How God answered me

How does God answer our prayers and how does God communicate with us? My 3 amazing answered prayers came in three different forms, yet were all undeniably God. He answers, we just have to listen.

My 3 amazing ‘answered prayer’ experiences came in three different forms, yet were all undeniably God. He answers, we just have to listen.

There are many times we pray for things that don’t really require an actual answer from God. We either get the outcome we wanted or we don’t – for example, praying for someone be healed (they either are or they aren’t), or passing an exam, or finding the right spouse.

But I’ve had three experiences in my life where I really needed an actual answer. After asking God to help me, I received an answer in each case. They all came in very different ways, but they were all undeniably God giving me the answer I sought.

I hope my examples will encourage you to open your communication with God. If you listen, you will find Him speaking to you.

1- A Decision

The first time I made a plea to God for an answer, it was a doozy. I was in the middle of a medical crisis for my breast cancer treatment and needed to make a decision about my surgery. To make a very long story short, I was struggling with where to have my surgery. I had an appointment with my local hospital but wondered if I should explore my options at a larger hospital that was three hours from home. Family members weighed in on my decision, confusing me even more. I had the appointment at the larger hospital but had finally decided to cancel it after meeting with the local surgeon. But I was torn. Was I making the right decision? It could possibly be a life or death decision and certainly could affect whether I ended up with breasts or not. It wasn’t a decision I could take lightly.

With my appointment approaching, I finally turned to God for help. “Lord, please help me decide what to do. You know I can be dense sometimes, so please give me a big and bold answer so I’ll be sure not to miss it.”

The next day, I carried on with life as usual and got caught up in my work. It was lunchtime before I thought about my plea, then drifted back to the daily grind. A couple of hours later, my phone rang and it was my regular call from the nurse at my local hospital. Kathy had been assigned to help me navigate through my diagnosis and treatment.

My angel nurse.

As I gave her my latest update and told her some people were giving me a hard time about cancelling my consultation at the larger hospital, she stopped me in my tracks with her answer. “Why would you cancel it?” she asked. “I think that would be a bad decision. You need to go.”

Kathy was suggesting I seek a consultation at a hospital other than her own? I was astounded. “Go see what they have to say,” she said. “You want to be happy with the decision you make. No regrets.”

Talk about a big and bold answer! I hadn’t asked Kathy what I should do. I was telling her my decision. She didn’t have an ounce of hesitation as she insisted I was making the wrong choice about not getting the second opinion.

As it turned out, the consultation introduced me to a state-of-the-art surgery option that was not being performed at my local hospital and I opted for that surgery. (They have since established the procedure at the local hospital.)

After our conversation, I told Kathy that she had been an answer to my prayer and referred to her as my angel. I’m absolutely certain that her call that day was in direct answer to my prayer. Her insistence couldn’t have been more unexpected or bigger or bolder.

My sister encouraged me to write my breast cancer story to try to help other women. You can check out Losing the Girls HERE.

2- A Death

When my father passed away, I was fortunate (or unfortunate) to be present. What I hoped was to be a peaceful passing was anything but. He fought it like a warrior. “Is he a stubborn man?” the hospice nurse asked me. “You have no idea,” I said.

I watched in amazement as my father opened his cloudy, lifeless eyes long after he’d become incoherent and looked into an upper corner of the room and raised his hand. I was elated to think either my grandmother or Jesus was guiding Dad to his eternal home.

But he continued to fight for his life. Why? It haunted me for days afterward. I know someone he loved had come for him. He should have wanted to go. But he didn’t.

I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

Waiting for my answer.

I needed to know my father was enjoying the eternal peace and joy of heaven. “Please, God,” I prayed. “I need a sign that Dad’s okay.”

A couple of weeks went by and I still didn’t have my answer, although I continued to ask for it.

One day I realized I’d had a song playing on repeat in my mind for some time. You know when one gets stuck there until it almost drives you bananas?

It wasn’t a song from my era, so I only knew the refrain. But I’d been singing those few words for probably two weeks before it struck me.

“Daddy’s home. Daddy’s home. Daddy’s home to staaaaaaaay.”

I’d been singing the answer to my prayer without realizing it. “Your dad is home,” God was telling me. That’s all I needed to know.

3- A Book Plot?

The past few years I’ve been really trying to find and follow God’s will for me.  Writing has been the path I’ve felt called to serve and after writing two adult books to highlight amazing women doing God’s work, I was stuck.

