Friday, December 14, 2018

A Grown-up Bedtime Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep
These burdens I don't have to keep
For Jesus says He'll carry them
If I will cast my cares on Him
Lord, thank you for a good night's rest
In you I am forever blessed!

Copyright © 2018 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

"Does Anybody Want to Go Faster?"

Fall.  It is the season of shorter days, cooler temps, and county fairs.  The lights and sounds of the midway at night, and the lingering smell of funnel cakes and cotton candy, are reminders of happy days and youthful innocence in a world that no longer exists.  Remember those days?  I remember one particular ride where the carnies would incite us by yelling, "Does anybody want to go faster?"  We'd squeal with delight at the top of our lungs and hold on for dear life, exhilarated by the frantic pace and spinning motion of the ride.

Fast forward a few decades. Everything we've been told about time is true.  It does pass much more quickly the older we get.  These days, everything within me wants to scream, "Please slow this thing down!" But nobody is listening.

No, Mr. Ride Operator, I don't want to go faster!  I want to slow down, linger in God's presence, and walk in His ways, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-17).  I am ready to trade this roller coaster of life for the adventure of a closer walk with the One who is able to make time stand still (Joshua 10:13-14) and thrills me like nothing on this earth ever will!

Copyright © 2018 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

An Unexpected Answer to Prayer

As most of our family and friends know, our daughter Joy has had her sights set on attending University of Lynchburg this fall.  When we toured Lynchburg in the spring we fell in love with the school and began earnestly praying that God would supply the money needed to send her there. She had been awarded about $30,000 in scholarships, grants, and work-study, but we still needed $20,000 more and didn't want to incur any student loan debt.  Never losing faith in God's promises to provide for our needs, we took baby steps of faith toward admission this fall, praying at all times that His will be done.

In the middle of all this excitement, our son took on additional responsibilities at work which required weekly out of town travel and generated conversations about the possibility that he might move in order to be closer to work.  As he headed out of town last week I turned to Joy and said, "What am I going to do?  You're both going to leave me at the same time!"

"About that..." she said, handing me a stack of papers. Suddenly out of left field came an answer to our prayers that I had not even considered.  In a moment of inspired maturity, Joy took a hard look at the costs of attending Lynchburg and decided not to compromise her dream of traveling after college by taking on student loan debt.  On her own, she made the decision to work part-time and attend Thomas Nelson Community College.  She apologized for so quickly dismissing the idea of going to community college, recognizing that for us and her community college makes better sense.

We want to thank all of you who have prayed for us as we have sought God's will and provision.  He has provided, not in the way we hoped or expected, but clearly in a way that is in everyone's best interest.  Joy has made a wise decision and continues to seek God's will and purpose for her life.

Now that she is working part-time (another praise!) and getting ready to start college in the fall, we have another prayer request -- that God will provide a car for our family so that Steve and I can have the transportation we need for our jobs and Joy can have a commuter car for school and work.  Right now we are sharing two cars between the three of us and that is working okay.  But we know that as she commutes to school in the next county, transportation could become an issue.  Please pray that God will lead us to the right car at the right price, at just the right time.  We know He will, and we thank you for praying so.

Rejoicing that God truly does work all things together for our good,

Dee Dee

Copyright 2018 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2018 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 23, 2018

A Little Perspective

Ever have one of those weeks when every day felt like Monday and Friday seemed like it would never come?  Me, too.  Ever have one of those days when the car broke down and the money in savings wasn't enough to cover it?  You guessed it -- me, too!

The past couple of weeks have been trying.  I want to say brutal, but I can't bring myself to even go there because compared to many folks I know I have absolutely no reason to complain. My initial response to the difficulties I have experienced has been, "Oh, Lord. Give me grace," or "Really, Lord?  Again?" But God hasn't let me get by with complaining -- not one time.  His still, small voice has whispered, "Child, you have it so much better than most!  Be thankful and don't sweat the small stuff.  This world is not your home and this challenge you face won't last forever."

As I grow older and hopefully wiser, I am learning some simple principles which are highly effective in keeping my sanity and nerves intact.  I'm not saying that I enjoy the difficulties or that they don't make me cranky at times, but deep down I know that everything is going to be okay.  The Bible tells me so.

