Not My Best Carol Brady Moment!

"Mom always says, 'Don't play ball in the house...'"

Growing up in the 70's/80's, I watched A LOT of the Brady Bunch. And I mean A LOT!

As an only child, I'm pretty sure I wanted to be a Brady, but perhaps even more, wanted to be a mom like Carol Brady. She was the kind of mom that always had the right words to say to her children. She disciplined in love and was never short on good advice.

However, she was pretty ticked in the episode where Peter broke her favorite vase.

Still, I don't remember her screaming at her kids.

So, I have two boys and they love to play ball. You already know where I'm going with this...

A few months ago, they were playing baseball in the living room where they have been told a million times NOT to play ball! And you guessed it! They broke something. Little Bryson was sliding into first base when his foot went into the glass cabinet on which our TV sits.

And I exploded! That particular piece of furniture was less than six months old and they knew better. Afterwards, I had to apologize and thankfully praise God that he wasn't cut anywhere. He could have easily needed stitches.

One night last week night, it happened again. This time it was a blow up beach baseball that took out an antique plate that belonged to my grandmother. Its home used to be atop my mantle. Until crash, boom, bang!

What did I do?

Yep, I exploded again. Threatening I don't remember what as I angrily swept up the pieces. Mad at myself perhaps for not putting the antiques away until my boys are away at college.

I had to apologize for getting angry again. And thank the Lord the plate didn't fall on his precious head. Sigh.

It gets better...

The next day at the pool, Bryson took the beach ball to play with. Harmless at the pool, right? Or one would think.

As we were getting ready to leave, I had my back turned to him. I was saying goodbye to a friend and folding up my chairs. When I heard a familiar crash, boom, bang - again!

The clock to the pool was lying on the concrete with the glass face shattered. Bryson was standing there with a look of shock and guilt all at the same time.

Evidently, he was bouncing the ball against the wall when it hit the clock and knocked it off the wall.

The first words out of my mouth were, "That ball is going in the trash when we get home."

Realizing my words must have seemed a bit harsh to the moms around me, I explained that I couldn't believe he had broken something else with this same ball in less than 24 hours!

At least I didn't scream this time. Although in all honesty, it was probably because we were in a public place. I asked the manager if we needed to buy another clock and had Bryson apologize as well.

She was very gracious. No one was angry.

Still I have to wonder what in the world is God trying to teach me through all these broken pieces?

I know that I need to use my words more carefully. To build up and not tear down.

The Comfort Zone:

The very next day, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, spoke directly to me, "Watch your words diligently. words have such great power to bless or to wound. When you speak carelessly or negatively, you damage others as well as yourself."

Perhaps I need to realize that when things break, a heart doesn't need to be broken as well. A heart is more fragile and valuable than any antique plate. And a heart has feelings.

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20

Lord, help me to stop and think. Count to ten. Bite my tongue. Whatever it takes before I hurt someone with my words. Help me to be a better listener, use more caution with my words, and become slow to anger. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Trashy People

"Trashy people!" my husband's Mamaw used to tease, every Friday afternoon when she accompanied my mother-in-law to pick up our trash.

Sounds a bit odd, I know. But we live out in the country and have a pick up truck, so why pay for garbage service? My husband and his mom take the trash to the dump instead. Actually, she usually takes it for us on Fridays as a favor to her son. She's a good woman, right? Certainly not a glamorous job!

However, we are a family of 5, and we have bags and bags of trash! And now that Mamaw is gone, my mother-in-law is the one who comments, "Trashy people!" each week. Of course, it's said all in good fun, but is there any truth to it?

Unfortunately, I believe there is.

Our culture is trashy. Period. Just take a look at what is on Primetime TV, on the New York Times best seller list, in the movies, on the radio.

Recently, God has been showing me that we are as trashy as we allow ourselves and our families to be. I have been reading the Book of James about once a week. It is quite convicting in many areas.

James 1:27 (NIV) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Not trying to sound legalistic here...or judgmental. I watch shows and listen to songs that some of you may think are inappropriate. Each one of us must decide for ourselves what we will allow before our eyes, what we will listen to, and what degree of language (pure, slanderous, or profane) we will use or accept as inoffensive. But we can't deny that God's Word gives clear instructions.

