He Has Dealt Bountifully With Me

gbdblog_button_zps2b5eecb6

(I am blessed to be a guest devotional writer today over at Granola Bar Devotional.)

gbdlindagillsing_edited-1-1024x816

I would cry out, “How long, O Lord? How long” as I would leave the nursing home where my mother spent the last five years of her life. Due to a terrible fall and surgery, Mama would never be able to fully walk again. Previously, her mind had slipped into a roller coaster of dementia-ridden fear, repetition, accusation, jealousy, confusion, and hallucinations. Diabetes turned to Type 1 at age 85, making her insulin-dependent until the day she died at age 98. Then in her last year of life, she got an extremely painful, odd cancer.

I loved my Mama dearly and she loved her family. I loved to see her smile, hear her laughter, feel her motherly arms around me.  She lived near me the last fifteen years of her life where I watched and lived her life daily so also watched the hard side to aging.

Mama was one of those 1940s gals who went to work for the war effort. She married a Navy doctor. She owned a dress shop. She raised three daughters alone after Daddy died from Pancreatic cancer. We were only 12, 10, and 7. She had her hands full raising us in the 1960s and 70s, but she did. She loved us through the hard places, never giving up on any of us. She took care of herself. She was just an amazing lady.

As her body and mind deteriorated in her aged years, I saw my proud, strong mother become dependent, confused, in pain. Mama could be so afraid over something imaginary, be so angry or jealous with those who cared for her; her blood sugar would drop so low that she required hand-feeding, or the pain of the cancer would be intense. Anguish built up in me. I would hold on, quietly praying for Him to calm us both. As I left her in the care of others, I would cry out to God, “How long, O LORD?” Not that I wanted her to die for I would (and now do) miss her terribly, but watching her go through so much for so long, I just wondered if God had forgotten her.

He had not. God never left either of us. The number of Mama’s days were in God’s hands. He is the LORD Who sees, Yahweh Roi. God was drawing Mama closer to Himself all along through beautiful avenues. He drew me into His arms of peace, of hope, of gentleness. I can sing with joy for He, indeed, dealt with me bountifully.

Memory Verse:
“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
– Psalm 13:5-6 (ESV)

Prayer Prompt:
“Father God, I rejoice and sing to You. You truly have dealt with me bountifully and lovingly….”

Originally published @ @ Granola Bar Devotional…

This post has been linked up through Granola Bar Devotional FaceBook as well @ https://www.facebook.com/GBDevotional

A Lesson about Words Brought to You by a Child with a Tube of Toothpaste (@ Granola Bar Devotional)

I have read far more than I desire of late when it comes to Christians saying things about other Christians that is negative, complaining, derogatory, and more, when what we are called to do is love one another, to reflect the image of Christ, talk privately to another if you feel they are wrong or you have been wronged.

I wrote the following true story as a devotional in 2009.  I have edited it slightly for this post.  The story is true and most needful again and again.  Teachable moments are not only for children!!

toothpaste

A friend was teaching her four year old son about spoken words.  She wanted him to know how important it is to think before he speaks, to use either kind words or no words at all, and to respond when spoken to in an uplifting and respectful manner.  She wrote the word “W O R D” on a piece of cardboard, making sure he knew what those four letters together meant.  Then asking her son to take the tube of toothpaste, she told him to trace over the four letters with the paste as he squeezed it from the tube.  For a four year old, this was great fun!  Upon completion she praised him on his careful toothpaste tracing.  Her next request surprised him.  She said, “Now, put the toothpaste back into the tube.”  He looked at the cardboard with the toothpasted “W O R D” on it.  “Mom, I can’t get it back into this tiny hole,” he said in frustration while pointing to the end of the tube.  She asked him why he couldn’t do it.  He felt some angst because he was disobeying his mother by not putting the paste back in the little hole.

The mother then began her lesson of the importance of the words we speak.  They talked about how important it is to think before speaking; and that once a word is out of our mouths, we cannot put it back into our mouths.  She explained how hard it can be to take words back with an apology, and that words can hurt people’s feelings and have lasting effects on relationships.  She talked to him about thinking about how our words might make someone else feel.  Would they make them feel better or worse?  Would they be helpful or hurtful?  Would the person think better of us or poorly of us?

