Strong Heroines

People are funny things- we always want to be someone different than who we actually are!

I enjoy taking those random personality tests on facebook, sometimes they are pretty accurate and the next time they are REALLY far off.  I sure don’t think that picking your favorite book can tell you exactly what Bible heroine you are, but sometimes it can be a pretty good clue.

When people would compare me to a woman of the Bible, I always received the names of Miriam, Martha, and Deborah.  So it did not surprise me when the “Bible heroine test” came out as Deborah.

I have always longed to be a Ruth who made the submissive beautiful statement of “where you go, I will go” and then had a fairy-tale romance with Boaz.  I envied Esther, the gorgeous queen who won the heart of the king and then saved the entire Jewish nation; or Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was so sweet and virtuous that she was the one chosen to carry the Christ Child.  But I’m always labeled as the characters that aren’t quite as well-beloved as some of the “famous” ones.

I decided to really look at Miriam, Martha, and Deborah’s lives and see what made up these woman and what I could learn from them.  Their stories are actually quite interesting and amazing, and I have come to the conclusion that I am quite content with being patterned after these ladies of the Bible times…as long as I don’t repeat the mistakes that some of them made.

They all have something in common- they are strong, they are leaders, they are quick to make decisions and act upon them, and they know how to include others in their plans.

How does a woman with these characteristics handle life today when we are surrounded with submissive, tender, and meek women?  How do we balance our personality traits that sometimes seem like a curse?  How do we keep from offending, coercing, or intimidating others?  How do we not dictate the men in our lives but allow them to establish their godly male leadership?

I wrestle with all these questions, and I know that my very strong-willed friends do as well!

As a child, I was talkative and bubbly and quickly made decisions.  I was the oldest child as well, which did not help matters.  I soon discovered that people do not like when you always tell them what to do.  I also discovered that a woman with strong personality tends to drive people away from her if she is not careful.

Miriam- The firstborn, the protector and guardian of her little brother, Moses, a prophetess, the one who helped lead the women with Aaron and Moses during the wilderness adventures, the one who broke into joyous song when the Red Sea crossing was complete, the one who was cursed with leprosy and separated from the group because she had condemned the leadership.

Martha- The sister of Lazarus and Mary Magdalene, the firstborn, the one who was in charge of the housework and making sure things got done (most likely the owner of the house), the one reprimanded by Jesus for putting material things before spiritual.

Deborah- A prophetess, a wife, a trusted source of wisdom, a judge, the initiator of action, the one who broke into rejoicing after the victory.

All three of these women filled important roles in the Bible.  If they would not have been there, something special would be missing.

Miriam was there to speak to the Egyptian princess and help save baby Moses.  She was public in her praise of God’s miracles, and was not ashamed to lead others in that as well.  According to Scripture, she was partnered closely with Aaron and Moses in terms of leading and decision-making- which is somewhat uncommon for those times of history.  Her downfall was when she decided that she knew better than God’s established leadership; and instead of talking with God and Moses, she went to Aaron and scorned Moses’ decisions.  She was promptly punished with leprosy and banned from the camp until Moses pleaded to God on her behalf.  I believe that she was a changed woman when she came back from her solitude, although nothing more is said about her until her death.  Would it not be interesting to know her entire story – to know what happened between her punishment and her death?  I would like to think that she became wiser in how she used her leadership qualities and did more help than she had even done before.

Martha was quite a lovely woman when you think about her life.  She helped make Jesus’ time on earth restful and peaceful.  She was the one making the household decisions and responsible if anything did not go right.  Her problem came when she was so intent on making sure the meal was its best and that the guests were comfortable and well taken care of that she forgot to slow down and listen.  She forgot that being with Jesus is the key to serving Him.  She did not realize that criticizing others for their seemingly irresponsible, weak, neglectful behavior is not the best way to get something done.  Martha thought that she knew what was best at that moment, and so complained when others did not see it her way.  Jesus lovingly corrected her- for he did love her.  This verse is so special, (John 11:5)  “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.”  Jesus saw that Martha was giving her very best to Him in her own way, and He appreciated and loved that about her.  He only had to redirect her attention when she got a bit carried away!  Martha must have learned her lesson and balanced both the tasks with the time; and we gather this because of an event that takes place later on in Scripture.  A commentator pointed out that Martha probably had investment as well in the bottle of expensive perfume that Mary poured upon Jesus’ feet.  Never once do you hear Martha condemn Mary for her actions; isn’t that beautiful!  Her heart was at the right place this time.

