Circles, Rings, and Valentine Things

Whom do you love?

“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. …”

Proverbs 31:10-31

“Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her,
and likewise also the wife to her husband.”

1 Corinthians 7:3

Whom do you love?

“A friend loves at all times . . .” Proverbs 17:17a

“He drew a circle that shut me out—
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him in!”

 “Outwitted” ― Edwin Markham

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another;
as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

John 13:34

“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

1 John 4:8

♥ ♥ ♥

Who is it that loves you?

It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.”

Isaiah 40:22

He who sits above the circle of the earth loved you first.

From before you were born, God loved you and he promises never to leave you nor forsake you.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
This is the first commandment.”
Mark 12:30

 “Greet one another with a holy kiss.”
2 Corinthians 13:12

God gave us all His love in the person of his only Son, Jesus.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Are you doing something special for someone you love on Valentine’s Day?

It’s a good day to remind your friends you care!

Have a great week.

Love you!

Sally

All scripture is New King James Version

Coats, Pillows, and a China Cabinet

I’m so happy to have Ann Cooper McCauley as my guest again. Reading through the posts on Ann’s excellent Morning Glory Blog, I came across this one that I especially love, and Ann graciously agreed to allow me to repost it here on Everyone Has a Story Blog. I guarantee that it will lift your faith to a new level!

So, pour yourself a cup of something warm. You’re in for a post full of miracles! Here’s Ann’s Coats, Pillows, and a China Cabinet~

The church we attended gave each of our children a warm coat, but not just a warm coat. Beautiful coats.

Coats they would wear for years to come.

They also gave the kids new bed pillows. You wouldn’t think such a gift would excite children, but they were needed, our children appreciative. Our oldest son was in Iraq, and this same body of believers sent a care package to him. Many families in the church sent gift cards for us to buy Christmas for the kids. What a loving and thoughtful group of people. We were blessed to know them.

God doesn’t always use a mailbox to send blessings…

But our problems were bigger than those who loved us. For the first time in more than twenty-five years of marriage, my husband was without employment. The calendar on the kitchen fridge flapped each time I passed, a reminder that the rent was due. We had needs no one could conceive, and we were helpless to do anything but pray.

Instead of meeting those needs, God seemed distant. His word to us always the same, Work for me. Work for me. So each morning, we used our dwindling cash for gasoline, drove to our church, and worked there as though we were employed. We had vision for a family and children’s ministry and spent days, cleaning, organizing, painting, and preparing.

 

Late one evening a truck pulled into the yard and began backing to our front porch. Two sweet people from the church hopped out and began unloading a dining room suite. We were overwhelmed. This couple, in the real-estate business, had sold a home in which the owners had left behind a table, chairs, and china cabinet to be given away.

Only God knew I’d always wanted a china cabinet. I had never told a single person. That evening after the kids fell asleep I took my china out of storage boxes and carefully placed each piece into the lighted cabinet. Finished, I turned the house lights off and stood back. Lovely. But my thoughts were not so lovely. Lacking the beauty of faith and dependence, tears welled in my eyes, and I whispered, “Lord, why would you give me a china cabinet and no house to live in?” I was as fragile as one of my china cups. The fear of moving to a homeless shelter loomed even as a rumble of laughter escaped my throat at the thought of the question.

After I crawled into bed, my husband told me we would have to try and sell the dining room suite. My shoulders sunk as I looked him in the eye. I choked up and tears prickled. “That was a personal gift from my Father. Only He knew what it meant. He’s trying to tell us something. We can’t sell it. We just can’t. This was my Christmas present.”

 

The next morning, we rose early to work at the church. As I climbed into the van and reached for my seat belt, my husband leveled his gaze on mine and said, “Aren’t you going to get our rent money from the mailbox?”

God doesn’t always use a mailbox to send blessings…

 I eyed him right back, and my ire rose. He was being sarcastic. His practical mind screamed to sell the dining room suite, and I stood in his way. I snatched the stack of letters from the mailbox and returned to the van. A Christmas card stood out among the bills. As I tore it open, my jaw went slack. There was a check for $2,000 dollars inside the card. This money came from people who called themselves secret agents. Believers, who hardly knew us at all, they lived in another state and were not privy to our circumstances.

Sometimes God uses a mailbox…

Everything was paid and on time. But our living conditions were not changed. Another month rolled by, and bills came due a second time. God kept saying, Work for me. Work for me. A second envelope came in the mail that month. This letter was from another family who lived in a totally different state. We had not heard from these people in years. And inside the letter was a check for $2,200 dollars. God gave us a raise. Another month passed and bills came due. This time God gave Randy a job that paid nineteen dollars an hour.

God didn’t help us because of our service to the church. God didn’t help us because we had adopted children, or because we homeschooled. God didn’t help because we were special, or because we held a rare measure of faith. The opposite was true.

