However, the good news is that GOD is Our Father, and HE loves US, and HE just wants us to come to HIM 'any which way' - halting, unsure - but just to come, and to show HIM, whatever we want.

HE is the ONE Person we can be sure will take us in HIS arms without judgement or censure always, and whose love is unconditional.

So, don't let anything, or anyone, stop You.  Just come show HIM, HE's got You 😊.

Be Blessed 🙏,

AAA

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Forgotten Shoes

My very favorite pair of sneakers had come to the end of its road.  Now truth be told, I am not a big sneakers person, but I had had these for a while and they had been with me through many seasons of life.  Then, the last time I wore them, I had that sensation, when the soles of your shoes decide to go their own way.  I was sad to say goodbye to them, but I realized I needed to get a replacement pair so as to keep up with my exercising (it is definitely not one of my favorite things to do, and so I needed no excuses 😉😀).

When I searched online for a new pair of cross trainers, a few options came up.  As I was scrolling through them, I realized that a pair looked very familiar, and after a closer look, I remembered that I actually did have a pair of those same sneakers, except they were buried way back under stuff.  I had gotten them a while back, but had not really taken to them like my faves, and they had soon been forgotten.

I was surprised at the cost I saw on the website for them, because I know this Sales Queen here, did not pay that much for hers.  N-o-p-e 😃.  Seeing their price gave me a renewed appreciation for the hitherto forgotten sneakers (plus I sure was glad I did not have to spend that much on a new pair).  Erm, may I please clarify that we are not talking about any high end sneakers here, maybe the bottom of middle end even 😳.

Afterwards, while I was dusting them off and getting them ready, it hit me that my regard for the sneakers went up once I saw their price online, and that I had totally discounted them previously.  I was ashamed when I further realized that, similarly, there are many times I have undervalued what I have, including, sadly, the gifts and talents that GOD has given me, because I have not seen their price, their worth, their value - because there has been no external validation.  This has led me to allow these gifts and talents to sit dormant or be buried under stuff, while they wait, hopefully, to one day be dusted off and used for HIS glory.

The story of Moses in Exodus 4 kept coming to mind, particularly a question the LORD asked Moses, when he kept bringing up reasons (excuses) for why he was ill-equipped to do what the LORD was asking,

"What is that in your hand?" (Exodus 4:2a, NIV, biblegateway.com)

Then a song that includes that same question, by Alvin Slaughter, also kept streaming through my mind:

What's that you have in your hand
I can use it, if you are willing to lose it
Take the little you have and make it grand
I AM EL SHADDAI, and I'll more than supply your need...

GOD was reminding me, and you, that nothing HE gives is too small, too insignificant, and that if we will take what HE gives, and lift it up, or lay it down, for HIM, its true worth will always shine forth, whether people acknowledge it or not.

Zechariah 4:8-10 (MSG, biblegateway.com) says, 

"After that, the Word of God came to me: “Zerubbabel started rebuilding this Temple and he will complete it. That will be your confirmation that God-of-the-Angel-Armies sent me to you. Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? They’ll change their tune when they see Zerubbabel setting the last stone in place!"

We must remember that whatever our gift, whether big, small, or in-between, it is more than sufficient for use in our FATHER's service!

So what do you have in your hand?  No matter what, GOD can use it, and You.  HE's got You ðŸ˜Š

Be Blessed 🙏,

AAA


Monday, October 7, 2019

Autumn Leaves

If you had a toddler between 2008 and 2010, you may have been familiar with the character, Moose A. Moose, who was the 'facilitator/tutor' on the Nick Jr. channel.

He introduced the shows, and took the toddlers through exercises highlighting shapes, colors, letters, etc.  The other thing he talked about was the seasons, and what makes them unique.  I confess I learned a thing or two from the Moose myself 😉.

According to Sir Moose, in the Fall, the lack of adequate sunlight is what causes the leaves on trees to take on those shades of red, and gold, and brown - the beautiful colors that we like to see, and that people sometimes travel distances to enjoy. 

I had heard his spiel on Fall, and why he loved the season, several times, but this one time it really caught my attention.  Now I assumed that this was a simplified version of the explanation.  However, as I thought about how something as 'negative' as insufficient sunlight could result in such beauty, GOD brought to my attention the fact that, in the same way, HE uses those negative, not-so-bright periods in our lives, to bring beauty, into our lives, our character, our witness, and our faith.

