“Resolution #1”

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content – Philippians 4:11

I am currently reading “The Resolution for Women” (along with a couple other books). I have developed a habit of reading two or three books at a time. I used to think this was a bad thing, but I realized there are certain days, when I am in certain mood and there are certain books that give me what I need. Having said all that, I want to take time to talk about the “Resolution”. I hope to blog on each of the thirteen resolutions eventually, as I go through the book. For now, here is number one:

I DO SOLEMNLY RESOLVE TO EMBRACE MY CURRENT SEASON OF LIFE AND WILL MAXIMIZE MY TIME IN IT. I WILL RESIST THE URGE TO HURRY THROUGH OR CIRCUMVENT ANY PORTION OF MY JOURNEY BUT WILL LIVE WITH A SPIRIT OF CONTENTMENT.

Honestly, this is a hard one for me. It’s going to require some serious action and prayer on my part. I have always been in a hurry to get on with things. How many of us say “When I get married I will be happy”, “When I have a baby I will be happy”, or “When I finally get that dream job I will be happy”? I’m certain most people have done this a time or two or maybe all your life. I know I have.

The thing we have to remember is this…WE are responsible for our own happiness. Someone once told me that your happiness is always inside of you. You just have to find it. And yes, sometimes the right circumstances factor into that happiness but it is ultimately within yourself. Now, I know you have probably heard all of this before and maybe you’re thinking, blah, blah, happiness, up to you, blah, blah. Trust me, been there, said that.( Maybe even today). BUT as I was writing for today’s blog, I started out on a different topic, then God said, no..stop right there. We need to move in a different direction. Sometimes He helps ME while I’m trying to encourage others. Hence today’s topic. Yes, God I hear you…loud and clear!

If we continually wait on that perfect set of elements to line up in a nice little circle and surround us before we can say we are truly happy and enjoying our lives, then we will be waiting a long time and we will have missed out on the journey.  Life is a series of events, ups and downs. We have to learn to be content with where we are and what we have. Often, this takes loads of prayer and trust on our part and the acceptance that we are where God needs us to be at this very moment and find a way to be content. It kind of takes the burden off when you look at it that way. Just by saying God is in control and I’m going to sit here and be happy about it.

It will be a challenge. I know it will be for me. But I resolve to give it my very best effort. Think about how you can incorporate this resolution into your life and let me know how it goes! : )

“The Bigger Picture”

“If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

A couple nights ago I had a dream. I was driving along a road and it suddenly started to become very steep. There were tall, rocky cliffs on the left and the right side was the edge of a cliff. A complete drop-off. About half way up this steep hill, I saw that some trees had fallen and the road was blocked. There was no place to turn around so I had no choice but to back down the hill. I kept thinking I could end up over the side if I didn’t travel carefully. I backed up a little bit and when I looked back up the hill, I realized that there was a path to the left that I didn’t notice before and it was wide enough for me to drive through. I moved forward, passed the fallen trees and made my way to the top.

As I told Greg about the dream the next day, I realized how it was a perfect metaphor for how God works in our lives. When we are so close to our struggles, the things that are blocking our way, we can’t focus. All we can see is the problem at hand. But if we step back and take a look at the bigger picture, God’s plan for us, then we can see how He can open up a path and lead us to where we need to go.

I believe God brought that dream to me. I needed it. It’s so easy to become consumed with our issues, that we forget that God already has our plan, our road, laid out. Parts of it are smooth and paved and parts are bumpy and full of potholes and obstacles. We just simply need to remember that He is in control of the wheel. The ride will be a lot easier if we accept that.

Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps”

“The Truth Will Set You Free”

“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith “- 1 Timothy 1:5

I have a story to tell about my daughter today. I made sure to ask for her permission first, though. I didn’t want to embarrass her but she made me very proud last night and I felt the need to share it.

We were having a conversation about a particular matter and I felt she wasn’t being honest with me. I asked her repeatedly if she was telling me the truth. I even used the standby that usually gets her. I always ask “What would God say about this?” She stood firm and said she was telling the truth. So I let it go and continued reading my book while she went to get ready for bed.

