Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Little Bit Goes a Long Way

No matter how much or how little sleep I get at night I find myself tired at odd times throughout the day. These occurrences of fatigue have very little to do with the quality of the sleep I get; rather, they have everything to do with the frame of mind I happen to be in.

Case in point -- I can be sleep-deprived the night before a vacation yet get on the road and travel twelve or thirteen hours to get to my destination without ever getting sleepy.  The excitement of the adventure causes an adrenaline rush that allows me to push through the exhaustion I should feel. Or I can be out with friends feeling energized by their fellowship only to come home and be hit by a sudden wave of fatigue as I walk through the front door to the reality of family life.  Not saying my family stresses me out all the time but we are human and tend to get sideways with one another from time to time.

So what is the answer?  How do we combat the fatigue of battle (we're all in a battle of some sort) without losing the strength or will to fight?  I have to admit that sometimes I am overwhelmed by everything and desire nothing more than to cave in to the comfort of my bed or retreat to a corner of the house where no one can trample on my hurting heart.  Don't you feel that way, too?

Certainly if I am physically tired I will take a nap so I can function better.  But if I realize that my fatigue is emotional or spiritual I run as fast as I can to a quiet place where I can pour out my heart to the Lord. However, running to him isn't enough.  It is only when I begin to thank him for my blessings and yes, for the trials that send me rushing into his arms, that the mantle of heaviness begins to lift from my shoulders and rest upon his.

I don't know what despair you face today but I do know that a thankful heart does wonders in my fight to defeat discouragement and re-energize me when I feel exhausted.  If all your talks with God seem to fall on deaf ears try seasoning them with a little more thanksgiving.  The aroma of praise is not only irresistible to our Lord but also a key ingredient in the recipe for a joyful life that glorifies him. Just a little bit goes a long way.

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NASB).



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!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Glorious Unfolding

I'm pregnant -- with expectation, that is.  (Had some of you worried, didn't I?) Take a breath while I explain.

In January my world turned upside down, but in a good way.  Steve was downsized as a result of a bank merger and God saw fit to open an employment opportunity in Virginia, closing all other doors for employment in Tennessee.  In twelve short days from the day his offer was received, my husband moved.  Less than six weeks later my father-in-law went to be with Jesus following a short illness.  And three months later, the rest of our family, including my mother-in-law, moved to Virginia. It was a crazy, crazy time for our family.

As I sit here reflecting on all that has transpired and all that didn't go according to my plans as far as my ministry is concerned, I realize that God is working out things I cannot even begin to imagine. More than once today I have been led to 1 Corinthians 2:9 --“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "The Glorious Unfolding," is playing in an unending loop in my mind.  And you know what?  I couldn't be more excited about this season in my life, as uncertain and untidy as it is!  In spite of all the unanswered questions, unending searches, and endless possibilities, this I know:  What I don't see, God does.  What I don't understand is completely clear to him.  No matter where he takes me -- the highest mountaintop or the lowest valley -- he will be there to guide me every step of the way.

Maybe you are in a season of life where you don't know which end is up.  You are discouraged, as I have been, that things didn't turn out quite the way you expected.  Maybe you are in the middle of a trial for which there seems to be no purpose but your own pain.  Don't lose heart!  "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Click here for the lyrics to "The Glorious Unfolding" and here to listen to this encouraging song.


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!

Monday, July 21, 2014

God's Significant Other

While waiting on calls from potential employers I have anticipated job interview questions in my mind even before they are asked.  "What makes you a good candidate for this job?  What motivates you?  Why should I hire you?"

We have all had to answer questions of that type at one time or another.  Maybe not to get a job, but certainly as we have journeyed through this adventure called life. What motivates you to do the things you do or work as hard as you work?  I would have to say that I am driven by the need to make a significant contribution to my employer and a difference in the lives of the people I meet.  I want what I do and who I am to matter, significantly.

Whether or not we feel like our presence on this planet makes a difference to anyone else, we need to be reminded--or perhaps hear for the first time--that we are significant to God. Regardless of whether we are married, widowed, divorced, or single, as children of God we are his "significant other."  In case you question your significance in his eyes, consider that:

He created you in his image! (Genesis 1:27)
He has engraved you on the palms of his hands. (Isaiah 49:16)
He loves you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 32:3)
He holds your tears in a bottle. (Psalm 56:8)
He has promised to never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
He has declared himself to be your peace. (Ephesians 2:14)
He died a grueling death on the cross in your place for your sins so that you could spend eternity with him! (John 3:16)

There is indisputable evidence all through scripture that God loves you and you matter to him.  Next time you doubt that, take a look in the mirror and you will see God's significant other.




