The Gum Machine, Of Course! Guest Blogger: Nancy White

Gumball Machine

With kids at home, this has been a trying time for all of us.  I know I would never be a great stay-at-home-mom or homeschool mom.  Having lots of time with them has given me time to see what the focus of their little lives is.  In a conversation with my 16 year old, he wanted money.  It went a little like this:

Him: Mom, can I have some money?

Me: No, I don’t carry cash.

Him: What, why?  That makes no sense.

Me: It is not new, I never have cash!

Him: Well can I have quarters?

Me: I don’t have quarters.

Him:  How can you not have quarters, that’s impossible!

Me: What would I need quarters for?

Him:  The gum machine…of course!

This made me think about if I am being a good example for my kids when it comes to money.  No, I give them money when they want or need it without question.  I wanted to change my ways immediately!  My youngest, 12, is now in charge of many things in the house to make money.  He will save his money and put it into an account until he has enough to buy what he wants.  And my 16-year-old who has had chores for some time is searching for a job because the chore money is not enough.  His problem is that he wants to spend money as soon as he gets it, whether for the gum machine or a video game.  He doesn’t understand he needs to build savings.

With COVID-19 affecting many aspects of my life, I am using this as a teaching moment for my boys on having savings for emergencies.  The economy is going to take a hard hit and they have been following the news with me and see how it is affecting our neighbors and friends and the community we are living in.

I want both of my boys to understand that being a good steward of money can help them later in life.  In Matthew 6:24 it says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”Nancy2

In light of the COVID-19 slow-down, start some conversations with your children.

Nancy White

 

Guest Blogger (Nancy White)

The purpose of the Iron Porch is to allow a space for women to come share with one another without the fear of reprisal and judgment. It’s a space that we felt God wanted to provide so that women could encourage and comfort one another.  After prayerful consideration, we have encouraged potential guest bloggers to submit a post for consideration.  These guest blogs are always posted under ‘fesharp’ rather than ‘Erin’ or ‘Emily.’

Tomorrow we will be posting an entry from a sweet sister in Christ who is sharing her heart as a single mother to teens in the midst of a pandemic.

Please join us on the porch this Saturday to read the thoughts of Nancy White, our 1st guest blogger of 2020.

~Emily & Erin

Tight Spaces

Recently, I was scheduled for an MRI of my neck. I am a rather large female with lots of “extra” around my arms, belly, and hips. We all know that MRI machines are not built for those of us with “extra.” On this particular day, at this particular imaging company, I was told to lie on a hard table that was, maybe, large enough to hold ½ of one butt cheek.  The radiology tech placed a sheet over me and told me to cross my arm over my chest as she slid me into the machine. As I am just about to enter the machine she tells me that it will be “real tight going in but will open up a little once you are inside.”

Man! She wasn’t kidding. As I was passing through the opening of this machine I felt as if I were being squeezed back into the womb. My arms were so squished on top of my chest that there was absolutely no wiggle room.  My hips were against the cold hard machine and I felt every fat cell being displaced so that my upper body could enter the machine. Once inside, I quickly realized that the radiology tech wasn’t exactly correct in her assessment of, “it will open up a little once you get inside.” Apparently our definitions of “a little” is quite different.

I tried to relax my arms a little, as my shoulders were surely touching my earlobes. They didn’t move more than a nano-inch. I then recalled how tight it was going into the machine and started getting worried that getting me back out might resemble “birthing” a breech baby since the smallest portion of me was now the only thing sticking out of the machine. I began to imagine coming out of the machine and getting stuck at the shoulders.  That lead to worry that I would get wedged so badly that they would have to call in extra people to witness this event and assist with my removal or, at the very worst, I would be so wedged that the pressure of my arms on my chest would suffocate me before I could be removed.

At that very moment, the radiology tech sweetly asked, “are you ok in there?” To which, I replied, “No, Nope, No, I am not!” She told me to hang on a minute and she would have me out. As my head exited, I felt a huge relief and a heavy burden at the same time.

