Tag Archives: Hope

The God of Second Chances

Have you ever had the opportunity for a second chance in life?  The old saying goes, “you never have a second chance to give a good first impression”; but we are also taught to go that extra mile and give others an opportunity to prove themselves.  Many times in a young child’s life, perception IS reality; and part of that perception involves a type of judgment.  Isn’t it interesting how we judge people at times?  Instantly, perhaps harshly, and without merit, we analyze someone’s physical attributes, mannerisms, and verbal signatures; after which we mentally determine whether we want another encounter with the subject of observation.  I guess we grandkids were no different in that respect…for we all agreed that our grandpa was mean!

Grandpa Phillips was an intimidating looking old man with skeletal like facial features and a shock of snow white hair on top of that skeleton head.  Earlier in life, perhaps at a low point, our grandpa attempted to take his own life.  Some would call it a twist of fate and others, a brush of an angel’s wing, but our grandpa missed his mark and blew his left arm off instead.  That absence of an arm in an empty sleeve, tucked into his trousers completed the total ”evil scarecrow” appearance.

Grandma and Grandpa Phillips lived in a small hamlet called Doanville, just outside of our hometown of Nelsonville in Ohio.  Driving up to their house, I always got butterflies in my stomach and a sense of dread enveloped me.  Their small, white house was nestled behind two gigantic pines, standing tall and majestic like two forest green soldiers standing at attention.  The walkway led beyond the gate and between the two towering trees.  The wind, whistling through the massive evergreens, gave an even more ominous feeling as we approached the dark, dank abode.

Grandpa Phillips was the “watcher” of their front porch when family came to visit.  He seemed to delight in brandishing his belt or razor strap, threatening the visiting little yard apes from climbing the expansive banisters, which made the temptation to mount the white, wooden steed just a little more appealing.

Mom would tell us from time to time that grandpa wasn’t always like that.  She had fond memories of her dad reading her bedtime stories at night.  The only stories I could envision were grotesque fairy tales where wart laden witches devoured innocent little children, lost in the wood…

However, somewhere along the line in grandpa’s life, something had definitely changed.  I didn’t know the details, only that grandpa had accepted Jesus into his life.  He asked my dad if he could pick up grandma and him for church sometimes at the Church of the Nazarene on Adams St.  They both sat toward the front of the sanctuary and I remember a bright smile on grandpa’s face during the service.  My perception of grandpa certainly changed as he himself was changing from week to week.  John Edward Phillips had been given a second chance at life after his botched attempt at taking his own and now, his entire life had eternally changed as he fully embraced his new life in Christ.  I remember going Christmas caroling with our church in 1970 at their house.  Both of my grandparent’s faces were just beaming as they listened to our less than perfect voices belting out carol after carol.  Grandpa passed away on the same day we celebrate Christ’s birth each year, December 25th of 1970.

There are many examples of God giving second chances in the bible.  Jonah’s disobedience to God resulted in Jonah being swallowed by a huge fish where he literally spent three days and nights in the stench of his own poor decision.  But God gave him an out, being thrown up by the fish so he could be submissive to God and preach to the people of Nineveh, giving them a chance to turn from their evil ways.  God agreed with Abraham to spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah from total destruction if only ten righteous men could be found in the cities.  Saul, the great persecutor of the Christians in the New Testament was literally stopped in his tracks by God using a bright light that temporarily blinded him and got his attention to the point of conversion.  Saul of Tarsus became the Apostle Paul, the great evangelist.