In talking with a friend of mine at the pool a few weeks ago, she shared with me something Beth Moore said in her James study - Mercy Triumphs. She referred to "washing the world off."

We have to live in the world, yes. But we can and should be washing it right off of us. And we are called to lead pure and blameless lives. Not to be a friend with the world. In fact, James 4:4 says that, "friendship with the world is hatred toward God." Pretty strong, huh?

As Christians, we should look different to non-Christians. We should not blend in so much.

We should be Light to the world. Not accepting what God has deemed sinful, but living out what we read in God's Word. And prayerfully and purposefully teaching our children the same thing.

Yes, it is hard stuff. But let's not get lazy and give up!

This trashy woman has allowed herself and her family to become polluted by the world.

I have caved to the culture. And then I have had to make it right.

Apologize to my kids.

Set new boundaries.

Like going to the dump once a week, we need worship with other believers every Sunday morning. And unless we want our kitchens to stink, we also need to be taking out the trash daily.

The same is true with our bodies. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit lives inside of us. Let's keep a clean and tidy place for Him to hang out!

The Comfort Zone:

1 John 1:9 (NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

If this post speaks to you, here are some things to consider:

Ask God to show you areas you have let the world slip in and pollute your soul.

If you have children, ask Him to show you where you may need to re-establish boundaries for their well being.

As you shower each day, imagine yourself washing off the filth the culture has splattered on, and thank the Lord you are merely passing through.

Father, forgive us for the times we have caved to the culture. Show us how to live in the world as the example You expect from Your children. Help us to practice what we preach and shine Light into darkness. Draw our children close to You and give them strength to represent You well even when their peers may ridicule them. And thank You for faithfully forgiving us when we confess our worldly waywardness. In Jesus' name, Amen.

For His Glory,


(c) 2012 by Christy Long. All rights reserved.

Their Church Every Other Weekend

Sharing my children with their dad after our divorce has not always been easy. I used to feel cheated out of spending time with them. It pained me that they were not able to be involved 100% at our church.

Helping to teach their Sunday school class while they were absent and attending their dad's church made me miss them all the more. It even made me reluctant to serve in those areas because it reminded me that our family was dysfunctional.

At their dad's every other weekend and one evening a week made it tough for them to feel a regular part of the children's activities at our church. But honestly, it probably bothered me more than it bothered them. I perceived my glass as half empty.

Then something wonderful changed.

This past year, my teenage daughter was asked to join the praise dance team at her daddy's church. She has taken dance for years, but had never really used that gift for the Lord.

Admittedly, I was reluctant to allow her to "sign up" for that. It would mean driving her to practices and potentially giving up more Sundays at our own church when they performed during their services.

However, after putting my own selfishness aside, I realized that she really wanted to get plugged in. It really wasn't inconvenient because their church is even closer to our house than our own church. It would seem that I did not have a good argument.

I'm so glad I allowed her that opportunity. She has performed 4 times this year. We visited on the Sundays they danced and saw firsthand what a young, energetic, Bible teaching pastor my children hear on opposite weeks.

She is currently on a Senior High Youth beach retreat with this church where they will be leading worship at two churches, performing their routine to Live Like That, by Sidewalk Prophets.

My glass is not half empty after all. It is overflowing.

Because as I joined the kids and chaperones in prayer before they departed, this mama was reminded that we are all one in the body of Christ. How blessed my children are that they have two churches to be a part of and two church families that love them and encourage them!

The Comfort Zone:

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4: (NIV)

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus. Romans 15:5 (NIV 1984)

Let us praise God for opportunities for our children to use their spiritual gifts, even if it means permitting them to go to the "other" church. We can also encourage, participate in service, and worship with fellow believers, even if they are a different denomination, as long as they teach Bibilical truth. No longer do I worry about which church my kids will attend which weekend, but praise God for the opportunity they have to attend a good church every weekend.

Lord, help us blended families have a clear understanding of what is in the best interest of our children. Help us to put aside our own selfish desires or turf wars, even in the area of church. May we view our children's activities and involvement with eternal eyes for Your Kingdom! Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

For His Glory,


A Groundhog Day in June

Ever experience one of those days where you seem to be spinning your wheels? One where you end up backtracking and doing things over and over again?

