When People Let You Down

When people let you down. When they hurt you. Say the wrong thing. Disappoint you. Disagree with you. Don’t meet your needs. Don’t meet your wants. Don’t hear you out. Don’t understand. Don’t see things your way. Frustrate you. Confuse you. Drive you crazy. Make you cry. Make you mad. Take your breath away.

When decisions are made that you don’t agree with. When you are discouraged. When you just don’t get it.

What do you do?

When People Let You Down

First, maybe we could stop being shocked that this is all about the when, and not the if. People are going to let us down. People are going to hurt us. People are going to fail. This is a part of life. People are human.

How’s that for a redundant, yet powerful statement? People are…human. Even the God-fearing ones. Sometimes right and wrong is involved and sometimes its just a matter of perspective or opinion or preference. But no matter what it is, there will be times we feel the ache of discouragement over a person’s words or actions.

Hello, human person. I am also a human person. Thank you for coexisting with me in a fallen world in which God is still supreme and you and I are striving yet still awkward human people with weaknesses. Is this why you sometimes let me down? Is this why I sometimes let you down too? I’m sorry for this. Sometimes it’s hard to be a human person with you.

So this. What do we do when someone lets us down?

Wallow in a corner? Feel sorry for ourselves and complain to others about how unfair life is and how stupid people are? Replay conversations over and over in our heads, attempting to imagine a better outcome? I mean, those are certainly options, and wonderful ways to remain in a state of non-productivity for the Kingdom. So go ahead, if it helps you feel better. Which it won’t.

This is what I know is true. People are going to let me down. I can cry (and I do), I can feel the sting (because it does), I can acknowledge that I am hurt (because I am).

And then I can turn to Jesus.

As in, literally, I find some quiet and I turn to the red letter pages of the Gospels. All other words can feel jumbled to me when I am upset or confused or hurting. But the red letters are solid. They are the words Jesus spoke to all the human people. They are words of promise, words of hope, words with roots, words of Life.

It is here, in the red letters, I find fulfillment and focus. It is here that I find perspective. It is here that I find grace.

Grace to hold and grace to give – the perfect gift from Jesus for all the human people.

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Gratituesday: How Much You Mean to Me

I decided it’s high time I wrote another Gratituesday post. Please join me today as I celebrate God’s goodness in my friend Edith.

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She first emailed me in 2009 to say, “I want to tell you how much I enjoy your blog newsletters. I have shared many of them with our two daughters.”

That email came when my blog was a baby. She was one of my first blog followers. Her name was Edith. She was from Ohio.

Edith and I continued to email from time to time during the next few months. Then something I said in one of my posts sparked an interest, and would you believe? Her husband was born in the very same town where I grew up. Wonderful thing, this internet – connecting people who otherwise would not have met.

The email she sent in June, 2010 took our relationship to a new level. I had just written a blog post about our oldest son becoming a teenager. She wrote to tell me how wonderful teenagers are. Then she went on to say:

“Count your blessings every day – treasure every moment. And I know it’s trite, but do live each moment as though it truly were the last moment you have with your loved ones. We recently unexpectedly lost our elder daughter at age 36 in a matter of just a few hours.”

This began a friendship that was absolutely God given and beautifully selected. You see, the daughter Edith had lost was just my age. And my mom. Well, my mom had been gone already for a few years.

No one takes the place of a lost loved one. But Edith and I – well, I suppose we needed each other. She continued to send me emails of encouragement every few weeks, often to let me know she was praying for me. She sent me beautiful eCards for every holiday, which she personalized.

Edith loved me. Her love blessed me in ways I cannot describe. She was on my team. She was my prayer warrior. She was my friend. I loved her so.

Edith died unexpectedly last week. When I received the email from her younger daughter, who was so kind to think of me and share the news, I fell tearfully onto Matt’s chest. Not my Edith. I need my Edith.

I am going to miss this precious lady. Edith – the lady I never met face-to-face. The lady I could count on hearing from every few weeks as she cheered me on in my parenting, my writing, and my Christian walk.

My dear readers, I share this to let you know how much you mean to me. You’re not just “some people out there who read my blog.” You are a part of my life – a God given part that I do not take for granted. I treasure you and I am thankful for you.

