Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Perfect Portion

The other night I made pancakes for dinner. While I was cooking I noticed that one small drop of batter had fallen into the pan and had cooked up into what looked like a perfect little dime-sized pancake.

I was feeling a little mischievous so I decided to play a joke on one of my kids. Once dinner was ready I, as usual, called everyone to the table to eat. I stacked each person’s plate with 2 or 3 good sized pancakes until I got to my son Andrew. He got the itty bitty one.

I watched and waited for him to loudly protest this obviously unfair treatment. But, instead of getting upset, he simply popped the puny pancake in his mouth and proceeded to take 2 full-sized pancakes from the serving platter and put them on his plate. You see, he knew that his mom wouldn’t have slighted him that way. He was certain that I had no real intent to treat him poorly.

I sure wish I had that same amount of certainty when it appears to my human eyes that God has sent more blessings someone else’s way and I’m in the middle of a struggle. I hate to admit it, but there have been more than a few times that I’ve felt envious of a fellow believer with more money in their bank account, a bigger house or a newer, nicer car than mine. There have also been lots of occasions when I’ve questioned why God would allow one person to endure one crisis after another while others seem to skate through unscathed by life’s difficulties.

But, remember in Matthew when Jesus talks about God’s gifts to His his children? He said:

Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Once again, scripture confirms that God is good, all the time and that his ways are just. In the same way that I would not feed one of my kids a stack of piping hot pancakes and give the other just a crumb, God love for each of us is measured out the same. He pours down his blessings accordingly, giving each of us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pollen Power

The spring of 2010 will go down as a record-breaking year for pollen levels in the Triad.  Remember just a few moths ago the yellow powder that coated EVERYTHING and sent area allergy sufferers into a histamine-induced hysteria?  While pollen has an important role in plant reproduction, it’s also a major cause of seasonal allergies, as evidenced by the sneezing, coughing and itching eyes that everyone seems to suffer from a few times a year. The weird thing is that it’s not really the pollen that causes the problem directly, but the body’s overreaction to the pollen.

It’s hard to believe that such a teeny-tiny thing can cause so many people so much misery! But, when you think about it, it’s often the little things in life that cause us the most stress. Remember the book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all Small Stuff”? In it, the authors contend that most of the things that cause people to be stressed out are really pretty small problems that we blow out of proportion. Unfortunately, like the springtime air in the Triad,  life is full of these tiny irritants. If we aren’t careful, they can build up causing us major stress and unhappiness.

How do we avoid stressing out over life’s day-to-day problems? Richard Carlson, the author of “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” recommends that we focus on serving other people, avoid perfectionism and practice patience. I would also add that regular prayer is an important part of stress management. No problem is too small to take to God. Finally, remember this promise from Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

God Bless You! ;)

Friday, July 9, 2010

What Lies Beneath

Is there anyone who actually enjoys shopping for a new swimsuit?

I usually try to avoid looking in the mirror unless I am fully clothed. However, there are a few times when it’s unavoidable. Like, when I make that much dreaded trip to the store to buy a new swimsuit. There is nothing quite so harmful to a gal’s self esteem than looking at her rear-end in a 3 way mirror. Even the skinny mirrors that department stores use to make you look slimmer can’t disguise the cellulite, stretch marks and other evidence of middle age.

However, I recently saw something in the mirror that I’ve never seen before. There, on my belly, I noticed the very faint outlines of abdominal muscles. I didn’t believe my eyes at first. I’ve never had defined abs…ever. I even made my husband look to confirm what I was seeing. And, while my stomach is still quite far from being the washboard so many of the women in my fitness magazines proudly display, for the first time ever I was able to see the firm and fit lady that hides beneath the several inches of fat that surround her. Seeing her inspires me to continue my efforts to uncover her completely.

I’ve experienced the same kind of thing in my walk with Jesus. As promised, once I became a believer, God gave me the gift of the Holy Spirit, He now dwells within me. 1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us “We are a temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in us.” Unfortunately, kind of like that super-fit lady living within me…He’s not always evident beneath the layers of flesh that surround him. However, as I continue along this journey of faith and as God reveals more of Himself to me, I’m beginning to see more evidence of the Holy Spirit in my life.

I hope you’re as encouraged by this as I am. Just like it takes time to transform a flabby body into a fit one, God’s work in us is also a gradual process. We all have a lot of growing in Christ to do…but it is good to know that the further along this path we go, people will see less of us and more of Him.