Three tips to keep your sanity on a multi-family Vacation

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There’s nothing like family time at the beach for unwinding and connecting with your children, grandchildren, siblings, or the entire extended family.   The long summer days with no schedule except to bask in the sun while watching the kids play in the waves at the ocean or swim in the pool make for lots of relaxing time and long, interesting conversations.    Yet several families under one roof for a week can prove stressful no matter how much you love each other if you’re not careful to plan properly and avoid surprises.

We have been taking family vacations to the beach or the mountains for years with our children and grandchildren and it’s always one of my favorite times of the year.  In our busy lives where everyone is working hard on their careers and raising their family, it’s a blast to get together for a time of relaxation and just enjoying each other.  Here are some simple tips that have worked wonderfully for us to make these vacations low stress and high fun.

Allow for privacy

Each married couple gets their own bedroom.  It can get crazy and loud with 10-20 or more people talking, children running around, etc. Having a private place where one can retreat to at night or during times when you just need to chill is a must.  Kids can sleep anywhere, but adults need their on space and a comfortable bed.  We usually get a house or condo with enough bedrooms and baths for each couple.  Private space is more important than luxury here.

Plan your meals

Have a plan for your meals before you go.  The best way to create hard feelings is for Mom, Grandma, or Aunt Susie to be stuck in the kitchen cooking every night or one family ending up footing the bill for most of the food.

There are five adult couples in our family.  Usually breakfast  and lunch are on our own and then we have dinner together.  Each couple takes one dinner for which they are responsible for planning, purchasing, cooking and cleaning up.  While it can be a big project for some to cook for that many people, it’s only one night and the other four nights you get to enjoy someone else’s food.  And  there are always some that offer to chip in and help with tasks or cleanup.

Two nights we usually eat out. This plan has always worked well for us, but every family is different Some like to go out to eat every night, however, we found that gets stressful because there are so many of us and the wait for a table can be extremely long.  Breaking into smaller groups on eating out nights is more manageable and enjoyable.  Create a meal plan that works for you.   The main thing is to have a plan before you go.

Talk about the money

Set clear expectations on who pays for what before you go.   For years my husband and I paid for the condo and even a lot of the food for the vacation and we loved doing that.  Now that the family is much bigger it’s getting harder to do that.  A condo or house for a week can cost $7,000 to $10,000 or more for large families.   The secret to happiness here is to ageee on how much each family pays before you book.

Other things to consider are incidentals and entertainment. In our family each pays for their own entertainment.

Strong family ties are important for the health and wellbeing of everyone.   Studies show that people who are close to their families are healthier and even live longer.  So get together often  even if it’s just a picnic in the park.  Family time is always time well spent.

”Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love in honor, giving preference to one another.” Romans 12:10

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Beyond Excellence

Landy Gardner was the choir director at my church, Christ Church Nashville, for almost forty years.   He was a musical genious even though he didn’t personally excel at reading music, arranging, or singing and neither played a musical instrument.  But Landy knew what beautiful, heavenly music sounded like and he knew how to pull people together to get that amazing sound.  He was gifted in that way like no one I’ve ever known.

His excellence and leadership led us to places around America and even the world.  We sang at music conferences, the CMA and Dove awards, Ukraine, and every Sunday morning at Christ church.  We held concerts where the choir would pack out the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville or our church sometimes two or three nights in a row.

Excellence draws people and the excellent music produced by Landy and the choir drew thousands.  Not only audiences but singers also. Those of us who could take the discipline and commitment it took to be in Landy’s choir loved the experience that producing such wonderful music brought.  I remember thinking many times while in the choir loft that there was no place on earth I’d rather be than right there at that time.

After 25 years God called me to another church.  Ironically, it turned out to be at the exact same time that Landy’s assignment at Christ Church ended.

Cancer took Landy’s life way too early.   At his memorial service the choir loft was filled with hundreds of previous choir members.  Even though it had been years since we had sung together, We sang the songs he arranged exactly the way he had taught us.  The Holy Spirit visited us that day and anointed our voices just the way Landy would have wanted. Oh to live a life so great that even the Holy Spirit Himself comes to honor you at your funeral in such an incredible way!

