Hail to the Chief! Oh My! (How Not to Dread This Political Season)

Psalm 52:6 - But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.

 

I always dread this season.

Not the fall season or football season. I love those.

I dread the political season.

We get to see the worst in people and then elect one of them to become our nation’s leader.

Hail to the Chief! Whoopee!

But it’s not all bad news.

When all is said and done, God is the one who chooses our president, because He’s the real Chief. And we can trust Him completely.

Even as this 2016 election season gets more insane, we can trust in the steadfast love of God forever.

We can be like a green olive tree.

I realize being compared to an olive tree isn’t necessarily the clearest of comforts if you’re like me and have lived with oak trees and Bradford pears, but never with olive trees.

Let me explain:

I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.

Olive trees live a long time. Some over 2,000 years.

They withstand drought and storms well, unlike the sensitive, fragile Bradford pear trees.

Bradford pears can’t handle much. They crack and fall under pressure. 

America needs to stop acting like a Bradford pear and get back to being an olive tree. 

But it’ll only happen when we get back to following Christ as a nation.

I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.

Infinitely stronger than any olive tree, God’s love lasts forever.

No matter how crazy our world gets, or if America ever turns back to Christ or not, God never changes.

Remember that during this changing, bizarro political season.

~ Psalm 52:8

 

God doesn’t always choose a president who follows Him, but He always chooses the one that fits His purposes.

Sometimes God determines we need a president who inspires us to become a greater nation.

Other times we need a president who shakes us up and makes us realize how far we’ve fallen from pursuing and loving God.

This season we apparently need more than just a regular shake up. Oh my!

I know America needs to turn back to God, but I don’t have a clue how to make that happen.

But God does. And He can, and He will, if that’s His plan.

Unfortunately, we don’t know if that’s His plan. He left it out of the Bible.

No matter. God’s made it clear we simply need to pray, trust, and follow Him–the One who knows it all.

He’s not worried or scrambling. He’s calmly working for our good and His glory.

We might need a microscope to see it in our country right now, but when He’s got all the players and pieces in place, the world will see and know that there’s a God in heaven, and He loves us with an everlasting love.

The political season will never be my favorite season, but we don’t have to dread it when we remember who really runs our country and our world.

Hail to the real Chief–our Almighty, All-knowing, and All-loving God!

AMEN!


Daniel said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings; [and presidents] . . .”
~ Daniel 2:20-21 NASB

Hail to the Chief! Oh My! (How Not to Dread This Political Season) #Elections #GodIsSovereign Click To Tweet


How have you been encouraged this political season? Share in the comments. Thanks!




Laughter Through the Hard Times of Parenting (While My Child is Away ~ Part 4)

Laughter Through the Hard Times of Parenting. Learn how best to pray while your child is away in While My Child is Away (a book by Edie Melson) Interview by Jean Wilund

Parenting Will Make You Cry

Parenting will make you cry — tears of sorrow and tears of laughter.

Edie Melson, author of While My Child is Away: Prayers for When We Are Apart, and her husband try to look at life through the lens of laughter.

This mindset made a big impact on one of their boys late, late one night.

As teenage boys will do, one of their sons got into trouble in the middle of the night. When he realized he’d been seen, he ran away in the snow. Much to his surprise, they caught him.

The boy ran away in the snow and couldn’t figure out how they tracked him down?

When Edie and Kirk picked their son up around 3:00 AM, they could’ve been irate. But the humor of his shock over having been caught so easily was just too funny. They burst out laughing.

Their son later told them that was the day they became “the best parents ever.”

“I’m not suggesting we become our kids’ best friends,” Edie said, “but enjoying life together is important. Our kids need to see us relax.”

Laughter Produced by Joy

During a time when depression had snuffed out my joy, I still laughed from time to time. It felt great. But it never lasted.

Eventually, God taught me the comfort and power of His sovereignty even in the midst of deep sorrow. And that gave birth to more than laughter. It gave birth to joy.

With joy squishing out my anxiety, laughter came much easier–even in the hardest times.

Joy is Titanium Tough

Joy is titanium tough and enables us to laugh even when we’re picking up our son at 3:00 AM in the morning.

