Disappointment in the gift

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We have a full yard of white clover at our new home. I love the wild craziness of the flowers. I am one that does not like to spray the yard with chemicals, especially with a new puppy that likes to chew on the grass.
I will often take a few minutes to see if I can find a four-leaf clover when I pass by the patches of green. For me, it is like a little treasure hunt, looking for the unlikely in the midst of a million possibilities, as the chances of finding a four-leaf clover are 1 in 10,000.
Tonight the thought again crossed my mind that I wanted to find a perfect four-leaf clover, a gift set aside just for me.
I bent down and saw all the tiny perfect little shamrocks with their heart-shaped leaves.
There, right in the midst of them, was my find. A large four-leaf clover. At first, I was elated to have spied one, finally. But then…

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As I examined my four-leaf clover I was disappointed in the straight leaves with no heart shape. I was disappointed it wasn’t tiny and cute like all the sprouts of three-leaf clovers in its midsts. The leaves of my clover were all different sizes and not at all what I had pictured a four-leaf clover would look. Without taking a moment to truly enjoy the treasure I had found there was quickly a disappointment in the gift. 

I knew it was silly to feel disappointed and a knowing rose up in my soul. How often do we get exactly what we hoped or asked for, but when it arrives and it looks different than we expected we have disappointment in the gift? Or how often do we look with disappointment in our own gift within us if it does not look like the shiny gifts and talents that others seem to have?

The phrase ‘be careful what you wish for” comes to mind. Or in my case, pray for. When you seek open doors and new opportunities, It is important to be mindful that what you pursue may come wrapped in a different package than expected. Yet there can still be beauty in a treasure that is uniquely your own.

Looking closer at the four-leaf clover I see a sweet etching of a smaller clover inside. I see that there is a gift within that I almost missed because my mind was clouded with my own expectations. I was thankful for the treasure. Thankful for the moment and no longer had disappointment in the gift.

The next day I was again outside with the puppy. Without any searching, I felt the tugging to look down. There at my feet was another four-leaf clover. Smaller and closer to the ideal in my mind. My heart swelled at the thought, there are many treasures to behold. There is no limit to what can be revealed. Sometimes the treasures come when we are in a place of contentment and not even searching. Will we be observant enough to notice them?

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Endurance: Follow up on “Painful” post

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Yesterday I had blogged on the issue that making a change is often painful or uncomfortable. The post can be found (here).
I now want to address maintaining our endurance when the pressure is on while making those changes. When we are hit from every side and when things become uncomfortable or we feel week there are tools that can help us keep us pressing on without giving in to defeat.

ENDURANCE: The power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.

I look at the strong athlete, able to overcome his opponent in victory and the sheer satisfaction on the face, the release of tension in the body and the knowledge that their endurance saw them through. They would not have become the victor over another seasoned athlete if they had not prepared for that victory and fought through the uncomfortable. We were created to be overcomers. We have it within us to overcome the things that are weighing us down and holding us back. We were built to be victorious.

How I will endure the difficult:

Desire: Do you really fully want that what you are working towards? Having the desire to overcome and obtain your victory will help you keep your mind on the reward rather than the struggle. If you want a change and if you want the victory, purpose to make it a desire of your heart that is bigger than the comfortable.
I’ve made sure my desire lines up with the word of God and His will for me. Then I can know with all my heart, soul and mind, that I can obtain my goal even in the midst of pain for the moment. He will go before me, as I stay steadfast on the path.

Psalm 37:5- Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.

Confidence: Being bold enough to know that you will see victory, in the end, as your flesh comforts rise up and you want to give in, having a deep knowledge that you can, will go a long way to keep your head in the race until the end. HE is my victory.

Philippians 1:6-Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Focus: Know what you want. Know the goal. Keep your eye on your victory. If I look at the here and now, I may give in to what is more comfortable. Yet, when I keep my eyes on being the overcomer in my present uncomfortable situation, my moment pales in comparison.
Know it, see it, and do it.
For me, I focus on the fact that God is faithful. His ways are higher than my ways. I know He will remain with me and I find my endurance in His truth for my life.

Colossians 3:2- Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Strength: Le’ts face it, we get weak. We want to give up. So building our strength in the downtime, keeps us ready to fight and walk-in endurance during the difficult process. We can build our self up physically but I also must remember that the true strength to endure the difficulties in this life, comes from my Lord. He is my strength and shield. Building myself up in the Spirit is very much as important as building up my physical self.

Colossians 1:11- being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.

