Hopelessly Devoted

Thursday brings new thoughts from my devotions this week.

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Today’s devotion challenged the way I look at work. One of the scripture references comes from Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters (NIV).

The phrase that jumped out at me is “with all your heart.” In the myriad of translations, you might read: heartily, willingly, enthusiastically, or with all your soul.

My husband is quite exceptional. I know a lot of wives feel that way, but Nelson knew about my calling before he married me, but nothing could have prepared him for this journey. And I will admit some of my choices have made things considerably more challenging than they needed to be.

One of the most difficult things has been finding meaningful employment that also provides the necessary financial support with each move. I knew I was probably never going to be paid enough to support our family.  I didn’t answer this call thinking it would make me rich in worldly possessions.

Right now Nelson is traveling weekly to the Buffalo/Niagra area to work. That’s about five hours from home. He works long days: 3:00am to 6:00pm. Monday through Friday. And it’s a job he used to do and hated.

So why would he go back to that work? Why would he do leave family and home?

Because God provided.

And because he decided long ago to live his life—which includes his work—for God.

This “with all your heart” is not a mushy, sentimental thing. The apostle Paul is speaking about a matter of will, of choice. Being willing is like in the marriage ceremony when the officiant asks, “Will you take this man/woman?” And the response is “I will.” It’s a choice, a commitment of the will.

So today, will your commitment be to rejoice in your work? Not because it’s your dream job, or you love what you do—but because whether it’s wonderful or drudgery, it’s a gift from God.

May your grind be grand today as you go through it with God.

(And don’t think you’re off the hook just because you’re “retired.” Paul is very clear this is about “whatever your hand finds to do.” Not punching a time clock doesn’t buy you a free pass 😉)

 

 

Nehemiah Devotions Chapter 2, Day 6

Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king.
They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work. (Nehemiah 2:18, NLT)

Nehemiah had been in town for a few days. The people had seen him walk around. Some had probably bent his ear about the deplorable situation.

WP Neh 2-6 God has a plan

And now it was time to let them know what God had in mind.

The response was overwhelming. Vision is contagious. The people were moved and committed.

Nehemiah laid out. He showed them God could be trusted because he is God and he will keep his promises.

It’s time to step up, catch God’s vision, and commit to his plan.

His Word tells us that we will do even greater things than have already been recorded.

What will be your part in rebuilding and building for the Kingdom?

WP Neh 2-6 catch the vision

Meanwhile…While You’re Waiting

It was quiet at the fitness room this morning. I did my workout and was just about to leave when I saw the couple come in. He pushed her in a wheel chair.

This was not the first time I had seen them. Six months earlier I had been visiting my mom and had to use a fitness room on the other side of town while the one close to home was being remodeled. This couple came there to work out too, but she was able to walk in on her own. Her gait was slow and aided by a souped up wheeled walker. Her husband not far from reach.

Husband and wife, in their late eighties, I’m guessing…though people look younger and younger to me all the time. There isn’t an ounce of fat on either of them. I’m sure my wrist is bigger around than his ankle.

He got her settled on a recumbent bike while I was changing my shoes to leave. He disappeared into the bathroom. As I tied my laces I felt a nudge from the Spirit to go and tell the little lady what an inspiration she was to me.

I walked back into the fitness room and found her on her machine. I knelt down beside her.

“Hello, I just wanted to tell you what an inspiration you are to me.” She smiled and looked a bit surprised.

“I come to Green Valley to visit my mom and I was here a while back and saw you working out with your husband. Whenever I feel like giving up or quitting, I close my eyes and I see you and I find the umph to keep going.”

“That’s so sweet. I had no idea.”

“Well that’s why I decided to say something.” Then my eyes began to fill and I felt my throat tightening. “There’s another way you inspire me, too.”

She tilted her head and then reached to lay her hand on my arm. If I hadn’t seen it I wouldn’t have known, her touch was so light.

“The way your husband cares for you is so precious. I close my eyes and see my husband, he’s just as caring, and I feel so blessed.”

“Aren’t you a dear.”

“Well, I don’t know about that, but I do know I wanted to tell you how inspirational you are. Have a blessed day.”

I stood, we exchanged smiles, and I walked away. My eyes full of tears.
I dug a tissue out of my pocket as I got into the car. I could hear my husband’s voice as I pulled out of the lot.

Many times we would have conversations in the car on the home from church or other times with friends, where we would talk about how someone’s song blessed us, or how much someone meant to us. And the listener would always respond with, “So, did you tell them?”

This would always result in a follow up note or call, or in recent years: an email, text, or pm on Facebook.

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When I turned out of the lot I was treated to a magnificent sunrise over the mountains. I pulled over and snapped a picture on my phone.

So many songs of praise began to flood my mind. It was a truly an inspirational moment.

Have you had any moments like that lately?

Is there someone who inspires you?

Have you told them?

While you “wait” this Advent rest assured this is something you don’t have to wait to do. And I think it’s pretty safe to say, hearing these kinds of things will mean a lot to that person.

They may need your words of thanks to encourage and inspire them to keep going to.

Who will you call first?

How Long Does Love Last?

The total number of days between Saturday, February 17th, 1979 and Monday, February 17th, 2014 is 12,784 days.

This is equal to exactly 34 years and 12 months.

This does not include the end date, so it’s accurate if you’re measuring your age in days, or the total days between the start and end date. But if you want the duration of an event that includes both the starting date and the ending date, then it would actually be 12,785 days.

12,784 days is equal to 1826 weeks and 2 days.

The total time span from 1979-02-17 to 2014-02-17 is 306,816 hours.

This is equivalent to 18,408,960 minutes.

You can also convert 12,784 days to 1,104,537,600 seconds.

I have been married more of my life than not.

I don’t think in terms of me, for I am we.

To say that my life has been blessed doesn’t even come close to how I feel. No one thought this marriage would last. No one counted on his fierce loyalty and commitment to commitment…or my keen awareness that while he is not perfect, he is perfect for me.

We have 35 years of memories and few pictures to go along with them. We have punchlines, but don’t remember the jokes. We have favorite places and lots of favorite foods. Two beautiful and amazing daughters and four delightful grandchildren.

And we have hopes and dreams for the future. Plans that include less work, more enjoyment, and a warmer place to call home.

We recognize that each day is a gift.

At the end of our wedding ceremony, we each took a red rose from a vase on the altar table and gave them to our mothers. Then we sang Henry Mancini’s song, “Sometimes.” Actually, I sang because Nelson got pretty choked up. It didn’t sound as good as Julie Andrew, but you’ll get the gist:

Then as now, I am aware that there are many people who have aided us in this journey, cared for us, prayed for us and with us. Thank you. You mean so very much to us.

And now to quote one of my favorite professors, and dear friend, who often quotes Dag Hammarskjold, “For all that has been–Thanks! To all that will be–Yes!” God bless you all.

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