Posts Tagged With: Encouragement

Send Some Joy

Christmas cards.

Card Blog

Did those two words stir up any emotions for you? They do for me. It’s no secret that I love cards. I love shopping for them. I love giving them. I love receiving them. There are probably a number of reasons why I love them so much. My mom was a card sender. As a little girl I remember her sitting on the couch with the TV tray (those of you from the ‘70’s will remember the TV tray!) pulled up to her. Her list, cards, and envelopes all arranged neatly on the tray. Both of my grandmas also took the time to hand sign and mail Christmas cards every year.

Not only did the ladies in my life love to send cards, they looked forward to receiving them. Each card meant someone was thinking of them. Someone took the time to say, “Hi! I’m thinking of you.” Sometimes letters were enclosed or perhaps a picture or two. The cards were always ALWAYS displayed. Whether they were taped to the door frames, clipped to string above the fireplace or placed on end tables, each card was given a place of honor.

How do many people view Christmas cards today? Perhaps they see signing and mailing cards as a chore. Maybe cards cost more money than they want to spend. The cost of stamps have gone up, so, it might be people just don’t want to utilize the postal service anymore. Sending an email is quicker and easier. It makes me sad, actually.

Yes, cards cost money. Yes, stamps cost money. Yes, it’s a little time consuming. How long does it take to write, “Merry Christmas” and sign your name? A stamp?–one of the cheapest things you can buy now-a-days. It’s possible that a card might be just the thing that takes the “lonely” out of the holidays for someone.  If you can’t afford cards, a Christmas “note” would be just as special, I’m sure.

We live in an impersonal world–a world where if we have to wait 10 seconds for a screen to pop up on the computer we get irritated. Let’s slow down. Let’s take time for relationships. Let’s take time to SEE each other. Let’s replace every act of hate in our world with ten acts of kindness.

Christmas is about Jesus. Jesus. The ultimate gift—God’s gift to us. Jesus was all about relationships.

Today is December 5th. You still have time…it only takes a minute to let someone know they are special to you…

 

Photo By Krafts By Kondrot. Check her out at: https://www.facebook.com/KraftsByKondrot/?fref=ts

 

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Categories: Christmas, Encouragement | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Not So Merry-go-Round

I headed toward the main entrance of the hospital thankful they had the twirly-merry-go-round doors because my hands were full of food. (Hospital food can get old fast (like immediately…don’t eat it) so I was making a food run for my friend whose son was ill.) Back to the doors…you know the doors I’m talking about, right?

They don’t actually open to the outdoors. They just go around in a circle—you kind of just step in and it rotates you in or out depending on where you start.

This particular merry-go-round door is very large. I suppose it’s made that way so that wheelchairs will fit. If no one is inside, it sits idle. But, when people step in, in starts to move you around to the other side of the glass.

Are you getting this mental picture?

So—I walked up to the merry-go-round door and stepped inside. There was another couple going in, but they chose to go through the “doors”. I remember thinking how they chose the less energy efficient route and mentally patted myself on the back for being a better steward of nature than they were. There was a teenaged boy sitting on the other side of glass. He looked up at me, and then back down at his phone. Inside with me was a plant. I thought it was strange to put a plant in there only to have it turn circles all day long…

Wait. I’m not moving. I’m just standing here on the wrong side of the glass. Maybe I’m supposed to move to trigger this thing.

I stepped forward. Nothing.

Two steps forward. Nothing.

Two steps backward. Nothing.

I stood still and stared at the glass. (Apparently I thought telepathy might work.)

The boy looked up at me again. I smiled. He looked back down at the phone completely unamused. (Whew. I was worried he might think I was stupid, but he obviously didn’t care that I was alive.) I looked around.

No one seems to be watching. I’ll just nonchalantly step out of here and use the regular non-efficient door.

I stepped out of the merry-go-round door and swung around to the regular door and there stood a man holding the door for me.

Great. He saw me. I’m sure I looked foolish…but it wasn’t MY fault the door wasn’t rotating. Was it? Maybe I didn’t know what I was doing. Was I supposed to do something? He probably thinks I’m a dumb blonde. Best to just laugh…

“The door wasn’t working.” I said with a shrug and let out a nervous goofy sounding giggle.

He looked at me with the same look as the teenaged boy (what is the deal with that look??!!!) and walked on.

