Posts Filed Under Devotions and Teachable Moments

Being Grateful

by bosssanders on August 5, 2011 with 1 comment

It stung…deep

It wasn’t so much what had been said, but rather what hadn’t been.

I wanted to do something special for someone else.  I wanted to show them that love and grace can still abide in the roughest seasons of life.  But, when it was time to go, there was no “thank you.”

And, I have to tell you…the lack of outward graciousness rolled all over me.  Suddenly, I no longer felt happy and excited…but, hurt.  And, for a few moments my first response was to want to take it all back.

In the silence of my brooding, thinking about how unfair it was and how ungrateful some people were…how some people just take and take (my thoughts now spiraling to other circumstances and other people)… I mean, really…how hard is it to just say THANKS?!

In that moment, there was a whisper, “So, is that what you did it for?”

“What?”

“Were you only showing love to feel loved and prideful?”

“Well…no, God.  Of course not.”

“So, then why does it bother you so much, my child?”

“…Because people can just be so unappreciative…”

“Because they don’t say thank you?”

“Well, yeh… I guess so…”

“Oh, like the other day when you became so frustrated at having no internet and some of the staff at the university?”

“Yeh, that was a bad day in general…but God, I really don’t see what this has to do with…”

“It has everything to do with it.  On that day when your internet was out and certain people in your life were letting you down…did the grass stop growing?”

“No…”

“Were you and your kids still healthy?  In a home?  With enough money to pay for your bills?  Was there giggling and laughter and hugs?  Food in your bellies?”

“Yeh, but…”

“So, you want others to be grateful…but are there not times when you could focus more on being gracious also?”

Stunned, I couldn’t help but think about the things in my life I often fail to be grateful for.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful…but how often do I SAY it…or list it?  It’s one thing to feel it and dismiss it and quickly go on to the next thing, but quite another to express it.

And, in this deployment it’s just so easy to feel like everything is falling apart.  A clingy child, broken something or other, a dad in the hospital, a funeral, and not being able to talk to my husband and feel his comforting arms around me.  Some days, I’ve just had enough.  Some days, I can’t seem to see past the hard and broken to what lies beyond.  And, it’s in those moments that I become ungrateful, refusing to focus on the good.

And, when it comes to giving to others…so often my sense of what’s “fair” and “just” overrides all else… but, by judging who is deserving or undeserving of love and grace is not my place.  As Christians, we are called to love others.  Their response is neither up to us nor our responsibility.  Truly giving is done without strings attached…not even strings attached to a simple “thank you.”

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Reaching Out

by bosssanders on July 2, 2011 with 3 comments

There is this thing about (most) military wives – they don’t like to ask for help.

To many, it’s thought of as a character defect – as something they just need to learn to get over and “do.”

But, the truth is:  It’s what we’re taught to do.  We’re taught to stand brave and proud behind our men.  We’re taught that a good military wife is courageous, patient, resourceful, and when duty calls…self-reliant.  We’re taught from the inside, but more than that, it’s the outside world that teaches military wives these things.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget some of the things still being fought for when it’s not blaring at us from the news and it’s no longer front-page headlines.  It’s easy for communities to forget the sacrifices that many men, women, and children make when someone serves, especially in cities removed from military posts or bases.  But, forgetting doesn’t make the reality fade away.

A short time ago, I was having dinner with a friend as she related some of her struggles as a military wife to me.  Her husband was called up, leaving her pregnant and what felt like a million years away from him.  She didn’t live near post, and it didn’t take long for the emotions and daily tasks to become overwhelming without him there.  And too soon, the community and church that had vowed to watch over that military service member’s family…was mostly forgotten.  She was left mostly alone to deal with it all in a dark corner on her couch.

As she related parts of her story to me, I couldn’t help but feel disgusted.  I couldn’t believe people would just forget her.  I couldn’t believe I was one of those people.

You see, I hadn’t really connected with this special woman before, but I did know OF her.  I knew her husband was leaving.  I knew she was pregnant.  But, that was about it.  I could try to wash it away now with excuses:

Had I known she was hurting, I would have…

She never told me…

She never asked me for…

I thought others would step up… where were her friends?…

But, you know what the truth is?  Excuses…it’s all they are.  I didn’t know she was hurting because *I* didn’t call to find out.  I didn’t know how many people had virtually stepped off the grid because I wasn’t there to find out.

I learned the reality and frequency of happenings such as these when my husband had only just left for the first stage in his deployment.  It began as a kind question from a woman, “How are you doing?”  I smiled, forcing tears back as I told her he’d recently left.  “Ah, well…you’ll get over it.”  She said, “After all, you knew it would happen at some time or another.”

My heart froze, my face along with it.  And, in that moment (and many more to come), I finally realized something:  Not reaching out and asking for help is sometimes not a defect at all, but rather a learned response after having it all shoved back into their faces, time and time again.