I kind of felt like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day this week. It seemed as though I was reliving my day over and over, except in my day I was getting further and further behind as I had to go back to the same stores and redo and exchange items I had just purchased earlier that very day!

Frustrated was pretty much the word that summed up my entire day.

And both do-overs could have been avoided if I had only taken the time to scan the price or double check the size in the clothing label. Of course my mistakes set me back in my schedule.

It's like that sometimes in my spiritual walk. I find myself back in a familiar place and it would seem that God is teaching me the same lesson over and over again. I wonder if He ever thinks, is this girl ever going to get it?

I suppose I shouldn't feel so bad. Even the disciples were sometimes slow to get it. After Peter asked Jesus to explain one of his parables, Jesus asked them, "Are you still so dull?" (Matthew 15:16)

Can anybody relate? Does the phrase "3 steps forward and 2 steps back" resonate with you? It could be the story of my life!

However, let us not be discouraged!

Finding the Comfort Zone: James 4:8 says, "Come near to God and he will come near to you."

Drawing closer to God is usually the first step in getting back on track. Many times when I realize I have fallen backwards, it occurs to me that I have short changed my time with Jesus.

Getting alone with God regularly is necessary for continued spiritual growth. Jesus set the example of getting up early and praying in a quiet place. (Mark 1:35)

Oh how my day goes smoother when I slow down long enough to thoroughly read a chapter or so of His Word and spend time quiet time in His presence.

Not that our day will be problem free, for Jesus said in this world we will have trouble, but we can have peace through Him. For He has overcome the world! (John 16:33)

When we have bad days or become frustrated with ourselves, we can praise God that He is not finished with us! We are still an individual work in progress!

We can be confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

Father, we praise You for the peace you give us which is found through a true relationship with You. Thank You for not giving up on us in our "duh" moments, but for patiently allowing us to learn some of the same lessons over and over, and yes, even over again...we trust that You will complete in each one of us the good work You began.

(c) 2012 by Christy Long. All rights reserved.

Finishing Strong

The past couple of weeks have been incredibly busy for my family. My daughter, a high school freshman, had a semester project that was due the week after Memorial Day - she built a model of the Palace of Versailles out of styrofoam bricks! She barely had any fun over Memorial weekend, although we did go shopping at the mall for a couple of hours to enjoy a short break, and pick up more supplies at AC Moore.

She had a test in the same honors class the day before the project was due. She was bordering on an A and a B and had opportunities for extra credit which she had taken advantage of, though not as much as her mother would have liked. I'm sure I sounded like the biggest nag!

A crazy semester schedule, my daughter was a pole vaulter on the track team, a dancer at a local dance studio (recital was last weekend), and participated in a local ministry one night a week through our church, and somehow managed to complete Driver's Ed!

As we approached the last couple of weeks of school, I could see she was getting tired and losing interest. She was exhibiting an attitude of simply getting by.

My words to her over and over, were "finish strong." You've come this far, your grades have been good all semester. I know you're tired, but do your best. Just a little bit longer.

As I've heard myself speaking those words to my child, I have almost heard God speaking those same words to me!

It is easy for me to tell someone else to finish strong, but how am I doing? In January, I wrote a blog post about called Keep it Simple - Don't Ever Quit, based on 2 Timothy 4:1-5:

I can't impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don't ever quit. Just keep it simple.

...—keep your eye on what you're doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God's servant.

We often set great goals for ourselves in January, and then realize as the year moves on and we become overwhelmed with life, how difficult it seems to complete those goals. This could be related to our spiritual walk, weight loss, getting and staying organized, just to name a few. Or in my case - all of the above! ;)

We may even wonder if it even matters. We may think of giving up. Quitting.

Our flesh says, "It's just too hard!" or questions, "Does it really matter?"

Yes, it does!

When I begin to feel tired and lazy, the Holy Spirit convicts me to do my best for the Lord.

Am I keeping my eyes on what I'm doing? Am I accepting the hard times along with the good? Am I keeping the Message alive? And am I doing a thorough work as God's servant?