Several years ago, that situation would have been extremely traumatic for me. I would have been terribly embarrassed and dwelled on the situation for hours afterward. I would have beat myself up for being dumb—and worried about what other people thought of me.

Now? Now I assume they thought I was silly—or they simply didn’t care at all. And, I look at it for it is—a funny situation. It was funny. I was funny. I looked silly! Hopefully the security guards that watch the cameras got a good laugh. Because, let’s face it, there isn’t much to laugh about at the hospital.

And, you know what else? It reminded me that the way that looks easy—it’s not always the easy way.

Sometimes I think, “Oh yah. This is what I’m supposed to do. I’m just going to walk through this door and life is going to be a breeze. I’ll just step in and God will just swing me to the other side.” And then—Nothing.

Nothing happens. Life just stands still. I try doing this. I try doing that. Nothing.

In those times I have to step out. Reevaluate. Ask God if that was really the door He wanted me to go through. And, sometimes, He has an entirely different direction for me. It may be a little more difficult or it may be humbling. But, it still gets me to the other side.

Be willing to go with the flow a little bit more. Be able to laugh at yourself. Be open to stepping back and asking God if He has a different plan. And, when He shows you that plan, walk forward and don’t look back.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)

Trust in and rely confidently on the LORD with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

Originally published 10-18-15 on http://sarahpriceauthor.com/journal/

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So Cluttered and Messy

Cluttered

Blog idea. Blog. Blog, blog, blog.
(sighs)
Maybe if I get more coffee an idea will come…and let the dog out…oh, and check Facebook again.
(stares at keyboard) (sips coffee) (checks hair in monitor reflection)
Blog. Okay.
(looks at ceiling waiting for an idea to fall from it)
Man. My kitchen is a mess. Not a little mess. It’s like—wow—it’s really really bad. Alright. I can blog about my messy kitchen.

Ever wonder how people come up with blog ideas? Well. Now you know my inspiration. You’re impressed, right?
Truth is, sometimes I really am inspired. Sometimes God gives me an idea and I hold it in my head for days developing what I’m going to write. But, there are days, like today, that there is zilch. Nada. Nothing there. So. Let’s see where God takes this—with me?

Looking around my kitchen, I’m amazed and ashamed at what I see. Let me describe the scene for you.
I’m at my table along with two Bibles, two journals, Crayola markers, a calculator, bills, business cards, and a hoodie. Nothing is neatly placed. It pretty much looks like I picked a pile of stuff up, held it over the table, and then let go.
I hesitantly allow my eyes to move a little farther out and see the trash can—full—overflowing. The dog’s bowls have been pushed out of place and his toys have joined them. Our barstools have become storage units.
The island. Let’s see…four sets of keys have found their way to the island, even though they have an antique key holder in the utility room. The business clipboard is napping there along with my husband’s wallet. Umm…a phone charger, two pair three pair of glasses and more bills—AND leftover cornbread, a bowl of apples and a phone are also taking up residence there.
Yesterday’s clean dishes did not get put away, so yesterday’s dirty dishes are in the sink. Two empty glasses are on the counter along with an empty cup AND a half empty cup that no one (me) bothered pouring out yesterday (morning).
I can see into the utility room, but I will spare you the gory details there.
Looking at it is overwhelming. I’m disappointed in myself for allowing it to get so cluttered and messy. What if someone stopped by? I wouldn’t even be able to hide it from them. But, you know what? I bet if I divide the room up and work on one spot at a time it can be cleaned up, picked up and look amazing. (My husband remodeled this kitchen a few years ago and I truly do love it).
Have you ever looked at your life and thought, “How in the world did I let my life get so messed up?” Sometimes it can seem that life is such a mess it will never get better. It’s overwhelming. It’s depressing. It’s hard to see past the current clutter and imagine things can be different.
But, the God who created you knows your original blue print. He knows what you looked like before all the “stuff” took place. And, all you have to do is say, “Jesus help me. I need you.” He will step in and start picking up the broken pieces. He’ll take out the trash and sweep up the hurt and pain. It may take a change here and change there. But, if you will allow Him to, He will make something amazing out of your life.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Isaiah 43:19 (ESV) Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

(If you don’t know Jesus, and you would like to, please contact us! We would love to introduce you.)

**Originally published on sarahpriceauthor.com

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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!

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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.”

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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. ❤

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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.

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The Puddle of Overflowing Ick

Any moms out there?

