Monday, December 31, 2012

Are You Disappointed? Is God?

When the end of December arrives, many of us reflect on the year just ended and set goals for the year to come.  Often we find that the goals we set and the resolutions we made were never fully realized and we become disappointed in ourselves.  That certainly has been the case for me.  I didn't accomplish one single goal on the list I made for 2012.  I didn't do things I felt I, as a writer and inspirational speaker, should do:

  • Study at least one hour per day
  • Read at least one hour per day
  • Write at least one hour per day
  • Make five marketing contacts per day
  • Produce a devotional app for my books similar to the Jesus Calling app I love
  • Obtain 501c3 status so donations to my ministry could be tax-deductible for those who give

I didn't accomplish growth in my ministry the way I had hoped and wondered at times if God even called me to ministry or if that was a dream of my own making.  In fact, I didn't do anything to "make things happen."  I simply lived each day, often in survival mode, leaning on God's everlasting arms and the faithful promises of His Word.

Am I disappointed that I didn't accomplish what I felt I should or could have? Maybe a little.  Perhaps the more important question is, Is God disappointed? 

I look at friends and acquaintances who have thriving ministries of their own, who are out winning souls and doing great things for God in the spotlight of His favor and anointing.  I look at the successful authors I know who are writing and selling more books than I could ever imagine and wonder why success is so elusive for me.   That's easy...they are working at it harder than I am and devoting more time to promoting their writings and book-signing events.  How I admire their tenacity and the heart that drives them to market tirelessly that which God has given them to share with the world.  Is my failure to do these things a disappointment to God or merely to myself?

A long time ago I gave up comparing myself and my success with that of others.  What I hoped would be an exciting year of fruitful ministry for me became a year of surrender to God and all He planned for our family in the wake of my husband's unexpected job loss and the financial reversal that followed.  That journey became my ministry as I allowed God to draw me closer to Him and use what we were going through to encourage others in similar circumstances.  The job God gave me, which now consumes my productive hours and takes me away from marketing and ministry activities I thought were necessary to reach others for Him, has become my mission field, a place where I can make a difference every day.

If you are feeling disappointed over your failure to achieve the goals you set for yourself in 2012, take a prayerful look at all God did in your life this year.  The goals we set and achieve in the New Year may impress others and accomplish good things in our lives and theirs, but it is only when  surrender ourselves to God's purposes for us that we will find true success and fulfillment.

God is never disappointed when we walk in full surrender to Him. We can never fail, even though our plans aren't accomplished as we envisioned them, as long we are letting Him call the shots.  He can do far more with a surrendered servant than a person who "makes things happen" without fully depending on God.

I pray and believe that the New Year will be a year of great adventure and untold blessings for all who commit themselves daily to walking with God, discovering and doing His will, and living for His glory.

Happy New Year!  May His blessings abound in your life this year!




Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Monday, December 24, 2012

There May Never Be a Perfect Christmas

No matter how hard I try to make each Christmas special, someone comes along and messes up the house I just tidied or does something to make me cranky.  I am all about pleasing others but all too quick to be disappointed that the others I am trying to please don't seem to get that Christmas would be less stressful if they'd just pitch in and help without questioning my reasons for asking them to do so.  For me, there will never be a perfect Christmas because I am imperfect and so are the ones I'll be spending Christmas with!

Come to think of it, there has probably never been a perfect Christmas.  Certainly that first Christmas was not perfect, except that it was a celebration of the only Perfect One, Christ himself.  The Perfect One was not born in a palace; He was born in a filthy cattle stall.  There was no room at the Waldorf, or even at the local hotel. 

The Perfect One was born of an unwed mother.  Although her conception was immaculate and holy, in the eyes of mankind she was probably disdained as immoral and impure.  This young girl who carried our Lord was no one's ideal of the perfect mother for God's Son.

The wise men who came to find the Christ child did so in fear of Herod, who was bent on destroying the Perfect One.  Herod's plan to seek and destroy the Ruler and Redeemer of mankind was thwarted by God's perfect plan to send the wise men home another way and establish his kingdom through the life of the Perfect One.

The only perfect Christmas was the Christmas Jesus came into our world.  I believe that is by God's design.  As long as we continue seeking perfection from anyone or anything but the Perfect One, we will never have peace with one another or with ourselves. 

There may never be another perfect Christmas, but as long as we make Christ the center of all we do and live in the light of His grace and love, then there is no reason why we can't have a very Merry Christmas.


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The CHRISTmas Tree

Jesus
God with Us
Born of a virgin girl
In a manger dark and small
Surrounded by lowly beasts in a smelly stall
None could fathom just how much
This tiny Babe would change the world into
Which He so humbly came on that holy night so long ago
To redeem mankind from sin by suffering a cruel agonizing death on a 
Cross for 
You and
for Me

Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Prayer from a Grateful Heart

Lord, You have blessed me beyond measure
My joy You have restored
You've brought me through a season hard
And given me even more
Than my heart could ever hope for
My mind imagine, too
Your faithful promises you have kept
Just as You said You'd do
I know that hard times are part of life
Your Word tells me that's true
But with thanksgiving I'll press on
Because I know that You
Will always walk beside me
To shoulder all my care
No matter how deep the valley is
You have promised to be there
I thank You, Lord, for trials hard
And all that You have done
To show Your love and goodness to me
And draw me to Your Son
Whatever trials this life may bring
Lord, shower me with grace
That I may walk in such a way
That others may embrace
The Savior who for us did come
To earth to live as man
Who suffered death upon the cross
And in three days rose again
To give us life eternally
And power over sin
To bring glad tidings of good will
And peace on earth to men


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Friday, December 14, 2012

When Nothing Else Is Certain, He Is


One only has to turn on the ten o’clock news or read the latest headlines to see that we are a society— a world—in turmoil.  For some reason, even Christians are prone to cave into the fear that disaster lurks around the corner, ill health is inevitable, and we will never have enough money to make it to the end of the month.  Somehow we have forgotten that since the beginning of time, God has been a keeper of His promises, a just and righteous God who cares about each of us, and the giver of the peace which surpasses all understanding.  No matter what may come, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

We can do everything in our power to make a difference in our world, stand for what is right, and oppose all that is evil, but we cannot prevent accidents, catastrophes, or the willful acts of sinful men against humanity.  However, even when our lives seemingly spin out of control we can trust that God is in control of every aspect of our lives because He is sovereign.

For the sinner, He is Savior.

For the weak, He is strong.

For the sick, He is healer.

For the needy, He is our ever-present help.

For the faithless, He is faithful.

For the lost, He is the way, the Truth, and the Life.