As this simple lesson can teach a child, so, too, can it teach us, as adults, as sisters in the LORD, that our words can have those same effects on family, friends, co-workers, and anyone on our daily journey.  We need to think about what we are preparing to say before the actual words exit our mouths.  I am often reminded of this toothpaste lesson, guarding my tongue and weighing my words as best as I possibly can.  Caution and prior reflection help me say and do that which God desires of me.  He wants His children to be salt and light in this world.  We must ask Him for His guidance and His wisdom for our words.  (Not only is this about the actual verbal words that exit our mouths, but the words we type on blogs, emails, comments, Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else we may wander in cyberspace.  The typed word is just the same.  Once the “Submit” or “Send” button is pushed, there is no taking those words back either.  Type all you want, but sit on those words overnight, for a week.  Pray and ask God for the guidance He wants to give to us.  Listen for His Spirit as You ask for assurance in what you have written.  We need that.  We need to reflect our Christ.  If we don’t look and act like Him, then who is the world seeing in us?)

James 3:
Taming the Tongue

1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

 Wisdom from Above
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. 

LORD, You created me for Your Glory. I desire to be a light to this world, yet the tongue can darken that very light You shine through me. May I hold my tongue until I know Your words. May I be centered upon You, LORD, so that my tongue speaks words pleasing to You and You alone. Forgive me for unbridled words, for words that hurt, that harm, are prideful and boastful.  Forgive me, LORD.  Teach me Your ways.  Open my ears that I may hear Your Holy Spirit giving me Your Word, Your Truth.  Open my eyes that I may see You.  I want to reflect Jesus. 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14

In His beautiful Name, Amen.  
 

Originally published on “Granola Bar Devotional-Nutritional Snacks for Spiritual Growth”...no longer available. 

 

photo:  http://s234.photobucket.com/user/tammy_61/media/toothpaste.jpg.html

He is the Lifter of My Head (@ Granola Bar Devotional)

The Lifter of My Head

 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.  Psalm 3:3 ESV

Do you recall a time when you were young and someone you loved, looked up to, adored, took your lowered head and gently raised your chin with their hand?  Your lip may have been quivering, a tear running down your cheek?  That tall person lifted your head until your eyes met theirs.  You see their loving eyes and sense the care and gentleness they have towards you.  Your heart was touched by this one’s protection, love, reassurance, and care for you, just you at that very moment.
Slow down and remember such a moment, such a person as this.  Ponder the memory.  Sense the moment right now.

God, our Father, feels this way about us, and even more so.  God is our Shield.  He encircles us with His strength, His power, and His might.  He defends and protects us in ways we cannot even know.   …: he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.  Psalm 144:2 ESV

God is our glory.  He is majestic, deserving reverential love, awe, as we kneel before Him.   In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God.  Psalm 62:7 NKJV  He lifts us up high.  As we stand in Him, let nothing in the world pull us down.  He sent His Son to die for us and nailed our sins to the cross.  Ashamed … we are not to be.  Standing strong in the LORD.  For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die.  Philippians 1:20 NLT

Lifting my head is looking up and seeing the Father’s glory, His reflection, His love.  His confident look is for me.  His touch is gentle and kind.  He created me and knows my potential.  He lifts me up.  Confidence is being built in me through Him.

Lifting my head helps me to see beyond my circumstances.  My head is higher than anything that is not of God.  None of that can control me when my head is lifted.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. Psalm 40:2 ESV   I can see above to the heavenly realm.  I can know that God, my Father, lights the skies for my way as I follow Him.  Fears are released and given no power for the LORD is the power.  “Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?”  Matthew 12:11 ESV

 LORD, I pray that each one of us seek You, the Lifter of our heads, our salvation.  You call us to come before Him in thanksgiving and praise.  We bow before the cross and ask for forgiveness, knowing that You have already poured Your grace upon us.  Abba Father, thank You for giving us vision to see beyond our current point in this life, past the pain and suffering whether of ourselves or of those in this world or both.  You know all and You call us to You side, lifting us from the miry clay.  Thank You, Sweet LORD.  We love You dearly.  Amen.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.  James 4:10 NKJV

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

This study is where my most recent Granola Bar Devotional blossomed.  Psalm 3 melded with my heart as only God can do; from the study, I shortened it and changed it a bit for the devotional.  If you missed that post earlier this week, you can find many devotionals @