Once in a while you hear of women prophets in the Bible…

Anna- Luke 2:36

Huldah- II Kings 22:14

Four Virgins- Acts 21:9

But it was mostly men that held such a position and honor.  However Deborah is unusual in the fact that not only was she a prophetess, but she also was a judge!  She called Barak unto her and told him that God intended for him to go into battle against Sisera.  He said that he would not go unless she went with him.  I can just imagine Deborah shaking her head at his statement and saying, “Fine, I’ll go; but instead of you getting battle honor, a woman is going to get the credit for destroying Sisera.”  So she marches with Barak into battle and tells him to go forth because the Lord goes before them.  They win the battle, and a woman, Jael, destroys Sisera as prophesied earlier.  Judges chapter five then records Deborah’s song, a beautiful proclamation of God’s praise and might.

I think we can learn a lot from these ladies.  Being a strong woman does not make us better than other women, but neither does it make us bad or sinful.  We do not have to try to change our personalities or sculpt it into something that we are not.  There is a lot of good that we can do with our strength.  We can cause action, inspire, encourage, and uplift in ways that others may not be able to.

But this can also be our downfall.  We can become so intent on the mission that we forget the True Commander.  We can become so involved with achieving that we hurt and step on others that are in the way or are not working with us.  We have to be careful that we actually appreciate our friends and their personalities.  We need to not simply use them for what we may gain from the relationship.  We must not feel threatened by other strong women and hold them off because we want complete control.

Ladies, we also have to be very careful with the men in our lives.  We have the power to motivate or destroy them.  Don’t roll your eyes at the sixteen-year old youth leader that just can’t seem to get his act together; don’t step in and make his decisions.  Instead come along beside him and encourage him.  We may be able to make powerful choices, but the most powerful thing we can do is let the man lead and develop into the godly male leader that God intends for him to be!

I don’t know how this applies to marriage (obviously, I’m not married so I can not pass statement=), but Deborah and Lapidoth seemed to be able to make it work.  If I ever do get married, I pray that my husband, the true leader of the home, will respect and value what I think but will ultimately make the final decision on a matter.

I think though for single women, we easily intimidate men because we have become so used to making decisions.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help; you don’t have to be in complete control all of the time.  Don’t walk over the “weak” men, and don’t fight and criticize the strong ones.  Be okay with letting go!

Like I said before, we hold a lot of power and strength in our personalities that can be used for great good, but it can also be turned into a weapon of destruction, hurt, and manipulation.

Lord, may we constantly come to You for wisdom in how to make choices, how to relate with others, and how to glorify You.  May we never be ashamed to break forth in song that praises You.  May we be able to be the support the men need- not mindless dolls, but yet not scheming bossy feminists.  Thank You for giving everyone their own personality; help us to work with each other so we can fit our unique talents and giftings into a beautiful picture that honors You!    Amen.

Please Throw Away the Candy Wrappers

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Daily Prompt: Never Gonna Give You Up

You. We know *you* are vice-free, dear Daily Post reader. But others around you and in your life are riddled with vices: they smoke; they eat too much celery; they hog the covers; they can’t keep their hands out of the office candy bowl. Which vice or bad habit can you simply not abide in others?  Photographers, artists, poets: show us VICE.

Yesterday I spent a huge amount of time unwrapping peanut-butter cups and jolly ranchers for a program coming up that has a snack for 150 people afterwards.  Foolish, I know, when I have so much other stuff that I could be doing with my time.  BUT, I absolutely cannot abide seeing crumpled candy wrappers scattered all over the place.

Time and time again, the guests leave; and scattered cups and candy wrappers are left behind as if a tornado just came through and disrupted the orderliness of life.

So, this time, I am going to save my after-party cleaning time and keep myself from high blood-pressure levels by eliminating the possibility of candy wrappers.

I know, it is not a huge issue; but yet it is.

Responsibility is a major thing that is lacking in today’s society.  Have you ever tried to plan an event and ended up pulling out your hair because 75% of the invites never RSVP back?  Have you ever seen the mess that people leave behind after a meal?  Very few look ahead or think of more than themselves.

I think this is one of my biggest pet peeves.  I was taught to throw away my trash when I was at another person’s place.  I was told that you do the dishes for the hostess because she worked hard to prepare the party.  I was drilled in the fact that you leave a place nicer than you found it.  I have learned that it is extremely helpful to reply back within the deadline and confirm whether or not you are going to an event.  So, this irritates me when other people do not live up to this even though I do.