For those who are invisible to the eyes of man, He is the God who sees.

For the powerless, He is sufficient.

For the empty, He is the fulfillment of our hearts’ desires.

For the friendless, He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother.

For the weary, He is our strength and sustainer.

For the broken-hearted and lonely, He is the Lover of our souls.
 
If you struggle with uncertainty about what the future holds, ask yourself this question:   Do I trust the One who holds my future?  If you know God, then you must trust him because He Is.


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Monday, December 3, 2012

I Have Seen the Light

One of my favorite songs of the Christmas season is not one you might hear play on the radio, but our choir sings it every year.  "I Have Seen the Light" is a favorite which always brings our congregation to its feet in true worship of the One who came to be the Light of the World.  Jesus called His followers to be light and salt in our generation, that others might come to know Him and experience the miracle of salvation that leads to eternal life.

I am ashamed to admit that I spent much of the weekend after Thanksgiving in a very dark place, consumed with frustration, disappointment, and anger over my failure to accomplish everything on my to do list.  The joyous anticipation of decorating my home for the holidays was dampened by a heavy spirit of despair because things didn't turn out quite the way I planned.  Rather than focus on the Reason for the season and count my blessings, I became depressed and filled with self-pity. 
 
It took deliberate effort to make myself unpack the decorations and place them around my home.  After assembling my pre-lit tree, I plugged it in and it failed to light up.  Replacing the fuses and burned out lights on the tree was not enough to fix the problem.  An inspection of the electrical socket and wiring revealed no obvious defects.  The only thing I could do was call the Christmas tree  hotline and seek a remedy from the maker of the Christmas tree.
 
Isn't that the way it is with us sometimes?  When we are broken and in a dark place of despair, there is only One who can fix what is wrong with us.  He is the Maker of our hearts, the Savior born in a stable, and Emmanuel, God with us.  He is Jesus, the Light of the World "shining in the darkness, bursting through the shadows, delivering the dawn!"*
 
 
 
 
*"I Have Seen the Light" -- Lyrics by Robert Sterling and Chris Machen
 
Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Wistful Thinking

Sometimes solitude can be a very good thing, especially at the end of a stressful work week or the beginning of a new adventure.  Time alone with God and my thoughts allows me to sort through painful experiences or ponder plans for something better.  Tonight I have done a little of both.

After nearly six months of "underemployment" my husband has been offered a full-time job, which he will start soon.  I am nearing the end of a season of temporary work, with my contract expiring in just a few weeks.  Changes are ahead for both of us, positive changes that will hopefully bring an end to some of the anxiety that we have felt and enable us to pay forward the kindnesses that have been shown to us over and over during this season of financial stress.

I have also thought about relationships that have been such a source of joy and anguish for me through the years.  Remembering what it feels like to lose good friends, whether by death or distance, and the mistakes I have made in many of my relationships only makes me cherish my loved ones more.  God has been so gracious to me.  Even in allowing me to love so deeply that it hurts, He has shown me just a hint of the depth of His love for me and demonstrated His faithfulness and devotion to me even when I have loved Him with a divided heart.

In my seasons of need and loneliness God has drawn me close and proved His sufficiency over and over and over again.  There is no one I love more than Him!

No matter what happens tomorrow or next week or next year, I know that I will be okay because God has promised never to leave or forsake me.  With that kind of assurance from a God who is personal and intimately acquainted with all my ways, forgiving me even when I am at my worst, how can I feel anything but joy?  When I become fretful, wistful, and melancholy, I have only to remember the One who knows my thoughts and tell Him, "I love and trust You, Jesus," knowing that He loves me in return and trusts me enough to carry the burdens He allows so that the faith of others may be strengthened and their love for Him, rekindled.



Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fabulous Fish & Friendly Faces

On a recent Saturday night, my daughter Joy and I, both hungry and bored, tried to figure out where to have dinner.  Although Joy was craving Mexican food, I was in the mood for some of the best catfish and sweet tea east of the Mississippi!  Needing a break from the ordinary, I decided to make the short drive to the town of Rossville for tasty home cooking and unparalleled southern hospitality at the Wolf River Cafe, just a few miles east of Collierville in Fayette County.

Upon entering the cafe, we were warmly welcomed by owner Susan Quasdorf and her friendly staff, who went beyond the customary "Hello. Can I start you off with a drink or an appetizer?" The hospitality of the staff and casual charm of the restaurant were a welcome change from a stressful week as the staff went beyond the call of duty to make each guest feel special.  During our entire visit the conversation and service were completely focused on the patrons who dined there.

The food was predictably delicious, hot, and satisfying!  Joy and I both ordered our favorite meal, the two-piece catfish dinner, which was preceded with a basket of hushpuppies and pickled green tomatoes.  The meaty boneless catfish fillets were fried to perfection -- crispy on the outside and steaming hot on the inside.  The steak fries and homemade coleslaw which accompanied the catfish were equally delicious.  To wash it all down, we ordered the cafe's sweet tea with lemon, served in Mason jars.  Sadly, we left no room for one of the many fabulous homemade desserts that beckoned to be devoured!

If you are looking for great home-cooked food and friendly service in a casual country atmosphere, then make the short drive to Rossville and dine at Wolf River Cafe.  Not only do they have a great dinner and lunch menu, I'm told they have one of the best breakfasts around and that the pizza is to die for!

For more information on Wolf River Cafe, click here.
For directions to Wolf River Cafe, click here.

Joy enjoying sweet tea served in Mason jars


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Holy Exhaustion

As I was posting a comment on Facebook the other day I found myself typing the words, "holy exhaustion."  There have been nights when I have laid my head on the pillow satisfied that I have given my all, lived to the fullest, and done my very best.  Days like that don't come often but they do come.  What would it take to make each day one that ends in holy exhaustion?

Sometimes exhaustion comes not from what we do, but from agonizing over what we don't do in a given day.  More often than not, my exhaustion is of that kind and makes for a very restless night's sleep.  Giving up at the end of the day and going to bed at a decent hour are nearly impossible when I have wasted time.  Anxiety and guilt creep in, stealing my slumber and leaving me filled with regret.

How can we ensure that we have a day that ends in holy exhaustion rather than anxiety and sleeplessness?  I'm not sure we can, but we can certainly try by first committing our day to God.  Even more than my first cup of coffee in the morning, I crave my time alone with God.  Having the opportunity to know more of His character and gain some sense of direction by reading His Word are critical, no matter how my goes.  If I start the day off with God, I can know as surely as autumn follows summer that God will be with no matter the direction I take. 