I had no traction on my writing and had hit a wall. I enjoyed the children’s books I’d written and my husband had encouraged me to write more. So, even though it’s one of the most competitive genres, I decided to ‘write for Jesus’ and dive into Christian picture books. It seemed to fit what I thought God wanted me to do.

A plan fell in place. I’d write books about the parables, beginning with The Good Samaritan. As I do, I plowed ahead and started plotting in my mind. The parable would serve as the foundation, but I couldn’t make the idea work.


After two weeks of brainstorming different ideas, I hadn’t found a cohesive plot. This story had existed for over two thousand years, but I still couldn’t make it work on paper.

One morning, in utter frustration, I took it to God. “God, if I’m supposed to write children’s books, I need your help, because what I’m doing isn’t working. If you want this, you have to help me.”

I actually said that prayer while I was making my morning coffee and by the time I sat down at my computer, I had a completely new book idea. The concept morphed into a storyline as I made my breakfast and by early afternoon, I saved my first draft of Heaven is Better.

The ideas continued to flow and I can’t wait to introduce Daysa the daydreamer to young Christians, beginning with Heaven is Better. And yes, The Good Samaritan is also in the line-up for Daysa’s daydreams, although I still haven’t finalized the plot!

A “knowing”.

The only way I can describe God’s answer to me is a ‘knowing’. I didn’t hear an actual voice, as some people do. I had a fleeting vision that I knew to be heaven and then the rest of the idea just trickled into my mind.

This experience was the opposite of my big and bold answer. It was soft and subtle. I know if I hadn’t been paying attention, I would have probably missed it.

Listen Closely

The answer can come in many ways

My three heavenly questions were answered through three totally different avenues, but all were distinctly God. Mine came through another person, a song, and an idea, but God can speak to us in countless ways.

A common experience that people have is getting a message from God through a dream. Although I’ve never experienced a clear sign through a dream myself, I want to share an experience in which I was contacted by a classmate whom I hadn’t seen for eons.

A Dream

Sandie knew through social media that I wrote books and she wanted to know if I could coach her as she wrote a book. During our chat, she described God’s calling for her to write about her spiritual journey – but she’d been ignoring the nudging. When she finally decided to accept the request, she was faced with a daunting task of writing a book, that she knew nothing about. She turned to God for help and that’s when she saw my face in her dream.

So, although I didn’t experience this first-hand, I know for certain that God sent Sandie to me to help her bring her story to the world. He answered both of our prayers through Sandie’s dream.

He will answer you.

These experiences inspire me to listen to God more closely, even though I’m still a work in progress. I hope they give you help and hope for opening your mind and ears so you can hear your messages from God, too.

How has God spoken to you? Let me know in the comments.

Would you like to see the books God’s led me to write? You can find them HERE.

Daysa the Daydreamer is coming! Be the first to know by signing up HERE!

Learning to be Content

Are you tired of feeling unsatisfied? What would it be like to not worry about climbing the corporate ladder, buying that new car, or going on a spectacular vacation? What about not worrying about being pretty enough, smart enough, or worthy enough?

A content person is satisfied with what they have and doesn’t worry about such things. So how can we become liberated from worldly desires and bask in contentment; to trust that in Jesus we will always have what we need and that will be enough?

1- Adjust Your Perspective:

But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

1 Timothy 6:6-7 NIV

“You can’t take it with you,” the saying goes. We know this, but we like fancy cars, designer shoes, and fancy handbags.

There’s nothing wrong with owning nice things, but what is your intention of the things you buy?

 To flaunt it? To spite your ex? To make you feel good?

2- How much is enough?

Does a closet full of shoes and handbags make you feel content? Probably not. Things generally don’t satisfy us – at least not for long.

Think about your desire for more things. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit that having things doesn’t make you content – maybe it just makes you want even more.

Contentment is about not wanting. Contentment is not needing. Contentment is being fully satisfied with what you have.

3- The Challenge:

Challenge yourself to stop splurging and flip your habit. When you feel the urge to make a frivolous purchase, do something for someone instead. Donate the money you would have spent to a worthy cause or donate some of your never used items.

One of my favorite sayings is, “The best things in life are never things.”

Take a step back and take stock of your life. Using the perspective of an outsider, do you have enough?

4- What about Wealth?

But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

1 Timothy 6:8-10 NIV

We have a practical need of money to survive but we sometimes get trapped into feeling like we never have enough. How much money will you need to retire comfortably?