However, I need to be forgiving- because there is always going to be something that I do that drives the ones around me crazy.  I need to be careful that I don’t destroy my friendships because of my criticalness (sorry, that is not actually a word), and realize that we’re even- because maybe the way I squeeze the toothpaste or fold the towels gets on their nerves.  So until I am perfect (which will not be until I reach Heaven), I can not “point out the spot in my friend’s eye when I have major obstacles in my own”! 

It is all about working together and learning from each other.  I need to be able to take criticism and change in myself what irritates others, I need to be able to be patient with those habits in others that annoy me, and I need to love no matter what.  Love and Patience are the keys to overlooking and forgiving the faults (like abandoned candy wrappers) that can grow into huge obstacles and destroy relationships!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/daily-prompt-rick-roll/

 

Wish Upon A Star

ImageDaily Prompt: I Did it My WayDescribe the one decision in your life where you wish you could get a “do-over.” Tell us about the decision, and why you’d choose to take a different path this time around.

Do you ever look back on life and wish you could redo a past action or decision?  I often think back to certain times that I would rewrite if I had the chance – things that I wonder what I possibly was thinking and why I didn’t follow my conscience.  No, I never did drugs, get involved in an inappropriate relationship, rob a bank, or do anything “major”, but I did do something quite often that makes my heart still cry when I think of it.

I feel deep shame at the way I treated others when I was younger.  Although many think this is not a huge issue; it is, because I wonder what differences could have been made in certain lives if I would have chosen to act differently?  I wonder how much hurt was felt, how many tears were cried, and how much despair was felt- because of me- when instead there could have been joy, laughter, and acceptance.  It’s amazing the way that humans can be so cruel to another human, without even having to say a word.

My parents raised me to treat everyone equally and respectfully, to find the outcast and make them my friend.  I had this as head knowledge but not necessarily as heart.

There was one girl that I knew who came from a horrible family and was hurting deeply.  She definitely did not dress very nicely or even act very nicely.  Simply put, she was obnoxious.  She was the last person with whom I wanted to be seen.  Seriously, such a girl could jeopardize my own reputation and relationships; so I ignored her, cut conversations short, and let others know that I was not with her.

I should have known the feeling to not be in the “cool” group.  I should have known how it feels to have people exclude you from certain parties and social events, but perhaps that made me want to join their group all the more so that I could finally “achieve” and be a somebody.  Funny thing is, when I eventually was accepted, it did not feel as sweet as I thought it would feel, because I knew that it was at the sacrifice of others.

I do not know what ever happened to that girl.  I pray that someone finally treated her better than I had and was a friend when she had none.  I pray that she lives a wonderful life now and has become freed from the hurt of others, because something like that can be bondage to a person forever if there is never any healing.  Watch To Save A Life if you don’t believe me.

If God would give me a special star tonight to wish upon, I would wish that I could go back and redo all the times I purposely overlooked the outcasts so that I could “fit in”.  I can’t go back and redo my past actions and decisions, but I can determine to not repeat those in the future.  I can determine to love everyone (not just the ones that are smartest, richest, nicest, or most beautiful), even if it means I have to give up certain friendships, opportunities, and advantages.  What would Jesus do?  Well, Jesus went to the “untouchables”, the prostitutes, the criminals, the lowest-ranked on the status scale; and He turned their lives into the most lovely ones recorded in Scripture.  We have a huge power in the way we treat the ones around us.  All it takes is a smile, a word, a hug, and a little time to tell someone that they are special!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/daily-prompt-my-way/

A Brother

brotherIt is my brother, MarDelton’s twentieth birthday today!  I had my twenty-fourth birthday on Friday, and both of my parents have birthdays this month as well.  My brother was supposed to be born in March, but he decided to stick with family tradition and come on February 10, 1994.

I remember when my parents informed me that I would have a little baby brother.  We were sitting at the table when they told me.  A three-year old can’t quite comprehend the whole situation, but I figured it would be a great thing since my friends had other siblings and seemed to be okay with it. 

He finally came, barely making it alive; but he was determined to visit this world.  He was so little when I saw him.  My parents and the staff allowed me to sit up on the hospital bed, and then they put this tiny bundle beside me.  I wrapped my arms around it, knowing that I was going to protect this brother of mine and be the best big sister I could be. 

It may have been love at first sight, but after a while the excitement wore off and I suddenly awoke to the realization that I no longer received all of my mommy and daddy’s attention.  No longer was I the only one upon whom they doted and about whom they spoke and with whom they played and talked.  There was a brother trying to take his share.