It also helps to have a surrendered plan.  To do all things decently and in order, we must make a plan or to do list then attempt to work through the items on the list, knowing that ultimately God is in control.  If He chooses to divinely interrupt my plans, I know that it's because He has a higher agenda than mine.  I don't know about you, but when I resist God I have to work even harder to do what is needed to accomplish His purposes.  It is far better to surrender any plans I do make and let Him have His way with my schedule and priorities.

Finally, dump the guilt!  There is always going to be a voice accusing you of mismanaging your time or failing to achieve an important goal.  If you are sensitive to the Spirit of the Lord, then you will know when it is Him instructing you or Satan accusing you.  You will also know that it is okay to step back and relax a little, especially with friends and loved ones, and let the toilets wait until tomorrow!

Pray for wisdom to manage your time well, energy to accomplish the important things, and the discernment to know when it is time to abandon your agenda and embrace God's.  At the end of the day you will find there is no greater joy or more effective sedative than the holy exhaustion that comes from being in the center of God's will and abandoning your agenda for His glory.





Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Future Is Now

During the five months since my husband lost his job, our friends have encouraged us with their prayers and gifts. God has demonstrated His faithfulness daily by providing everything we need in such sweet and amazing ways. You would think all this would be enough to make me feel better about everything, but I am still restless and edgy much of the time. Despite all the blessings, encouragement, and affirmation we have received, I have been plagued by uncertainty about our future.

We are all living with a great deal of uncertainty, especially in these troubled times. As we struggle to find answers to questions about our future and God's plans for us, we need to embrace and live according to this truth: The future is now.

Although most of us tend to worry about things like money, where to live, and whether or not we should accept a particular job offer because it might require us to relocate or put a dream on hold, God promises to take care of us one day at a time if we will trust in his provision and guidance. Jesus said,

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear...Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?...But seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:25-34).

In this season of financial uncertainty, God has carried out his promises to provide for us time and time again. How dare we doubt that his plan for us, even though sometimes hard, is anything but good? (Jeremiah 29:11).

In Ephesians 5:15, we are commanded to "Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the Lord's will is." This has so many practical applications, from using our time well to being good stewards of our money. When our time is well-spent doing what God has called us to do and enriching the lives of others, we are less prone to panic attacks and pity parties and more prone to the fulfillment of knowing that we are making a difference in the lives of others who might eventually come into a personal relationship with Christ.

Had I embraced the "future is now" philosophy, I would have set aside money for the rainy day in which we are now living rather than recklessly overspend our budget assuming that future income would pay off current debt incurred for things that we didn't need or couldn't afford. I would have learned early on "the secret of being content in every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want" (Philippians 4:11-12).

If we  can begin living now the way God teaches us in his Word to live, then one day we will be able to look back and see how each "now" led us into the glorious future God had in store for us all along. As we fear the LORD, he will instruct us in the way chosen for us and we will spend our days in prosperity (Psalm 25:12-13), blessed so we can be a blessing to others.


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

"I'm Just Temping"

Although I had planned to spend the rest of my life writing books and reaching the masses for Christ, God decided I needed to take the "scenic route" to the land of humility.  Because of circumstances beyond my control it was necessary for me to lay aside my big plans and find a full-time job in order to help provide for my family.

For the past couple of months I have been working full-time in a temporary capacity for a local business.  The recruiting agency contracted my services through the middle of December.  Even though some have expressed a desire that I stay on beyond the end of my contract term, I continue to remind them and myself that "I'm just temping."

Only God really knows how long I'll work there, or anywhere for that matter.  Only He knows when my husband will receive an offer for a full-time job or if I will ever go back to writing books and reach the masses for Christ.  And even though I don't know what the source of His provision will be in the days ahead, I know that He will provide.  Even though being a temp carries a bit of uncertainty, I have the assurance that God has everything under control and that His plan for me is a good one.

The Bible tells us that we are all temping in one way or another because all our trials and tribulations on this earth are temporary.  "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:17).  Depending on the assignments He has given us -- chronic illness, financial reversal, or ministry -- our time spent in each could be long or short, but it will be temporary.  I don't know about you, but I believe I can get through any difficulty as long as God is in it with me, and He certainly promises to be.  "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze" (Isaiah 43:2).

What assignment has God given you?  Are you tired of the same old thing and ready for something new and better?  Sure.  We all are.  But even the better things are temporary. 

God is saving the best for last -- an eternity with Him.  He's the real deal, the sure thing, and the only One who can satisfy our deepest longings.  If you know Him, your eternity has already begun.  Even though things might be difficult now, it will only get better as each day brings you a little closer to the time when you will be in His presence forever. 

Hang onto Him when the days are hard, but dare to let go, throw your hands in the air in worship, and know that the roller coaster will come to a stop and that when you exit the ride, you will enter heaven, where there is everlasting joy.

If you think that you aren't good enough to spend eternity in heaven, understand that none of us are good enough.  But Jesus, in all His goodness, laid down His life on the cross to pay for our sins and make us holy and righteous in the Father's eyes.  All you have to do is acknowledge your sin and your need for salvation, and pray the following prayer asking Jesus to be your Savior.

Lord Jesus, I acknowledge my need for your forgiveness today.  I have sinned against you and I want to be saved from my sins.  Thank you for dying on the Cross to purchase my salvation and erase my sin debt.  Please live in my heart and be my Lord and Savior.  Teach me your truths and lead me in the way I should go, that I may follow you all the days of my life.




Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Still Waiting

There are certain times of the year when we stop to take stock of our lives, assess our progress toward our goals, and reflect on where we are spiritually.  For most of us, New Year's Eve is that occasion. For others it may be an anniversary or birthday.  For me, those times come frequently, often blindsiding me and driving me to my knees.

Even now as we cross the threshold into the holiday season I find myself looking back on the past several months and anticipating better things ahead.  It isn't even Thanksgiving yet, but I feel thankful despite the trials of the past several months.  In a season of financial reversal, God has remained true to the promises in His Word to provide for our family in ways we could never have imagined.  Still waiting for a job offer for my husband, we are eager to put the challenges of this summer and fall behind us and move into a more prosperous season of our lives. 

But as difficult as these past months have been, I consider them a gift.  Yes, a gift from God.  You see, as we have searched for jobs, praying ceaselessly and waiting less than patiently for prayers to be answered, God has taught me to be still and know -- beyond the shadow of a doubt -- that He is indeed God.  God, who is able to multiply loaves and fishes to feed a multitude.  God, who is able to provide for our needs over and over again when there wasn't a dime in the bank account or an ounce of gas in the tank.  God, who continues to make a way where there is no way.

When was the last time you really sensed God working in your life?  Have you considered that the difficulties you are experiencing are not just random bad luck but perhaps His way of drawing you closer to Him by bringing you to a place of such dependence that He is your only answer?

