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A Parched Mollusk

Today I have the very special opportunity to share a story with you from my best friend. She wrote this up a week or so ago and has such a talent for communicating so I asked if I could post it. I hope it blesses you as it did me.

IMG_2047“So, how can I tell if it’s alive?” I questioned a stranger on the beach. “Hmm, splash a little water on it and see if it moves.” the stranger offered as she walked toward me. She drew in closer as I scooped a handful of cold ocean water into the shell. I caught this quick picture as the mollusk poked out of his shell. “O yah, it’s alive!” she exclaimed in her Wisconsin accent. “It’s just been out of the water for a while. I like to throw ’em back in and give ’em a second chance.” she said pointing at the water. I nodded in agreement and tossed the little guy back into the ocean.

This simple interaction sparked a life-giving conversation that moved me to tears.

You see, that morning I went to the beach feeling much like that stranded mollusk. Spiritually parched and so far away from God’s life-giving, soul-refreshing, Living Water. Feeling and looking rather dead and hiding from the light. Not that I didn’t KNOW or BELIEVE in God’s goodness and the fact that he is my source of life… it’s just I hadn’t FELT that abundant life in a long time.

While certain circumstances played a big part in feeling spiritually drained, the bigger culprits were sin issues and neglecting time with the Lord. Since my work is in a Christian ministry, I felt like I had to conjure up the appearance of spiritual vitality. I was exhausted from trying to keep up the facade while my heart was withering inside.

That week I was on a trip to Florida and had designated that day as my “Jesus” day. I was going to ignore my phone and other distractions and just focus on resuscitating my relationship with the Lord. In the past, I found spending time outdoors and acknowledging God’s hand in nature to be great faith-builders for me.

I decided to wake up early that morning and go for a walk on the beach to spend time in creation. As I got ready in my hotel room, I begged God to show himself to me that day. Like so many of my previous prayers, I felt like it fell on deaf ears and I was just talking to the wall.

As I walked toward the beach, the cold ocean air whipped through my hoodie and I wished I had stayed in bed. When I got to the beach I looked around and forced myself to come up with praises. (Not the right attitude, I know.) My heart said, “God you are so powerful that you control the tides.” Then my head butted in and said, “The moon controls tides, you dummy!” So my heart responded, “God, I’m so thankful for your control over ALL things!” Then my head came back with, “God if you are in control of all things then why can’t you fix…?” Ugh, not a very good start.

With a conflicted spirit, I reached down to pick up the little conch shell and noticed Sherry, who was walking several paces behind me.

We were two of only a handful of people willing to brave the 40 degree weather on the beach that morning. After tossing the mollusk back into the ocean, we started walking along the beach together.

Almost instantly she brought up her church and we started talking about faith. I learned that she grew up in church, but had fallen away a few times before returning the final time decades ago. She shared about her love for Compassion International, her passion for serving young adults in her church, and her interest in traveling. When she mentioned a life-altering career change to follow God’s leading, we talked about the blessings and sacrifices of the Christian life. I can’t even remember everything we talked about, but the conversation flowed so easily, it felt as if we had known each other for years.

For nearly two hours we walked along the beach together: gathering shells, tossing back mollusks, and talking about life. I found myself opening up to her about details of my life I don’t usually even share with friends. Her honesty, wisdom, and kind encouragement felt like cool water to my thirsty soul. What she was saying resonated so much with me that I felt like her words were a direct answer to my prayers.

As we neared the end of the walk, we hesitated, almost wishing we had more beach to walk and more time to talk. We both acknowledged what a mutual blessing it was to spend that brisk January morning together and felt God had ordained us to meet. Sherry gave me a big hug and we prayed together before a final farewell.

When Sherry first met me, I was that lowly mollusk that had been out of God’s life-giving water for far too long. With her encouragement from the Lord, she gave me a second chance by tossing me back into God’s great ocean of Living Water.