We’ve all been given second chances in life, regardless of circumstance.  I guess we could say we’ve been given many chances in our lifetime!   They may not have been as dramatic as a near fatal accident and it could have been something as simple as the act of forgiving someone or perhaps the restoration of trust.  Regardless of the situation in life, God does not give up on us.  He went as far as sending His son to the cross for our sins, so we could indeed be reconciled back to Him and not have to face eternal separation from God.  Talk about going the extra mile!  That’s the ultimate love in action, pure and simple…

I have always heard that somewhere buried along the fence line of the Greenlawn cemetery, lays my grandpa’s left arm.  But I am very confident that his soul is rejoicing right this moment as he worships our God of second chances.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

The Grateful Dead

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When I was growing up, our family would sometimes take a Sunday drive in the afternoon, either to visit relatives or just for fun.  The two older siblings would share the back seat and I, being the youngest, would sit on the floor board on either side of “the hump”.  While driving around, we would pass several familiar sites including cemeteries.  Invariably, one of us would smugly state, “people are just dying to get in there!” followed by an instant head turn from mom, a disapproving glare followed by a chiding comment of how we shouldn’t disrespect the dead.  All the while, we siblings would respond with satisfied smiles and quiet giggles.

As I look back, that comment seemed so funny at the time but certainly less so as I get older.  For in youth, a day seems like an eternity but as the stark reality of midlife adulthood creeps in, you begin to experience the sting of death as you lose loved ones and soon acknowledge that your own life is but a mere vapor in the wind.   Sounds pretty morbid, huh?  Well, it depends on your perspective.

You see, there are many differing views about death and if there is “life on the other side”.  Some believe there is simply nothing after death, the light switch is merely set to the “off” position and you become a buffet for all sorts of creepy crawlers.  If that was the case, I guess I would have an epitaph that reads, “I was serious about life but now I’m just a fungi”…Others believe that you are reincarnated as another creature or human depending on how good or bad you were in your previous life.  I guess if you came back as a dung beetle, you could easily figure out why…Still others believe they will be rewarded in paradise by what they did on earth; their reward being measured by the number of virgins they receive in paradise based on how much they pleased their God.  I wonder if their hell was also based on something similar but they quickly ran out of virgins and would have to support all of them for eternity…

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to make light of death as much as bring a different perspective to light.  Death is part of life; “From ashes to ashes, dust to dust; we came from the earth and to return we must”.  We mourn those we have lost because we miss them terribly; there is a huge gaping hole left in our heart that only God can heal.  But for the followers of Christ, there is a hope that extends beyond the grave.  John 3:16 (NIV) states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 14:2-3 (NIV) reflects, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?   And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  If I truly trust God’s word in its’ entirety, then there really is a concrete hope that we can hold on to, not only that we will see our loved ones again that trusted in Jesus, but we will live eternally with Christ!

And so we hold on to that very hope and truth as we go about our day to day lives; knowing that it is not about when or how we die but actually how we live and Who we live for in this life that makes an eternal difference in the next.  That’s why it is so vitally important that we know the One who created us, who loves us more than we could ever imagine; being a living testimony of Christ in us until the day comes when we take our last breath.  I will then be in peace and at peace, one of the grateful dead.  For having lived and being loved in life, I must then await my final judgment but knowing I have an advocate with my Father.

My only hesitancy in death is leaving my loved ones in pain and grief.  For as I know from pain filled experience, there is a peace to know your loved one is with the Lord but we humans have to deal with the emotional fall out of their passing and the huge void left in their place.  But be comforted in the fact that we can be united once again.  I Thessalonians 4:16-17 reads, For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.   After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”  When Christ returns, I can’t wait to be caught up with everyone else for that great reunion.  I bet I won’t even have that fear of heights anymore.  I’ll just be eternally grateful for the grace given to a wretch like me.

Frozen

frozenA few weeks ago, the beautiful rolling hills of the North Carolina foothills were blessed with snow.  Not the two to four inches predicted by our spot on Meteorologists, but eight wonderfully fluffy fun filled inches of the white stuff.  And while some folks probably spit from utter frustration, the fact that it was a Saturday and we hadn’t seen the frozen crystals in a while made for some authentic excitement.

So what did we do in response to our icy gift?  I had always been taught work before play so we got out the snow shovels and went about carving paths through the driveway until we had the pavement cleared enough for the sun to take over.  Next was fun time!