Landy was a natural, vibrant leader who loved God and would settle for nothing less than excellence in everything he touched.  Not only one of the best choir directors in the world, he was one of Nashville’s finest interior designers, creating the most beautiful rooms for those who could afford his expertise.

What was the secret to the incredible music Landy pulled from a choir of ordinary people?  What made it incredibly beautiful and awe inspiring?  Why did the music move people the way it did, always bringing both singers and audiences to the throne of God in worship to Him?

The secret was that Human excellence wasn’t good enough for Landy.  While He taught us to work hard to learn the beautifully arranged music and practice every song until it became second nature to us, perfecting each and every note, pitch, and tone and anything else Landy could add to make it great; that was never enough.  For when he felt it was good as we could possibly get it, he would say “Now give it to God and ask for His Holy Spirit blessing on it.”  That is what would turn the water into wine and bring heaven down to earth.  We were singing effortlessly because we knew the material so well, and were able to just worship and seek God’s anointing.  It never failed!

It’s a valuable lesson I want  to take with me into every other area of my life.   Always be as excellent as possible, but don’t stop there. When I’ve done the best I can, ask for God to bless it to take it to the next level beyond what is humanly possible.

It’s a lesson we can all benefit from whether in music, art, business, and anything else in life.


”In all your ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct your paths.”  Proverbs 3:6

When Mother is Lost

There are some instances in our life where the memories are so vivid that we can even remember what we were wearing.  This is the case back in December 1968.  I was 15 and my father had picked me up from school that day.   I had worn my favorite khaki colored wool jumper with pleats and a grey and khaki sweater underneath.  “Your mom isn’t doing well and we need to run down to the hospital,” he said.  I didn’t think too much about it.  She  had just had surgery and I figured she was just having a little setback.

When I got there, however, I began to realize that she was much worse off than I thought.  She was  lying in bed with ice packs all around her.  A huge green oxygen tank was beside her bed with a tube hooked up to her nose.  She was non-responsive.  The lovely plants that were just brought to her room yesterday were now limp and wilted as if they were crying out that something  is terribly wrong here.  “That’s from so much oxygen in the room,” the nurse told me, obviously noticing my bewildered look.

”Squeeze her hand and she will squeeze it back,” my father said gently.    I walked over and took her hand and gave it a squeeze and she did squeeze it back.  I was confused.  Why could she squeeze my hand but not speak?  What happened next was like a car speeding out of control and there was nothing to do to stop it.

The nurse must have been sensing that I was in denial as to what was happening, because she took Mom’s temperature and made sure that I knew it read 106 degrees.

Then those in the room began telling stories about when this person died or that person died and I became very angry.  I was raised to never yell at or question adults but I was angrily thinking to myself why are you people giving up so easily?

I spent the rest of the night in the waiting room right outside her door trying to process what was happening.  Then around 2:00 in the morning there was a lot of commotion around her room.  A few minutes later, the doctor came and got my dad for a short conversation after which dad came back out shook his head and said “She’s gone.”

The nurse asked me if I wanted to go back into the room to see her one more time and I declined.  We stopped by an office where my dad filled out some papers and then we went home.

I lost a lot that day.  I would never know what is was like to have a relationship as a grown woman with my mother.  She would not be there to help me when I brought my first newborn home or the three that followed after that.  She wouldn’t even be there when I graduated  high school.  As a teenager, I had been worried about having to take care of her post-op, now I was going to have to cook meals for my dad and two brothers practically every night.  I was to grow up perhaps sooner than I should.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Even as a young Christian this verse kept me going during this time.    There was so much that I didn’t understand but through all the painful grief I found comfort in trusting that somehow God was going to make good come from this.

The year that followed was hard.  I didn’t know how to cook as all I had ever done was bake cake from mixes, so I just opened can of beans and heated them up for dinner many times.   But slowly I got a little better and sometimes my aunt who was an amazing cook would bring us dinner which was a real treat!

A year later my dad remarried and that brought both blessings and curses.  I no longer had to be the chief cook and could go back to being a teenager; but along with the marriage came a step-sister.   While thrilled to have a sister, our up bringing was very different which caused a lot of friction in the house.

I left home at 17 to go to college and never moved back.

So what good came from all these trials?  My step mother and I gradually became closer through the years and when my children were born, she loved each of them as if they were her very own grandchildren. The man I married is one of the godliest on earth and his mom treated me from day one the same as her own daughters.  In fact, years later when she got dementia, I was the very last person whose name she forgot.