I encourage you to take time to sit still, perhaps with a journal and your Bible nearby, and just listen to what God is whispering to you in the middle of your raging storm.  Ask Him specifically to give you a word, jot down what He impresses on your heart, then look to His Word for your answer.  It is there, just as surely as He is with you. 

Be still and know...He is God!




Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Only Circumstances

Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine. (2 Corinthians 4:17, God's Word Translation)
 
After getting a good night's sleep it was a blessing to wake up to a crisp and sunny fall morning.  The freshness of the air after yesterday's rain was a reminder to me that we are made clean by the blood of Christ, who two thousand years ago died on a cross to save us from our sins, but loves us in the here and now.

In the middle of my quiet time this morning, thoughts of my husband's "underemployment" and our desperate prayers that God will soon open a door to full time employment replaced the peace I had felt while sitting in God's presence.  Not wanting to go down the path of self-pity again, as I had so many times before, I closed my eyes and prayed for a word that would restore my peace and refresh my faith.  Always gracious to give me more than I ask for, God gave me two words:  "only circumstances." 

As I meditated on those words I realized just how temporary all my problems are and how insignificant when compared to the matchless glory that will be revealed to me, in me, and through me.  We may be struggling to pay our bills in this season of financial lack, but we have stored up for ourselves "treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matthew 6:20, NIV).

No matter how difficult your circumstances might be -- and believe me, I in no way mean to minimize anyone's suffering -- just know that they are "only circumstances" that are part of your life on this earth, circumstances that God will use to encourage others and glorify Himself.  If you are a believer, you already have the assurance that you will spend eternity in heaven where there is no sorrow, pain, tears, or death (Revelation 21:4).  As for my husband and me, we will not lack anything because we will stand in the presence of our All-in-All for all eternity.




Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My "EXPRESS THANKS"-giving Dinner

A lot of things have happened the past few months, most of which I am thankful for.  Just about two weeks after my husband lost his job our oven quit working.  Thankfully, only the oven quit working -- the burners still work fine!  For the past four months we have managed to feed our family with just the stove top, crock pot, microwave, and a counter top convection toaster oven given to us by a family that had culled it from their yard sale items. 

Since we have hosted our family Thanksgiving dinner the past few years, understandably I have been a little concerned about whether or not we would be able to feed our parents-in-law, an elderly widower and his son, and other family members this year.  So I decided to have a "rehearsal dinner" of sorts and see what I could put together without a full-size oven.  Amazingly, I pulled off a traditional scaled-down but tasty Thanksgiving dinner and did it in just over an hour!

Drum roll, please......feast your eyes on my EXPRESS THANKS-giving dinner!  (Did you catch that play on words?  Not just "express" as in fast, but a dinner to express thanks for all God's blessings!)  Not only was this a quick and easy meal to prepare, but it didn't cost more than about $20, including the turkey!



Here's how I did it:
 
Step One:  I purchased the products I would need for a traditional meal of turkey, dressing, gravy, sweet potato casserole, green beans, and rolls.  (Not pictured are the 7.75 lb. Honeysuckle White Turkey breast with gravy packet that fit perfectly in my crock pot, the Hawaiian rolls that I served in place of my traditional homemade yeast rolls, or the marshmallows that topped the sweet potato casserole.)   I used some store-brand products as well as brand-name ones and the result was a delicious meal that I was able to prepare in just over an hour.



 


Step Two:  Before going to work, I took ten minutes (max) to rinse the turkey breast, brush it with vegetable oil, and put it on to cook in the crock pot.  I set the dial on the Auto Shift setting and let the crock do the cooking!  The only thing I did before I came home from work was baste the turkey on my lunch hour.  The turkey cooked all day -- from about 6:45 a.m. until 5:15 p.m.

Step Three:  After work, I prepared the other dishes as follows:
Green beans -- cooked two cans of cut green beans on med-high heat with onions, salt, pepper, butter, and a little bit of sugar, none of which I measured.  Although I prefer to simmer them gently for a little longer, canned beans cook up nicely with the lid on over med-high heat.  Just don't let the beans boil dry and burn! 
Sweet potato casserole -- cooked a large can of Bruce's Yams by spooning the yams and pouring about two-thirds of the juice into a saucepan, then adding a stick of butter, 3/4 c. brown sugar, and some cinnamon (to taste).  I cooked the yams on med-high heat for several minutes, stirring often until the potatoes were essentially mashed.  Next I transferred them to a Pyrex casserole (sprayed with cooking spray) that would fit in the convection oven (pan was a little smaller than 9x13) and baked them at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Then I layered mini marshmallows on top and baked another 7-10 minutes until the marshmallows were soft and golden. 
Dressing -- I cheated and used Stove Top cornbread stuffing mix but made it with chicken broth instead of water.  Lots of good flavor without any fuss! 
Gravy -- I used the packet that came with the turkey breast, adding 1/4 c. of turkey drippings from the crock pot.  (My original plan was to use turkey gravy in a jar, again mixed with turkey drippings. )
Cranberry sauce -- no one in my family but me likes it, but a turkey dinner isn't complete without it.  I used Great Value brand from Walmart.

Rolls -- I chose Hawaiian rolls you can purchase from the supermarket.  They are soft, sweet, and can easily be microwaved or warmed in the toaster oven.  They'll never replace my homemade rolls, but in a pinch they are priceless!
 
Missing from the table were mashed potatoes and sweet tea with lemon, as well as my usual apple pie with vanilla ice cream.  Those are easy enough to prepare and will be added to the lineup when the official day arrives!

The beauty of this meal was that I literally had it ready to go on the table one hour after I arrived home from work.  This Thanksgiving I will be able to enjoy all the blessings without all the stressing!


 Be blessed, y'all!

 


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What's Your Cross?

There comes a time for each of us when we must endure difficult circumstances, tolerate people who challenge us, or make peace with trouble and change.  In those moments we find ourselves with a cross to bear that we would not wish on anyone, and we are faced with a choice to either embrace that cross joyfully or endure it regretfully. 

As I prayed recently about the season of change I have experienced the past few months, I found myself asking God why He would strip away the things I enjoy so much and give me a cross to bear.  I asked Him to show me the lessons He wants me to learn as a result of everything that has happened and to help me walk through my challenges with more grace and joy. 

