COMMUNITY

54730098_10218592822756772_3689364288650084352_o Awakened_arts 

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller.

I had started a very basic purple painted canvas on the first day of spring.
I asked my social media friends, to share what color they wanted on the picture, fully intending to see who matched what was on my mind for the painting. The interesting thing, everyone had a different idea for the secondary color than mine. As I stood and stared at the purple canvas, deciding which color I would pick, the name of the piece came to me, “Community”. 

This painting wasn’t about one or two solid ideas, but about combining the creativity of many into something of beauty. I took each color that my friends had suggested and I thought of them and prayed as I painted their color. I sought where the Lord would have them impact the piece and prayed for individual situations. A few friends had chosen teal, it didn’t matter, as I applied the color again, a new friend came to mind. Another, shared her idea for the technique to add dimension and direction. This was a wonderful example of community, each contributing, every individual uniqueness adding a new depth and detail as we collaborated. 

This piece alone reminded me of how important it is to be in community with one another. I could have said, ew I don’t like that color, it would never look right, but looking at this painting, it needed every single color whether at first, I thought it would belong or not. As I looked at the painting with each layer I was timid to place more colors, yet a sense of belonging came over me as I saw the work coming together. 

You would not know that two years ago, I had my self hidden away, shying away from the world, from being hurt, from being ignored and passed over. I had a horrible sense of my self. I had lost the knowledge of my worth somewhere on the journey of surviving grief and illness that had reared its ugly head like never before and the depression wanted to take over. In the past, I was swallowed by that depression. I cut everyone and everything off and literally wanted to die.

The amazing thing, this time, depression could not stay! While I started blocking people out of my life, there were the solid, the community that would not let me. There were the people who reminded me of who I am. There were the people that pointed out when I was being flat-out ridiculous and that I needed to stop identifying with what I was facing and start identifying on who God says I am. It was my community that picked me up and reminded me how much ground I have gained and even in this hiccup, it was safe to spread my wings and fly again. 

Community: A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Romans 12:5-
so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Do I always agree with everything they do? No. Do I enjoy every single personality within my community at every moment? No.  Do I share every single belief and value? No. 

Do I drive people in my community crazy at times? Ah, YAH! 

However, when in the community, despite our human differences we can choose to stay united with a common goal. Intentional to build together, to hold one another up by carrying each other’s burdens and remind each other there is hope in a sea of unknowns.

When the going gets tough, we can be tempted to run from our communities, but all that brings is isolation and loneliness, which in turn becomes bitterness and anger. I think this is why the Lord mentions not forsaking the gathering of our brethren. He knew that we needed far more than to hear our own voice whisper silently to the wind. 

Hebrews 10: 24-25-
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 
not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

 

Intentional Connection

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John 14:26-

The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you. 

Let me start off with this thought… you can not theory your way into changing my heart of what I have experienced personally. You may not believe in the Holy Spirit in such a way, that is okay, but I have EXPERIENCED the Holy Spirit this way, and I will not be convinced otherwise.

The greatest gift is to be able to have an intentional connection with the Holy Spirit.

Where would my relationship be with my husband if I was walking through life, knowing he was there and hearing his voice from a closed door in another room but not have an intentional connection with him? I would be one with him, but not aware of him.
I can hear him trying to converse with me, but no clarity of what is being said. What kind of relationship would that be?

This is how we can walk through life with the Holy Spirit. When we are saved and baptized the Holy Spirit comes and dwells within us. He is our friend, our comforter and hopefully leads us in our walk as we let him. But there is a difference between the Holy Spirit being there and having an intentional connection with Him. He is our face to face encounter with the Father. Our opportunity to hear the Father’s heart towards us.

Just like my relationship with my husband (or anyone for that matter) the Holy Spirit needs and deserves intentional connection. He delights to hear from us. He delights to spend time with us. He delights to speak into our hearts.

So I am intentional, shutting off the noise around me and asking the Holy Spirit, what do you want to share with me today?  He has blown my mind with His goodness and love for me. He reminds me that I am loved and not forgotten. He reminds me of my purpose and call. He is every bit as intentional with me, as I am with Him.

So very thankful for the intentional connection with the Holy Spirit. To be able to say, Holy Spirit, I welcome You.