Reading on in the same chapter, Paul tells Timothy:

...This is the only race worth running. I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that's left now is the shouting—God's applause!... 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (The Message)

A mid-year evaluation if you will, this is a reminder to me to stay in the race.

What about you? What do you believe God has called you to do? Every life matters to God. The enemy would love for believers to slack off and question their worth in the All Conference Kingdom Meet. He would love nothing more than for each one of us to sit on the sidelines without participating.

But God expects more. We are ALL called to run this race.

Finish strong!

Lord, help us to finish strong in the personal race you have for us. Life is too short not to give our best to Your Kingdom work. May we be focused and determined, not losing sight of the goal You would have us accomplish.

(By the way, my daughter managed to pull off an A in that class! And confirmed that her mother was a nag! :))


What Matters Most

...a righteous man [woman] will be remembered forever. Psalm 112:6

Last week our family said goodbye to its last WWII veteran, Jimmy Culbreth. Sweet Jimmy married my Pap-Paw's first cousin, Rosemary, who was beautiful on the inside and out.

Rosemary passed away last August. She and Jimmy had been married for 67 years. Expectedly, he missed her greatly and longed to be with her.

Emotions stirred deep within me as I tearfully attended Jimmy's graveside service. Much like Rosemary's funeral, the pastors spoke of the legacies these two had left behind. Lifelong and very active members of a church my great, maybe great-great, grandparents had been a part of establishing many years ago, they had touched countless lives.

Standing in the same small, quiet cemetery where my greats and great-greats are buried, I was reminded of how short our lives are on this earth.

Gone, but not forgotten.

It's really not the accomplishments we achieve in life, but the relationships we touch.

It's good to spend some time reevaluating our lives every so often. Funerals seem to trigger that in me because I am reminded of how short life really is.

I have written before about the busy lifestyle we lead, as many families do. (And right now, we're at peak season!) Often, I have good intentions. Taking a meal to someone, sending a card, inviting a friend to lunch.

However, if those thoughts never leave my head and never get put into action, they are forever only a good intention.

Unfortunately, legacies aren't made of good intentions. They are instead made of time well spent and choices well made.

Jimmy made a choice years ago that I only learned of at his passing. When he was in high school, he must have been quite a football player. He received offers to play at Georgia and Carolina. Most young men today would be thrilled to have those opportunities. Their only decision being, which school?

But Jimmy made his choice to join the US Navy as WWII was getting started. That makes him a hero in my book! And God blessed his decision, because it was during this time, that he met Rosemary.

A life of service. Service to his country, service to his family, service to his church. And most importantly, service to His God.

Jesus is our ultimate example of serving and loving others.

A life that follows His example is a life well lived. A life that leaves a legacy is not soon forgotten.

Lord, help me to not get so caught up in my own busy schedule that I have no time for others. Help me to listen to Your guidance when I need to act on a kind thought or a small gesture that may brighten someone else's day. I don't want to live a life of good intentions, but leave a legacy that mattered. May I truly follow my Jesus, each and every day, and may He show me what matters most. Amen.

Witnessing a World Without Love

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
~ 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV) (Emphasis mine)

Sound like the world we live in today?

I have referenced in by Bible the words "without love" (vs. 3) in Greek, actually means "family love."

Deeply saddened over the past several months, I have been carrying around a heavy heart for people I am close to, as well as several acquaintances.

Families are falling apart, marriages are dissolving, even couples one would never suspect as having the first problem are choosing to separate. Some of these hit very close to home. Never could I have imagined some of the events that have happened recently.

Divorce at any age, whether a person is a young adult with small children, or a senior citizen with several grandchildren, trickles down and affects the entire family.

Marriages today are under attack.

The devil is on the prowl. (1 Peter 5:8)

Honestly, I have felt somewhat paralyzed. It is not my crisis. Perhaps it is not your crisis. Or perhaps it is.

What should a Christian friend or family member do?

The answer seems too simple, but I will share what I believe God has impressed on my heart.

Pray. Simply pray.

Pray the Holy Spirit will convict and change the person'(s)' heart(s), making a way for reconciliation. Remember, we are ALL sinners saved by the grace of God. There is no sin so awful that He cannot forgive. Pray also for ALL family members affected.

