It Shows Your Character

You know, funerals can be a beautiful thing. When a believer in Jesus Christ dies, there is something so precious about their funeral. It’s almost as if people don’t know whether to laugh or cry, celebrate or mourn. Yes, we who are left behind are sad to have to say goodbye to those we love, but when we know that goodbye is really, for us as believers, “see you soon”, it makes the separation that much sweeter.

My son Jake’s girlfriend Darcie just lost her grandpa. Today Jake and I attended the funeral and wow was I moved in my Spirit by this service. Three people spoke. One was the pastor who impressed me so much with his attention to the details of her granddaddy’s life. He didn’t just throw together a generic eulogy, I truly felt like this man had known him his whole life, the way he spoke of him. It was excellent.

One thing that he said struck me. He shared, “The Lord spoke to me a couple years ago and said, “You need to help people finish well. That’s your job.” I nodded my head in such agreement. You know, that’s our job as clergy, to equip the saints for works of service so that the body of believers may be built up. We are supposed to help people start their walk with Christ, and then we are supposed to disciple them and show them how to stay in the race relying heavily on grace, until they finish well. You see, the truth is, we don’t always start well. We don’t always race well. But, with The Word of God planted deep into our hearts and with the help of The Holy Spirit encouraging us, we can darn sure finish well. The Pastor spoke of Darcie’s grandpa’s walk with Christ and he said, “I promise you, he finished well.”

Another speaker at the funeral was his best friend since grade school. I thought to myself, if they were both 80 years old, that means that they had been friends for probably almost 70 years.  He told stories of them growing up together, getting married, raising their kids together and both working hard as plant managers at different plants for their entire working lives. My heart was so moved by the beauty of their steady, stable lives. They lived lives centered around serving Christ and loving their wives, children and grandchildren. They weren’t trying to strike it rich or get their names in lights. They simply enjoyed a lifelong friendship, choosing a life well lived, loving God and loving people.

His best friend said something that made the lump in my throat finally release the tears that began rolling down my face. He said, “you can make a lot of new friends, and new friends are great, but an old friend, you can’t just go out and get, old friends are rare, and he was my old friend.” Yes, my heart leaped in love for this 80 year old man of God. His wisdom was beyond anything anyone can gain through years of study. Wisdom is proved right by her children. That’s what the Word says anyways. We were actually able to later share at lunch our similar love for the people of Haiti, where he had been four times on mission. I knew I liked this guy. 🙂

Yes, the speakers were amazing. Were they anointed authors or poets? No, they were hard working, dedicated to living right, just get out there and do the right thing, people. I have to say, those are my favorite kind of people right there. I can venture to guess they didn’t get up for work and complain all day about work, only looking forward to weekends and holidays. I bet they actually did what the bible says to do, which is find satisfaction in your work, since this is a gift from God. Yes, work is a gift. Remember that.

The service was memorable and beautiful. But, I have to say, the best part of the entire day for me happened after we finished lunch and Jake and I were leaving. Jake was saying his goodbyes and thanking people for having us and I heard Darcie’s Dad, who had just lost his father reach over, pat my son on the back and say, “It meant a lot that you were here for us today Jake. It shows your character.” And, here comes my tears again. I thought to myself, this day is an answered prayer for me. My son has chosen a future wife who has a family whose roots run deep and are grounded in character, love, hard work and service. I guess I’m an old fashioned girl, because I think we have so much to learn from our elders. I know I felt like I was taught an amazing lesson on love today. I’ll never forget how this felt.

As I write this, I’m smiling, because guess who the real winner is? Darcie’s Grandpa. He’s with Jesus right now, and there’s no better place to be. Just like Darcie’s Dad said to Jake, “It shows your character”, the joy at this wedding, and the blessed assurance of where her Grandpa is right now, shows us all his. His character was strong because he carried Christ.

Oh Yes, funerals can be a beautiful thing.

 

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Relationships Require Repairs

I was outside in my garage painting some furniture like I often do. I could hear a couple houses down one of my neighbor’s roof being tore off and replaced. It is just one of the many roofs (including ours) in our neighborhood that has been replaced in the past year. The Florida sunshine and tropical storms require our houses to have strong roofs to protect us from the elements. I am happy for my neighbors.  It will look great when it’s done.

I was painting a chair and dipping into areas of the chair with the paint that were hard to reach, and I thought, just like this chair has weathered, and my neighbor’s roof has weathered and requires repair, many relationships are in need of some TLC to be repaired and preserved as well.

Marriages for instance are kind of like furniture and homes. If you just ignore the upkeep necessary and ignore the signs of weathering, decay will set in. Homes and furniture require attention and people require attention. Homes and furniture require time and work. Marriages require time and work.