Looking to the Bible for His words of encouragement and the grace to make the best of everything He has allowed to transpire, I immediately came across the following verses about "taking up" our cross daily:
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it (Luke 9:23-24).
My heart's desire is to be a homemaker, administrative consultant, and freelance writer. Yet God has seen fit to call me out of those roles that have afforded me the flexibility to meet my family's needs, manage our busy household, and spend time with those I love.  He has placed me in a full-time job that is demanding and leaves very little time to do the things I love most.  All my efforts to save the life I love have failed, but by the grace of God I am learning to embrace this new season and make the most of it.  In Matthew 10:37-39, Jesus says:
Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
I want to be worthy of Jesus, don't you?

The NIV Study Bible footnotes for Luke 9:23 further emphasize the significance Christ placed on taking up our cross and following him.
"Take up his cross daily" -- To follow Jesus requires self-denial, complete dedication, and willing obedience.  Luke emphasizes continued action, and "daily" is not mentioned explicitly in the parallel accounts (Mt. 16:24-26; Mk. 8:34).  Disciples from Galilee knew what the cross meant, for hundreds of men had been executed by this means in their region.  9:24 "whoever loses his life for me."  A saying of Jesus found in all four Gospels more than once (14:26-27; 17:33; Mt. 10:38-39; 16:24-25; Mk. 8:34-35; Jn. 12:25).  No other saying of Jesus is given such emphasis.
 
As I thought about these verses and the corresponding footnotes, I was reminded that Jesus had to willfully choose to obey His Father and embrace the cross that God had chosen for His only Son to bear.  Without that cross there would have been no atoning sacrifice for our sins or salvation leading to eternal life for those who believe in His Name.

What is your cross?  What is that fiery trial that is stealing your joy today?  Could it be that God has required a sacrifice of you in order that a lost and needy soul may find the Christ of Calvary and receive His free gift of salvation?  Where would any of us be had not Christ been obedient in following His Father by taking up His cross?   Will you take up your cross knowing that because of your obedience, someone might spend eternity in heaven?

Lord, give us the grace we need to bear the cross you have lovingly laid on our shoulders.  Open our eyes to see the harvest, our hearts to know your purpose, and our lips to praise you no matter how difficult our cross may be to bear.  Keep us mindful that you are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with us, bearing the weight of our cross.  If we are faithful, one day we will stand in Your Presence and hear your voice proclaim, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of your Lord."





Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Vested Interest

As I sat and watched the presidential debate tonight I realized just how badly our family needs for things to turn around soon in our nation.  My husband has been out of work for four months and has not had much success finding a job that pays the kind of money he was making earlier this year.  My college-age son is taking a year off to work and save enough money to pay his own tuition or get an apartment because he doesn't want to incur student loan debt or be a financial burden in our time of need.  We feel extremely blessed that he even has a job and that I was able to go back to work full-time to help make ends meet.  Our family, like so many others, has had to apply for state assistance just to get through this crunch.

Praise God, we live in America.  As flawed as she has become, she is still the greatest nation in the world.  Even so, this is a critical election year and we are on the brink of further decline if we don't pay attention to what is going on and do our part to turn the tide.

Many turned off their television sets tonight having decided that voting is a waste of time.  But now is the time for us all to stand up and exercise our liberty to choose the candidate we feel will steer our nation in the right direction.  So much is riding on this election.  If you have any reservations about voting this year, think of those you know who are struggling and do it for them!  We need you.  America needs you!




Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Giving Up Gracefully

I am not very graceful when it comes to giving up, especially when giving up involves time.  It isn't easy to give up the time I would spend writing or keeping house or meeting the needs of my family in order to earn a paycheck.  But by the grace of God I have a job and am able to help make ends meet while my husband searches for a full time job with benefits.

By the grace of God I have a daughter who has transportation provided by the school system and the taxpayers who fund it.  Because of that I don't have to worry about how she will get back and forth to school while my husband and I work to put food on the table.

By the grace of God I have family and friends who have been more than generous instruments of God's provision during a time of financial reversal.

By the grace of God I still get to dabble in the literary world, if only to edit the books of others on a part-time basis and write an occasional magazine article.  There will come a season when I am able once more to focus on ministry and marketing.  In the meantime God is writing a chapter or two in my life and allowing me to see how the other (working) half lives.

By the grace of God my children are old enough now to fend for themselves and to understand why it is necessary for me to work full time when I have always been a full time mom to them.

By the grace of God I can lay my head on my pillow tonight, exhausted from a long and tiring day in the office but refreshed from spending time outdoors watching my daughter practice lacrosse and conversing with a fellow lacrosse mom on a beautiful autumn afternoon.

By the grace of God I still have time in the morning to start my day with Him and to become more intimately acquainted with Him through His Word and our sweet fellowship in prayer.

By the grace of God I give up my rights to that which I want to do in order that God can do what He wants to do in and through me.

By the grace of God, I am giving up gracefully and trusting that as I delight myself in Him, He will give me the desires of my heart and continue working all things together for my good.


***************************

Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pass the Dramamine, Please!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. --  Romans 15:13

Fall is the season for state fairs, corn dogs, and thrill rides.  Sadly, I didn't make it to either of the fairs held near us recently but somehow that doesn't seem to matter.  Just the pace of a busy life has brought on frequent bouts of motion sickness, figuratively speaking.  Someone pass the Dramamine, please.

I have never been one to get sick from carnival rides.  That all changed, though, after the birth of my first child.  Something about the change in hormones that resulted from pregnancy made it virtually impossible for me to ride a spinning ride without getting nauseated.  I can take the ups and downs okay; it's just the relentless spinning that does me in.

Fortunately I have learned that when life starts spinning out of control, all I have to do is willfully choose to step off the merry-go-round and sit at the feet of Jesus.  Some days that is easier said than done.  But I find that if I start my day off in His presence, I can survive even the wildest ride life can dish out. 

If your life is spinning out of control set aside some time to get off the merry-go-round and enjoy the peace you can only find in God's presence.  Better yet, don't wait until you have passed the point of no return.  Make it a point instead to spend time with Him daily and let Him guide your steps into the way of peace.



Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Restoring What Was Lost

And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.  And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. (Joel 2:25-26)

When I started my full-time job a month ago, my heart sank because I knew that I would have to give up the thing I love doing most -- being a full-time mom.  My daughter was sick one day recently so I had the opportunity to stay home from work and take care of her.  Although I never want my children to be sick I must admit that I relished the chance to don a pair of jeans, have a lengthy quiet time, and just enjoy the day.  But as usual my day didn't turn out the way I planned. 

With a perfectly mapped out day ahead of me, I decided to turn on my computer to check email while the coffee was brewing.  I should have had my quiet time first and just stayed out of my office altogether!  But I knew that I had past due bills to pay and was determined to make paying them one of my priorities on my day off. 

