Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Random Check In

I've scheduled in three different blog times over the past six days and not ONE of them actually happened.

I did, however:
  • survive the government delay of all air travel during my trip to Mississippi and back.
  • meet many new friends at THE POINT in Columbus, MS.
  • preach through a migraine headache on Sunday.
  • meet two amazing ladies on two of the flights and share my love for Jesus with them.
  • RUN through the Atlanta airport to successfully make a connection.  (Where's America's Funniest Videos when you need them?!)
  • drink deeply of the hot tea Frank brought to Tampa International when he picked me up.
 I have to write about the wonderful people I met in Columbus.  I have to write about all the people- watching available to me while waiting and waiting and waiting in Atlanta.  I have to write about Abby's surgery day.  I have to write about how much I love the month of April and how sad I am that it's over.  I have to write about getting to hear the heartbeat of our grand baby due in October!  I have to write about my time with Spencer.  ("I see cows o' dere!" Yes, that is a five word sentence from a two year old!)

But for tonight, I could not lay my head down without a quick "Hi There!" And because of all the things I've listed above, I'm going to lay my head down pretty quickly.  And will HOPEFULLY write a true post tomorrow!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Strength for the Day

When I don't post for an extended time, it's usually because I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

My objective is to write at least once every seven days.  That's what I work toward.  That's what I hope for.  That's what could happen in a perfect world.

But my world, just like yours, is anything but perfect.

Each day is filled to the brim with planned work and meetings and calls/emails and other communications.  Then throw in a couple of UN-planned things and my neatly scheduled, tightly buttoned-up day can begin to unravel pretty quickly.

(That's why I keep listening to Deanna Shrodes teach on time organization.  Eventually, I WILL get it!)

Actually, my calling and my job are about the unplanned moments more than about the planned ones.

When someone calls with an illness or a crisis, I'm there to listen.  To share words of comfort and hope.  To pray with them.  I've never known a crisis yet that politely called to schedule itself!

When we hear of atrocities like the bombing in Boston, Frank and I have to process it personally while trying to offer comfort and prayers for those around us.  (Kind of like "Emotional" emergency responders.)

When we face family struggles/changes/illnesses we're forced to wrestle through our own questions and fears.

And some days, although I want to write, I'm afraid that my own emotions are too dangerously near the surface.  Opening the reservoir to draw out words would allow for a flood of tears that wouldn't be pretty for anyone!

So if you click on Embrace the Grace and don't see a new post for several days, it's safe to assume that the author could use some prayer herself.

Tomorrow, the little family Schreck will head back to Shriner's hospital in Tampa for another surgery.  This time it's Abigail who will need your prayers.  She will have both legs in casts for three weeks following the surgery.

We know God's grace will be sufficient!

This great bit of scripture has been my comfort through many difficult times.  "When I am overwhelmed, I run to the Rock that is higher than I......"  HIS vantage point offers better perspective.  And even if the view is still obscured to me, I at least know my prayers are effective for those in need!

And that's where we ALL find courage!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Small Problem - Big God!

I love praying with other people!         

Especially with people who believe that God is listening
AND that He cares
AND that He is willing
AND that He’s able to intervene in our circumstances!

Just this morning I called John’s mom, Linda, so we could pray together.  The Schreck portion of my family has a special need.  And I knew that no one else was praying for them the way Linda and I were.  So, why not call and just pray together?!

(As the under 30’s would say, “Duh!”)

Because we don’t chat often on the phone, I immediately said, “Everything is alright!  I’m not calling because of a problem.” 

Linda breathed a sigh of relief and said simply, “Oh, good.”

(Mentor moment for the under 30’s – Mothers WILL panic!  Don’t scold us for this.  God equipped us to panic so we could have the strength to lift cars off you when you run out in front of them even though we told you not to!  Every mother reading this right now is nodding her head and thinking, “True!  That’s so true!”)

So I explained to Linda that while I was praying, the thought occurred to me that she and I could pray together.  Scripture does say there is additional power in “the prayer of agreement”. 

Linda said sure and began the praying while I did the agreeing.

In the middle of her prayer she said, “This is a small problem for a big God!”    

Profound, right?!

A small problem for a BIG God!

Since the end of our phone visit I’ve pondered that phrase again and again.  It applies to so many issues in my life.  Actually, it applies to every issue in my life!

  • When I feel overwhelmed. 
  • When I see no possible way. 
  • When I think it’s too much. 
  • When I question His timing. 
  • When I wonder if He has forgotten.   

I should simply rehearse the phrase – “This is a small problem for a Big God!”

Scripture is filled with examples proving the truth of this.  And if we pause long enough, we realize that even our lives are filled with examples that He is a Big God who cares very much for His children.

Looking at His greatness causes problems to diminish.

There’s really not a need to elaborate on that today.  I’m just finding such comfort in this simple phrase and thought you would as well.  Practice it for yourself today:


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Better Than Zero!

I'm adopting a "Better Than Zero" mindset!

When Frank introduced this to me today I knew right away that it was a blog post.

An article in his cycling magazine told about a young man who developed this philosophy.  The cyclist started out severely obese - 430 pounds, obese!  He made a decision to change. And bike riding became his exercise of choice.

These two sentences from the article are the centerpiece of this post:
"Adopt a 'better than zero' mindset.  Say you set out for 20 miles, if you get tired after 15, you can stop - 15 is still better than zero."

To Luke's credit, this mindset has aided him in losing 230 pounds! 

I could immediately see how that thought process would impact so many areas of my life.    
  • No time to clean out every draw in my house.  But cleaning the junk drawer in the kitchen is better than zero!
  • Can't take an hour for the gym each day.  But walking a couple of miles three times a week is better than zero!
  • Wanted to call everyone who's missed church in the past month.  But calling the ones who've been sick is better than zero!
  • Not sure how to write a book (which I'd love to do.)  But writing a blog post each week is better than zero!
  • Don't have the means to impact the entire world with the Good News.  But encouraging/praying with my neighbor is better than zero!   
  • Wish I could devote long hours to study.  But thirty minutes of quiet time each morning is better than zero! 
The list is unlimited!  What would be included on your list?

When you have a tendency to be an over-achiever as so many of us do in our world today, life can become frustrating very quickly.  We find ourselves constantly looking at what should have been done - what could have been done - instead of celebrating what has been accomplished.

Now, I'm not suggesting the better than zero mindset as an excuse mechanism for not giving it our best effort.  Not at all!  But what I am suggesting is that we remember to celebrate small beginnings, the way Scripture instructs.

Someone told me once that I was waiting until I had the entire "loaf of bread" to celebrate.  ("Give us this day our daily bread.....")  When actually, our Father sees it as a point of faith if we willingly express gratitude for even a  slice of bread.  The slice says that more is on the way!

That's how Luke lost 230 pounds!

At 430 pounds, the task seemed impossible.  But he learned to celebrate and be grateful for the first mile.  Five miles.  Fifteen miles.  Each additional mile was better than zero!

I'd love to know where you would like to apply the "Better than Zero" philosophy in your life.  Get started - I'll cheer with you!