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Today’s Truth

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

1 Corinthians 16:13

Friend to Friend

I thought I was so Godly … until we decided to move. If you want to measure your faith, just decide to pack up everything you own, put it in cardboard boxes, and move.

And if you really want to test the strength of your faith, decide to basically gut the house into which you are moving. Yep! That ought to do it!

Paint. I know a fresh coat of paint can make old walls dance with new life, but painting is also messy, time consuming, and the source of total chaos. Icky drop cloths are sprawled everywhere, paintbrushes have to be cleaned in a foul-smelling liquid, cans of paint must be lugged from room-to-room along with paint trays that are guaranteed not to spill … until they do. And don’t get me started on the whole taping thing.

New carpet. New carpet is a beautiful thing … unless those who install the carpet somehow got the impression we didn’t want said carpet in the hallway. A communication error they said. Really? And of course they had to order more carpet. An old piece of old carpet was put down in the hallway so our feet would not bleed from the carpet tacks. Now the only thing we had to worry about was not tripping and falling over the flaps of carpet in every doorway. But I did … trip and fall.

The 20-year-old appliances had to be replaced, but we found a sweet deal on an appliance bundle. However, when all of the appliances came, there was no refrigerator. No one knows why – no explanation – just an appliance bundle mystery. When the refrigerator magically appeared three weeks later, it was an inch too tall for the space we had carefully measured. My husband and a friend took down and trimmed the cabinet above the refrigerator … and it finally fit.

The bathtub had to be replaced in the master bathroom. The first time I used it, our daughter called my husband to tell him to tell me to stop taking a bath immediately because water was leaking on our son-in-law who was working in the basement at the time.

We needed a new kitchen sink. The first one delivered was the wrong color. The second one had a crack in it. The third one had a side that was in pieces. When the fourth one came, I hid in my study until the plumbers installed it and assured me all was well.

I could go on … I really could, but you get the idea. I wish I could tell you that I handled every glitch, mistake, and hiccup in this move with a sense of humor and a good attitude, but I didn’t. I could blame it on the fact that I was tired and in pain, because I was.

I have Scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis in my spine, which accounts for the severe back pain. I was also exhausted. After my last speaking event of the year in the first week of December, I raced home and packed like a crazy woman. Since we moved ourselves with the help of friends, time was running out! Our closing date was changed three times which meant our moving date landed in the middle of the week during which our Christmas services were held. Translation: Our church has 14 Christmas services and my husband is the Lead Teaching Pastor of our church.

I could blame my impatience during this move on many things and people would back me up. But God doesn’t.

I could justify my negative attitude toward people who did not do what they said they would do during this move. But Scripture doesn’t.

I moaned and complained at times like I was being persecuted in some way. How absurd! I was inconvenienced … and that is a far cry from being persecuted. And the Holy Spirit will not let me off the hook at all on this one.

In more than 40 nations around the world today – including America – Christians are being persecuted for their faith. In some nations it is illegal to even own a Bible. Followers of Christ face harassment, arrest, torture, and even death.

I have personally ministered in countries where men, women and children live each day wondering where their next meal is coming from. Some sleep on cardboard boxes under tin roofs while lepers huddle together in colonies. Mothers have lost their children to Aids, starvation, and disease. Clean water is a foreign concept as are clothes and education.

I look around … and I am ashamed. I try to assuage my shame with the fact that I went through every single item we own and donated hundreds of those items to our church’s thrift store. But I still have so much while many have so little.

The bottom line is this: I need to refocus and adjust my perspective. Do you?

Life is never going to be perfect this side of heaven. Never! If you are waiting for every problem to be solved, every circumstance to be just right, every issue to be resolved, you are in for a long wait.

Set aside your comfort.

Forfeit your convenience.

Choose to serve God to the fullest whenever and wherever you can … and while you’re at it, choose joy.

Let’s Pray

Father, please forgive me for my complaining spirit and petty whining about things that simply do not matter. Give me an eternal perspective. Help me focus on what does matter – my character – not my comfort.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

When you face a difficult situation, where do you first turn for help?

What is your attitude about those difficult situations in your life?

How does that attitude need to change?

More from the Girlfriends

To live a successful life requires an unshakable faith. In Mary’s NEW MP3 download,

4 Steps to an Unshakable Faith, she shares the four steps we can take to experience the kind of faith that will see us through every storm. Don’t miss this powerful message!

Be sure to check out the FREEBIES on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

One Response to “The Bottom Line”

  1. Jenn says:

    Did this ever hit home, feeling smacked upside the head! Our children and I, due to the demands of the military have been living apart from my husband for 4 months now in a unfurnished house without out belongings sleeping on air mattresses and eating off of a folding table while sitting on folding chairs. To top it off 2 weeks before the children and I started driving all the way across country to be near family where rent is cheap I found out I was surprisingly and miraculously pregnant. It’s been 8 since our youngest was born and I am pushing 40 now. 3 days before we started the drive one of my twins broke her foot. Our houseboat the place we were last stationed has sold and closed now but not before the AC went completely out and had to be replaced, same with the water heater, they found termites during the infection and during that broke a nozzle on the back of the fridge causing water damage. What was suppose to be a temporary thing living here instead of where my hubby is now stationed seems to now have no end in sight. We had all hung in there pretty well through the first almost 3 months but this past month all of our attitudes have tanked, especially mine. To make things worse the housing office on base where my husband is called to say they had a house for us a couple of days ago and then called again to say they had made a mistake. When I watch the news and see the conditions around the world I know how blessed we are and feel guilty for my less than stellar attitude and actions. But overcoming them has felt impossible of late. The joy of he Lord is my strength, my personal go to but somehow have seemed to have lost it right now. Thank you for the wake up call and the confirmation that I need to change my attitude! I feel guilty and so inadequate as a mother and wife right now and know my attitude needs to change for the sake of all. This devotional hit the nail on the head. Thank you!

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8