She came back into the room a couple minutes later and said “Mommy!?” I looked up, startled, and saw her standing there with a look of fear on her face, her little hands to her mouth and her lip quivering. I asked her what was wrong. She said “I lied! I lied! Take away my iPod, my phone, anything you want. I was wrong. I lied!” I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her, so instead of getting upset I pulled her to me and asked her why she had lied. She said “I don’t know.” I said “Okay. Why did you tell the truth?” She said “Because I couldn’t stand it! I knew God would be upset with me.” And her tears just continued to flow.

I could have punished her. I could have lectured her on how wrong it was to lie. Instead I hugged her and thanked her and told her how proud I was of her for listening to her conscience. I told her that God was her conscience and if she always lived her life that way, she would be blessed.

I have to say, I have never had a prouder “Mom Moment” in my life. It may sound silly, being that it was all based on her telling a lie, but I realized at that moment that all I have been trying to teach her had sunk in. And I pray that it will remain there all of her life.

“Be Courageous”

Aside

 

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it ~ Proverbs 22:6

 I had a feeling yesterday that I would know what to write about today. Greg and I planned to watch Courageous last night and I had been warned by a friend that it was a powerful movie. Knowing we share similar likes and emotional weaknesses for a good tear jerker, I prepared myself. Let me just say that she was spot on. Wow! Everyone who is a parent should watch this movie. Even if you aren’t a parent, you should watch it. The movie was made by the same film company who brought us Fireproof (which I wrote about last week). Courageous centers around the importance of having good, no….great fathers as role models. Godly men who aren’t afraid to step up and draw closer to their children through God.

But there’s more to take away from the movie than that. We, as parents, not just fathers but mothers too have a responsibility to our children. If they are not raised in a home where God is welcome and easily spoken about, chances are these children are going to grow up lacking values and respect for themselves as well as others. I’m not saying I am a perfect parent. I have had my faults, just as anyone else, but I try more these days to set better standards for my daughter, standards that are drawn from God’s word.

Our daughters need to be shown their value. They need to be shown that they are worthy of being respected by men and not to settle for less. That’s not an easy thing to do these days. There is so much working against God’s set of values for our children. Music, television, movies, all these things are the cause for little girls growing up way too fast. They learn too much too soon. We have to be role models. Children learn what they are taught and they also learn from what they see. Consider your actions as well as the words you speak. Teach them that God loves them and wants them to live positively. Spend quality time with them. Don’t compensate that lack of time by buying their love with the latest cell phone or new clothes. They need so much more than that.

The same goes for sons. Young men need to be taught early on how to respect young ladies. This also comes from what they see and how fathers are teaching them. Boys grow up fast too because of what they see and listen to as well. Violent video games and movies do not serve a good purpose for these young men. They need quality time as well with fathers who will teach them what God expects of them. Someone who will show them how to grow into Godly men and good fathers as well, when the time comes.

Please watch this movie if you get a chance and consider the lessons that are to be learned. Don’t’ be just a “good enough parent”. Even if you aren’t a parent, maybe you know a child who needs a mentor. Someone who you can reach out to as a mother or father figure. I hope I haven’t sounded to “soap-boxy” today. It’s just what God laid on my heart and I felt it needed to be said.

Join me today in a promise to myself to be a better parent and be courageous enough to teach your children more about God. It may be awkward at first but the outcome will be so rewarding.

“Give It Away”

God is speaking to me through music a lot this week. I know it is because He knows my love for music and that’s one of the best ways to speak to me. The song I posted about a couple days ago was from John Waller. As I dug more into his music I found another song that I completely fell in love with. It’s called “Somebody Else’s Story”. Here is a sample of the lyrics:

“I wanna be a part of somebody else’s story. Somebody else’s story of redemption”

“It’s my desire. Lord you would use me to change somebody else’s destiny”

And my favorite line:

“This hope in me was not meant to be contained inside…I’ve got to give it away. Give it away”

I don’t know that I am worthy of changing someone’s life but when I write this blog and I get positive feedback, I feel like I am doing something worthy for God. It’s not just about me anymore. I want to take what God has given me, the good, the bad and the ugly and turn it into something positive. Isn’t that why He leads us through these times? So that we can see how He works when we believe? If I can focus on helping others, it will take the focus off of me and my issues will become smaller.

