“Just Be”

As days go by and you get older, you start to wonder about your life:

Where have you been? (literally and figuratively)

Why did you go there in the first place?

Why did you go there again, even though you know you shouldn’t have?

Where are you going?

Who are you?

Who do you want to become?

Are you the person God wants you to be?

Are you living up to His expectations?

I have thought about these things a lot as I try to figure out this path I have been on and how it has changed me. I am changing for the better, I know, as I put my faith in God, but it still makes you think back and you start to wonder how you ended up here in the first place. Yes, I am a woman and we overthink things! Am I right, ladies? I know some of you reading this will agree with me.

It all comes down to just trusting that each experience has made you stronger, more faithful, more forgiving, more compassionate, more like the person God is trying to mold you into. The clay in His hands.

Having said all that, I want to share a video that I found last night. It pretty much sums up what we need to know about life. Just live it. Enjoy it. Stop and recognize the moments that show God’s mighty work in our world. Don’t overthink! The thing that stuck with me in the video is this: Life is not an emergency. Just slow down, stop thinking and just “be”.

Take 4 minutes and 20 seconds right now to watch this video. Enjoy it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhOUaszMGvQ

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“There’s Always A Light”

I was glad when they said unto me. Let us go into the house of the LORD” – Psalm 122:1

I have recently become fascinated with old, abandoned churches. I have always loved old buildings in general. Just imagining what they once were and how many people crossed through the doorways and what things may have occurred there.

Old churches though, fascinate me on a new level. I look for them now wherever I go. The one above was somewhere in North Carolina or maybe Virginia, I’m not sure. Greg and I had been on a trip and I spotted it from the road, through some trees. I screamed at him to stop and turn around so I could take a picture. He is accustomed to this. God Bless him. You have no idea how many times he has turned around for me to get that perfect shot. Thankfully, he does it without complaint!

I like to think about the hymns that may have been sung in that church, the weddings held there and probably funerals. The hands that built it and the people who bowed on their knees in worship. It may be vacant but I like to think that God’s presence can still be felt there. How could it not? He was undoubtedly there when a congregation gathered to praise Him and if someone were to walk in there, through the broken door and damaged walls, to pray, He would still be there.

Kind of like ourselves. We may not look or feel so great on the outside or inside but God will still always be there within us if we ask Him to be. We may have been vacant from God but that doesn’t mean He’s not there. Even if you haven’t prayed in a while (just like the old church that hasn’t been used for worship in a while), you can still call on God and He will be there.

I always think of these words to a song I heard:

There’s always a light in the church

No matter how much you’ve been hurt

What’s promised will be, look up and you’ll see

There’s always a light in the church

Just the same, there is always a light within ourselves if we choose to let God shine in and through us. Don’t let yourself be “vacant” or “abandoned” from God.

“Reservations”

 Pity party…table for one. We will seat you now…..

I accused someone yesterday of having a pity party. Those words sounded strange coming from my own mouth, since I’ve made a few reservations for them myself recently. (No more!) We all do this from time to time. We sit down and have ourselves a cup of “woe-is-me”, a bowl of bitterness and a heaping helping of hopelessness. As I said above, it is a “table for one”. No one wants to come to our pity party. Why would they?

You can invite God to sit down with you but don’t expect him to brood with you. He’s not going to say “Yes, yes, you are right. You’re in terrible shape. You have nothing. You poor thing, how will you go on?”

But IF (big word), IF you say “God, I am sitting here feeling sorry for myself, will you please come into my heart and show me your blessings”, then He will sit down with you and He will start to open your eyes to all that is around you. There is always, always something to be thankful for. Even if it’s just the fact that you are able to get out of bed each day.

Just say thank you, God, for your blessings, praise Him in your storm and He will remove all those things on your “table”… those woes and bitterness and replace it with HOPE. A “dessert” for your party…something as satisfying as grandma’s apple pie, or for me, Granny’s homemade chocolate pie..a girl needs her chocolate : )

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing, you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect – Romans 12:2

“Impossible situation or possible blessing?”

 In keeping, with the theme of family and strong women from my last post, I felt the need to talk about my Mom today. My Mom, I think, was born to help people. She has always been one to step up and help someone out when they need it. She was a caregiver to a very special friend of hers many years ago and she continues to help with my Granny daily.

She has also been there for me during my anxiety. When it was at its worst, she would drop everything and come running if I needed her. This is a gift that God has equipped her with.  Not just as a Mom but as a caregiver. Having said that, there is a story I want to share about how mysteriously God works.  My Mom had worked for the postal service for twenty years, part-time, filling in when needed (which got to be quite often) and working every Saturday.  Several months ago, we had a power outage which caused our area to be without power for about two days. During the outage, my parents went out for a few hours to my Dad’s doctor appointment. While they were gone, the power came back on. My Mom had forgotten that when the power shut off that morning, she had been boiling water. When it came back on, the pot boiled dry, melted and started a small fire. They returned home that day to a house full of black smoke. Thankfully there was no fire damage, but the smoke had covered everything in the house in a thick layer of black dust. The whole house had to be cleaned, including furniture, carpets, contents of cabinets, etc. Of course, this upset my Mom and Dad and they had a lot to deal with; insurance, starting the cleaning process and have a professional cleaning crew come in to inventory everything and take it to be cleaned, staying in a hotel or at a neighbor’s until the house was suitable to live in again. My Mom was due to work the next two days and asked to be off. They refused. So she decided the job wasn’t worth it and she resigned. She had been contemplating it for a while but never followed through with it. That moment gave her the push she needed.  I told her there was a reason the fire happened and it finally gave her the courage she needed to resign from a place where she wasn’t being respected any longer.

