THE CRACKED WATER POT


cracked pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on an end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long  walk from the stream to the masters house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his masters house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor  cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.

“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”   “Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”  “I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because  this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your masters house.  Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from  your efforts.” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said. “As we return to the masters house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along  the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming  the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the  end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again  the Pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pots side? That’s because I have always known  about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my masters table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not  have this beauty to grace his house.”

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. But if we will allow it,  the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father’s table. In Gods great economy, nothing  goes to waste. Don’t be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and you too can be the cause of beauty. Know that in our weakness your strength is made perfect. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

– Author Unknown

I AM A FRIEND OF GOD


I love my friends. I enjoy spending time with them, doing things together and I enjoy our conversations most of all. But my best friend is with me at all times. My best friend is Jesus. Now this relationship is different. I don’t physically hear Him when we have conversations, but I do feel remarkably refreshed at the end of our “conversation” (prayer) and I truly enjoy my time with Him. Scripture tells me I can be God’s friend. Other people have been:

“But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend. Isaiah 41:8

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. James 2:23

One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. Proverbs 22:11

All we have to show is our faith and Jesus will call us friend:

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:20

Have you considered that you can be God’s friend? How close is your friendship with God? He has already initiated the relationship. All we have to do is respond.

Walk in His Light,

Julie

DECISIONS


decision-making-processes1

I heard from my publisher yesterday. We’re ready to start formatting Follow the Light. I’m excited to get to this next step in the process, but terrified about making a wrong decision. And there are so many choices to make; paper color, interior design, font choice and line spacing, to name a few.  This is my first publication and the decisions are overwhelming.

Many of life’s choices can seem overwhelming too. That’s why it’s so important to go to the One who knows what’s best for every step of our life.  Two passages come to my mind when it comes to making godly decisions (I know there are more):

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.
Jeremiah 10:23

Before all our decisions, it’s so important to go to God for His perfect guidance. We are to pray for His wisdom and discernment in all our decisions, no matter how small. Then wait for clear guidance from Him, before we act. He’s the God of the universe. He cares about the details. And He cares about us.

Walk in His Light,

Julie

Lord, Increase My Faith!


Three months ago my husband’s company downsized and he was part of that restructuring. He’s kept his spirits up, and continues to look for new opportunities every day. But the phone doesn’t ring very often. I must admit, I’m getting anxious. I’m asking God to increase my faith.

 What is faith anyway?

Dictionary.com tells us faith is: confidence or trust in a person or thing and belief that is not based on proof.

Hebrews 11 gives us great insight into what faith is.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

We can also turn to the Bible for examples of those with great faith: Abraham, Joseph, Noah and Moses to name a few. Each of these examples shows us that faith builds over time.

 What if our faith is faltering?

 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

But is asking God to increase our faith enough?

 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. James 2:14-19

 We also have to live our faith.

To show my faith I will continue to share the gospel, participate in mission projects, fellowship with other believers and study Scripture. Faith motivates me.

To grow my faith I will do more of the same things and ask God to increase my faith. And  I reach out to you and ask for your prayers.

Walk in His Light,

Julie

FOLLOW THE LEADER


bootcamp

 “For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.” Psalm 48:14

When I was in boot camp, we marched everywhere. It was an efficient and organized way of moving our unit from one location to the next. The key to marching in formation was following the leader, or our “guidon bearer.” The guidon bearer holds the unit’s flag, is always the most visible person in the military unit, and always in front of the formation. The guidon, or flag, represents the unit, and stays with the unit constantly. In years gone by the guidon was also a weapon.

In Exodus 13:20-22, God appeared as a pillar of a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, to guide the Israelites. He did not leave the people. God also provided protection to the Israelites in Exodus 14:19-20:

Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.

God was the Israelites guidon. All the people had to do was follow the pillar of a cloud or pillar of fire. The cloud and fire represented more to the Israelites than a guide. The pillar represented God’s observable presence with His people. In addition to guiding the Israelites, the pillar was protection and a visible identification of who the Israelites were and who they belonged to.

Is God your guidon? ________  What identifies you as a child of God?

Walk in His Light,

Julie

From a Mother to Her Child


infant_baby_beauty-wide

I chose to be your Mother.

I married a man who would be a great Dad.

I wanted you before you were conceived.

I dreamed of how life would be like for you. I planned the home you would live in, and the schools you would eventually attend.

I loved rocking you and singing you lullabies.

I helped you take your first step. I was there for your first word, first tooth, first boo-boo and first love.

I enjoyed reading you bedtime stories and tucking you into bed.

I chose to be a room mom and enjoyed hearing how well you were doing at parent-teacher conferences.

I enjoyed taking you to soccer and baseball practice, music lessons and recitals.

I pointed you out to the other moms and told them how proud I was of you.

I taught you to cook, drive and other important life lessons.

I prayed for your future. I prayed for your friends and future spouse.

I tried to give you wisdom so you could have a wonderful life.

Now it’s Mother’s Day, and I’m the one being honored for something I wanted all along.

How blessed I am.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY


moms day boquetMost of us rarely consider the influence and impact our families have on us, and in particular, our Mothers. We start to realize that when we have a child or a loved one becomes ill, or they are gone. Our Mom’s impact us more that we really know (or want to admit). We are who we are largely because of our Moms. (For brothers, moms are critically important, but in a different way, but that’s another story.) My sisters and I decided to come up with a list of all the different ways our Mom has impacted us.  We believe most women will identify with these examples and come up with more for their own Mom.