I understand how easy it is to forget the families that serve.  I know that sometimes we believe they are doing just fine, and sometimes…we don’t even know how to help.  I know schedules are busy and overloaded and pockets run near empty sometimes.  But, I hope you choose to remember anyways.

To all of the men and women who have given up their lives for our country – MY FREEDOM – thank you.

To all of the men and women that have served and still serve.  To those of you who have given up not only being able to see your family and air-conditioning and good food, but also sometimes sacrificing an arm or leg (or more) — THANK YOU.

To the families, who go day in day out, serving their country quietly (or not-so-quietly).  To those of you who give up bedtime kisses and time with your loved ones.  To the wives who play the roles of both mommy and daddy, endure long days and longer nights, and comfort their crying babies when they want to be held themselves.  –THANK YOU.

To the brave children who stand behind their mommies and daddies as they do their jobs far away.  To the little tear-stained cheeks who trade Hershey kisses for mommy/daddy’s kisses as they wait for them to come home…  THANK YOU too  (You are a whole other brand of heroes to me!)

To the communities who diligently watch out for these families and soldiers, who do more than talk about supporting and loving and actually DO SOMETHING.  To the people who make it their mission not to let soldiers or their families fall through the cracks.  — THANK YOU

We live in a country that claims to be PROUD of our heritage and our men and women who got us here, but I pray that we become a country that is more ACTION than TALK – and that someday soon, someone’s service to this country and the sacrifice it involves will no longer be viewed as their problem/their choice but rather a community’s  blessing and chance to serve and be supportive.

I pray that each and every one of you have a happy and wonderful FOURTH OF JULY weekend – and if you haven’t already, that you’ll invite a soldier and their family, deployed family, veteran, or widow to your own festivities.

bosssanders

Relating To Others

by bosssanders on June 15, 2011 with no comments

It’s so easy to fall into Satan’s trap of not only feeling like we’re alone, but like we’re the only ones.

With my husband’s deployment, I’ve fought off the natural response to recoil from those who are just trying to relate to and comfort me with their experiences.  But, in my head, I want to say:  What could you possibly know about this?

And, while it’s true…  an extended business trip is not the same as sending your husband to a place filled with roadside bombers and people who would blow themselves up just to blow up one American.  Thank God it’s not the same, actually.

And, it’s true that unless you’ve done it before as a military wife, there are things you will never understand – from watching family BBQs from afar (because yours is broken up) to the lonely nights to the unknowns and the secrets the military requires.  There’s also trying to comfort your children when you really just want to be held yourself and watching them as they began to grip onto reality, putting together pieces of the puzzle from their little peers to what they hear from adults.

Some things are just different, but recently I’ve come to realize that if truth be told…it’s always different.

You will never completely understand what I’m going through, no matter who you are or what you’ve been through.  And, I will never completely understand your story.  You see, God could give us both the EXACT same situation but most likely, we would experience it differently because of our pasts, outlooks, and other details in our lives.  It doesn’t make one worse than the other – because pain is pain and we all bleed just the same.

We are meant to have different stories and different (but similar) pain because WE are different.  We can use the pain we’ve endured to minister to others, regardless of how much we do or don’t understand.  The key isn’t to know completely their pain,but the key is to know that they are completely in pain…and LOVE them and be there.

And, if you are one of the few that have found someone who you COMPLETELY relate to on every level…well, stop looking because I guarantee you’ll find unique-ness one day.

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The Truth

by bosssanders on March 24, 2011 with no comments

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Don’t Miss This

by bosssanders on February 1, 2011 with 1 comment

I’m reading this wonderful book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp, and don’t want to put it down.

We all have those moments, days, and even years where our life seems to have crumbled to shambles beneath our very feet.  This book is about the dare to live fully right where you are.

Join the author, myself and many others as we come together to discuss this wonderful life-changing book (HERE).

bosssanders

A Christmas Adventure

by bosssanders on December 14, 2010 with no comments

When I say the words, “Christmas Adventure” – what comes to mind?

Standing in long lines at 2 am to race to the biggest deals?

Wrapping paper debacles?

Getting shocked by Christmas lights or falling off the roof while trying to secure the 100th strand?

I know we’re getting short on time, since it’s nearly Christmas (yay, flu!), but this timeless resource will be good year after year.  I’m loving “A Christmas Adventure” by Scripture Adventures - packed full of relevant and interesting illustrated lessons, crafts, and recipes for this Christmas season.    It’s only 7.99 and comes in both KJV and NIV versions!

