Dec 31, 2011

The Day Before the End...

The day before the end… I can’t believe that another year is almost over.  This year has been a walk of faith for me but God has proven Himself to me over and over again.  I am excited to see what this New Year is going to bring.

When I was a little girl it was a tradition to go to service on New Year’s Eve and “bring in the New Year, in church.” As an adult the tradition is still ingrained in me.  To me there is something wonderful about ending the old year as I began it and starting the New Year as I want to end it… in the house of God, in the presence of the Lord.

It never ceases to amaze me the sense of child-like awe, wonder and expectancy I feel when I enter God’s house. I am excited as a child about to unwrap a much awaited and longed for gift, not sure what it is but knowing that something wonderful waits within. The beautiful thing about going into the house of God is that I always leave feeling refreshed, renewed and eager to face whatever challenges life throws my way.

I can totally relate to how David felt when he said, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1″  God’s house for me is a place to lose myself in the wonder of his presence and allow his sweet Holy Spirit to minister to my hurts, lift my burdens, renew my joys and give me courage to face another day, week, month, year… with him by my side to guide and direct me. 
 You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.Psalm 118:28-29 
Father, thank you for your guidance throughout this year, I pray your protection over each of us during the remainder of this year.  As we approach a New Year, renew our desire to serve you, increase our faith that we would hold fast to the promises that you have made us, give us courage to share whatever you lay on our hearts in this coming year.
 Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

I wrote this post for Laced With Grace a few years ago.  Hope you enjoy.

I'm about to dash off to my New Year's Eve service.

Happy New Year to all of you, I'll stop by and visit soon.

Dec 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Jesus

Dear Jesus,

Happy birthday to you!  I am so glad you came, that you left the splendors of heaven so I could have the choice of eternity with you.

I love you Jesus, today and everyday.

Forever I'll trust you,
 ~Bernadine~


To all my online friends Merry Christmas!  I pray that your day is filled with His joy.

Dec 21, 2011

Oh Come all Ye Faithful

Oh come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
oh come ye, oh come ye to Bethlehem…

I love Christmas carols especially the old hymns that we sang in church when I was growing up. Somehow, when the musicians started playing and the choir began singing you “felt” Christmas. The words of the songs brought to life the true meaning of the Christmas season. They lifted your spirits and took you on a journey… a journey to Bethlehem...

I'm at Laced with Grace today. Do stop by to read the rest of my article Oh Come all Ye Faithful




Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

Dec 10, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life

During the Christmas season you’d often find me curled up in the front of the television with my mug of hot chocolate getting lost in the make believe world of my favorite Christmas classics. For me nothing signals the beginning of the season as much as seeing the advertisement for those old classics on television. One of my absolute favorites is It’s a Wonderful Life.

For some reason over the years George Bailey has been the character that I most empathize with. Maybe it’s because he was such a dreamer…




... I'm gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum. Then, I'm comin' back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I'm gonna build things. I'm gonna build airfields, I'm gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I'm gonna build bridges a mile long.  George Bailey...

Somehow circumstances kept getting in the way of George accomplishing his dreams. However, he always managed to do what he felt was the right thing even though it meant putting his dreams on hold. One thing I love about George is he never lost his enthusiasm. In spite of his dreams being deferred over and over again each time he thinks he’s going to get to do what he wants to do he is just as excited as before.

George never sat down and mourned the loss of his dreams he simply went on building a life for himself even though it wasn’t the life he’d originally dreamed of. Well except for that one Christmas Eve night when George’s life seem to come crashing down. After throwing a killer tantrum, hurting his family's feelings and getting drunk the despondent George, sitting on a bar stool, prayed this prayer…

Dear Father, I'm not a praying man, but if you're up there and you can hear me, show me the way. I'm at the end of my rope. Show me the way, oh God."

While George was busy deferring his dreams to help everyone else he was also touching lives in ways he couldn’t even imagine. On the night when he felt he’d reach the end of his rope the voices of the lives he touch began to cry out to God on his behalf…

Help my son, George, tonight.


He never thinks about himself, God,
that's why he's in trouble.


George is a good guy.
Give him a break, God...


I love him, dear Lord.
Watch over him tonight...

Please, God,
something's the matter with Daddy...

Enters Clarence, the wingless angel whose job it is to show George that his life really does matter, that he made a difference, he touched lives

Clarence - Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?

Slowly George begins to realize what a wonderful life he has. He realizes that although he’s not living the life he dreamed of he loves the life he’s living. He’s made a difference, he’s touched lives. He is not a failure. At the time he needed them most the people who George give up his dreams for came to his rescue…

Clarence… Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends

I think what I love most about George is his attitude. Except for that one night George never got bitter. He never lost his enthusiasm, he never lost himself…

Strange… I sat in the beauty salon today and started writing this post. I had no idea the It’s a Wonderful Life would be on television tonight but it is. I’m about an hour in so, I’m going to leave this for later and give the next hour my full attention. However when I reach to the end it’s not only George Bailey I’ll be celebrating. I’ll be thinking to myself as inevitably the tears fall… because of you Lord, it certainly is a wonderful life.

Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

I have a confession... after I watched this movie for the the first time I rang lots of bells because you know that every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings :)

Written Dec. 3, 2011

Nov 29, 2011

Full of Thanks...

It was the last day in 2009. I was sitting with my new journal that I planned to write in during 2010. I knew I wanted to journal every day during 2010 but I couldn’t think of what I wanted to write about for an entire year.( FYI, I love to write but writing on a schedule... not so much.)

As I sat there watching television and decorating my journal I heard the Holy Spirit whisper… “a year of thankfulness.” I knew then the theme of my journal would be “Thankfulness.”

2010 wasn’t the easiest year for me however, every day (except the few I missed :)) I found something to write that I was thankful for. Some days the list was very short and on other days it went on and on as I reflected on His goodness and why I was so thankful.

One thing last year taught me was to have an attitude of gratitude, to see the good even in the most trying circumstances. Also, during that year I found myself less likely to complain. It’s kinda difficult to be full of thanks and full of complaints the same time. This year I’ve been able to look back over my journal from last year, my lists of things big and small, tangible and intangible and find encouragement and hope.

I’m reminded as December is almost here again to,

1. in all things give thanks.

2. Complain less, praise, thanks, hope, pray, love, smile, be happy and simply do more,

Whenever I forget, the chorus of this song is an excellent reminder…

The Lord Has been so good to me
He's been good to me
More than this old world or you could ever be
He's been so good, To me
He dried all of my tears away
Turned my midnights into day
So I'll just say thank you Lord
I won't complain


I Won't Complain
by Rev. Paul Jones

Trusting Him,
 ~Bernadine~

Review, final exams, Grade Books, Report Cards and stacks of paper work has me completely snowed on right now so this blog will be even more silent until mid December.   I'm looking forward to visiting and reading some of your posts leading up to the holidays.   Until then thanks for stopping by...

Nov 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my dear readers.
I hope your day is filled with lots of love, laughter
and of course delicious food.

Today I'm thankful for all of you that I've gotten to know
through this blog.

Have a wonderful day!  Also, do stop by
Laced With Grace for a special Thanksgiving
message from the team.

Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

Nov 22, 2011

Waiting for Perfect Conditions

Have you ever found yourself putting off doing something you really want to do because the conditions are not quite perfect? You have your to do list that you pull out and peruse ever so often but not much seem to get crossed off because it never seem to be exactly the right time to do it.

I’ve been thinking about that as November draws to a close. There were a number of things I knew I wanted to accomplish coming into this year, however very few of them have been crossed off my list.


I'm at Laced with Grace today. Do stop by to read the rest of my article Waiting for Perfect Conditions





Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

Nov 7, 2011

Walking in the Spirit of Excellence - Conclusion

There are so many areas that I covered during my Becoming a Women of Excellence bible study. However if I try to cover them all I’ll be here another three weeks lol. Some of them included discipline, discretion, wisdom..., all areas I’m still growing in.

 I gained much strength and encouragement in my Christian walk as I worked through the study. I would highly recommend the study to anyone who is interested in the topic of excellence.(My somewhat battered copy is pictured)

These are some of the things that stood out most for me as I worked through the Bible study and studied the life of Daniel. As you can see there’s a lot that God requires of us as we walk in the spirit of excellence. However he also blesses us with a lot. When we walk in excellence:

1. We attract attention.
a. We attract God’s attention. He studies us, he walks with us and he brags on us.

b. We attract man’s attention. Daniel attracted the king’s attention and was promoted because of the spirit of excellence that was upon him.

2. Excellence inspires change. When you walk in excellence you will inspire others to do likewise. Daniel inspired the king with his spirit of excellence and his faith in his God.

As Christian women we are in a unique position to change our homes, our workplaces and our society simply by the way we conduct ourselves. The eyes of our families, peers, our coworkers and our communities are upon us. Our walk with God should inspire them to change their own path in life if they're not following God's path. Hence we should always strive for excellence because we want the best for others and ourselves. God has given us the mandate, to walk in the spirit of excellence. Are you willing? What are you willing to sacrifice? How are you willing to change your life to fit into his definition of excellence? Are you ready to forget the world’s standard and live up to his standards?

Note: Daniel was not one a part of the actual Bible Study, however since I was actually studying his life when I started the study I found myself referring to him often.

Follow the links to read previous post on Excellence 
Part 1  Walking in the Spirit of Excellence - Introduction 
 Part 2 - What is Excellence? 
Part 3 Excellence - Rooted in Surrender
Part 4 Excellence - Exemplified by Obedience

Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

Previously posted on my teen girl blog

Oct 26, 2011

Excellence ~ Exemplified by Obedience

Part 4

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,

What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
John H. Sammis

I went to a wedding recently where the bride had major issues repeating the part of the marriage vows that dealt with obeying. In fact the minister had to prompt her several times before she could get the words out of her mouth. Where does that fit into this study? Well it just illustrates the point that obedience isn’t exactly easy. Promising to obey in essence says I trust you with my life. I believe you know what’s best for me. I’m going to defer to your judgment.

There are times when we may have followed the directions of someone in the past and it didn’t turn out well. However this isn’t the case with God. God’s purpose in giving us commands is always for our benefit or the benefit of others. He wants us to practice the act of obedience until we do it without thinking or without questioning him. Our obedience shows him how we feel about him and how much we trust him.