Our daughter and son-in-law had taken our granddaughter to “reintroduce” her to the frozen fun. None of us had sleds so I pulled out a boogie board from the garage as a makeshift sled.  We proceeded to pull little Crystal up and down their driveway.  Meanwhile, Grandma got momentarily blessed with a spark of childhood and fell backwards into the snow, making inanimate snow angels in the yard.  During this flurry of activity, the cell phones were out in number, recording these events.  I had my phone camera at the ready as well and was capturing different snow scenes when I snapped the one reflected above.

The snow laden statue in its’ current state seemed too familiar.  Of course this WAS our statue, named after our daughter, Alison, in our own yard, but there was something else.  I’ve seen people throughout the years look exactly like this and I have experienced it myself.  But it wasn’t snow weighing heavy upon their shoulders; it was layers of burdens.  For just like that statue, sometimes we get so “snowed under” with the very burdens of life, we are frozen in place from fear, grief, pain, worry, doubt, addictions, sin and/or despair.  And just like that statue, sometimes we allow the burdens to become so great and we get buried under to the point of not being about to see clearly or hear distinctly.

Of course our mouth is still unhindered and we find ourselves uttering all kinds of cursing and exclamations as we furiously shake our fists at the sky and declare, “I didn’t deserve this!”  “Why me Lord?” “Why am I being tested like this?” “Why did God allow this to happen to such a nice person?”  I’m afraid I am short on answers but here’s a question for you…why not?  If you are human (and I bet every one of you reading this actually is), you WILL have a mixed nut variety of good times and bad times that stirred together, add up to…well…life.

God didn’t promise anyone an easy life or even another hour; He only promised that He would be there with us in the midst of the good times AND the bad times.  I think the following may sound familiar to most of you:  The 23rd Psalm (NIV) says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Somewhere along the lines, I think we may have forgotten that God truly is our heavenly Father and we need to lean on Him totally, giving all of our burdens to Him and trusting that He is ALWAYS looking out for our good, not for our wants necessarily but our needs.  Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) reflects, “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

When we truly give our burdens to God, you can practically feel the weight lifted from your shoulders.  Relief melts away the fear and dread of our burdens as we allow Him winter-sunto put life back into its’ proper perspective.  There’s an old hymn chorus that reads, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” (Trust and Obey by John H. Sammis, 1887) One of the verses says, “Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, but His smile quickly drives it away; not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear, can abide while we trust and obey.  Such truth in this refrain!  For even when the storm clouds of life seem to linger, we know the sun is still shining and burns away the doubt clouds of our hearts.

So the next time you get hit alongside of your head with a snowstorm of worries and you find your joints beginning to cease up from fear, just remember that God is as close as your next heartbeat and the whispered plea from a sincere soul.  He can melt your doubts and give you direction as long as you trust…and obey…

alison-no-snow

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Ephesians 3:16-18 (NLT)

“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 20:20 (NLT)

A Little Bummed in Bethlehem

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As Christmas once again approaches, you can almost feel the anticipation in the air along with perhaps panic, dread and impending doom on the part of those last minute procrastinators.  It is the time of year when the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the holiday beckon you once again to experience Christmases past.  For lying dormant in the souls of adults is their inner child anxious to burst forth and once more relive the Christmas magic of their childhood, even if some of the memories were less than memorable.

When I was very young, my family lived in an old clapboard house, the back of which faced the massive black railroad trestle that spanned the Hocking River which we lovingly called the “Black Bridge”.  The house was small for a family of seven and had no running water.  One coal stove sat in the middle of the living room and served as the heating source for the entire structure, even though it more than fell short to heat the “boy’s room”.  Every year a few weeks before Christmas, our mom would ask her kids to write a letter to Santa and list what we would like for Christmas.  Being the youngest of six children, I would need assistance in drafting this “special” letter.  After our letters were complete, we would put the “messages of hope” into the coal stove so that the smoke and sparks would lift the special delivery upwards and straight to the North Pole…at least that’s what our Mom and older siblings would tell us.  We knew the true meaning of Christmas was the birth of the Christ child but Santa had to be real too…right?

