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I recently wrote about cherishing life. In my last post I ended with:

“What I am saying is simply to cherish life as if each moment is special and unique, because it is.”

This hit me hard. I have realized I haven’t done that. I haven’t lived like I cherish life. I haven’t lived each moment as if I know the brevity of life – but I do. I do know how short life is. With a sister dying at age 30 and a brother dying at age 49, I know life can be short.

However, I have lived my life as though it were a burden.

Not that my children are the the burden, or my husband, but rather Life itself. Life, for me, has been filled with so much struggle, pain and strife and enough death that I must admit it is something I’m not sure I want anymore.

I am not saying I want to kill myself.

What I am saying is I feel fed up with the struggles of life. I want life to be easy. My life has never been easy, but I know it could have been harder. (I cannot imagine how people life a happy life when they have been through even more than I have.)

For me, happiness is fleeting and joy is illusive. But I refuse to make that the state of my being permanently. And wha ti smore is that I refuse to give up!

I have a friend – a very dear friend – who confessed to me how unhappy he was with life. He compared himself to someone who lives their life thinking only of themselves – not because they are selfish or uncaring – but because they are indifferent. He said he feels “satisfied” with life, but not happy.

I don’t want to live my life like my friend – or like my brother, Dennis, who seemed to never overcome any struggle that came his way. His struggles stacked up like garbage similar to the the poem below. “Sarah Cynthia  Silvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out” but Shel Silverstein.

garbageout

Notice the end. When Sarah decided to take the garbage out it was too late and she met an awful fate.

I suppose this blog – part two – is about not just cherishing life, but living life. Truly LIVING LIFE. I have another friend who happened to leave the fellowship of believers to become an atheist for many reasons but one seemed to be that he felt like God himself was a burden and that we only needed saving because God condemned us, if He even existed at all. (This is a subject for another blog.)

I could go on forever about the subject of God but all I will say here is that it is not God who is the burden, but rather my response to what happens in life. The loss of my brother, for example, has given me a choice to give up on life or keep living and make sure I actually live my life not just survive it. But I digress.

Again it is 1 a.m. and I am blogging. This turned out long. I hope you read to the end.

Let me end by saying what I believe living life looks like:

Taking pictures (because someday that is the only image you will have of someone), making memories, always doing your best to be your best and giving yourself and others grace and love.

This is the quintessence of life: to live a life where you are your best self, not to please people but rather because, aside from religious reasons, it is logically the best thing to do.

Life is easier when I am my best.

And with that I bid you good day, as I have scheduled this to post tomorrow.

 

friendshipisnot

I love the song sang by  a music group called Acappella, “Friends are Friend forever.”  I doubt it was written by them, but I love the A Capella version.  It is so beautiful.  The general message of the song is that Friends are Friends Forever “if the Lord is the Lord of them.”  Such a sweet thought.  But shouldn’t we make the most of our friendships while on earth as well?

I have so many FB friends…. how much do each of them really mean to me?  Do I call you?  Do we chat on a semi-regular basis aside from the sharing of posts back and forth?  Do I do more than just read your page every once in a while?  Or do I just read the news feed and see your post… or not?  When was the last time we at least shared a personal message thread?

I believe friends can be friends forever, and I also believe that what we do NOW counts.  We can allow relationships to deteriorate and fall apart.  Or we can work at them and enjoy them as they flourish into intimate relationships.

Today I found out that a friend of mine recently died suddenly due to unknown causes.  I cried for three reasons when I found out.  One because the lovely lady, Wendy, has gone on to Heaven to be with the Lord and sadly left behind many friends, loved ones and a husband and children.  I cried because I too have lost my sister who sadly left behind her four children and loving husband and I know what that loss is like — what it is like to lose someone you love.  And I have seen how it has effected my dear, sweet nieces who loved their mother very much.