No. Our Father wants to freely give. And as we admire qualities of hard work, loyalty, and growth in our own children, so does He. But He gives unconditionally because He’s Daddy. The work at the church was to keep us occupied in a good thing while He worked on our financial miracles. What was this truly about? Our level of trust was challenged.

You see, the provisions were always present and on their way before we could see or touch them.

It’s humbling to share about our needy times, but it’s exhilarating to share what God is willing and able to do for His kids.

What have you walked through that confirms He is real and holds your hand?

Ann and I would love it if you’d leave a comment!

Previously published on anncoopermccauley.com shared with permission.

Thank you, Ann for sharing your post with us!  Be sure and visit Ann’s blog and enjoy her delightful sense of humor as she shares her many stories. Here’s a little about Ann.

Ann McCauley married her sweetheart thirty-eight years ago. The McCauley’s have seven children, four internationally adopted. Ann’s first stories were published by Baker/ Revell in the book, Loved by Choice—True Stories That Celebrate Adoption. She led a local chapter of The Compassionate Friends, a national organization for grieving parents, and a grief counseling support group, Wellsprings. Ann, a songwriter for many years, has led praise and worship, shared her original music with churches, and performed in fundraising for Holt International Adoption Agency. Mrs. McCauley has shared her adoption and homeschooling experiences with churches, rotary clubs, women’s seminars, and homeschool support groups. She’s been a speaker and singer throughout Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Ann’s motivational speaker service, The Power Behind the Story, can be found on her website. She is now taking bookings for engagements. Having written three historical novels, Ann hopes one will be picked up by a publisher soon. Her agent is Diana L. Flegal of Hartline Literary Agency.
Website and Blogs: anncoopermccauley.com

Listen for His Whispers

“The lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field . . .” (Proverbs 27:26)

“You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips” (Psalm 21:2).

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

Scripture from NKJV
A photo from Ann's Morning Glory Blog

A photo from Ann’s Morning Glory Blog

Into the Deep

“When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’”

Sunrise

Has God called you to move away from your safe harbor, from the security and comfort of the known? Are you hanging back, fearful of what might lie ahead? Is your trust in safety, or in God?

 

So many times I’ve moved away from my safe harbor–and dog paddled like crazy, nearly drowning until I finally learned to trust in God.

But it didn’t feel crazy when I said “Yes” to my high school sweetheart when I was seventeen or when I said “I do” a year later or when I said “Hello, Baby Girl” a year later than that. Looking back I wouldn’t change a thing, but in between then and now, I’ve passed judgment on myself many times with “You must have been out of your mind!” But honestly, I don’t believe I was wise enough to have hung back or to have been fearful of the future  back then. Not to say I’m any different now. Do we really ever change much? I wonder.

“But Simon answered and said to Him, ’Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’”

Simon was hesitant, but he went with what faith he had in what he knew of the man, Jesus. Our Lord is so patient, loves us with all our faults, and walks with us even when we don’t know He’s there.

My mother insisted that if I married at that age, I must have more than high school, and business college had an important impact on my future. After our July wedding, I sneezed my way through our honeymoon at Niagara Falls with allergies that wouldn’t quit.

And a year later, along came baby number one, but not without the side effects of high blood pressure, labor with complications, and an emergency C-section. All that made a man and a woman out of a boy and a girl, strengthened my faith, and scared the stuffing out of my husband. The net was full. Yet it didn’t break.

Those were the rough beginnings of “on my own.”

As God holds his hand out for you to grasp, he promises not to leave or forsake you, but to always be with you as you launch out into the deeper, unknown waters. They are well known to God. God asks us to trust him, not the waters.

Leaving harbor at sunset

In the hills of Bethlehem in Judea, a young man was called by God to leave the safe haven of shepherding and walk into the unknowns of kingship.

Generations later in Nazareth of Galilee, a young woman was called by God to leave the safe haven of her girlhood and walk into the unknowns of motherhood.

Because King David, and Mary, mother of Jesus, were willing to walk into uncharted waters when God called them, the Son of God came into the world to bring us forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Through them God gave us priceless gifts.

What will you do when God calls you out of your secure environment to do something for him? What will God do with your obedience if you trust him?

Choice? You have one to make. You are called, not commanded. Will you trust and go? Or will you remain in your safe harbor?

Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid . . . ” What have you to fear with your hand in God’s?

From the Book of Luke, here’s the whole story of what happened that day on the shores of Lake Gennesaret.

“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.
When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’
But Simon answered and said to Him, ’Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’ And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’
For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.’ So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him” (Luke 5:1-11 NKJV).

No, our stories may never be anywhere near as wondrous and dramatic as this true story, but they are God’s gift to us as we journey through this life. Treasure yours.

I’d love for you to share part of your story in the Comments.

Father, in the name of Jesus please grant us the patience, flexibility, and perseverance to accept all the changes you place before us with graciousness and with courage. Amen

Love,

~Sally~

Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.
~ Mark Twain