The Word encourages couples to submit to each other out of reverence for the Lord. Submitting doesn’t just mean sex. Submitting doesn’t just mean letting the other spouse win in an argument. Submitting is a heart issue. Submitting means, I sign over my own agenda sometimes, to make yours feel important. Submitting means, not always having to get your own way and not always needing to have the last word.

Submitting to each other out of reverence for the Lord, lets God know, that you are thankful for the partner that God gave to you. We not only should thank God for our spouse with our mouths,  we should show God how thankful we are for our spouse, by loving them and submitting to their needs.

I love redoing furniture. With every move of my arm in sanding, with every stroke of the brush in painting, I am able to watch the old become new. This can happen in relationships as well. A little extra attention to your spouse’s needs, a little extra encouragement in what your spouse is doing, and a little extra time spent together, can completely transform a marriage or any relationship.

It’s a beautiful before and after.

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I’m So Thankful for Noble Friends

Proverbs Women

““Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:29-31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When God gave me the idea to honor Godly Women through my Proverbs Women posts, I had no idea it would be such a God ordained thing. I literally would wait until morning to see who God had in mind to bless and by afternoon, the woman it was honoring would text me, saying things like “you have no idea, how this blessed me,” or “I’m in tears feeling so loved by God.” The truth is, I think God wanted to remind His girls how He feels about them.

The other amazing thing that came from the past few weeks studying Proverbs 31 is, I realized how amazingly blessed I am to be surrounded by such graceful and dignified women. I have sisters by blood and in the faith who are such a blessing to my life in so many ways. God has truly given me a shield of intercessors and warriors to march with.

Yes, this scripture says, “many women do noble things. As I close out this series I think of many more of the women who I am honored to know.

I think of my friend Dana who not only has the Spiritual gift to lead worship powerfully, she is a friend who has always spoken the truth to me, and encouraged me in my calling. I think of Lesa who I think was handed all of the gifts when God was handing them out. She pretty much can do anything needed for any Christian opportunity, at any time and she does it with excellence.

I think about my friend Jodi who has taught me to have reckless faith, perseverance in the gospel and I’ll never forget her saying to me, “Mo, always have your teaching be helpful.” I always tell Jodi that I’ve already asked Jesus for us to be neighbors in Heaven so be prepared for me to be borrowing sugar.

I think about my sister Kimmie and my niece Angel and my sisters Cheryl and Char, who have taught me how to overcome difficult circumstances that life brings and to always fix my eyes ahead, pressing forward, following Jesus, no matter what comes.

I think about my mother in law Annemarie, who pretty much taught me how to love my husband and kids unconditionally. She’s one of the most naturally loving women I’ve ever met.

I think about Robin Miller and Caroline Hitte who are so extremely different but both make being a Pastor’s wife look so easy, even though I know, it is one of the hardest positions in the ministry. I think about the lessons I’ve learned from them women in boundaries and I thank God for these lessons daily.

I think about my friends Amy and Pammy who homeschool and devote their total existence to schooling and disciplining their kids. Their selflessness is inspiring.

I think about my sister Tammy who is one of the most intelligent women I know. Her attention to details is one of the reasons The Vineyard is what it is today, as she ministered as a founding board member, by Skype all the way from Upstate NY.

I think about all of the retired women who Volunteer at our store each day, not because they have to, but because they love to. They could be golfing or shopping, but instead they are serving.

I think about my friends Kristy and Jean and Jill and Stells and Mar who have been friends with me since our girls were babies and now we are seeing our girls become Godly Women.

I think about Barbara Beck who I am blessed to serve with at the TV station. Her humility is so inspiring. She is the most loving, selfless person. Many people in the public eye can get so confused and puffed up, but not Barbara. She’s the epitome of grace and humility. It’s so beautiful.

I think about neighbors and friends and church family and friends from the past and I’m blown away in God’s attention to giftings, details and the writing of His story. He has penned the story of my life laced in grace and truth, displayed by many noble women I’ve known and loved. Those alive today and those of the past like my precious Grandmothers and Aunts.

The truth is many women do noble things. But altogether, unified as women of God we surpass them all. You know, that’s who the Proverbs 31 Woman actually is. She is a conglomeration all women who call Jesus Lord and follow Him closely as His disciples.  I thank God for the Bride of Christ. She is altogether wonderful. Together we are a powerful force in growing Heaven.

Let her works bring her praise at the city gates.

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She’s A Gift To Many

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When I think about someone who adds joy to many people’s lives I think of my sweet friend Lindsay. Tommy and I joke and say that she may be the nicest person we have ever met. Kindness just seems to come easy for her. She ALWAYS is positive. She ALWAYS encourages and she ALWAYS loves. At least when I have been around her.