When her oldest daughter died in 2010, this is what Edith said to me in her email:

“We are truly at peace even in our sadness. We know she’s having the time of her life in the presence of her beloved Lord and Savior. As her sister said, ‘She beat us home.’ And in that we rejoice.”

Now I say goodbye to my dear friend Edith, using her very words.

Thank you for loving me, Edith. Thank you for allowing God to work through you to be such a blessing in my life. I miss you already. But you’re having the time of your life in the presence of your beloved Lord and Savior. You beat us home. In that, I rejoice.

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All the Gifts

First, let’s get this straight: Our gifts, abilities, and talents come straight from God so it’s okay to recognize them, talk about them, and even glory in them. They are from God. Humility is recognizing this and saying, “Yay God!” Discounting our gifts is false-humility and it’s also like saying, “God doesn’t really do anything through me.” C’mon! Grab hold of your gift already, be excited about it, and rock that God-given ability!

One of my gifts is food. I’m good at feeding people. (See how easy that was to say? And also, “Yay God!”)

But one of my gifts isn’t talking and feeding people at the same time. I either forget words or I forget ingredients. Or both. It can be disastrous. So let me tell you about last weekend.

We were at our annual 4th of July “Hamm Bash.” (What? It’s my maiden name. Hamm. It’s okay. I give you permission to laugh.)

Anyway, we were at our annual “Hamm Bash.” (Yes, we typically do eat some form of pork at this event. Yes, we have heard that joke before. Can we move on now?)

So we were at our annual “Hamm Bash.” Guess who was in charge of the food this year? This girl. That means I got to use my gift. (Yay, God!) But it also means I had to talk and cook at the same time while (brace yourself) preparing 3 meals for 60 people in a strange kitchen.

To clarify, the 3 meals for 60 people was not my challenge. (Yay, God!) But the strange kitchen (with the questions and the talking) – that’s where it became difficult.

My Dad: Laura, I need a measuring cup. 
Me, with a look of bewilderment: I don’t think they don’t have any here.
(Except that later we found 14. Sets.)

So there I was, using my gift in the middle of pushing through some of my weaknesses. That’s when all the other people – with all the other gifts – joined me in the kitchen. When we opened the fridge to try and fit all the groceries inside – and it looked like we were going to need to drink 3 gallons of milk and eat 9 pounds of strawberries right this minute because that was our only hope – my cousin Jayme said, “I’ve got this.” And she did.

When we needed cream, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla to be whipped together for Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits – and I had no idea how to run the Kitchen Aid – my step-mom Tacy said, “Oh, sure. I know how to do that.”

When I was in the middle of trying to put together 8 lasagnas while answering 20 questions and trying to find a ladle in a strange kitchen, and then I realized we didn’t have drinks made yet and the thought of brewing all that tea and putting it in the – wait, what would we put it in?? – my cousin Crystal said, “Is that really all you need me to do? Um, yes. I think I can handle making tea.”

When I asked my sister-in-law Michele to bring all the Italian bread for our lasagna meal and all the buns for our pulled pork meal (I told you we ate pork at the Hamm Bash), she not only brought the bread and the buns – she had made them all from scratch. All of them. They were amazing. This gave me all kinds of reasons to make jokes about Michele’s awesome buns – all weekend long. I think I discovered a new gift in the area of “nice buns” jokes. (Yay, God?)

When none of us had the gift of figuring out the huge coffee pot, and then I tried it only to waste way too many delicious coffee beans, and then come to find out the pot was broken in the first place and I hadn’t had my cup of coffee yet and I needed to feed 60 people breakfast in a strange kitchen – my cousin Kristin showed up with a steaming cup of coffee she’d made just for me at her house. Then she handed me the half-and-half. I may have teared up a little.

This, friends. This is what makes the world go ’round. We use our gifts. Other people use theirs. We step up where we can. Others step up where we can’t. Those who weren’t in the kitchen that weekend were muscling around the tables and chairs, setting up games, watching to be sure the babies didn’t get bruised by a basketball, carrying items for the older ones among us, and so much more. Truly it was a joy to watch and to be a part of.

So let’s hear it for all the gifts. God gave me mine. God gave you yours. Together, when we seek Him, we are one great body of goodness. (Yay, God!)

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How About That? God Really Does Work Everything Out.

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Remember this post? You know, that one post I wrote last September? The one where I shared this:

I hate to spoil the ending...

