Three A.M.

These lyrics, my Aunt Dorothea sent with a recent letter, saying, “The LORD gives me a new song daily; This came at 3 AM.”

Praise Your mighty Name forever,

Precious Lamb of God,

For Your fruitful endeavor,

To save our souls,

What a gift You have given – to all who will receive

As they truly belive in You, precious Jesus.

By your death and resurrection

We have new life and a home in Heaven

Forevermore!

So we daily sing Your praises

To our wonderful Savior

And coming King!

FLYing Once More

FlyLady has had an impeccable effect on my organization, my attitude, and especially our home atmosphere.

I had read her book, Sink Reflections, before I attended college.  My sister had been raving about this “perfect” organizing method and loaned us the book.  The ideas sounded good, but I did not implement them in my parents’ house.  My mother didn’t like being told what to do by a stranger with a website, either.  Good ideas filtered into the back of my mind, nevertheless.

At college, my microwave counter in the dorm became my version of FlyLady’s “shiny sink.”  As long as that counter was in good order, I knew everything else could fall into place.  Especially useful on campus, was her “launch pad” method of laying out everything I would need for a day, the night before.  Utensils for Algebra, reports for English, personal notes for Chamber Singers, and work pages for Economics were packed up and ready in my bag.  I could wake up fifteen minutes before class, jump into the clothes I had laid out, run through my beauty routine, grab that bag, and show up for class feeling prepared for the entire day.  Some mornings, I could get up earlier to savor a cup of coffee.

Once married, I had my own sink to shine…most of the time.  I wrote up routines, which didn’t stick.  Then came the morning sickness that lasted all day, days on end. My sink was sorely neglected.  “FLYing” was not on my mind for months.  However, the FlyLady habit of dressing to shoes each morning would soon be a desperate necessity.  My firstborn was stillborn, and I wanted to die with him.  Previous near-suicide experiences taught me to fight before I was pushed into the pit, where I could be too overwhelmed to get out.  So I let my God bear my grief, I got out of bed and dressed down to my boots each morning, and I did not let myself be alone for more than a couple of hours.  After two months, the tears began to slow and I limped back to the land of the living.

Then again came the morning sickness.  Learning to mother an infant soon followed.  I was very grateful for my beautiful baby, but feeding was difficult and I couldn’t manage much else. Four months after giving birth, my house was a depressive wreck, and so was I.

I sat and looked around at the house full of one, big, disheartening mess.  Anger grew.  “Why couldn’t my husband pick up after himself?”  Blame increased.  “Doesn’t he see the trouble I’m in?”  I picked apart the room about me.  “This thing was his responsibility, and that, and that…”  My pity party was rolling well until I looked at my bedside table.  The items in that pile of clutter were mine, and I had placed each one on that table myself.  I couldn’t blame any of it on my husband, so why was it just was messy as the rest of the house?  Something within me clicked.  Some responsibility was mine to take.  I couldn’t fix my husband’s habits.  I could only fix myself.  I had to.  My man deserved better.  The baby deserved better.  That day, I found FlyLady’s day-by-day baby steps.  I began taking baby steps the next morning.

Gradually, but permanently, my habits changed.  I learned to take care of myself consistently.  Thirty days were listed in the Babysteps, but I only completed perhaps twenty.  The results still turned my house around.  I could recognize the “negative voices” (or lies of the enemy, as I call them) and put a stop to them.  My husband rarely ran out of clean clothes to wear, anymore.  I didn’t have to pinch my nose while washing dishes; the abhorrent mystery water simply didn’t come to my sink.  There was time to snuggle and nurse my baby while she cut her first teeth.  The living room looked nice and retained its gleam, thanks to the Weekly Home Blessing Hour.  I looked forward to having people visit my cozy home, and my husband wasn’t embarrassed when guests entered our domain.  Domain.  That’s what it was.  This house that had owned me, had now become my domain.  I could rule without struggle, attending to our affairs without worry.