Can you draw the line between the pragmatic necessity of making enough money to live versus a compulsion to make more money?

This is really all about a mindset that’s within your control to change.

5- Decide to be Content

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

Philippians 4:11 NIV

Find the blessings you currently have using these tried and true methods:

  • Make a list of everything you’re grateful to have.
  • List three blessings you experience each day.
  • Say a prayer for someone needy. Pick a different person each day.
  • List the people who have less than you do.

Don’t give up when you stumble. Reconditioning your mind and heart will be a work in progress.

6- Turn your struggle over to God.

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:11-12 NIV
  1. First and foremost, thank God for everything you do have. Say it aloud. Say it often. Say it whenever you recognize the blessing, for example, you see the man in the wheelchair, thank God, then and there, for your ability to walk.
  2. Ask Jesus to help you accept your current circumstances. Talk to Him when you’re feeling dissatisfied as if He’s a friend standing beside you – because He is.
  3. Turning your life over to Jesus is a quick way to gain a perspective that leads to contentment – but, how do you do that?

Turn your LIFE over to Jesus

What does it mean to say YES to Jesus? You might like my post about it. Read it HERE.

Put Jesus at the center of your life instead of yourself or even your children or spouse. You’ll be amazed that when you start living according to Jesus’ teaching, worldly goals become petty and meaningless.

If you don’t know how to live according to Jesus’ teaching, read one of the Gospels. You’ll find Jesus is literally speaking to you there.

Do you think a ‘contentment’ or gratitude journal will help you? I have not used the following journals, but they both have plenty of very good ratings on Amazon. You might want to check them out.

Do you struggle to be content? What methods do you to overcome it? Let me know in the comments.

One of our human flaws is to want more than we have. Our challenge is to push that demon aside and find God’s blessing in what we have. It is always enough. Learn how to become content.

Is the Bible relevant today?

Is the Bible still relevant today? You bet. It's still speaks directly to us.

Do you find it hard to relate to the Bible? 5 Tips to Open Your Eyes.

I used to say that the Bible was like Shakespeare to me. I don’t “get” either of them. It’s written in English but in a foreign tongue that my mind just can’t grasp.

But with some mindful actions, I’ve begun to de-mystify the Bible and appreciate how the Word is actually speaking to me.

1- Take the fear and anxiety out of it.

The Bible is meant to guide us on our earthly journey. If we keep this simple fact in mind, we’re more open to listening for the lessons, hearing the guidance, and growing our faith.

Decide to read one small bit per day, maybe one chapter. Start with the Gospels. They chronicle the story of Jesus’ life, so they’re straightforward language and relatable context – as relatable as God in flesh can be!

If you go to church, you’re already familiar with the Gospels, so you can focus on discerning how they’re speaking to you today versus deciphering the language.

2- Get a study bible.

A study bible contains “Cliff Notes” that explain the context of a verse. It might contain an explanation as to the customs at the time or explain the wording that was used at the time versus current wording. These notations attempt to demystify the Word.

I’ll show you links to the Study Bible my husband and I use, plus other options, at the end of this post.

3- Attend a Bible study.

Bible studies focus on one particular aspect of the Bible and the leaders guide the group through detailed discussion of the context and meaning.

A Bible study will help improve your overall understanding of the Bible. You may find that this group environment works well for your learning style and choose to attend another Bible Study of a different topic.

Perhaps your church or a neighboring church offers them. If not, join an online group.

4- Make it personal.

Once you’ve focused on deciphering the Word into language you can understand, make it personal. Sometimes it can feel that the message from over two thousand years ago is no longer relevant. After all, life as it exists now could never even been foreseen at that time.

But are things really different? Yes, the mode of transportation we use is very different and the technology advances since then are incredible.

But at the core of the human condition, have we really changed? We still struggle in relationships with others, to forgive those who’ve wronged us, to support our families, to decide if or how to help the less fortunate, to deal with the challenges of life, such as sickness and death. These and many other conditions transcend time and place.

We’re not as different today as you might have thought. Try to put the Bible into that context instead of imagining it to be some foreign world, incongruent to today’s culture.

A book by Jeannie Kendall beautifully portrays this truth. In Finding Our Voice: Unsung Lives from the Bible Resonating with Stories from Today, Kendall weaves the poignant and difficult human challenges from unsung biblical characters along with contemporary voices with similar circumstances and challenges.

You can find my detailed book review of her book HERE.