Daniel showed God that he trusted him when he refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzer’s golden image. Lot’s wife on the other hand had been given a specific command to not look back but disobeyed. She unfortunately didn’t trust God’s plans for her future.

Like Lot’s wife and the bride who had issues promising to obey, I too have my struggles in the area of obedience. In fact as I got deeper into my study on becoming a woman of excellence I wrote the following in my journal when I began the topic of obedience.

I am still doing my Becoming a Woman of Excellence bible study. This is really not quite what I expected it to be. In fact it is much more. I know I said it before but excellence encompasses so much! I am now on the chapter entitled “Excellence, Exemplified by Obedience. This is truly my area of weakness. I really need to learn to obey God in spite of what is going on around me and in spite of what my critics may say. If I want to become a woman of excellence obedience has to become a habit. I want to be in God’s perfect will. I want to walk in the spirit of excellence. Obedience then is my goal. To listen and obey and allow God to have his way in my life.”
My Journal, May 19, 2003.
Obedience, four years later is still sometimes a struggle. But I remind myself that excellence doesn’t mean I get it perfectly every time. It means I keep trying.  (2011 insert here... this is still an area of weakness for me)


Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21
Sometimes the struggle with obedience comes when we question whether or not we’re really hearing God’s voice. However as you can see in the above verse, his Holy Spirit is there to guide us and always prompts us to make the right choice. Also, when we’re not sure we simply need to seek his counsel, spend time in prayer, study his word and ask him what is his will for our lives.

And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:8
God's ultimate desire for us is that we would become more like his son. As Christians, Jesus is our role model. Just as he was tested and tried so will we be. However, the question is will we obey even in the difficult times?



... I'm wondering... is it just me or do you find it difficult to obey also?  How do you get to that point that you simply stop making excuses and simply obey???

Read part one,  two and three
There are so many new nuggets I'm finding as I go through this study again. However although there is so much that I can say I will bring it to a close next week.


Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

Posted previously on my teen girl blog.

Oct 24, 2011

Excellence ~ Rooted in Surrender

Part 3

As we continue the pursuit of excellence we have to first seek to become more like Christ, to develop a deeper more intimate walk with him.

Our desire to be strong delights Him but we must allow him to teach us that excellence is a lifelong process and that He is our only source of strength. Growth occurs when we maintain our walk with God remembering that the Christian life is a process rather than giving up in frustration because we cannot live up to the perfect standards.
Cynthia Heald
When we focus on developing a deeper relationship with God, he begins to reveal to us what it is he requires of us in our pursuit of excellence. And one of the main things is total, undeniable, complete surrender. For excellence is rooted in surrender. He wants us to relinquish control of our lives and totally surrender
to him.




I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
The above verse shows a portrait of total surrender, the verse below shows the price…

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 NIV
According to Luke 9:23 I have to

1. Deny myself: put the things of God first even if it means not doing the things I want to do.

2. Take up the cross – seek to do the things that please him even if it means self-sacrifice.

3. Follow him:- follow Christ, he has left his word for us to follow.

It is only possible to do those three things when we have died to self and given control of our lives over to the one who died for us.

When Daniel was confronted with the reality of being thrown in the lions’ den he totally surrendered the situation to God. He was willing to give up his life for God… What are you willing to give up? Walking in excellence requires you to make the tough choices, to stand out when everyone else is blending in, to take on God's character when others had compromised.

Excellence sometimes requires you to give up your family, friends, life as you know it. But when we surrender our lives, our hopes, our dreams, our everything to God he has a way of working it out for our good. However he wants us to take the leap of faith and simply surrender all to him.

All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live-


Read part one and two


Check back on Wednesday for part 4 Excellence - Exemplified by Obedience (aka my area of weakness)

Trusting Him,
 ~Bernadine~

(Posted previously on my teen girl blog)

Oct 22, 2011

Four Days Late...

Is it possible to be four days late and still on time???

I'm loving this song by Karen Peck and New River right now.
It's just the right amount of encouragement for those days when God seems to be running just a tad bit late... It reminds me that even when he's four days late (by our standards) he's still on time.

Four Days Late Lyrics
Karen Peck and New River

The news came to Jesus, Please come fast
Lazarus is sick and without your help he will not last
Mary and Martha watched their brother die
They waited for Jesus, He did not come
And they wondered why.

The death watch was over, Buried four days
Somebody said He'll soon be here, the Lord's on His way
Martha ran to Him and then she cried
Lord if you had been here You could have healed him
He'd still be alive

But You're four days late And all hope is gone
Lord we don't understand why you've waited so long
But His way is God's way Not yours or mine
And isn't it great when He's four days late
He's still on time

Jesus said Martha show me the grave, But she said Lord
You don't understand He's been there four days
The grave stone was rolled back, Then Jesus cried
Lazarus come forth then somebody said
He's alive, He's alive

You may be fighting a battle of fear
You've cried to the Lord I need You now
But he has not appeared.
Friend don't be discouraged
Cause He's still the same
He'll soon be here He'll roll back the stone
And He'll call out your name

When four days late And all hope is gone
Lord we don't understand why you've waited so long
But His way is God's way Not yours or mine
And isn't it great when He's four days late He's still on time

My God is great when he's four days late he's still on time




Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

Oct 19, 2011

What is Excellence?