Philippians 4:13- I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
These are the few truths that I am thinking on today, as I face the race ahead of me. I desire the change, I desire the health and I desire the victory. I am confident that these desires, are the same desires of my God and He will remain faithful to strengthen me to reach the desires of my heart. I will remain steadfast and strengthened in my endurance despite the unpleasent. One day I will have that smile of victory on my face, the shoulders relaxed from a job well done and I will be able to say that I overcame.

 

Beyond the Limits​

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Definition of Limit: a point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass. Synonyms: restrict, curb, check, place a limit on, cap, keep within bounds, hold in check, restrain, put a brake on, hold, or freeze.

We all have done it. We have all dreamed of something big and so far beyond our reach. However, many like myself, first see the limits and often won’t pursue farther than the dream. I have had seasons where it hasn’t mattered if the limit was imagined or real. I would just stand frozen, looking at the desire of my heart and not know how to pursue it. I look at every angle and then get perplexed on what in the world to do.

Other’s will pursue wholeheartedly their life, dreams, and ambitions, but then stop as limits rise up against them. They had momentum for a season, but the wall rose up and they stand immobile, not sure how to move beyond that limit in front of them.

Then there are those victors. Those people that seem unstoppable. Everything they put their hand to is golden and all falls into place for them. Or does it?  I believe most beyond the limit people, are just that, they live beyond their limits. They have things that rise up, they have things in their way, they have things that could hold them back, but they have learned how to move forward, taking steps into the further and pushing on harder, not because of those limits but in spite of them.

I want to be one that propels forward with expectation and boldness. But first I had to identify those limits that were restricting me, that kept me within my bounds, and held me frozen. I had to identify not only limits for my own self but for others as well that may rise up in the face of pursuit. I am sure that I will not cover all that everyone would face, but recognizing the vast walls before us is key to overcoming and moving beyond the limits that hold us back.

Moving beyond the limits we place on ourselves:

1. Qualification:  This is the biggest struggle I personally have faced over the years. I never felt qualified or validated to finish my pursuits. I would start something, and see my failures more than possibilities. Let’s face it unless one is touched by the divine, and everything they do is perfect, most have to work for what we want to become, or accomplish. It takes hard work and faithfulness. I finally have learned that we are often called to do that which we are not qualified for. It is in the faithfulness, living beyond what we see, and honing our craft/skill, that shines far beyond what we lay down unfinished by giving up and staying frozen out of lack of discipline.

2. Opinions or lack of support: Often we look to other’s approval to validate that what we have to contribute is valuable. When other’s mock us, ignore us or roll their eyes when we share our vision, we can feel like what we have to put out there has no worth. It is very important to know who is your true supporters, and believe it or not, your support may not come from your closest circles. You see, many people in our lives, don’t see the hard work behind the scenes that we are putting in. They may only see where we have been, not where we are going. They have preconceived notions about our ability and our reach. This is not always the case, but if you share your heart and others are not supportive or even silent, perhaps you should hold your treasure a little closer to your heart, and protect it. Pursue, strengthen and equip. Show those that doubt that you are able and move beyond their limits. You see they can not support that which they can not visualize themselves.

3. Pride: Society has us constantly aware of how we are perceived. Nobody wants to appear foolish, unqualified, unsupported or exposed. So many times, I have stepped away from my passion because I have not been able to do what other’s expectations of me were. I walked in embarrassment, rather than the truth of my calling. Going live was one of my biggest challenges. I have such a low opinion of myself at times, that seeing those lives have left me embarrassed, even though I know personally others have been encouraged. If I let pride and vanity stand in the way of my calling, I am never going to reach my destination meant for me.

4. Fear: There are so many ways fear can limit us in pursuing that on our heart. Fear of failure, fear of time wasted, fear of unknowns, and fear of others, etc. You name it, there is probably a fear in the face of it. I have found one of the best ways to move beyond fear, is to identify it, and walk through it. Fear often only holds us back, because real or perceived, we allow it to. Think of every fear you have had that you have overcome. What did it take to overcome that fear? For me, it was action. It was the doing, no matter what. It was stepping out of what was safe and comfortable and saying, I will move beyond this limit. It will not hold me. Fear will not be the force that keeps me from the plan for my life.