Because I had been having trouble connecting to the Internet for a few days I called my Internet Service Provider and spent about an hour on the phone running tests and diagnostics only to be told that I probably had spyware on my computer.  After running a full virus scan then a malware check, the system detected and removed two malicious programs that were running in the background.  Then my system CRASHED!  I tried every way I knew how to restart my computer and finally as a last resort restored it to factory defaults, which meant that the programs I had installed plus all my data from the past three years, including pictures, manuscripts, and business and personal financial data were lost.  LOST!  Thankfully I had subscribed to an online backup service and run a complete backup of my machine just a month prior, copying some of the more recent critical files to a thumb drive.  Because of my online backup, all was not lost in the end, though I suffered the inconvenience of having to spend countless hours restoring my computer to an operational state and downloading the files and software I had lost.

In some ways life is a lot like a malfunctioning computer.  There is a malicious enemy at work who sneaks into our lives wreaking havoc and throwing everything into chaos, causing seemingly irreparable damage from which we think we may never recover.  He introduces temptation and sin into the life of the believer with the stealth of the Trojan virus that lurked in the heart of my computer.  The Bible tells us to "be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). 

Fortunately for us, Jesus is in the business of restoring broken lives and repairing the damage done by sin.  Even those of us who are surrendered to the Lord are susceptible to the enemy's temptation to sin,  but when we know and live according to God's Word, we are better able to recognize and prevent those temptations from taking root and wiping out completely the good work that God has begun in us. 

Restoration is not a quick process.  Just as it will take days for me to get my computer back in the shape it was before the crash and restore all the data that was lost, it will take time for God to "restore the years the locusts have eaten" because of our sin.  But He does promise to restore that which is lost.  That is why Jesus came in the first place -- "to seek and save what was lost" (Luke 19:10).




Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Finish Well

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.              (Hebrews 12:1-3)
 
For the past three months I have been working on a project that has consumed a lot of time and energy and deprived me of much-needed sleep.  While the project itself is not complete, my initial contribution is finally finished despite the detour created by an unforeseen job loss three months ago.  Since then I have prayed my way through this project one day at a time, persevering in the task before me with the knowledge that the circumstances which slowed me down were beyond my control.

Sometimes life throws us a challenge that can derail us on our journey--if we allow it to.  Whether or not we recognize or care to admit it, those challenges often come as attacks of the enemy, who knows that our accomplishment of a particular goal or task is God's plan for us and will further His kingdom on earth.  The enemy will stop at nothing to hinder our progress because he doesn't want the kingdom of God to receive a blessing or the Lord to receive glory as a result of our obedience to His will.

As I worked through this project, despite the added stress of taking on a new full-time job and dealing with the fallout of a financial reversal, I never quit, though many times I felt I could not take another step.  I know that God will honor the effort that has been poured into this project and that many people will be blessed, edified, and encouraged because I trusted in Him and relied on His strength to do what I, in my own strength, could not have done.

If you know that God has given you an assignment and you find yourself opposed by people, hindered by unforeseen circumstances, or bombarded with constant distractions, hang in there and keep putting one foot in front of the other.  "Inch-by-inch, it's a cinch!"  With God's help, you can  finish well.


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Lacrosse Mom Spotted!

Before attending a special benefit lacrosse game last spring, I didn't even know what lacrosse was.  But my daughter, who has never participated in organized sports and barely survived dance lessons, has decided to try a sport this year.  She didn't go for the kinder, gentler sport of softball, like I did in high school.  Oh, no!  Joy is going to be running the field at break-neck speed (hope she doesn't break hers!) while slinging and (hopefully) catching balls in a little net on the end of a stick.  Now this I gotta see!

Joy had her first skills practice today right after I got home from work.  In fact, not only did I not have time to come in and change clothes or grab a quick cup of coffee, the practice ran long and we didn't get home to eat dinner until nearly 7:30.  But the weather was perfect for relaxing and conversing with a lovely British woman whose daughter is also new to the sport.  Joy found a sport and I made a new friend.  Jolly good, I say!

I never wanted to be one of those ultra-busy working moms who spends every waking hour of her free time shuttling kids to sports practice, but I joined the team today and to tell you the truth, I am looking forward to the joys of victory! (The agony of defeat? Not so much.)  Life is too short to sit on sidelines and let an opportunity like this pass us by. 

Go, Joy! I am proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone and taking on a new challenge and making new friends.  I promise not to be an obnoxious lacrosse mom...well, maybe.







Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

One Word: Favor

The other night as I struggled to find peace with a particularly bothersome situation, I found it difficult to sleep.  Anxiety welled up within me, forcing me out of the comfy bed my weary body desperately longed for.  Exhausted but too restless to sleep, I wandered into my office, flipped on the lamp, and began to pray.

Obviously I was long overdue for a good cry because not long after the tears started flowing, the weather service issued a flash flood warning because of the deluge. (Not really, but they could have.)  As I cried out to God, I pleaded for a word from him...just one word to help me through a dark and desperate hour.

God's one word for me was FAVOR.  I found myself praying for favor:
  • on my new job
  • with my co-workers
  • with the book project I am working on
  • for my husband, in the form of a job
  • with our creditors
  • for our daughter to get a scholarship for the youth retreat this weekend
  • for a good night's sleep with no dreams (they often disrupt my sleep)
I looked up the word "favor" in my concordance and was led to the following verses.  As I wrote these verses in my journal, substituting my name and personal pronoun in parentheses, they suddenly became very powerful.

"Satisfy us (me) in the morning with your unfailing love, that we (I) may sing for joy and be glad all our (my) days.  Make us (me) glad for as many days as you have afflicted us (me), for as many years as we (I) have seen trouble.  May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their (my) children.  May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us (me); establish the work of our (my) hands for us (me) -- yes, establish the work of our (my) hands." (Psalm 90:14-17).
"But Noah (Dee Dee) found favor in the eyes of the Lord.  (Genesis 6:8)

May it be so, Lord, for all those who call upon your Name, stand upon your promises, and walk in your ways.  Amen!





Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

If My Children Don't Learn Anything Else....

If my children don't learn anything else in life, I hope they will somehow realize....
 
... just how much God loves them and how much I do, too.
 
...that being a loving and concerned parent is just as hard, if not harder, than being the child of one.
 
...how blessed they are to have parents who love them enough to have the hard conversations and discipline them when necessary, even though sometimes they wish we lived on another planet!
 
...that it's okay to say no to drugs, sex, alcohol, and indecent entertainment choices because all those things really do have a negative influence on their character.
 
...that character counts and they are "guilty by association" when they hang out with people who have little regard for character or respect for authority.
 