 HERE ARE A FEW OF THE REASONS WE LOVE YOU

  1. She gave birth to me.
  2. She is my sister’s mom.
  3. She loves my Dad.
  4. She always took me to church (whether I wanted to go or not).
  5. And Youth Group.
  6. She made sure I had a nice smile (braces).
  7. She made sure the Weddings were “over the top.”
  8. She was there (holding my hands) at the birth of that first grandchild (and      more).
  9. She loves all her grandchildren and treats them all “fairly”.
  10. She loves her son-in-laws
  11. She taught me to cook.
  12. She taught me manners.
  13. She told me to always act and look like a lady, and wear lipstick.
  14. There’s always a couple of dollars in every note/card she sends.
  15. She loved me even when I was a “pain in the butt” and endured my “teenage drama” years.
  16. She’s got great decorating advice.
  17. She always knew the families before I was allowed to play with the kids.
  18. When you really care about something she will also care about it.
  19. She will always tell you that you look very pretty / nice, etc.
  20. She taught me to always write thank you notes.
  21. She thinks I am creative.
  22. She still spoils us at Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.
  23. She taught me to look for a bargain, or buy “on sale”.
  24. She taught us to always take a hot meal to a new neighbor and sick friend.
  25. She taught me how to entertain friends and do it well.
  26. There’s nothing like a home-cooked meal.
  27. It’s ok to have a glass of wine.
  28. She taught me to do laundry, correctly.
  29. She made me change the sheets every week and how to do “hospital”      corners.
  30. She taught me to set a pretty table for holiday meals.
  31. Having a family dinner together (almost) every night is wonderful.
  32. Say Grace.
  33. We always had handmade Easter dresses (they were usually matching).
  34. Our Easter baskets always had a Chocolate Rabbit and at least one toy.
  35. There was always a Hidden treasure in Christmas Stockings.
  36. Always save room for dessert.
  37. Fresh bread is always the best.
  38. A little prayer sure helps.
  39. Spoil your dog.
  40. She’ll send you a postcard when she goes on vacation.
  41. Wash your hands before you eat.
  42. Eat breakfast every day.
  43. Shopping is a sport.
  44. She told us to play nice with the other kids.
  45. Always told me to be nice person (period).
  46. She gave us piano & flute lessons
  47. Swimming and gymnastics lessons too.
  48. Shoes don’t have to match your purse.
  49. Wear clean underwear.
  50. You can do almost anything with a hot-glue gun.
  51. Brush and floss your teeth.
  52. Always take a jacket, and often an umbrella too.
  53. She never forgets a birthday/anniversary or other holiday.
  54. Took me to see grandparents quite often – the trip was across country.
  55. She told me to always keep a few dollars in my pocket for emergencies.
  56. She’s proud of us no matter what.
  57. Be sure to send Christmas cards.
  58. You can never have too many photos.
  59. She always made me try new foods, and made me eat my veggies.
  60. Have a hobby.
  61. Look for the good in everything and everyone.
  62. She passed down Grandma & Great Grandma keepsakes.
  63. She taught me to darn a sock and sew on a button.
  64. She taught me to share, especially ice cream cones and M & Ms.
  65. She always found ways to surprise us.
  66. A sack lunch is great.
  67. Always make the time to have lunch with friends.
  68. We always got a little gift when she returned from trips.
  69. Carry 2 pens, someone might need to borrow one.
  70. Carry lots of Kleenex, someone will need one.
  71. She cooked over an open campfire and can pitch a tent.
  72. She took me to a dermatologist.
  73. She picked great clothes and jewelry.
  74. Be sure to get your hair done, often.
  75. She still remembers my favorite dinner and dessert from childhood and still prepares it better than I do.
  76. Photos of my kids are on her fridge.
  77. Goes overboard when we come to town.
  78. She sends cards for all occasions
  79. Her fudge and pumpkin nut bread are “to die for.”
  80. She always makes my favorite pie.
  81. She always took a picture of us on the first day of school.
  82. She made me do things myself.
  83. Plan a get-away with your spouse at least once a year.
  84. Have a savings account and don’t break into it.
  85. Take care of your skin, even when you are young.
  86. Nurture your friendships; motherhood can be very lonely sometimes.
  87. Vote.
  88. She made sure we always got to see fireworks.
  89. She pumps her own gas
  90. Know what the organization really does before you donate to them.
  91. She sent really great care packages to me when I was stationed over seas.
  92. Don’t complain.
  93. She taught us how to make a decision, there are consequences to everything.
  94. You can have a good time without spending money.
  95. Use sunscreen and chap-stick.
  96. She doesn’t understand my jokes but she still laughs.
  97. She taught me to go above and beyond in my career.
  98. Visit the gravesite of loved ones when you are in town.
  99. She backed me up when I was blamed for something that I swore I didn’t do.
  100. She put up with all my childhood shenanigans and loves to tell everyone about them.

The list could go on and on, but we are stopping at 100.  Life is a constant learning experience. Some of us are fortunate enough to have our Moms with us for most of the ride. We still learn from our Mother and so do our children. We are who we are because of her. How would our lives have been different if our Mom was not a strong, compassionate and loving woman? We’re grateful that we will never know.