5- Pray.

Don’t forget to ask Jesus to open your heart and mind to understanding His Word. After reading, spend quiet time reflecting on what the personal message has been for you.

I hope you’ll find that using these techniques demystifies the Bible and you’ll see that His Words recorded so long ago are speaking directly to you today.

How do you let the Bible speak to you? How do you keep it relevant in your life? Let me know in the comments.

Study Bibles:

This is the study Bible my husband and I use. It’s a small personal size. Note: The print is very small.

Some other options:

If you like this post, you might also like these:

Do you struggle to see how applicable the Bible is to life in the 21st century? Does it feel outdated and irrelevant? With some mindful actions, you can de-mystify the Bible and appreciate how the Word is actually speaking directly to you.
Do you struggle to see how applicable the Bible is to life in the 21st century? Does it feel outdated and irrelevant? With some mindful actions, you can de-mystify the Bible and appreciate how the Word is actually speaking directly to you.
Do you struggle to see how applicable the Bible is to life in the 21st century? Does it feel outdated and irrelevant? With some mindful actions, you can de-mystify the Bible and appreciate how the Word is actually speaking directly to you.

Say YES to Jesus

Saying YES to Jesus doesn’t have to mean leaving your family, selling your possessions, or becoming a third-world missionary. Saying YES within the context of your life can be a life-altering step in your Christian journey. Are you ready to say YES?

Jesus asks us to follow Him. Are you willing to say YES?

As a life-long Christian, I (usually) strive to live a life pleasing to God. But when it comes to turning my life over to God, well, that’s a different story. As I prayerfully consider taking my journey to the next level, I wonder what it would truly involve to say YES to Jesus and turn my life over to Him.

But, frankly, I’m afraid.

It scares me because I don’t want to be asked to do something I don’t want to do. Something that catapults me out of my comfort zone. Something that takes me away from my family.

I think of Mother Teresa and her difficult journey. I imagine the disciples who left their families and everything they had behind. Those who lost their lives for Jesus.

I’m not ready for that. I’m not willing to leave my husband, move to Uganda, and give away all my possessions.

But maybe that’s not what Jesus expects of me.

I can say YES within the context of my life, right? Isn’t that better than saying No? I certainly hope so, because that’s my current goal.

Are you ready to say YES? Here’s how you can do it:

1 – Pray

God can only lead you if you talk to Him and listen for His answers. Pray for discernment. Pray for guidance. Then LISTEN.

When I decided that “writing for Jesus” was my calling and children’s books were one of the means I would use, I was pumped. My first Christian book would be a Good Samaritan story. Except I couldn’t get my story to gel. I couldn’t pull the plot together. It was a piece of junk. I became discouraged thinking it was what God wanted me to do, but I just couldn’t plan a worthy plot.

After a couple of weeks of unsuccessfully planning the Good Samaritan story, I sulked in utter frustration. Finally, I pleaded. “God, if You really want me to do this, You have to help me. This just isn’t working. Help me listen to You.”

Within minutes of that prayer, I had a completely new concept and by the end of the hour, I’d completed the first draft of “Heaven is Better.” I can’t explain how the concept came to me, besides a fleeting “knowing” out of thin air.

If I hadn’t been listening closely, I’m sure I would have missed God’s whisper.

Pray, then Listen.

2 – Look for opportunities

We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. God is ever-near and opportunities to serve Him in our daily life abound. We don’t have to worry about going to Uganda to find worthy causes.

What charitable causes pull at your heartstrings? Children, animals, the homeless, the environment, or the unborn? The possibilities are endless. Decide which are most important to you, then find ways to get involved.

If you don’t have time to volunteer because of work or family obligations, you can help financially. One of my personal favorites is the Guatemalan girl that my husband and I have been sponsoring for years. Getting to know her through our letters and knowing how our donation dollars have helped her family is extremely rewarding.

If you can’t help financially, how else can you help? One way I love to feel helpful online is to sign petitions for causes I care about. It’s a free and easy way to help. Social sharing of posts is another free method that supports organizations who are doing God’s work.

What opportunities do you have in your local area? What about online opportunities?

PS – Use caution when donating to causes. can help ensure the cause you select is worthy of your support.

3 – Use your God-given talents

What are you good at? What makes your heart sing? How can you combine those things to do God’s work?