Pray for others

I have a friend and every time I greet her and am embraced in one of her hugs, I just get a wonderful sense of peace. She can calm my fears with a simple prayer and encourage my heart when she shares Gods truth.

A few weeks ago, as she gave me a hello hug, I saw a picture for her. This picture stuck with me for a while, and when we had the prophetic paint night I painted it real quick for her.

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I saw clearly that as my friend covered all of her hurting and broken loved ones in prayer, the spirit of God bubbles forth within her and He brings about victory to those that are surrounded by seas of sorrow.
They turn from dead and dying to life full of the Spirit.
While my friend may feel many times her prayers are not answered, God says “they are not answered yet, but I know they are there! I hear your prayers. In my time you wills see the overflowing waters of life. Keep praying.”

So as you are praying for victory over a loved ones situation or life. Rest assured the Father hears! He knows your heart as you come to the throne room on behalf of others.

Recently I was woken from a dream that someone very dear to me was in danger. I had no other knowledge or thought on this path as I laid to sleep the night before. But God woke me,and I knew I was called to pray. I don’t know the outcome yet, but I can rest in the knowledge that God heard my cries and already He has begun a work protecting those loved ones.

Don’t give up. Keep pushing on faithful one. Pray for others.

 Colossians 1: 9-13

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously read more.
giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

 

Ephesians 3: 14-21  

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

She listened and I learned

Today was a hard one. My father passed suddenly just a few weeks ago and this was my first Father’s Day without him. The last two years on Father’s Day I was lucky enough to travel the 2,000 miles to see him in Tennessee. I was planning a surprise trip this year and then he passed before  I could finalize details.

My heart just broke today. I would think this week that I was over the grieving and then it would hit fresh. While my inner joy will surface, the in the moment is rough.

At church today, singing some of the very songs that I had sung with my dad on my last visit. On that visit, I had the precious moment of holding him as we both cried because he was so sick and we were pleading with the Lord for his health. Our please and cries turned to praise and peace. Today the memory flooding me, it was all too much and I had to leave the building and get away from the songs.

Along came my sweet spirited sister in Jesus. Now normally I would have such an anxiety over showing myself so vulnerable, but she brought such a peace with her !

My friend sat with me and listened to me talk and cry. I shared so much I didn’t even think to share, simply because she listened. She had the sweetest spirit of comfort and assured me in the simplest of ways. She did not talk over me, as I likely would have done, but she waited and smiled. Oh her beautiful smile.

I learned so much from that exchange today. I learned by example to listen lovingly. I learned that a hug can bring the calm, instead of anxiety I often feel when crying. She just waited and I felt so connected to the here and now, and the grief just melted. We were laughing and sharing and I dusted my self off and we went back inside.

The message today….was on connecting with one another. A real connection. God had given me a perfect physical understanding before the message today and it was so sweet.

Thank you my friend, for stepping out, for teaching and loving. The fruit you share, will blossom and spread to others! You are a treasure!!!!

Facebook has become my coffee shop

Years ago, when I lived near my closest friends, we did everything together. We would phone chat, visit every other day in person, write those snail mail letters and find any way we could to share every moment.

Being raised as an only child, I had my gals to share everything with. I never had those family moments of ‘remember when’ with a sibling, all my ‘remember when’ moments are with my besties.

We (hubby and I) always had a house full of friends, when the children were younger. We would host one holiday party or birthday event whenever we had the chance.  Youth groups were at our house, and whenever anyone wanted to have a gathering “Dan and Shaey’s House”  was often the nominated location.

Until one day, Facebook came into my life. Here I could see how my friends were doing in an instant. I could easily share with the nearest and dearest all of my personal happenings, that of course I know they want to know about, and forget that another gaggle of people are seeing every update as well.

I can see how a friend is doing and send a quick reply, checking on her, and it’s as if she is in the room.

Now normally, this may not be a bad thing for some people, but for this girl it is and I will tell you why.

Most of my closest friends, do not live near by. So updating, sharing and checking in on Facebook is so beneficial when best friends are a thousand miles away. But this introvert  or rather Fibro flared mama that is exhausted 24/7, makes very little time for relationships in the here or now.

I know lives changed, and we all get busy, but I have completely switched how I relate to most people.

