“My Book”

God has written every page of your life in His book ~ Psalm 139:16

I was thinking about this verse last week. Then a couple of nights ago, Greg and I were talking to Callie about how she doesn’t need to try to mold herself into someone she’s not just to fit in with girls in her class. We told her that God made her special for a reason and there is no one else like her. (Of course, she argued with us that there must be a freckle-faced eleven year old named Callie who loves riding horses and has the same haircut that she does somewhere in this world….ah the tween years!) Anyway, we tried. I explained to her that her purpose and life were already planned out by God and that He had a book written just about her. She was surprised to hear that God had a whole book all about her. She seemed to think He didn’t consider her special enough. I tried to get my point across, as best I could , that she was indeed very special. I think it may have sunk in, just a little. At least I hope.

It is hard to imagine, even for adults at times, that God has already laid out the blueprint of our lives and it is unfolding daily. The story in my book may not always go as I have planned but I have to trust in the Author. There are chapters I would love to rip out and just forget that they existed. The ones that had pain and frustration written all over them. In those times I have to wonder why God wrote those into my book. But when I look back, as I turned each page, and the days passed, better things came along to ease the pain. A new chapter began.

There are pages I wish I could go back to and copy and paste into new pages. I had a couple of those over the weekend. Lazy, relaxing, fun days filled with love. Those moments are the ones I cherish and bookmark in my life. I “dog-ear” those pages so that I don’t forget how I felt and can turn back to them whenever I need to be reminded of the beauty that God scripted for that day.

Then there are the chapters that I wish Icould do over because of the mistakes I made. Those pages are where I took a bright red pen and crossed through God’s plan and obedience and penciled in how I thought the story should go. What a disaster those pages are. I regret them but they taught me a lesson. The best news is that all I have to do is ask and God will delete those messy pages, wipe them clean and I am forgiven.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful ~ Psalm 139:13-14 

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“Choose Hope”

Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent ~Mignon McLaughlin
   
    Faith. Hope. Love. Three words we see quite often and try to live our lives by. I have always been drawn to the word faith. There is so much meaning behind it – the expectation of things unseen. Things only God can bring into being. Of course, love is an essential one as well. Without it, what do we have? We are drawn to it, give it, receive it and long for it from the time we are born.
     But today I choose HOPE. I don’t know why but that one word never stood out to me as much until yesterday when I read a quote that I came across.  I CHOOSE hope. We can have faith, have love, we can have hope but we have to choose it. It has to be a thought we aspire to each day. Today I choose hope over fear. Today I choose hope over negativity. Today I choose hope over stressful thoughts.
     The dictionary defines hope as “a feeling that something desirable is likely to happen”.  Choosing hope means that I am thinking positively. When I choose hope, I am saying to myself that I truly believe I can be completely free of what holds me down, holds me back and takes over my life. I am saying that along with my faith in God, I am hopeful also that he will allow good things to me. I am saying to myself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That light is my life. The darkness of the tunnel is only temporary.
     If I choose to go through the day thinking things will never change, then they won’t. If I give hope a chance I am giving life a chance. A chance for it to be all that God intended it to be. Life shouldn’t be survived. It should be lived. There have been many days where I have just been surviving. It’s time to get back to the living part of life.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God – Psalm 42:11

“Resolution #2”

A few weeks ago I wrote about The Resolution for Women, specifically Resolution #1 and said that I would write about each one as I read through the book. I read #2 a couple weeks ago and I have put off writing about it because I needed to do my homework in order to feel like I could discuss it and put it into my own words. I’m not going to lie, this was a hard one for me. Honestly, it’s not something I would have agreed with a couple of years ago but as I have changed and been changed by the amazing man in my life, Resolution #2 makes a little more sense to me.

Resolution #2: I will champion God’s model for womanhood in the face of a postfeminist culture. I will teach it to my daughters and encourage its support by my sons.