At that moment I felt like a huge failure. I mean, all I had to do was lie on a skinny table and be uncomfortable for a short time (if you have ever had an MRI you know that the 20 minutes the scan takes seems like the longest 20 minutes of your life), and I FAILED!  I went to the office that had scheduled my MRI and asked if there was a facility that could better accommodate larger individuals. The scheduler set me up at another local facility (I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t originally sent there, as I was obviously fat when the original appointment was made). I was grateful for this second chance. As I returned to my car with a new appointment on my calendar I sat and thought about how uncomfortable of an experience this was.

Aren’t our experiences with God sometimes like this?? There are times when God wants up to be uncomfortable. He squeezes us and applies the pressure until we are certain we can’t take anymore and start screaming, “No, Nope, I can’t do this!” We will do anything in that moment to get to a place that is more comfortable, even if it means running from what God wants of us. Although, scripture has shown us that running never works.

In Jonah, we see a man that God had placed in an uncomfortable situation. He was told to go and do something that Jonah was sure would lead to his death. When Jonah ran from this instruction God placed him in a very tight space, the Lord appointed a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17).  I would imagine being in the belly of a whale would be an extremely uncomfortable place. When Jonah prayed to God from the belly of the whale. He was given a second chance to go and do what God had asked.

I am so thankful for 2nd chances (and sometimes 3rdand 4th). How many times does God ask us to do something and we say “no” because it feels uncomfortable to us? What “whale” does God put into your life to get your attention and let you know that He wasn’t kidding? When God asks us to do uncomfortable things He does not expect us to do it alone. He will equip you with the tools you need to complete the task.

The next time you are placed in a situation where your first instinct is to run, take a moment to pray and reflect instead. God will always provide what we need for the job He asks us to do, you just have to trust Him.

Lacie Adams

Tight Spaces-Graphics

Guest Blogger-Lacie Adams

The purpose of the Iron Porch is to allow a space for women to come to share with one another without the fear of reprisal and judgment. It’s a space that Erin and Emily felt God wanted to provide so that women could encourage and comfort one another.  After prayerful consideration, we would like to encourage potential guest bloggers to submit a post for consideration.  These guest blogs will be posted under ‘fesharp’ rather than ‘Erin’ or ‘Emily.’

On Saturday, we will be posting an entry from a woman who is going to share her heart for the uncomfortable tight spots that God puts us in.

Please join us on the porch this Saturday to read the thoughts of Lacie Adams, our guest blogger.

~Emily & Erin

Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds

By Dawn Green

Sitting here waiting on my sister to come to get me for an appointment, I’m watching bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds going from flower to flower.  One hummingbird is smaller than the others, maybe a younger bird, maybe a different kind of hummingbird.  He doesn’t know he’s different, he just goes about his business.  He or she gathers and gathers and then flies to the crepe myrtle to rest a while.

My mind is kind of like that little bird.  It goes from one thing to another, sometimes I get work accomplished, sometimes flitting around gets me distracted so the desired task doesn’t get completed.  Maybe the difference between me and that tiny bird is he has one goal, food for survival, rest a little, then go gather again.

I wonder, too, as I watch, is that the hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies all feed off the same flowers.  Do they know to leave a little for someone else?  Not like the human characteristic to get it all for me.  Also, do the plants produce more nectar because the little creatures come back day after day. Of course, there are eventually new flowers during the growing season.  But some flowers remain on the bushes for several days.  I’m no botanist, however, it all works, I’m amazed at the complexity of God’s creation.  How these tiny creatures know all that they know.

As cute as they are, they are also fierce fighters among themselves, like tiny fighter jets, attacking each other over the bird feeder.  But it doesn’t seem like they ever mortally wound one another, just warn and scold and fuss at each other.  One little bird has found a place beneath the feeder where he can watch his food source and defend it, perched upon the halo of a garden angel.  Another is camouflaged in a nearby tree, where he is the same size, shape, and color of the leaves. He’ll wait and watch and then dive bomb the watching hummer.

I wouldn’t have gotten the pleasure of watching these amazing creatures if the Father hadn’t sat me down for a while, healing from pacemaker surgery.  The goal here is to heal and rest a while.  I wish it didn’t take something like this to slow me down to see God at work.  My friends and family have been generous and thoughtful to do my gathering for me.  And I’m grateful that the Father also brought these sweet people into my life.  He also helped me be settled and see that he is all around me, walking with me in this growing season.  Not to be too sappy, but can’t we be the sweet nectar in the life of another?  Serving, caring, providing, and protecting, Just as the Lord has done for us and will continue to do.