I was given four of the greatest children to raise.  They are all healthy, talented, hard-working, successful, God fearing adults of whom I couldn’t be more proud.  My life has been so blessed in every way and even though I never knew either of my grandmothers.  (They died before I was born,) and I knew my mother for a very short time, this Mother’s Day I choose to dwell on not what I have lost, but what I have gained and the multitude of blessings I can be truly thankful for.  I hope you can do the same.

My Blessings

900 Years and Counting

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I’m always amazed at how long some people lived back before the flood.  From Adam to Noah, 900 years seemed like a normal lifespan.  We don’t know how many other people lived to be 900 during this time,  but its very possible that these mentioned in the Bible stories were not the only ones who enjoyed such a long life.

What could we do if we lived 900 years today?  We could be successful at 10 plus careers!  We all have talents that we have that we have not had time to develop.   I love to dance but never had the opportunity to take dance classes while I was young.  But if I lived to 900, I could start professional dance classes at 300 and dance for 100 years until I was 400!

If we lived for 900 years we would know our grandchildren for up to 20 generations!  Today we live about a tenth of that time, and the best we can hope for is to know our great grandchildren or if we are really fortunate, possibly some of our great-great grand children.

We see the life span of man start to dramatically decrease after the flood.  Shem, Noah’s son lived to 600 while Arpachshad, his son loved only around 400 years and by the end of Genesis the life span of those mentioned ends with Abraham living only 175 years. What happened during  the flood that caused the life span to continually decrease?  Because the people had become so wicked prior to the flood, did God just decide that 900 years in this sin cursed world was too long and he needed to take us home sooner for our own good?

I find it interesting that after the  flood God told Noah that is was now okay for them to start eating meat and that this also coincided with the time the lifespan began to decrease.  Yet, obviously, their longevity  wasn’t solely the vegetative diet, otherwise vegans would live to be 900 today.  Some Bible scholars believe it was probably rather a change In genetics that caused the decreased life span since the genetic pool had been decreased down to six people after the flood.

While we may live on earth roughly only 70, 80 or 90 years today; we are in reality eternal beings.  Our life doesn’t end when we earthly body dies.  Our spirits are eternal.  I’m thankful that God has made a way for us to live that eternal life with Him by sending His son to die for ours sins.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23


Enemies of the Cross

 Christians everywhere will focus a lot on the cross this weekennd.  Rightly so as the cross and resurrection are the basis of our faith.  Without it, we have nothing!  Interestingly, Paul warned us, in Phillipians, however, about enemies of the cross.  “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. Phillipians 3:18,19.  Paul is referring to the unbelievers in his day, many of whom were persecuting  Christians.

It’s tempting for us  to want to fight back when we encounter enemies of the cross today.  Those who blaspheme us for our Biblical Christian values or who glory in their shame of sexual perversion or who proudly “shout their abortions.”

At times, though, we can all be enemies of the cross, even those of us who proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord of our life.   For instance, every time I take another bite of food when I’m already full just because it taste good, my God is my belly.

I love the way the scriptures always list what we think are just little sins, like overeating  right along with what we believe to be the audacious ones like the murder of another human being.  The Bible does this again in Proverbs 6: 16-19.

These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.

A proud look is listed right there along with murder, lies, and wicked schemes!  While we are warned of the evils of sin, we cannot for one minute become self-righteous because we all do something every day to break God’s laws.

Admittedly, sometimes my god is my belly, and I even glory in my shame when I don’t want to readily admit that something I have done is against one of God’s laws, and far too often I find myself concerned about earthly things.

Thus the reason for the cross. We all need it and, thankfully, it is available to everyone of us.  This Easter my hope is that I will become less of an enemy of the cross and more of a friend of the cross and  live my life in such a way that may help turn any unbelieving enemies of the cross that are in my sphere of influence into believers in the cross.

Happy Easter!

Why Pray Anyway?

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Why does God asks us to pray?  After all He is all powerful and can do as He pleases.  Why doesn’t He just do what He wants in order to accomplish what He wishes in the earth?  He certainly doesn’t need our permission. God knows our heart.  He could always  just do for us what He knows we need or want, couldn’t He?

