Friday, April 18, 2014

A Different Kind of Easter

This year Easter won't resemble the holiday of years past and that bothers me, sort of.   Or does it really?

Because of changes in our lives this year my husband is in another state.  On Easter Sunday my son will likely work and my daughter and I will attend church and grab a quick bite of lunch afterward, as we do on any typical Sunday.  There will be no family meal to prepare and we won't venture into a restaurant because of the crowds and lack of time for a more leisurely and festive holiday feast.  Part of me is okay with that.

Although I didn't manage to mail Easter cards this year or even purchase them for my children, somehow the message of Easter will still be shared.  Those Easter cards probably mean more to me than to my intended recipients anyway.  As for the candy I didn't buy, it is a sugary treat we certainly don't need.  As I think about all this it doesn't seem such a bad thing that I didn't make a production out of the Easter holiday.  After all, it's not about colorfully-dyed eggs, Easter baskets, and new clothes anyway, is it?  Certainly I'm not knocking those longstanding traditions but they just didn't happen for our family this year.  Perhaps next Easter, after we settle into our new life in Virginia, we can celebrate in a more traditional and familiar fashion.

A couple of days ago as I was organizing and packing photos for the move I ran across Easter cards from years long past, photos of our family standing with my dad, who has been gone for many years.  He always bought his girls orchid corsages and dressed up in his Sunday best on Easter after taking home movies of us hopping through the yard in our bathrobes as we hunted eggs before the service.  As I relished those memories I couldn't help but shed a few mournful tears knowing that Easter will never quite be the simple joy it was when I was young.


Fast forward a few decades.  This Easter will be unlike any other, but the Risen One whose resurrection we celebrate is the same today as he was long before there was an Easter holiday.  Although not having the time or resources to celebrate Easter in a more traditional fashion has left me a little sad and disappointed, I have only to remember the Reason we celebrate Easter and recognize him -- not the Easter bunny or a basketful of chocolates -- as my true source of joy.


Copyright © 2014 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

So Many Things

As we prepare for our move to Virginia I find myself feeling a bit like Martha, "anxious and troubled about many things" (Luke 10:41) rather than enjoying my life in Christ and this God-ordained adventure.  Perhaps that is because I have taken my eyes off him and focused on my problems rather than his provision and promises. Although I know that everything will be accomplished in time for the move to take place on schedule, I still have trouble keeping in perspective the distractions of everyday life that continue to make the journey so challenging. Rather than focus on and be thankful for all that God has accomplished already, I am prone to fret over all that remains to be done.  Oh me of little faith!

Maybe you have felt the same way at times in your life, or perhaps even today.  If so, I hope you will set aside your worries for a minute, open  God's Word to read his promises for you, spend some time talking with Jesus, and enjoy the peace you will find in his presence. Mary "chose the good portion" by sitting at her Lord's feet while her sister, Martha, scurried around preparing a meal for their special guest.  When she asked Jesus to make Mary help, Jesus instead gently chided Martha for being so fretful and commended Mary for choosing to let go of the stress and enjoy his presence.

There are so many things vying for our attention these days but as long as we choose to spend time daily investing in our relationship with Christ through prayer and by living according to his Word, nothing will be able to separate us from his love (Romans 8:38-39).


Copyright © 2014 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This I Do for Love

Do you ever have those days when no one seems to understand you?  Perhaps you cannot express yourself in a way that makes sense or solves the dilemma you face over a particular person or circumstance.  At those times grace might seem insufficient or even nonexistent yet you remain steadfast and determined, whether or not you are understood.  This you do for love.

More than once -- quite often, actually -- I have found myself in conflict with people who seem determined to do things the hard way, or at least bent on making things harder for me.  They don't seem to appreciate the sacrifices I make in their behalf by working hard or fighting for what is important.  As hard as they may push back I hold my ground because this I do for love.

What if Jesus had taken one look at us and said, "He's not worth it" or "She is determined to make things difficult?"  What if He had decided that we weren't worth dying for?  What hope would we have if Jesus had given up on us as easily as we give up on those we love and are fighting for?

Scripture tells us, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8, NIV).  We didn't deserve forgiveness and salvation, but He so desired to spend eternity with us that he was willing to lay down his life, dying a criminal's death on the cross,   This He did for love.

If Jesus was willing to give his all for us, shouldn't we be a little more inclined to do whatever it takes to win the lost to Christ and help our fellow sojourners find a better way of living?  Instead of being so quick to give in or give up on those who frustrate us, we need to pray for and pick up those traveling with us on the way.  That's what love would do!



Copyright © 2014  by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Saved by the Still, Small Voice

Today has been another "Plan B" day.  There have been many of those lately but I'm not complaining.  You see, once more I have been saved by that still, small voice that has never steered me wrong.

Although Friday is my regular day off and I had planned to have my car serviced Friday morning before leaving town for the weekend, I had an unexplainable yet real sense of urgency to have it serviced on Tuesday morning instead.  In addition to a routine oil change and tire rotation I requested an air-conditioning test because the air in my car was not blowing cold as it should.  Not surprisingly, I was told that the compressor and other related parts were defective and that it would cost quite a bit of money to repair the air-conditioning system.  I declined the repair because I didn't feel I could afford it on top of the expense of our relocation.

After noticing an unusual sound a couple of days later I felt a nudge to drop back by the garage to see if it was related to the air-conditioning system.  The manager told me something I had not been told previously -- that the compressor was a critical component of the car, and that when it failed the car would not be drivable.   Despite the untimely expense of the repair, I am thankful to have listened to that still, small voice earlier in the week and followed up on my hunch that the noise was somehow related.  If I hadn't I might have found myself stranded on a highway in the middle of nowhere.