Lindsay is a wonderful mom of three amazing kids. Her husband Derek knows what a gem he has in Lindsay. She honors and respects and builds him up constantly . I truly am in awe of her gift of encouragement.

Lindsay is a student of The Word. She studies and she attends events where the Word will be taught. She is diligent about her walk with Christ and it shows in how she lives. The Word says to be thankful in all things so Lindsay is thankful in all things. The Word says to be gentle and kind, so Lindsay is gentle and kind. The Word says to encourage one another as long is it’s called today, so Lindsay is an encourager. She is obviously a doer of The Word and not just a hearer.

I know by now you are probably thinking “wow, she sounds like a great friend, I would love a friend like Lindsay.” Well, you are right. I just can’t help but speak of her kindness, and neither can her family. She makes this verse come alive, “Her children arise and call her blessed. Her husband also and he praises her.” I love you Linds, you are a Proverbs Woman.

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She Never Stands Still

“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Have you ever met someone who seemed like they have endless energy? I know I’ve met a few women who are very busy, but this woman is always busy doing something lasting. She is always at work  building The Kingdom of God.

My friend Sheila is the office manager/“anything that needs to get done” at our church. Sheila is a true disciple of Christ. The Holy Spirit shines in her wherever she goes.

Sheila is a mother and grandmother. She also has wonderful parents who she honors and cares for amazingly. To call Sheila the “office manager” at church is a huge understatement. Well, mainly because I rarely see her sitting in an office. She is always running around taking care of everyone. She protects the leadership of the church by sheilding them from many distractions to protect them as she serves on the front lines in the mission. She is involved in what seems to be every area at the church as well as serving wholeheartedly as a prayer partner at Unforsaken. This is only the work she does at church. Sheila has been in ministry her whole life and she has played key parts in global missions, worked with youth, evangelism, you name it. Though she’s involved in big time ministry work, she never seems too busy to drive a single mom without a car to a needed appointment.

I am in awe of this woman of God. She is a dear friend to me and I count her wisdom as a treasured gift to me in the ministry. She is always there to run an idea by, agree in prayer with and just hug you when you feel like calling it a day.

I love my sweet friend Sheila. She is a Proverbs Woman. I kind of wonder what her role will be someday in Heaven. It better be something mobile, because this lady just never stands still.

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She Speaks What is Good

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:26

Living a life dedicated to following the Lord wholeheartedly, requires encouragement. God calls Godly sisters and brothers to lift each other up, bless each other and minister to one another when needed. The Word actually says “iron sharpens iron.” Do you have an encourager in your corner. I praise God that The Lord has provided a few for me. One of these precious gifts to me is my friend Crystal.

Since I met Crystal, God has used her to bless me as a friend. She’s a gentle and loving daughter of The King. Crystal loves serving God and she loves studying The Word of God. There’s no doubt in my mind that Crystal grasps the concept of Godly encouragement, because I see her do this for many women, including me.

Crystal loves empowering women. She does so through biblical teaching and helping women become all that they can be in life and business. She is teaching her daughter how to be a Wife of Noble Character by living it in front of her daily.

There have been days when the enemy has been on my back so heavy and my strength to fight was weakening, when God used Crystal to send me a note of encouragement at just the right moment. I have no doubt she hears from God and she is obedient to the call.

I’m so thankful for my friend Crystal. She helped me start and form Unforsken Women Corporation, and specifically our Vineyard ministry. She is a key player in God’s plan to build His church. She loves the Kingdom and it shows in her life.

Crystal is a Proverbs Woman. She speaks what is good. Love you Crystal.

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She Dresses In Dignity

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:25‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Everyone has a story. It’s the story that God has penned in our lives in which blessings and trials, ups and downs have happened that have landed us right where we are today.

My friend Sherri’s story is amazing. She told it to me at breakfast a few years ago. It blew me away then to see her steadfast strength under pressure and perseverance. I was honored by the dignity she would never allow the enemy to take from her as she remembered that she was a daughter of The King! Her faith has grown mine.

As I see how God has recently in the past few years magnified the power in her story by gifting her a wonderful new husband in Steve, my heart is filled with joy seeing her living a life of continual love and abundant blessings.

Sherri is clothed in strength and dignity. She wears it like a robe. Her dignity and strength come from The Lord and the power we obtain from living according to the Word and walking in The Spirit. Sherri is the epitome of obedient. I believe that is why our Daddy couldn’t wait to bless her with her precious new marriage centered on Him.

Sherri is an encourager of all things good. She blesses many with her words of encouragement and she blesses many with her God given gift to minister to the sick through her position in the medical field.

I’m honored to call this Proverbs Woman my dear friend. She is clothed with strength and dignity. She wears her robe of righteousness proudly. I love you Sherri.

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