But one couldn’t hate the blond-haired, blue-eyed cherub for long.  I soon realized that life was better with someone else around- even if he took “my” stuff and pulled “my” hair and disturbed “my” ears with his crying.

We were completely different.  I was a fighter, bold and determined.  It had to be my way, and I would accept no other.  Needless to say, this bought me quite a few tickets to punishment.  And the more I was punished the more I was determined to not give in.  MarDelton was quiet, but still quite mischievous.  However, he did not fight to have his own way, he just acted in agreement and then snuck in what he wanted when no one was watching.

Perhaps I should not tell some of his childhood antics, but they are quite humorous.  There were matches found behind the dryer because he had sat out in the garage lighting them and then hiding them in the best place he knew.  There were mysterious slashes on the windowsill from where he had tried out his axe.  Still, all in all, he was a really good kid.  And he got picked on a lot because of that.  Mom and Dad had taught us to be respectful, to not get in fights, and to be kind.  However, not every other child was taught that, and my compassionate brother was a good target for bullies.  But ever-protective older sister would come to the rescue and make sure he was safe and sound. 

My poor brother, I feel bad about it now, but I was (dare I say it?) quite bossy.  He very kindly did whatever job I commanded and needed done, until one day he decided that enough was enough and declared mutiny.  My days of power were over. 

Since we had no other siblings, we did everything together and were best friends.  We would ride the tire swing and imagine it was a boat traveling the great seas and sailing away from pirates, we would build snow forts and have battles, and we would laugh and giggle as only best friends can do.

But in the past ten years, he has grown up and started that maturing process that every child must grow through- the search for what you believe, who you are, and where your spot in this world is.  I have watched him dedicate his life to Christ and love those who treat him spitefully.  He has shown wisdom in the way he makes decisions and handles his finances.  He has listened to people and cared about their problems.  Whereas I have little or no patience, he can endure almost anything.  He is fighting that hard fight of purity in mind and life.  He has also became an extremely hard worker and has the biceps to prove it! 

I rely on him quite a bit.  He is my security when I go somewhere new, he is my protector when I am in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation, and he is my counselor when I need a listening ear.  I know that God is going to have great things in store for him, and I can’t wait to see what that all will be. 

Happy Birthday Dearest Brother!

Just a dustrag

 

ImageDaily Prompt: Those Dishes Won’t Do Themselves (Unfortunately)

 by michelle w. on February 6, 2014

What’s the household task you most dislike doing? Why do you think that is — is it the task itself, or something more?  Photographers, artists, poets: show us HOME.  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/daily-prompt-home-2/

—-Growing up, I was always in charge of the dusting.  I hate dusting!  No matter how hard I try to make it entertaining, it just does not work.  I turn the music up loud, switch the order in which I dust the rooms, and listen to audio stories; but nothing does the trick. 

I would spend hours as a child trying to get everything dusted perfectly, because a mother always seems to know when you miss something.  I looked forward to the day when I would no longer need to dust a house, because I would be traveling the world or doing some other non-domestic thing.  As you can most likely guess, I still am dusting.  In fact, I have a few rooms upstairs calling my name right now- just waiting for their layer of dead skin follicles, road dirt, and (whatever else makes up dust) to be removed.

I think it is more than just dusting in itself that I dislike.  Yes, I hate having to remove all the decorations off of the furniture, polishing the wood, cleaning the little items, placing them back, and making sure that I actually did get all the dust and did not simply move it around….but it is more than that.  I detest the time I spend doing something that I do not enjoy when I could be doing something that I do enjoy, like writing or reading or playing the piano. 

Somehow I need to realize that I can try to flee the things I hate, but sooner or later the chore of dusting or something else I dislike will find me and need to be done in order that my life can flow smoothly and properly.  Plus, the heart and energy I put into the little things will translate into the way I do the big “important” things.  

The best thing for me is to buckle down and just DO it.  I guess I need those things so that it makes the enjoyable moments all the sweeter.  I think it makes God smile when we can do the things like dusting to the best of our ability with as much joy as if we were cruising the Mediterranean.

Colossians 3:23  King James Version (KJV)-   “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”

Blessings to each person today as you do those seemingly annoying and worthless tasks that you just can’t stand, and may it instead become a way of showcasing God’s glory!

Please Tell Me That I Did Not Just Do That!

ImageDaily Prompt: Isn’t Your Face Red

by michelle w. on February 5, 2014

When was the last time you were embarrassed? How do you react to embarrassment? 