God has been leading me down the path to writing ever since my breast cancer diagnosis when He prompted my sister to suggest I write my story. That was a major detour from the industrial management job I held at the time. Since then, He’s been leading me down a winding writing path, but I’m finally feeling like all the wandering has led me to and prepared me for this series of Christian children’s books. I don’t know what the future holds for me after that, but I know He’s been preparing me for whatever it is.

What are your God-given talents? How could He be leading you to use them for His good?

4 – Be willing to expand beyond your comfort zone

I’ve broken out of my shy shell over the years, but I’d still avoid crowds of strangers if I had a choice. We each have a comfort zone and mine is being behind the scene.

What if I’m asked to step into the forefront? I know God will lead me, even if I get sweaty and tongue-tied. He’s been preparing me over the course of my writing journey to step out of the shadows to say what I want and need to say.

If God asks you to step out of your comfort zone, listen to Him. He will guide you and He’s always by your side. And I guarantee that anything He asks you to do you can handle. Chances are, these challenges will help you grow into your next level of service to Him.

Are you ready to say YES to Jesus? Are you afraid to say YES? Have you already said YES? What was the result? Tell me in the comments!

Daysa the Daydreamer is making her debut in 'Heaven is Better', a Christian children's picture book.
Click Here to take a sneak peek at the book God inspired me to write.

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy these:

Saying YES to Jesus doesn’t have to mean leaving your family, selling your possessions, or becoming a third-world missionary. Saying YES within the context of your life can be a life-altering step in your Christian journey. Are you ready to say YES?
Saying YES to Jesus doesn’t have to mean leaving your family, selling your possessions, or becoming a third-world missionary. Saying YES within the context of your life can be a life-altering step in your Christian journey. Are you ready to say YES?
Saying YES to Jesus doesn’t have to mean leaving your family, selling your possessions, or becoming a third-world missionary. Saying YES within the context of your life can be a life-altering step in your Christian journey. Are you ready to say YES?

Love One Another

Jesus said to love one another. His simple request can be hard to accomplish. How do you love someone who doesn’t love you? How do you love a stranger? Let’s explore what loving each other really entails and some helpful bible quotes to help us get there and keep us on track.

If I had to pick a cornerstone directive from Jesus that is most actionable and applicable to everyday life, it would be to Love One Another.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

John 13:34 NIV

His three simple words are a very basic concept, but can be a monumental challenge.

It’s easy to love the people who are easy to love. It’s easy to love the people who love us. Usually loving our spouse, our parents, and our children is not a difficult challenge (although to some it is).

But are we showing love to those we love? Do we act lovingly?

I assure you that I love my husband dearly, but I still haven’t figured out how to control my temper from flaring over our ‘hot button topics’. My argumentative approach isn’t loving. Jesus asks me to do better.

Perhaps you can find shortcomings in the way you show love to those whom you love.

Do you give hugs and kisses and say “I love you”? Do you criticize? Do your words and actions convey your love?

Every day is a chance to do better and act more lovingly.

What about loving those who you don’t even know?

Why is that necessary? There are a whole bunch of people in this world we don’t know. From the homeless guy who hangs out in Lowe’s parking lot, to the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

How do you show love to people you don’t know, but who are struggling?

We all have limited financial resources and taking care of our family comes first, but there are also non-financial ways to show love by helping. Volunteering at worthy organizations that help people (and animals) in need shows love. Using social media to promote organizations doing God’s work shows love. Holding the door for the elderly woman at the post office shows love.

There are countless ways to show love to those in need who we don’t even know.

What about loving those who don’t love you?

Ouch. This one’s tough.

Not everyone will love us. Let’s face it, we don’t love everyone either. But how do we still obey Jesus’ command to love?

My approach is two steps.

Step One:

Forgiveness. Not holding a grudge. Moving on with my life and leaving my offender behind. Not letting the bad memories take up valuable real-estate in my mind.

Perhaps your struggle boils down to forgiveness. If you’re struggling with forgiveness, you might take a peek at my post about it:

Step Two:

Develop a “live and let live” mentality. No gossip. No dragging down the other person’s reputation. No recruiting your friends to pick your side over hers (or his).

I find that sticking to the “Kind and True” philosophy of only saying things that are BOTH kind and true keeps me in check and prevents me from spreading ill will.

Forgiveness plus speaking about a person in a way that is both kind and true are loving acts.

We don’t have to associate with people to treat them lovingly and respectfully. With this in mind, loving someone who doesn’t love you becomes a more attainable goal.