Walking in the Spirit of Excellence Part 2

The word excellent is one that has become much overused and undervalued in our society. In fact it has become almost common. We hear the word excellent being used to describe the latest movie, a nice car or home, a good friendship and the list goes on… Many people use the word without even thinking about what they are attaching this word to. Hence, the pride and esteem, that the word should evoke is no longer there.

I myself have been guilty of misusing the word, not deliberately but from a genuine misunderstanding. I had been looking at and defining excellence according to a secular viewpoint. The world’s view on the subject is totally different from God’s viewpoint.

Excellence is defined by Webster’s dictionary as the possession chiefly of good qualities in an unusual degree. Hence, according to this definition if you’re perceived as dressed fashionably much more than unfashionably, then you have excellent fashion sense, If your house is clean and spotless more than it’s untidy, then you have excellent housekeeping skills, If you’re almost always present at work , do a job that impresses your employer then you are an excellent employee. While you may be all of these things are your really walking in the spirit of excellence?

The world I realize, seem to view excellence as having the best or highest paying jobs, the best clothes, cars, houses, being in the elite group in society, or being the best at whatever you do. However, I’ve realized that following society’s definition of excellence I will never measure up. If society’s paradigm were followed there wouldn’t be enough room at the top for everyone to walk in the spirit of excellence. Yes, I may be the best for a while but sooner or later someone better will come along.

There will always be someone with more education, a better job, a bigger paycheck, more beautiful clothes a nicer home etc. With all of this in my mind I had to redefine my view of excellence.

Excellence Redefined...

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, Colossians 1:10
Part one of the Bible Study, I mentioned in my previous post was titled, Excellence –A Goal Worth Pursuing. As I went through the study I came up with my own simple “definition” of what it means to have the spirit of excellence and walk in it based on a few scriptures I read:

Walking in the spirit of excellence, God's way begins first of all with having God’s love in your heart. It also includes walking in God’s way and doing the things that he expects of you, in a way that pleases him, even if it is different from what the world says. Walking in excellence as a believer means striving to gain God's approval in everything you do no matter how big or how small. It doesn't mean doing things perfectly but it does mean doing your best.
As I continued my quest for excellence I came to realize that while it seemed hard to measure up before, the world's standard requires me to give a whole lot less of myself than God’s standards because He expects us to give our all. There is a price to pay for excellence but, there is so much to gain...


Come back Monday to read part 3:  Excellence...The Pursuit

Read part 1 here

Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

This series was posted previously on my teen girl blog.

Oct 17, 2011

Walking in the Spirit of Excellence ~ Introduction


My Quest

Then Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes because an excellent spirit was in him and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Daniel 6:3



I was studying one of my favorite Old Testament characters Daniel when I came across the above verse. The phrase "because an excellent sprit was in him" for some reason resonated in my spirit. It brought about a new yearning in me. It gave me a craving and desire for excellence in my own life. In fact I wrote a note in my journal to that effect.

It is important that everything we do be done with excellence. When we do things with excellence we attract attention. We stand out from mediocrity. Daniel moved from prisoner to prime minister in a strange land only because everything he did was done in excellence. If I want to attract God’s eye, if I want to attract positive attention excellence has to be in me. I want to be excellent in all that I do as a woman, a teacher and most of all a child of God.
Excerpt from My Journal September 10, 2002
At that time, I had a desire for excellence however, I still had no clue what excellence was all about.  But, I desired it. I longed for it. A little over a month after I made that entry in my journal I was invited to a women’s conference by a coworker. When I received my package on registering I opened it.  Inside was a bible study called, Becoming a Woman of Excellence by Cynthia Heald.

I could only stare in disbelief. God had seen the desire of my heart and had given me a tool that would aid me in my quest. This confirmed what I already knew, that if God sees a genuine unselfish desire in our heart he helps us to realize it.

Consequently, armed with my Bible and my new Bible Study I began my quest to find out how I could become a woman of excellence, who walked in the spirit of excellence.

January 22, 2004
Women’s Ministry Meeting

It has been over seven years now that I spoke to a Women's Ministry Meeting on the topic, Empowering Women to Walk in the Spirit of Excellence. I shared some of my notes from that talk on my previous blog about four years ago. However I decided to repost it on this blog. I hope you’ll stop by on Wednesday to read part 2 What is Excellence?

Trusting Him,
 ~Bernadine~

Oct 7, 2011

My Prized Possession

I’ve tried to replace it because really it’s quite battered, torn and in some places quite worn out but, I’m too attached to it. 

It was a gift from my brother Enoch almost twenty years ago.



Many of Its pages are decorated like a Christmas tree from when I was going through my highlighter phase.




I’ve lost a part of a page here and there and I always hope I’m not called to read those particular pages in church.



All of my favorite scriptures are underlined with little cryptic notes written next to them.

 It has faint tearstains where I cried as I read


Looking at the back you’d think it was something to be thrown away but it’s not…
It’s my most treasured possession… my Bible.

I’ve bought several new ones over the years but they remain just that… new.



