“Hakuna Matata!”

NYE Sunrise

Beautiful sunrise this New Year’s Eve morning

So here we are…December 31st. I’m sure most of you, like me, are reflecting on 2012 and looking forward to what 2013 holds in store.

Obviously, the past twelve months of my life are no secret. I have shared the good, the bad and the ugly through the words on my blog. I have also shared God’s word, which ultimately is the reason I am able to sit here and write about the journey I have been on this year.

Yesterday I received an email from WordPress documenting the yearly stats of my blog since it began in February. I can see the stats on a daily basis but it was fun to have it all laid out for me and see how it shaped up at the end of the year. My blog had nearly 2,800 views this year. My words were read by people in 29 different countries. The U.S. having the most visitors to my site, with Canada in second and oddly India was a close third. I had visitors from places such as Indonesia, South Africa, Bangladesh, Greece and Australia, just to mention a few. I never imagined my thoughts and faith in God would reach such far off places. My hope is that someone, somewhere along the way, near or far, was touched, found faith themselves or was lead to a greater understanding of the power and greatness of our Lord.

As I look back on the year, it is obviously been the hardest year of my life. I started out as someone I didn’t recognize. Slowly, I have found her again and I want to thank everyone who has been on this journey with me….you know who you are! : ) And to all of those who faithfully follow and read my blog, the ones who “like” the link when I post it and send me comments or messages, I thank you as well. I am looking forward to the New Year and pray I can continue to INSPIRE you.

Below are a few quotes, prayers, words of encouragement and verses that I collected this year. Some made it to the blog, some didn’t, and some are words that I carry with me to remind me I am never alone when I am a true believer in Christ.

  • “As a man thinketh, so is he”….Proverbs 23:7 (quote from a friend.. “Funny how the bible has an answer for everything”)…so true!
  • I don’t know about you, but often it’s just plain easier to throw up our hands, sit back, let life happen, and go nowhere. Or head backwards, slowly but surely. Hauling ourselves up the ladder takes focused energy and ongoing effort that we can’t drum up without the gracious help from our Heavenly Father. Yet, if we want to claim His rich, wise, eternity-in-view perspective, we have no other choice but to humble ourselves, get on our knees, and ask Him to lead the way.
  • Attempt something so big for God that it is sure to fail without Him!
  • Just BELIEVE in yourself and you will make it! (thank you Callie)
  • If I’m struggling, it’s not because of what I’ve been through. It’s because of what I came to believe when I went through it. God heals me, not by changing my past, but by revealing truth and displacing lies.
  • The battle is over but the memories will have to be rearranged to the back of your mind and this is where God’s gift must be fully internalized….you survived!
  • The Lord is my refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.
  • The beginning of anxiety is the end of FAITH.
  • Let it go, and let God take control.
  • Hakuna Matata!!! (thank you again, Callie!)
  • Live a life worthy of the calling you have received – Ephesians 4:1
  • Follow Me one step at a time…if I do lead you up the cliffs, I will equip you thoroughly for the strenuous climb.
  • God will never lead you into a situation and leave you to fail. If we sit still long enough to hear his whispers and adhere to His counsel (the message may come through an acquaintance, stranger or friend), we can transition from a difficult place towards victory
  • If you feel like you’re just ‘going through the motions’ and it even feels fake, keep doing it! Otherwise, you may die in the desert, on your way to glory
  • “You have to break that bad habit, you have to face your fears not once, but continually and realize they are nothing but creative interpretations from a fatigued and confused mind. You must stay strong, keep hold of hope and have faith you will overcome this.” (this has been posted to my bathroom mirror for a year : )
  • The only thing wrong with you, is that you still think there is something wrong with you.
  • And finally….”Cast all your anxiety on Him…because He cares for you!” – 1 Peter 5:7

 Happy New Year everyone!!!

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“This Is Christmas”

Have we lost the reason that we celebrate each year? What is Christmas?

If there never was a savior wrapped in a manger….What is Christmas without Christ?

Remember how the story goes….God’s gift was wrapped in swaddling clothes. Beneath the star, one great and holy night…

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The shepherds heard the angels sing. The wise man brought an offering. Peace on Earth began in Bethlehem…

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What is Christmas? If the angels never sang…Glory to the new born king? What is Christmas without Christ?

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This is Christmas…It’s all about the savior wrapped in a manger.

This is Christmas….because of Jesus Christ.

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 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Lyrics from the beginning of this post are from the song “This Is Christmas” by Kutless. Listen….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20HoJZecNqM

Merry Christmas everyone!!

“Hope in OUR God”

My heart has been so heavy the past few days. My mind has been consumed with so many thoughts and questions. Once I heard news of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, I had hoped that it was nothing major. The first report was that a teacher had been shot in the foot and that a child had been injured but alive and being taken to the hospital. I immediately thought okay, this is probably a domestic dispute gone horribly wrong. That’s all it can be. As we all know now, the reports that came in showed an absolutely grim situation. Much like the day that innocent lives were taken at Virginia Tech, just miles from here, my heart began to sink when I realized the seriousness of what had just happened.

As a mother, my mind could not comprehend this. I left for lunch shortly after the news broke and as I started driving I found myself sobbing uncontrollably. I did the only thing I knew to do. I prayed. Then I asked, Why, God?? Why?? What leads someone to do this? We immediately want to put a reason to someone’s crime. As if it would make any sense to us. Just anything at all to make you understand. But there is nothing. Nothing that can justify taking innocent lives in such a horrific way.

I returned to work and immediately searched the words of Billy Graham. I wanted something to cling to. Some words of hope that would help the thoughts running through my mind. I felt comfort for a while but found myself back to a depressed state that night. Our youth group was planning to go caroling and I needed to get my head on straight for myself and my daughter. I found hope as we sang. We didn’t speak of the days events much that night. We tried to enjoy the moment. But as we sang Silent Night, I looked up to the sky. It was a perfectly clear night and the sky was full of stars. I thought of those precious ones who had left that day and realized they were in a much better place than we are.

The comments stemming from this shooting have run the gamut from more gun control to arming teachers and keeping schools locked full time during the day. I agree our schools need better security. Unfortunately it has come to that. But the comments that break my heart the most are the ones that, in response for a call to prayer, ask “Where was YOUR God when this happened?” My response: OUR God is still here. I have questions myself but I will not give up on MY God. I will turn to MY God when this happens because without Him there is no hope. MY God is still my refuge and my strength in these times. The last thing this world needs is more people giving up on God. I fear this is why our world is in the state it is in now. I read a quote from a father who lost a daughter on Friday. He said as much as she was needed here and missed, she had beat them to paradise. If he can still have hope in OUR God, then we all should.

So my thoughts leading in to today were this: What can I do? How can I change what is happening in our world for my daughter and future generations? I refuse to give up hope, I want so desperately to believe there is still good in this world. I know there is. It just doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Our Sunday school lesson today was very meaningful. It touched on this very subject. What can you do to use the gifts God has given you? How can you make a difference? It’s time to stop worrying about offending someone or being embarrassed. It’s time to step up and do something instead of sitting back and shaking our heads about why this happens. I know I can’t save the world but I can try to do my best to reach out to those who need to hear God’s word. Maybe it will make a difference, maybe not but for my daughter and those around me, I will do my best. So if you can pray, pray! If you can speak, speak! If you can’t speak, listen! You never know when something you can do can make a change. I urge everyone to do this. Anything…this week, to use what God has put in you. It does no good if you keep it to yourself.

Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”

(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in LOVE” – Ephesians 4:1-16