God gives us gifts, big and small!

Recently I had a tough week. My son, whom I love, was dealing with some teenage type of issues and I felt as if I had no idea what I was doing! Through it all, God knew each step and used each trial as an important teaching tool. After that horrible time, God began to give us blessings to encourage us. First my sons were able to meet the players of a local football team, where they got autographs and pictures, then I found out that our church was going to help pay for everyone's hotel room for an upcoming JBQ tournament. Then after trying to plan my son's birthday party, I had casually signed up for a chance to win a free party. That week, I had found out that I had won! I couldn't believe the blessings God had given me to encourage me after having such a struggle just days before.

Now, these are blessings that I can truly see, because they are not things that usually happen to us. But, what about the amazing daily gifts that God gives us? Each day I try to think of something small that God has blessed me with and thank Him for it. There are so many things that we take for granted. Just being able to breathe each day is a blessing, for there are so many who struggle with allergies and other health issues. Two beautiful children that I teach each day, and the freedom that I get to teach them amazes me! Heat, a bed, more clothes and shoes than a person needs, are all blessings. Parents who love me, a husband who has taken care of me...and even if it was all stripped from me tomorrow, a God who saved me. Let us remember not only the big, obvious gifts that God gives us, let us remember the daily small ones too! As we begin to give God thanks, we will realize that no matter what we are going through or how little or much we have, we are truly blessed!

James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."


Following God's Will, Not Ours!

We've spent lots of money, time and plenty of effort to get our children involved in different activities. We have tried soccer & baseball, along with lots of activities through the associations and involving them in personal music lessons. As the kids grow older, we begin to look toward their future and what God would want from them. I know personally, I have tried to do what "I" think is best for the boys. I always want them involved in things so they stay active and sometimes I need to just stop and realize that it may not be what God has in mind for them. I recently tried to get my son involved in a certain activity and no matter how hard I tried, nothing ever came of it. I ended up just completely dropping the subject and left it in God's hands. About 6 months later, I was just chatting with a parent and mentioned the activity my son was interested in and this sparked a flood of excitement. Instantly things were in the works to get him involved in this particular area. My son commented how I got this all going, and I told him that it wasn't me at all. I wasn't even thinking about him being involved in this situation, and God completely opened the doors. It was God's special timing!

In all of this, God reminded me that I am not completely in charge of my path. If I am truly in tune with Him, He will allow me to move forward through the doors that He has planned for my life. It is easy to try to take life into our own hands, and when we do this, it never turns out right. We continue to fight and fight to obtain something that can never truly be fully achieved or that you feel completely satisfied with. When we pray for God's will and let Him choose His perfect timing, then things just fall into place, filling us with joy and true contentment.

Psalms 32:8 "The Lord says, 'I will make you wise and show you where to go. I will guide you and watch over you."



When I was in 7th grade, I was a busy little thing. I was in band, choir, cheerleading and FCA. I was also big into making new friends. We all know what it's like to be in 7th Grade and we all know at that moment in life, how important to feel accepted is. I had plenty of friends, but I decided I wanted to branch out. So, I began to make friends with others. I started spending time with one girl in particular and we just hit it off. We began to go to each others homes and spend all our study halls together. After awhile, out of the blue, another girl would come up to me and just start screaming and swearing at me. Each day she would come over to my locker and just let me verbally have it. Then she began to do it more often and started screaming at me in the locker rooms until it would bring me to tears. I couldn't figure out why she had focused so hard on me. Assuming she was a crazy person, and had lost all sense of reason, I began to try to avoid her as much as I could. No matter what though, she still found me. Finally one day, my soft, bubbly, little teenage heart had had enough and I just started screaming back at her. She stopped and began to leave me alone. After talking with my new friend, I found out that this girl use to hang out with her all the time and she wasn't actually crazy, but jealous of me. I had taken one of her friends away from her and she had been overcome with emotion. Here I thought this tough girl who acted like she wanted to harm me, wasn't tough at all. She was hurting inside and didn't know how to truly express it. At that moment, I could have continued on and tried to hurt her for all the times she attacked me. Instead, I decided to forgive her and try to understand the loneliness she had been facing.

In Psalm 103:12, the Bible says, "He has removed our sins as far from us as far as the East is from the West." Here it tells us of God's unending love for us. His forgiveness knows no limits. It is so easy for Him to forgive us, yet we seem unable to do the same. Someone says or does something cruel to us and immediately we are hurt and want to retaliate. We should always take the time to cool off, pray for that person and begin to leave it in God's hands. Now, I know how tough that can be, but as we do, God will begin to soften our hearts towards that person and give us understanding. We may not see what is going on in their life that has caused them so much pain. Remember, there are two sides to every story! Let's begin to pray for those who upset us and not be quick to judge them back. We need to begin to ask God to heal them of what is causing them hurt and pain. In return, God can heal you of the pain they have caused you, and help you to truly forgive them. Remember, we are all imperfect and have all done things that have hurt or upset others. God forgives us for all the many things we have done, let us forgive others and let it go!