Thursday, February 25, 2016

Trudging through the Muck

Is your yard is a muddy mess this week? Our is! I feel bad for our pets as they travel back and forth across that mess. I don't know about you, but I think I hate mud as much as I love rain.  Especially that red clay gunk, the sound of it trying to suck the boots off my feet is just yuck. Ewww....But will take more than a little mud or a lost boot to keep me from walking in the rain. I love feeling rain on my face, it is so refreshing.

But walking through the back yard this morning reminded me of how at one point in time, my daily life was a lot like trudging through muckAnd trudge through muck I did.

I faced a lot of hardships, pure crap is what I refered to some of it at the time. I knew what it was like to live pay-check-to-pay-check. I knew what it was like to depend upon WIC and food stamps to feed my family; they freed up funds to help me keep a roof over our heads.  I knew what it was like to face bullying, harassment, and oppression...things which could have destroyed my faith in God and in myself. But then there's God...and He has a plan for His kids...and I learned what it feels like to overcome. I learned exactly what Philippians 4:13 means. I learned that life is not fair but doable. I learned that when we look beyond ourselves and Christ-ward, life is joyful. 

+ + +

When you are trudging through the muck, look toward God. Keep your eyes on Him, He will direct your steps and get you out of that mess.  Learn to live above your raising if your young life wasn't all that grand. Grow from those life lessons which you learned so well. Lean on God's provision and grace. If you are wondering what to do while you are trudging through the muck, when your footsteps are slow and laboring...learn to take advantage of the time it offers. Learn to be still before God; to listen for His still small voice.  Proverbs 3:6 reads: "In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." Trust God to pull you through. Keep trudging and when you get to the other side, you will love the view...its His promise.

In Christ with love and compassion - Coach Kelly

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

It was just a piece of cereal...

Psalm 90:12
"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."

I am a grandmother...which, aside from the obvious, basically means I am on the lookout for all things dropped, spilled, or splattered.  It doesn't really matter if I am at home, in a restaurant, or a hospital waiting room, if a little one can use it to make a mess, I tend to spot it. So this cereal thing really grabbed my attention.

This morning, MeMaw and I we were waiting for our mutual grandson to come out of surgery. As we waited, a mom with a toddler started talking to us. I smiled and anticipated what was about to happen as her little one ate dry cereal while entertaining everyone in the room.  As the mom started gathering her things, a piece of chocolate cereal rolled off her lap onto the floor.  We believe she saw it but didn't have enough hands to pick it up, not so for her little one.  With all the grace of a new toddler, he attempted to pick it up but stepped on it instead, smashing it into the carpet...We watched as his mom explained "Yes you did that, and no, you can't eat it now."

I couldn't help but think how typical this is of life's problems. Sometimes they come at us in a neat package so we may think that if we ignore them, they will go away...or if we just leave them alone they will work themselves out. And sometimes this is the case but not all of the time.

Eventually, everyone has something that can become problematic, and I believe that most of the time, these little issues need to be addressed up front; before they explode...just like that single piece of cereal.

You can put your own instances here (like how habitually driving "The Corridor" makes it nearly impossible to drive 55 on Patterson Creek!), but the ones that come to my mind includes that first drink that never ends.  The first overdraft fee that results in hundreds of lost dollars.  The first jab that leads to years of bullying. The missed credit card payment...The gradual weight gain...So many scenarios crossed my mind from just one piece of dropped cereal.

It also goes along with the Song of Solomon 2:15. It is often the little things that we let go that cause us the most problems later on; Solomon referred to them as "The little foxes." If mommy had just picked up the ball of cereal immediately, her son wouldn't have stepped on it; if he hadn't have stepped on it, it wouldn't have broken into multiple crumbs; if he hadn't smashed the crumbs into the carpet, housekeeping wouldn't need to drag out the sweeper...I hope you can visualize the spiraling scene.

There is a similar but positive impact of living life on purpose. By fixing things as they happen. It isn't always easy to pick up that one piece of cereal, to say no, to slow down, to walk away...but in the end, it is a lot easier than trying to pick up crumbs.