Photographers, artists, poets: show us RED.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/daily-prompt-red/

I do not know what my last embarrassing moment was, they all kind of run together into a hazy memory that I try to forget.  I am a blond that is usually daydreaming and in more touch with imagination than reality; so I have almost daily encounters with face-blushing times.  The VERY HUMILIATING one that comes to mind right now happened a few years ago and still comes back to haunt me.  Whenever I talk about this yet, my face turns that amazing shade of RED.

I was on tour with a group of young people from Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute, and we were singing in churches from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin.  We would travel all day on the bus, give a program in the evening, and then be distributed out to local church members’ homes to spend the night so that we would not have to pay for lodging at a hotel.  This particular time I was placed in a young family’s house.  If I remember right, it was two guys, a girl, and I that were to occupy the rooms that this hospitable couple had provided for us.

We made it through the program, quite tired and exhausted from traveling all day, battling the cold, and fighting illness, and traveled to this family’s house where they had prepared a lovely snack and tried to hold friendly conversation with us zombies.  

Finally, everyone decided to retire for the night.  I trudged myself and my luggage into the room that I was sharing with the other girl and proceeded to organize the mass confusion inside of my suitcase.  My dear friend used the bathroom to get her shower, brush her teeth, and whatever else she needed to do while I waited and replied to my accumulated text messages that I had not gotten a chance to reply to yet.  She finally appeared from the land of warm, soapy water, and I gathered my supplies for the trek into that realm of relaxing cleanliness.  Before I left, I got specific directions from her about where the bathroom actually was.

Problem is, in my half-conscious state, I misunderstood her and trudged down the hall- in oblivion to the fact that I had misunderstood her.  I came to the door that I thought was the right one, opened it, searched for the light switch, and almost dropped my toothbrush and washcloth in shock as I realized that I just entered the room of the hosting couple.  I could not see my face, but I am pretty sure that it must have burned a shade of red that has not even been discovered by Crayola yet.  I mumbled something quickly about looking for the bathroom, turned off the light, and rushed out the door as fast as my legs could carry me. 

I did eventually find the bathroom that night yet and managed to get a shower, although disappearing into a deep hole in the earth never to be seen again did cross my mind.

Oh well, I guess we need those moments to realize that we are very human and prone to times that we wish we could redo=D

Would love to hear your embarrassing moment!  (If you’re brave enough;) – go ahead and share in the reply box!

The Snow Zoe—- in flattery of Dr. Seuss

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Daily Prompt: The Sincerest Form of Flattery

Publish a post in the style of a favorite author/blogger or photographer.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us COPIES.

I looked outside-

And what should I see?

But piles of snow covering up our trees.

I put on my jacket,

My hat, scarf, and boots,

And rushed out the door with a holler and hoot.

I ran through the drifts

And flung snow ’round my head,

But then stopped as if I had been struck dead.

For there came a creature

As big as a house

With purple feathers and a yellow-toothed mouth.

“Who are you?” I squeaked

From behind the tree

Where I ran for protection from this thing close to me.

“I’m a Zoe,” it laughed,

“And I come once a year

When the snow is its highest and the cold is near.

I see you are lonely-

not a friend by your side

And you can’t have winter fun with noone close by.”

The Zoe grabbed my hand

And twirled me around

Till I flew through the air far up from the ground.

I danced with the snowflakes

And tasted ice crystals.

I skated upon the lake while I whistled.

I slid from soft branches

Like a rollercoaster ride

And all with the good faithful Zoe by my side.

We built a snowman-

I stuck on the nose

And Zoe sculpted shoes to cover its toes.

The day grew darker

And the light went away;

I knew it was only a matter of time till Mom would say,

“Come in, Laura, dear,

It is now time to eat.

Please wash up and warm up and then take your seat.”

So I looked at my friend,

And he looked at me;

And we both knew for certain that now he must leave.

“Goodbye, Little Friend,”

He started to say,

“This once a year ritual has been a great day!

No more will you see me-

I visit just once,

And come back no more to a place where I was.

But remember each snowfall

A big fluffy Zoe

Who was willing to be your friend in the snow.

And go look for someone as lonely as you

And be to them Zoe

And do as I do.

For you’ll find if you do that

Each time you’ll have fun

And have happy memories for years yet to come.”

I watched as the Zoe

Shook his long purple feathers

And then walked away to the wild lonely heather.

And I waved goodbye

To my yellow-toothed Zoe

Who taught me to reach out and have fun in the snow!