Pray for wisdom when given opportunities to speak the Truth in love. Proverbs 15:23 says, "a man [woman] finds joy in giving an apt reply - and how good is a timely word!"

Pray the Holy Spirit will give you power to love like Jesus, and leave the judging to Him.

How did Jesus respond to the woman at the well? (John 4) The adulteress about to be stoned? (John 8)

He did not condemn. rather he loved them and gently pointed them to the Truth. A delicate balance for most of us, myself included.

Kindness can be misunderstood as acceptance or condonement. On the flip side, confronting a sinful behavior can be interpreted as judging or self-righteousness. Therefore, I have decided to try to err on the side of kindness rather than condemnation. (I confess, I haven't always handled these matters in the best way.) One must use caution or a friendship may be damaged.

And finally...

Pray for healing. Some marriages will be reconciled; some will end.

Healing must take place in either case. Nothing is impossible for God. He can bring good out of heartbreaking circumstances. Trust Him to reveal His glory in the midst of pain.

Human love sometimes fails. And even more so in today's world.

But God is forever faithful.

And He is our Comforter.

Heaven on Earth

Some might think our blended family situation gets a bit weird at times. Mainly because one cannot fathom how two people can get along and be kind to one another after all the hurtful words that once flew off our tongues, or from the lingering sting left by a betrayal.

And truthfully, it did take a while.

Never would I have imagined the genuine friendliness we now have among all of us.

Never would I have considered the possibility of worshiping with my ex-husband and his family, along with my family.

But that is exactly what we did yesterday morning. They welcomed us into their church and we even sat in the pew in front of them.

Our teenage daughter has joined the dance team there and they performed to East to West by Casting Crowns. A beautiful job, I must add! One of my all time faves by CC anyway and it truly brought tears to my eyes watching my precious girl dance.

The sermon was on Revelation 21:1-5 and the pastor's message was on Heaven and what it will be like.

A brief synopsis, though I won't do it justice here:

Will we recognize each other? Yes, we believe so.

Will there be any hospitals, paramedics, cemeteries? No. There will be no need because there will be no more death or sickness.

Whatever hard times we've been through in this life - abuse, betrayal, sickness, loss...there will be none of those things in Heaven. Praise God!

The closing hymn was When We All Get to Heaven!

What a glorious picture of Heaven on Earth! As I sang I couldn't help but feel a little surreal that we were singing such a hymn with people I once didn't think deserved to go there. I know, what a hypocrite, right? I don't deserve to go there either!!! Just being real, here.

It's ONLY by the GRACE of GOD through HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST, that anyone gets to go there!

To God be the glory for giving me a snapshot of what Heaven will be like one day. One day, all of us will stand before God and sing His praises together in Heaven!

Friends, let's see the bigger picture...Belinda Carlisle sang about making Heaven a place on Earth back in the 80s. But yesterday, I was reminded that as Christians we need to live with the mindset of eternity every day. And if God has brought us this far in our healing on earth, just imagine how wonderful Heaven will be!

There will be no broken, dysfunctional families. We will all belong to the same happy, loving family of God.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for gently showing me a glimpse of Heaven. Help us to forgive and love those who hurt us because of the love and forgiveness that Jesus has shown us in our own lives.

You are truly an awesome God!

"Comforsation" Hearts (a V-Day post from the archives)

This time of year, as we approach Valentine’s Day, there is an abundance of Kay Jeweler commercials, Hallmark movies (love stories with perfect, happy endings), and perhaps the absolute worst commercial ever – the Pajama-Gram! Who can’t help but notice the sea of red cards, candy, and stuffed animals at their local Wal-Mart, Target, or even grocery store?

I have a lot of single girlfriends and through them, I am reminded of what it felt like when I was single and didn’t have a “significant other” to celebrate with on this particular holiday. All those jewelry commercials and “perfect gift” segments even on the local news channel can be downright depressing. Is there really nothing more newsworthy to discuss than the perfect Valentine’s gift? So this Valentine’s weekend, the ladies in my Sunday school class are celebrating “Red Weekend” instead. Because for some, the V-word is a four letter word!