In “A Christmas Adventure” kids will make:
Christmas traditions for kidsChristmas Scripture Countdown Chain
Christmas traditions for kidsChristmas Rebus Story
Christmas traditions for kidsPopcorn Garland for your tree
Christmas traditions for kidsHand-made Christmas Cards
Christmas traditions for kidsSongs for Caroling
Christmas traditions for kidsCandy Cane Reindeer
Christmas traditions for kidsWritten Testimony of Christ
Christmas traditions for kidsPaper Poinsettia
Christmas traditions for kidsChristmas Greeting Banner
Christmas traditions for kidsMerry Christmas Word Search
Christmas traditions for kidsHomemade Wrapping Paper
Christmas traditions for kidsAngel Bringing Good Tidings Poster
Christmas traditions for kidsChristmas Dove Craft
Christmas traditions for kidsPeace on Earth Bookmarks
Christmas traditions for kids“Stained Glass” Christmas Picture
Christmas traditions for kidsClay Pot Nativity
Christmas traditions for kidsChristmas Bird Ornaments
Christmas traditions for kidsNativity Puppets
Christmas traditions for kidsHoliday Spice Potpourri
Christmas traditions for kids9 Christmas Coloring Pages


Plus 26 easy-to-make Christmas recipes for kids:
Christmas traditions for kids Crispy Christmas Trees
Christmas traditions for kidsCrispy Christmas Wreaths
Christmas traditions for kidsEdible Cookie Wreath Oranaments
Christmas traditions for kidsOrnament Cookies
Christmas traditions for kidsCrockpot Carmel Apples
Christmas traditions for kidsOld Fashioned English Toffee
Christmas traditions for kidsKid Friendly Fudge
Christmas traditions for kidsAlmond Roca
Christmas traditions for kids Candy Cane Cookies
Christmas traditions for kidsCandy Cane Hearts
Christmas traditions for kidsCandy Cane Cupcakes
Christmas traditions for kids Chocolate Caliente
Christmas traditions for kidsMexican Hot Chocolate Jars
Christmas traditions for kidsSuper Simple Gingerbread Kids
Christmas traditions for kidsFrosty’s Almond Bark
Christmas traditions for kids Easy Scottish Truffles
Christmas traditions for kidsPioneer Potato Pancakes
Christmas traditions for kidsCornbread Rusk
Christmas traditions for kidsGingersnaps
Christmas traditions for kidsParmesan Breadstick Shepherd Staffs
Christmas traditions for kidsRoyal Chocolate Cheesecake Squares
Christmas traditions for kidsAuntie June’s Scottish Shortbread
Christmas traditions for kidsChocolate Covered Peanuts
Christmas traditions for kidsChristmas Tree Cake
Christmas traditions for kidsRudolph’s Antlers
Christmas traditions for kidsRudolph and Friends Cupcakes

Interested?  You can go here to download a free sample to try it out.

Or, you can buy it here.

bosssanders

Gifted.

by bosssanders on December 7, 2010 with no comments

It’s Christmas-time, and I’ve got gifts on the brain.  Spiritual gifts.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the gifts God has given me and how I can use them to best serve Him and His people.  However, like a lot of people, the self-doubt begins to set in and I begin to wonder what my gifts really are and if, once paired with my flaws, they’d hinder more than they’d help.

After doing a Spiritual Gifts Assessment, I was pretty surprised.

I scored high in the following:

  • Exhortation
  • Administration
  • Mercy
  • Service/Helps
  • Teaching

I need to especially work on:

  • Evangelism
  • Apostleship
  • Discernment
  • Prophecy
  • Wisdom

Of course, KNOWLEDGE only gets you halfway, so I used a great resource (which I’ll list below) to make a plan to improve what needs improving and to put to use what I’m already good at.

Your gifts don’t have to be tied with bows and glitter to be meaningful – what will you be giving others this holiday season?

Click here if you want a List of Spiritual Gifts and what they entail.

Click here if you want the Spiritual Gifts Survey.

Click here if you want the Spiritual Growth Assessment and Planning Sheet.

bosssanders

Snippets Of Truth – Hearing His Voice

by bosssanders on December 6, 2010 with no comments

The whispers of God echo. They do not fade nor will you miss His still small voice. He is not waiting to catch you with ‘only once’ instruction, hoping you’ll recognize His voice. When God speaks, His voice reverberates in the facets of life. He stirs within your heart then leads you to a verse that confirms. A sign in the store, the pastor’s sermon, a friend’s kind word, your devotional all resonate the same message. Today, listen for His echoes. (Consider the story of Balaam. God first speaks to him in a dream. When Balaam fails to heed the Lord’s instruction, God sends an angel. Balaam’s eyes are closed to the angel, so God causes the donkey to speak. At this, Balaam’s eyes are opened and God uses him for His purpose. Clearly God echoed in Balaam’s circumstance though he was a very ungodly man. How much more will God pursue His intent in the life of His children, the faithful few who are listening?)  —-  by Christine

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Courage – Do Not Fear (Isaiah 40:10)

by bosssanders on December 1, 2010 with no comments

Full Page Bible Verse Printable

Bible Verse Visuals

Bible Verse Copywork Tracer Pages

Coloring Pages

Freebies from Seeds of Courage

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Free Jesse Tree Advent Devotional Book

by bosssanders on December 1, 2010 with no comments

Go HERE for your free copy from “A Holy Experience”

(It’s a really great devotional/walk through Advent as we await Christmas and all it means.  Join the journey yourself or with your family, either way, I hope you love it as much as I do!)

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