After eight months of progress, I began to skip decluttering every day.  Then, I missed my hotspots.  One habit after another, I began to backslide.  Another illness and death in the family, and participating in a wedding five hours away, kept me from home and my habits were lost.  However, this is only a demonstration of how effective the FlyLady’s methods are, because it was easy to get back on track!  I went back to the day-by-day Babysteps.  Day one, I thoroughly cleaned and shined my sink and picked out my clothes for the next day.  Just that much made me feel good again.  After a week of following those two habits, most of my morning routine has now fallen back into place.  My before-bed routine is stronger than ever.  I’m inviting relatives to a meal and game night each week.  Turning a wreck into my home took months, before.  This time, it only took a couple of days!

In years to come, I look forward to keeping a calm and comfortable haven for my family and friends, and teaching my children to manage the same for themselves. Each day I find myself grateful for learning stewardship over the home we have been blessed with.  I am thankful for the self-control, discipline, and love I have been taught this year, even if it’s still a work in progress. Particularly, I am glad to have new tools with which I can bless our marriage.

So if you are hopeless, overwhelmed, immersed in chaos, or depressed with yourself or your home,  I encourage you to use these Beginner Babysteps.  They are a tool that will work for anyone willing to try.  May you claim for yourself the peace I have found.

One Verse, Two Issues

If you cannot view the accompanying image, here is what it says: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen Ephesians 4:29”  This meme pricked my conscience.  I have learned a bit about Lashon Hara, or “Evil Tongue.”  (Watch for an in-depth post on Lashon Hara.) Talking other people down, whether it is through rumors or gossip, is a bad habit of mine.  Though I am now aware of this problem, the habit has yet to be completely broken.

I used to believe that as long as the words were true, there was nothing wrong with bad-mouthing others.  Honestly, using even the truth to prop myself up above my brothers is still a sin.  It can be compared to the “perfect” child who rubs his siblings’ disobedience in their faces.  He believes that since he has not earned as much punishment, he must be made of finer clay.  To the parent, the “perfect” one’s behavior causes more grief.  The parent knows that all his children are weak, in one way or another, and need his guidance to become well-disciplined adults.  One child scorning and withholding grace from the others, as though he is their authority, burdens a parent’s heart.  The parent would rather his child treated siblings as they are – equals.

In one of his many parables, Yashua (Jesus) described a king who forgave a servant’s enormous debt. The servant then refused to forgive a fellow servant’s smaller debt.  The king who had shown so much compassion to the first servant heard of this behavior, was angry the him, and required the enormous debt in full. (Book of Matthew 18:21-35)  This parable addressed forgiveness in particular, but it reminds me that each of us owe the King of the Universe our lives for the wrongs we have committed.  How can I look down on another of His children, as though I have never wronged Him myself? As though my pride is an idol?  Obviously, I must observe what He has told me about right and wrong and discern accordingly.  To usurp His judgment seat, though, is to say I am god.

Some time passed, and cutting the “unwholesome talk” was no longer foremost in my mind.  Ephesians 4:29 scrolled up in my social media, so I posted it as a reminder to myself and an encouragement to others.  Usually, those sort of images get a handful of “likes” and no comments.  On this one, a friend commented, “Question on this. So I think this applies to when we would communicate poorly about another without edification. Do you think it applies to even talking our our struggles?” 

I saw what she meant.  Some people believe that if they admit to negative feelings, they must have little faith.  The Psalms are full of King David crying out to his God about his troubles.  He was still called “a man after My own heart.”  David brought his pain to God and told him how he felt. He did not deny God’s ability to save him, but opened his heart to Him.  After his lamentations, he always resolved that God would be his Help and Defender.  Faith does not mean that you feel no pain, but that you have a hope despite the pain.

Others in my community believe that it is evil to speak of negative things at all.  If you wish to vent about your troubles to them, they will not validate your struggles, but deflect your issue and gloss it over with positives.  Rather than using the Truth to grapple with problems, they try to use it as a child’s blanket to hide themselves from the monsters of the night.  Our faith is our shield, our Savior is our hiding place in the storm, but He also equipped us with the Sword of the Spirit with which to fight.

I wanted to respond to my friend with these opinions; I thought it best to research this verse in Ephesians to be sure I addressed the issue at hand properly.

