A few weeks ago my Superhero and I were leaving The Ranch (a.k.a. my in-law's ranch), it was already dark outside, I'm not sure what time it was. It was probably pretty late, because we have a tendency to get to visitin' and before you know it hours have passed.
Anyway, we were backing up to pull away from the house, when I noticed Ryan's grandma Alma. The light from her lamp on her night stand lit her room just enough so that I could clearly see that Alma was kneeling beside her bed, in her night gown, with her hands folded and her eyes closed. What makes this sight extraordinary is that Grandma Alma has advanced dementia. Despite her dementia she says her prayers and reads her Bible daily. And if you ask her to say grace before a meal, she will do so with eloquence, even though she doesn't know who you are.
Grandma Alma and my Superhero on our wedding day... almost six years ago.
That brief scene gave me a lot to think about. I thought about how there was probably a time in Alma's life that she gave our Heavenly Father permission to use her in any way that would benefit His kingdom. And to think that our Heavenly Father is using her at her weakest... There is nothing pretty about dementia and as the disease progresses things just get uglier. But despite this, I know without a shadow of a doubt that Alma's presence has been a blessing in the Tachenko home. She has certainly been a blessing in my life.
And in those brief seconds that I watched Alma pray before we drove away I thought, "I want that!"
I want the kind of daily walk with the Lord that is such a part of my being, that I continue to walk with Him even when... I've lost my mind.
So what does this have to do with this week's memory verse?
Well Alma and several other recent events in my life have inspired me to establish good habits. Good, lasting, daily habits.
One of the habits I'm trying to create is reading the Bible each day. The other morning I wasn't sure what to read, so I prayed for direction. I ended up in Haggai. This little book of the Bible proved to be a huge blessing, and even more motivation to establish good Godly habits that last a life time.
So without further adieu, here is Haggai (TNIV):
1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshuason of Jozadak,the high priest:2 This is what theLordAlmightysays: “These peoplesay, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild theLord’s house.’”3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin? ”
5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored, ” says the Lord.9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands. ”
12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord.
13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord.14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God,15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month. In the second year of King Darius,
2 1 on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai:2 “Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak,the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them,3 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? 4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares theLord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’
6 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory, ’ says the Lord Almighty.8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace, ’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Haggai:11 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says:12 If a person carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated? ’”
The priests answered, “No.”
13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?”
“Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled. ”
14 Then Haggai said, “‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the Lord. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.
15 “‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on—consider how things were before one stone was laidon another in the Lord’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not return to me,’ declares the Lord.18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid. Give careful thought:19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.
“‘From this day on I will bless you.’”
20 The word of the Lord came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: 21 “Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth.22 I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his comrade.
23 “‘On that day, ’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
I hope these verses and Alma's example motivate you for God's glory.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
Our small town is blessed with one heck of a food co-op. I wanted to make bean soup and cornbread from scratch, so I needed to pick up some ingredients for my new healthy recipes. And of course I ended up buying other items that weren't on my list; like organic strawberries and organic this and organic that.
The Co-op even has Muffin-Tops... what next?1?
A dear family friend, that is like a grandma to my husband and I (aka framily), volunteers as a cashier each Wednesday afternoon at the co-op. This particular Wednesday was extraordinarily warm and beautiful for April. The front door of the co-op was wide open to allow the fresh air in. My step was light, and my smile was big as I greeted my framily. It was nice to get to visit with our Granny, but I couldn't help but lay my gaze upon the gal 10 feet behind Granny who was visibly upset. She appeared to be my age, perhaps a bit older. She wiped tears from her eyes, while another woman consoled her. Both women are familiar, which is so common, living in a small town and all.
I asked Granny if she knew what was going on, "Why is she so upset?" I couldn't stop looking.
"Oh, yes, she's fine. There was a customer who had said some things they shouldn't have said while she was checking them out...."
Me still looking and now shaking my head in disgust at the thought of a rude anybody.
"She has Aspergers, so she is more sensitive than most."
Our conversation ended because Granny needed to tend to her cashier duties, and I needed to get my organic goodies. I took my time doing my grocery shopping, which is such a gift in itself, since I'm usually in a hurry.
I'm nearly to the end of my grocery list and the distraught woman was now back at her post as a volunteer cashier. I couldn't help but over hear the distraught woman tell her current customer of her plight with the rude customer from earlier. Apparently the rude customer got upset at her because the co-op doesn't take debit or credit cards. This no plastic thing is posted multiple places through out the co-op, and as you and your dog knows, that is no reason to yell at someone or say unkind words. The customer being checked out validated our upset cashier by saying how ridiculous that is, and no one should behave that way... and then the customer said, "And you need to get some tougher skin... you can't let things like that get to you..."
I found myself thinking that this customer full of validation and advice obviously didn't realize she (and I'm sorry I don't have a name and I don't want to assign a name so she is staying "she") has Aspergers...
This series of events made me stop and think; so much so that I stopped my shopping, searched my chaotic purse for my favorite pen, and scribbled some words in my planner (aka brain).
Aspergers or not, I could/can relate. As much as I hate it, I tend to wear my proverbial heart on my proverbial sleeve. Her heart hurt and she was coping the only way she knew how. She was being real and honest with what she was feeling at that very moment. She doesn't know how to do the "plastic smile" and mumble the "Hi, how are you?" bull poop.
I stood in the co-op in awe and tried to absorb as many lessons as I could from the brief exchange of events.
A post I wrote a few months ago called "Fear & Gratitude", ironically became a source for extremely painful words and accusations from one individual with whom I was considerably close. I've been avoiding my blog. I've questioned my boldness in proclaiming that "God is love"; not because God has changed but because my courage was squandered. I questioned every post or tweet or status update I had ever shared about our Heavenly Father. Truly and sincerely, shame on me for giving Satan the pleasure!!!
It's truly incredible, and a bit beyond comprehension, how God can use painful words and turn them into indispensable lessons. Just like the scene at the co-op. Although my lesson took weeks, not just a few minutes.
GRACE. I desperately need it... as much as I need it, I need to also give it.
Luke 23:34 "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing..."