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Archive for the ‘Extroverted’ Category

~Written by Cassie Harris

Communication isn’t something my family does incredibly well.

We often joke about the fact that we can go months without really talking. Although we chide each other for our quirks, we’ve never changed our habits. Since only my parents share the same zip-code, our uncommunicative family can sometimes be a frustration.

I recently returned to my hometown for the holidays for the first time in two years. Aside from texting travel plans, I hadn’t really talked to my mother in over a week, my dad in almost a month. As I got off the plane in Kenai, Alaska, I was surrounded by a welcoming party of over 15 people. I knew my mother would be the first one to hug me; that went without saying. 

What I didn’t quite expect was my dad pushing through the small crowd to be the second one to wrap his arms around me. I fought back tears as he good-naturedly told my friends to “stand aside” and to “move, please.” I have no doubt my dad loves me, but really needing to say hello and hug me tight before anyone else wasn’t something I was expecting, for some reason.  

It can be the same way with our Heavenly Father. We can go weeks, months, maybe even years without talking to Him. Then, somehow, we stand in shock when He “fights through the crowd” to welcome us back. He’s still our Father. He still wants time with us.

It doesn’t matter how long it’s been or how much water has gone under the bridge. It doesn’t matter if communication with our Father God up till this point has only been on religious holidays.  

The moment we step near Him, the moment we want to see Him, He runs straight to us, ready to pick up the relationship where we last left it. It’s as if He can be heard good-naturedly saying, “Stand aside, my Child wants to talk to Me, and I can’t wait to welcome my beloved Home.”  

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~ Written by Cassie Harris

More than ever before, holidays represent change in my life. 

For the past three years, instead of being with family, I’m a welcomed guest in a friend’s home. After a life of ministry, you’d think I’d be used to the situation, but this time, it’s different. This time, my immediate family isn’t with me.

Thanksgiving is my mother’s favorite holiday. I’ve learned to live in transition, but I know Mom would like nothing more than to have all her kids around the table. So, that makes Thanksgiving in this new season of life a new level of difficult.

 As I pondered the approaching Thanksgiving this year, I found a whole new level of Thanksgiving to celebrate. I was struck with the reality that I can trust God with His provision, love and grace over my family even when life looks differently than how I want it to look.

This Thanksgiving, wherever you find yourself, may you spend a moment to glory in the fact that we serve a constant, present and providing God. Even when life is in transition, He never changes. 

Thank God for His constant presence in an ever-changing world 

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~ Written by Viki Rife

The summer I was 10, I had a chance to go an hour away into the mountains of California for a children’s camp. For a nature-lover like myself, it was a delightful week of breathing in the rich smell of the pine trees and learning to recognize animal tracks.  

One night in the middle of an energetic pillow fight when we were supposed to be sleeping, our counselor walked in from the nightly counselor meeting. Strangely, she didn’t scold us. Instead, she sat us down and explained that we were going to have to spend the next few days cleaning the cabin top to bottom and preparing a special program. The Board was coming! 

It wasn’t long before the significance of the announcement began to sink in. Apparently, The Board had a lot of expectations and a lot of power. We were briefed on how we should behave when the Board Members were present. We scrubbed the cabin and aired our mattresses. We even hiked the paths into the woods picking up any sticks or fallen pine cones that might obstruct the Board Members if they chose to walk there. We overheard the kitchen staff planning the meals they would serve the Board Members. In my mind, it was comparable to having the Queen of England arrive at our camp. My greatest fear was, “What if one of them tries to talk to me?”

Several days later, running with my friends to lunch, I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks. There on the porch of the dining cabin sat my grandfather, his feet propped up on the railing. 

“Grandpa, what are you doing here?” I gasped as I reached him.  

He chuckled. “Enjoying the mountains and the sunshine,” he answered. Knowing my grandpa, it was no stretch for me to picture that he had driven all the way up here to sit on this porch for a little while. The twinkle in his blue eyes warmed my heart, and I was intensely thankful for his timing. 

No Board Member could hurt me while Grandpa was here. 

After a short chat, he said, “You’d better go on in. I’ll stay here and wait for my friends.”

As I entered, my counselor hurried over to me. “Why were you talking with that Board Member?” she asked. 

“I didn’t talk to a Board Member,” I told her.

“Yes, you did. Out there on the porch,” she insisted. 