The one where I talked about how we had no idea how everything would work out for our oldest son at the end of the school year? How we didn’t have any idea what would be best for him? How if he chose college, which one would it be and how would we work that out financially? How there were so many unknowns and what ifs and major decisions to make?

And more importantly, the one where I shared that God was teaching me to trust – like for real.

Last school year was wonderful and exhausting in countless ways. In the midst of it, we knew God had a plan and would roll it out for us in His timing. But when I wrote this post, we had no idea how the story would end. I just knew that it would…end. And that the ending would be good because God was writing the story.

In the midst of the waiting (we all know what that’s like, right? no matter what it is we’re waiting for) – our minds can turn toward all kinds of doubt and worry. We can invent scenarios that may or may not happen and then create all sorts of responses to the made up scenarios.

Unless any of those thoughts are Spirit led, they are absolutely pointless and completely exhausting. When I look back on our school year and how we watched our son learn to listen to God as he made his decisions, I am…

1) Really glad it’s behind us because it was just hard. Good, but hard.
2) So excited to realize God’s absolute promises and His guidance in everything. Everything. All of it. Every single bit.

We should never doubt. Never, ever, ever.

Not sure about an employment situation looming in your future? God does. Wait for Him to show you. Listen to Him and trust.

Not sure about a decision you’re making about parenting? God does. Wait for Him to show you. Listen to Him and trust.

Not sure how you can possibly afford whatever that need is that there is no money for?  God knows. Wait for Him to show you. Listen to Him and trust.

Not sure what to do about forty different questions floating in your head about everything from little to big? God does. Wait for Him to show you. Listen to Him and trust.

God never asked us to get it all figured out. He only asked for our faith. If you don’t believe me, go read all the words of Jesus in the gospels. All of them. They will change your life.

And oh yeah – about this post. The one where I wrote about how we had no idea how the story would end, about what would be best, about how we would survive such a major change in our lives (yeah, I know, all the parents do it, but it’s hard and that’s just the truth). Go back and read this.

Then. Then read this one. Seven months after I wrote the “we have no idea” post – I was blessed to be able to write the “well look at that. now we know” post.

There is always an ending to the story. If we’re seeking God, the ending is beautiful. If we’re not, well, God can still work and God is always lovingly waiting for us to turn to Him.

I write this as a reminder. To you – to me. Trust God. Where there are question marks, trust God. There will always be question marks. But there will always be answers because God is God and He is faithful. And because of that, there can always be peace.

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Free Summer Blessings Printables ~ Use These Free Printables to Be a Blessing!

What can you and your family do to be a blessing to someone during the next few days? I encourage you to pray with your family about this. Can you take someone some food? Visit a neighbor? How can you be a light and bless someone?

To bless your efforts (blessings all around, right?!) – we’ve made some fun Summer Blessings printables for you. They are free. Help yourself! Print as many as you like.

Summer Blessings Printables

Download the Summer Blessings Printable
Cards and Gift Tags Here!

Suggestions for ways to use these printables:

  • Print a set of 6 or 8 of the Blessed and Hello note cards. Tie them up with a ribbon and give them as a gift. Be sure to include envelopes! (Like these.)
  • Print a few Blessed and Hello note cards. Spend some time writing encouraging notes in the cards to give or send.
  • Bake something yummy, package it up and attach one of the cards or gift tags. (Here are some baked good recipes to pick from.)

What else? Leave a comment to share ideas of ways we can use these fun new printables!

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See You After Easter!

Want to know a secret?

Since August I have been exploring, studying, and learning about what it means to take a weekly Sabbath rest.  It has been oh-my-goodness wonderful and also very hard.  How is a mom supposed to take a Sabbath rest every week when there is so much to be done???  This is what I’ve been exploring for the past seven months.  I’ve been journaling my way through this challenging yet blessed learning process.  You’ll get to read about it some day. :)

This morning the Spirit prompted me to take a different kind of rest.  I began this blog in November 2007 and have posted almost daily since.  That’s 4,006 posts of fun!  I love writing, I love you, I love interacting here.  I’ve taken breaks here and there during the past seven years, but that usually means that I’ve worked ahead of time to get posts ready to go up even if I’m gone.