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!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Dog and the Frog

My favorite thing about our move to Virginia has been watching nature in all its forms.  Recently I ran across my binoculars in one of our unpacked boxes.  Needless to say, I have carried them with me everywhere.

Binoculars were of no use one night, however, when I was bird and bat watching on the deck.  Madison, who had been outside with me for awhile (she always comes clawing at the sliding glass door when she wants to join me), was standing at the back door looking in and waiting ever so patiently for me to open the door so she could join the rest of our pack, who were inside watching some show on cable.  Their idea of watching nature is tuning into Animal Planet.  I remained outside a while longer waiting for stars to appear.

When I got ready to go inside I turned around and noticed a tiny little frog sitting in the same posture as Madison had earlier -- on haunches (I don't suppose frogs sit any other way) on the door frame with its nose pressed against the glass.  It was if he were saying, "Hey, look at me!  Here I am!  I want to come in and watch TV too!"  "Little buddy, I wish you could come inside but my species doesn't take kindly to critters running and hopping loose in the house!  Especially the dog!"

What I would give to have had my camera to take a picture of the frog at the door.  That's a pose the dog strikes often -- side-by-side the photos would have been precious!


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!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Grace, Grace, Grace

If there is one word that keeps cropping up everywhere I look, in nearly every devotional I read and every sermon I hear, it is the word "grace."  That is probably because God knows it is the character trait most lacking in my life these days and the one I most need to exercise when it comes to the people closest to me. Isn't it often our own families who try our patience, push our buttons, and bring out the worst in us?  Yet they are the ones in most need of our grace and love.

Exercising grace isn't easy.  In fact, apart from the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, it is virtually impossible to do.  Yet the dividends of extending grace to those we feel least deserve it, benefit not only them but us.  Loving others just as they are frees us from anger and self-condemnation and opens the door for God to develop them into the adults he wants them to be.  We cannot make that happen by pushing, cajoling, coercing, or threatening them; but God can work wonders in their lives as we allow him to pour his love into them through us.

Oh, it's so hard!  It is hard to trust God to accomplish what we cannot:  to change and somehow incline their hearts toward him.  When I look at my own life, I can see that is exactly what he did for me!  During a lengthy season of rebellion my mother prayed for me but rarely interjected her opinions or convictions.  She simply loved me and left the job of changing me to the only One who could turn my life around.

My goal as a wife and mother is to simply love the members of my household and be the authentic Christian the Lord wants me to be.  It is not a matter of persuading them to change, but allowing God to change me.

Lord, thank you for your amazing grace.  Keep reminding me over and over of that word until I truly understand and live as a reflection of your grace.




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!

Friday, July 11, 2014

In ( ??? ) We Trust

What if there was no God in whom to place our trust?  What if life and the responsibility to make it work were left up to us? What if there were no miracles, no divine intervention, no hope?

Instead of placing our trust in an "immortal, invisible God" and the promises of his Word, many of us put our faith in only what we can see or control.  When it comes to finances we max out our credit cards, robbing Peter to pay Paul when there isn't enough money in the bank to pay our bills.  In Visa we trust, not God.  God's Word teaches us how we should steward that which he entrusts to our care, but we live instead as though we own it all.  Before long those things we possess, possess us.

With regard to parenting, we forget that God himself is a loving Father who disciplines his children and hurts when we disobey him.  Often we condemn ourselves when our prodigals experience trouble as a result of their own choices. We fret over their failure to know God as we know him and to live in peace despite the constant pressures they face.  We cannot make them choose godliness over worldliness; it is the Holy Spirit's job to convict them of their sin and misdeeds.  But we are accountable for the example we set for them.  We must walk in obedience to God's Word and trust him to accomplish in their lives what we cannot:  their salvation.  It is not a bad thing to desire success and responsibility for our children, but often we are so busy trying to fix them that we forget that God, who created them in the first place, loves them even more than we do!  Can we trust him with our children?

I don't know about you, but I am tired of trusting in the externals rather than the eternal God who is able to do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine.  I am tired of attempting to control the uncontrollable, knowing that I not only fail miserably at it but hinder the blessings of God in the process.

In what areas of life are you challenged to trust God more? When will we learn that God is worthy of our trust because he loves us and is faithful to his Word?






