My Comment Turned into a Blog Post

Yesterday evening I was visiting a few of my favorite blogs and I came across this picture

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This picture is courtesy of https://truthinpalmyra.wordpress.com

and this question

Just a Thought:  Jesus laid down His life; no one took it. For you, for me, for all of us. Are we willing to lay ours down for our brethren?

The picture and the thought came from Wally Fry’s blog ‘Truth in Palmyra’

I started writing a comment for Wally but then I realized about 3 paragraphs into my comment, that my comment was becoming way too long to be a comment. so I then decided instead of hijacking Wally’s blog by writing a comment longer than his blog post, I would just turn my comment into a post and post it on my own blog.

Here is a link to Wally’s post –>  Just a Thought

And now here is My Comment Turned into a Blog Post

When I saw the line written out… Jesus laid down His life with the words ‘no one took it’ attached, I saw it in a way I never saw it before.  Though I know full well that Jesus went willingly to the cross, I still guess in my head I more envision the picture of Jesus’ life being taken from Him.  He was beaten and He was killed, but no matter how many times I’ve heard that he willingly laid down his life for a bunch of sinners (me include), I still find it really… really hard to take in. To think that He went through such severe pain and suffering to save a bunch of liars, thieves, adulterers and murderers and He even did it for the people who were right there beating him and nailing him on the cross that day. How could He selflessly give up His life for people who were so unkind and undeserving?

There was once time in my life that I did not believe God existed yet Jesus still went to the cross and He took the punishment that I deserved…He laid down his life and He died… for me … Would I do the same?

Would I lay down my life for my brother or sister? What about someone I did not know or someone who I thought didn’t deserve it?

Also does laying down my life mean I have to die like Jesus did as in death?  Or could this possibly mean laying down my life as in dying to my own self?  1 John 3:16-24 says – This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.  Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Jesus went to the cross willingly for us and I take that scripture to say I should be willing to give up my life also as in my time, or money, or energy or pretty much anything Jesus would want me to give away, even if that means it will take away my own comfort or may be even painful to help a brother or sister.

As I was writing my comment turned blog post I was reminded of something that happened to me a several years ago. That day had been a crazy busy day from the moment I got out of bed and I had skipped breakfast and missed lunch. I was stressed out, tired cranky and hungry.  I decided to go through a drive through restaurant very late in the day to get a quick bite to eat.  Once I got in line I discovered upon checking my wallet that I barely had any money. After scrounging around in the bottom of my purse and in my car’s console for change, I finally had just enough money to buy a bottle of water and a sandwich, which I did.

Once I finished paying for my food I pulled out of the drive through into the intersection just as the street light turned red.  As I sat there waiting for the light to change, I noticed standing right beside my car was a man with a cardboard sign that had “will work for food” written on it.  As I sat there waiting for the light to change I began to feel very uncomfortable and I was trying very hard to not make eye contact with the man holding the sign.

I didn’t have any money to give him because I had just spent the last of what I had on the food.  I didn’t have a job to offer him and… here is a side of me that I am a bit ashamed to share… I had already decided that the man was probably just a scam artist who really did not need the money anyway.

I sat there at the light for what seemed like forever, feeling very uncomfortable and wishing the light would hurry up and change, but it didn’t happen.  While I sat there keeping my eyes averted away from the man they landed on the bag with my newly purchased sandwich & bottle of water inside. At the same time my eyes landed on the bag, the words “give it to him” went through my head.  I tried hard to not hear them because the truth was I did not really want to hear them.  This was my breakfast, lunch and dinner and I was hungry!

I had plenty of excuses running through my head as to why I should keep my sandwich for myself, but no matter what excuse I gave myself the words “give it to him” kept going through my head.

The next thing I knew I found myself rolling down my window and holding the bag of food and water out to the man. “Would you like to have this sandwich?” I said.  For a second he looked a bit confused but then suddenly His whole face turned into a big giant smile as he took the bag of food from my hand and said “God bless you.”

Just as the words left his mouth the light finally changed to green and I returned his “God bless you” and I drove off.  It was then that I felt he realization that by giving away my lunch somehow I felt joy inside. And the odd thing was, I also realized that I had received way more joy in giving that sandwich away than I think I would have, had I decided to keep it for myself.

God gave me the affirmation that day that giving away to someone I knew nothing about was exactly what He wanted me to do.  It really wasn’t much that I gave and I am not telling this story to toot my own horn, believe me when I say… I still sometimes struggle with this at times. The main reason I am telling this story is because I almost missed a blessing that day because I almost gave myself the authority to decide whether that man deserved a sandwich or not. I also realized that day that we never know someone else’s story and really it is not my place to get to decide whether someone deserves something or not. Only God knows the story and only He gets to be the judge.  We should just love others and give that love freely away like Jesus gave and still does give it to us.