Looking back now, I realize that had she still been working, she wouldn’t have been able to be there for me during the months I have struggled. Nor would she be able to be there for my Granny now during her time of need. As stressful as the whole fire incident was, it was something I believe that needed to happen in order for my Mom to use the gift God has given her. It was part of the plan. He was lining up events to make sure she would be there for us when we need her.

I am also thankful that my anxiety issues caused me and my Granny to become closer over the last few months. I’m not sure she will be the “same” Granny she used to be after her stroke, but she and I had some amazing conversations about God, faith, and prayer during those months and if I had to deal with all of this just to have that happen, then I will accept that as part of God’s plan too. It really is true that he knows what He’s doing. We can’t doubt that, even when it seems like the easiest thing to do. He often says to me “Trust Me”.  I hear that all the time in my head.  I try every day. It’s not always easy but it makes things easier to deal with when I accept that He is in control.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart – Jeremiah 29: 11-13

 

 

“O woman, great is your faith!”

I come from a long line of strong women. I admire my mother and my Granny for always perservering through anything that comes their way. I have aunts as well who are to be admired for withstanding a lot of what life has thrown at them. Today my dear Granny is in a hospital fighting her way back from a terrrible stroke that hit her yesterday. Praise God that someone was with her when it happened. She lives alone and I hate to think what may have happened had she been alone for very long. God was at work, putting the right people in the right place at the right time. Today she is showing some improvement. Moving her right side which was paralyzed last night. She is a fighter.

This woman has called me every day and prayed for me for months during my healing and I know that God has heard her prayers. She is a God-fearing woman who believes in all that God has said and done and promises to us. This past Christmas, I took a photo of her hands and framed it for her children with words I had written to describe all the things that my Granny’s hands have done over the 82 years of her life. I pray that she will once again be able to use her hands to their fullest ability and truly be healed by the grace of God. I wanted to share what I had written and felt it was appropriate for today:

Granny’s Hands

They have kneaded dough for many a biscuit. They have stirred the batter for yellow cakes with chocolate icing and twisted the lid on to thousands of mason jars. They have held newborn children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, snapped a million green beans and a smacked a few bottoms. They have pulled strings through quilts and tied them off and pulled clothes through a wringer washer. They have squeezed clothespins to hang sheets on the line and steadied her for a climb up the stairs. They have pushed a broom, a mop and a paper towel across a dirty window. They have laid out countless plates on the table to feed a family and washed those plates afterwards. But most importantly they have turned the pages of the bible and laid palm to palm to our Lord in prayer.

I held her hand last night as she lay there fighting her fight and thought of all she has done. I pray today for God’s healing for her.

Psalm 41:3 The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.

“By Faith”

Yesterday morning I woke up in not-the-best-mood (the day got better thankfully), but as I was lying in bed contemplating getting up, God spoke to me…Hebrews 2:4. Now, I will admit, I don’t know ALL of the bible as well as I should. I’m working on that though. So, I had no idea what I would find in this verse. I went through the day yesterday and never looked it up. Then this morning, there it was in my head again…Hebrews 2:4. I went through my morning routine and as I did, I thought about how I want so badly to find where I need to be in my life, in a career that satisfies me and allows me to be creative and fulfill the talents God has given me. (And not be anxious about anything in the meantime). I kept thinking of the verse, so I sat down before work and opened my bible to look it up.

Honestly I was a bit confused by what I read and didn’t understand what it had to do with me in this particular moment. But on the next page was a section for suggested verses to accompany that one….

Hebrews 11:1…. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. As I read through the first chapter of Hebrews, I noticed that almost every verse starts with the words by faith:

  • By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
  • By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
  • By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
  • By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive and she bore a child.
  • By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.
  • By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.

So the verse I was given was not really what I was intended to see. God wanted me to dig a little deeper and in doing so, He reminded me today that my faith in Him will get me through. Faith is not an easy thing to achieve. We can say we have faith and we can talk about it but it takes an amazing will to truly HAVE faith. It means we trust God to the extreme. No doubts. None. Nada. Zilch. We must fully believe that He is working in our favor, behind the scenes, arranging things to work out as He intends and for the best. See it in your mind. Picture what you want and have a little FAITH….I am giving it my best shot today : )

“Mommies”

Image

Today I have a “guest blogger”. Callie left me another message last night and I’m going to brag and post it.  I am so proud of my girl. Because today she is my much-needed inspiration.

“Did you know? The best mommy’s in the world will always care for you, love you, and what she has done for me, is help me in positive ways. Some evenings I come home and have negative thoughts like I’m to short and people call me names…. but mommy heals all of those problems like a real mommy should do! I will always ♥ you no matter what happens and I hope you will always love me no matter what!”