Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ Category

Which Mirror Are You Using?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Mirror, mirror, always in sight—

please confirm that I’m alright.

If there is one item that we all have in abundance—it is the mirror.

We don’t limit our mirrors to glass alone, but purchase glossy plastic for babies, and tiny, shiny, metal circles to keep in our purses.

We check our style in store windows as we walk down a sidewalk, and seek our face amidst the ripples, as we stroll beside a lake.

We create mental imagers from words people say and are subjected to the glaring speculum of unrealistic, media dramatization.

Mirrors are reflections that tell us literally and psychologically a lot about how we see ourselves.

We are obsessed with the mirror. What we really want from the mirror is for it to tell us that we are alright—over and again—as many times as we look. Or at least to never confirm our biggest fear—that something is wrong with us.

We tend to live out our lives as we see ourselves to be.

Be aware that voices around us, the past within us, and our circumstances before us, can reflect a cloudy and distorted view of our true potential.

You need a mirror that gives a clear reflection of who you really are. So invest in good mirrors!

 Accountability partners call you to stick to your goals and a circle of friends assure you that failure is not fatal.

The mirror of God’s Word boosts our confidence by clearly establishing our constant true worth. Inviting God’s presence to live within us allows us to reflect true beauty from our inner souls and to remember and relax in who we are.

You are more than the latest style, the absence of wrinkles in your skin, or every hair in place. You are more profound than size, color, or race.

You are beautiful, loved, and created by God.

If your mirror says differently—invest in a new one!

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

Psalm 139:14 NLT

Crack Petunias

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

The sight of pink blossoms peeking through and around an old iron wheel caused me to pause. The flowers were not planted in fertile soil or growing in expensive pots of clay. Instead, these plants were the product of seeds that had fallen from petunias cascading from a display of hanging baskets. As the seeds fell, the wind gently blew them into a crack in the concrete. The seeds lay in the crack undetected as the gardener watered the petunias above. And when the petunias had drunk their fill, the baskets overflowed and fertilized water dripped into the concrete crack.

crack petunias in wheel (640x360) (450x341)The petunia seed rejoiced by sprouting—expending a portion of its energy in search of the light above and all the while sending roots down deeper than the boundary of concrete.

This crack petunia is every bit as authentic as those hanging in baskets above. Its DNA had just as much life, wonder, and ability inside its seed. It only had to choose to bloom inside the crack of concrete. Today, the plant was blooming in unexpected places, and encouraging me to do the same.

Have you ever fallen through the cracks of life? Are you surrounded—even now—by cold, hard walls of circumstances and challenges?

If so, remember the crack petunia. Seeds of talents are every bit as profound—and teeming with potential—that fall into the cracks as those whose blooms are on display around us. We only need to humble ourselves and allow the seeds of destiny to open up and sprout, and steady our souls by sending our roots deep into the life-giving soil of God’s Word. We can bloom even in the cracks of life.

If you feel you’ve fallen through the cracks and it seems your lot in life could be to live there—choose to bloom in the crack. Choose to live happy even in adverse conditions that you had no part in choosing. God can give you the ability to prosper—right where you are—right now. Rely on God and release your ways to Him. You contain the DNA to grow and bloom wherever you are.

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (II Corinthians 9:8 NIV)

Balance Your Day

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Crashing metal, thudding, and sounds of heavy furniture being slid across a tile floor brought my husband Garry and me out of our chairs and onto our feet. The noise was coming from behind the closed utility door.

With adrenaline pumping we flung the door open to find the clothes washer thrashing about like a monster trying to rid itself of an unpleasant pest.

Garry began talking to the machine, asserting that he had not put in too many jeans to wash effectively in a single load! The moving slowed after he pushed the off button, and he was then able to open the lid and view all those jeans piled up on one side of the tub. There may not have been too many clothes, but they had gotten completely off balance. In the lop-sided condition the tub simply could not take the ‘spin’ cycle.

Our lives can be a lot like my washing machine. We fill each day to the maximum with stuff. When we get overloaded, it’s hard to do a good job. Maybe we have even calculated the day and it looks like the number of things we have scheduled is a do-able amount. But there is still one more important detail that must be considered. That vital aspect is balance.

A friend of mine, who started his own cabinet-making company, found that his greatest challenge was consistently taking a lunch break. Before he owned the company, lunch was an anticipated joy so he easily kept track of time. But when he became the owner, he tried to get ahead by working nonstop all day long. After many hours of not eating, he felt weak and his hands would begin to shake as his blood sugar dropped dangerously low. He learned that to really be successful he would have to work in harmony with his body.

