Do I Actually Need To Change My Worship Time?

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“Worship the Lord in the splendor of His Holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth.”-Psalm 96:9*

The month of August I want to focus on worship and what it means to me.  Worship is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as “to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power.”*   I like to say I set aside dedicated time every day to do this, but I would not be totally honest.  There are a lot of distractions in my life which jeopardize my worship time with God.   The easy part is identifying what I am choosing to do instead of having certain focus time with Him.  The hard part is making it happen.

I have to choose to make the change.

Making time for God should be natural and from what I hear from others, first thing in the morning.  It seems reasonable to me to wake up, grab a cup of coffee, and open up my bible.  Problem is, it rarely happens in the morning and here’s why.

I am a grump and a mess when I wake up.  It doesn’t matter what time I set the alarm and rise early or sleep in.  I don’t even like myself when I first wake up, why would God?  It takes a miracle for me to motivate, clean up, dress, and get out the door to make my contribution to the world.  My usual time is to find a few minutes around lunch to read the bible, but I generally feel like I a failure since half my day is gone.

What’s a girl to do?

I ask God for forgiveness and extend myself a little grace.

I spend daily time with God, but it is more fluid than structured.  I pray daily, and multiple times throughout the day so I am confident in talking to Him.  I also sing along to the Christian radio station daily and know this type of music is uplifting and a form of worship.  I belong to a church and am involved in activities which allow me to be the hands and feet of Jesus.    So, why can’t I be like all the others who start their day off in God’s word?

Well, perhaps I need to understand I am unique and because I am such a slug in the morning, I would not absorb the knowledge which He intends for me.  Perhaps I need to stop comparing my study ways with others and focus on reading the bible.  And inevitably I need to accept this works for me and God is okay with the choice.

The reason I share this is not when and how I worship, but why.  I find peace and comfort in all the ways I worship and my why is Him.  My life is so full of blessings and gifts and it is because I have a personal relationship with God.  He is there through the good, the bad, and the ugly me in the morning.  I honor Him no matter what time of the day I choose to spend praying, singing, or reading.  My worship is carving out my time to be with Him.

My hope is God understands me and is willing to meet with me no matter what time I open up His word.  And perhaps He is a little thankful I am not pursuing the early morning meetings with Him.

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

**https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worship

Sometimes The Silence Is The Answer

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“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”-1 Thessalonians 5:11*

It has been a while, my friends.  I didn’t plan on taking a writing hiatus, it happened.  You know what?

I needed it.

Life got really busy with family and I have so enjoyed it.  There were laughs, hugs, tears, and arguments, but for a small stretch of time, I had all my kiddos under one roof (and two granddaughters, a niece, and a third dog).  It was way overdue and I wanted to embrace this precious time and make memories.

But somewhere along the way, I realized I had not been writing and it appeared no one else noticed my absence either.  Which got me to thinking, am I supposed to be writing?  Is this truly what God has called me to do?

The answer is I don’t know.

When I started this writing venture it was to talk about my grief journey.  I have covered this topic a lot; maybe even beating it into the ground.  Now I wonder, do I have more to give other than relating to grief?

I hope so, but am not sure what it exactly looks like.  I am also not sure if I have it in me.

One thing I do know is I am not giving up, yet.

I have invariably been a person who likes to see the glass as half full, find the silver lining, and celebrate the small victories.  I have been an encourager, champion, and cheerleader for others.  I like to give rather than receive, and I consistently root for the underdog.  Now, I need some of this and I actually don’t know how to go about focusing on me.

It is scary and makes me feel vulnerable.  Not my strong suit.

So, I have been reading other people’s blogs, books, and articles.  Trying to let go of my pity party and look for a spark, a light, to inspire me not to give up and keep writing.  I am praying about it and trying to hear God in all this mess.

Sometimes the silence is also the answer.

I share this because perhaps you too have been discouraged at some aspect in life.  I find the best way to get out of the funk is to know I am not alone.  There are others who struggle and find their way up and out.  I know I will too.

I believe this is what God wants for all of us.  To be there for one another, boosting and lifting up, not fighting and tearing down.  Most of the time I love to encourage others, now I am the one seeking encouragement.

It will take patience, prayer, and peace.  I need to quiet my mind and heart so I can receive it all.  Help a sista out and pray for me.

Blessings!

*The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Love One Another And Do Your Job!

Agape

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”-Colossians 3:12-13*

The last installment of my love series is about agape love.  Agape is Greek for love.  The essence is goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love.** As I see it, this is something which is extremely needed in today’s society.  There is too much hate, bigotry, and rudeness in this country and it saddens and disappoints me.  I am a firm believer change starts at the top, and those who exhibit positive behavior will influence others creating a chain reaction.  How can I affect a needed attitude adjustment to this madness?  I have decided to send an open letter to all my elected officials, who represent me, asking them to do the unbelievable; show agape love to one another and do their jobs which they were elected to perform.