Jesus laid his life down for us never expecting anything in return and He did it just because He loves us and we really ought to do the same.

Here is a video of a song by Trevor Morgan called “Jesus Rides the Subway” that I want to share with you that goes well with this post.

Thanks for reading and have a blessed day,

Terri

How I Crashed into Grace Yesterday

The light turned green. I stepped on the gas and the next thing I knew I was crashing into the back of the car in front of me! The accident happened so fast that I didn’t have time to even react. There was no time to think about things like, “oh no I’m gonna hit that car!” no slamming on the brakes, nothing at all except my car crashing into the back end of the car in front of me.

Uggh!

In the next 10 seconds a flood of emotions ran through me.

Confusion…how did I manage to do this? Anger at myself for doing something so stupid, and then the worry….is the other person okay? …and then that thought instantly changed into fear as I saw the other driver getting out of his car and heading towards me with what looked to me like an angry look on his face.

I opened my car door expecting him to start yelling at me and but instead of yelling, he said, “are you okay?” I told him I was okay and then I said, “are you okay? Gosh.. I am so sorry!”  He then said, “I am okay and don’t you worry about it, it was just an accident.”  Wow! looks sure can be deceiving, a second ago I thought he looked angry but really he didn’t seem angry at all!

We then began exchanging our insurance information and I could tell that he was a really nice person. He also seemed truly concerned for me even though I was the one who had crashed into his nice new looking SUV.

When we finished exchanging information I told the man once again that I was sorry for damaging his car and also thanked him for being so nice to me,” He replied, “it was just an accident. Accidents happen, nobody is perfect and that includes me.”  Then he told me it was nice “bumping” into me and that he hoped the rest of my day was a good day.

I honestly still don’t have a clue how I managed to run into his car, so to me it just seemed like a really dumb thing for me to have done.  But later in the day when I was beating myself up about crashing into not only his car, but also then thinking about how I had also crashed the front end of my own car, his words came back to me… it was and accident, nobody is perfect.  You know what?  he was right so anyway to make a long story short, I decided to have myself a good rest of the day as he suggested, and I did.

That is how I crashed into grace yesterday.

I hope you have a wonderful day and also try to remember to give yourself and also others the same grace that God gives us on a daily basis.

blessings,

Terri

 

Your Splendor

Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by where God has been leading me and I find myself asking, why would God use me when I feel like I have so little to give?

The words in this song prayer moved me today.

With my roots deep in you, I’ll grow the branch that bears the fruit. and though I’m small I’ll be standing in the storm. ‘Cause I’m planted by the river, by your streams of living water. And I’ll grow up strong and beautiful, all for your splendor, Lord. ~ Christy Nockels

A gentle reminder of where my strength comes from and just how big my God is.

Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.  Colossians 2:7 NLT

And I’ll grow up strong and beautiful, all for your splendor, Lord.

Casa Del Pan

I got a really cool email a couple of weeks ago from Compassion telling me they are opening a brand new Child Development Center In El Salvador named “Casa del Pan” or “House of Bread” and they have invited me to come with them this September on a on a Women of Compassion Vision Trip & Retreat..

Our trip will introduce us to every facet of Compassion’s work in the field and will also include a day with our sponsored children. I am so excited because I will get to meet my Ericka in person!  :)  :)

Ericka

Another cool thing that is happening is we are also advocating for the children who will be a part of this new center and we will also get to visit the center and and meet the children we are advocating for! I am so excited for these children who will now have the opportunity to learn and grow physically, mentally and spiritually!

Here are 3 of the children from Casa del Pan who are waiting for sponsors:

Alisson Nayeli Villanueva

aaa 001 - Copyaaa 001Osmin Edgardo Martinez Nunez

o 001 - Copyo 001Darlyn Yesenia Sosa Guerrero

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Could it be that maybe you are the sponsor that one of these children have been praying for?

I have seen first hand that sponsorship works. I have also been on a trip with Compassion and seen how and where they work and I have also met some of the children and families who’s lives have been changed. If you would like more information about how you can help change the life of one of these children, leave me a comment or send me and email at tluvs2trvl@yahoo.com.

Before I go today I would also like to ask if you will please say a prayer for each of these children to receive sponsors quickly and that their lives will be blessed and that each of them will know the love of Jesus.