Wow!!!

This brings to mind James Chapter 1 verses 2 to 4,

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (NIV, biblegateway.com).

So, be encouraged; no matter how negative things look, GOD knows what HE is doing.  HE's in control, and HE's got You 😊.

Be Blessed 🙏,

AAA

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Ummm No!

In a classic example of irony and 'ummm no!', a certain someone was on her way to undergo a medical procedure, and was trying hard to ward off fear and anxiety, to keep her mind from going 'there'.  She decided to check out one of her daily devotionals, and you can imagine her 'shockprise',  when she read the title for the day's devotional, "Your Eulogy" 😨😱😧.   SAY WHAT!  NO WAY!  Ummm No!!!


Needless to say, I, she, (aahhh, you know who) decided on a haarrrdddd pass for that!  It is likely that the actual devotional would not have been as I thought, from the title, but, No, Just No!

I will not lie though, it struck some fear in my heart, but as I closed the page quickly, GOD gave me the ability to laugh about it.  HE also gave me the ability to hang on to faith, faith that HE had my back, faith that HE would see me through; even when I had to sign a form acknowledging all that could possibly go wrong.  SERIOUSLY People!!! 😐😑 .

GOD indeed saw me through, even with a few concerning moments, and I am forever grateful.

As GOD promises in Isaiah 43:1-2 (NIV, biblegateway.com),

But now, this is what the Lord says—

    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.


HE's got My back.  HE's got Yours too 😊.

Be Blessed 🙏🏾,

AAA

Sunday, May 12, 2019

'Grievances'

How Do You Grieve For Your Loved One Who Is Gone, But Is Still Here 😕???

I want my Mommy, I want my Mommy, I want my Mommyyyyy...!!!

That is the silent scream deep within that begs to be released, late at night. Late, when all is quiet; late, when the distractions of the day have taken a break, and I am forced to contend with an awful reality - my Mama is gone.

The most painful irony, is that my Mama still lives, at least the body that housed her, still lives. However, her very essence, her very being, is gone, stolen from us by that dastardly disease, Alzheimer's. Oh how I hate Alzheimer's!!! I, so very much, hate Alzheimer's, from the depths of my soul. I hate it, Dementia, and all their relatives.

My Mama is one of the strongest women I know. Her life story is one for another time, but of all the things she was, being Mama Bear definitely was top of her list. While cuddly she was not😊, she loved us, her children, fiercely, and she went to great lengths to do her very best for us. All she did for us, is story #2 for another day.

My Mama appeared very reserved on the outside; she was serious about decorum and appropriate behavior (a friend and I called her Ms. Appropriate 🙂).  However, messing with her children was sure to raise the Mama Bear in her - it was a sight to behold. "I pitied the fool," 😉.

She worked hard, tried hard, and prayed hard - boy, did she pray hard. I remember rushing out in the mornings to get to work, not having had my morning devotions, and yet being confident in the knowledge that I was covered by my Mama's prayers, ALWAYS.  Oh how I wish that I had been able to save the prayers somehow...

About six years ago, when we began to suspect that something was wrong, nothing could have prepared us for how much that "uncircumcised-Philistine" (see 1 Samuel 17:26 for my loose reference) of a disease would take from us. Since then, I have had to watch this unholy disease turn this once strong, independent, health-conscious, faithful, and faith-filled woman into someone who has to rely on others for care; and we have all had to go on a journey, I would not wish on my worst enemy, I mean the very worst.

My Mama doesn't know who I am anymore, and that cuts deep. 😕😕😕

My Mama is a fighter, so she hangs on, regardless of the blows she is dealt. Many things have changed, and not in a good way, but one thing that has not, is that my Mama continues to refer to GOD's grace when we talk. Even this heavy darkness cannot block GOD's light.  HALLELUJAH!

I will not pretend I understand it all, and I sure have not accepted it At.All.  I am just stuck in this place of limbo, missing my Mama something awful, and yet not able to fully grieve (my use of the
mixed tenses is a reflection of my confused state). So I hang on, as she does...

My Mama is gone, and I just do not know what to do...

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

My Hair...

