Category Archives: Bible/Devotionals

Stained Glass Windows

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  ~Ephesians 2:10

Here I sit. I have been struggling with writer’s block for a full month. I keep trying to start and then I just stop. It’s partly exhaustion. This has been a trying month. It’s partly because I’m struggling to open my heart. And any of you who have read my blog at all know that I pour my heart out here. I want to share with you all what is going on in my head, but it’s just so hard to put into words.

So I’m going to go back. Way back. WAY BACK. When I was a little girl, my mom would take me to this little ice cream parlor/burger joint called Jem 100. It’s still there and I still love them. I still remember ordering bubble gum ice cream on a sugar cone, and I would admire the totally cool high school girls working behind the counter. I dreamed of being just like them and working there someday. In my sophomore year, my dream came true.

Coolest. Job. Ever!

When I was working there, before they remodeled, there was a little corner booth where I would often take my 30-minute paid lunch. One of the booths faced a stained glass window. I stared at it often. Surprisingly, for as much as I looked at it, I don’t remember what it looked like. I’m pretty sure it had a bird as its centerpiece. I often worked at night, making it dark outside for my dinner break, but there was a streetlamp on the other side of that window, so the colors shone brilliantly.

hummingbird stained glass

I have no idea what was going on in my life at the time. High school was full of trials and tribulations, of course. But the Lord was reasoning with my heart on one memorable night in particular. As I stared at that window, the Lord told me that my life was a stained glass window much like the one I was staring at. It was filled with many different parts. Each seemingly insignificant piece represented events, lessons, phases and chapters in my life. Some were large, some were small. Some had smooth edges, others were sharp and defined. They each were fairly monochromatic. Pretty, maybe, but kind of “meh” on their own.

Then, there was the metal fusing them together. It was hard, cool and silvery. But at some point, under the guidance of a skilled glazier’s hand, that same metal had been an oozing, flowing, red hot fusing material. Whatever was going on in my life, the Lord impressed upon me that the really hard times, possibly something happening at that moment in my life, was one of those lines of lead. And it was still hot and painful to touch. But someday, it would be part of the beautiful masterpiece. And the heat and pain would be just a memory.

Finally, the Lord reminded me that in order to see the true beauty of a stained glass work of art, the light must be shining behind it. Without the Light, even the most beautiful stained glass is dull and lifeless. 

Fast forward to nearly 20 years later. Do you know what triggered that memory?  A grown-up coloring page. Cracks me up to think about it, but many of those pages look much like a stained glass window when they’re completed. I was coloring a card to send to a close friend and the Lord reminded me of that special moment, when as a teenager, the Lord made Himself so real to me. I only meant to repeat it (or the parts of it I remembered at the time) to encourage that friend who was going through a fiery trial. But truth be told, I am, too. 

2016-03-03 17.47.14

I’m facing the fear of loss of our Little Miss. This case continues to drag. And although I am so very grateful for every single day that we have her, I long to call her mine. Yet, I fear that sounds selfish.

I want God’s will above all else. I want the kids’ Mom to be saved and well. I want Little Miss to have closure and stability. And I hope and pray that all of these desires can be answered at once.

Prior to just a couple of weeks ago, I felt extreme guilt from asking to keep her at all. What a selfish thing to pray for, after all. But my sweet husband in his wisdom reminded me of a very important event over 2,000 years ago. Jesus prayed a prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane right before His crucifixion (Luke 22:42). Before my discussion with Shane, I had only focused on one part of His prayer, “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” But I was so gently reminded of the fact that in that same prayer, and in fact, in the same sentence, Jesus also prayed, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me…” Jesus had asked for something specific. He wasn’t selfish, and He wasn’t sinful. So praying for something specific like being able to raise this little girl is OK. As long as I am also willing to accept, and embrace His will, should He choose to answer my prayer another way. After all, I am not ignorant to the fact that the Father did not choose to remove the cup from Jesus and He did, indeed, have to suffer for me and for you on that cruel cross.

Now here’s the part that I have been having trouble verbalizing here. The thought of losing her doesn’t cause me to fear that I will turn my back on the Lord or stop loving Him. I can’t imagine my love for Him ever diminishing. But I have been so afraid that I will get lost in my grief and won’t be able to find my way out.

Prior to losing Little Miss the first time back in June 2014, I didn’t really know what a broken heart felt like. But when I lost her, my chest physically hurt for days. The tears couldn’t stop flowing. I felt that my heart was being literally ripped apart. And I struggled to grieve with my family because it was so very painful. It took a full six months to even feel again. So what will happen to me if I lose her again? Will I recover at all? Will I be able to be involved in the ministry? Will I even be able to sing without weeping?

I don’t know.

But by the grace of my Jesus, I can say this. This whole trial, I mean the WHOLE trial…from the first day we brought this bright, beautiful blue-eyed baby into our home until today…has been a very long, flowing, winding line of red hot lead. It has fused the pieces of our lives and our story together in a way that I could never have imagined. And for better or for worse, whether we get to be her forever family or not, our life story has been carefully and gently crafted by the Master and when it’s all said and done, I trust Him.

I don’t trust me. But I trust Him.

IMG_1515

And that’s enough.

Blessings and much love, 

Mama

 

Feed My Lambs

“As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.” ~John 21:9-10

I’ve really been enjoying reading through the Bible this year. I haven’t done it in years. Honestly, the last time I read through the Bible, I’m pretty sure it took me about three years. So this has been a great adventure.