...that money doesn't grow on trees and that it is indeed very important to save for the proverbial rainy day.
 
...that "please" and "thank you" are still important words to say.
 
...that the universe does not revolve around them, even though they are special.
 
...that they need to love their friends without getting sucked into all the drama or taking on the other person's baggage.
 
...that boundaries are good things and that they should learn to set a few themselves.
 
...that bad friends are going to drag them down and that they cannot save the kids who are determined to self-destruct.  Only God can do that.
 
...that parents don't make the rules; God does.
 
...that life works better for those who apply The Golden Rule ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you") and treat others with kindness and respect.
 
...that takers eventually lose everything and givers are rich beyond measure.  "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
 
...that "no" is answer and that there is usually a reason behind every "no" we give them as parents.
 
...that parents were once kids, too, and we know far more than they give us credit for.
 
...that friends come and go, human love and emotions are fickle, but God's love is constant and He promises He will never leave or forsake His own.
 
...that loss is a part of life and sometimes God has something better than the person, thing, or job they may have lost.  "God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose."
 
...that there is always someone worse off than they are and that in the eternal scheme of things, every challenge they will face in this earthly life is temporary.
 
...that God's ways always have been and always will be greater than their ways.  Life with God can be a great and awesome adventure.
 
...that they can make a difference in someone's life and change their world for the better if they are willing to think about someone besides themselves and dare to dream a little.
 
...that with God all things are possible.
 
...that God can be trusted to keep His promises every time, even when others break theirs.
 
...that no one knows them better or loves them more than God does.
 
...that nothing in this life will satisfy them like a personal relationship with Jesus.  He is more than enough. 


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Friday, September 7, 2012

What's Your Story?

For the past few months I have been working on the autobiography of an individual whom I greatly admire.  Although I have in recent years given thought to writing my own story, it really isn't my story I want to share with others.  There really isn't anything particularly interesting or compelling about my life.  But there is a lot I could write about God, who has become my life.  It is his story, and his alone, that is worth telling.

We all have stories we could share with others.  What is yours?  If you were to categorize your life story as a particular genre, what would it be?  Mystery?  Romance?  Tragedy?  Comedy?  I think a truly balanced and well-lived life would have all the elements of a blockbuster -- adventure, danger, intrigue, romance, tragedy, and laughter.

When you read the Bible, God's story, you are reading the most popular and compelling book of all time.  When you live according to it, then your story takes on all the elements of a bestseller that can't help but impact others.

Though it has been said, "you can't judge a book by its cover," the story you tell by the way you live your life speaks volumes about you and the God who lives in you.  Even if you never write your own story for others to read, live your life in such a way that they will be drawn to the God inside you.


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Monday, September 3, 2012

You Don't Say!

 


 Last week I started a new full-time job as a Service Communications Specialist.  Kind of sounds like a chatty position, don't you think?   Just two days into the job my supervisor had already asked if I would be willing to work one Saturday per month and requested that we all work at some point over the Labor Day weekend.  Not what I had planned, but okay.

My daughter, on the other hand, had the chance to go to Pickwick Lake with a friend and her family.  Here I am at the end of my long work day listening to her play-by-play recap of her long weekend.  I'll have to say that after a weekend without her, her non-stop communication was music to my ears.

 

If nothing else, I got to live vicariously through her stories and for a few minutes, at least, relax and contemplate the serenity of the lake and feel the wind and sun on my face as she described every little detail! 

These are the moments I live for. 




Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Eve of the New Job

'Twas the eve of the new job and all through my mind
Came the question that nagged me, "How will I find time
To do all I now do plus work forty hours,
Run errands, keep house, and feed yours, mine, and ours?"
Already I'm tired from the thoughts I've been thinking
From prayers that I've said and from too little sleeping
But God this door opened so through it I'll go
With assurance He's with me and a heart full of joy
Tomorrow is coming and soon I will say
"Can't wait til next Friday, when I will get paid!"
God's strength I depend on day in and day out
Wherever I go, with thanksgiving I'll shout
Praises only a God so amazing deserves
As I do all I can, my employer to serve




Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Climbing Out, Looking Up, Pressing On

Ten weeks ago Steve lost his full-time job and medical benefits.  Today, I interviewed for and was offered a temporary full-time position as a Service Communications Specialist with a company ten minutes from our home.  This wasn't the full-time job with benefits we had hoped for, but it is a positive move in the right direction.  The work should last through the end of the year and could become a permanent position if the company approves it. 

God has been so faithful during this season of "underemployment."  I can't actually call it a season of unemployment because both Steve and I have been blessed to have part-time work.  Granted, the income has been only a fraction of what he was making in his full-time position, but God has provided in so many unexpected ways that we stand in awe daily.  My new job will help us better meet our monthly expenses, but we will still have a shortfall and a lot of ground to regain.  As we continue to trust in our loving Provider day-by-day, we are confident that he will carry us through and supply all our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus!

This job will help us begin the long climb out of the financial pit in which we have lived the past two months.  As we continue to look up to the One who has carried us this far and press on to find full-time employment for Steve, please continue to pray for us.  We haven't arrived yet, be we are on our way! 

Thank you for your faithfulness to pray and support us with your gifts.  May God bless you a hundredfold for your kindness and encouragement.

Praising God and thanking you!

Steve and Dee Dee



Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Unfading Beauty


Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
(1 Peter 3:3-4)


This is my left hand.  It isn't a pretty or well-manicured hand, but when paired with its mate (which took this picture) it can type with amazing speed and cook a mean pot roast.  It can weed a flowerbed, prune a hedge, and help a neighbor haul in groceries from her car.  It is a hand bears the scars of fifty years of living and serving others.  

I have always admired well-manicured hands and healthy fingernails, neither which I possess.  My daughter is the lucky recipient of those.  Although she was cursed to inherit my short, pudgy fingers, her luxuriously long nails always look nice, whether they are painted or not.  I guess the fingernail gene must have skipped my generation.  

I could invest in some artificial nails or at least have a salon manicure once in awhile, but it would be a waste of my time and money.  Like dye on my hair, the color never stays on my nails long enough for me to justify the expense, and I am not willing to sacrifice keyboarding speed for the sake of beauty.  Manicures are great for other people but not for me.  I'm too high-maintenance as it is!

It stands to reason that if God wanted me to have beautiful nails or straight hair or a rich husband, he would have given them to me.  Fortunately, God sees me as beautiful even when I don't and has given me a heart that is content to see how truly wealthy I am because of the many ways he has blessed me.  I may be gray-haired, over fifty, and drive my mother-in-law's hand-me-down Buick, but in my mind I am forty and drive a sporty new luxury car! 