I just want to take a second to speak to you. Sometimes life is overwhelming. And, there are times when you are already at full capacity and one more thing is added to your “now I have to deal with this too?” list. You wonder how you are going to find the energy to deal with this new revelation about your child, your spouse, your family (whatever it may be).

Been there?

I have. Unfortunately, more than once!

You know what? God was not surprised! He wasn’t! So. As I step into the puddle of overflowing ick (again), I’m looking to my Father and saying, “Will You hold my hand through this? I need Your help. I’m not sure what to say or what to do. But, I know You will help me every step of the way.”

Be encouraged. 

Isaiah 41:13 (VOICE)

After all, it is I, the Eternal One your God, who has hold of your right hand, Who whispers in your ear, “Don’t be afraid. I will help you.”

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Obsessed with Obsessing

Fear Page 2

I started thinking about today’s post on Thursday. But, Thursday came and went without anything going down on paper. Friday I started again. See the picture? That is how much I wrote on Friday. I showed it to my friend. I was like, “Girl. Look! This all I’ve written!”

She giggled at me (I think that I am her source of entertainment–I have a LOT of material!) and said, “What are you gonna say about fear?”

“Uh, yah. What am I going to say about fear…”

(I’m pretty sure she giggled again.) “When was a time you were afraid?”

“From age 23-44…oh…you mean to pick ONE time?”

At this point she is just plain laughing at me, “Girl. That is a blog in itself!”

So. Yah. I’ve had some issues with fear for a little while. Fear of germs. Fear of car accidents. Fear of flying. Fear of failing. Fear of illness. Fear of storms. Fear of not being accepted. Fear that my kids would be injured, sick, hurt… Fear of sleep. Fear of not sleeping. Fear of Y2K. Fear after 9/11. Fear of terrorists. Fear of being robbed. I think you might be getting the idea.

Yet, all that time, I considered myself a Christian.  I loved Jesus. I accepted Him as my Savior. And, yet, I had no peace. None. There was no joy in my life. I could not allow myself to enjoy anything–ever.

I knew this wasn’t how my life as a Follower was supposed to be lived. But. I couldn’t stop. I would tell myself not worry and fret.  It didn’t help. I was always tied up in knots on the inside. I wore the mask of calm. I’m sure some people knew about my anxieties. ( I couldn’t hide the terror storms brought to me at my sons’ baseball games). But, for the most part people would never have guessed the extent of my problem.

I was obsessed with obsessing. Truth.

Are you wondering what changed it all?

I’d like to say that God just reached down and healed me one day while I was praying and BAM I was free. But. Yah. *sigh* No. That is not how it went down.

I literally threw myself into a breakdown. My mind said, “Nope! Not gonna do this anymore…I’m on overload”. And, I just–shut down.

It was bad. People. It was a nightmare. I thought I might not make it out of the hole I found myself thrown into.

You know. Something happens when you can no longer rely on yourself. I mean, that was what I was doing. I was trying to control everything in my life with worry–which led to anxiety–which led to hopelessness. But, when I hit the bottom of my pit–when there was no more Lisa left–I said, “God, You got this? I need You to take this and carry me out of here.” And He did. It took time. It took lots of people speaking life into me. It took doctors (plural). It took my family literally caring for me and nurturing me.

Here I stand (well, I’m sitting really) a living testimony that fear CAN be conquered through Jesus.

Do I ever have fear? You betcha! Big time. But, I have learned to immediately go to my Father instead of to worry. Worry is an ugly companion.

So, here are some verses that deal with fear. Hugs all around. ❤

2 Timothy 1:7

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and 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.

Psalm 34:4

 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

Matthew 6:34

“So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time”

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Thorns–Guest Blog by Cara Cross

Thorns 2

We went for a walk on our land tonight and talked about getting rid of all the thorn trees near where we want to plant fruit trees. On the way back to the truck, Sean stopped at one tree and said, “Man look at the size of those thorns.”

When I looked at them, all I could think was, “Jesus wore a crown of thorns on His head for me and you.”

I wish I had a picture. These thorns are easily two inches long, maybe more, and they look so painful. We think it hurts to be poked by a small tiny thorn, but Jesus endured thorns three times that size for us.

That’s pretty amazing!

So some of those thorn trees on our land, with their giant ugly thorns, will serve as a reminder of how much Jesus loves us.

~~Cara Cross

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