God’s model for womanhood is described in Ephesians, Chapter 5, Verse 22-33 which says, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

Now, I have always been a bit of a stubborn, do-it-my-way kind of girl. Also, being in a past relationship where I felt belittled and as if I wasn’t even entitled to own thoughts, I shuddered at the idea of submitting to a man. The word “submit” makes me think of the husband having full control and the wife being a silent partner in the marriage, doing what he says and not having an opinion or voice of her own. But as the book says, submission is simply choosing, not being forced, to let the husband lead the way and take control of necessary responsibilities. Not oppression, but submission. The husband respects the wife and doesn’t make her feel inferior to him. There is respect, mutual agreement and communication. This is something I never knew was possible until Greg came into my life. There is a great article that I will post at the bottom of this blog that goes into this discussion much better than I can. I’m not sure I can give a great overview of the concept.

I will however try to describe how I now feel differently about this. In my own perspective, which may be off the mark. If it is, feel free to tell me. I went through a rough relationship for many years, as I have talked about before. I wasn’t able to do or say a lot without some type of negative feedback. Once the relationship ended, I became a single mom trying to make it on my own. I paid my own bills, did my own yard work, took care of the inside of my house as well, did repairs and took care of my daughter at the same time. I carried a full load constantly, to the point of exhaustion. But I was in control finally. Once Greg came into my life, he immediately wanted to help me with all I had to deal with. I kindly rejected his help because I didn’t want to relinquish the control I had over my life. Slowly though I began to realize that he wasn’t trying to control me or anything in my life. He was simply trying to help, as any good man should do. Not in an overpowering way, but he felt his role as the man in the relationship meant that he should take care of me. I fought this hard for a long time. Then I began to realize that it was okay to let someone take care of me. I didn’t have to be in control of every single thing. Heaven knows I was tired and I needed to do just that. It doesn’t mean I am weak. It means I am strong enough to know that I can’t do it all alone. It makes me a little happier and gives me more time to focus on myself and to just relax a little (when I actually allow myself).

Here’s the link to the article I mentioned above: http://www.reason4living.com/articles/totw0041.htm

What are your thoughts on this subject?

“Awake”

“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands” ~ Deuteronomy 8:2

When you are going through a depressed and anxious state of mind, everything around you seems to take on some sort of grayness. You become numb and unaware of all that is around you, no matter how hard you try not to. The days are mostly cloudy even when the sun is shining. There’s always a feeling of a storm looming ahead even when there are no black clouds as far as the eye can see. If you have been there, you understand. It’s a scary, lonely place to be.

But the good news is, when you start to come back to yourself and trust in God, you are so much more appreciative of the things in your life. It’s like an awakening. I think God sometimes uses these states of mind to do just that. This has happened to me a lot lately. The freshly mowed grass seems to smell a bit sweeter. The sun on my face is warmer and brighter. A laugh that comes deep from inside my stomach awakens muscles I haven’t used in a while.I catch myself grooving to a tune on Pandora that I haven’t heard in a while. The light at the end of the tunnel gets a little brighter. I fall in love with the people in my life all over again and with God.

I feel that we all fall into a rut many times in our lives. We often need an awakening to bring us back to where we need to be. God uses something uncomfortable to open our eyes to this. As Joel Osteen likes to put it, God uses a setback as a setup for greater things.

Even if you aren’t experiencing anything like depression or anxiety, you can still find ways to be more in tune with your surroundings, more involved in your relationships and more in touch with God.

“In Focus”

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” ~ Philippians 3:13-14
When I am shooting pictures, I have to have the subject in focus, obviously. Sometimes the camera wants to focus on what is in the forefront and not necessarily the subject I am trying to capture. I have to keep adjusting until what I want to photograph comes in to clear view, much like the picture above. There is FEAR in the forefront and FAITH in the background. It took some fine-tuning to get the camera to focus on FAITH. I had to look beyond the FEAR.
Imagine that God is your camera lens. He wants you to constantly look beyond the fear to bring your faith into full focus. This takes some adjusting on your part but it is attainable by being obedient. The stresses and worries become blurred and don’t seem important anymore. He becomes your focus as well and you can then move forward in the direction you are meant to go. Toward your full potential, abilities, desires and your future and putt the “blur” on limitations, anger, negativity and the past.
I heard a story of a lady whose husband had left her and she was patiently waiting for God to bring love back into her life. She bought a picture frame, left it empty and sat it by her bed. She prayed every day and imagined a picture in the frame of herself and a wonderful man that God would send her way. She was patient and eventually it happened. She met someone and they were married. Just by doing that simple task, she was saying to God that she believed – had faith and not fear about what was happening in her life. She brought that desire into focus.
Bring a picture into your mind of what you not only think, but KNOW that God will bring about in your life and then FOCUS on it.