Instead of complaining about the negative, unpleasant things that happen to me, I try to thank God for the things that aren't happening.  An expensive car repair which drains my savings account and forces me to readjust my spending plan is nothing compared to the loss of Steve's job a few years ago which resulted in a financial reversal which nearly caused us to lose our home.  So, what if the savings account is drained and we have to start over?  At least we were able to make some adjustments and use the cash we had to avoid using a credit card for this unexpected "emergency."  We are both employed, our other bills are paid, and we can start building it all over again.

Instead of trying to control things I can't, or the people who try my patience, I am learning to "let it go."  Some things truly aren't my job or responsibility.  People will make their own choices and there is not a thing I can do about that. The best I can do is make my own good choices, work hard to fulfill my responsibilities, and mind my own business.  I have made plenty of mistakes in my lifetime and learned from every one of them. Yes, I want to teach my children well and be a good parent.  But sometimes it is necessary to let them fail or suffer the consequences of poor choices in order for the things I have taught them to take root.  I have done my best with them and for them. I continue to pray for them and offer advice when asked or warranted, but at the end of the day I let go the things I cannot change.  For me, there is great relief and peace in doing so.

I have learned that I can't fix everything.  If God intended for me to, I would have been born a handy man instead of a secretary.  Besides, I know how badly I tend to mess things up that only God can fix.

Instead of complaining about the interruptions in my day I am learning to accept them as "divine appointments."  Sometimes it is necessary to go into work early or leave late in order to meet my deadlines and complete my tasks, because of the divine appointments God allows to take place.  The people who open their hearts and share their hurts and happiness with me, and the unexpected tasks that require me to adjust my priorities, are precious to me.  God is using them to grow me spiritually and to make me valuable for the work of His kingdom. Do I get frustrated and weary?  Yes, but I am able to persevere because I know that the end result is worth it.

Life is hard but God is faithful. I know this to be true because for every test He has sent my way I have put His promises to the test.

I don't know what you are facing in this season of your life, but I can promise you that if you are a child of God you are not facing it alone.  Maybe you don't feel your prayers are getting through, or feel that you can't pray a prayer worthy of  God's attention. But God does hear, and He does care.  Max Lucado said, “Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”

Maybe you have been away from the Lord from awhile.  Maybe you don't know the Bible as well as you wish you did.  Maybe you feel your mistakes are so great they can never be forgiven or that your problems are insignificant to Him.  You don't have to be a spiritual giant to win the heart of God.  In fact, He tells us we should all come as little children to a loving daddy -- to our heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally and awaits with outstretched arms to welcome us home.  From His perspective, you are everything to Him!

Some of my favorite scriptures to get me through difficult times are:

Romans 8:28
2 Corinthians 12:9
Philippians 4:13, 19
Ephesians 3:20
2 Corinthians 4:17
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
John 3:16
Isaiah 26:3
James 1:2-8
1 Peter 5:7
2 Corinthians 4:7-9
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Copyright © 2018 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 4, 2017

All Aboard!

As I consumed the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers, the thought occurred to me that Christmas is coming like a freight train this year and I'd best hop on board lest it run me over. It seems all of life is like that lately -- the days, weeks, months, and years are passing far too quickly!  I have given up rebelling against the clock. There is no stopping it. But I am determined not to be ruled by an earthly timetable or any preconceived notion of how I think my life should play out.  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

As I anticipate the coming new year, I resolve to live then as I do now -- in full surrender to the Lord and his will for my life. That will require not only determination but the discipline to meet with him daily, read his Word, and pray for his will to be done in my life. In the past few decades I have learned to view life -- the good and the messy parts -- as an adventure and to look for the lessons and opportunities in every difficulty I face. Has it been easy? Of course not!

A financial reversal due to a significant job loss in 2012-2013 wasn't something our family expected, yet God used that season of lack to teach us to be better stewards of our resources.  Relocation wasn't on our radar in 2014 but clearly God had blessings in store that we would not have experienced otherwise.  A diagnosis of melanoma and resulting skin cancer surgery was not something I expected to have to deal with in 2017, but it was something God allowed to deepen my prayer life, heighten my sensitivity to the sickness and suffering of others, and to encourage others and myself to take care of our fearfully and wonderfully made bodies.