I use them for a little while and then I miss my old friend so it’s back to its old familiar pages again.


Since I cannot force myself to replace it I keep it in a case which is in itself in need of replacing.


My bible tells my story.

It chronicles my Christian journey.

It comforts, motivates and inspires me.

It feeds my Spirit.

It gives me hope...


I know I’ll eventually have to replace it but not right now.  At this moment, like my heavenly father, it signifies something that is constant and unchanging in my life.


 I don’t know about you but there are times when I need to know that as life, people, situations and things change some things remain the same.

I’d love to hear the story of your Bible if you’d care to share.


Trusting Him,
 ~Bernadine~

Oct 5, 2011

You Are Beautiful in God's Eyes - Book Review

I am beautiful! Three simple words, yet for many women they are the most difficult words to say. Why? Why do we find it so hard to look in the mirror and see beauty staring back at us?


Lisa Shaw addresses my question (and I’m sure many other women) in her book You Are Beautiful in God’s Eyes.

Lisa’s book is an excellent, easy to understand, touching read. It seems almost as if you’re sitting across the table from your best girlfriend having a cup of tea and a little heart to heart conversation.

First and foremost she invites us to see what God says about us. Next, she takes us into different reasons why we may see ourselves as less than beautiful. Several times as I read I found myself nodding my head because I identified with what I was reading.

I found this book to be one that reaches out to encourage and uplift women. I found myself following some of Lisa’s closing words at the end. She encourages her readers

“Now, go look in the mirror and smile the biggest smile you can and say I am beautiful in God’s eyes. I am filled with His deeper inner beauty! My life and my heart are His.”
Powerful words I’m sure you’ll agree and really, isn’t it what God thinks about us that really matters?

You can find out more about purchasing a copy of You Are Beautiful in God’s eyes here.


Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

Oct 1, 2011

Trusting... in spite of

Perhaps you don’t have enough faith…
Maybe you just didn’t fast and pray enough for your loved one to be healed…

Maybe you’re just not Christian enough…

Father,

I’ve heard them all before. I’ve thought them all maybe I’ve even said them. I’ve wondered, how is it that one can love you wholeheartedly, serve you faithfully and yet sometimes feel so disappointed in situations, in life, and sometimes Lord (though I hesitate to admit it) in you.

You are who I trust most but understand least.

It is you I love with my whole heart yet oftentimes question.

You are the one sure thing in my life yet some days I feel so uncertain.

Today more than anything I’m still wondering why. Five years later, I still don’t understand. I know there are some things I’ll never understand here on Earth. Like John the Baptist who wondered, “are you the Christ or should I look for another,” but received no definite answer, I’ll probably always wonder, “why after unceasing prayers, consistent fasting, and unwavering faith was I left with a gigantic hole in my heart and more questions than answers…

But today father I surrender all to you

in spite of the questions…

in spite of the uncertainties…

I still love you…

I still trust you….

I still choose you…

Love,

Your daughter,
Bernadine





I miss you Mommy.
I hope when I’m old and full of years
 like Job, and God calls me home
you’ll be standing next to Jesus,
with arms wide open
and with your trademark smile
 waiting to welcome me. 
I promise, you'll be the second  person
I wrap my arms around.

Sep 18, 2011

Because You First Loved Me…

Dear God,

I was thinking about you today, about our relationship and when you became such an important, vital part of me.   I cannot exist without you because you’ve completely become a part of my DNA.  There is no me without you.  There is no joy without you.  There is no reason to live without you.

When did it become so..?  I remember when I was a little girl my mom always talked about you, a whole lot.  She always had a glow on her face when she did.  I remember her kneeling down and praying, I remember her praying with me and for me, but most of all I remember her talking to you while she went about her daily routine, while she cooked, cleaned, did the laundry… It was so obvious that she loved you, she never ran out of things to say to you.

As a little girl, watching her, I fell in love with the idea of loving someone so completely that I couldn’t go for long periods without talking to Him and I did talk to you often but I still couldn’t understand why Mommy loved you so.

But Father, that day when I was in that Christian Student Movement meeting at my high school it all became real.  I felt your love. I was enveloped by it and it activated my love for you.  I knew then what the scripture, We love him because he first loved us, (1 John 4:14) meant.

At that moment father, your love wasn’t just an idea, it was real, and I stood with tears draining down my face at the wonder of it all… that you loved me.  To this day I’m still blown away by you.  I totally understand why my mommy loved you so because I love you the same, with my whole heart.

Love ,
Your daughter,
Bernadine

Sep 14, 2011

Things that make you go hmmm...

I’m channeling Arsenio Hall today, with things that make you go hmmm…




What if God was like us?

Hmmm…

What if He judged us the way we judged others?

Hmmm…

What if He answered us in an icy tone when we spoke to him?

Hmmm…

What if He took his own slow time forgiving us?

Hmmm…

What if He made it obvious that although we were forgiven our sins were not forgotten?

Hmmm…

What if He brought them up every time we disappointed Him?

Hmmm…

What if He withheld His love from us when we needed Him most?