In the same way, if I neglect the spiritual side of my life by going extended periods without praying or reading the Bible, then I will find myself becoming emotionally unstable, as well. And so will you.

We were made to have balance in our spirit, soul, and body—time to work, play, eat, exercise, rest, create, pray, and contemplate. Balance creates order, focus, and boundaries. Balance keeps us from becoming burned out. Balance allows us to refuel and enjoy a greater sense of accomplishment and fulfillment throughout the day. We may not even have too much stuff. We may just need to prioritize and arrange it differently… especially when life goes into a ‘spin’!

Are you out of balance in the spin of a hectic schedule today? If so, then I pray that you would stop and create balance in every area of your life: spirit, soul, and body. May you live a healthy lifestyle and be strong even in old age.

May your day be blessed and your tub in balance!

“One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6 NASB)

Hope is Here!

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

It’s not how hard the work is, or how dreary the circumstances may be that cause one to lose heart, fall into depression, or simply call it quits. In my experiences, I have found that we lose heart in the absence of hope, when there doesn’t appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel, when the outcome is unpredictable, or when there’s no indication that conditions will improve.

In regards to hope, Proverbs 13:12 tells us that delayed hope makes the heart sick. Many sincere Christians feel overlooked, wondering when their difficult season will pass.

This Christmas season, some may find themselves in less-than-perfect situations, wondering where they are going and why they should keep trying.

Hope is the nucleus and foundation of what Christmas is all about. Christmas is about hope to all who need it—hope for imperfect situations, for imperfect people in an imperfect world.

There is hope in life, and there is hope in physical death as we look forward to receiving the fullness of God’s precious promise of eternal life. There is hope for the struggling, and hope for the secure.

We have hope while it is today, and Lord willing, we will have it tomorrow.

Christ Jesus who was born in a manger, lived as the working class, died with criminals, and returned to heaven as the Lord of all! In doing so, He left a gift for us—the gift of hope. He took the weight of humanity’s moral disease and became hope personified to God’s priceless creation.

Because of Jesus, we have a hope that will never fade, and cannot be taken away!

“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 (NIV)

I’ll Never Wash My Hand Again!

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

An usher had just shown me to my seat in the Starlight Theater in Branson, Missouri. It was the opening night of Toy Shoppe. The producer of the musical was country music legend Kenny Rogers. As I waited for the show to begin, I made small talk with two ladies on my row.

One lady seated beside me was overly ecstatic because she had talked her 84 year-old friend Emma into coming with her. Emma looked quite healthy. She was dressed neatly, and had a gorgeous smile. Emma shared with us that after she and her husband celebrated 65 years together, he had passed away. Afterwards, she decided her fun times were over and she would never go out again.

However, tonight, Emma’s friend persuaded her to get out of the house, and here they were! Our conversation was cut short when we were asked, “Excuse me ladies, would you like to move up closer?” Leaning over the seat in front of us, the theater manager offered us seats that were located on one of the first several rows. The seats had been blocked off for Kenny Rogers and the cast members’ families.

We were elated, but as we celebrated our good fortune, another­­­­ usher leaned over our row and said, “Excuse me ladies, but we will need to move you. The family needs these seats.” The theater manager on the opposite side urged us to move out more quickly—offering apologies and free popcorn. We crowded into the aisle and stopped…unsure of what to do next.

Kenny Rogers BransonWhile we fought to maintain our dignity after being asked to get up and move, the unexpected happened. We all looked up to discover we were blocking the aisle for Kenny Rogers himself! Out of our group, I was the first to maneuver out of the aisle. I smiled and slid past Kenny on my way back to our lovely, (now second-rate) row.

I stood and waited for Emma and her friend to take their seats beside me. Emma’s friend consoled us with a reminder of free popcorn. All Emma could say was, “I’ll never wash my hand again!” Kenny Rogers had taken the time to greet Emma, and patted her gently on the arm before going on stage.

As Emma returned with her popcorn during intermission, I couldn’t help but ask “Did you wash your hands before eating your popcorn?” She simply smiled and shook her head “no.” There was a new sparkle in her eye that looked like a fresh hope for living.

I respect Kenny Rogers for his kindness, and I honor the friend who encouraged Emma to take that first step out of the house and attend the event with her.

We can’t all be celebrities, but we can all be encouragers and befriend someone else. Be assured that your acts of kindness will bring new life and fresh hope to someone.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

Moses and the Cat

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Moses and the Cat 40It was almost dark as my car rounded the last curve and its lights shined on the doors of home. I had left before the crack of dawn and was so glad to be back. I was eagerly pushing one foot out of the car by the time the engine quit running, but a sound—more like a cat being tortured than a meow—begged me to stop and help.

