Blessings on the worst vacation day ever

I’m in Yuma, Arizona right now with my mom who is going to have some dental work done in Mexico. For those of you who don’t know, you can get not only prescription drugs but plastic and dental surgery done there for about half price. So I came with her for moral support and fun too. The plan was to fly from Portland, OR to Phoenix and then drive three hours to get to Yuma which is just across the border from the dentist she is using. But plans don’t always come to fruition.

We were waiting to board our flight when an airline employee said, “The captain has informed us that the plane needs some more oil so we will be delayed about 15 minutes. We’ll have you on board as soon as we can.” No big deal, right? Then, after that time was up, “The captain called again and said they need to replace a part on the airplane, sorry but the flight will be delayed about an hour.” There was an audible groan from all the passengers… People began lining up at the gate desk because they were going to miss their connecting flights, at least we were only going to Phoenix. Another 15 minutes later, an announcement was made saying they thought they could get the part they needed from another airline but it seems they didn’t have  it at this time so passengers could book a different flight with them or another airline at no extra cost. At this point  we had been at the airport for almost three hours since we got there early to make sure we had enough time to check baggage and get through security. We took the offer to call and find another flight, which wasn’t until 3:30! So we ended up waiting at the airport for EIGHT HOURS! My mom said she felt like we were being held prisoner. Then we had to get on the plane, find our rental car, and drive another three hours to get to our hotel on the U.S./Mexico border. We arrived at midnight and went straight to bed. It was an exhausting day, to say the least.

My first blessing was the quiet corner I found to take a nap in. I hadn’t slept much the night before and I was in need of some rest. God always seems to give us what we need at the right time. The second blessing was a musician we stopped to talk to, two actually. The first one was a man who had an instrument that looked like a xylophone but while watching him play discovered he could  make it sound like a piano and many percussion instruments too. It was amazing. The second man was playing beautiful Spanish ballads on his guitar. My mom, who used to be a music major, opera singer and voice teacher asked him about where he was trained. But he said he is self taught which tells me he is very talented, or God-blessed. It helped me see God in a day that was not very pleasant at all.  The third blessing was after we  had boarded the plane. As we were ascending into  the sky, the plane was at just the right angle that the sun shone on my face. It was so bright I had  to close my eyes and only feel the upward motion of the aircraft as we got to the right altitude. I reflected back on the day and saw all these blessings despite the awful time imprisoned in an airport, plane and car that day. I am grateful God helped me see these good things when I could have just turned the day into one of complaints. I hope you also can find the blessings in your days.

 

God’s restoration

I went to a car show last week in Seattle. My brother has a bright orange Volkswagen Bug that he has restored from a rusted shell to a beautiful shiny piece of art that won second place in its category. And this car show was the biggest Volkswagen show on the West Coast. There were people there from Canada and even Hawaii. You may have seen some of the pictures that I posted on Facebook (search for Stephanie Mounier.) Some of the bugs and buses were still in the shape they were bought, rough and rusted and kind of ugly. Some of them had been restored and brought back to life with paint and hard work by amateurs or the owners paid experts to restore them. The van/campers had been spiffed up with wood paneling and built-in cabinets, carpet and new upholstery. It was obvious they were restored for real camping because they used up every available space they could. Some of the them even set out matching plates, silverware and curtains!

It’s the perfect example of what God does for us. He takes us, no matter how badly beaten down by life, rusted, dented, scarred, discouraged and disappointed by our choices and sin, and He loves us and builds us up again. He showers us with grace, forgiveness and peace. And then we can shine like stars (Phil 2:15) showing and telling the world what He’s done for us like those cars that were shown off at the show. I don’t know if it’s you that needs some renewal and restoration in your life, or maybe it’s a friend that needs your prayers. But my prayer today is that you ask God to make your life shiny again so that you have a reason to show off and let others see a new and improved you so that they will ask you what is different about you. And then you can tell them that you have God in your life and He is the one who has forgiven you, makes you love life and thankful for each day.

Jesus’s Rescue

I was reading Ps. 130:7 today for my devotional and it says, “… The Lord’s unfailing love is full redemption.” Redeem in the dictionary means to buy or pay off and redemption is the act of redeeming for a fault or mistake: a rescue. And that is surely what Jesus has done. He rescued us from the guilt, shame and consequence of having to go to the devil’s home after we sin. Because of Jesus’ rescue all we have to do is ask and we will be forgiven for all those ugly, stupid decisions we have made. He will even forget about them and toss them in to the Sea of Forgetfulness. We may bring them up in our minds but He also says in His word that He is not condemning us and hitting us over the head with them. He wants us to forget them too, not bring them up over and over again. So friends, let Jesus rescue you from your past and your sins. And forget them as He has.

photo attribution: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7156765@N05/27313086045″>Niagara Falls New York ~ United States ~ Hot Air Balloons</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Humility

I just returned from a week as a nanny at Young Lives camp. It’s a part of Young Life for teen moms. So college, high schoolers and middle aged women like me go to take care of the babies while the moms play and hear the gospel.