And I also cried because I had let her go a long time ago.  When was the last time I SPOKE to Wendy?  I mean really spoke?  We were friends at camp when I was 15 or so.  She was a joy to be around but I never really tried to get as close to her as I could have.  We did not share an intimate relationship.  I would call her a friend, not an acquaintance, but we could have been closer if only I had put in the effort.

So with all the social media that begs the question, what about people who have more than 300 “friends” on Facebook?  I know I have exactly 418.  I have “cleaned out” my Facebook before, deleting people who I knew only by mutual friend and we’ve never actually communicated.  Some of them I had never even gone to their wall to see what was up.  Those are “FB acquaintances” and IMHO perhaps they should be deleted.  But my mother calls her FB a ministry…  She prays for her FB friends and hopes that her communication with them, even if it is only through them browsing HER wall from time to time, might bring them to God or draw them closer to Him.  So should we keep every FB “friend?”  I leave that judgement up to you.

Wendy will always be in my heart and I look forward to spending Eternity with her singing (she had an amazing voice), laughing and loving each other.  But somewhere inside I know that on this earth I could have done better.  I could have done better. I didn’t.  I never called.  Goodness I didn’t even have her phone number for the past several years.  I only saw her at camp when I visited and that has been several years.  So really we just had a Facebook relationship at this point.  To me that is letting her down…. letting our relationship deteriorate because of MY lack of effort.

Friends are friends forever, but only if we make it that way.  We can let friends drift away from us.  It starts slowly, creeps in.  Less seeing each other, less talking on the phone or in person.  Then one day you may realize you haven’t gotten together in a while and perhaps you do, or perhaps don’t.  Sometimes all it takes is a move to a far away place, say from Texas to Oregon (or the other way around, both of which I have done).  I have people in Oregon that I still call friends and whom I enjoy watching their life on FB, but I haven’t spoken to them, even in a personal message, in a long, long time.  I am letting those relationships deteriorate from a more intimate relationship to more of an acquaintance… or perhaps them not even counting me as a friend at all.

I must put an aside her about acquaintances.  There is something to be said for having them.  There are several different kinds of relationships and not every relationship has to be super intimate.  My MIL has acquaintances everywhere she goes, or perhaps some of them could be called friends.  She knows the names of the workers at the places she frequents.  She calls them by name and even knows some details about their life, such as their mother’s failing health, and from time-to-time may ask them about it.  Are these relationships meaningless or pointless?  Should we eliminate all contact from people (on FB or otherwise) who aren’t intimate friends?  That is not what I am saying here.  I am simply making the point that you get out of something what you put into it.  My MIL has worked at these relationships, starting with learning their name by face, not by name tag.  The relationship can progress into something more, or not, but either way these relationships mean something.  I have noticed that if I just remember someone’s name, call them by name and say “Hi,” and ask them how they are doing it brightens their day.  …For a moment or perhaps the feeling lasts all day but isn’t that “Hi” worth the effort?

My whole point as I write at 4:30 in the morning is this: Work at a relationship when it matters to you and don’t let friends slip out of your hands.  You never know when tragedy will hit.  Not to be depressing or anything, but death comes to our door often without notice.  When it knocks, who knows how many people will regret not calling, writing, or reaching out to that friend.  Make not that mistake.  Avoid regrets in your relationships — this goes for all relationships.  Reach out to those you care about and to those you love and let them know you care.  IF you have like 300 FB friends, consider either “weeding them out” and/or contacting one a day and just expressing your feelings for them.  One a day is 365 people a year.

Lastly, if you have lost someone and you know you didn’t reach out to them as you should have, forgive yourself.  While I regret not being closer to Wendy like I would have enjoyed, I will not spend my time regretting it.  I will spend my memories of her with gratitude that I knew her at all, ever, and that she counted me among her friends.  May she rest in peace and may her friends and loved ones find a little peace and comfort today and every day until they meet her again.

God bless you as you build your relationships.  May they be everlasting and may you cherish them always.