It ran to me immediately. White and yellow, hide and hair, stretched over a body of bones with the face of a cat attached. Its mouth was wide open and screeching incessantly. One eye was either matted shut or entirely gone. One thing for sure—it was hungry, alone, and hurting. I could not refuse such desperation! Even my great and notable princess, Amira Cat, who hates all other animals, had softened her heart enough to let this cat approach. I could not do less.

Forgetting how tired I was, I raided the fridge to feed this little one. The not-yet-weaned stray cat meowed and growled as it attempted to gulp milk and devour dry cat food all at the same time. I entered the house an hour later than I had planned, and decided to wait until morning to name the cat just in case it died.

Sometime during the night I was awakened to the sound of rain hitting the bedroom windows. I rushed to the front porch to see if the cat was still there. Not only was it there, but it was alive and bounding towards me—falling all over itself—arms and paws uplifted, and meowing with a scratchy voice. 

I fed it again and rearranged some porch decorations into a makeshift house. A wooden pumpkin became a wall, and a scarecrow pillow from the porch swing became a cuddle buddy.

I decided to name the cat Moses from the story in the Bible. Exodus records the time when a cruel Pharaoh ordered Jewish baby boys to be drowned in the Nile River. During this period of time, a woman named Jocabed gave birth to a baby boy. When she couldn’t keep him hidden, she crafted a tiny boat made out of a basket. Jacobed lowered her baby in the basket and placed it among the reeds of the Nile. That evening, the Pharaoh’s daughter came to the river to bath, and heard a baby crying.  Her heart went out to the child and she ordered her attendants to get the baby out of the water. The Pharoah’s daughter adopted the baby and named him Moses (meaning drawn out of the water). In that moment, Moses went from no Mama, to two Mamas, and in the same fashion, Moses Cat went from being homeless to finding a forever home.

In many ways, my name is also Moses. I have known the love of many friends, and I have a Savior. Like a stray cat, or like a helpless baby destined to die by a million evil foes, Christ helped me. Just like that—from no help to having a constant Helper by my side.

You, too, can have help—there is hope. Call out to your friends and to Christ. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and pray for creative ideas. Like the cat and Jocabed, don’t ever give up; someone’s heart will show you favor. I’m sure one day your name will be Moses and you’ll be drawn out.

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jer 33:3 (NASB)

Update on Moses… only 10 days after rescue!

Look at me Now!

Look at me Now!

Update on Moses Cat: This is Moses Cat 10 days after his rescue from starvation and neglect. He does have an eye. He can now eat without screeching or gulping food and is able to purr. Today–for the very first time–he chased his tail and played like a kitten should. Sometimes it doesn’t take that long to get better…. if you leave the abusive situation behind and get with a safe group who loves you. Just saying. These are facts to remember.

No More Detours

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

The count is definitely in, and everyone I know is glad for the past year to go. I too welcomed a new year because I wanted a fresh start.  But this New Year is now into its second week and life is throwing me some pretty fierce distractions to deal with. I wonder if what I did last week was done any differently than this time last year.

Distractions don’t go away. They must be dealt with. I can’t drive down the main street of our small town or log onto my computer without the possibility of getting sidetracked. But I can become stronger and make wiser choices.

Our paths are strewn not only with distractions but also opportunities. So the question to ask ourselves when things pop into our world is, “Is this a distraction or an opportunity?” When distraction comes and opportunity knocks, we have the power to choose which one to answer and entertain and when to just stay focused on our present path.

If you plan ahead what you would like to accomplish in your day and upcoming year, it will make right choices clearer.

Decide where each new “unexpected” will lead your day. Distracted days add up to months, and soon another year has come and gone. We do have the core strength to do things differently. Be courageous and push pass that first uncomfortable moment of taking charge of your life – choose opportunity over distraction.

Give yourself an internal boost of energy by taking some time upfront to define your goals clearly, rid your path of proven distractions, and quiet your mind each morning.

Know that if you follow distractions, you will take a detour yet again this year.  But if you face the ongoing distractions, choose to stay the course, and keep going forward, you will enjoy great success in the coming year.