Thank you for your prayers and have a wonderful evening,

Terri

 

 

 

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Memory Making on the Busy Days

A couple of days ago I had to stop by the school that my kids used to go to because I had to pick something up. I wasn’t expecting it but as I walked up the walkway memories of my small children began flooding my mind.

The first time I walked my oldest daughter up that walkway for her first day of Kindergarten is still so fresh in my mind and seems like it was only yesterday…could it really be that since that day twenty six years have passed?  Five years after her first day my middle daughter started Kindergarten and then two years after her my son was the Kindergartener. As I walked into the building my mind was overflowing with precious memories of their happy little faces smiling at me as they waved goodbye before heading off to their classrooms only to reappear a few hours later rushing to meet me, excited to tell me how their day had been.  In my mind it seems like it all happened just yesterday and its really hard for me to believe just how fast the time has flown by.

When my kids were little it seemed like I was always very busy and by the time Mother’s day rolled around each year I would always have a plan in my mind that I was going to laze around all Mother’s day soaking up the sun or spend the day gardening but never quite happened that way. Instead Mother’s Day was usually an even busier day than normal for us because we would visit both mine and my husband’s moms all in the same day. By the time we would finish shuffling us and our kids from here to there the day would be pretty much over and what time I had left I was usually tired and ready for bed.

As I look back today I realize I miss those days.  I also realize looking back I would never ever trade our busy days we had for that relaxing day I used to think I wanted. Those busy Mother’s days were usually still good days, just not the way I had envisioned them to go. Memories were being made back then though at the time I didn’t realized we were right smack in the middle of memory making. I also never knew that one day I would look back and cherish those precious memories.

My husband’s mom passed away in 2010 and I realized today that I miss her…a whole lot. When I was younger I never thought about the fact that one day our mothers wouldn’t be here on Mother’s day.  Today as I visited my own mom I thought about how much I love her and how blessed I am to still have her in my life.  I think the older I get I also realize how fast time flies and also how precious each minute we have with those we love actually is.  As each day goes by more memory making is happening and at this moment in time I now notice the memory making.

After my visit with my mom today I came back home and my kids came to my house and visited me.  I could tell that they are now the ones having the busy Mother’s Day.  Somewhere along the line we all seem to have switched places and now I am the older mom/grandma and they are the young parents with the little kids rushing around to visit their mothers. I wonder if my daughters long for a relaxing day like I used to long for. I wonder if they notice the memory making that is happening that one day they will hopefully cherish too.

Today I had that lazy relaxing day that I used to long for.

I wish I would have known when I was younger that one day I would have a whole lot of time to relax on Mother’s Day and that during the time while I was relaxing I would long for the busy Mother’s Days that I used to have once again.

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Me, my husband and our kids, check out the 80’s hair and our family’s Christmas sweatshirts that I made for us all to wear each year lol

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Me and my kids now

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Me and my Mom

Happy Mother’s Day!

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You are Beautiful

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This morning I was putting on my makeup using my magnifying makeup mirror.  As I put on my eye makeup I started to notice all the creases and crinkles around my eyes. I see my face everyday but for some reason today the wrinkles seemed to jump right out at me.

After seeing the wrinkles I began to see all kinds of tiny imperfections in my skin … I saw a pimple, my eyebrows had an occasional straggling hair in the wrong place, and If that wasn’t bad enough I also noticed that I seemed to have giant pores and my eyelashes were thinner in some places than others.

The more and more up I looked at myself the more I found wrong.  I then found myself correcting my eyeliner to try to open my eyes up more. I then got out the tweezers to pluck the straggling misplaced eyebrows and I actually tried to use cover stick around my eyes on the bags and wrinkles I saw.

After about 15 frustrating long minutes of trying to fix all the imperfections I realized that there was no way I could possible ever fix them all and I said to myself, “Girl you need to back away from the mirror!”

As I was backing away from the mirror and I suddenly realized I couldn’t see all those imperfections in the normal mirror and realized that I had just wasted a whole lot of time trying to fix something that wasn’t noticeable unless under a magnifying mirror and besides that, those things actually never needed fixing in the first place!

As I sat there thinking about how silly I had just behaved suddenly it popped in my head that yes I am starting to get older and I do now have a few wrinkles or ‘imperfections’ but guess what??  God loves me despite my imperfections!  Also who decide they are imperfections really? I bet God doesn’t see them as imperfections. Our society has placed huge expectations on us to look good now days. We have creams to remove wrinkles,  tummy blaster diets, we dye our hair to get rid of the gray and make us look younger.  There are gyms on every corner with machines and trainers. We torture our bodies to make them look ‘perfect’ but really does that change anything that is really important? What is truly important and why do we people look at ourselves through a magnifying mirror? Sadly sometimes we look at others under  a magnifying mirror also.