Supera Matris
~Maggie

“Hey let’s get together soon!”
”Yeah, let’s do that.  I will find some time this week.”

I will clean the house when I find some time.  I will ___ (fill in the blank) when I find some time.

Ever had some sort of situation like that.  Is finding time is much like weight loss?  We hope to lose weight.  We try to lose weight but really without a plan we will never lose much weight. Finding time, like weight loss, doesn’t happen by accident.

There is no such thing is finding time.

find-time-make-time

Hope I didn’t burst your bubble.  Mine was burst this morning when a dear friend in Christ passed away.  I had spent the past four weeks trying to “find time” to go visit her.  She was on hospice, which of course means she didn’t have much time left.  How could I not MAKE TIME for such a dear woman?  Now she is gone and I wont see her until I am gone. I feel sad and frustrated with myself about this. Sad smile

We must make time for what really matters to us.  What if that had been my grandmother?  I am always trying to find time to call or write her. She doesn’t email much so I have to write her real letters to get to her; so of course I have to find time to do that.  What is wrong with me that I cannot grasp the concept of making time for these important things?

maketime2

Wouldn’t it be nice if it was that easy?

I wont blame anyone else for my issue.  I look for time all over the place but never find “extra time.”  Time is like money, when you have more it is rarely “extra.”  So I will stop right now.  When a friend says “let’s get together,” I will say “when?” instead of “soon” or the terribly untrue phrase about finding time.  When something comes up that matters to me I will stop putting it off and make time for it – put it on my calendar right then.

…Of course this means I have to use my calendar.

Do you have this problem?  Will you commit to stop trying to find extra time that rarely comes around and just start making time for what really matters to you?

recycletime

So lets get to it!  Start making time for what matters!

 

Ephesians 5:15-17

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because these days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

~Supera Matris

 

I thought I had faith in God. I thought I believed in his ability and his desire to help me. Psalms 91:14 says, “Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

This verse says many promises. God promises to: 1) rescue me, 2) protect me because I acknowledge His name, 3) answer me when I call upon Him, 4) be with me in trouble, 5) deliver me from trouble, 6) honor me, 7) satisfy me with long life, 8) show me His salvation. That is a lot of promises! Yet sometimes I find myself disbelieving in Gods follow through.

It is not that I do not believe He is capable. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” (Eph. 3:20) I know in my heart that God is capable of so much more than I could ever need or want. So why do I not trust Him?

Trust is defined as: 1) reliance on the integrity, strength, and ability of a person or thing; confidence, 2) confident expectation of something; hope

Faith is defined as: belief that is not based on proof. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and the certainty of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

So are they really the same thing? It would appear they are. To me, faith is not the absence of fear, but the courage to press on during hardships and still believe in God and His providence. It is believing that God will work things out. But if you believe someone will do something doesn’t that mean you also trust they will follow through?

So all my prayers for faith have yielded many trials: Two deaths in the family, A huge move from a haven I loved and enjoyed to a place I would never have thought to call home, A complete mental breakdown and the repercussions thereof, The rebuilding of my life since then, The consistent and ever-presence of Satan in my mind and in my life (yes I have rebuked the Devil; he still prevails). All these things have continually built my faith stronger and stronger. But still I lack the trust that God will truly follow through on all those promises listed above.

Will he really rescue me when I call for Him? Has he rescued me from Satan’s snare? Will he truly be with me during my troubles and protect me from trouble? I must say that I don’t trust that he will when I look at my most recent past. Trouble has followed me everywhere I go.

I feel alone and afraid. I feel deserted by God. Where is He? If He promises to rescue me then where is He? If he promises to protect me then why does Satan persist? Why do I continue to undergo trials and struggles?

The answer lies in my request: faith. As I said in a recent post: faith is not given freely, it is built through trials. I also cited a great verse in Corinthians that talked about how we are often put through trials not only so that we can feel the comfort and love of God but so that we may also show the comfort and love of God to others. So perhaps, just maybe, my trails exist to help someone.