I didn’t say anything, but I was hurt at being falsely accused. She should know I was way too shy to ever talk to a Board Member. Besides, I hadn’t seen any Board Members on the porch. I would surely have died if I had. 

Then the camp director grabbed a microphone and announced, “Boys and Girls, I want you to welcome our Board.” The door opened and in walked…my grandpa and his friends! It still took me a while to wrap my head around the truth: my tender, patient grandpa with a constant hint of mischief in his eyes, the man I could confide my deepest secrets to, the one who loved me just the way I was, was a Board Member. The term no longer held any fear for me

Sometimes in my life, I think of God as an unknown Board Member making sure I don’t do anything wrong. Then I remember he is also the one who loves me beyond anything I can imagine. 

Perfect love casts out fear. 

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~ Written by Cindy Shuler

“So, what did you do this weekend?” The question was asked knowing that my husband and sons were at the annual men’s retreat with our church. I answered that a friend and I spent Saturday on a prayer retreat. 

Responses to my answer varied. Some said, “Oh, that’s nice.” Others gave me a look that said, “Really?” My daughter responded that she’d probably run out of things to pray for after two minutes. These responses didn’t really surprise me. After all, I would have reacted in much the same way until recently. 

Three years ago I was invited to spend an evening praying for our son. I accepted with fear and trepidation. It was the Christian thing to do. But inwardly I wondered how I could pray for an hour, let alone three! What would I say? What would the others think of me? Needless to say, I survived. It wasn’t that bad. Still, I was relieved when it was over. 

Now I laugh when I think about it. I’m amazed at how the Lord has changed my perspective. Prayer isn’t a duty. It’s a privilege, a conversation with our Abba Father. I now look forward to these times dedicated to seeking God’s face, to worshipping Him and to laying my requests before Him. It refreshes my soul. 

And sharing it with a friend is an added blessing. This particular day was enriched by time spent outdoors, surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation. We offered up praise and we worshipped. We prayed for one another, our families, our church and Women of Grace USA. At the end of the day, our hearts were lighter.  

How do you respond to the invitation to pray? How would our families, our churches, our ministries be affected if we devoted ourselves to prayer? Next time you have some free time, grab a friend or two and have a nice, long conversation with your Father. You’ll be glad you did. 

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~ Written by Cassie Harris

Anticipation. It made me slightly resent the four hour long drive required to get me to my destination. I found myself longing for the day teleportation isn’t stuck in the world of Science Fiction. My loved ones were waiting for me at the other end of the car trip. I spent the first twenty minutes in the car watching the clock and praying the minutes would click by faster.

Just when I thought I would lose my mind, my friends in the car with me started talking about what God was doing in their lives. Before I knew it, I had completely forgotten about the clock and was joining them in the conversation. I silently chided myself for being so caught up in the destination I forgot to enjoy the journey.

Actually, it was much more than that. I was so caught up in the future destination I wasn’t investing in the people God had in front of me at that very moment. I was so frustrated over needing to wait for what I didn’t have yet and ignoring the blessings God had given me right now.

Oh, may we as children of God never be so caught up in pointing out the things which frustrate us that we stop being blessed by the little things we often take for granted. With God, everything is a process. Even our sanctification and imitation of Jesus Christ is a process. Patience is always required, but so is the ability to shine for God while we wait for the desires of our heart to be met.

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~Written by Viki Rife

You really have to understand people to be a Little League coach. During a Skype conversation with my grandson last weekend, I asked him, “What position are you playing in softball this year?” He answered with a forlorn face, “Outfield, but I’d rather be at second base.”

I’m pretty sure I know why his coach put him in the outfield, based on a game I watched when we were visiting them. My grandson begged to be at first base, and the coach let him. The first time an opposing player hit the ball, my grandson started cheering.

As soon as the other player arrived at the base, my grandson, who is extremely extroverted, started a conversation with this boy he didn’t even know. In no time at all, they were standing there swapping stories like old friends, both with their backs to home plate. Pretty soon another player hit a ball, which went right past first base as each coach shouted to get his player’s attention. It was pretty obvious my grandson’s heart wasn’t really in the game.

Sometimes I think I do the same thing. My Coach gives me a chance to play a key position, but I get distracted doing what I want to do. The opportunity to contribute to the team passes me by. I could have noticed that someone was grieving. I could have seen that chance to take food to a family. I didn’t drop the ball–I never even reached for it. If I don’t want to play outfield, I need to learn to keep my eye on the ball

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