One year, my sister Jennifer and I had finished making our lists and had just tossed them in our version of Santa’s mailbox when Jennifer exclaimed, “They’re just burning up!!  They aren’t going to Santa!  There’s no such thing as Santa Claus!!”  I sheepishly looked around the room as the others tried to assure my bratty bigger sister that there really WAS a Santa Claus; meanwhile, a sinking feeling hit the pit of my stomach as the possible realization set in…bummer.  I found out later that Santa indeed had a distribution center in town at Maurer’s Five and Dime; Mom would go there every week to give them a little money to secure our gifts and make sure Santa still brought our toys…sounded like extortion but I played along…

Fast forward just a few years and we had really moved up in the world.  When I was around eight, my parents bought a house that actually had running water and flushable toilets!  There were three of us kids left at home and our Christmas traditions continued.  Glitter dusted pine cones suspended by red satin ribbons adorned the front door.  The pungent aroma of pine filled the air as pine sprigs decorated the mantle of our oversized fireplace.  The Christmas tree was decked out in fine garland, multicolored lights and ornaments before being embellished with thin strands of silvery icicles which clung to everything but the tree.

It was during this time that I got a little savvier about the gifts under the tree.  I knew surprises would eventually show up on Christmas Eve but I just KNEW what some of those presents already nestled under the tree were.  The dreaded socks and underwear…bummer!  Our family had Christmas on Christmas Eve each year and we would gather in the living room and turn the overhead lights on which were only to be used for special occasions.  When it came my turn to open gifts, I would try my best to find and open the lowliest of gifts; socks, underwear and a fresh pair of flannel pajamas first to get them out of the way.  The pajamas would last until early spring when there would be holes worn in the knees and the legs would then be cut off to make “spring” pajamas.  Don’t get me wrong, I did appreciate my parents’ efforts but I wanted the FUN stuff and besides, I could pull the end of my socks out and tuck them under my feet to avoid the toe holes and to make them last a little longer, right?

Let’s go back a couple thousand years to a little town called Bethlehem where the Christ child was born.  Sure, there were shepherds wowed by angels and later, wise men mesmerized by a star, and of course Mary experiencing not only the miracle of birth but bringing forth the savior of the world?!  That would surely be something to celebrate but yet there were others milling around that just didn’t have the same mind set and enthusiasm.  You see the Jews were awaiting their promised Messiah, the one that would bring an army of angels and completely annihilate their enemies.  They wanted a super action figure that would raise his mighty sword and smite their opponents but instead, what they received was a tiny little swaddler that couldn’t raise his own head, let alone an impressive rapier.  They wanted the latest and greatest toy and ended up with their version of…well…socks and underwear…bummer.  And so they systematically tossed their hope and salvation aside like some unwanted gift and walked away.  They rejected the perfect gift of God, what they really needed and had prayed for; instead of embracing this priceless gift of Love, they nailed it to a rough hewn wooden cross…

As I have gotten older, hopefully I’ve gotten a little wiser.  Sure, I’m still like a kid at Christmas time.  And we all want something cool, exciting, different and stimulating in life as well.  We want to ignore the mundane and go straight for the latest and greatest, the flashiest and finest.  But life isn’t as much about the flash as it is about the gift of the everyday and ordinary moments, the trials and the learning times that God puts in our lives to make us stronger and better for Him.  Here’s an example of what I am talking about.  Earlier in the year, I somehow injured my lower back which really compromised my day to day activities.  I finally sought out and found a good chiropractor who began my treatments back to eventual health.  I had been deaf in my right ear for approximately fifteen years prior to this treatment from Meniere’s disease.  Through the neck manipulations as part of his treatment protocols, the nerves going to my ears were stimulated to the point of causing a sixty-seven percent restoration of my hearing in my right ear.  With the use of a hearing aid, I now have complete use of my “deaf” ear once again.  Some may call this a “happy accident” but I call it God working in our everyday to bring good from a bad situation; my “socks and underwear” moment became a gift of restoration and thanksgiving.

