The Struggle

Shoes 1

Soooooo.

Sometimes life is a struggle, yes? I mean, let’s be real. LOTS of times, life is just not pleasant. So, for me to say that lately my life has been a little messy, well, it’s probably no surprise to you. And, likely, your life is no bed of roses right now either.

(Really positive post so far, huh?)

I was at a point where my mind just wasn’t sure which way was up anymore. What was right? What was wrong? Is there gray? Should there be gray, or should everything be black or white? I felt God telling me to reach out to a certain individual. So, I followed His voice and made a phone call. The words she spoke to me touched me and felt so profound that I took notes while she talked. (I don’t think she believed me when I told her that so I sent her a picture of my notes! LOL).

You know, we are never going through things alone. And, almost always, someone else can relate to your struggle. So, I thought I would share with you some of what I received from her.

Sometimes things are beyond making sense. They just are. But He (God) hasn’t forgotten you.

When you are in the midst of what seems like a battle with another person, step back and do these three things:

1. Make sure you are without spot or wrinkle yourself. Examine your own heart and make right with God anything that is not.
2. Listen to what God is telling you. How do you listen to God? Read His Word (the Bible). Pray. Be still and allow Him to speak to your heart.
3. Remember that what is taking place is not an attack by a “person”, but it is the enemy (Satan) attacking you (perhaps through a person).

God has great plans for you. Satan wants to kill those plans. He wants to destroy what God has for you. Put on the Armor. (Ephesians 6:14-17 “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”)

Say, “Enough is enough!” and GIVE. IT. TO. GOD. Turn your feelings over to the Lord. God has equipped us and we are VICTORS through the Lord Jesus, Amen?

“It’s not what happens to us, but what happens in us that matters in the Lord.” ~~ My Great Aunt Ethel

Be encouraged!

<3

More Than You Can Imagine

Ephesians

Sometimes life is just absolutely overwhelming.

I know you understand because everyone–EVERYONE–has hardship. We are imperfect people in an imperfect world. So, we all deal with sickness, relationship issues, money issues, stress, death–they are all facts of life.

Have you ever found yourself in one of those times and you feel totally lost? The kind of lost where you don’t even have words to pray?

Or, maybe instead of praying, you talk to people around you even though you know there is nothing they can do? Toward the end of the conversation you say, “All I can do is pray, I guess.” (You may even end your statement with a heavy sigh.)

Here’s what I imagine God does when He hears that–

He leans over, looks down, and takes a deep breath saying, “REALLY? ALL you can do is pray? All you can do is call out to your Heavenly Father…the Father Who created you? All you can do is release the power of Heaven into your situation. Really?”

Why is it that prayer is often a last resort? Why is that prayer seems insignificant somehow when, actually, it is the most power tool we have?

Ephesians 3:30 MSG says, “God can do things, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!”

Let’s start making prayer our first choice. Let’s start making prayer our hope, our answer, our delight.

I love this quote by John Lindell, “God is powerful enough to change your situation and personal enough to enter into the emotion of it.”

The Face of Anxiety~~Featuring Katie Joy Crawford

In 2012, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I’ve never seen or read anything that depicted what I experienced in this way. Sometimes when you are in the middle of a crises  you feel so alone…like you must be the only one in the world going through this. It is somehow comforting to know your “crazy” is “normal”. I’m not sure that makes sense. But, at the time, I felt like I was absolutely losing my mind, and that  no one else could possibly understand…

There is hope if you suffer from these types of diseases. It’s important to seek a good physician and to talk to the people closest to you. Do not suffer in silence. And, most importantly, Jesus is gracious to heal and bring peace. If you need prayer, please message me. <3

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (cowardice, cringing and fawning fear) but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of calm and well balanced mind and discipline and self-control” 2 Timothy 1:7 AMP

I’m posting the article with Katie Crawford’s permission. Please take a moment to visit her website.  :)  http://www.katiejoycrawford.com/home

Right Now? I’m Angry–

Anger

Sometimes being angry is easier than being hurt and vulnerable. Sometimes I think I choose anger over hurt because it’s easier to deal with. I think I use anger as my shield of “protection”. It feels like anger keeps me from feeling the hurt so deeply. Because, I think, if I quit being angry, I may never stop crying over the hurt.

But, anger is a sneaky creature. It acts like it’s my friend. It pretends to protect me and wrap me in a cocoon of safety. When, in reality, it is digging deep into my soul, planting roots of bitterness, erupting sprouts of sickness and disease and dropping seeds of division.

Anger doesn’t protect me at all. Anger moves me toward self-destruction.

As I turn my anger toward God’s Word, searching for a cure, I find the answers. It’s still my choice to reach out for the antidote.

Philippians 4:8-9 (ESV)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Psalm 37:8-9 (TLB)

Stop your anger! Turn off your wrath. Don’t fret and worry—it only leads to harm.

Philippians 4:4-6 (TLB)

 Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice!  Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do. Remember that the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.