This week, I’m going to have a time of quiet.  No writing, no picture taking, no thinking about what to post next.  Okay fine.  I actually might write.  It’s hard for me not to write because I love writing.  I’m just not going to post what I write – for seven entire days of quiet.

elias cross pic

This comes at a perfect time as we reflect more fully on the sacrifice Jesus made and the miracle of his resurrection.  Taking in the Word instead of kicking out words for daily posts sounds all kinds of refreshing.

To all my regular readers: thank you for showing up here every day.  This week, use the time you normally read my daily posts to read something from the Word instead.  Take some quiet time to listen to His message for your life.

If after that you still want a little Heavenly Homemaker encouragement, just search through the 4,006 posts in the archives.  The recipes, tips, and books are all there for your reading pleasure.  :)

Beyond a blogging break to find refreshment, I’m going to become re-acquainted with my scrub brush as there is much filth in my house that can no longer be ignored.  I’m actually looking forward to it. (Whoa, that’s crazy talk.)

My keyboard and I will miss you.  Have a wonderful week and I’ll see you after Easter!

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Feeling Weary?

Ugh, the weariness.  Even in the midst of good times, weariness can set in – in parenting, in marriage, in ministries, in the daily grind.

Today I tip my hat to you, in gratitude for all you do to keep life moving for those you love.  Thank you for packing lunches, changing diapers, rinsing dishes, tossing a salad, or paying the bills.  Thank you for sweeping the porch, writing a note, disciplining the child, wiping the snot, or driving to the appointment.  Thank you for countless hours of work you do – in all its forms – for the love of your family.

Your work is not in vain.  You serve a great purpose as you love those around you.  Be encouraged!  Be blessed!

Galatians69color

I posted this several months ago, but seeing as it is one of my favorite verses, I decided to pull it up again to share with you.  Know someone who is weary right now?  Pass this on to them for encouragement.  I love how scripture speaks and offers true peace for us all.

Download Galatians 6:9 in Blue and Black here.

Download Galatians 6:9 in Gray and Black here.

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You Will Never Please Everyone (And That’s Perfectly Perfect)

Some readers request that I share more recipes.  Some suggest that I share too many recipes.  Some don’t like that I post spiritual content.  Some wish I would post more spiritual content.  Some roll their eyes at the deals I share.  Some cheer and do flips for the deals I share. I always listen to what my readers have to say because I love offering content that will bless you in your homemaking efforts.  I also know that what one person really needs or desires isn’t necessarily what the next person needs or wants.  So it is with pretty much all of life, right?

You Will Never  Please Everyone
It happens around my dinner table every single live long day.  Someone is bound to not like what I served while others are gladly taking thirds.  It happens during a every Sunday worship service.  Some love the song selection and others find them to be too slow or too fast for their liking.  Some find the sermon to be super meaningful and others find it to be irrelevant.  I could think of other examples but some might prefer that I get on with my point.

Here’s the truth that we need to learn down to our very core:

1.  You can’t please ’em all

2.  You can’t be pleased by all

I’m not sure which is more important to know and which is the hardest to remember.  Both involve the need to surrender self.  It’s hard and it hurts but this is what I’m beginning to understand:  Trying to please all and expecting others to always rise to my occasion is harder and hurts worse than choosing to surrender self.  Selfish living is completely empty – not to mention absolutely exhausting. Trying to constantly please others leaves me feeling defeated and discouraged.  Thinking others must always please me leaves me frustrated and let down.  No thank you, no thank you, no thank you.  I surrender, Jesus.  What do you have for me that is better? What about this?  What if we understood these two simple truths:

1.  God is the only One we should seek to please.

2.  God is the only One who will sufficiently meet all of our needs.

I think that pretty much covers it.

When I seek to please God, letting go of others’ (real or imagined) expectations of me, I will likely still be pleasing others.  I won’t please them all, but God never asked me to and for real – if I was pleasing everyone why in the world would people ever recognize their need to seek Jesus?  Okay then.

When I recognize that God is the One who meets my needs, suddenly that which is petty becomes irrelevant and that which matters turns into a Christ-centered passion.  That’s how it works when one is listening to and letting the Holy Spirit work. So, my friend, remember this:  You will never please everyone.  Also, people will sometimes frustrate you, especially when they do things differently than you would do them.  This is life.

