Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thanksgiving Follow-Up

Thanksgiving week brought sooooooo many blessings. Our daughter and her sons visited from Minnesota for a week. Our son and his family, who live in Virginia, stayed for three of those seven days. It had been two years since we were all together.

We had so much to thank God for: safety traveling, lots and lots of laughter, great food, quiet times talking, nerf battles in our education building, only minor bumps and blisters from ice skating, swimming and soaking in the hot tub, games like PIG and Poker played at the dining room table . . . the list goes on and on.

In my last post I shared my plan to hide 50 pennies very early on Thanksgiving morning and whenever someone found one, they had to share what they were thankful for and put the penny in a jar I had labeled “Pennies from Heaven”. I put pennies in the frig, in shoes, in jacket pockets, in bookbags, on each napkin at the Thanksgiving feast—anywhere and everywhere. Finders shared their thanks for family, friends, fun, food, and faith. Everyone entered into the spirit of thankfulness as well as the joy of the discovery! It was like a treasure hunt—and the real gem was realizing how very blessed we are.

We found 46 of the 50 pennies before everyone headed for their own homes. I know for a fact that they will come across the other four pennies among their belongings. I hope they dig out an old jar and start their own “Pennies from Heaven” collection.

I think I have started a new tradition for our family—one that we can continue throughout the year. Just yesterday I found a penny while walking across the Lowe’s parking lot. I immediately smiled and paused to reflect on what I was thankful for at that moment. I wonder how many pennies will be in our jar when we get together next year?

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord.
Always give thanks to God the Father
for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5: 19-20

Be encouraged!

©2017 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Pennies from Heaven

I have always been tickled when I find a penny in a parking lot or on the floor of the grocery store! Just that small thing can bring a smile to my face.

This week I read a post by Alicia Bruxvoort on giving thanks. In it, Alicia tells about a time in her life when grumbles outweighed gratitude. To change her whiney, negative attitude, she hid 1000 pennies in her home and each time someone found one, they had to say something for which they were thankful. Her post has inspired me to give thanks whenever and wherever I find a penny, whether it is shining in the sunlight or buried in the snow.

More than that, however, is the reminder that God is present with us at all times and in all places and in all circumstances—we just need to keep our eyes peeled so that we don’t miss the signs—whether it is finding a penny in the washing machine or a $50 bill blowing down the street (this has actually happened to me—twice!!!). After all, the penny itself proclaims, “In God We Trust”.

Dick and I have a whole roll of things to be thankful for this week. Our daughter and our two grandsons are visiting for a week and our son and his wife and our granddaughter arrived today for a four-day visit. It’s been two years since we were all together. I am overcome with excitement!

Very early this morning, I took a roll of pennies—50 copper catalysts for thanks—and hid them around the house. I will explain that when anyone finds a penny they are to share something for which they would like to thank God. I have a jar ready to collect them that I labeled “Pennies from Heaven”. I can’t wait to hear about the blessings God is pouring out in the lives of my loved ones.

God’s Word says giving thanks is the sacrifice that honors God. (Psalm 50:23). Though some days and some circumstances make finding a reason to give thanks as daunting as looking for a needle in a haystack, thanks and praise not only pleases God but gives the giver a whole new perspective.
Be encouraged!

©2017 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I Am Free

“’I am free.’
When I look at these words in writing, they seem to create in me a feeling of awe.
Yes, a wonderful feeling of freedom.
Thank you, God.”

We recently celebrated Veteran’s Day, expressing gratitude and appreciation for each one who has served their country in the military, given of themselves—some even to death—that ALL of us might be free. We are truly thankful for their willingness to put their own dreams and desires on hold in order to keep our country safe and assure each individual’s freedom.

When thanking these courageous men and women, many deflect the praise to God, thanking Him for His protection and mercy. They have realized there is One who is the Hero of heroes—Jesus—Who bought us even greater freedom by sacrificing Himself in our place.

Paul explains in Colossians 1:12-14: “[God, the Father] has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.”

 Jesus’ selflessness—even to death—allows each of us to say, “I am free.”
--free from the penalty of sin
--free from slavery to the Law
--free from the fear of death
--free from the power of Satan
--free from condemnation
--free to draw close to God
--free to walk in God’s light
--free to follow where Jesus leads
--free to share the Good News with EVERYONE
--free to enter Heaven

What freedoms has Jesus bought you?

Be encouraged!

©2017 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Healthy Helping

I need to be needed. I am my happiest, most fulfilled, and most empowered when someone needs me. When my children were at home they filled that need. Now that they are grown I look for others to “mother”— others who need me.

However, I have found that there is a line that I must draw. I cannot let my need to be needed spiral into dependency—and that takes tough love. It means nudging the person out of their comfort zone. It also means backing off when my need to be needed holds them back, when it becomes a hindrance to their development and maturity.

It’s like teaching our children to walk. “Come to Mommy! You can do it!” we coach them, as they put one shaky leg in front of the other. We keep our arms outstretched to catch them if they fall, but we let them totter toward us. Though they often plunk down on their well-padded bottoms, we encourage them to get back up and keep trying. We would love to jump in and scoop them up in our arms, but we know that, in the long run, they need to develop this skill.

I think God must walk this same tightrope. He loves it when we realize we need Him. He wants with all His heart to parent us, to help us become all that He has designed us to be. However, He also knows that to do that, He must sometimes nudge us forward into places and situations where we don’t want to go. God realizes that in order for us to “be all that we can be” for Him, we need strong faith muscles that the “easy life” just won’t develop.

So, when we go through challenges that seem like they will overwhelm us, let us remember that God will use these trials to make us stronger, more faith-filled believers. He is right there with us, coaching and encouraging us, needing to be needed, but knowing when to step in and when to step back.

God wants us to “mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed about by the waves and carried around by every wind of teaching and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful scheming.” Ephesians 4:12-14

Be encouraged!

P.S. Some setting I goofed up won’t let me “reply” to comments. Please know I read and appreciate every one. Thanks for your input.

©2017 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Strong Men

“Be strong, and let your heart be courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD.” Psalm 31:24 (CSB)

Brian Shaw is an American professional strongman competitor and winner of the 2011, 2013, 2015 and the 2016 World's Strongest Man competitions. But Brian Shaw can’t hold a candle to two men I know very personally.

My husband and my son are the strongest men I have ever known. Neither of them could join the Giants Live tour. They probably will never grace the cover of the Muscle Men calendar. However, in the day to day battles of life, there is no one else I would want fighting by my side.

No matter what challenge or disaster the day might bring—be it health issues, emotional turmoil, computer malfunctions, or any or a myriad of emergencies or ongoing frustrations, I know I can count on Dick and Seth to offer wisdom, knowledge, support, and encouragement. Neither will sit idly by and let me (or anyone else) fend for ourselves. They will step in and step up.

Both of these men are loving, caring, tender-hearted, and nurturing. They are self-less and giving, bending over backwards to ease the burdens of others, often denying or inconveniencing themselves to do so—and always with patience and humility.

I see the very nature of Jesus in Dick and Seth.

Neither of these strong men would take credit for who they are. Both would tell you that it is God who has made them strong. It is God who has molded them and chiseled them, not into brawny physical specimens of strength, but into powerful giants of the soul, with broad shoulders to carry not only their own loads, but the loads of others.

Dick and Seth make a difference—in their immediate and extended family relationships, work environment, their neighborhood, their churches—everywhere that their lives touch others. I am blessed beyond words and measure to have such a husband and son in my life.

Who are the strong men God has placed in your life?

Be encouraged!

©2017 Pamela D. Williams