Just Being

By Susan G Mathis

Just being. Just being together. What a sweet gift it is to just be together! What a sweet gift we can give to others in this busy world.

Sometimes just being means sitting alone, quietly praying or thinking or dreaming. At other times, just being together means holding the hand of the one you love, resting in the knowledge that you are loved.

Sometimes just being together means enjoying a rowdy Skype visit filled with little girl laughter and love and joy. Sometimes it means taking time to call your elderly mother to hear about her day. And sometimes it means resting in the healing process God has for you.

Our crazy world is so busy, busy, busy. It consumes our thoughts and actions far too much. We push ourselves to go a hundred miles an hour so that we can everything done, and we nearly crash and burn. Stress fills our lives and the beauty of just being gets lost in the shuffle.

So what will it take to change us? For me took thumb surgery and complications that forced me slow down. And it’s taken a little girl to remind me to just be.

Johnny Diaz has a great song called, “Breathe” that has blessed me during this time. He suggests that we rest at God’s feet and take some time to fill our lives with the One who gave us breath in the first place. He implores us to “lay down what’s good and find what’s best.” What good counsel this is!

 

Dear Lord, In this crazy, busy world, help us to slow down and just be. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

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God Talk

By Susan G Mathis

Talking about God is not just for Sundays; it’s for every hour of the day. Deuteronomy 6: 5-7 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

I don’t think this Scripture is only for parents. It’s for all of us—with or without kids at home! So how do you, as a couple, make “God talk” a lifestyle and have conversations about God in a natural, comfortable, and life-changing way?

God needs to be a part of your every day life—your thoughts and actions. Attend church but don’t just go on with your day. Talk about the sermon, the worship songs, and godly conversations you have with others.

Read God’s word together daily, even if it’s just a few verses, and talk about them. For us, breakfast is a good time for us to do that. We also listen to Chuck Swindoll’s radio teaching while we get ready for the day. This has a way of leading us to some pretty interesting God talk.

Be sure to apply God’s truth to your relationship and to your life. Sometimes that takes two minds trying to figure out how to do that. As you talk about it, God can often inspire you together in ways you wouldn’t think of separately. As the saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.” There are times when Dale and I snuggle up together and just chat about a God topic or something we’re thinking about.

It’s also important ask godly questions about things that happen during the day. There are times I’ll get an email or phone call that requires wisdom from God to answer well, so I sometimes talk about it with my husband. And when we watch the news, we frequently talk about the different news stories and how God’s word applies to them. That sure makes for interesting conversation.

Last, if you have kids at home, doing all this will model for them that “God talk” is a normal way of life. Include them in your God talk—in the car, at home, everywhere. And if you have grandchildren, be sure to shine your light brightly before them. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Dear Lord, It’s easy to get so busy we forget to share Your word and what You are doing. Help us to talk about You everyday. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

 

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It’s interesting how God works. My picture book, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient, teaches children to be patient, and I’ve needed a lot of patience lately. For all of you who need a bit of encouragement as you learn patience now or in the future, here are a few inspiring quotes that may help. God’s not finished with any of us yet!

“God’s way of answering the Christian’s prayer for more patience, experience, hope, and love often is to put him into the furnace of affliction.” Richard Cecil. Yup, I think surgery might be my furnace at the moment.

“We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.” Helen Keller. What a woman she must have been!

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait—it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” Joyce Meyer. Very true. I’ll remember that when I have physical therapy. Smiles.

“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses, and disappointments; but let us have patience, and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.” Joseph Addison. Hmmm. Got to ponder this one.

“Fruit doesn’t mature overnight. It requires sun, water, and time.” Susan G. Mathis. Note to self…remember this!

“I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience, and to respect the fury of nature.” Paulo Coelho. Interesting.

“Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.” Heraclitus. When all is said and done, may you and I be found with a new measure of patience and stronger, more godly character that will bless others, especially God.

How is God teaching you patience?

Susan Mathis is the author of Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient and four other books. She is vice president of Christian Authors Network, founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, and former editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

 

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St. Patrick’s Day Shamrocks

by Susan G Mathis

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, because I’m Irish, and because my novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, is about the Irish immigration, I want to share with you how St. Patrick used a simple weed to share the Gospel.

St. Patrick lived in the fifth century Ireland where the shamrock clover was abundant, even a staple food for livestock. The shamrock is a weed that grows quickly and is hard to get rid of. In Ireland it was everywhere, so as Patrick traveled the country, he had a ready-made symbol that he could easily find, pluck, and use as a teaching tool. Sounds like something that Jesus would have done, doesn’t it?

As he spoke Patrick would note that the shamrock has three leaves, just as there are three persons in the trinity. In using the shamrock as a symbol, he taught about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who they were, what they did, and how they could change the listeners’ lives. Then, whenever folks would see the shamrock in their garden or fields or yard, their minds would instantly connect to the Trinity and think of God. Brilliant!

As Patrick traveled throughout Ireland spreading Christianity, the shamrock became an important symbol of the Trinity and of God’s work in man’s life. Even today, the shamrock is Ireland’s national symbol and still points to the Trinity as well as to 1 Corinthians 13:13, “and now these three remain: faith, hope, and love”. The number three is so important to the Irish that they use three cords in their Celtic knot, in their three-fold repetitive rhythm of Irish storytelling, in their idea of past, present, and future, and a lot more.

So when you see a shamrock during this holiday, remember that it means so much more than just “the luck o’ the Irish.” It’s represents biblical truth, wise teaching, and a beautiful way to share God’s story.

 

Dear Lord, Like St. Patrick and the simple shamrock, help us to find all kinds of creative ways to share biblical truth. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

 

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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

I’m reevaluating the pace of my life, my priorities, and how I use my time. What’s really, really important? Yes, there are expectations, obligations, and demands that try to push and pull me in all kinds of directions, but what is an appropriately paced life?

While I know that my gifts will make space for me, there is a season for everything. Yet I also know that I need to manage that space. So what does that look like for me—and for you?

First, prayer, worship, and reading the Word needs to be the plumb line that will keep everything else in balance. When these get messed up, the pace of life simply gets out of whack. Right now, I need to adjust my schedule to allow more time for all three.

Second, I need to avoid unhealthy and unbalanced expectations. Moderation is key. I need to pace myself with work, play, relationships, exercise, and even my writing. I need to find the balance in all of it and reject the oppressive demands that weigh on me, whether that comes from inside myself or from others and remember that, ultimately, people and relationships are the most important.

Third, I need to preemptively replace guilt with peace. For me, this is the hardest of all. I’m a perfectionist and ultra responsible, so I feel the pressures of the “should dos” and “must dos” way too much. So I must choose to rest in Him and trust Him with my days, weeks, months, and year, even when they don’t turn out the way I wished they would.

Recently, on top of all the busyness, health issues, and family situations have pulled me away from my agenda, my to-do list, and my timelines. I have so much more that I’d like to do, see, and write than I can possibly get done. So I have to let some of them go and find peace and contentment with whatever the Lord allows.

And what about you? What advice to you have to create an appropriately paced life, find balance in this busy world, and enjoy the peace that comes with it?

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is vice-president of Christian Authors Network, founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, and former Editor of twelve Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

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