Worry weighs down our spirits. It can’t fix our problems or improve anything, but it’s great at making us miserable. Worry draws our attention away from God’s voice and opens the way to depression.

Joy lightens our spirits and helps keep our minds clear to hear from God. It strengthens us to face the challenges ahead with laughter rather than anxiety.

Joy is a Choice

Joy and worry are a choice we make. Which will we choose?

Edie encourages us to pray for God to teach our children how to choose joy.


Choose Joy

by Edie Melson

Your success and happiness lies in you.
Resolved to keep happy,
and your joy and you
shall form an invincible host
against difficulties.

~ Helen Keller

Dear Lord, as my child grows he’s going to go through times of hopelessness. When those struggles come, don’t let him get so bogged down in circumstances it affects his attitude. Show him how to hold onto his joy in spite of difficulties.

Draw him even closer to You when these times come. Make him hungry for you and for reading the Bible. I know how spending time reading Your Word makes such a difference in my life. Give him the same experience. So often we look for complicated answers when the truth is as simple as opening a book.

Use these times to teach him that joy isn’t dependent on circumstances. Our joy comes from You, and there are no circumstances too big for You. Help him learn this lesson early.

Surround him with others who can share this truth. Give them insight about what he needs to hear from them, and how they can help him adjust his attitude. Remind him that nothing is too big or too small for You. Amen.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
~ Romans 15:13 NASB


Edie Melson, author of While My Soldier ServesEdie Melson is the mother of three grown boys and the author of several books, including While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those With Loved Ones in the Military. A sought-after writing instructor, Edie serves as the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. Connect with her on her blog The Write Conversation at www.EdieMelson.com, Twitter, and Facebook. Edie and her husband live in Simpsonville, South Carolina.


Laughter Through the Hard Times of Parenting - We need it! #Stop2Pray #Pray4MyChild @EdieMelson Click To Tweet




When God Clears the Mist

When God Clears the Mist of Our Understanding (Music Video: Who Am I? by Casting Crown)

We don’t always know what God’s up to. His ways can seem confusing, almost misty.

Sometimes He parts the mist and reveals what He’s doing.

Other times, He asks us to walk by faith, not by sight.

No matter how confused we may be about God’s ways, we can walk in confidence that He knows how to lead us — even in the dark.

My friend Traci Burns was living in a dark, swirling mist of questions after her daughter Anna’s accident, until one day:


When God Clears the Mist

by Traci Burns

I often wondered why I was not home when Anna’s accident occurred. — why my husband and I were hours away.  

Months after Anna’s accident I got my answer.

Before I continue, I would like to share a thought:

The way Jesus showed up for me may not be the same way He shows up for you.

Jesus knows what’s best for us.

He created us.

He loves us.

As you continue to read, please keep these truths in mind.  

One night, I was sleeping and woke up at just about the time Anna’s accident had taken place.  

I lay in my bed and two thoughts came to my mind.

What if I had been home the night Anna had her accident?  

What would I have done when the highway patrolman knocked on my door or rang my doorbell?  

I knew exactly what I would have done.

I would have gotten to Anna as fast as I could.  

I would have seen the scene of the accident.  

I would have seen my precious daughter.  

By every account, Anna died instantly when her truck went off the interstate. If I was home and had gone to Anna, there’s nothing I could’ve done.

AND, THEN I KNEW.  

I knew why I had been with my dear friends in Atlanta instead of at home when the accident happened.

ANNA WAS ALREADY WITH JESUS!  

Jesus knows me, and He knew if I had gone to the accident scene and seen my precious daughter I’d have those images etched in my memory forever.  

Jesus spared me that scene and that memory.  

He even took me hours away to accomplish this.  

But, He didn’t stop there. He also placed me with dear friends who showered me with love and comfort when I got the news.  

Anna and I had spoken on the telephone the night before her accident, and the last words we said to each other were, “I love you,” and “I love you too”.  

THAT is the memory I’ll always have.

The lyrics to Casting Crown’s song Who I Am reflect my thoughts about Christ’s love for me and what He did for me in my darkest moment.