5. Time: This is such a trial in the pursuit of callings and dreams. Because the truth is, we all face a certain amount of hours every day, and we all have responsibilities within those hours. However, when you have a passion and a dream, you must etch out some time to hone the skills, and pursue that dream. Otherwise, like me, 20 years later, I am still looking at the undone. I put the kids first, which was great, it was my season, I put the church first which is great it was my season, I put so many things first and in the seasons that is okay. But looking back, I could have definitely etched some time in to pursue things that would lay a foundation for my now. If you have it on your heart to write, but there is just no time, record your musings and thoughts on a voice memo on your phone when you are doing other tasks. Keep those thoughts on record for a day, when you have more time to actually write it all down. Think of that which you truly want, and seek where you may be letting time be wasted, or how can your time be extended in a day. Yes, time can be a limit, but only if we don’t see the possibilities of conquering. Sometimes it is just an evaluation of how your days are being spent.

6. Finances: Money or lack of, can be a very real challenge in living beyond the limits. We were a one income family most of our marriage and with 3 little ones and no health insurance for most of those days and a one year lay off where we lost everything, I can honestly say that finances were definitely a limit I put on myself. However, I am seeing the older I get, how those limits sometimes are also a mindset. I wanted to paint for years, but good quality canvas and paint is expensive, well while learning, I could have used cardboard, cheaper materials and practiced away.
I get it sometimes it is hard to even put bread on the table, and when our mind is around survival it can be hard to dream. BUT… there are resources. Get creative. Barter, research, visit a library, free education online, my unemployment offices have resources for learning and possibly ask to apprentice with someone skilled in your passions. I know many people that have had dreams with little finances and completely self-educated their passion and pursued to full success.  If something is burning in you to be accomplished, do not allow finances to hold you back. Become creative in the pursuit of living beyond the limit.

7. Physical: I know this one well. I have physical limits. However, I have been looking at so many others that live beyond their limit physically and are extremely successful. Sometimes when we have limits with our bodies or situations, we need to become creative. Just because something is in our way physically does not mean we can let it limit us and keep us frozen. It is just a new challenge to see how we can move beyond what we face and overcome those obstacles. I think of those I have seen with far more physical limitations than myself, rise above and do so much. Not only are they pursuing and conquering their dreams and passions, but they are true inspirations to others like myself, that get tempted to give up and just coast in life. I don’t want to be one that just gets by in this life any longer, but I want to thrive and bring others along with me.

Ultimately the dreams and passions within our hearts are for the taking. We just have to overcome and live beyond the limits placed on ourselves. This is how true victors become victorious. They do not let their limits get in their way.

 

The Empty Box

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I got this prayer box necklace from my aunt years ago and recently it got me to thinking.

Looking at the empty box, I could have worn this as just a pretty necklace over the years, or I could take my prayer and place it in the box, close to the heart. I chose to write my favorite scripture and put it in the box and whenever the necklace moved or I saw it in a reflection I would meditate and believe that word was qualified in my own life.  The empty box did not remain empty.

I use this, as an illustration, to show how we may take the time for our empty box during our downtime. We have spent all day, pouring out our energy and when we stop we are depleted. When we take the time to recharge,  we make choices. Those choices are to leave that box empty, fill it with distraction, or fill it with life.

For a season I found myself filling the empty box with distraction. Such as binge-watching Netflix or spending hours on my social media accounts when I wanted to just ‘chill’. Not before too long it became habitual and without any thought, I pick up my phone first thing in the morning and throughout the day, all day, and mindlessly scroll.
Then there is the other box in the room that grabs my time. As soon as I sit on my couch I would reach for my remote and scroll for an hour looking for something to watch.
Then one day it hit me, did I really just waste an hour (or hours)  scrolling nothingness?

There is a danger for me personally to use ‘nothing’ or distraction during down time. Before too long it becomes same old’ same old’ and if not careful I slip into the melancholy of nothingness and the empty box turns into a life of meh.

Think of your own life, are you working and going home and doing nothing? Is the place that you want to be in 5 years? I ask this because if you are filling your free time with nothingness or distractions, then in 5 years time, you will accomplish only keeping your box empty.

I know this may be an extreme thought, but for me it became extreme. I was created to write, paint, minister and to be present, yet I filled up a season of my life with nothingness and wondered why I was not getting anywhere. It all turned so quickly and without notice went from a few minutes of decompressing daily, into a lifestyle.

I am being exposed here. Not because it is fun to admit it, but because I know I am not alone and my hope is that others will see before the melancholy or time thief sets in. The thief of your time can also be a thief of your joy.

So what can you fill the empty box with?