“Mom’s the Word”

My daughter, my Mom, myself and my Granny (I’m so blessed!)

Mother’s Day – a time to show Mom how special she is. God entrusted women with the role of Mother because he knew it would require patience, kindness, understanding, multi-tasking, selflessness, little sleep, and a lot of wisdom.

Today I salute all Moms:

  • The Mom who works forty hours a week outside the home and the other one hundred twenty eight for her family. Hopefully with eight hours of sleep each night (if she’s lucky).
  • The Mom who stays at home with her children, teaches them and devotes her entire day (and evening) to them.
  • The Mom who takes children who are not her own, into her life and loves them as if she carried them herself for nine months.
  • The Mom who may not have her children at the moment because she isn’t able to take care of them, but is fighting hard to change herself so that she can.
  • The Mom who cared enough to give her child to a family who was capable of giving him or her a loving home because she is too young and not capable.
  • The Mom who may not yet be a Mom but is patiently waiting for God to bring the tiniest of blessings into her life.
  • The Mom who has faced the difficulty of seeing her child returned to God’s loving care way too soon.
  • The single Mom, giving her all for her child, doing without her own needs, so that her child wants for nothing.
  • The Mom who sends her son or daughter off to fight a war that he or she may not return from.
  • The Mom who goes to fight that war, leaving her children behind, praying she will get back safely to see them grow.
  • The Mom who is now a grandmother or great-grandmother but still worries and prays for her child, no matter what their age.
  • The Mom who gives 110% every day to a child with special needs and didn’t give up on him or her just because God made them special and,
  • The Mom who prays with her child every night and teaches him or her the love of Jesus.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all!

“Peace of God In, Stress and Worry Out”

I had a thought driving to work this morning. Throughout the past few months as I have dealt with this change in my life, I have thought about good days vs. bad days. When people ask how I am doing, I generally say, “I have good days and bad days but I guess I’m doing alright”.

I tend to look back on the week and see it as a bad week with some good days. I realized I need to turn that thinking around to something more positive. I need to see it as a good week with a few bad moments. You really are what you think. If you think it you will be it. Proverbs 23: 7 says “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”.

I admit I haven’t always been the most positive person, at least towards myself. I can encourage a friend or someone in my family all day long, but I could never quite find a way to encourage myself or to believe in the things that other people would say to me. I would think “Oh they’re just saying that to be nice”. I realize that is probably why I came to where I am today. I could blame my past or bad relationships but that’s just the easy way out. Ultimately, we are in control of our feelings and thoughts. With negative thinking, we believe more of what goes through our own mind that the words that come from someone who loves us, including God. I am working hard every day to change that.

Last night I woke up and wasn’t feeling so well. I was having some anxiety. Nothing serious but I usually don’t just wake up feeling that way. I know it is due to some changes I am making this week (good but difficult changes) I laid there and tried to do some deep breathing to calm myself and as I took a breath I would say, peace of God in, and then I would exhale and say, stress and worry out. I slowly started to doze back off to sleep, still repeating that and then I saw (or dreamed maybe, Im not sure) that God was taking all of the stress into his hands and releasing it and as He did it took the shape of a white dove and flew away. This morning when I had my prayer time I heard a still, small voice say Psalm 55, so I looked it up…

Fear and trembling have beset me;

horror has overwhelmed me.

I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!

I would fly away.

I would flee far away and stay in the desert

I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.

 It overwhelms me when something like that happens…I always take it as the most loving sign God can give me. His word.

God didn’t give us a beautiful life and then expect us to ignore it. We are given this life because we are strong enough to live it, with His help and through our own faith and obedience to Him.