Archives for : April2014

Choosing Laughter

Choosing Laughter – by Sharon Sheppard

 

“These are the best years of your life,” my father insisted.

If these are the best, I thought, I’m in real trouble.

My babies were born thirteen months apart, and postpartum depression clung like smog.  Everyone wanted a part of me—my breastfeeding baby, my rambunctious toddler, my devoted husband.  Exhaustion reigned.

If only I could get both children to nap at the same time!

One afternoon an extended period of blissful quietness gave way to suspicion.  I tiptoed to their room and peeked in.

Jonathan had pulled a planter off the top of the chest of drawers, uprooted the philodendron, and shared it with his sister, Caroline.  Who knew he could reach the chest of drawers from his crib?  Both mattresses were littered with potting soil.  Telltale rings of dirt circled their mouths.

Jonathan had also managed to pry open a jar of Vaseline, and the two of them had papered the walls around their cribs with Vaseline and Kleenex.  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  I had a choice to make:  I could wish away these precious years, or I could decide not to sweat the small stuff.

I laughed.

My dad’s favorite Bible verse came to mind:  “This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”                                                                                       

Psalm 118:24 NIV

©Copyright, Sharon Sheppard

What Does it Mean to Be a God Chick?

What does it mean to be a God Chick?

On the surface, it could be described as a gathering of woman in the surrounding community who meet for fellowship…but it goes much deeper than that.

The mission in gathering is to Know Christ and Make Him Known. We do this through study of Scripture to gain knowledge and wisdom of how God’s Word speaks to us.

Sharing God’s word together also encourages growth, builds unity, and expands our ability to love others. Therefore, the past couple of years, we have had a cause outside of ourselves. Our cause, both locally and as far away as sending pillowcase dresses to little girls in Africa has been such a blessing to so many that have less material means.

Through God Chicks, God has knocked on the door of my heart, and I have opened it for Him to use me.


Judy B.image

How Do You Say Thanks?

How Do You Say Thanks for a Heart?

A Meditation for Holy Week

While my husband was recovering from a stem cell transplant at the Mayo Clinic, I met a remarkable young man who had just had a heart transplant.

Thirty-seven-year-old Scott was the father of two preschoolers who were his major motivation for survival.  But as his condition weakened, he feared the coveted heart he so desperately needed to save his life might never materialize.  Then on a quiet Nebraska summer evening his phone rang.

“Scott, this is Joan from the Mayo Clinic.  We have a heart.  We need you here in three hours.  Four at the most.”

Getting from Omaha, Nebraska, to Rochester, Minnesota, in that length of time with no advance notice was a challenge.  The Mayo’s private plane was grounded by a local thunderstorm.  Scott and his wife and his father, all on separate cell phones, frantically went down their list of companies with corporate jets and pilots who had agreed to provide transportation for transplant patients.  Finally, they found an available plane with a pilot.

Just before Scott was wheeled into surgery that night, one of the transplant cardiologists said, “You know that there are no guarantees with this.  You need to be aware that you may not make it off the table.”

“I will,” Scott said.  “I’ve got to.”

After a delicate eight-hour procedure, he was moved into ICU.  Recovery and rehab were lengthy and tedious, and he had a lot of time to think.  He began to be haunted by the fact that someone had to die so he could live.

He had questions about his donor, but because the Mayo’s policies protect the confidentiality of the donor’s family, the coordinator gave no answers.  She promised only to pass along to the donor family a letter from Scott if he chose to write one.

Though he may never know the age or gender or the circumstances of the donor’s death, Scott wrote a letter to the donor’s family.

“But it was so hard,” Scott says.  “How do you write to this hurting family and say thank you for a gift as monumental as a heart?”

Good question.

There is Someone who died so we can live.  His name is Jesus Christ.

We deserve to be punished for our sins, but He stepped in and said, “Here, let me take care of it.  I’ll take your place.”

How do you say thanks for the monumental gift of a new heart?

Maybe the best we can do is to simply say, “Thank you.  I know I don’t deserve it, but I accept your generosity.  By your grace, help me to make you proud.”

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

© Copyright, Sharon Sheppard

 

 

 

 

Grace

There is a misguided notion that God’s grace increases as our faith matures. If that were accurate…we would be earning His blessings through our good works. The truth is, spiritual growth broadens our capacity to recognize and enjoy God’s grace in our lives. May this poem from one who has surrendered to God’s grace bless you!

 

Grace

 

How am I ever going to stop, I don’t know what to do.

I think I can do it this time, but I really have no clue.

Did it again, can’t be helped, so ashamed I could cry.

I really have to stop living, this terrible, terrible lie.

 

I am alone, so afraid, it seems like nobody is there,

I wish there was someone to help me, I really want to share.

Where to start, how to go, the darkness is closing in!

Maybe it is time to pray, it feels like it’s the end.

 

Is it too late, will it do any good, he doesn’t help people like me.

There is nothing else for me to do, that I can plainly see.

I close my eyes, clear my mind and I begin to pray.

God please forgive me, as I have lost my way.

 

Slowly a tear comes to my eye, I feel a presence here.

God’s Grace is filling up my heart, it now seems very clear.

“Come back to me my child; return, surrender, be free.”

“When you accept my grace, all you need is me.”

 

Will you be with me, on my path as I turn my life around?

How will I know you will be there, if I stumble and fall on the ground?

“Look at everything that you’ve done, everything you have put yourself through.”

“Is there any doubt that you are still on earth, because of how much I have always loved you?”

 

Now I feel it, it must be true, why is it so hard to see?

I am only here by the Grace of God; it is his Grace that has blessed me.

Every day, good or bad, I stop and say a prayer.

God’s Grace is always with me and I have nothing left to fear.

 

~ Anonymous

A Lifestyle of Savoring


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I recently spent time with a friend who savors.  I was awakened to what a savoring life looks like.

She’s a great listener.

She is alert to sensory details:  sights, sounds, tastes.

She is tuned in to the needs, desires, and hopes of others.

Being with her quieted my spirit and made me feel understood.  I want to practice savoring more.

Mary Z.