Why not just be who we are and be the beautiful creation that God created us to be?

Have you ever told a 3 year old that they are pretty?? Most will answer with the words “I know” and I bet you would think it was sweet and not think anything bad of her saying ‘I know’.  If you told one of your grown up friends that they were beautiful and she replied “I know” what would you think?  I bet you would think that she was full of herself or conceited.  The truth is there is nothing wrong with knowing and truly believing in who you are and who you were created to be.

Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

God created YOU in his image!

Psalm 139:13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

YOU were fearfully and wonderfully made!

I am not sure if God gets his feelings hurt but I do think it must disappoint him when we cut ourselves down.  If you were to paint a picture or create a sculpture and asked someone what they thought of it and they pointed out all the imperfections wouldn’t you be disappointed that they did not like your creation??

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

YOU were created by God the master painter, the author of your life, and YOU are beautiful!

If you are feeling like you are not beautiful today, quit being so hard on yourself and see yourself the way God sees you.

YOU my friend, ARE beautiful! 

Have a beautiful day,

Terri

Is It Time To Clean Out Your Purse?

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Today I want to talk to you about my purse.  If you are a guy, before you leave thinking this post is not for you because you don’t have a purse, I want to ask you to stick around and hear me out, I think there may be something in this blog post that could possibly apply to you also.

Every since I was old enough to know about purses I have had one. My wanting a purse started with seeing my mom and my grandma’s purses and as a little girl it was so exciting to have a purse of my own and fill it full with all kinds of stuff!

As a child I had purses full of toys, but as I grew up I began to fill my purses with real purse types of things. I have had many different styles and sizes of purses in my life depending on what stage of my life I was in. When I was a teenager I carried purses based on what I liked or what was in style never paying to much attention to size, though I think most of my purses I carried as a teenager were small.

After I got married and I began having kids I began searching for purses big enough to carry not just my own stuff, but also I needed purses big enough to carry the things I needed for my kids such as baby bottles, diapers and small toys. Eventually by the time my kids were older I was carrying around first aid items, hand wipes, food, tools and sometimes even my husband’s wallet or his sunglasses would make their way into my purse.  I pretty much have had just about everything you can imagine in my purse and if I had ever decided to be on the game show “Lets make a Deal” I could have won the ‘What’s in your purse’ game.

Eventually my kids grew up and my purse was not needed by them so much anymore, but for some odd reason I was still carrying around all kinds of crazy stuff in there.  Most of the things in my purse were things that I never needed much anymore, but for some reason I was afraid to take all that stuff out because I knew that as soon as I removed something I may need it.

A few years ago I began to notice that when I would be out for a long day my shoulder would start to ache after a while because my purse was so big and so heavy.  Eventually I came to the conclusion that it was time to lighten my purse up and go through it and see if there was anything in it that I could possibly do without.  As I began going through my purse I soon realized that I was carrying around a whole lot of stuff that I didn’t need to be carrying around anymore and I got rid of it all.

Once I finally got rid of all the excess stuff I and my purse were much lighter and also after a while I noticed my shoulder no longer hurt anymore! All those years of carrying around all that extra stuff that I didn’t need had been dragging me down and instead of helping me it had actually been hurting me.

You know we can be like that in our lives too.  We people tend to carry a lot of excess stuff around and not just in our purses.  Another place that I collected stuff over the years was inside of me.  When I was a kid, we moved a lot, I was usually different from everyone else in some way or other and most of the time I did not fit in very well. I had a very low self esteem and by time I was in junior high school I had decided that I was really not anyone that others would want to hang out with.  I felt unlikable and unloved at times and gradually over time it turned into a bunch of emotional ‘stuff’ that I carried around inside of me for many years.

By the time I was in my mid 30’s I was in full blown social anxiety and gradually started pulling away from any opportunity that allowed someone to get close to me.  Most people did not know about this, I think I hid it well or at least I hoped I did.  I did find people that I was comfortable with but most of the time kept it at a surface type of friendship not letting them know what was really inside because I felt like they would not like me anymore if they knew the real me.