I am determined to fill my life with things from the Lord through prayer, worship of all forms and pursuit of my future that He has planned for me. I want my empty box to become filled with life. So that I may pour it out onto others and not be running on a nothingness.  So that I may remain young and strong.

Psalm 103:5- He fills my life with good things so that I stay young and strong like an eagle.  

Dreams: prepare in the waiting

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“There is just a moment between the mundane to the extraordinary. Don’t give up the pursuit before you reach what is intended for you: Press in faithfully and see what He will do.” SA

Where the God-given dreams are concerned there is a time to pursue in the waiting.
We are called to sow and cultivate those promises in our hearts. Those dreams will come to pass in their due season if we do the work in the waiting. If we try to hurry that which was planted we will end up with underdeveloped fruit that doesn’t reach its full potential.
If we give up and walk away we end up with a fruit that is rotting and laying waste.

I don’t know how many times I have had a dream for my future and taken action thinking it was for right now, only to find out I was in the wrong season of that dream and the actions I was taking were nothing spectacular. Literally, I have sat looking in the emptiness wondering how in the world did I miss it? Only to realize it was a dream not for that moment but for a time to come. I should have been preparing in the waiting instead of jumping ahead.

The dreams and passions that the Lord has placed on your heart and have been there for so long you may have even forgotten them or let them go, have not been placed there in vain. Often when we are dreamers, we see long before it is time to walk in that dream.

The Facebook LIVE  yesterday was about seasons and perfect timing built on Ecclesiastes 3. I shared how some of the things I was believing for, for over 20 years, are finally starting to gain momentum. Talk about seasons of waiting! I fully believe if I would have prepared and pursued the Lord more in the waiting, I would have walked in more confidence and joy, than I did when I let the enemy rob me of what was planted deep in my heart. NO MORE, I will keep walking with expectation, knowing the dream is being going to flourish at just the right time!

I urge you to meditate on the word and allow the Lord to work in your heart concerning the dreams that you are called to pursue. Don’t give up, don’t be discouraged in the waiting but keep working at it. When you, put the time in, it will be beyond what you, yourself could have imagined!

Ecclesiastes 3: 3- 15

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

 

 

Heart Connection- Intimacy

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The truth of the matter is, you can know someone, know all about them, even be in a relationship with them and still miss out on the deep heart connection of intimacy.

There is head knowledge of our salvation: This is the same as walking in life with someone, knowing they are always going to be there, but stopping at that and continuing on with your life without the heart connection. A knowing without intimacy.

John 5:24- Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in Him who sent me, has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment but has passed from death to life.

You can have the head knowledge that you are saved. You can know because you dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s that you will enter heaven. But what good comes from a relationship that has begun, but has not been cultivated.
You can miss out on a deep-rooted heart connection intimacy with the Lord and all the glory that comes with it if you do not seek it.

♥ Heart Connection takes investment:

So often in life, we become distracted in the different seasons that we face. We become overwhelmed, feel inadequate and exhausted. Often our messes in life become our focus, and slowly without meaning to our hearts grow distant.
Just like any earthly relationship, you must invest in your relationship with the Lord.
For a deeper heart connection get to know Him by spending time set apart only for Him.

Invest in:

Prayer
– is our communication with the Lord. An opportunity to talk and share. Cry out and be real.

Word-
The Bible reveals His heart for us, His plans, and His hopes. Loved saved, thought of and not forgotten.

Praise and worship
– Reveals our heart for Him. This is our chance to pour out our love on Him and lift Him up.

When you are feeling lost, disconnected, frazzled, and overwhelmed, make sure to slow down and set time to be settled in your heart connection. It makes all the difference.

♥ Heart Connection takes pursuit:

In this life, you must pursue the ones you love. Lack of pursuit and interest leads to stilled relational growth. At times lack of pursuit can lead to opening a door for another to enter.
It is in our lack of pursuit that the enemy comes in with lies. When we are not fully pursuing the Lord, it is easier to believe that we are less than or lacking. We are not building our relationship on His truths.
Then life comes and smacks us in the face and we can begin to develop resentment. We risk growing angry with the Lord when disaster and hurts have stood to in the way of pursuing him. Resentment turns into resistance.  Examine what is holding you back from pursuing Him. Is there anger, bitterness or distrust there? In order to overcome, you must pursue His heart for you, and not listen to the lies the enemy is trying to win you over with.

♥ Heart Connection takes vulnerability:

Vulnerable – To be exposed.