“For I can do everything through Christ,* who gives me strength.” James 4:18 NLT

A Fresh Start

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

on the WINGS

uplift for your world

Yesterday, at a get together in our home, after most of the guests had said their goodbyes, we three girls gathered around the bar to chat.  We three girls were those closest to me, one ahead and one following on the road of life – Mom, me, and my daughter.  After sipping yet another flavor of coffee, and tasting just one more bite of cherry pie, we talked about life.  Mom wished she knew what she knew now when she was my daughter’s age.  My daughter thought this wonderful concept could be achieved if mom’s wealth of wisdom was just downloaded to her immediately. It was a great idea of how becoming wise as an elder while still being young, could indeed be accomplished.  We laughed knowing that wisdom principals can be taught, but each person must then know when and how to apply those principals in his/her daily life.  Each path has different twists and turns that have to be personally walked out.

I have sometimes thought that if I could start over I would do things differently.  But after starting over, after many bummer days, I’ve found that it wasn’t just a second chance that was needed, but wisdom. Sometimes the wisdom ingredient to success was additional planning. After not being on time or prepared yet again, it became evident that I must avoid the trap of procrastination on a daily basis, to be wise.

I also had to let go of the myth that today’s fresh-start-path would somehow be easier than yesterday. Sometimes life is hard whatever the path. But hard is not always bad. Sometimes our greatest victories and highest joys are only realized by pushing past our comfort zones.

To totally embrace a fresh start, make peace with things in your past that cannot be relived or redone. Forgive, let go, and untie negative people and circumstances of yesterday.

Write down your goals, dreams, and ambitions and keep them before you. Surround yourself with people you would be happy to become more like.

Today is the day for a fresh start, whether it is your second or hundredth chance to live how you would — if you could — do it over.  Be diligent to live by wisdom principals that will bring the results you want in your life.  Learn something new each day, love well, and enjoy those before, beside, and behind you on the path of life.

Would you like a fresh start in any area of your life?  If so, then I pray today that you will commit to searching for wisdom, going past your comfort zones, and planning ahead.  May the God of all wisdom be your guide as you spend time in reflective silence before Him today.

By Reba Wilson (c)2012

“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” Pro 4:7 NKJV

I need you – you need me – and we all need God

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

In times of trouble, in times of great need, there is but one place where my heart is secure and my thoughts are understood. There is only one power that can quiet my busy mind and soothe my desperate soul.  When my faith is shaken, I must know there is a safe place above — called heaven — where life’s pieces actually come together in a land of perfect peace.

Today, I walk below the celestial sky.  I live on earth’s imperfect soil where both good and bad intermingle along the path.  I seek to connect with the creator of heaven and earth to make sense of the now and receive courage for tomorrow.

I find a refuge — in prayer to the God who understands a language of tears and sighs. I open the Bible and personalize promises that were given to me when I accepted Christ as my Savior…. The Lord is a very present help in my time of need.  Jesus has said that He will never leave me or forsake me.  God will make a way in my every trial so that I will not be crushed entirely beneath the weight of devastation.  When I don’t know what to do, I will ask God for wisdom and the Holy Spirit will give me direction.

Dear friend, if ever I should be too weak to cry out would you please say a prayer – for me.  In the middle of grief and loss each kind word, plate of food, and act of kindness gives me strength to keep on standing.  Please don’t stay away because you don’t have any words to say- for at times the greatest energy came when you said- nothing at all.  What mattered most… was that you were there.

“Amicu certus in re incerta cernitur.” (Quintus Ennius – 3rd Century BC) This quote translates from the Latin as ‘a sure friend is known when in difficulty’.

“Whiskers in August”

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Our friend, Kenyon, is growing a beard! His lip and chin are now covered with short, neat stubble. When asked about the new look, Kenyon said that he was ‘getting ready’ for hunting season.

Getting ready?  Preparing?  Really?  I mean really?  The temperatures have been in the triple digits here for days now. It’s really, really hot- even for Oklahoma summers.  Most of us have been talking, feeling, and focusing on the present as if today was the way it’s always going to be- hot and dry- and always August!

Kenyon knows November is coming. With cool breezes ahead there will be a hunting season. He is preparing- right in the midst of the heat- for days he believes will come!

Tough, uncomfortable seasons plague all of us from time to time. The heat of trial, unfairness of life, and record breaking, heart failing tragedy and questions come our way.  We could be tempted to believe that we will be overwhelmed for the rest of our lives, or that things will always be the way they are today.

But, faith beckons us to us to look forward.

Hope says that change is possible- even sure- in all areas of my life.  Wisdom would tell me to live today with understanding and with an uplifting attitude.  The Love of God builds up my inner core with assurance that I will be ok- no matter what.

Faith sees ahead and prepares. The tell-tale evidence of our faith is in our actions today!

Thank you Kenyon, for whiskers in August!  That you God, for faith to prepare in the heat of today… so I will be ready for the cool promises of tomorrow!