As I walked alone on the road back to my hotel, tears streamed down my face. For the first time in a long time I didn’t just KNOW and BELIEVE, I FELT the love and the presence of God in a real way. God had answered my prayer in a way I didn’t expect and I still don’t fully understand.

My revived soul spent the rest of that day soaking up God’s Word, talking with the Lord, and worshiping him. Only this time it wasn’t forced or conflicted, his praises came overflowing out of the abundance of joy in my heart.

Praise God!

“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 68:1

~Natalie Frueh

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in encouragment

 

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How Very Blessed

Sometimes, I don’t feel blessed. I can hear your gasp and see your shocked face…but it’s true. Sometimes, I feel like my life is awful and I just don’t want any more uncertainty and I want to go home. There are days when I just want to lay in bed and cry all day. Days when the problems of my friends get me down and inject stress into my life. Days when I long just to have my baby brother tell me he loves me and to feel his arms around my neck. Days when I don’t feel blessed.

Now, I realize of course that I am blessed. I have a wonderful family and I have a baby brother TO miss. I don’t have many of the fears and problems of my friends. I have a home to visit. I have tons of people who sincerely care for me. I have plenty of food and a warm place to live. I am blessed.

But, you know what? That isn’t enough. History would tell of millions of people who had all that and more but who weren’t happy or content. They were missing the greatest blessing of them all. The blessing of salvation.

But I have that. I have the assurance of things hoped for and I know the evidence of things not seen. I know my name is written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life and that his hand of grace and mercy is upon me in salvation. I know that the struggles of this life are merely a shadow and that the glory of eternity is mine. I know that my Lord is faithful and just to forgive my sins and that he remembers them no more. I know that my God reigns forever and that he listens when I call to him.

Sometimes, I don’t feel blessed. And sometimes, I just need to be reminded of how very blessed I really am.

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2014 in blessing

 

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Five Things: Bethany

Five Things I love about my little sister Bethany!

1. Her sweet personality!

2. How she calls a brain-freeze a freeze-brain.

3. She LOVES babies!

4. She tells me all the time how much she will miss me when I go to camp this summer.

5. She has never met a stranger. EVER.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2013 in Five Things

 

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5 Things Posts

Over the next few days, or so, I’m going to be doing a series of posts that I’m calling 5 Things. Each post will list 5 things that I love about one of my family members.  It’s so easy to focus on the negative things that we see in those we live with and to never realize the things we really love about them.  I think it’s important to remember that we are all sinners and to only look at another’s sins is arrogance.  We all need Christ’s saving grace.

Hopefully, the first one will be up tomorrow.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2013 in Five Things

 

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How (and why) I Babysit

I started babysitting soon after I turned 13.  It began with my siblings. Of course, you know, if you can handle your siblings, every other kid will be a piece of cake. My parents would go out on dates or to bible study together and I would watch the youngins’.  I always knew exactly where they were going and had the usual phone numbers.

Then I started getting requests from other parents.  I got lots of questions about how much I charge and I always gave the same answer. “Nothing.”  I loved the stunned looks on parents faces.  That’s right, I don’t charge anything to babysit and never have because I look on it as a way to bless people.  Now, of course, people don’t allow you to babysit for free, so they always gave me something, but it never mattered how much it was. In fact, this one mom I babysit for doesn’t usually pay me in cash. I often watch her kids when she goes out shopping with her mom and she always buys me something as a thank-you. I’ve gotten scrapbooking stuff, a Vera Bradley lunchbag and shower caddy (for camp!!!), tea mugs, candles, ect. I love it!!!

I’ve babysat overnight (or for a few nights!), for bible studies within my church and for other churches, for parents wanting to get away for a few hours, and for moms who need to take one child to the emergency room (you know who you are)!  Watching my siblings has somehow changed over the years. Now, WE kick the parents out on a date!  I hardly ever know where they are going or when they will be back, unless they’re going to be out REALLY late.  It’s really funny when your five year old brother will beg Mom and Dad to go on dates!