I was nervous about putting so much of myself out there for people to read. A lot of us are sometimes embarrassed by showing people our faith, our beliefs. But the bible says “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven”. The first time I decided to post my blog on Facebook (a bigger audience) I feared how people would react. Would they think I was pushing my religion on them? But then I thought about all of the negative things I see on there. No one seems to care if that offends me so why should I be afraid to shout to the world about how God is changing my life?

It’s the same with the bracelet I wear every day. My I AM SECOND BRACELET. A lot of people ask what it means. Why are you second? I say “because God is first”. I’ve had maybe one person say, “that’s a great way to look at it”. Most of the time the reaction I get is “oh”. They don’t get it but I don’t care. It’s what I believe and I wear it proudly.

Don’t be afraid to show the world your love for God. It may change someone’s story. Someone may come into your life and need to hear about God. Someone who is unsure and just needs a positive influence. If you feel the need, do it. That’s God showing you how to make an impression on someone’s life…someone’s story. Someone who may need it.

Do you tell people about God? Think about ways to do it. Even if it’s something small.

“While I’m Waiting”

Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord ~ Psalms 27:14

Last week, Greg and I watched Fireproof. If you haven’t heard of it or watched it, I highly recommend it. I saw it a few years ago but I had forgotten how deeply it touched me. In the middle of the movie there is a song called “While I’m Waiting”. I liked the song and thought about looking it up and putting it on my iPod. But it left my mind and I didn’t think about it again until today when it came on Pandora.

The words hit me hard this morning and lifted me up. It’s so beautifully written and it says a lot about how I have felt lately. I did some research on the singer/songwriter and found that he had battled depression for seven long years before he was set free from it by having faith in God’s word. He wrote the song, I believe, during that time or shortly after. It speaks volumes about how important it is to wait things out until God gets His work done and brings you through. All the while, continuing to praise and worship him. I can feel His work in me daily. Each day seems a little bit easier and He is changing me. It can be scary at times but I know that there is “purpose in the pain” that we all go through. Whether it be a loss, a broken relationship, sickness, self-worth struggles, marriage or job issues, there is a reason. It’s not always easy to see when you are in the valley but if you can hold on, the view is much better when God leads you out.

On the flip side, the waiting can also be for something you are hoping for…meeting that special person, your dream job or anything that your heart desires. Those things will also come in God’s time if you ask. He puts dreams in your heart for a reason as well. He’s just waiting on you to ask Him for help in achieving it.

Here is a link to the song, featuring scenes from Fireproof. I get chills every time I watch it and hear the words (I only started watching it today but have added quite a few hits to it on YouTube!) God lifted me up again today through music and putting it where I needed it so that I could once again see how amazingly He works.

I hope you will take time to watch the video and check out some of John Waller’s music. It’s very inspiring.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6X71sXagUY

Pray. Eat. Exercise. Love

Eat, Pray, Love is one of my favorite books. It is so refreshing and there is so much wisdom in the words. One of my favorite quotes from the book is this:

“God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now. I was never not coming here. This was never not going to happen.”

I used to think about this in the sense that God brings you to happiness. That when everything you desire comes to you. But now I look at it and think, okay, there have been moments God planned where I would rather not be. This circle in the sand is not a happy, peaceful moment. Yet He planned it so what do I do with it?

I go on. I look for joy every day and take comfort in it.

As I do, it means that I am walking faithfully, knowing that God is in control and I must still continue on without fear. Yesterday, LIFE WAS GOOD. I haven’t been able to say that with a full and grateful heart in a while. I woke up this morning and wondered why I felt so good. Then I recalled the day before and and as I sat down for prayer this morning, I thanked God for all that He allowed me to do yesterday.

PRAY: A time at church to pray among others who seek Him as I do and for leaving with a joy for Him in my heart.

EAT: The nourishment He gave me as I ate with my family and enjoyed my Mom’s Sunday dinner, along with a beautiful day that allowed us to eat outside.

EXERCISE: The strength He gave me to hike two miles to the Cascades with Greg. Yes, I have done this before and it’s not that hard but stress and depresssion can take a toll mentally as well as physically. I asked Him for strength and He provided. As Greg said, the sweat is weakness leaving your body.

LOVE: A time at home in the evening with the ones I love. A visit with my Granny and doing something as simple as tossing a football around with Callie and Greg. Feeling and showing love. Being surrounded by it.

“You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.”

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love