Instead of wallowing, I suggest we use our energy to seek Jesus and live as He calls each of us.  Doesn’t that just sound refreshing? If this is something you struggle with like I do, might I suggest that you read (your whole Bible and also) read Hebrews 12?  Being disciplined hurts, but it makes us more holy.  Yes, holiness!  Bring it.

 

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Free Scripture Encouragement Cards for Heavenly Homemaker’s Subscribers!

If you are a subscriber, you should have received the link to these free downloadable scripture encouragement cards in your inbox three days ago.  If not, let me know and I’ll send you the file.

Not a subscriber?  It’s free and it’s fun because not only do my posts come to your inbox each day, occasionally you get an exclusive freebie like this one.  :)  Subscribe here and you, too, will be able to download these pretty encouragement cards.  Once you confirm your subscription, you’ll be redirected to a page with the download links.

Free Scripture Encouragement Cards

These are some of my favorite Truths from scripture!  Hope you enjoy these as a blessing to you and as a way to bless others!

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Over 1500 Delicious Real Food Recipes ~ 24 Hours and Counting….

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved looking through cookbooks and trying new recipes.  I get inspired and giddy when I see new ideas to try in the kitchen. Is it just me?  I look through cookbooks when I’m visiting friends and family, I check out cookbooks from the library, and I drool over recipe ideas when I see them in magazines.  I might be addicted. My family appreciates this problem of mine. :)

While all of the eBooks and eCourses in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle are all super helpful, as you can imagine, I really get excited when I’m looking through all the recipes included.


Would you believe there are over 1,500 recipes in there??!? That doesn’t even include all the non-food recipes like facial scrubs and homemade shampoos!  There’s also an entire section of recipes for special diets like gluten free, dairy free, paleo, etc.

What I love most:  I don’t have to adapt any of these recipes.  While in so many regular cookbooks I see “margarine” listed as an ingredient, then I gag and switch it out to real butter – the recipes in this package are already real food and wholesome.  (My apologies for using the word “margarine” on my blog. blech, phlebt, chvolbleglegh)

My current favorite recipe book in the bundle is called Simply Salads by Season.  Winter can be a tough one when it comes to creating exciting salads.  (I live in Nebraska, remember? It’s the land of freezing cold everything is brown and dreary for months.)  But this book has been so inspiring – giving me dozens of fun new veggie ideas.

bundle food dec 1

I devoured a huge serving (would that be three servings?!) of this Broccoli Salad one day for lunch.  Then, since we have oodles of clementines right now, I followed the next recipe for Clementines in Whipped Cream.  Oh my goodness, why have I not thought of that before?

bundle food dec 2

Next on my list to try from Simply Salads by Season are: Tex Mex Bean Salad and Tangy Salmon Salad.  There are also many homemade salad dressing recipes in that book that seem to be a really fun diversion from my normal Homemade Ranch Dressing.  So inspiring! I am giddy, giddy, giddy (like my 10 year old looking at his collection).

There’s also a great book in the bundle I’m working my way through called, Smoothie Secrets Revealed.  Beyond all the great recipes in that book, it also contains some very good information on health and nourishment.

And, because life is about balance, and because while salads and smoothies are awesome, so are cookies (made with butter!) – the boys and I made a batch of Mexican Orange Cookies from the Nourishing Cookies eBook.  Wow.  Light, fluffy, and no one can tell they are made with whole wheat and honey.  Mmmmmmm…

bundle food dec 3
Malachi just walked in and seeing this picture said, “Oh, I just ate 4 of those!  They were realllly good.”

From money-saving recipes, to healthy breakfast recipes, to freezer cooking, to salads, to smoothies, to cookies, to granola, to beans, to kale, to condiments – I continue to have so much fun with all the great recipes to look through and try. 1500 tried and true recipes to use in my real food kitchen? Be still my heart.

These are the last few hours the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2014 will be available. With this package you will be loaded and equipped with so many great ways to feed your family! After midnight, this set of eBooks and eCourses, along with the $140 worth of freebies is gone forever.

Please don’t miss this!  I wouldn’t be going on and on about it if I didn’t love it and feel like your investment in this will blow you away.  Small amount of money – huge amount of information, guidance, encouragement, and goodies!  (MadeOn Hard Lotion – for FREE.  Yes!!)  Click here for more info or to buy now.

You will love these resources for kick starting your 2015 toward your healthiest year yet!

 

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

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