The truth is that God wants a relationship with us!   God who thought us up and created us actually loves us and desires to be in communion with us and you can’t have any kind of meaningful relationship without  communication.  Prayer is that avenue of communication.  God speaks to us through His Word and the Holy Spirit and we commune back to Him in prayer.

While some say we shouldn’t be asking God for things all the time, that instead we should be asking Him only what He would want from us,  I believe that we should ask God’s will for our lives daily, and also ask Him for anything we need, too, no matter how small and trivial.

Here’s why

God is not too busy to be bothered by our trivial requests.  Saying that He is too busy is putting a limit on Him and God has no limitations.

Small requests build faith.  Some may think it selfish to ask God to help us find our car keys or a parking spot, but in reality those quick answers to trivial needs actually build faith and when we need something bigger from God that is really important, we remember His faithfulness in those small day to day prayers.

God tells us to pray about everything.  Philippians 4:6 say “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

When God doesn’t answer

God is not a genie in a bottle.   He doesn’t give us everything we ask for when we ask for it.  He answers according to His will in His timing because He knows more what’s best for us than we do.  However, we should never let an unanswered prayer be an excuse to stop praying.

Research shows that those who pray are more at peace, have less depression, and bond better with others, Thankfulness and gratitude prayers have been shown to increases the serotonin and dopamine in our brains —those feel good hormones that lift our spirits.  Prayer makes us happier, healthier and able to tackle life’s problems better than those who try to do it on their own.

So pray in faith believing that God will answer (or not) in the way that is best for both you and His Kingdom and the world.   Big or small, He cares about them all.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

The Five Biggest Losers of Abortion

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Thousands of years ago, God answered the question of when life begins.  For the life of the flesh is in the blood.  (Leviticus 17:11).  Today science confirms that upon conception the first cells of blood are formed and that blood never passes between the mother and the child.  The child becomes a separate entity with its own unique DNA.  Once a child’s life has been destroyed, it can never be replaced for we are each unique individuals in body, soul and spirit. There is no doubt that abortion takes the life of an innocent human being.

Naturally the unborn baby is the biggest loser when it’s life is snuffed out before it even begins its journey on earth.  Besides sometimes  having to endure the pain of a gruesome death by having it’s body burned to death or ripped apart limb by limb, it is denied the opportunity to experience life in all it glory – the ups and downs as well as the ability to love, learn, and to grow into whatever God had planned for him or her,

But aborted babies are not the only losers in this sad but lucerative industry.  There are many others who suffer when a mother decides to end the life of her unborn child.

The Fathers Lose

When we talk about abortion rights, it’s always about the mother’s right to choose.  No one speaks of the father.  Sure, there are some deadbeat fathers out there who don’t have enough manhood to provide and care for the baby they created, yet will gladly fork over a few dollars to destroy it and get it out of their lives.   But what about those fathers who love their unborn child and long more than anything to raise it?  They have no choice but to sit idly by knowing their son or daughter will die a torturous death without any legal recourse to stop it.  I can’t imagine the  magnitude of the hurt they must feel.

Society Loses

What does society lose when an unborn baby is slaughtered?  We don’t even know for sure. What would this person have become?  How would they have contributed to society?  What unique gifts and talents did God bestow upon them to share with the world?  Would they have become the researcher who discovered the cure for cancer or the inventor of some great technology?  God has a plan for each and every life and when that life is sacrificed before it’s time, their purpose goes unfulfilled. 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.(Jeremiah 29:11)

Abortion Providers Lose

How does abortion affect those that are actually performing the abortions?  When interviewed they seem to be proud of what they do. Happy to provide this service to women.  However, these people get up each morning and go to work with the goal of killing as many  fellow humans as they can.  In some cases, the more they abort, the bigger their paycheck.  If they have any conscious at all, they could not possibly be happy people who are fulfilled in their work.  They are destroying not only the lives of others but their own life and soul as well.

These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,  a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, Proverbs 6: 16-18

No amount of money can make up for the horror they must live with every day.  Some become hard and calloused over time while some decide they can’t take it any longer and  eventually quit the business.  Both groups need our prayers.   To those that are continuing in the industry that their eyes will be open to the reality of what they are actually doing and to those who have abandoned the work that they will find forgiveness and the peace that only God can bring.

