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Talking Trash.

If you’re new to this site and you found us via the Mature Living article by this title, WELCOME! We’re so glad you’re here. The article you read in the August issue of Mature Living Magazine originally appeared here as a blog post and was titled: “And Forgive Us Our Trash Baskets As We Forgive Those…” Great to have you joining us. Please subscribe and take a look around. – Stephanie

Are you finding it hard to forgive someone lately?12762-Clipart-Picture-Of-A-Garbage-Can-Mascot-Cartoon-Character-With-Welcoming-Open-Arms

When the email arrived in my inbox, I was tempted to trash it. It was a kind of “Kids say the craziest things” collection, and I have to admit, I didn’t have the time to read it. Work was waiting.

It was one child’s take on the Lord’s prayer, however, that really caught my attention. It went like this:

“And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our basket.”

Wow, I thought. If that child only knew how right  they were!

I have to admit…

It’s easy for me to ask God to forgive the sin in my life. (My personal trash basket.) But oh how much harder it is to forgive those that frustrate and complicate my life with their sins. The ones that put their trash in my basket of life.

I certainly don’t want God remembering or punishing me for my flub ups. Yet, for some reason, I don’t seem to mind Him recalling the offenses of the people who have wronged or hurt me. I would imagine you understand and might even be going through something similar of this nature right now.

It’s in those times that I have to consciously remind myself that God has not only forgiven, He loves the folks that hurt me. I didn’t say it was easy. But the reality is—Christ died for their sins too. Not just mine.

Sure, I’d like to think I am the center of my Creator’s world. But I’m not. There’s a few billion more out there that He has His eye on and cares about as well. In an odd way, that’s comforting. Why? Because it means that He deals with my trash and your trash everyday-and He can handle it. Our trash baskets don’t phase Him a bit and what’s inside of them doesn’t change His love for either of us. That’s a pretty amazing thought.

There’s a great verse that  helps me come to see that perhaps God just might be the great trash taker-outter.
It reads:

And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins. Psalm 103:12
Just my thoughts. Yours? :)
S.

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The Prayer of Hannah.

hannah-praying

Asking God.

I really hadn’t noticed it before. And I, perhaps like you, have read the passage on numerous occasions. But this time, I caught something I hadn’t seen before.

The story of Hannah in 1 Samuel is fascinating to me. And, I am blessed to have actually stood in the ruins of the exact location where this scene took place. Years ago while on a trip to Israel.

There’s more in that chapter than you’d think, if you take it slow and read between the lines.

So, what struck me this time?

1. Hannah was in deep pain over something she didn’t have: a child

2. Ironically, the person causing her pain (Penninah) had 6 children.

3. Hannah had the love of her husband, Elkannah. (He had two wives—Hannah was one, Penninah was the other.)

4. Penninah had the children, but she didn’t have the love of her husband. Hannah did.

The Problem?

Each wanted something of value to them that the other person had.

hmmmmmm

The Solution?

She prayed for God to answer her request and end her grief

If you notice, Hannah went before the Lord in bitter grief. What is amazing to me is that her husband says to her, “Am I not enough for you?”

He didn’t understand. That wasn’t the pain point. In her day, that child that she didn’t have was her validation as a woman. No one, but a woman, in Hannah’s situation would understand. And not just a child, but a son! A male child.

It may not make sense to you when someone else is hurting, and, in truth, your hurt may not make sense to someone else, but those situations, that pain—is real. Hannah literally, according to the translation The Message, said to God “If you’ll take a good hard look at my pain, if you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me.

Wow!

She didn’t say,

  • Help me handle this grief.
  • Make me more Godly.
  • Avenge my enemy.

Nope. She asked God to grant her request.

Eli the High Priest actually accused her of being drunk while she was praying and crying by the way. (If that wasn’t enough to add insult to injury.) Nice!

Here’s how she responded, “The only thing I have been pouring out is my heart, pouring it all out to God…it’s because I’m so desperately unhappy and in such pain..”

There are a lot of people in pain. It sometimes seems overwhelming when you hear all of the stories. And when I do, I think of Hannah.

Perhaps we need to see the next part of the story. In verse 19 we see that after she left the building ,”And God began making the necessary arrangements in response to what she had asked.”

I am no prophet, I can’t change the course of time, but I can pray. I believe we should see this example of Hannah’s prayer, and take our weaknesses, our requests to God, seriously, and allow Him to work on our behalf.

By the way, when she and her husband returned home from that journey, she became pregnant. Before the year was out, she had…a SON. Not just a child…a son.

I don’t know what you might be asking for in your life, but I would say to you, let’s pray and pray hard. Hannah didn’t say, “I have been a godly woman, I have obeyed you, so answer my prayer because I have been a good girl.” No, she wanted something she didn’t have that was crucial to her personal, intense happiness…and God responded.

I’d love to hear about something you have truly begged God for, and seen Him answer. If so, share you story here with me and all to see. Everyone loves a good ending. Maybe it will be yours…or mine!

Just my thoughts,

S.

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Hey! It’s Almost OUR Birthday!

I love birthdays.

I think they should be special. And happy. But then, who doesn’t really want a true Birthday Bash that does them proud?search

As we get ready this weekend to celebrate the birth of our nation, I have to admit, I never cease to be amazed at the miracle of America. It’s beyond the imagination that we, as 13 struggling colonies, ever made it to this fascinating experiment that became known as the United States of America.

I have a friend born on the 4th, and we have always celebrated my grandmother’s birthday, which falls on the 7th as well. She will be 96 this year, and we are so blessed to still have her there to party with us.

Where EVER you are this Independence Day, be sure to pull out a flag or wear some of that ole Americana Red, White & Blue. Let’s add some spirit to the places we visit and the people we spend time with. I know our family will! My uncle will have on his July 4 shirt, no doubt, and I can’t wait to see it!

With that, here’s to faith, family and freedom.

And to you, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

A very HAPPY 4th to you. And…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

S.

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