In Christ with love and compassion - Coach Kelly

Friday, February 19, 2016

Love without end amen

John 15:13 - "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friend."
Don't you just love this old country song? Back in the day, it was "our song"...before ex- was placed in front of the word husband. For us, it just wasn't meant to be and that's okay. But earlier today I was looking at some Facebook pictures of what I consider "troubled kids" and instead of feeling fear or disgust, I felt sad. For some of them, love ended. Family left them high-and-dry; friends betrayed them; girlfriends cheated, boyfriends punched; and God isn't in their family pictures.
These young men and women are flipping off the camera, beer in hand, cigarettes on the table, and more than likely, drugs in their veins - I am not judging or belittling them, I just know some of their habits...but this isn't about what is on the surface, what they are allowing us to see.
It is about something deeper. That God-shaped hole they are trying to fill with everything else. As some of us know very well, there is a void inside us that only God can fill.  These "kids" only know that they feel empty inside. I want to help them. I want to pray them through. I want for God to protect them and draw them close. I want them to ask Him into their lives and fill up that void.
So at 2AM, I am asking for these things. I am asking God to call our young people out and I am asking y'all to pray for them as well. To see them through the eyes of Christ. When you see them on the street, give them a smile and whisper a prayer, share your hope with the hopeless. Help them to find His love - the only love without end. I ask that you will let God use you, to search your heart and motivate you into action for those lost. I pray that He will open the eyes of your heart to see people, truly see them, and that you will be moved into action through compassion to share His love...
In Christ with love and compassion - Coach Kelly

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Just a little ice

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for YOU declares the Lord..."

I don't like to complain about the weather; that doesn't mean I enjoy it, but since only God controls it...who am I to complain about how He does His job? So like most of my Neighbors here in West Virginia, when I woke up to ice covered everything, I groaned..."Father, I am not complaining...but I will admit that I am ready for SpRiNg. AMEN!"

+ + +

I have a habit of trying to find beauty in most situations, including a West Virginia ice storm. Something my husband loves about me I'm sure, haha....So as he was shoveling our driveway this morning, he saw something he knew would make me drop my writing project and grab my camera.

I followed him outside so he could point out this beautiful red berry bush encapsulated in ice - and I just had to share it with y'all!  Not just because I think the buds look pretty but because it reminded me of  how God works.

As I was snapping the photos, the sun broke through the clouds and before long it's warmth cracked the ice, fully exposing the red buds beauty...the principle is the same as when we let God's love break through whatever has us in its cold grip...

+ + +

Inside each of us is a beautiful person just waiting for a chance to shine through; but the cares of life, or some bad choices, can hold us captive, keeping us from becoming the unique individual God created us to be.  Luckily for us, He can see through us quite clearly. So no matter how hard or cold we appear from the outside in, He knows what lies beneath the surface is beautiful...making Him love us more than we could ever imagine.

+ + +

My prayer is that you will allow God's love to warm you from the inside out, allow Him to set you free from whatever icy grip holds you:  habits, addictions, emotions, past hurts...His love is like the sun, waiting to crack the cold shell holding you back...'cause to Him...Its just a little ice

In Christ with love and compassion,

Coach Kelly

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Just a Distraction

There are so many scary things happening in the world right now.

Some things we have no control over but others we do - you know, the things that we do "accidentally on purpose" but still have a consequence?

As I was praying, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart that some of these things are just distractions.

So I had to ask "Just a distraction? From what?"

His answer:  "From seeking and serving God."  I'm old enough to know that anything keeping us from God comes from the devil so that answer got my attention.  I mean, even though the things I was praying about were hurtful to my family, dealing with life's distractions can take a lot time and energy.

So, after some time, I came away with this thought: If distractions are keeping me from God, its no wonder I feel sick and tired, stressed and grumpy, weak and drained.  I am not getting filled back up; and that reminded me of this:  Once when a family member died, someone told me how "strong" I was and I remember thinking that I don't want to be strong, I want to curl up in a ball and cry. As I was walking down the hospital's corridor, I escaped into a corner and did just that. As I was sobbing just as hard as some of my "not so strong family", I asked God why I could be so strong one moment and like this the next? His response was something like "Right now, you are in your strength...earlier, that strength was from Me."

Life's distractions can keep us from seeking the Holy Spirit's strength by keeping us so preoccupied that we don't have the energy to read our Bible, pray, or simply be still before God and listen for His voice. Distractions come in a lot of forms, but they all take our eyes off Him. They spotlight the current event not considering the future He has planned for us.

I wish I had a cleaver way to end this post; a positive uplifting statement to bring it all home but I don't...I just don't. What I do have is a warning to be aware of the distractions in life that can and will keep you from God's best for your life.

In Christ with love and compassion,

Coach Kelly

He knows the Stars by Name

Photo Credit: Dolly Sods Facebook Group - Unknown Hey y’all.       After journaling morning prayers and reading a devotion, Psalm 147:4 ca...