Mother –  The Biggest Loser of all

Besides their forever lost babies, the Mom’s are the biggest losers in abortion.  Nothing brings more joy to a mother and a family than the birth of a child.  It doesn’t matter if the child was conceived in love, lust or even rape, there is something about new life coming into the world that brings unspeakable joy.  Their innocence, vulnerability and total dependence that causes mom’s and dads to fall in love with them instantly is unexplainable.  You’ll never hear anyone say when they hold their newborn that they wish they had aborted it.

Today, mothers are given many reasons to terminate the life of their child.  Perhaps the child is imperfect, or Mom doesn’t think she has enough money or time to raise them properly.  Perhaps she wants to finish her education, or believes the world they are coming into is too cruel, the father isn’t involved, or they just don’t want to deal with the embarrassment of being unwed and pregnant.  The list goes on and on.  But what about the reasons to let it live?  Who is reminding her of the incredible joy and  blessings this child will bring to her family or even another family if she chooses to give it up for adoption.

Expectant mothers are given horrible advice today at a time when they are scared and vulnerable themselves when they are told their best option is to kill their child.  These advisers don’t usually bother to tell them how they will forever regret that decision and  grieve for that child the rest of their life.

Who wins then?

If the baby, the father, the mother, the abortionist, and society loses when a baby is aborted, who wins then?   That’s easy.  Satan wins.  Satan hates people who are created in the image of God and is always looking for a anyway he can to destroy any and all of us both physically and spiritually. Abortion just may be his greatest tool yet.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10

Grateful Opportunities

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It’s the time of the year that we tend to focus more on gratitude. Gratitude is a fantastic virtue and people who are grateful tend to lead happier, more productive lives.  We have so much to be thankful for, especially in America, where we have  an abundance of variable resources. As my pastor says, most of our problems come from having too much stuff!  We have so much food available to us that we are constantly  trying to avoid the temptation to not over eat.   So many clothes  cram our closets we have trouble deciding what to wear.  The many options  available to us of things to do and entertain ourselves cause us to run ourselves ragged just trying to keep up with our ever increasingly busy schedules.

While I’m so thankful for material possessions, nice homes and transportation, good health care and access to plenty of nutritious food and so much more, what I’m really focusing my gratefulness for this year are opportunities provided to me by others.   A couple of incidents have occurred this fall that have me peeling back this gratitude layer a little further.

First, my former choir director died.  Landy was a huge personality in so many ways.  One of Nashville’s top interior designers, he also was a choir director practically his entire life.  I was privileged to sing under his direction at Christ Church in Nashville for 25 years.  During that time, he taught me along with everyone else under his lead to sing and worship God to the best of our ability.  We all learned techniques that brought our voices to levels we never imagined and then he showed us  how to give  our best efforts to God for Him to add His blessing.  That brought an Holy Spirit anointing that took us right to heaven’s door every Sunday.  Landy worked hard  with the choir, band, and arrangers to produce the beautiful music he heard in his head.   We singers as well as the audience were the benefactors of his passion, talent, and tireless efforts.

We sang at music and worship conferences across America.    He took us on four mission trips to Ukraine where we did concerts up and down the Nipper River as the very first Christian group to go into that country after the breakup of the Soviet Union, singing every song in the Ukranian language.   In America we did concerts every year where we packed out our church of 2500 for 2 or 3 nights or venues like the Grand Ole Opry house and were even invited to sing on the Dove Awards and Country Music Awards.  We sang with artist like Dolly Parton, Reba McIntyre, Glen Campbell, the Judds and many others.   Yet, we were just ordinary people, not professional singers.  Sure we worked hard and put a lot of  time and energy into the choir,  but none of it would have ever happened had it not been for Landy Gardner.   I’m eternally thankful for his passion, leadership, and willingness to bring me and my fellow choir members along on a journey that never could have been possible on our own.  He allowed me personally to reap countless blessings that I never would have otherwise never experienced.