He promised, “I’ll never leave you or forsake you”.  He’s definitely all around me.

~Dawn

Hummingbird graphics

Guest Blogger-Dawn Green

The purpose of the Iron Porch is to allow a space for women to come to share with one another without the fear of reprisal and judgment. It’s a space that Erin and I felt God wanted to provide so that women could encourage and comfort one another.  After prayerful consideration, we would like to encourage potential guest bloggers to submit a post for consideration.  These guest blogs will be posted under ‘fesharp’ rather than ‘Erin’ or ‘Emily.’

This weekend, we are pleased to introduce you to Dawn Green, a beautiful mom, wife, friend, and our Sister in Christ.  Her heart for servanthood is seen through her faithful leadership at Isaiah 58 Ministries, as they prepare suitcases for women leaving prison.  Dawn will share her heart for slowing down our busy lives to observe what God is doing all around us.

Please join us on the porch this Saturday to read the thoughts of  Dawn Green, our guest blogger.

~Emily & Erin

Resiliency through Adversity: A marriage journey (Guest Blogger)

Recently I made a trip to the Enlisted Heritage Hall, an Air Force museum, where my husband’s uniform is displayed.  It is the uniform that he almost died in when the bombing of Khobar Towers happened on June 25, 1996.

I was just a young bride with no children at the time; married less than 5 years.  After my husband completed his deployment, he came home and we got pregnant with our first child, a boy.  During that year, we were told I would miscarry that child.

The same week my husband had a massive brain hemorrhage.  Again, he should have died.  Two years later we welcomed another child, a girl.  During that year, she and I were hospitalized 7 different times. At the time, we did not know that she would most likely have lifelong health issues.

Over the years hardship plagued our family.  We dealt with a child on the Autism spectrum, military moves that were difficult on the family, a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and a Traumatic Brain Injury (PTSD/TBI) and suicide of an extended family member.  Most recently, in the span of a year, we endured the death of my father, 2 uncles, my dad’s beloved dog, and my husband’s first service dog.

I am not writing these things to say “woe is me” or for you to think I’m looking for pity. Quite the opposite! I want to share how I managed to be in a happy fruitful marriage of 26 years despite these struggles.

When my husband and I married, we knew that God would be the head of our home.  Yet we were young and didn’t understand this concept completely. It is through some of these adversities that I learned who I had to lean on in the dark times. My biggest struggle is loneliness even with others around me. I think this a common issues most military spouses endure, especially those that have a spouse with the PTSD/TBI diagnosis. I can no longer go to my husband with things that bother me, because he will likely get overwhelmed and not be able to handle multiple issues.

I can’t share with those who are not in the military, as they do not understand the lifestyle. I do not share with other military spouses for fear of being judged.  Likewise, they don’t want to hear it for fear of it happening to their family.

Comfort can be found in Philippians 4:11 (KJV) “Not that I speak in respect of want for I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content.” 

This does not mean a state like Nebraska or Ohio, but rather our mental state. Although in truth, sometimes I needed it to mean what literal state I was in at the time!  For me, I learned to rely heavily on God and I did this through His written word that was written in my heart.  We may not think it is important as we get older to remember verses, but when I couldn’t think of anything to say, to do or even how to just be; I relied on reciting verses.  This is how God kept me calm through many trials.

I was faithful in my devotionals, attending church, serving in my given mission fields, and trusting the advice of a few Godly people in my life. It was the reliance on my faith through adversity that made me a resilient person.

I have always sung the song, His eye is on the sparrow written by Ethel Waters, but never knew the backstory.  It was about one couple seeing another couple deal with adversity that seemed incomprehensible. When they asked the couple how they dealt with the life difficulties handed to them, the wife responded with “His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me.”

That, my friend, is how I live my life. When my emotions and the drama of life is all consuming, I know and TRUST that my God is watching over me and he is watching over you too.

-A Military Spouse

Shelly Graphics