I had to buy hair braid extensions.  There was a particular store I had in mind, because they have a wide variety.  I thought the store closed at 9 p.m., so I came home from work, and took care of some stuff.  When I got ready to go, and I brought up their information on my phone, I realized that they actually closed at 8 p.m., which left me only a little time to get there.  I was bummed and panicked, because I absolutely needed those extensions that evening for a very early morning appointment, the following day. 

I decided to go to a second store, which did not have as much variety, or so I thought.  My only prayer was that GOD would help me find something that would work.  As I stood in the second store, I saw that they had more options than I had initially thought.  Also, GOD reminded me that the second store had a more favorable return policy than my first choice 😊.  While in the first store, you cannot return any products, even if you do not use them, the second store will allow a return so long as you meet certain stipulations (such as having your receipt - all over that one 😉).

Now I know this probably ranks on the very lowest level of the significance scale.  However, the experience reminded me that GOD truly cares about me, and that even in the so-called insignificant areas of my life, HE still works for my good.  That just brings comfort to my heart.

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV, biblegateway.com), says,  "Cast all your anxiety on [HIM], because [HE, GOD] cares for you" - all, not just the big, significant, stuff.  Amen!

So whether significant or not, whether big or small, be assured that HE is interested in all that concerns you, and HE's got your back 😊.

Be Blessed 🙏.

AAA

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Turned Around

There is a gas station I like to use in my neighborhood.  Whenever I go there, I like to enter in through one entrance, with my car pointed in the direction of the other entrance, (on the opposite end), which I prefer to use as my exit so that I have a straight shot out of there (I am a straight shot kinda person 😎😊).

This one day, as I drove in to get some gas, the only available pump meant I had to turn my car around, away from my preferred exit.  My linear self was not happy 😏.  While you obviously can get out through the first entrance, it is a little more challenging to merge onto the main road from there (another reason why I prefer 'my exit' - there is a method...😉).

Well, guess what! I had barely begun to pump the gas, when I saw a huuuuge fuel tanker trying to back up into the gas station through my preferred exit.  This tanker was so huuuuuge (😃) that it could not enter the gas station fully, and so it ended up blocking that entrance/exit; which meant I could not have left that way, anyway.  Hmm....🤔

As I looked on, GOD pointed out to me that, because HE is Omniscient, HE knew what lay ahead (that I could not have used my preferred way out), and that is why HE turned me around, in anticipation of the blocked exit.

Wow 😮! How amazing is that!!! 

I should not have been surprised though, because GOD says in Revelation 22:13,

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (NIV, biblegateway.com);

and HE also declares,

I make known the end from the beginning,  from ancient times, what is still to come (Isaiah 46:10a, NIV, biblegateway.com).

So, if you find yourself going in the opposite direction to where you had intended, it might be that GOD turned you around, away from a 'roadblock'.

HE loves You, and HE's got Your back 😊!

Be Blessed 🙏,

AAA

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Aaaahhh, Fruit Flies!!!

Our kitchen had been overrun by fruit flies - I had let some fruit get too ripe. These fruit flies were really beginning to bug me (no pun intended 😉😃), so I looked online for a solution, and I found one - place a cup full of apple cider vinegar overnight close to the 'scene of the crime'.

When I woke up the next day I checked the cup expecting to see the flies on the surface of the vinegar, but they were not there.  I did notice that their numbers had reduced, but I was disappointed that the so-called solution had not worked.

Now, I do not know about you, but the smell of apple cider vinegar is not one of my favorites 😒,  so I decided to empty the cup.  That is when I found my surprise. The solution had been effective - the flies had just settled on the bottom.  Interesting...

As I thought about this, GOD reminded me that sometimes even when it seems like nothing is going on, HE is still working on my behalf.

The Bible says, " [i]n his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working," (John 5:17, NIV, biblegateway.com).

So do not worry about what you do not not see, HE's working on your behalf, and HE's got your back 😊.

Be Blessed 🙏,

AAA

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

I Love It When This Happens

We had received a recommendation to use a certain brand of sunscreen/bug repellent lotion for our Lil' One.  However, we already had a different one, and wanted to try it out first.  In spite of that, I still went ahead and put the recommended one in a shopping cart online (because it was on sale then, and sales are my love language 😉), but then I forgot about it.