Dear Elected Official,

Greetings from south Louisiana and thank you for taking time to read my letter.  I am compelled to write this because I am so disappointed in the state of our great nation.  I am an independent who believes our federal government has been given way too much power and my religious beliefs have been compromised way too often.  I personally don’t think the federal government should be running mail service for the country or establishing educational standards for our children.  I believe the federal government should protect its citizens from foreign threat, secure our borders, and strengthen our infrastructure.  I share this so you can understand although we may not agree on certain topics, I am willing to listen to your side and ask you give me the same courtesy; find the items we agree on, and reach a compromise which is win/win for both sides.

If I am not mistaken, this is why you were elected as a representative for our area.  One of the actions expected of you, in representing me, is to exhibit this type of positive behavior with the other elected officials.  Have you heard of agape love?  Agape is Greek for love by demonstrating goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight.  All Americans should insist on this type of role modeling from all elected officials.  As I see it, you are a paid employee of the American citizens and if you are not meeting the basic standards of handling debate and compromising for the good of all people, then you need to be voted out.

I have three simple suggestions for you and your cohorts:

  • Find common ground-I would think before any type of legislation is proposed, the committees who introduce it should find out what they can all agree on. I bet you could ask a Democratic or Republican if they want to protect their families, find affordable healthcare for all, and keep the illegal criminals from crossing our borders, they would all say yes!  Start there.  Discuss options on how to come to a proposal.  Where I come from this is called brainstorming.
  • Compromise-Start focusing on the ideas which could work. Discuss and debate in an adult manner.  No need to call names or point fingers if someone does not agree with you.  You should be paid for achieving results and up to this point, I don’t think many of you have earned a salary.  Compromise is about give and take.  Shoot for the stars and settle for the moon.  Your expectation should be to reach a reasonable solution from both sides.  I bet if both sides presented an option together, united in their proposal, and eager to stand behind it, the country would take notice.  An extra bonus might be the media focusing on something positive for a change.
  • Be Civil-The fact I have to even bring this up is embarrassing. Please give less fodder to the media who highlights your vulgar actions, disparaging threats, and disrespecting one another.  You, as an elected official, have a duty in representing the American citizens and should not be name calling, pointing fingers, or belittling other elected officials.  The last time I witnessed this type of immature behavior was when I was in high school.   You have been chosen by the people and should maintain goodwill and benevolence at all times (do unto others) and set the bar for the nation.

I know it might sound like I am lecturing you and in a way I am.  Think about all the young children, teens, and adults who are witnessing the actions of many of the elected officials in the federal government.  Is this the type of behavior we want our children to emulate?  This is probably another area where we can agree on and the answer is no.   I believe you should treat others as you would like to be treated.  Try and get to know someone personally and understand how it is to walk in their shoes.  Perhaps it may change your mind.

I will be praying and watching to see if you will be the one to start a positive trend in our capital.

Sincerely,

Kelsey Remmelts

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24*

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

**https://www.gotquestions.org/agape-love.html

 

At The End Of The Day We Are Family

Storge 1

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.”-Psalm 127:3*

In keeping with the “love” theme this month, I am exploring the storge love.  Storge is the Greek word which relates to natural, familial love such as the love between a parent and child. This type of love is not mentioned directly in the Bible, but in the new testament the negative form of this word, astorgos,  is used twice. **

I grew up in a typical middle-class family in the sixties and seventies.  My dad was an engineer with a major oil and gas company and mom was a homemaker.  Growing up we spent more time with mom as she volunteered at our school, took us to dance, made our costumes, and toted us around while running errands and shopping.  When it came to discipline, I remember mom yelling at us or sending us to our room, and I don’t remember the “wait till your father gets home” line ever being used.  There was a kind of awed respect or healthy fear in me which knew never to push the envelope too far with mom because she might get dad involved.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I was not beaten or verbally abused as a child.  There was this mysterious aspect to my dad and perhaps it was because he was away more than at home with us.  Perhaps it was his deep voice and when he spoke louder it rumbled through the room.  Or perhaps it was because he was larger than life and could fix any problem. For all of these reasons is why I was certain not to have mom engage dad in any discipline issues.

My father was not overly affectionate with me as I was growing up, but every once in a while, he would hug me or tell me he was proud of something I did.  As we both grew older, dad was more loving in his actions and words which encouraged me to reciprocate.

I would seek his approval for the rest of our lives.  Disappointing dad was far worse than any other form of punishment and there were a few times I accomplished this task.

