Monday, March 18, 2019

The Only Thing That Matters

Every now and then, someone who knows that I once  wrote blogs and books will ask me if I am still writing.  My answer is always "That was a season.  I'm too busy working and dealing with life's ups and downs to write these days."  While that is largely true, I do miss sharing my thoughts on what God is doing in my life and the lives of those I love.  I miss the joy of knowing that God can use the burdens I bear to minister to someone else who may be treading through valleys of their own or hanging on to the last bit of hope they can muster.

Like so many other families these days we are dealing with challenges that keep us on our knees.  Caring for aging parents, making ends meet the best way we can, and making every effort to model authentic Christianity to our young adult children, coworkers, and friends sometimes takes its toll on us emotionally and physically.  As we move through each day and watch time pass more quickly than we think it should we are increasingly aware of how precious each moment is.  We don't always make the most of each moment but we try our best to give our time and attention to the people around us, those we know and love dearly, knowing that at any time God could call them or us home.

Occasionally God sends a wake-up call to remind us that we are but one breath away from a glorious eternity.  That always causes me to ask, "Am I doing everything I can to share His love and the message of redemption and salvation with those who are lost and hopeless?"  One day Jesus will return to take His children home and leave behind those who have not yet received Him as Savior.  Do we really want to leave this earth knowing that we could have reached one more soul if only we had walked a little more closely with Him?

When we reach the point that we can honestly say our relationship with God is the only thing that matters, then He will bless and use us in ways we could never imagine to reach hearts and touch lives for His glory.  I don't know about you, but that sounds like quite a glorious and fulfilling way to live!

Copyright © 2019 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 24, 2018

The True Gift of Christmas

'Tis the day before Christmas and I'm in my chair
With the cat on my lap and without any care.
The groceries are purchased, the gifts are all bought,
The presents are gift-wrapped and I have just one thought --
The world is still seeking for that which fulfills
The longing of hearts that remain restless still.
This year may we open the True Gift of Christmas
And finally receive all our longing heart wishes --
His love and salvation, his presence and grace,
His life everlasting, provision and peace.
If you are still looking for that one perfect Gift,
Just open your heart and invite Jesus in.

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

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.