No matter what we look like on the outside, what's important to God is that we cultivate beauty on the inside.  The amount of time and money we spend in salons or health spas to keep our exterior in tip-top shape doesn't matter much if we don't spend time with God cultivating pure hearts and gentle spirits.  True beauty and radiance don't come in a bottle but rather from a heart deeply in love with the One who created beautiful things. 


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

As Hard As I Try

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)


As hard as I try, I often fail to accomplish everything I set out to do in a day's time.  You see, sometimes God allows life's little curve balls to test me and redirect me to something a little grander than I might have planned. 

Sometimes the distractions we face are meant to strengthen our faith muscles or produce in us the patience and determination we need to achieve our goals even though the odds seem stacked against us.  And sometimes, those detours are for our protection from unseen dangers we might not otherwise avoid.

First thing this morning, I was confronted with a failing battery in my son's car and a husband whose shoulder injury had him driving to work with an ice pack so he could work in spite of the pain he felt.  Knowing I would have to adjust my morning to take my son to work and have a new battery installed so he wouldn't be stranded on the road, I simply gave thanks that I could and that there was money in the bank to cover the cost of the battery.  Before my son needed to leave for work, my husband came back through the door saying that his shift had been cut from the schedule.  Relieved that my husband would be able to rest his shoulder and attend to the battery issue, I resumed what I was doing. 

I have learned to be flexible, to thank God for his divine appointments, and to realize that as hard as I try to control my time and money, they will never be my own.  It all belongs to him.  As long as I keep that in mind and give God the freedom to do as he wishes with that which belongs to him, including me, then he will work everything out for my good.

If you are like me and you sometimes feel frustrated that things just aren't getting done, take a few minutes at the end of your day to think about all that happened.  Whose life did you touch because of a schedule change or an unanticipated interruption?  What harm might you have escaped because God's plans required a change in yours?  While we need to make plans, set goals, and go after our dreams, we also need to know that the harder we try to control our time, resources, and circumstances, the less God will be able to accomplish in and through us for his glory.

My best days are the ones I surrender to God from the outset.  When I remember that my purpose is to live a life that honors and glorifies him, then it doesn't matter if my plans are trumped by his.  His ways are higher than my ways and he will never leave me nor forsake me.





Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What If...?

Four years ago, I started this blog which led to the writing of two books and many articles on faith living.  Somewhere in those four years I homeschooled kids, nearly lost my sanity raising my teenage son, and thought that somehow God might make a ministry out of the mayhem of this very average suburban mother's life.  My husband and I changed jobs, most recently not by choice, and found ourselves challenged by a declining economy and eroding social and moral values.  There were a lot of "what ifs" along the way, some of which have never been answered.

There is one "what if?" that has never been a question in my mind -- What if God didn't exist?

If I didn't know for sure that God is real and that he truly does exist, I would have caved under the stress of living in a world so full of uncertainty.   I would have settled for mediocrity instead of pursuing the dream of making a difference in the life of at least one person everyday.  Instead of running to God for comfort, I'd probably have run to Jack Daniel or the vineyards of Beringer and Sutter Home.  I would have given in to my kids' arguments that "everyone does it" or "their parents let them do it" when as a parent I knew that my only choice was to fight for what is good and right.  I would have decided that excellence isn't all it's cracked up to be and merely settled for the status quo.

But God does exist!  He is as real as the keyboard on which I am typing these words and the gifts that we have received in our season of unemployment.  His Word is real and his promises are true!  He reigns and is in control of even the most chaotic twists and turns we face in our day-to-day existence. 

As I consider the very real possibility that I may soon re-enter the workforce in a full-time capacity, I find myself faced with another whole group of "what if?" questions.  What if God never intended for me to have a "ministry" or write another book?  What if someone actually does hire me and I no longer have time to write because I am so busy trying to balance a full-time job with family obligations?  Would having the money to cover our living expenses and pay off our creditors be such a bad thing, even if it means that writing takes a backseat for awhile?  Probably not.  Somehow I think I will still manage to find time for my passion of encouraging others with the truths of God's Word.

What if God is opening the door to something even better than I could have imagined, a place of greater prosperity and a greater potential to make a difference in the lives of others?  What if I could simply be excited, say "Ok, God, let's do it -- whatever it is," and move on to the next season of life?

No matter what I do or where life takes me, I know that God will be with me every step of the way.  With him there is no need to ask, "What if?" because I know that I am in his hands and that he is working everything together for our good.

If you don't have that assurance for yourself, let me encourage you to pick up his Word and begin reading it.  As you begin to learn more about him and walk in obedience to his commands, you will begin to understand how truly caring and wonderful God is.  Maybe you struggle with believing God is good because of hardships you have faced.  Often he uses the hardships in life to draw us into an intimate relationship with him, if we will let him.

What if you let God into your daily life, to walk beside and guide you as a Father and the very best Friend you could ever have?  He is faithful and you will never be sorry for surrendering your heart and life to him.  What if....?






Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Power of Praise

When my husband lost his job and medical benefits I was unable to have my son's drug prescription filled due to the out-of-pocket expense.  After six weeks without his medication, I was more than eager to take the pharmacy benefits card issued by our state in behalf of my son to the pharmacy to have his prescription filled.  When the pharmacy clerk told me that his insurance would likely not cover the $200 cost of his medication and offered to check on it, I left her the card and went home praying once more for God's provision for this specific need.  Tears stung my eyes as I left the store, but before a tear could trickle down my cheek I immediately began to thank God for all the ways he had provided for our needs in the two months since my husband lost his job.  I knew in my heart that he could certainly work things out in my son's favor and called my son to ask him to pray.

A little more than two hours later I walked back into the pharmacy to see if the prescription was covered by the state prescription plan and to find out what my co-pay might be.  To my utter delight the clerk advised me that the medication was indeed covered and that there would be no cost to me!  Greatly relieved and taking advantage of an open door, I was able to share with her that this was an answer to prayer and tell her of the many ways God has provided for us over the past several weeks.  I was able to give a reason for the hope that I have (1 Peter 3:15).

When I left the pharmacy earlier that afternoon, I could have chosen to despair over the possibility that insurance might not cover the cost of my son's medication.  But instead I chose to praise God for his past blessings, his promise to provide, and his faithfulness day-by-day. 

Praise is a powerful resource we sometimes forget we have at our disposal.  God inhabits the praises of his people and is faithful to the promises of his Word.  The next time you are worried about something, try praising God instead. 

"Every blessing you pour out I'll turn back in praise.
When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say, 'Blessed be the Name of the Lord.'"
(lyrics by Matt and Beth Redman)






Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

***************************

Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!