Hmmm…

I don’t know about you but I’m sooo… thankful God is not like me because I’d be in big time trouble. I would not want to be at my mercy on one of my bad days:)

While there are some times when I’m pleased with my progress in God there are some days when I think girl, you have such a long way to go. This is why ever so often I have periods of self evaluation where I remind myself not to judge, to forgive, to watch my tone, to leave the past in the past… all of the things that are so easy to forget in the heat of a moment.

But, I'm gonna keep trying to remember to be more like Him...


Trusting Him,
 ~Bernadine~

Still Relevant

Have you ever been sitting in a service and notice during the sermon someone who is feverishly writing? Maybe you wondered, “What in the world is she writing?” We’ll I’m that girl. I don’t always have the best memory so I always want to write down the gems I find in the sermons to read over and meditate on later.

It was recently that I came across the journal that held my notes from sermons I heard during my college years. As I read over the notes I realized that although quite a few years has passed, the sermon notes that I had taken were still fresh and relevant.


I'm at Laced with Grace today. Do stop by to read the rest of my article Still Relevant


Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

Sep 11, 2011

In Remembrance ~ September 11th

I am not an American, but I have friends who are.


I have family and friends who have made America their home.

I am not an American, but on September 11, 2001 I felt America’s pain as if it was my own.

And today like my friends across America, I remember.


I remember,

The shock,

The horror,

The uncertainty,

But I also remember the acts of

Courage,

Heroism and

Bravery

I remember that in the midst of death, despair and destruction that forever changed September 11th from an ordinary day to one forever etched in our memory God was there.

Ten years later as America (and its friends and neighbors) remember its losses, celebrate and pay tribute to its heroes and continue to move forward God is still present.

And in the days, weeks, months and years to come God will still be there

Thank you Lord that you are always present, in the good and especially in difficult time.


Trusting Him,
 ~Bernadine~

Aug 16, 2011

Is it Worth it?

It was the first time I had been on a flight that long. The eight hour journey that signified the second to the last leg of my trip seemed never ending. I chit chatted a bit with my seatmate, read, ate, slept, got up and stretched and watched the hour hand on my watch slowly count off the hours.

It wasn’t the most comfortable way to spend eight hours of my life but somehow, the excitement of where I was going, and knowing the exact length of the trip, sustained me throughout the long journey.

Sometimes I wish my Christian journey was that simple. I know what’s at the end of the journey but I have absolutely no idea how long the journey is. So sometimes because of the length I admit sometimes I wonder, is it worth it?
I'm at Laced with Grace today. Do stop by to read the rest of my article Is it Worth it?



Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

Aug 10, 2011

Finding Purpose


Photo Credit: Microsoft clipart
 It’s not easy, this writing thing. There are moments when I have lots to say and moments when I struggle to find the words.

The problem isn’t so much that I have writer's block although sometimes that plays a part.

It isn’t that I don’t have anything to say. I have lots to say on many different things.

It’s that I’m struggling to find my writing purpose.

For the ten years I published my teen girl magazine I knew exactly what I wanted to say to Girl Talk’s readers. In other words I knew my purpose for writing. However, it’s been just over a year since that chapter in my life came to a close and I find myself wondering, what is my writing purpose?

Hopefully I’ll figure it out soon, in the main time I’d love to know,
Why do you write?

Trusting Him,
 ~Bernadine~

Jul 21, 2011

Worship

Some do it with a whisper
Some with a loud shout

Some do it by clapping their hands
Some with a dance

Some do it with musical instruments
Some with voices pure and sweet

Some do it with lifted hands and faces
Some with bowed heads and knees

But we all call it worship
As God we seek to please

Honor the LORD for the glory of his name.
Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalm 29:2 (NLT)

How do you worship?

Trusting Him,
 ~Bernadine~

Jul 14, 2011

Recognizing God's Voice

“How do you know when God is speaking to you?” I would often ask my mom this question in my early years of being a Christian. I had no doubt that God indeed spoke to his children but I wanted to be sure I didn’t miss his voice.

My mom always gave me the same answer, said with perfect assurance, “Baby you will know!” At times her answer frustrated me because I wanted a formula for knowing, a way to say a + b = c, so yes it is God speaking to me.


I'm at Laced with Grace today. Do stop by to read the rest of my article Recognizing God's Voice


Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

Jun 23, 2011

Summer

It starts today...


The


Quiet,





Lazy,
Curl up with a good book,
move at snail's pace if you want to,



peaceful,
time to reflect on God's goodness,
days of summer.

Thank you Lord!

Trusting Him,
 ~Bernadine~

Jun 15, 2011

I Need You to Survive

Recently one of my fingers decided (without my permission) that it needed a vacation. It decided it wasn’t going to bend when I told it to or straighten when I needed it too. Because of this unapproved vacation I dropped a few things, made mistakes when I was typing and was all around inconvenienced because of this one seemingly insignificant finger. Yes, I got everything done eventually but it would have been much easier and quicker if I had the cooperation of that stubborn finger.


I'm at Laced with Grace today. Do stop by to read the rest of my article I Need You to Survive






Trusting Him, ~Bernadine~

Jun 12, 2011

A Lighthouse Reminder...

It was the within the first few days of this school year when a student from my previous year’s class came to visit me. She passed me a package and then waited expectantly for me to open it.