I have recently taken up writing in hopes of publishing some books. One book I am writing talks about my struggles in life and how I have dealt with them. Many of my trials are not know by most of the people who know me, except those closest to me. My life has not been easy by any means. It has been one trial after another. But one theme has remained: God.

As I look back at my past I see His hand in every situation. One situation that I would like to share is a car accident I had when I was 17. At the time I was very uncertain as to why it had happened to me. It was a traumatic experience for me at such a young age. I was nearly killed because I ran into a telephone pole going quite fast; I never hit the brakes to even slow down because I was in shock.

Now, more than 10 years later, I fully understand the purpose of that accident. At the time, before my accident, my sister and I were at odds with each other. I didn’t like her much and she didn’t care for me either. We had so little in common and failed to even try to have a relationship.

When I was discharged from the hospital it was my sister who picked me up. I was starving after having been on a liquid only diet for several days. We got a roast beef sandwich in the cafeteria. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship that flourished into a friendship I will forever cherish.

My sister died on October 30th several years ago. Were it not for that car accident I feel certain that we would have never overcome our differences and become such close friends. Sure we still had those differences, but we agreed to disagree and moved on, building a relationship around what we did have in common. I praise God for that car accident.

I have many such stories in my life. Times in which I suffered but now see the purpose, or at least know there was a purpose. So why do I still struggle with trust and faith in God? Perhaps it is because these trials never end. But that is part of the human life. Some might say God is cruel because He puts us through so many trials and struggles. But do non-Christians live lives of luxury and have no struggles or trials. Look at the news. Many people who are famous and do not profess to be Christians struggle every day with trials: drug overdoses and divorce to name a few.

So it is not God who is cruel. It is the choice Adam and Eve made many, many years ago. Life: a beautiful life with God by our side, walking with us in a Heavenly garden, or Death: physical death, physical and psychological pain and strife. They chose death, knowingly or not.

So we suffer. I suffer. It is a fact of life. One I must accept before I can truly trust and have faith in God. Do you accept the reality of the struggles of life and have faith in God, trusting He will follow through on his many promises to us? I am working on it daily.

I have often prayed something along the lines of “God make me have more faith in you and your plan for me.”  However, I realized today that praying for faith is like praying for patience.  How do you get patience? By experiencing things that are difficult and thereby forcing you to have patience with the situation.  I am certain many of you have experienced this one time or another.

Many of you know that I have been through a lot of trials lately.  I had a nervous breakdown in June and was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. (Yeah maybe I share too much… Oh well.) Smile with tongue out   Presten was out of work for nearly 6 months.  Then he found an awesome job!!  The pay was great, the atmosphere was serene and he felt confident.  I don’t know what happened – why the *ahem* woman fired him – but she did. Oh and about two weeks before Christmas, too. Such a nice woman. Grr…  (Forgiveness still pending.)  In addition to all that, my health has been a roller coaster.  One day I feel great and happy, the next I feel distraught and paranoid.  Yes, my friend who loves me, I AM on medication, and have a great doctor who manages my meds.  He says it is all “normal” for me.  Yeah, like me and normal are friends at all!!  Riiiight…

So anyway… Through all this I have prayed “God grant me faith in you.” and “God give me peace.”  But today I realized he is teaching me faith and granting me peace through experience.  See I believe that is how God works.  Everything is lesson.  Pray for patience – get TAUGHT patience.  Pray for peace, faith, love, joy… really almost anything and he teaches it to you through your experiences.  Perhaps some of you knew this already but it’s a revelation to me.

So is this a good thing?  Is this method mean, unkind or uncaring?  Why does He not just GIVE us these skills.  Why when we pray are we not surrounded by a sense of peace, or just given that patience we need??  Now I am not saying this never happens.  I mean there have been times I have prayed specifically for peace and God has just covered me with a blanket of peace.  There have also been times I have been prayerfully working on surrendering to Him and he grants me peace about my choice to relinquish my control.  There are moments for me when God just covers me with whatever I am requesting.  But for me (maybe not everyone) those are just moments.  Then the moment passes and the feeling fades and I am left with whatever I already had within myself.