If you are struggling with this red holiday for lovers, I hope that you will take comfort in knowing that YOU are LOVED!!! In stuffing some Valentine treat bags for my son to give to his third grade class today, I noticed the tiny messages on the candy conversation hearts – “Be mine,” “Cutie Pie,” “Love me,” “My baby,” and “I hope.” It caused me to think about these little love statements in a different way – as little love messages from God who always loves us!

Be mine - God is our perfect Valentine. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

Cutie Pie – Have you ever thought that God thinks you’re cute? Well he does! In fact, He thinks you are beautiful! You are His wonderful creation (Psalm 139:14). “The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” Psalm 45:11 (NIV) Enthralled??? Really? Wow!!!

Love me – There are so many ways that God loves us; there are too many passages of Scripture to even mention that confirms His love for us! First, it’s hard to fathom just how much He loves us. “…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:17-18 (NIV) God is love; love comes from God; God loves us! 1 John 4:7-10 pretty much puts it in a nutshell – “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (NIV) Human relationships sadly do not always last; but Psalm 119:76 tells us that we can be comforted by God’s unfailing love “May your unfailing love be my comfort…” (NIV) and in Psalm 136 we can read over and over throughout the entire passage, “His love endures forever.” (NIV)

My baby – If we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, and we have a relationship with Him, we are a child of God. We have been born again and we are God’s precious baby! “…That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ's family, then you are Abraham's famous ‘descendant,’ heirs according to the covenant promises.” Galations 3:28-29 (The Message) and, “…You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, ‘Papa! Father!’ Doesn't that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you're also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.” Galations 4:7-10 (The Message)

I hope - Sometimes life does not go according to plan. If this is a difficult season in your life, I hope that you will take comfort by putting your hope in the Lord. Psalm 62:5 says, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” (NIV) “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)
God is faithful and He does keep his promises!

One last thing…when you notice that sea of red, think about the blood of Jesus that was shed because of HIS love for YOU. (John 3:16) There is no better Valentine!

Copyright 2009 by Christy Long. All rights reserved.
Comfort to Comfort Ministries

Who Needs Refreshing?

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25

Been thinking a lot about being refreshed this week. Probably because my daughter and I painted the kids' bathroom on Tuesday while they were out of school.

Walls need refreshing every so often. Especially when they have have covered with flat paint. A kids' bathroom of all places really needs a little gloss in order to look clean.

Otherwise, every splash of water will run down the wall and leave marks. Every scuff from every toy that has been dragged across the wall leaves its bold mark. And when one tries to clean a wall with flat paint...well, sometimes the paint comes off  along with the dirt.

So this week we made a refreshing change from dull, flat, dirty blue to bright, glossy, warm, vibrant orange!

And that evening, after we had worked tirelessly all day, I was wiped out.

Looking forward to crashing in my bed for a long night of slumber, instead I came down with a nasty stomach bug! I was up half the night, praying for it to stop...

And my husband has been out of town all week! So I was on my own with 3 kids. Thankfully, they did not have school the next day. However, my daughter did have a morning orthodontist appointment.

So who do I call when I need help? Mom and Dad.

My dad took my daughter to her appointment and my mom brought the necessary supplies to refresh the sick - ginger ale, chicken broth.

She also generously provided me with baked potatoes, bananas, and cans of chicken noodle soup for when my body was ready to endure more solid food.

A blessing from God, no one could have better parents. Looking back over my life, they have always been there when I need them.

How well I remember when I was a single mom with a toddler and a newborn, they were there. They were my support system. Help was, and still is, only a phone call away.

However, it made me think about others who may not have a good support system. My husband has been traveling a lot more over the last couple of weeks and I am reminded of what it feels like to be a single mom.

Perhaps God is allowing me to continue to taste the single mom life for a reason. It has become a distant memory for me, but I do not ever want to lose compassion for those who are struggling in this area.

I pray that instead of being dull like worn, flat paint, God will instead wake me up and give me fresh, bright eyes. Show me who needs refreshing. Direct me to reach out to someone who could use a little support.

How about you? Is God putting someone on your heart that may need some refreshment? We all know widows, single moms, and those suffering with an illness.