Right after Landy passed, I had eye surgery.  Cataracts had invaded the lens of both my eyes and had to be removed.    Upon a visit to the eye doctor he told me he could not only removed the cataract, but also replace it with a lens that would give me virtually 20/20 vision in both eyes.   After surgery I was amazed at the brightness of the colors and the rooms.  I could see clearly in the distance and everything was sharp and clear.  I had not been able to see that well without glasses in years! How thankful I was to be able to not have to wear glasses to see and even read. Sure it cost a lot of money, but no amount of money would have been able to restore my eyesight if no one  had not been willing to undergo years of training and expense to learn the tedious procedure and become qualified to do eye surgery.   Additionally,  someone, somewhere  developed the artificial lens that make seeing possible.    I’m extremely thankful to all of them, even though I don’t even know them.

This Thanksgiving, take a moment to go beyond just being thankful for the obvious.  When you count your blessings, think about how many  are available to you  because of the sacrifice of others.  I want to be thankful for the contractor that built my house, the engineers and workers that built the roads I travel to work on every day, my boss, whose passions and expertise have provided a job for me to earn a living year after year, government officials who keep order in our society, teachers who gave me an education and my pastor and thought leaders who speak into my life every day.  The list seems endless when you stop to think about how many people help us each and every day just by doing what they do.

Things just don’t happen in this world.  Everything worthwhile comes by sacrifice and hard work from someone.   When we stand on their shoulders and reap the benefits of what others have done,  it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on how they have enriched our lives and  to be grateful for them even if they are no longer here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:16

Inevitable Change


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Embrace change!  We’re encouraged to do this in today’s fast-paced, ever developing, technology driven society.  If we don’t change and continually learn, we will be left behind and eventually get to the point where it is hard to even function.

While God remains the same, His world is always changing.   Each rotation of the earth around the sun brings a host of distinct challenges, opportunities, blessings, joys, trials, and sorrows.  Every day people are born into life here and every day some leave.  Plants appear in the spring and then begin to die out in the fall as the trees go bare, only to be replaced by new buds the next spring.  Most animals appear for just a few short years before they die and are replaced by their offspring.

A few decades ago,  most of the people we care about and spend most of our time with today didn’t even exist.  A couple of decades in the future and our family will look totally different than it does today.

Remember when we were very young we though we will be on this earth for what seemed like an eternity. Then suddenly in early adult hood the stark reality hit us that life is going by much faster than we ever imagined.

With each passing day we become a little different.  We are a little older, a little fatter or skinnier, depending on what we ate, a little wiser or dumber, depending on what we allowed into our minds.  A little richer or poorer depending on what economic decisions, good fortune or trouble we happened to experience that day.

No two days will ever be the same and neither will we be the same tomorrow as we are today. Therefore, embrace change and embrace this day.  In a way It will be our last for there will never be another one exactly like it. Besides, it’s the only one we are guaranteed to have!

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Can I Get a Do Over?

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I hate regrets.  I’ve made some bad decisions in my life as well as some really good ones, too.  The good ones, I’m happy with and wouldn’t change a thing.  These were decisions that were right, God inspired, and things turned out well.

Other decisions, on the other hand, were made hastily without listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, or worst yet, by totally going against what God was telling me to do.  In those circumstances things have not turned out so well.  While God is the great redeemer and has saved me from a host of my dumb mistakes, if I had a chance to do things over, I’d make those decisions differently.

As we mature we learn from our mistakes.  We get wiser with age and then look back and say What was I thinking?  How many times have we said If I had it to do over again I wouldn’t do that again or I would do that differently.

The good news is that we do get a do over.  Not in this life perhaps, but in our eternal life.

The Bible gives us some insight into what life will be like in eternity.  We will know as we are known (1 Cor. 13:12) We will have important work to do (Rev. 20:6) and we won’t have to deal our earthly, sinful nature (Heb. 8:12)

I’m glad God is merciful and has forgiven me of my many sins, short-comings, and failures.  Without His mercy, I would be in a terrible place.  I’m thankful that I’m wiser today than I was twenty years ago.  I wish I had been wiser twenty years ago.  Though I wasn’t, God took care of me anyway – and He still does today.

With God, everything serves a purpose.  Every trial, goof-up, horrible mistake, and sorrow we endure here on earth can serve as a learning ground for not only our future on Earth but in the life to come.

The goal is to mature and grow in Christ, becoming more like him every day.  It’s a life-long process for sure and we all experience set backs in our journey, but for those who endure, blessings await.  For he is preparing us for something greater than we can even imagine!

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?  I Cor. 6:2