Jesus implored us to love one another. He is speaking to me. He is speaking to you. Start with this basic directive and it will strengthen the foundation on which to grow your faith.

Let the following passages speak to your soul and give you the motivation you need to love even when it’s a challenge.

Bible quotes about loving each other:

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

1 John 3:23 NIV

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

John 13:34-35 NIV

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:12 NIV

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:8 NIV

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Romans 12:10 NIV

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:2 NIV

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

1 Peter 1:22 NIV

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:7 NIV

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 NIV

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Galatians 5:13 NIV

What’s your most difficult aspect of loving? Let me know in the comments.

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Lessons from Mother Teresa

What does Mother Teresa teach us about living a Christian lifestyle? These 7 lessons give us all the instruction we need to live a life of love.

I’ve always loved Mother Teresa, or Momma T as I call her. I believe she’s the closest human-form of Jesus that we’ll ever see in our lifetime. Her life exemplified everything that Jesus taught us about the way to live a life pleasing to God.

What can we learn from her incredible example?

These are the 7 key lessons that Mother Teresa taught me by living her life according to God’s will:

1- You don’t do it because it’s easy.

Nothing about Mother Teresa’s mission was easy. As a matter of fact, she worked under dire conditions, in poverty-stricken areas, with sickly people, few financial resources, and lacking the latest medical technology. Every aspect of her work was a challenge. She had no break, no vacations, no weekends off at the beach, no holiday getaways. No spouse and kids to take her mind off her worries when she went home at the end of a long day. She lived her life mission.

If we think God’s calling for us is hard, most of us don’t even know what “hard” is, by Mother Teresa’s example.

I certainly don’t have the strength or determination to do what Mother Teresa did with her life, but her example pushes me to limits beyond which I thought I was capable.

By the end of her life, she was a crumpled elderly lady. Do you think her work was easy?

God doesn’t ask us to do only what is easy. But we can use Mother Teresa as an example and step up to the challenge.

Key Mother Teresa quotes:

He has made us for a purpose. He will fulfill it if we don’t put any obstacle in his way.

Do not let the past disturb you – just bury everything in the Sacred Heart and begin again with joy.

If you do your work with joy, you can bring many souls to God. Joy is prayer, a sign of our generosity, evident in our eyes, our faces, our actions.

2- Listen to God.

Mother Teresa’s mission was to serve God by serving His people. She understood the calling to her ministry and performed expertly.

Some of us, myself included, have a harder time discerning our calling, or maybe we just aren’t ready to accept the calling yet, so we’ve tuned out the request.

Mother Teresa can be our example of the extraordinary bond that is possible with God when we offer ourselves over to be used in His service.

Key Mother Teresa quote:

God’s language is silence. “Be still and know that I am God.” He requires us to be silent to discover him.

3- Do everything with love.

Many of Mother Teresa’s notable quotes involve acting with love.

Mother Teresa didn’t judge the people she helped. She didn’t scold them for their past sins, she didn’t refuse to help them because they weren’t Christian, she didn’t require them to repent before she helped. She just helped them by loving them.

Mother Teresa’s service was the epitome of Christianity and one that we can easily emulate. Loving her neighbor as herself. Loving her neighbor as if he were Jesus. Serving her neighbor without judgement. Without throwing stones. Mother Teresa lived her life exactly as Jesus has instructed us, with faith, hope, and love. The greatest of those being love. Most of us find it pretty easy to love our family and friends. But do we lead with love and without judgment when it comes to strangers, as Mother Teresa did?

Key quotes:

It is not enough to say, “I love.” We must put that love into a living action.

We are commanded to love God and our neighbor equally, without difference. We don’t have to look for ways to fill this command, they’re all around us.

Jesus wants us to love each other as the Father has loved him. There is no greater love than the love for one another in our families, but there is so much hurt instead of love, bitterness instead of sweetness… If there is no love in our home, first let us examine our prayer life.

We must reach the heart. To reach the heart, we must do – love is proven in deeds.

When we are tempted to speak uncharitably or to bring up someone’s past failures, let us hear Jesus say: Throw the stone only if you are free from sin.

4- One person can make a difference.

The world’s problems can feel overwhelming and insurmountable. They are. We aren’t called to solve the world’s problems. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make a difference.

Maybe the difference is only in our classroom, or in our church ministry group, or in our neighborhood association, or maybe the only difference is the way we love our child or our spouse or our parent. Even a small difference is worth the effort. Small differences stack up to big differences.

