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Archive for the ‘Christian life’ Category

Be Still and Know

When they were little, they sapped my energy levels physically and verbally. Now that they are not so little, they can leave me breathless and drained with their emotions.

In dealing with  a teenager’s sadness, I take on that sadness, all the while pleading for God to give me the wisdom and words to give to that child. Give me the words to encourage, YOUR words that have power to comfort and heal. In dealing with a teenager’s nervousness and anxiety, I feel the anxiety, the fear. I pray for God to give me words of love to guide. Give me words to calm the heart, YOUR words that have power to penetrate the soul. And He does give me those words. I speak them, I text them, I pray them. And I hope that peace will envelope my teenagers’ hearts.

be anxious

the lord is good

But what I find is that my heart is actually wanting God to fix it all, right now! There is impatience in my pleading for God’s words of comfort. What I really desire is for the trial to be over, for the pain to be wiped away, for happiness to be restored immediately. I have absorbed their anxiety, fear, sadness and anger, and it feels overwhelming.

affliction

And I realized that what I need is to be still and know that God is God. To trust. And that is what my teenagers need as well. He will give the heart peace and comfort in the midst of the storm, even though the storm may rage awhile longer.

be still

 

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20 years

Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Whitten

A look at 20 years of marriage!! Made up of ingredients of laughter and tears, blissful joy and sorrow, selfishness and giving, love and hate (at times if we are truthful); all bound up in a dependence on God to mold us into him image, causing us to love like he loves, and to give like he gives. We still have many rough edges but God has been gracious in showing us our faults and giving us a heart of repentance.

 

on our way

On our way!

hiking

Honeymoon – hiking in North Carolina

beach

Honeymoon – Kitty Hawk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

traveling

Honeymoon – We traveled from Mississippi to North Carolina to Virginia and D.C. and back again.

chrysler

Then we were on our way to Texas.

111 central ave

After 18 months in Texas we moved to Greenville, South Carolina – the best place on earth.

14 langley dr

We bought our first house!

new baby

And… eventually brought home our first born.

Just a short 21 months later, we brought home our second born.

Just a short 21 months later, we brought home our second born.

We eventually added onto our little house.

We eventually added onto our little house.

The house grew and the kids grew.

The house grew and the kids grew.

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We have enjoyed many friends’ and family weddings throughout the years. It’s always a reminder of our own commitment to one another.

christmas tree and family pics 014 bw

family photo copy

My precious family!

Daniel and Karen horsepature river trail 2

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family 2 copy

My Love!

My Love! Lets make it another 20 plus years!

 

 

 

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I don’t remember ever losing sleep or being so disturbed over a “study” before. So let me share it with you. (I read about this in the book called Quiet.)

Apparently a man named, Solomon Asch, conducted experiments regarding group influence between 1951 and 1956. In his study he gave a test to a group of people asking questions about their perception of pictures of lines. Easily 95% of the folks answered all the questions correctly individually. Then he planted people in the group to throw out the same incorrect answers. When that was done, only 25% of the people answered all correctly. A whopping 75% of the group went along with the wrong answer to at least one question. Why??? Why would people who can think, who know their right from their left, who have all their senses choose obvious wrong answers?

Well, for years they didn’t know the Why. Then a neuroscientist, Gregory Berns, did another similar study. On their own, individuals answered only 13.8% wrong answers, but when answering as a group, they agreed with the wrong answers 41% of the time. But Berns also wanted to know why people so easily conformed. Using an fMRI scanner he found that people’s actual perception of the problem was changed by the group. They just didn’t say to themselves, “I’m just going to go with the flow even though I know it’s wrong.” Their belief in what they saw changed! That is just amazing and frightening to me.

So I’ve been thinking, this is how all the the atrocities in history happened and continue to happen. The crucifixion of Jesus, the witch trials, the Holocaust, and so on. What is so clearly wrong is thought right.

We probably think we are above believing it is okay to kill innocent people, but our minds are altered by our culture nonetheless and the innocent still die. People are swept away by what our culture says is right, what is cool, what is smart. We don’t seem to have a foundation anymore. Even Christians are putting aside what the Bible clearly states as wrong and deciding that there are exceptions. Homosexuality is condemned in the Bible and because a person’s daughter or son is homosexual, their perception of it changes. “It’s okay. Maybe it was wrong then but not now.” The Bible says God created the world and made man in his image. Yet, we dismiss this by entertaining ideas and theories contrary to God’s word because it seems smarter to us. Life is precious and to be protected, but if it is inconvenient then our law says it is okay to get rid of it.

sheep-with-shepherd-1

We think we are progressing in our thoughts, we are cool, we are more enlightened than our grand parents, but we are a group of lost sheep, following  what could cost us our soul and our lives. We must choose the right answers despite the group and despite the pain. But I wonder if we know what the right answers are. Has our perception so altered that we can’t see what is right? The Bible says men will call evil good, and good evil. And that’s is where we are. Seems hopeless.

But thankfully it is not because we have a God who loves us, who calls us to repentance, who covers our sin by his son’s sacrifice and makes us his children. My prayer is that God will open our eyes to our wrongs and give us courage to do and believe what is right and good.

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“Do you believe God loves you?” The question my dear husband asked meImage one night.

“Not always.” I responded sadly knowing that unbelief is just another of my failings.  You see I struggle with doubts.  I know I’m not worthy to be loved, to be a child of God, to have my sins forgiven, to have an eternal inheritance, to be able to come before a holy God.  It’s just too much to comprehend at times and doesn’t make since to my muddled mind. I sometimes think I need to DO something so that I might find favor with God. I at least I need to quit failing every day. Don’t I need to work hard for His love? But I can’t, it seems; because I flounder, fail, and fall. So, I wonder, I doubt, I feel despair.

He loves me. He loves me not….

Yet, I do believe because God is unchangeable unlike me. He is true. He loves. He is full of compassion. He did what I couldn’t do.  He does not fail or flounder. He is all that I am not.  But why is God mindful of me?  Why does he set His affection on me? I really don’t know, but I am so thankful that He has and does love me. Holding onto the truth is all I can do when my sin stands up and mocks me. Holding onto the truth is how joy comes in the morning after a night’s weeping.  Holding onto the truth is what keeps me on my knees before my God who does love me and forgives me and calls me His child. And I say just as one tearful father long ago said, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!

“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope: Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3: 21-23

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Today did not start our very promising.  I woke up with the same headache that plagued me the day before.  The gray skies were not very welcoming either.  I headed out to run anyway in the misty rain.  After about a quarter mile, I decided to head home, but not until I reached the half mile mark.  When I got to the half mile mark, I decided to keep going but to turn back if the throb in my head worsened at all.  Well, I ended up doing my whole run and when I got back home, I had completely forgotten how horribly I had felt on getting out of bed.  I went about the day oblivious to the relief and forgot to be thankful.  How often does that happen?  How often do I receive mercy and relief and not even realize it?

So, this afternoon I stopped, had a second cup of coffee (because that is okay to do when it is raining outside, you know), and ate some ginger cookies, and thought about the unacknowledged blessings God pours out on me. I know that it really is the little things and the things we take for granted that are the great blessings.  Health, family, hot water 🙂 But, instead of looking at these things and realizing their great abundance, my mind is usually engaged with what I don’t have and full of worry about life in general. That is such a waste, isn’t it!  I hope to do better.

Ye fearful saints fresh courage take,

The clouds you so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break,

With blessings on your head.
William Cowper

I loved my run in the rain, by the way.  Very refreshing!  And I am so thankful to be able to run.  My feet are healing, though still painful at times.

So, sit down with an extra cup of coffee and some cookies and count your blessings.

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