In essence Facebook has become my coffee shop. I share and read the happenings of others there, converse and ‘gossip’ there and even am encouraged. I struggle with energy these days and the ‘doing’ of life. So when I realize the phone no longer rings, or the invites have slowed considerably, it is then that I realize that this computerized friendship world, has robbed me of the face to face interactions.  I must make an effort to connect face to face with the ones in my town, in my state, or dare I say it… in my own home.

I will always turn to technology when I can to stay in touch with the far ways, it is a great form of staying connected.

But  I must remember to not let Facebook(or technology) be my only. For it is too easy to forget the simple pleasures of expression, touch, and  the gift of being together in person.

I have decided, I will look up more often from the screens, and I hope to find  someone else smiling at me when I do!

Finish the RACE

I just watched a very moving video where a teen helped carry a fallen competitor over the finish line of the state track meet. The ending was the most profound and I will be posting the link at the end of the blog for you all to see it and be blessed.

The actions of support for the one team member got me to thinking of the race in my own life.

I am called to complete and finish ALL that the Lord has for me to do. I am to stand in my faith and not waver. Often I get bogged down by my limits or life circumstances that can be dizzying, and want to give up, but God promises to be my strength and to be my aid as I finish what He has before me. When I am burdened He carries those burdens for me.

There are times I have put things on the shelf to refuel and that can be healthy, but never my faith in the moments of rest, always trusting that He will accomplish what He sets out to complete in me. I can not listen to the lies that bombard my mind that I won’t get there. I have had definite times that I just wanted to give up and not keep striving for that goal, but then He sends a reminder and I am lifted and ready to go on.

I want to reach the destination He has for me. I desire to touch the lives He has for my harvest. I want to remember to STAND in FAITH always and I want that moment when I can give a collective sigh and say;

” YES, I MADE IT! ”

Challenge this day my friends: Evaluate the races in your life that you are meant to complete but desire to give up on and remember, you are NEVER alone!

2 Timothy 4:7-

have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

Psalm 68:19-

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah

The LINK I promised 🙂 Blessings!!!
http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/highschool-prep-rally/ohio-runner-stops-state-final-aid-fallen-opponent-100722161.html

Get Equipped and Stay Equipped

 

  I am a double sided coin when it comes to conflict in my life.

  If I care enough about something or someone I am all in, all the way, going to fight to the end. This woman can be a roaring lion if I am protecting those I love.

 On the other spectrum, if I feel something is not worth the wasted energy or if it feels to heavy to handle and the conflict is concerning me,  I will run and not face it. I find that I am willing to fight no holds bar when another person or issue is being attacked that I care for, but rarely if I am the one being attacked or hurt will I fight.

God has taught me that I need to be equipped to fight this illness, to fight the targets coming against my thoughts, to fight for my relationships, to fight for my finances, to FIGHT and  not lay down and be trampled over. Just because humans are not attacking me, does not mean there is not a battle going on. I need to be prepared to face it. I need to be able to say, I AM WORTH it and the victory is already mine..

 I become better equipped as I spend time praying, worshiping and praising, and reading his word. I equipped myself with the armor of God as a teenager and there are times I have neglected that armor or not used it for it’s purpose. God gives His children everything they need to equip themselves for each day. We just need to apply those pieces of equipment to areas of our lives. 

A soldier going into battle without his weapon will not fair well. I will not fair well if I try to fight fatigue and illness by only applying part of my tools instead of all of them. I can conquer the broken relationships if I have the mind of Christ and not a heart of fear. I can mend broken pieces if I love rather than run.

There is a place and time when you do not let yourself be bowled over and stomped on. It is important to handle those moments in a healthful way rather than a destructive way.

In order to walk in fullness of joy, I firmly believe we need to grasp that we HAVE and the tools to obtain it have already been supplied!

Challenge this day my friends: It is time to equip ourselves and stay equipped. I have not found a scripture yet, that tells us to lay down the armor of God. Or to run from the things that you fear or want to just lie down and give up on. 

Ephesians 6:11-18

Put on the FULL armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

For our struggles are not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark worlds and against the forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore put on the whole armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything to stand.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled to your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

In addition to all this take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.

And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayer and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

(NIV)