Mother Teresa shows us that one person can make a huge difference, and that certainly means that each of us is capable of making a small difference. Small differences are still differences! Don’t be defeated because you can’t change the world. Change your world.

Key quote:

In spite of all our defects, God is in love with us and keeps using us to light the light of love and compassion in the world.

5- Selfless Obedience.

How much easier would it have been for Mother Teresa to just live her life as a typical citizen in her community? Or maybe as a nun or a counselor to wayward youth?

How many times must Mother Teresa have doubted God’s calling? How many times must she have wished for God to “take the cup” from her, as Jesus did before his crucifixion? Yet Jesus and Mother Teresa both accepted the will of God and plowed through the fear, the doubt, the pain, the loneliness, and the suffering to fulfill God’s wishes.

This is true obedience.  Can we accept our calling and show a fraction of that obedience?

Key quotes:

We will be the happiest people in the world if we belong to God, if we place ourselves at his disposal, if we let him use us as he pleases.

Prompt, simple, blind, cheerful obedience to God is the proof of faith.

Jesus said, again and again, “Thy will be done,” and we say the same thing through our obedience to him

6- Be extraordinary at home.

It all starts at home. Being an extraordinary spouse, parent, son or daughter, mother or father, sister or brother, friend, and neighbor. We have hundreds of interactions daily with people. Do we interact with love? If not, find the source of the issue and change it, because without being extraordinary at home, we’ll struggle to make impact beyond our home.

Being extraordinary in our daily life should be our goal and is the foundation for larger impact in the world.

Key quotes:

We shall not waste our time in looking for extraordinary experiences in our life of prayer… but do our day-to-day ordinary duties with extraordinary love and devotion.

Be a true follower of God in thought, word, and deed: if you do this in your family, it will overflow to all.

Find at least one good point in the other person and build from there. In the family, you should thank each other, mentioning the good you have seen others do. In short, an understanding love – a love that sees the good in others – will be our goal

Let us make our homes real places of love so that we can overcome any hatreds. Love begins at home – everything depends on how we love one another at home

Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you did it to me.” If in my name you give a glass of water, you gave it to me… Jesus came to teach us how to love one another. Not big things. Small things, but with great love.

7- Give:

Mother Teresa gave of everything she had. Financially, emotionally, spiritually. It might seem as if that was a torturous sacrifice, but she found her greatest satisfaction there.

Sometimes we stress over not having enough money, or stress over being snubbed by a neighbor or flubbing an exam.

When we turn our focus outward, we can feel the joy Mother Teresa felt when she gave her life in service to others rather than keeping herself as the center of her world.

How much more satisfaction would we feel to give as Mother Teresa did?

Key quotes:

I believe that poverty will be over when you and I share of ourselves, of what we have and what we are. Let us give until it hurts.

We must be like St. Paul. Once he realized Jesus’s love for him, he no longer cared about anything else.

To love, it is necessary to give. To give, it is necessary to be free from selfishness, to have the courage of poverty

If your heart is full of worldly things, you cannot hear the voice of God.

Mother Teresa is one example of a contemporary Christian hero who’s worth emulating. May her life provide the encouragement you need to say “Yes!” to God’s calling.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Quotes are taken from Thirsting for God – Daily Meditations. (I am not a sales affiliate!)

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Social Media Mayhem

Is Social Media taking over your life? How can you enjoy the benefits while keeping control of your life? 5 Warning Signs. 10 Tips to Tame the Beast.

5 Warning Signs. 10 Tips to Tame the Beast.

The advent of social media was a beautiful theory. Bringing people from every area of the globe together with a few clicks on the keyboard? Brilliant! A true game-changer that shrunk the world overnight.

Marvelous benefits sprung forth. Helping entrepreneurs gain an otherwise absent audience, helping old friends stay connected, helping extended families keep tabs on one another.

But the dark side of unintended consequences is something many of us struggle to resist. Self-indulgent selfies with ‘beautifying’ filters, political rants and bullying, depression over not getting enough ‘Likes’, shares, tweets, re-pins, or snaps. Anxiety over everyone but you having a ‘perfect’ life. These are actual outcomes with serious ramifications.

When people are committing suicide over social media, it’s past the point of mayhem.

Social media isn’t going away and it’s highly addictive. So, what are the warning signs that it’s time for you to tap the brakes?

5 Warning Signs of Social Media Mayhem:

1- Does it suck the happiness out of you?

