Mug shot 

Our daughter, Carson, is a beautiful young woman…inside and out.

If I can brag a little- she recently won a special senior superlative at her high school…”Most Likely to Brighten Your Day.”

But something interesting happened to her recently.  Carson went to a Walgreens to get a passport photo taken.  She looked at the camera and gave a big, natural smile.  Upon seeing this, the photographer told her that she wasn’t allowed to smile for passport photos.  He explained that foreign authorities felt that international travel was a serious activity- and smiles and frivolity weren’t allowed on the passport photo.

So she didn’t smile.  And as you can see from the photo- it came out like a mug shot.  

Carson later learned learned that the photographer was playing a joke on her.  There’s no rule about having a serious look on your face for the passport photo.  But there it was- the completed work showed my daughter without her trademark glow and radiant smile.

It appears that she isn’t so happy at all.

Doesn’t this happen to all of us?  We can sometimes get labeled by our failures…and a single action at a given point of time can linger with us for a long time.  It may be a failed marriage.  It could be a bad situation at work that has stayed with us for far too long.  A single instance can make a long-lasting impression.

But we are never labeled for our failures with God.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9

God is faithful.  He forgives.  His love cleanses us from past mistakes.  We don’t have to worry about the failures.  We have forgiveness.

This week I’m praying about the “mug shots” in my past.  I want to move beyond my mistakes, learn from them and become a more complete being in Jesus Christ.

And let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

 

 

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Letters from home

img_1507We celebrated Valentine’s Day this past week.  My family did the normal things…preparing treats and cards for my son’s elementary school party, exchanging cards and- the best part- Hollianne’s baking.

My biggest surprise, however, came in the mail.

I arrived home after a long day at work and discovered a letter from my mom in the mailbox.  A hand-written letter that read:

“KS-  You have had my heart for 46+ years.  I think about you everyday and pray for you.  I appreciate your friendship and am so very thankful and blessed that you are my son.  God has been/is so good to us.  I love you- Mom”

I shouldn’t have been surprised.  Mom has told me that she loved me almost every day of my life.

But there’s something special about the written word that made this communication extra special.

I’ve got a family of writers.  I’ve got notes from mom tucked away from numerous periods of my life.

My dad is a letter-writer too.  He’s sent me letters for high school and college graduations, before my wedding day and to celebrate milestones in my marriage and career.  I cherish all of these.

We are called to encourage.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. I Thessalonians 5:11

Jesus was the ultimate encourager.  He lifted those who were hurting.  He provided hope for the lost.

And He still does today.

You never know when an encouraging word- or note- can lift the burden of another.  Just like my momma did on Valentine’s Day.

My prayer this weekend will focus on being more of an encourager.  Please pray for me to be more aware of how I can lift the burden of another.

And let me know how I can pray for you.

God bless.

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Separation Anxiety

2017 brought a new job to the Carver household.  And it’s ushered in lots of change too.

My schedule is a bit hectic, as there are many new places to visit with many new people to meet.

It’s been exciting, but it has me traveling away from the family quite a bit. It’s required an adjustment, as Hollianne is trying  to juggle a full schedule with three active kids. 

We are all doing our part to make the best of the transition.

Well….one of us is struggling more than the rest.  Our youngest, Britton, is the most resistant to change.  It’s been hard on him.

One night he told me that his biggest fear is that our relationship would change…that he and I wouldn’t be as close as we are right now. 

His statement hit me right in the heart.  My little guy was worried about our relationship- and that less time together might change the way I feel about him.

But I assured him that a new job- or my limited time at home during the daytime- wouldn’t impact my love for him.  In fact, I pledged to work harder to make sure that we made the most of our time together. 

He’s experiencing what we’ve all felt at some point in our lives.  We have thoughts that some life event can put distance between us and someone we love.  Maybe it’s not time or distance- but hardship or a broken relationship. 

This world is filled with hurt and doubt, but there’s hope for the believer. 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

What a promise that is! 

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing.  There’s an unconditional love that is present regardless of our sinful actions and ways.  We are imperfect- and God loves us anyway.

Earthly relationships change. Eternal ones don’t.  We can rest assured that God will never leave us. 

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. I John 4:16

Please pray for me to be the best husband and father that I can possibly be this year. And let me know how I can pray for you.

God bless.

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