I decided to get married at age nineteen before finishing college.  Dad said he would no longer pay for my college if we were going to make such a grown-up decision.  Education was everything to my dad and he thought once I stopped going full time, I would never go back.  I had to prove to him I would get my degree.

And I did.  It took me eight years but I did it.  I invited my parents to my graduation where I would walk across the stage.  They both were so proud of me and I could see tears in my dad’s eyes.  I knew the disappointment had been erased from his memory.

When Scott died in 2001, my parents were the first ones to come be with me.  We were all in shock and I asked them to assist me with the funeral arrangements.  I decided to buy dual plots for both Scott and me and my dad was almost panicked by my choice.  “You are so young and you don’t know what the future holds for you, I think buying your burial plot next to Scott’s is not necessary,” he said.  I don’t think he was disappointed as much as profoundly saddened on me making such a final decision.

I was reminded this weekend by my mom of how disappointed she and dad were in Randy and me for not inviting family to our wedding in 2005.  For personal reasons, we decided to keep it an extremely low key and not invite our family members.  We thought we were doing a favor for everyone and sparing them the cost of travel and lodging.  Instead, our family felt left out and was disheartened by our decision. My dad never mentioned this to me.

Through the years my dad became more affectionate and would hug me, tell me he loved me, and sometimes get weepy when our visits came to an end.  It became extremely important to him for the family to get together, take pictures, and make memories.  As we gathered around him in his final hours, he could not verbalize his feelings, but we could feel his love and knew he was proud of all of our achievements and decisions.

This is storge love.

Where parents love their children, regardless of their faults and the disappointments they will bring about.  In my family, there were accolades, achievements, disappointments, and failures.  But at the end of my dad’s life, we knew he had forgotten the negative occurrences and was pleased with our family and how we rally around, lift up, respect and love one another.  I pray this will be my dad’s legacy for the future generations of our family.

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

**https://www.gotquestions.org/storge-love.html

Thank You For Being A Friend

Phileo

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs”.-1 Corinthians 13:4-5*

Can I be real?  I don’t have a best friend.

Am I alone here?

If I had to label someone my best friend it would be my husband and my family.  Please don’t feel sorry for me because I do have friends.  People I love and I would do anything to help them if they were in need.  I would consider all the individuals my inner circle allies as I love them for their grace, humor, reliance, and support.

This type of love is known as phileo love.  It comes from the Greek word “philia” or “philos” which means friendship and dear.  It also means a friendly feeling toward another.  This type of love refers to brotherly love or close friendship.** I feel this way about my inner circle peeps.

What defines friendship to me is someone who knows the real me (transparency) and still wants to maintain a relationship with me.  I also feel the same way about them.  I have several people in my life which fit this description and consider them my friends.  I truly don’t have one person favored over any of the others.

My friends are forgiving of me when I goof up and I can reciprocate forgiveness if needed.  These same friends can call me out when necessary and I will do the same for them.  The most comforting notion is my friends are dependable when I need them.  I want to deliver the same response to them when they need me.

Another interesting tidbit about my friends is sometimes they are with me in a season for a reason.  There have been people who have entered my life with a bang and after a period of time, they have slowly disappeared like a vapor.  I believe God brought us together for a specific cause and when the resolution was complete, it was time for us to move in our different directions.  I totally accept this truth and am content with the wonderful memories we made and try to keep in touch (kudos for social media!).

It is kind of cool how God made us relational beings and created different type of kinships for us to experience.   I am so thankful for feeling free to have a multitude of friends and not worry or be envious if I am not considered someone’s best friend.  I would hope a pal of mine knows they could rely on me to listen, be a confidant, ask a favor, or ask me to pray for them.  God has helped me broaden my friend base and blessed me with a diverse crowd of people who have opened my eyes to different thoughts, opinions, and cultures.  It gives me the opportunity to learn more about my spiritual gifts and how He uses me to bless others.   As mentioned in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, the scripture talks of the truth about love.  To be patient and kind and to put others feelings and needs before our own.  When we love others we should honor them and not keep score of ways they may have wronged us.  This this is what I want my circle to do for me.  And this my friends, is why I love you.

Blessings

colourful-hearts

*The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

**https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary

Are There Different Types of Love?

Are there different types of love_

Summer is officially here, WOO HOO!  I love the summer but around September I am ready for some cool breezes in our southern Louisiana neck of the woods.  This month I am focusing on the word “love” as part of my Devotion 2018.  What a great word but sometimes I tend to use it rather loosely in describing my feelings about a particular mood, event, or activity.  For example, when I wrote the second sentence, I used the word “love” to show how much I care for summer.  Do I truly LOVE summer?