Just something to think about as we head into Christmas week.  So what do you say?  Isn’t it time we appreciate the gift of life, love, family and memories this Christmas?  How about giving the gift of time to spend with a loved one, you know the gift of your presence?  Oh, and by the way…I’m sure we have kept the tradition alive and well in our family for I know for a fact that our granddaughter has some pretty pairs of Paw Patrol panties and sport socks in her stocking…

James 1:17–Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

What Love Is

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I have a confession to make…I’m really getting a hair past tired of all the news and social media blasts concerning everything from the upcoming election to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding recent gun violence in America. And who can’t forget the two so called presidential debates where a couple of geriatric juvenile delinquents take turns digging into their diapers of deception and throwing out a handful of libelous crap from one another’s recent and/or not so recent pasts. While attempting to avoid the visual and auditory stench from such a display of inappropriate behavior (perhaps a lesson to your older children on how not to act?), I am reminded of how far down the dark path of destruction our country has taken.

Don’t get me wrong, we still live in the greatest country on earth but for how long? It makes me think of one big thing we lack now…love; a love for country, a love for family, a love for one another and sadly enough sometimes, a loving relationship with God. Right now we are truly reaping what we have sown; we have taken God out of our schools, homes and hearts. 1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter) reminds us of what love is. John 3:16 (For God so loved…) reminds us of the ultimate love in action.

Reflected below is my take on love based on those scriptures. May it be a reminder to you as well that we must put God’s love in action through us…DAILY! Our very souls may depend on it…

What Love Is

Do not pace but patient be

Show kindness to those who exhibit cruelty,

Do not envy and do not brag

But be humble and thankful for what you have,

 

For Love is patient Love is kind

It does not judge, it does not lie,

Love always perseveres, always trusts

God has more than enough love for each of us.

 

Have the same respect for others as your own self-respect

Put the interests of others before your own selfish sense,

Keep your anger in check and your resentments to zero

If you want God’s love to burn in you then you must learn to love all others.

 

For Love is patient Love is kind

It does not judge, it does not lie,

Love always perseveres, always trusts

God has more than enough love for each of us.

 

For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son

That whosoever believed in Him would never walk alone,

His perfect plan, His perfect love from death to victory

All so we could turn from sin and find His love complete.

 

God is patient, God is kind

But one day His judgment will be in line,

When we stand before Him and our deeds are revealed

For those who trust in Jesus, may His love, grace and mercy prevail!

 

Oldies But Goodies

Hour glassSometimes it’s good to just take a look back at your life and what you have gone through and/or what you have accomplished so you can properly appreciate where you are now or perhaps make life adjustments as you continue on down life’s road.  That’s probably why Throw Back Thursdays are so popular; you get to see snippets of your own or someone else’s past in pictures.  Sometimes those snapshots take you right back to where you were, what song might have been playing, or who you were with.  At times, however, it could just be one big old embarrassing blast from the past that you would just as soon forget about.

I have been going through some of the older blog posts I had posted over the past couple of years.  Reflected below are ten that may make you smile, grimace or even ponder…enjoy!

Getting High and Loving It
Heads Up!
Illuminate Us O Lord
Living The Trashy Life
Lookie What I Did!
Perfect Imperfections
Squirrel!!
Sshhh…Listen
Trapped in an Antique Mall
Well, That’s Not Fair!!

Things That Go Bump in Our Lives

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Many times in our lives, unexpected events pop up out of nowhere, unnerving us and sending our routines into a tailspin.  Some of these sudden “surprises” like a call from an old friend or a gift from a loved one are very welcomed and leave us with a warmed heart and a renewed enthusiasm for life.  Most of the time however, it seems the little unforeseen dealings are much less than desirable.  Anything from getting an unexpected tax bill to a sudden hailstorm that turns your prizewinning flower garden into a new pile of mulch, life at times just leaves us as riddled as your shredded dahlias.  Often times though it’s how we handle the challenges of life that leave us still moving forward or stumbling about, off kilter and half crazed.  Here is a perfect example.