For January, for the New Testament reading, John was the first book selected. I love the Book of John. John was a close personal friend of Jesus. He literally walked with Him and talked with Him. He knew exactly what He looked like…what His voice sounded like…His mannerisms. And I absolutely love that he referred to himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” Isn’t that how we all feel who have felt His personal touch in our lives?

As I was reading the 21st and last chapter of John the other day, reading a story I have read more times than I can count, something new struck me. It was so exciting to me, I had to call Heidi and read it to her on the phone. It was like I had never heard it before!

So the account goes that Jesus had died, had risen again, and had shown Himself a few times to his disciples after He was glorified, but before He had ascended. At this point, for whatever reason He was absent. Peter decided to go back to what he had always done before Jesus had come along and rocked his world. He said, “I go a fishing,” (v. 3), and the others that were with him said basically, “we’ll come, too.” It was what they knew. It was familiar. It was their livelihood.

Before Jesus.

You’ll remember that when Jesus first called Peter and some of the others, they were fishing. It was what they did. They were fishing for fish. And Jesus told them that thereafter they would fish for men.

He had intended for so much more for them. He wanted them to be different than they were when He found them at the beginning of His ministry.

After Jesus. 

But now here they were, after three years of following Him, walking with Him, talking with Him, traveling with Him, and they had gone back to fishing for just plain old fish. So Jesus appeared to them at the edge of the sea and asked if they had caught anything. They hadn’t. So He told them to cast their nets on the other side of the ship and immediately, the net was full, as it always is when we trust Him to guide us in what we’re doing.

But here’s the awesome, amazing, mind-blowing part. Did you catch it in the very beginning when you read the scripture?! Go ahead and read it again!

“As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.” 

Did you catch that? He already had fish for them cooked and ready to eat on shore. He had already prepared a meal for them. He had been ready to meet their needs from the beginning.

Yet…yet…He told them to bring what they had. Why?

There’s such a beautiful message here and I never caught it before!

Jesus Breakfast at the Sea 2

Jesus will always have enough to meet our needs. He has the meal set for us. He is ready and waiting to serve us and nourish us. He wants to commune with us. Yet, He still wants us to bring in what we have, not for ourselves…but for others! It’s interesting that the number of fish is recorded, 153 to be exact. In short, it was way more than they needed to feed themselves.

It’s at this point that Jesus asks Peter three separate times if he loves Him and with each affirmative response that Peter gives, Jesus replies to feed His sheep or lambs. The correlation is astounding, really.

This is what He had called Peter to do…to fish for men. By meeting their needs. By taking Jesus to the masses! And as daunting of a task as that seemed, Jesus was sending Him a message that He would meet Peter’s needs at every turn.

Maybe we haven’t been called to the same ministry as Peter, but we’ve all been called to something for the Kingdom if we’re saved and serving Jesus. As a Mama, my husband and my kiddos are my calling right now! I feel like every day is a struggle to meet their individual needs while just staying sane. But that has recently changed and here’s the secret…

As of January 1 of this year (not because of a New Year’s Resolution, which I NEVER end up keeping) but because January 1 is a good time to start something new, I became absolutely determined to give Jesus the first 30 minutes of my day. That may seem like a very small thing to some of you, but to me it was a HUGE sacrifice. I have spent time with the Lord every day for years, but I always struggled to do it FIRST. To say I am not a morning person is an understatement to end all understatements. I have never, ever in my life felt rested when I awake and I always feel like I’ve been thrown into my day with a giant heave-ho. My kids are all morning people, bless their little hearts, and they ask so. many. questions. in the morning that I just. can’t. process. I finally concluded that I’d much rather start my day sleepy, in the quiet peaceful presence of my Savior so that I, in turn, can handle the boisterous, loud, giggly chaos that my kiddos bring to me at 6:30 sharp.

And miraculously, it has been like manna from Heaven. That little bit of effort I make to get up and commune with Jesus pays off exponentially. He feeds me so that I can feed them. It’s just that simple. Not easy, but simple.

If you are not a morning person, but are wanting to do something similar, here’s what I do: 

  1. Accountability is key! I have a sweet friend who works out at a gym down the street from where I live that is up even earlier than I that has committed to texting me if she doesn’t see my light on. It’s been the extra kick I’ve needed to get up when I’ve been so tired.
  2. Download the app “She Reads Truth” and follow the “Read the Bible in 365(6) Days” Program. (Thanks, Lisa of “One Thankful Mom”!) Every morning I look to see what I’m reading for the day. (PS – the reading function in this app is super glitchy/clunky, so don’t use it for reading if you want to stay cheerful.)
  3. Get your favorite morning drink ready. I used to be addicted to coffee, but have recently switched to Plexus Slim and it has changed my mornings! (Visit my website http://shopmyplexus.com/glendajdunaway  or see my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NehemiahMama/for more info.)
  4. Download the MySword app to your phone. I use the KJV with lexicon links so that I can look at the original words for more info. (It’s amazing what all the names mean in those long genealogies!)
  5. Invest in a good Archaeological Bible to keep open alongside your phone. It has a lot of extra info about places and time periods that put what you’re reading into historical perspective.

archaeological bible

Massages and pedicures are nice, but we don’t have to have those things to take care of us! The world screams at us moms that we’re not taking care of ourselves and that we need more “me-time”, but I’m finding that mornings with Jesus are the very best self-care we can bless ourselves with.

I’d love to hear about what you do to make sure you’re getting fed so that you can feed others!

Blessings and much love, 

Mama