But when I am taught a trait (patience, peace, faith, love, joy… any fruit of the spirit) that lesson sticks with me.  And no this is not like a school lesson from elementary school.  One that fades with time.  No.  This is eternal.  Once my level of patience reaches a level through experience it stays there forever, or increases but never diminishes.

So back to the questions then…  Why does God do it this way? See previous paragraph.  Because it sticks with us.

Why doesn’t God just give us these traits?  Because I think its not the same.  What do I mean… well how interesting that I happen to be listening to the song “Stronger” by Mandisa.  The message of this song is that hardships will make you stronger.  How true this is.  When we come out the other side of a struggle we are stronger.  However if we were given these traits perhaps we wouldn’t be as strong as when we earn them.  Now I do know that some of us are created with certain gifts.  Some of us can love anyone where they are at and do not struggle with this.  Some people have an amazing enduring patience with everything.  Some people are just peaceful about life – living without worry or anxiety.  I personally have the gift of compassion and encouragement.  I love to encourage others. I’ll stop at that or I will sound like I am bragging or something… We each have gifts but there are some things we don’t have.

So one might bring up the story in the Bible of the men with the talents (which was a sum of money). [This is in Matthew 25:14-30] At the end it says that those who take care of what they have will be given more and those who do not will have theirs taken away.  The talents were given to them without merit (or lesson).  This is talking about money and not the same at all.

Lets look at one of my favorite verses about hardships.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

So the word “comfort” is used in there A LOT!  But the gist of it is that we go through trials so that we can be comforted and then later comfort others.  So our struggles, hardships and trials are not just for us – not just to teach us some lesson – but also for others in the future.  Have you ever been able to say “yeah I’ve been there”?  What is more is have the words “I’ve been there” ever comforted you?

When I lived in Oregon my daughter Wren was struggling with temper tantrums.  She would hit, kick, throw things, yell and scream and just be a terror. I had no clue what to do.  What I really felt I needed was for someone to say, “honey I have been there and this will pass. It will be okay.”  What happened when I shared it with most people, asking for prayers, was they laughed at me and said, “yeah she will get over it”.  It was mainly the laughing that hurt.  Wrens full name is Serenity Elizabeth Joy, however she was in no means serene or joyful during that time of her life so I am guessing that is why they laughed at me. Any way… There was one woman – Nona Skinner – who smiled at me, hugged me and said “honey, I have been there!”  She proceeded to tell me the story of one of her children who was as difficult as mine. She said, “This too will pass.  She will get better.” and then gave me advice of how to deal with her.  Every time I saw Nona she would hug me and remind me that it will get better.  She became such a comfort in my life.  Why?  Because she had been there, survived and had love and comfort to give.

SO in conclusion:  God often teaches us traits (such as the fruits of the spirit) through trials and situations that give us experience.  Why do I personally believe he does this?  To make us stronger and so that we can feel his love and comfort and generously give out his love and comfort to others as we see need.  This method of teaching rather than gifting is a good method because it sticks with us eternally, with increasing knowledge.

So if you are struggling in one way or another know that it will get better.  You will come out on the other side stronger and some day you will be able to comfort others because of your experience. Experience makes us stronger and wiser.  Oh and praying for wisdom is the same as praying for patience, too! haha… I could tell you stories about that, too.

Hope this wasn’t too long.  Thanks for the read.

Lots of Love
Super Mama Maggie

If you are a first time reader please read my bio so you will know why I am so very super. Open-mouthed smile

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I share my life with the big wide world; my life as a mom, a wife and a Christian. I work to have original content that is deeper than you might expect but still enjoyable to read.

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