Some time ago, two of my sisters and I were visiting with our mom at her house.  Mom lived in an older ranch style house that actually betrayed its’ age on the outside but was firmly stuck in the 1970’s on the inside.  The living room was large and “L” shaped with an oversized brick fireplace with a poured concrete hearth, three inches thick; that thing was definitely a trip hazard and could have given many a grandchild a good concussion or goose egg contusion.  The walls consisted of composite plywood paneling that wrapped a medium brown hue to everything.  A multi-colored brown and rust wall to wall shag carpet rolled across the vast floor space.  Splotches of orange colored spots dotted across the carpet from decades of the sun kissing the carpet, licking at its’ fibers and discoloring sections.

Even though the kitchen was the “official” gathering place for our family, that evening found the three siblings and their mom conversing in the retro living room.  At night, the room always seemed dark regardless of the number of lights turned on, throwing shadows along the walls and corners.  That night one of those shadows seemed to move; there in the corner…it moved again.  All of a sudden, we heard a whoosh and saw a black fur ball with wings invading our air space; a bat had squeezed in somehow from a very small crack around the doorframe of the front door.  Someone screamed “BAT!!” and subsequently ducked as the little night creature once again circled around to make another die bomb maneuver.

Our mom was in her eighties at the time and needed the use of a walker to get around.  Mom was in her favorite blue rocking chair in the living room, the right wooden arm of the chair hand rubbed and worn from many years of habitual hand movements.   When mom heard “BAT!!”, she exclaimed “BAT!???” and her adrenaline took hold; she proceeded to pick up her walker, carrying it and making a silver streak towards her bedroom, slamming the bedroom door behind her and leaving her adult children behind to fend for themselves.

This wasn’t the first time my parents had had problems with these furry winged night riders so there were designated badminton or “batminton” rackets positioned above the hutch in the kitchen.  I felt around the top of the hutch until I found my weapons of choice and made my way back to the living room.  I had an impromptu cheering section as my sisters were eagerly awaiting the reluctant “hero” to rid the world of this fearsome beast.  Racket firmly in hand, I waited for the dingbat to make another pass so I could end this duel of wits or lack thereof.  Suddenly out of the shadows, a small black form came swooping my way; I had no time to think but acted out of instinct.  My left-handed backhand seemed to be sufficient as I made contact with the little beast, sending it whirling wildly towards the living room drapes; it stuck on the curtains like it had been made of Velcro.  I used both of the rackets, making a bat sandwich to secure the little rodent wannabe and proceeded to release the little rascal back into the wild.

You might be asking yourself, what does this story have to do with my daily problems? Well actually more than you think.  You see, just like in the story reflected above, many times people address problems that suddenly crop up very differently.

Some, like our mom in the story, sees a potential problem and their first instinct is to run away from it, ignore it and maybe it will go away, or to close that proverbial bedroom door and heavily breathe that sigh of relief and denial.  Most of us know that left unresolved, minor problems quickly become huge problems.

Other folks are fortunate like my sisters in the story; they get to sit back as spectators to observe and watch how someone else handles and resolve a particular problem and hopefully learn something in the process.

However, most of us are or should be in the last category; addressing the problems that arise head on.  We need to take whatever it is to the Lord in prayer.  He knows our needs better than we do and if we can’t figure out a quick fix and many times we can’t, our Lord will give us the grace and peace to work through it.  It wouldn’t really be a bad idea to pray for a little patience during this time?

It must have been the fact that I was the token male that night but I had no choice but to face the problem, in this case, the bat’s unwanted appearance and resolve the crisis so we could continue on with our daily lives.  Had I not vacated the little creature from mom’s house but instead just ignored the thing, nobody would have slept that night.

Just something to think about the next time trouble comes along and tries to make a nest in your hair.  It is better to have a few moments of anxiety and excitement that ends in resolution than to have…wait for it…bats in your belfry?

Romans 5:3-5 NLT– We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.