“How did you know I love lighthouses?” I gasped in surprise after I opened the package. She smiled and reminded me that not only do I keep one on my desk I had told them when we were getting to know each other during the first few days of school the previous school year.


That lighthouse has been a source of inspiration to me this school year. It has served as a reminder that there is always light in every situation.  As I count down the days to the end of this school year I do so with a grateful heart.  I'm grateful that at the very beginning God sent me a reminder to always keep my focus on Him and not circumstances.

Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

May 29, 2011

Out of the Comfort Zone

You may be facing a decision that’s forcing you to choose between the easy and the adventurous. How you decide will tell a lot about how much of your life you’ve entrusted to God.
Jack Hayford

photo credit: 123rf.com


When I saw this quote in my Women of Character book it was referring to Orpah (Ruth’s sister-in law) however, I immediately thought about Nehemiah. Nehemiah is one of my favorite biblical characters. I admire his love for his people, his strength and his dedication.

When we first meet Nehemiah in chapter one he’s just gotten news from home.
3They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire. Nehemiah 1:3 NIV
As you can see, the news wasn’t good news. The wall of Jerusalem, which was a form of protection from the enemy had been torn down. Nehemiah’s heart was touched by the plight of his people and he immediately went into fasting and prayer as to what God would have him to do.
4. When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.11. Oh Lord let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.I was cupbearer to the king. Nehemiah 1:4,11
What stood out to me in this verse is when Nehemiah said, I was cupbearer to the king. I’m not certain what the job entailed but I do know that Nehemiah was in a comfortable position away from all that was happening at home. You can go as far as to say Nehemiah was in a comfort zone.

Isn’t it just like God to wait until we’re in a position in life where we feel comfortable and at peace to call us out of our comfort zone to do something quite difficult. On the other hand, isn’t it just like God to give us everything that we need to get it done?

Nehemiah was sheltered and protected within the palace walls. The lack of a wall around Jerusalem did not affect him physically. However, Nehemiah looked beyond his own comfort and well being to that of his countryman. Nehemiah made a choice that day he chose the adventurous one. Not everyone was happy when he arrived in Jerusalem and began the task of rebuilding the wall. He was ridiculed, he was threatened, he was discouraged but yet he did not give up. We see the real strength of Nehemiah’s character as he continued on in spite of all of the obstacles he encountered. He kept his eyes fixed firmly on his goal.

15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16. When our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. Nehemiah 6:15-16
What’s your comfort zone? Is God calling you out of it? If he is just remember that although it may seem a difficult thing for you to do he’s going to give you everything you need to get it done. Not only that, he’ll be with you every step of the way. He’s just that kind of God.

I shared this over at Laced With Grace a while back, however I thought I'd share it again simply because I've heard God calling me out of my comfort zone recently...

Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

May 25, 2011

Get in the Game...

I always get a kick out of listening to fans talk about their team’s performance whether it’s football, basketball or baseball. They are truly invested in the game and know everything there is to know about the game.

A true fanatic fan knows the game better than the coach and players. They will tell you with complete certainty which player should have played better defense or offense. They know who should have passed the ball more, who should have taken more shots and who should have stayed on the bench. They can tell you exactly how to win the game…. from the safety of the sidelines.

I'm at Laced with Grace today. Do stop by to read the rest of my article Get in the Game.










Trusting Him, ~Bernadine~

May 19, 2011

Concerning Trials

I don’t like trials. Not at all! On a scale of one to ten I think they stand somewhere in the negative numbers.

If I could avoid them I would in a heartbeat.

I’d choose the way that didn’t cause heartbreak.

I’d choose the relationship that didn’t end five years down the road.

I’d choose to have my family always understand me.

I’d choose to surround myself with people who always said and did the right thing.

However, I can’t. Also if I could how would I grow?

The Bible tells us in James 1:2-4 that we are to consider it joy when faced with trials because our trials come to make us stronger and cause us to become more matured spiritually.

The apostle Peter calls them fiery trials. This means our trials can be intense, severe, and definitely not easy. Fire can be dangerous and it can destroy. However, it also purifies and refines. It destroys impurities and leaves only that which is true behind.

I like how the Message Bible puts it,

1 Peter 4:12-14 (The Message)
12-13Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.

So I’m trying to remind myself when facing trials that although it may be intense, although it may hurt unbearably… in the end I’m going to get through it.

Trials will not get the best of me. I’m going to be stronger from it.

Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

May 14, 2011

Stuck on Faithful

Whenever I’m driving I’m usually listening to music. I have a tendency to listen to one CD over and over again before putting in something new. So it was a while before I noticed that the CD I was listening to was stuck on one song, Great is the Faithfulness. When I realized I turned up the volume and sang along.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father…

As I sang I reflected on His faithfulness because truly He has been faithful to me. During the hills and valleys in life we often forget that God is there, holding our hands, soothing our hurts, letting us know that though our nights sometime seems long and endless morning will come.

Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

God is indeed an awesome God. He is everything that we need Him to be.

He’s the faithful friend that always lends a helping hand.
He’s the faithful provider that supplies all of our needs.
He’s the faithful confidant that never tires of hearing our hearts’ cry.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest…

In every season of our live God proves Himself to be faithful and I’m so grateful for His faithfulness to me.

Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

May 8, 2011

An Offer of Friendship

Who ran to help me when I fell, And would some pretty story tell, Or kiss the place to make it well? My Mother.-Jane and Ann Taylor 

It had been a rough week. Whatever could go wrong in the life of a teenage girl probably did. I can’t remember the reason but I know that after being away from my mom for an entire week attending high school in another town I found myself sobbing brokenly on her shoulder. She listen to my choppy words uttered through hiccups and breathless gasps and hugged me tight to her. Then came those words uttered with absolute love, “Bernie, I’ll be your friend.”

As a teenager that wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Which teenager wanted a mother as a friend, especially one who was as strict and old fashioned as my own? However after I finished high school and began my journey towards becoming a mature woman I began to appreciate the rare kind of friendship my mother offered and silently took her up on her offer. There was nothing I couldn’t talk to her about.

She was the keeper of my secrets, my trusted advisor, my spiritual mentor… no matter what I was going through in life she always advised me to “turn it over to Jesus and everything would be alright.”

My mother was the making of me. She was so true and so sure of me, I felt that I had someone to live for - someone I must not disappoint. The memory of my mother will always be a blessing to me.-Thomas A Edison

I miss her. This is my fifth mother’s day without her and for some reason this year I miss her as much as I did in the beginning. Tears have flowed these past few weeks as I longed to hear that loving voice, soak in the warmth of her tender hugs or just be in her presence. I still hurt that she’s gone however I’m forever grateful that because of her prayers, because of her teachings, because of Christ I will see her again.

I sure miss you; life will never be the same with you not here
Each passing day has brought much pain
But with God's grace my strength remains
I sure miss you, but heaven's sweeter with you there
The Crabbs

Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

May 4, 2011

A Wounded Heart

Tears stream down her cheeks
As she raise her eyes toward heaven
Her heart is broken, her dreams shattered
Her world has been torn apart

She doesn’t know what to do
And the world just walks on by
They ignore her tear-stained cheeks
And avoid her pain filled eyes

Her family doesn’t understand her
Her friends she can’t find
So where can she go but to the Lord
And His voice seems far away

She prays silently for answers
To questions she can’t verbalize
She hurts so much inside
She falls to her knees and cry

She cries and prays, Lord I won’t give up
Until your voice I hear
You promised never to forsake me,
So Lord I know you’re here

I can’t seem to let it go Lord
I can’t get rid of the pain
You’ve got to help me release it,
I can’t carry this hurt inside of me

I want to let it go Lord
But I don’t know quite how
So I ask you tonight Lord
Please take it away from me now

As she prays she feels a quiet peace
Flows deep within her soul
And she quietly wiped the tears
That had begun to overflow

She knew that God had answered
Although she heard no words
For she felt her burdens lifted
And knew God had kept his word

She got up from her knees
With a quiet prayer of thanks
And a song of praise within her heart
That was finally freed from hurt




Apr 21, 2011

Remembering...

It’s the day before the day.

Good Friday

The day we remember,

The day we stand in awe of the fact

That Jesus Christ,

God’s only son,

Gave his life for us…

How to we even begin to say thanks

For the sacrifice that He made for us?

The truth is

words will never be adequate enough

To tell of our appreciation.

But, every time we choose Him,

We let Him know

That His sacrifice was not in vain.

Thank you Lord!


Trusting Him,
 ~Bernadine~

Apr 14, 2011

What's Your Backstory?

Whenever I read a book, watch a movie or even watch the news I’m always interested in the back story to what I’m reading or viewing. Sometimes if I know the back story it makes everything so much more interesting. So as I read through the first chapter of Jeremiah I began to wonder, was there a back story to this message that God gave Jeremiah?


I came to the conclusion that Jeremiah had come to the point in his life where he had begin to question his very existence. He had probably had a few one sided conversations with God along the lines many of us are familiar with. It probably went something like this.

"Lord it seems like everyone out there has a purpose in life except me, my friends all seem to have it all together. They know what they want to do with their lives and I haven’t a clue. Lord what is my purpose? What is the reason for which I am here? Lord, what is my destiny?"

Jeremiah probably wanted to hear something that would motivate and inspire him. He probably wanted to hear something exciting like...

I'm over at Laced With Grace today. I'd love for you to stop by and read the rest of my post What's Your Backstory?












Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

Apr 6, 2011

A Letter of Thanks

Dear God,

 
I thank you that when I’m in despair
You are always near

You hold me close to you and dry my tears
You remind me that some days will be like this

You don’t tell me that I should not cry,
Because you understand the reasons why


My tears flow only to cleanse my soul,
To wash away bitterness and leave it aglow


My tears don’t tell you that I trust you not,
They tell you I trust you to dry them up.


Through my tears I talk to you still
I tell you my heart and why I feel so hurt


And when I’m finished talking to you
My tears are gone like yesterday’s news.

Because you don’t scold me, but you listen to me
Then you dry my tears and hug me to you.

You place your joy within my heart, a dance in my steps,
A smile on my face and a song on my lips
And lord for this I thank you.


Trusting Him,
~Bernadine~

Images courtesy of fotosearch