Anger only hurts me. It doesn’t change anyone else. It doesn’t keep anyone from hurting me more deeply. I’m going to choose to focus on what is good today. I’m going to make a choice to be who God wants me to be despite what anyone else says or does.

I’m going to CHOOSE JOY.

What about you?

<3

 

Jesus

I had a light bulb moment just now.

I was doing my devotions which I do with a small online group when
BAM! IT hit me!

Maybe you have already considered this. AND, it’s not something I haven’t heard before. But, today as I read it, God was like, “THIS is your family. This. There is hope. Your past (The people in your family’s past) is NOT your future. You are not them Your life is not their life. Their life choices do not dictate yours (who you are or who you are going to be).

Here’s part of the story of Judah (if you want to read the whole thing, read Genesis Chapter 38)

Genesis 38:12-19 and Genesis 38:24-30
12 In the course of time the wife of Judah, Shua’s daughter, died. When Judah was comforted, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13 And when Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14 she took off her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she had not been given to him in marriage. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 He turned to her at the roadside and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” 17 He answered, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” And she said, “If you give me a pledge, until you send it—” 18 He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” She replied, “Your signet and your cord and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 19 Then she arose and went away, and taking off her veil she put on the garments of her widowhood.
24 About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral.[c] Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.”[d] And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” (See–he was judging HER for something HE had done himself.) 25 As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” 26 Then Judah identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.
27 When the time of her labor came, there were twins in her womb. 28 And when she was in labor, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” 29 But as he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out. And she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” Therefore his name was called Perez.[e] 30 Afterward his brother came out with the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called Zerah.

Now let’s read Matthew 1:3
The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron

Judah slept with a prostitute. Yet, when he found out that his daughter-in-law had been immoral, he was going to have her killed. She did the same thing he had done. Yet, he was judging her and had no shame in what he had done. (I do realize it was a different day and women were not treated the same). She gave birth to two babies from Judah…one of which, Perez, was an ancestor of Jesus. Jesus had all SORTS of sinful people in his heritage. But…God chose THEM to be the flesh to which Jesus was born.
WE have been adopted by God our Father. We are children of the King. Sometimes we have Godly role models who turn out to be someone FAR from who we thought they were. They may be a family member, a pastor, a teacher…It might be someone we kind of “set up” as our Biblical Giant or Spiritual Guide. And, when they fell or when they proved how very human they were, we became devastated or disillusioned. But, that does not mean that WE are any less. Because the human who we regarded as godly and moral fell doesn’t mean that who WE are in Christ has changed. It doesn’t mean that the lives we have touched weren’t touched. It doesn’t mean we are less of a pastor, minister, missionary, son, daughter, father, mother. We are God’s Children. God, who created all things and makes all things new. Who we are in Christ is found in the reflection of Jesus in us, not a person’s impression on us.

It’s always about Jesus, never about humans. Humans always fail. Jesus never ever fails.

If Jesus, who was perfect, could come from adulterers and murderers and have the most amazing and incredible ministry of anyone ever on this planet…don’t you think God has amazing things planned for us too?

I do!

Jeremiah 29:11 I know what I am doing. (HE REALLY DOES< DO YOU TRUST HIM?) I have it all planned out (HE HAS A PLAN!) plans to TAKE CARE OF YOU, not abandon you (HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU), plans to give you the future you hope for. <3

Sunny Days

Aren’t beautiful warm sunny days just–

THE BEST?

We have had the most perfect weather the last three days. Sunny. Warm. Breezy. Low humidity. Everyone is in a good mood. People are cooking out. Birds are chirping, dogs are barking, flies are buzzing–(okay…the flies are gross… in fact, one made it’s way into my iced coffee and I didn’t notice until I had already sucked from my straw (gag))–the point is, the sun just makes everything better.

In the month of December, I think we had something like three days with sun. It was gloomy and cold. My mood seemed to follow the weather. I felt–just–BLAH.

What I find interesting is that the sun is always there. It’s not like it’s gone somewhere. It didn’t disappear. It’s still shining. We just can’t always SEE it.

It’s there though.

And, it will come back out once the clouds roll away. It’s not gone, it’s just covered up.

Isn’t it the same with Jesus? He is God’s Son who shines brightly into our lives bringing us hope, joy, peace–LIFE. When we feel His presence in our lives we are happy and feel like nothing can touch us! Life is good!

But what about when life’s struggles and trials come bearing down on us–the clouds of grief, anxiety, fear blocking our view of Jesus?

Has Jesus left us? Is he gone?

No.

We’ve just lost our focus on Him. He is still there! He is still shining. Keep looking up. Turn your eyes upon Jesus! He will break away the clouds. He will walk through the storms with you. He will be your SONshine in the midst of the rain.

I love that!

John 8:12The Voice (VOICE)

On another occasion, Jesus spoke to the crowds again.

Jesus: I am the light that shines through the cosmos; if you walk with Me, you will thrive in the nourishing light that gives life and will not know darkness.