Life is busy and I am just as guilty as the next person for staying wrapped up in my own busyness, but let's be there for our sisters. Let's ask our Father in Heaven who we may refresh this week.

And in doing so, may we all be refreshed!

For His Glory,

Give Me New Eyes

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 2:3 (NIV)

Taking down Christmas decorations is not my favorite thing. The excitement and anticipation makes getting them out, so much more fun than putting them away.

And every year it never fails that I leave some piece of Christmas decor out, after I have already put the others away. You know, after a month or so, I've just gotten so used to seeing the decorations that they begin to look normal in their place. A day or two later I will find an item that I accidentally left out which should have gone back in a box.

I was feeling quite proud of myself this year because I didn't think I had made that mistake. Having been under the weather with a sinus infection the week after Christmas, I didn't take my tree and decorations down until this past weekend. Finally, with my children's help, everything was hidden away in the closet and/or basement by Saturday evening. And I breathed a huge sigh of relief!

Funny then how critical I seemed to be on Sunday morning of other people's outside decorations. Wow, they really need to get those down! We're already a week into January, I thought.

I even made a comment as we pulled around the last curve on our road and began to turn into our driveway when...GASP!!!

What was that???

A red and green "Merry Christmas, Y'all!" was still magnetized to our mailbox!

How had I missed it? I was so certain I had taken care of all of my stuff! I was immediately embarrassed. Especially because it was showing on the outside!

Everyone who passed by our house could have said the exact same thing I had been saying about others. Perhaps a little something like, "It's January, Y'all! Time to take down the Christmas decorations!"

Made me think of the above verse and I felt a little convicted to say the least. So, I am asking God to give me new eyes for the new year.

How much of my own "stuff" shows on the outside that I never notice? Yet I can so easily spot other people's "stuff" that I believe needs attention.

How about you? Are we often times quick to judge others with a critical spirit? We don't always know what another individual is going through.

Heavenly Father, forgive me. Give me new eyes to see my own faults - to examine my own "house and yard" rather than my neighbor's, and put away any behavior that it unpleasing to You. May I become much quicker to confess and repent of the wrong that I do, rather than passing judgment.

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:2 (NIV)

Don't Ever Quit - Keep it Simple

January 7, 2012

A couple of days ago, I shared on my FB page my verse/passage for 2012.

2 Timothy 4 (The Message)

I can't impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don't ever quit. Just keep it simple. (verses 1-2) But you - keep your eye on what you're doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God's servant. (verse 5)

I must confess that after sharing on here in September that I had written my last blog post for a while, I felt relieved. As a busy mom with 3 kids and many domestic jobs that needed tending to (and still do!) it seemed best to give up blogging altogether.

Let's be honest. We have seasons in life when we are busier than others and I was putting too much pressure on myself. I believed that if I could not keep up by posting multiple times/week (as I had one time heard at a conference) I should just quit.

In fact, can I just be really honest and say that I beat myself up about a lot of things last year. Hardly keeping it simple. And I would be willing to bet that I'm not alone there.

The truth is I love to write. I may not do it every week, but when I do, I enjoy it. When God lays a verse, or a message on my heart and gives me something to share, why not?

So, in 2012, I'm making a fresh start! If you're following along, don't expect a new blog post every day or even every week, especially during baseball season! ;) But I will continue to proclaim the Message; challenge, warn, and urge; and try my best to do the thorough work of God's servant.

After all, Jesus could break through the clouds at any time and call us up in the air! (1 Thessalonians 4) And I would really hate for Him to say to me, "Hey, why did you quit?"

What about you? Is there a verse you're claiming this year? Maybe you're like me and need to stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Is there something you were at one time doing for God's Kingdom, a talent perhaps, that you have stopped? Maybe it's time for some prayer and self-evaluation. Could He be nudging you to simply read His Word more, attend church more regularly, or even find a church home?

Let's thank God for the fresh start He gives us each day and for His forgiveness when we mess up or get off track with His plan. Let's try to remember what's really important and just to keep it simple.

And whatever you do, don't ever quit!

May God bless you beyond measure this year!!!


(c) 2012 Christy Long.