-MarJanita LaRosa

in form of Dr. Seuss

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/daily-prompt-copies/

Inner Peace Award

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Thank you so much Afsheen @ http://afsheenanjum.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/inner-peace-award/ for nominating me for the Inner Peace Award!

 

The rules of award are:

1. Display the logo on a post.

2. Thank the person who nominated you and link to his/her site.

3. State seven things about you.

4. Nominate fourteen other bloggers & inform them via a comment on their blog.

Seven Things About Me

1.  I have been writing ever since I knew how to write.  I remember taking comic pictures, writing a story about them, and then stapling it together into a mini book when I was in second grade.

2.  I enjoy studying and reading and am constantly looking for ways to expand my education.  (Contrary to popular opinion- I actually enjoy taking tests and exams!).

3.  I lead a girls’ choir full of the most amazing angels.

4.  I am trying to save enough to go to Europe for my twenty-fifth birthday next year.

5.  I am completely pathetic in the region of math and science….and am pretty sure that my brain only functions in the arts such as painting, music, writing, reading, and crafts.

6.  My favorite activity would be to curl up on the train with a fuzzy blanket, chai, a C.S. Lewis or Chesterton book, a Libera or Josh Groban c.d. and watch the snow falling outside a window overlooking an evergreen forest (just as dusk is falling).  Ahhhh–Heavenly!

7.  My greatest joy would be to help show the love of God through my writings.

 

Fourteen Nominations

1.  Kara @http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/26958063/

2.  http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/6363513/

3.  Lauren @http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/3668125/

4.  Melissa @http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/32410608/

5.  Whitney @http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/39655520/

6.  Amy @http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/15103401/

7.  http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/13630876/

8.  http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/10798804/

9.  Tess @http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/29489202/

10.  http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/45730919/

11.  http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/43447347/

12.  http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/18184010/

13.  http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/42744833/

14.  http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/59963596/

 

I chose these blogs because I think they qualify for the Inner Peace Award through the things they have written and the beliefs and values they hold!

 

Blessings for the Journey,

MarJanita LaRosa

Setting up Monuments

winterDid you ever read in the Old Testament how so often the people set up some sort of memorial in honor of what the Lord had done for them? 

Joshua 4:20-24 “And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.  21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?  22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.  23For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:  24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.”

When I was younger and we traveled a lot, my mother would do a similar thing, except it wasn’t with rocks.  She kept a notebook and wrote in it all the miracles that we saw happen.  Years later, it was interesting to look back over the times that God had saved us from an accident, kept us out of a snowstorm, or provided money when finances were tight.

As time passed and life got busier, this tradition dropped.  However, I have renewed it for myself personally.  It is easy to focus on the things that I don’t get my way and the things that go wrong- while forgetting the many times that God actually provided little miracles and helped me.  I have a special book that I now write in all my prayer requests or burdens weighing heavily on my heart.  Once a prayer is answered with a “yes”, I put a checkmark beside of it.  Prayers that are still in waiting remain on the list, and prayers that are answered with a “no” can receive an “x”.  What I want to do for the “no” answers is to then write beside them the blessing that I can see from not getting a “yes”.  Ones that I can’t figure out will receive a question mark, because I know that there is a reason whether or not I can see it right now.  There can also be a separate category for hugs from Heaven- times when unexpected blessings are sent my way.  Hopefully when I look back and reminisce (because I love looking back through my old journals and writings) I will see an even clearer picture of how great God actually is.  Years later those question marks may make sense, and I will finally be able to write in the reason beside them.  Some may remain a mystery to me on earth forever, but I can be okay with that because I will also see the times when God surprised me with special blessings and checkmarks.

This is not the only way that you can build monuments to remember special times and blessings.  Frame a leaf from your walk in the woods when you poured your heart out to God and you felt Him wrap you in His arms.  Write down on a bookmark the words of a song that was playing on your radio and spoke of hope when you felt like there was none left.  Take a picture of the sunset that convinced you that there is Someone in control.  Copy an inspiring quote to a magnet and stick it on the fridge.  Write down each blessing, miracle, or “yes” answer on a popsicle stick and store it in a jar.  When the jar is full, have a special date with God (volunteer at a soup kitchen, help with a food drive, donate to a charitable cause, buy a meal for someone who is struggling). 

You don’t have to physically erect a bunch of rocks in your back yard to remember the blessings in your life, but I think it is important to find some kind of creative way to keep track of the good things, because if you are like me it is easier to see the glass as half empty rather than half full!