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!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hayes Home Tour

Now that the boxes have been unpacked and photos have been hung on the wall I thought I'd post a few pictures of our humble abode for those who've not yet had a sneak peak on Facebook.  Not pictured are the kids' bedrooms and the garage, which doubles as a laundry room.   We are so thankful for our little house in Hayes, the washer/dryer that were given to us, and all the ways God has revealed himself on this journey.  Thank you for your continued prayers as we continue to settle in, hunt for jobs (Chris and I), and search for a church home.  We continue to seek the glorious unfolding of God's will and give him all the glory!

Our little house, tucked away in a quiet neighborhood with one of the only paved driveways on the street!


Easter lilies along the front porch. I have trimmed the shrubs and weeded this bed since this picture was taken so it looks even nicer now.  Lilies of all kinds are very popular around here.  Next year I hope to have more!


My little container garden on the deck, made using some plastic bowls my mom gave me.  When I unpacked my kitchen I decided not to put the bowls, which I hardly used, in the cabinets but rather use them as flower planters since I had nothing growing in the back yard and hardly any money to put in a flower bed.  Looking forward to more flowers next year!

Hydrangeas outside our bedroom window.  I didn't discover these until days after we moved in.

Welcome to our home!  Our living room is smaller than the family room in our old house but I love it so much more!  No more dark paneling to make the room dreary.  This has lovely windows across the front as well as a porch I can actually use!

Steve moved in a month before we did and wasted no time hanging his Star Wars magazine covers over the hearth and displaying his Darth Vader collection on the mantle.  I didn't have the heart to make him take them down.
Another view of the family room taken from the dining area looking toward the front door.  Cover on the La-Z-Boy is to protect it from the dog and make it cozy for me when I have my morning coffee.

A cabinet from Steve's parents' home which now serves to display my grandfather's Norman Rockwell plates and a few of my teapots.  I didn't have a place to display either in our previous home and am especially glad to enjoy them now.

The three antique marble-top tables in this photo belonged to my grandparents and were tucked in the living room of our other house.  We hardly used that room so I was never really able to enjoy them.  They work nicely in our new home.

"In my own little corner, in my own little chair..."  This is my La-Z-Boy, the place where I have coffee and meet with the Lord to begin each new day and occasionally write a blog post.  This remains the best seat...and sometimes the best bed...in the house!

Our dining area as seen from the kitchen.  On the wall is a painting of a fox squirrel given to me long before I married.  Hidden behind a door in our other house, it has now found a prominent place on the wall where I can finally enjoy it.  I love squirrels!

Our kitchen as seen from the dining area.  Not visible is the pantry, the first I've had in 27 years of marriage!



Our bedroom/my office = my sanctuary when I need a quiet place to ponder. 

My "corner office" -- the place where I write, pay bills, and stay connected.


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!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Loving Laundry

Call me nuts but today I am thrilled to be doing laundry.   I know -- it doesn't take much to entertain me, right?  Odd as it sounds, the chore of cleaning clothes has taken on new meaning for me since moving here.

We knew that it would be prudent to leave behind the old washer and dryer we had in Tennessee, even though the new rental house had every appliance but a washer and dryer.  We knew that until such time as God provided new appliances we could manage the chore of doing laundry by visiting the local laundromat.  With every dollar I painfully pumped into the laundromat's machines I developed an appreciation and longing for the convenience of having my own machines at home.

On my first visit to the laundromat I hoped to journal or balance my checkbook.  Instead I found myself trapped in uncomfortable conversations I didn't want to have with people I didn't even know.  On my second visit my mind began to turn like the drums in the dryers pictured here.   It occurred to me that sometimes my life resembles a load of laundry spinning out of control.   Juggling the tasks of unpacking, keeping my kids from going stir crazy, and trying to function normally in a chaotic environment has at times been overwhelming.

As I folded our laundry I prayed for a lot of things:  my son's search for employment, friends for my daughter, a church home, and order to be restored as we continued unpacking and settling in.  I also prayed shamelessly for a washer and dryer, which God graciously provided through a family friend despite my weak faith and determination to solve our dilemma by placing a $1400 order with Best Buy.  I left the store with believer's remorse knowing that once more I had put my faith in plastic rather than in my Provider.  But God was gracious and provided a pair of used machines, making it possible to cancel the order I should not have made in the first place.

Now as I wander back and forth to the garage to do laundry in machines that were given to us, I am reminded of God's faithfulness and provision.  God knew our need and had the solution worked out long before I ever walked through the door of Best Buy.  I know there will be times (as there have already been) when I will fret about how we will make it to the next pay day or find the resources to take care of unexpected expenses like sick kids and broken down cars.  But one glance at my washer and dryer will remind me that God is indeed trustworthy and able to do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine -- if I will trust him!


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!