It’s the same love He has for you.


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Waiting & Wondering Are Agonizing. God is Amazing!

Waiting can be agonizing. Waiting and wondering can be torture. But God is absolutely amazing! He'll show up in ways and places you don't expect. (www.JeanWilund.com)

Waiting can be agonizing. Waiting and wondering can be torture. But God is absolutely amazing!

Yesterday God blew me away with His kindness and His ways in the midst of agonized waiting and wondering.

He doesn’t always answer me in miraculous ways. Sometimes He doesn’t seem to answer me at all. When He doesn’t, He’s no less amazing, loving, kind or powerful.

But when He does, I have to shout it out. So here it is:

I woke up yesterday with a heavy heart I couldn’t shake.

I tried.

I reminded myself of the wonderful truths of God’s sovereignty, kindness, and power.

How can a heavy heart stand in the face of that?

I’ll tell you:

When you love something or someone with your whole being, at times God’s sovereignty, kindness and power can seem to pale in the face of them or it.

Missing someone.

Worrying about IT.

Waiting for the results.

Wondering how to face the results.

Waiting and wondering. Bleh!

Yes, I realize how vague that all sounded, but I hope you understand what I mean. If you’ve experienced this, you do. If you haven’t, you will.

Waiting can be agonizing.

I’ll see my child again in seven months.

Waiting and wondering is torture.

Will I always have to settle for seeing her once a year?

It’s easy for our minds to run away with us and act stupid. It condemns us for what we didn’t do. Or did do and shouldn’t have done. Or should we have? Yes. No. I don’t know.

With my heavy heart, I got ready to teach Bible at the Dayschool. I didn’t want to go. I LOVE the kids and teaching them, but Ugh, I didn’t want to teach with this heavy heart.

As I drove to the school, I told God, I need a hug.  I decided I’d walk straight to my friend Bev’s desk and get that hug.

The copier man foiled my plan.

Seriously? You have to fix the copier by her desk right now?

How can I stand next to some strange man and ask my friend for a hug? Nope. I’d look like a weirdo. Not doing it.

I told God, Fine, I’ll do without a hug. I’ll stand on Your great promises instead that You’ve got everything right where You want it. I’ll find my comfort in You alone. 

I wish I could tell you that joy instantly returned.

But, then the kids walked into the class, and OH MY! I’m sure you all think your kids are amazing — and they are — but have you seen these?

The two-year old class alone is like a shot of pure love straight into the veins. There’s nothing like walking into a room of little munchkins as they run up shouting your name with delight. To say they’re adorable is almost an insult.

After I taught my three classes, I felt better. But once I left the kids, IT still hung over my heart.

Normally after I teach, I leave. Yesterday I had to stay to begin setting up for a Ladies’ Brunch we’re hosting this weekend.

My friend Karen and I worked together until she had to leave. I laughed and had a good time. But IT still hung over my heart.

As I continued working alone, a banging sound by the side doors startled me.

My friend Toni stumbled in with two cumbersome guitar cases strapped to her shoulders. The self-closing door tried to pancake her.

Toni said, “Jean, I wanted to come tell you thank you. You’re making a difference, and I wanted to give you a hug.”

I could barely respond as I soaked in her warm hug. I must have looked like an idiot. 

Normally I’d have been home by then, not still in the church.

How did she even know I was in the sanctuary?

She couldn’t know I’d told God I needed a hug.

I barely responded from the shock. Think Stupid Stare.

And then, OH MY!

Toni walked out the doors, but turned and walked back in. “Also, I wanted to tell you that I’ve been praying . . .” And then she began to say everything my heart had been heavy about.

Stupid Stare turned into Blubbering Idiot.

I hadn’t talked with anyone but God this morning about my heavy heart. No one even knew I had a heavy heart.

It vanished in that instant. The hug had lifted it. But now it was GONE.

It felt like God had walked into the room Himself and said, “I know, Jean. And you need to know I care. I’ve got this. And I’ve got you.”

He moved Toni to walk in to hug me and tell me about her prayers.

Even before I awoke, He’d moved in Toni to pray for me. She prayed in the middle of the night.

Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.
~ Isaiah 65:24

As if that wasn’t enough . . .

As I was leaving, my dear friend Traci walked up. All week I’d wanted to be able to give her a hug on the 14th (yesterday) because it’s the anniversary of her sweet daughter Anna’s Homegoing.

(If you haven’t read Traci’s posts about Anna, you want to! Click this link and scroll to the bottom to read the first in the series: Traci Burns)

We hugged. She then told me how God had been encouraging her.

Yes, He’d been telling her the same thing I’d been asking God to do in me as I prayed to be freed from my heavy heart.

Of course I immediately regaled her with the morning’s events.

I drove off with the most joy-filled heart.

Then . . . yes, then . . .

Part of my heavy heart was missing my daughter Brittany terribly and feeling hopelessly far from her.

While juggling potted plants at the Midlands Flower Festival (a little bit of heaven, I must say), I accidentally FaceTimed her. I have no idea how! My phone was “locked.”

I quickly hung up. Then she FaceTimed me back, but I thought I’d done it again, so I hung up again.

Then I realized she’d FaceTimed me, so I FaceTimed her again and then hung up when I got her text. Bahaha!

She texted me to say she couldn’t talk but would call me at 9:00 pm.

Yay, except I’d be at a loud — very loud — lacrosse game.

Just so happens, she got delayed and called me right after I’d walked into my quiet house after the game. 

Stupid Stare again. All day God amazed me.

I’d woken up heavy-laden and went to bed lighter than air.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
~ Matthew 11:28

That verse was an understatement! He gave me so much more than just rest.

Why He chose to do all that for me, I have no idea. He didn’t have to. He’s that good.

Even if God hadn’t done any of it, the truth would’ve remained unchanged, though.

His love is enough, and He’s always in complete control. And He’s absolutely amazing.

If your heart is heavy today, tell Him.

He might show you His great love through someone with skin on.

Or He may encourage you to be that someone with skin on to show His love to others. You never know what He’ll do with it.

Whatever God shows you to do. Please do it. Don’t wait.

What if Toni had ignored His prompting to go hug me?

What if she decided not to come back into the room and tell me she’d been praying for me?

I’m still flying high from the wonder of His great love for me, and that He’d move in others so I could see it.

If He’d do it for me, He’ll do it for you. I promise! I could never have orchestrated all that. I’m just not that good.

And Traci and I will be telling you more about that soon. Stay tuned!

When waiting and wondering are agonizing, God is still amazing!

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“Through All of It” by Colton Dixon ~ Monday Music

Click to view Colton Dixon "Through All Of It" Music Video

It happened.

I knew the day would come.

It’s not that I wanted to stop it, but I also dreaded it, all while celebrating it with pride.

My baby graduated high school. 

As a parent, we reach this day and hope with all our heart we got it right.

We know we didn’t get everything right.

We remember times we regret. Words we wish we’d left unsaid . . . or words we wish we had said. 

If I could, I would actually go back and do it all over again so I could get more right.

I’d write a different story — a better one for my kids.

I’d write the story of a what it looks like to actually rest in Christ, instead of fretting so much.

I’d write a story of living life every day fully confident in a God who’ll never fail them, instead of giving them a distorted picture of what it means to trust God or even to be a Christian. 

Since I can’t go back, I have to trust that while I got so much wrong and failed so often, God has never failed them or me.

Through all my mistakes, rebellion, and misunderstandings, God taught me more about Himself.

He taught me about His extravagant grace and mercy, His unfathomable patience and forgiveness, and His matchless kindness and love. 

God is my hope.

My hope’s certainly not in what I may or may not have done right.

He is my confidence.

It’s not in self-confidence that I’ll now be all I should be, or do all I should do.

As my last child prepares to leave for college, I can look forward with excitement because, God will never cease to be who He is, and He is our God “Through All Of It.”

Is Colton Dixon’s honest song, “Through All Of It,” the story of your life, too?

 

God’s not done writing our story. He’ll never give up on us.

Amen to that!


If you enjoyed Colton Dixon’s powerful song, I hope you’ll share it, and leave me a comment. 

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