I love to babysit! Kids are hilarious and it’s a great way to bless others.  Rebecca can’t wait until she’s old enough to babysit!  I started writing a book for her on the topic that contains all my knowledge and advice. I better hop to it or she’ll be old enough before I know it!

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2013 in blessing

 

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What is Family?

When I was five, my birth Mom died of cancer.  When I was eight, my Dad married and I got a second Mother. I have two siblings by my birth Mom and three siblings by my second Mom.  Now, some people would try to tell me that it’s not natural to feel a real love for my Mom and siblings.  They tell me that there’s usually a great divide between so-called half-siblings and that it’s fine for me to not love my Mom.

And I’m here to tell them they’re wrong. I love my Mom just as much as I can and I’ve always felt that way. There has never been a time when I said to her or even felt in my heart the attitude of “Well, you’re not my real Mom.”  Because she is my real Mom. I believe that God is sovereign and it was in his will for my birth Mom to die and that he sovereignty placed another Mom in my life.  Not that I’ve completely forgotten my birth Mom. I’m grateful to her for choosing to have me, but I also know that right now she’s in the presence of the Savior and when I get to heaven, I’ll have two Moms to reunite with!  (Unless, of course, I die before Mom 🙂

As for siblings, I’ve never called them anything but my dear brother and sisters. I love them beyond belief!  There is no difference in my love for them and my love for my other two siblings. The divide in non-existent with me. Of course, there is the divide of ‘big’ kids and ‘little’ kids, but even that is disappearing as Becca becomes a ‘big’ kid!  I heartily disagree with anyone who calls them anything other than my siblings. In fact, in one of her learning stages, Becca said something about me being only half her sister and I looked her in the eye and said seriously, “Don’t ever say that again.”  I did a little explaining and she never has.

I thank God for everyone in my family and for his grace and sovereignty in putting us together!

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in family

 

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The Perfect Christmas

This year, we had some of the best presents we’ve ever had for Christmas.  They weren’t really expensive or really fancy, but they fit the intended person just right.  I know you want the run-down, so here is the list of the best presents:

  • I wrote a while back that we were remodeling our bedroom. We did it mostly because for Christmas, Rebecca moved into our room. She is getting older and it will encourage her to act older and more mature if she thinks of herself as one of the ‘big’ girls, instead of a little kid. We painted and completely rearranged the whole room and none of the younger ones saw it till yesterday. Over Becca’s bed we painted a big letter ‘R’  with a tiara on it, complete with sequins. She was so surprised and thrilled. She spent practically all day in her new room.
  • Bethany and David still share a room. They’re young and don’t care. So, in their room we put up a canopy over Bethany’s bed. She has the top bunk and we fixed these lacy curtains to the ceiling and they hang over her head. She LOVED it- she’s such a girly girl!
  • We also hung curtains (not lace ones) around David’s bed so it’s like a tent in there. He was so excited!
  • For Mom we got a set of non-stick pots and pans. It is an 18 piece set and SHE spent last night figuring where to put them.  It was a great gift for her, AND they were FREE! My Dad’s work does this safety drawing if you are accident-free and he won this set- which is what we wanted to get Mom anyway!
  • We got Dad a HDMI cord that hooks our laptop to the TV. We had an old one, but it always messed up the computer, so the new one is wonderful.
  • David got lots of presents but he’s so easily pleased that all of his were great 🙂
  • Of course, Caroline got the video posted for her.
  • And me? I got what I wanted most: a Mp3 player for when I run. Ahhhh….I love it.

Of course, there were lots of other gifts given and many of them were wonderful as well. These here were just the best ones. We’ve never had a Christmas like this before. There were many presents that couldn’t be unwrapped, like the bedrooms and the video. But they fit. Everyone agreed that this was our best Christmas

 

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2012 in Christmas

 

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