We are taught to hide the ugly. We are taught to toughen up, don’t be so sensitive, shake it off and to be good. We have learned that when we show our true selves, anywhere that we are lacking others will reject us or ridicule us. We have been hurt in unspeakable ways, rejected and unwanted. So we build walls, we hide, we self-protect.
It has become a habit to hide away anything that is not perfection. The danger in this with relationships, you are holding back your full self. Everything that is hidden, is becoming a barrier between you and the one you love.
The sin areas in our life that are standing in the way of our growing need to be exposed. We do not need to self-protect with the Holy Spirit. God knows our mess, He wants us to be able to trust Him enough to let Him love us through it.
The enemy wants to keep you bound up and hiding. He does not want you to experience the full heart connection that comes from being raw and real with the Lord. It is through exposing all my junk to the Lord, that He is able to come in and do His work. It is recognizing I need Him in a way only He can fill. I can’t do the cleansing and the healing on my own. His amazing power comes in and does the work and I get to rejoice. For being exposed, leaves me open to being held.

As I am held close in the Father’s arms, there is hope. HOpe builds within the Spirit man within us as we experience the Father’s love.

ROMANS 5:5- Now Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given us.

It is in our weakness that makes us whole. He wants all of us, not just what we think we have together. He wants our ugly, He wants our flaws, and He wants our weaknesses. For In Him He makes us strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10- But He said to me my Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so the power of Christ may rest upon me.
For the sake of Christ then I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecution, and calamity. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

When the Lord makes us strong in our weakness, all the glory goes to His power and not on ourselves. I tried to do it all myself for years in my own strength.  I got nowhere, except broken and exhausted. It is our testimony to what God accomplished when we have overcome in Him.

Reflection- Often times we base how we have been treated by others, on how we think the Lord will receive us. Others judge harshly that is how we see the Father. Others reject us or abandon us, we may expect the Lord to turn away when we are a mess. BUT His word says;

Psalm 27:10- “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.”

No matter who leaves us, or abandons us, hurts us and betrays us, the LORD is ready and waiting to embrace us. Arms wide open. Ready for a deep heart connection intimacy. One that does not forsake.

Give a listen to this song:  INTIMACY by Jonathan David Helser

Sick of it All

 

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Sometimes you just have to get sick of it all. Sometimes you have to look at your situation and say this is enough. I will not live in this anymore, I surrender!

There is nothing the enemy loves more than to have you stay in the nasty. Sick, tired, oppressed, anxiety, depressed, angry, empty, fearful and just plain not living. He wants to immobilize you with the lies that this is it and how it is.  I was in that place and then one day I said God, I am sick of all this, I surrender, I can’t do this anymore. As I worshipped him and laid it all down I felt a new purpose rise within my soul.

I began to surrender in a new way. I had been fasting, praying, worshipping, reading the word and pressing into God like I have not in YEARS.
The praises on my lips began when at first I didn’t feel like praising at all. I would praise and praise until those praises shook my very being and began a change in me.

He meets me right where I am EVERY TIME. If I get to the point of being sick of it all and remove it all from my sight and set my sight on HIM. I had to take my eyes off of what I was seeing in my flesh. I had to stop looking at it, stop living in it. It was not my life it was my situation and my God is a God who has complete power over every situation. 

Recently these days, I have felt an incredible urge to contend for others and their needs. I was in bed one night and woke up and could not sleep. So I began to pray and with the spirit of God on me, I lifted many people before God for different reasons. When I came to those needing healing, a new level of the presence of God hit me. I could not move, I was in awe and I saw myself on the floor, face to the ground and Jesus over me, saying I have healed you, and the presence hit me so strongly that I could not control the prayers they broke out from my heart to my lips. 

Since this experience, I have felt a new level of healing, and a ridiculous closeness to the father, I am absolutely buzzing with the presence of the Lord. Oh, how I pray this is just an incredible beginning because I was absolutely sick of it all and now…oh wow… I am in absolute AWE of Him in an all-new way!

This has become my prayer: “God, we are sick of it all. Sick of the lies, that pull us from the living. Invade the places that we have held back from you. It is time for the rejoicing. No matter what we are seeing in the flesh. You fight with us in the spirit. You go before us and we praise you for it. “

When we are sick of looking at the mess and ready to put our eyes on him continually, we will see new and amazing things. I will not be shaken, I will not forget what He has done.

Psalm 16:8- I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

I will PRAISE Him and Raise My Hallelujah! No matter what is going on around me. For when I am fixed on Him, everything else pales in comparison.

 

Give a listen and just let your ‘stuff’ go~ Raise a Hallelujah~