Months later, we decided to get the recommended brand because the first one we got did not work as we wanted, but of course, the sale was over on the website I had visited previously, and it was back to its original price (about twice the sale price). Let us just say this Mama was not happy about that. 😞

We needed it though, so I held my nose, and clicked to put it in the cart. Once I did, I realized that there were other things already in the cart.  Upon closer inspection, it turned out that the ones I had placed in the cart months before were still there, AND Still.At.The.Sale.Price.  What!?!?  You know what happened, right?  This Mama burst out some moves for the Lord. 💃💃💃 

I just love it when HE does stuff like that - taking care of things even before I know they are a problem.

Once again GOD reminded me that HE really does have my back; and that from eternity to eternity, [HE is GOD] (Isaiah 43:13, NIV, biblegateway.com)!

HE truly has ALL time covered - now and then.

So do not worry that you cannot see into the future, HE's got your back! 😊.

Be Blessed 🙏,

AAA

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Big Fish Lessons

I have read, and heard about, Jonah's story numerous times, but one day as I read it again, it grabbed me a certain way - a different way.

So let's recap (paraphrased from Jonah 1 & 2 - NIV).  

GOD gives Jonah a directive.  Jonah blatantly and categorically disobeys it, and he boards a ship headed in the opposite direction to where GOD is asking him to go.  (Ha! Puny mankind and our continuous attempts to defy an Almighty GOD). 😏

GOD catches up to Jonah.  It is not as if HE has far to go - HE is Omnipresent after all.  Because of Jonah, GOD sends a powerful wind on the sea, and a terrible storm arises and begins to buffet the ship.  The sailors pray to their gods, gods who have no ears to hear, nor power to help.  Meanwhile, Jonah is found sleeping - the very nerve of him. 😑

The sailors finally cast lots to find out who is responsible for their woes, and Jonah draws the short stick.  Yep, it always catches up to us.  The sailors are terrified.  They remember that he said that he was running from his GOD.  Jonah tells them to throw him into the sea to save themselves.  (Now I don't think that the sailors are given enough credit when this story is told.  They could have beaten up Jonah for involving them in his mess, and then thrown him overboard, but they did not).  They try, instead, to row harder to get to dry land, to outrun the storm  - the GOD-engineered storm.  Um hmm, puny men at it again.  

When they realize their efforts are futile, they call on GOD and ask HIM to show mercy on them, even though they are guilty of aiding and abetting a fugitive, and also for what they are about to do to said fugitive.  Then they throw Jonah overboard, and the storm calms down.




NOW HERE'S THE KICKER:

The Bible says, that GOD had prepared a huge fish (a whale?) to swallow Jonah, and he stayed in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.  Each time I had heard this part of the story previously, I was disgusted by the very thought of being in anything's stomach - eewww.  However, on this day, GOD opened my eyes to see things a little differently:

If GOD had not prepared the huge fish to swallow Jonah, what would have happened to him?  More than likely, he would have drowned, that's what, OR he would have been attacked by some of the more unfriendly inhabitants of the sea.  Sharknado anyone? 😳

Yet GOD in HIS mercy - HIS mercy that has kept us from complete destruction - HIS mercy that is new every morning (Lam. 3:22, 23 NLT, KJV) - prepared a resting place, a safe resting place, for HIS hard-headed, disobedient son; a place where he, Jonah, could think about what he had done - a divine time-out, so to speak 😊; and when Jonah saw the error of his ways, repented, and asked for forgiveness, GOD commanded the fish to throw him up onto dry land.

This sure makes me want to shout HALLELUJAH!  Because it reveals a FATHER who loves us so much that HE will not let us get away with our sin, our disobedience; and yet, HE loves us so very much that even in the midst of HIS discipline, HE provides us safety, and covers us with HIS love and mercy.  Oh HALLELUJAH!  🙌🙌🙌

This is too wonderful to fully comprehend, but it should encourage us, remind us that no matter how far we stray, our Father is going to do it all takes to get us back to HIMSELF.  Actually, HE has already done all it takes to get us back.

Romans 5:6-8 (NIV, biblegateway.com) says,

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

AND,

In John 3:16 (NIV, biblegateway.com) we have the all time promise,

"For God so loved the world that HE gave HIS one and only Son, that whoever believes in HIM shall not perish but have eternal life."

Never forget, HE reeeaally loves you, and HE's got Your back! :)

Be Blessed 🙏.

AAA