I was one of seven women in a room of nine 17-20 month old babies. And they kept us hopping! One child threw up on one woman twice and a second woman a third time. Another child overflowed his diaper on the first woman. She asked me what the Lord would be trying to teach her. I told her humility. God wants us to know that we are never better than anyone else. We are never better than the person who has nothing. We are to serve each other to keep us humble because we never know when we may need the help ourselves. Someone to hold us up, give us a hug or their time. So friends, remember that God loves you and He wants you to pass that love on by thinking about others first.

Joy in Troubles?

I read that verse again today, “Count it all joy when you face troubles of many kinds…” James 1:2

Usually, my first thought is REALLY? It seems I’ve had so many trials and troubles that I just want to pitch a fit, lay down on the ground and scream and cry, or at least kick a tire or two. BUT NOOOOOOOO, God wants us to be joyful when our muscles hurt or we can’t find work, or we have cancer or our children are growing up too fast and they want to join the military and move away from you (like two of mine are.)

So I may grumble a little and let off some steam but realize that their career choices will be good for them, make me proud and get them some money to go to college too. My husband went without work for awhile last year and we were biting our fingernails but God came through and gave him a job. We may have to wait sometimes. Or God could be saying I have something better for you down the road. He may be saying flat out NO because that course of action is not the right one for you.

In verse 3 it says, “the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” And isn’t that a good thing in this helter skelter, chaotic, unpredictable world? God wants us to be witnesses to His good works and one of those ways is to be calm in the  midst of the storms of life. We can show others how He gives us peace. So be joyful folks even when it doesn’t seem possible. Ask God to give you peace and steadfastness.

Tips to Boost Your Confidence

KNOW GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE

Jer. 29: 11 says “I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

It may be that you are going to just stay at home with your small children for now. I did that for many years and then finished my book. Now I am writing more than ever and also working part time. But God also has a plan for you to serve Him in ministry now or in the future. Do you feel led to help in the nursery, with the teens, in the church office, at the local food bank, at the pregnancy center? There are so many places you can serve. Pray about it. He will lead you.

REMEMBER THAT GOD LOVES YOU AND NOTHING CAN SEPARATE FROM HIM

Romans 8:38 says, nothing “in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Even if a family member hurts you or someone rudely cuts you off on the road or you’ve had a bad day, God is still there with you. He is standing with you in the office as you deal with a difficult boss. He is standing with you in the kitchen as you make dinner, even if the kids are screaming and fighting in the next room. He is hugging you when you remember your painful past. He is holding you while you are sick because of cancer.

I have had painful things happen in my life. I still have to chant this verse when I’m having a bad day. Or my mantra, “God loves me, God loves me, God loves me…” when I need a confidence boost.

TALK LIKE YOU BELIEVE IT.

Write these verses on note cards and tape them to your mirror or your dashboard to remind you each day. Say them out loud to yourself and your family and friends until you believe it. I know you have heard this advice from motivational speakers and pastors before. And it really works! When you have these memorized and said them out loud enough find other verses you need to practice and do in your life.

WALK LIKE YOU BELIEVE IT.

When you are walking somewhere where do you look? Of course, if you are with the kids you have to watch them. But if you are by yourself, are you watching the ground or where you are going? A person of confidence looks toward where they are going and looks up (figuratively) toward where they want to go. A person of confidence walks tall with their back straight and their shoulders back not hunched over and their bodies closed off. So walk like you believe God loves you and you love yourself and you will have a great future.

Email me at stephwrites68@gmail.com for info about speaking engagements on Boosting your confidence, Serving God in Your .Everyday Life and Parenting Dos and Don’ts.

My first book

I published my first book yesterday! It’s called “Amy’s Story”. You can find it on Amazon.com.  It took about 4 years to write because when I started I still had 5 kids at home. Then I went to college for the next two and finally got a degree. So I’ve spent the last six months editing and perfecting it. I have to say that when I clicked the mouse for the last time, I cried. God has blessed me in between all of the hard times. It may have seemed like it would never happen but it has. I praise Him for His presence in my life through all the good and the bad,  for He is FAITHFUL.

We have been doing a study in my women’s group called “Kingdom Woman” that tells how a woman can and should have confidence in herself and God ‘s love. There have been times in my life when I have had very little confidence but thank God He has been a presence via people and His Word. I know when I’m feeling a bit off I just need to spend a few minutes reading the scriptures and  His words will make me right again! So I pray friends you will do the same and go to Him when you need a change in your day.