It isn't human nature to give up control of our lives, but I believe that by allowing God to have his way with us we can rest securely in his promises and know that he will do far greater things than we can ask or imagine. The joy of making the journey with God will surely outweigh the troubles we encounter along the way.  All aboard!

Copyright © 2017 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Social Media Separation Anxiety

Recently I found myself on Facebook posting a status update (with photo) and realized that it was insignificant to anyone but me.  Yet I felt compelled to share the post, though I cannot tell you why.

There have been many articles written about how Facebook is addictive. It is true. Facebook is addictive, especially for an approval addict like me. I absolutely love it when people like or comment on my posts!

Like many of you, I'm a multitasker.  But is it really necessary to check Facebook while watching  TV with the family, enjoying lunch by a beautiful river, or going to the bathroom? 

For the past six days I have stayed off Facebook, except for momentary searches related to my job or to check on causes important to me. I have removed the app from all of my mobile devices since I find it extremely difficult to set my phone down or resist the urge to check for notifications twenty times a day. The compulsion to check my Facebook is one of the greatest temptations I face.

I have tried to figure out why I have such social media separation anxiety.  After all, don't I need Facebook or other social media to keep in touch with friends and relatives who are scattered across the continental U.S.?  How will I share spiritual encouragement or helpful information about veganism, health, and environmental awareness?  What about celebrating the birthdays and anniversaries of those I care about or posting pictures and sharing good news of my children's accomplishments?  And last, but not least, how will I ever manage to attract readers to our blogs (mine and Joy's) if I don't share the post links on social media?  How can one market anything these days without social media?

Just a few minutes ago I logged back onto Facebook just to see if anything has changed. Did I really think it would?  I'm still seeing the same old news (and none of it good) from the same old sources. And while I enjoy seeing pictures of family and friends, somehow it's just not the same as keeping in touch via more traditional methods like birthday cards and face-to-face visits. After all, who doesn't love receiving a handwritten note or sipping a cup of coffee with a friend?

Because of all the negativity on Facebook I just don't think it is a healthy place for me to be right now. I need to realign my priorities, find the balance that is missing from my life, and reconnect on a more personal level with those closest to me. That's not to say that I won't pop in for a Facebook visit from time to time to check in with friends from back home -- I still care about you too!  But at least through the holidays I plan on devoting more of my time to personal contact with those around me and enjoying the holidays with my eyes on my blessings instead of everyone else's.

Those closest to me know how to reach me if needed, and for those who don't have my contact info, Facebook Messenger is still an option.

I pray you will unplug, count your blessings this Thanksgiving (and every day), and enjoy the holidays!

Dee Dee

Copyright © 2017 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Something I Heard In Church

I have heard a lot of sermons in my lifetime -- well over 2,000 by conservative estimates. Some of them have put me to sleep, quite frankly. Others have had a profound impact, often as a result of one thought-provoking statement.

In one of his sermons Dr. Ernie Frey once defined worship this way:  "Worship is living a God-saturated life."  Wow! That covers so much more than the songs we sing or the prayers we pray, doesn't it? It covers EVERY aspect of life, from our relationships and job performance to the way we handle our finances and entertain ourselves.

This morning I heard something equally profound in Pastor Mike's sermon:  "Everything we do is an eternal thank you to God." Let that sink in a minute. How can the way we treat others be a "thank you" if we are irritable, judgmental, or hateful? Is it possible for our lives to be a "thank you" if we are walking in habitual sin, cheating our employers on the job, or giving less than our best to our families?

Our sin nature and the world we live in make it humanly impossible to live in such a way that others would characterize our lives by the words "worship" and "thank you." But by the grace of God, as we grow in our knowledge of his Word and surrender our lives to the leading of his Holy Spirit, I believe that we absolutely can learn to "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The more we learn about God, the more we will come to love him and understand the magnitude of his great love for us. It will become easier to thank him -- for our blessings as well as our difficulties, knowing that ultimately he will work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).

For me, the key to living a life of worship is a thankful heart. The two are inseparable. One who is thankful will worship the God who has blessed him, and the one who worships God will never run out of reasons to thank him.

Copyright © 2017 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.