My findings were as follows:
  • The King James Version uses this terminology: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may administer grace to unto the hearers.” I don’t believe this means to keep our mouths shut about our struggles. Paul also encouraged us to bear one another’s burdens, after all. (Galatians 6:2)
  •  Corrupt: Strongs#G4550 1. rotten, putrefied 2. corrupted by one and no longer fit for use, worn out 3. of poor quality, bad, unfit for use, worthless
  •  Good: Strongs#G18 1.of good constitution or nature 2.useful, salutary 3. good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy 4 . excellent, distinguished 5. upright, honourable
  • Edifying: G3619 1. (the act of) building, building up 2. metaphorically edifying, edification a) the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness 3. a building
  • Grace: G5485 1. grace a) that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech 2. good will, loving-kindness, favour . . .
 I responded to my friend with some of these references and I wrote, “So I see that we should not speak rotten and useless things, but good, uplifting, and – when speaking of the hard things – make sure it’s useful and we maintain a spirit of honor.”
How do we strike the balance?  How do we speak well of our neighbors, treat them lovingly, and still be honest about our feelings and struggles?  “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6  Moment by moment, ask the Heavenly Father for guidance.  Now that you are aware of these lessons, let him direct you in His paths in each situation you find yourself today.  Bring your troubles to Him first.  The Holy Spirit will help you obey, if you ask.  No man-made theology will “get it right” for you.  Let Him lead you in His ways.

Two Poems

The burden on my soul

Is to let people know- Jesus cares,

Yes He cares about the killing

That Satan is infilling

In human hearts

Only our loving God is able

To change and renew

Lives that are renew

And give new hope

So open your hearts to Him

And let Jesus come in

For peace within!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To have Jesus in our heart

Brings joy that will not depart

For He is the Way, the Truth and the Life

Giving us guidance all the way

Filling our hearts with joy today!

Songs for Dorothea

If I have ever met my Great Aunt Dorothea, it was before my memories.  Upon my graduation, though, I received a warm and encouraging note from this sister of my late grandmother.  I sent her a thank you note, and she replied back.  In the five years since, we have continued our correspondence across the Continental Divide.

She tells me of her exercise programs (she went swimming three times a week till the age of 93), choir experiences, spiritual lessons, Bible studies, children and grandchildren, and her general health.  Her notes are written on cute floral or gorgeously embossed stationary.  I keep the latest decorative letter on display in my living room as a reminder that someone is praying for me.  With each pretty letter or beautiful card, she also sends the lyrics to a “little song.”

“The LORD gives me these little songs to sing,” she says.  Once, we got on the phone, and she sang two of these songs for me.  The words are edifying in and of themselves, but the classy, old-time revival melodies lifted my spirits even more.  Finally, I asked whether I may publish her songs online. She responded, “You can do whatever you wish with my little songs that are really His.”

So, in days to come, I will post these song lyrics in the hope they will encourage any who read them.

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Praising our LORD of all creation,

All of which give Him adoration,

Knowing His rule over all the nations,

Worshiping Him alone.

Soon He’s coming for His children

Taking them home

To dwell in glory,

So we sing this wondrous story Of His love for us.

Leap Before You Look!

Posted on my social media five years ago, this article deserved republishing.
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Here is something that has been on my mind and heart since last August.  The concept has proven sound and the lesson has helped me avoid some very bad situations.  I now feel that I should share it for the benefit of anyone who sees it.

My great-grandfather Pierson agonized.  The world was in a depression, and he was desperate to support his family.  A rich man had made a very handsome monetary offer.  He could do one simple task and never again worry about his children’s future.  Could he accept the deal?  Was his family’s financial security worth the favor the rich man asked?  After what felt like eons, Pierson made his decision.  He said “no.”  He would not perform the abortion for the rich man’s daughter.

Ever since, he gave this instruction to his children and grandchildren.  My dad passed it to me: “If you know the right thing to do, don’t think about it.  Do it.”  To tarry will bring a leaden burden of grief to your shoulders.

Security, getting the upper-hand, avoiding conflict, waiting till later, fitting in, and looking the other way may be very beneficial to you.  Still, all is subject to law.  Actions are subordinate to God’s laws, laws of right and wrong, the law of the land, and the simple rules of etiquette.

When you know the right thing to do, don’t think.  Do it.  It will save you from unnecessary drama, heartache, guilt, regret, and worlds of hurt.  Dedicate yourself to what is right, and it will not fail you.

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7 & 8

“Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice.”  Proverbs 16:8