This month I will explore the different types of love which are referenced in the bible; eros, phileo, storge, and agape *.  In honor of our marriage, thirteen years ago this month, I have decided to start with eros.  Happy Anniversary Randy!

As defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary “Eros is named after the Greek god of erotic love and conceived by Plato as a fundamental creative impulse having a sensual element: erotic love or desire”.**

 “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper as his complement’.”-Genesis 2:18***

Speaking on behalf of my own experiences, I am so thankful for God’s design for this type of love.  I LOVE the fact I can look at my husband, my heart flutters and my cheeks flush because I am physically attracted to him.  God longs for us to experience this level of intimacy in a marriage where we are committed to each other.  There are definitely ups and downs in a marriage, but if we focus on one another’s needs instead of our own, the marriage is enhanced by the unselfish acts of one another.

“Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and one of mind.”-Philippians 2:2***

I have discovered in lifting up my husband EVERY DAY in prayer, asking for the blessings to be given to him, I also receive the blessings.  I want the best for him and as his supportive partner, I lift him and his needs up before mine every chance I get.  Over time I have learned to appreciate his awesome qualities and not dwell on his irritating habits or opinions (Yes, I know, I have habits and opinions indeed!)  This is the man who I will spend the rest of my life with and I want to fall in love with him every day.

When some of those habits and opinions of Randy’s make an appearance, I take it to God in prayer and I ask Him to change ME, not focus on changing Randy.  Change my heart and my view and see it from Randy’s perspective.  Some opinions take more prayer than others but God is working on me to change my viewpoint.

“Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves”.-Romans 12:10***

An integral part of passion and intimacy in our relationship is the commitment Randy and I have to our marriage.  I am not saying our marriage is perfect, but we believe God brought us together and look to Him in all circumstances in our lives; the good, the bad, and the ugly.  We put God in our marriage to guide us through our union forever until death do us part. We trust in God and we trust each other.

“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing in value.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life”.-Proverbs 31:11-12***   

God designed this type of love for husbands and wives to interact in an experience of the heart, mind, body, and soul with each other.  Yes, there is sex (I hear my children groaning right now) Emojibut this is only a part of the erotic love in a marriage.  The complete recipe calls for the combination of desire, commitment, engagement, communication, and selflessness.  I look forward to celebrating our eros love for years to come, Randy!

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate”.-Matthew 19:6***  

 

*https://www.gotquestions.org/

**The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

***https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Eros

A Physical Move In My Faith Walk

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“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”-Hebrews 11:1*

I sat there in total disbelief.  I knew I had heard God right, but it bore repeating to my heart again.  “Move, God?  Are you sure?”

It was 2008 and we had been married for three years.  During these first few years, Randy and I had a chaotic newlywed period.  He was a bachelor and at age forty-three he married a widow with three children.  The oldest child, who was severely broken by her father’s death, had been a challenge for the first years of the marriage with drugs, running away, and inappropriate behavior.   The middle son was a growing teenage boy who needed assurance, guidance, and direction.  And the youngest boy was open for an adventure.  We also had suffered some losses of family members and Randy’s job and now this.  Both Randy’s father and sister had serious health issues and we lived over four hundred miles away.

I knew what God was asking and I had a peace about it, so I shared it with Randy.  He was stunned by the suggestion, but after a little time to reflect, we did it.  Keep in mind there were many challenges in moving from Coppell, Texas to Mandeville, Louisiana.  But when God is in charge all the pieces fall into place.

Randy found a job immediately.  We put our house on the market in Texas (during a real estate downturn) and sold it quickly at the asking price.  Our middle son was a freshman in high school and loved his football.  We agreed Randy would move down to Louisiana, start his job, and find us a house.  I would stay behind with the children until after football season.  Randy found our house and we bought it with a counter offer.  The boys moved with us to Louisiana and our daughter stayed behind (she had met her future husband and was still working through some issues).  We were in Louisiana for six months and then we lost Randy’s dad and sister in May and June of 2009.

In looking back, one might ask, why would you make this huge life-changing decision?

It was SO much bigger than a physical move.

It was what God asked of us and we responded.  We put our faith in Him to make the way and give us the vision.  It was not always easy.  We had to be flexible in making new friends, learning a new area, and focusing on the boys’ transition into new schools. The process brought about laughter, tears, and sometimes anger.  It also benefited us as a family to bond together and tackle situations as a team.

We have been blessed for the ten years we have lived in Louisiana.  The people we have met, relationships built, new cultures experienced, new areas of the country explored, and the growth in our walk with Jesus.  Sometimes moving out of a comfort zone makes the zone bigger and the foundation stronger.

No regrets and no disappointment.

The physical transition opened up the reality which was we had moved in our faith.

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society