Does social media make you angry? Jealous? Self-absorbed? Do you find yourself feeling depressed or angry by the time you’ve scrolled through your feed?

2- Does it take you away from your family?

Most families have only a couple of precious hours to spend together each weekday. Are you spending that time scrolling through your feed yet again? Do you spend that time commenting, “liking”, and conversing with your virtual people instead of conversing with your loved ones? 

3- Does it turn you into someone you don’t like?

Are you a cyber bully? Are you someone who loves attacking an opposing point of view? Someone who calls people names like Stupid, Clueless, Right-wing nutcase, Left-wing snowflake? Do you become a victim?

Take an objective look at how you’re presenting yourself online and how you feel when you engage in social media. Is it ugly?

4- Is it fulfilling a need?

What is your objective of participating in social media? What are you gaining from it? Do you use it to keep in touch with extended family or is it really a social outlet for you? Are you lonely? Do you have a need to be liked? Not sure how to meet people in your community?  Take a serious look in the mirror. You won’t need to confess your answer to anyone but you. Is social media fulfilling a need?

5- Is it monopolizing your time?

How much time are you spending per day? Are you glued to it? Fixated on it? Is it hampering your productivity either at your job or home? Do you pull your phone out to check your feed instinctively whenever you sit down? Are you still scrolling far into the night?

10 Tips to Tame the Beast:

What can you do if some of those scenarios hit you between the eyes?

The easiest way to stave the addiction is to pull the plug, but that’s not always an option. Many of us have professional reasons or other non-personal reasons for using social media.

So how can you tame the beast if you need to stay connected?

1- Take a break.

This is a common technique. “See you in a month,” you’ve probably seen someone say. You can take a hiatus to recharge your batteries without pulling the plug completely.

Can’t take a break for a month or a week?

2- Limit the days per week.

Maybe you can control when you need to be on social media for your other commitments. Will Tuesday and Thursday suffice? Maybe Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? How about taking one day off per week?

If you MUST be on social media every day, then:

3- Limit the time per day.

Maybe once in the morning and once at night? 15 minutes each time? No way? Ok, 30 minutes each.

4- Trim your ‘friends’ list.

Why take time away from people you love to read and respond to posts by people you might not even know? It only stands to reason to engage with people you actually know. Yes, we come to know people through social media and occasionally form a cyber friendship or kinship, but you can trim your social media time by trimming people who aren’t meaningful to you.

5- DON’T “go there”.

My most disliked aspect of social media is the no-holds-barred attacks I see, usually on political posts. There’s a reason we learn as children to never discuss politics or religion publicly. Yet we’re lured into it relentlessly on social media. No good comes of it. Trust me that it’s highly unlikely you’ll change anyone’s political or religious views by arguing with them or even trying to rationalize with them. It ends badly. Vow to steer clear of these posts. Many are simply bait for arguments. Just. Keep. Scrolling.

When you encounter sour and baiting personalities, disengage. Unfriend and block on Facebook. Then move on.

The remaining suggestions are really more about “enjoying” the precious gift of life than specifically about minimizing social media. But these topics are really intertwined. When we’re too consumed with social media, we’ve traded the real gift of life for a fleeting shadow. Here’s how to take control back.

6- Have a ‘no social media’ evening once per week.

No technology after dinner. Family game night. Read a book. Do crafts. Play the piano. Go to the library.

7- Get outside.

Turn your phone off and connect with nature. Breathe fresh air. Walk your dog. Ride your bike. Go to the park. Go fishing. Watch a sunset. Star gaze. Remind yourself of what the “real world” looks and feels like.

8- Meet with real people.

We tend to get so busy running the rat race of life that we don’t see family and friends as often as we’d like. Meeting with people only takes place when someone makes it happen by extending an invitation. Be the one who makes it happen. When you’re with real people it puts your cyber people where they belong – on the back burner.

9- Figure out your draw to social media.

What emotional need does it fulfill? Have a purpose for your life. Draw or paint. Take photos. Clean up your neighborhood. Join groups or create one related to an interest you have.

10- Help Others.

One of the best ways to handle loneliness or other emotional pain is by helping others, so volunteer for a cause you love. Even virtual support groups need moderators. Find a place your heart belongs and start helping. Get involved.

Social media has been a major turning point in history. It’s possible to enjoy its benefits without allowing it to suck the joy out of what life is really supposed to be.

Do you struggle holding back the social media beast? Tell me in the comments.

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