Over the years I also learned that a glass of wine could make my fear of what others thought about me go away enough to get through the social occasions. By the time I was in my late 40’s I was living a pretty social life on the outside but inside I was pretty messed up.  My drinking was becoming an every night thing.  My glass of wine that I had to be social was now a full bottle of wine every night and also now drinking was something I did even when I was all by myself. What I once I did to just be social was now what I did to be numb to the fact that what really was going on was the fact that I was carrying around a lot of excess ‘stuff’ from my past and it was weighing me down and really hurting me a whole lot.

A person would think that old stuff from the past would get easier to carry around as time goes on, but my experience says it actually gets harder when you don’t let go of it.  Another thing about not letting go of all that excess stuff is, that it begins to multiply and before you know it you are carrying around a whole lot more stuff than the stuff you started with in the first place.

When I was 47 years old Jesus entered into my life.

I remember in the beginning knowing that I needed to find a church but being horrified at the fact of going there where all those people would be congregated into one room. I would go to the church and not being able to go in the building because at that time my social anxiety was at its peak. I never drank and drove and would have never dreamed of drinking and going to church so for me to get into the building was a very hard thing to do.  On some Sundays I would sit in the parking lot of the church until I got up the courage to go in the building and on those days that I actually did make it inside it was wonderful!  I know on the days I made it in I got there because Jesus took hold of my hand and he walked me in.

Once in I would sit in the back row and hope that nobody would sit too close to me.  With each visit it got easier and over time and with the encouragement from a friend I finally began meeting with a good Christian counselor who helped me to realize it was time to get rid of the excess stuff that I had been carrying around. She helped me clean it out and hand it over to God.

Once all the stuff that I had been carrying around for many years was removed I began to realize that I was really an okay person and worth so much more than I had allowed myself to believe for many years.

Gradually over the past 5 years I have grown in my relationship with Jesus, and He has helped me to clean out even more and more of that excess stuff and now I truly feel comfortable around other people and I feel loved and just love waking up each day to see what the day will bring.

Now I want to go back to my purse for a minute…Though I have cleaned out all the excess stuff from my purse, somehow I still manage to collect a few excess things in there from time to time. But just because something is in there it does not mean it has to stay in there and I still have to remember to clean out the excess stuff every once in a while.

As far as I go… once in a while if I may make a mistake or do something that I am unhappy with myself about and the next thing I know I realize that I have allowed it to filter into my thinking and before I know it there I am again, feeling like I am not good enough or smart enough, or that people don’t like me. Thankfully now when that ‘stuff’ starts trying to creep in I do know that I need to give that stuff away to Jesus and if I forget to do it He usually will somehow find a way to remind me that He is always here and ready to help me. When I give all that excess burdensome stuff to him I am able to keep moving forward, and travel on lighter and definitely much much happier.

Now I want to ask you the question….What kind of excess stuff are you carrying around today? Could it be that its time clean out some of that stuff that is weighing you down? Did you know that you can give it all away to the one who is always here ready to help your load be lighter … Jesus.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Today I am linking up with Holly Gerth you can click the coffee for your <3 picture below and visit her blog.

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Have a blessed day,

Terri

Also  be sure to check out Holly’s new book You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect 

P.S. As I was just finishing typing this blog post I realized that a song was playing on the radio that was so fitting for this post and I added the YouTube video if you would like to hear it

 

Haiti Movie

I went on a mission trip with my church to Haiti April 11 – 19th. While there we stayed with Carl and Maya Gilles who are missionary’s who live in Port au Prince.The first day of our trip we visited a small church in a village called Babaco where we had worship service and then we went to Hotel Montana for the afternoon.  Hotel Montana was demolished in the 2010 Earthquake, but it now looks to be up and running again.  I know it sounds odd to start the trip with a day of rest, but our first day in Haiti was a Sunday and that is the activity our hosts had planned for us and by the end of the week I was really very glad that we had that day of resting, because I was exhausted.

While in Haiti we visited, The Apparent Project, Outside the Bowl, The City Hospital, Mother Teresa’s Children’s Hospital and also spent the week with the people of Bobaco, in a church there nestled on the bank of a dried up river bed. While there we had ladies Bible studies, youth Bible Studies, children’s Bible School, and much, much more.

Getting to know these wonderful Haitian people and learn more about them and their culture was such a blessing. This video though very loooong (27 min) is still only a small portion of the time we shared and the pictures that our group took while in Haiti.

I hope you enjoy it.

Have a wonderful day,

Terri

Just Say Amen!

“If there’s anybody here who’s found him faithful
anybody here who knows he’s able
Say Amen.
And if there’s anybody here who has seen his power
anybody here brought through the fire 
Say Amen.
Anybody here found joy in the middle of sorrow
just say Amen!” – Say Amen by Finding Favour

Anybody???