God gives us his Holy Spirit at the moment we receive Christ as our Savior.  The Holy Spirit guides us as we heed his "still, small voice."  Like the compressor on my car, surrender to the Holy Spirit is crucial for the believer who desires to keep moving forward in his or her relationship with God.   I am so thankful for the times I have heeded and been saved by his holy whisper.


Copyright © 2014 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lessons from the Move

Preparing for an out-of-state move has been quite an experience.  The task of de-cluttering my house and sorting through files and photos has proven to be tedious and time-consuming.  It has also been a revealing process for me as I have discovered that not everything in life is as important as it seems.

It has often been said that parents take more photos of their first child than the ones born later.  In my case that is certainly true.  After spending hours looking through and discarding photos that were crammed in a file cabinet I realized that most of those photos, many of them never seen by anyone but me, were in fact a waste of money and the paper they were printed on.  Although I kept hundreds of photos and put them in albums so they may be enjoyed by family and friends, hundreds more were sent to the landfill.

A few years ago when I took my garage sale leftovers to a local Goodwill center I resolved to stop buying things I don't need or won't use.  On that particular day the Goodwill had so many donations that there was hardly room to receive mine.  The Lord impressed upon me that day that not only does our stuff fail to satisfy that inner longing that only He can fill but often results in work and inconvenience for those who at some point have to take care of those things we no longer want or need.  How much stuff do we really need anyway?

I can't move all this stuff to Virginia, let alone take it with me to heaven.  So instead of investing time and resources acquiring things that will require time and money to maintain I will choose to invest my time and resources in the things that really matter, the people I love and those who don't yet know Jesus.  I plan to lighten my load considerably and take on the yoke of Christ, loving and investing my time and resources in the lives of others.

Copyright © 2014 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

How Will My Garden Grow?

Taking a break from de-cluttering I decided to venture outside and check on the perennials blooming in my yard and flower beds.  I had a Pocahontas moment  when the following lyrics from "Colors of the Wind" (lyrics by Stephen Schwartz) came to mind:
You think you own whatever land you land on
The earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name
 
Chris's dogwood (top) and my April flowers (bottom)
Walking over to the dogwood tree, just a naked twig in a baggie Chris brought home from school when he was in second grade (he is now 20), I wondered if it might bloom this year, since it has been a hit-or-miss bloomer for the past three or four seasons.  As my eyes welled up with tears at the sight of tiny dogwood flowers just beginning to open, I realized that nearly every flower in my garden has a story or memory associated with it. How in the world can I leave them all behind?

Going through photos last night I came across several pictures of gardens that I have planted in this home and in our previous home, where we lived for fourteen years.  For the past twenty-seven years I have delighted in growing flowers and an occasional vegetable or two.  And while I won't have time this spring to do the amount of gardening I would like because of the move, I will not leave Collierville without a few of my favorite plants and memories of time spent in my backyard haven.

The two flower pots on my patio represent the start of my Virginia garden, which includes yellow tulips planted last year, miniature daffodils transplanted this spring, a cluster of coreopsis, and a perennial sunflower (left pot), as well as a butterfly bush given to me by my mother planted in the middle of red dianthus (right pot) which are coming up again this year even though the seedlings I bought last year were marked "annual."


Although I will miss working in my Collierville flower bed (shown below) this spring, I look forward to taking my special plantings with me to our new home in Virginia, where I can watch them grow over the summer and remember fondly the years we enjoyed living here.  Only God knows how my garden will grow or what life will bring for us in "the land of the life worth living," but as sure as the sun shines and the rain falls to nourish the earth and cause flowers to bloom, we joyfully embrace the adventure knowing that He will be with us every step of the way.

Our garden in 2013

Copyright © 2014 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Glorious Riches

Most believers have passages of scripture they lean on in tough times.  Perhaps you even have a favorite verse that you claim as your "life verse" because of its impact or the comfort and assurance it brings you.  For me one such verse is Philippians 4:19, "And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus" (NLT).  What are these glorious riches?

Often we think of these glorious riches as God's provision of material resources, particularly when we have a need we cannot meet ourselves.  But God recently showed me that his glorious riches go far beyond the resources of money, time, or material things we need for daily living.  When we pray for grace and peace, a soft word in answer to someone's anger, or the strength to endure the demands of our busy lives, we are in fact praying for God's glorious riches.

The apostle Paul understood this well.  His words from Ephesians 3 are my prayer for you today:  "16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" (NIV).

Copyright © 2014 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Wild Ride on the Pity Party Express

The past several days have been an emotional roller coaster ride for me, a ride I hope not to take again any time soon.  Having ridden the Pity Party Express many times before you would think I'd have sense enough not to board such a turbulent transport.  After all, doesn't life already have enough excitement?

I owe my friends an apology for whining and complaining about being busy and stressed and for having meltdowns a little too often.  Clearly my vision has been distorted (did I just use "clearly" and "distorted" in the same sentence?) because my eyes have turned from the Lord, who has ordained this journey and will supply everything needed to see it through to completion.  Instead of living large with God in charge, I have been living low in "slow mo" with self in control.  No wonder I haven't accomplished anything!

The Lord has reminded me once more that "it's not about you."   Only as I shift my focus back to Him and proceed with a thankful heart rather than a whiny attitude will I move forward in this God-ordained adventure and fulfill the plans He has for me.

If you are in a similar slump let me encourage you to make an appointment with the Great Physician to have your vision checked.  Maybe it's time to take the blinders off and put on a little divine perspective!




Copyright © 2014 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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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!