I have lost my self

IMG_0509I wonder if the butterfly misses her many legs and tough skin as a caterpillar or if she misses the covering living amongst the leaves granted her.  She didn’t have to venture to far to survive. While we see the ability to fly and experience life in new ways, maybe she misses her old self. Flying is hard work and she needs to go from flower to flower for each drink, expelling all that energy.

I have maintained the fullness of God’s joy in this walk with fibromyalgia. I am so incredibly blessed God has taught me how to do that, because that is the one gift this illness has given me. I also have learned to have grace and patience in new ways, as it is quite humbling to have such limits physically. But in so many ways I have lost my old self.

With fibromyalgia; I have lost my energy, I have lost my strength and impetuousness. These days I have to evaluate the consequences of being spontaneous. I have all the excitement, thoughts and ideas but the second I stop and think of the outcome of expelling the energy, my bubble is burst and I rest. There are days I wake up ready to face the day, excited with all I will do, and by time I step out of the shower, I need a nap. I again remember that I have lost my old self.

I miss her.  I miss the bubbly, happy, full of life able to take on the world self before fibromyalgia and I am sure my husband really misses her as well.

But these past few months God has awakened in me in new ways. He is showing me all that He has done by losing my old self and I am in the beginning stages of liking the new me. The me that has slowed down and takes the time to evaluate the world around me. The new me that has the wisdom and grace that only suffering and heartache can chisel into the hardened heart that once belonged to me. I see with fresh eyes, the hurting and the lost. I am taking time to paint, write and dabble into gifts that the busy woman of yesteryear didn’t take time for. I appreciate the good moments far more and take don’t take them for granted.

Romans 12:2- Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I lost the self-seeking me (mostly) and became the God seeking me. He has brought me to my knees in my physical brokenness. Doing a new thing, chiseling away again and again the hardened heart that once was. In my brokenness He has showered a love and presence so amazing and intimate. It is much more taxing these days to do His work, it is so hard to dance and sing, because I grow weary, but then I am spending much more time in the quiet and stillness. Yes, I have lost my old self, but I must remember that is not all a bad thing. I will learn how to fly with these new wings.

 

 

Enough

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I am enough

He makes me enough

I am what He has called me to be

I will accomplish what He lays before me

I have all that I need

He will guide my hands

He will guide my feet

I am enough

He makes me enough

I am what He has called me to be

 

These words came to me in song tonight as we drove home from the Oregon Coast. We had taken a quick day trip and over and over, God showed me His amazing abilities through His creation. If He created such amazement, why do I doubt what He can do in me?

God  gave me the words… An artist thinks with his soul. I don’t think in my natural brain when I am creating. But let me tell you as soon as I am done, all my own flesh natural thoughts come my way. “It is not good enough.” ” I am so embarrassed by showing this side of me.” And on and on my thoughts will come, each time I complete something the Lord lays on my heart, and I doubt the sharing.

His words to me today ring so true; An artist thinks with his soul. I need to let my words of destruction and discouragement  get out of my way. They need to stop plaguing me after the fact.

I will meditate on the words of this song He had given to me, and I will be thankful that I am just as He has created me to be. Who am I to deny that what God has done is good? I am enough in His eyes. I am capable in His view and I will no longer live the lie that I am unable. I will do, what He lays before me and that is enough.

A letter for my sons

Dear Son,

You are kind, loyal, faithful, trusting, and extremely focused on those you love. When you love, you love deeply and carry your heart on your sleeve. You are all in, and want that one special someone until the day you walk down the aisle. You do not desire to ‘search’ around and as you say, “window shopping is not for me.”  So unlike most people at 16 you were looking for a wife. As your mom I was saying, don’t date, slow down,  just wait and this is why…

This is my concern. In this world today, most people believe you need many life experiences, they choose to date many people, and at a young age are taught to follow their hearts. Often times they will for the moment be interested in all the things you offer and play you along that they are just as happy and all in like you and do not express their true feelings until the very last-minute, but instead lead you along on a string. You have to realize that a guy that is marriage minded is what a girl wants….for a moment. But at a young age as this, they begin to start seeing all that they will become and for many the complete and utter focus on you at such a young age is not in their best interest.

Also, because you offer them what they want for a moment, such as the flattery, the loyalty, the commitment and complete devotion, when their world shifts or their interest changes or they were not all in as you once believed, then it is you that is left confused, and hurting and the realization that you were played.

Honestly son, I know you and at times I know you better than you know yourself. My desire for you is that you would maintain friendships until you are ready for the big day that you have a bride. The thing is, when you are young, it is about learning to love and often that young girl is driven by emotion, excitement, hormones, feelings, and still confused about what she wants to do with her own life when she ‘grows up.’

My desire for you, is that one day you will have one that loves you fiercely with a GOD love. Not based on emotions and feelings but based on love that is described in Corinthians. I want someone for you that will stand by your side in the waves of life. But that is a big commitment to ask of a girl not ready for marriage. Heck, I have been married to your father for 18 years and it is still a day-to-day commitment for me.

Sometimes all people are pulled by their desires and they realize that isn’t what God may have for them after all. It is a good thing when someone walks away sooner, rather than later.

For you my son, I don’t believe dating is your calling.  I desire you to focus on building your future, when you are ready to take a bride, it is that time and season that you allow the building process of the friendship around you to take root, or wait for that one to be placed lovingly in your path, by the Father, whom already knows your future. Until this time, a girl is a distraction, she takes your energy, your focus, your time and keeps you from the one that has been quietly tapping on your shoulder, saying… “please recognize me and my presence.”

I know you are young, and you will follow your heart as you always have. I just want to share a bit of wisdom. You are still discovering yourself, becoming the one God created you to be. You are shifting and changing daily and maturing by leaps and bounds, it is not fair to expect others to not be shifting and changing daily in their life process and at times, it takes them down a different road, even if we don’t desire it.
Protect your heart and if I could request it, don’t give it away so freely and completely to anyone except the Lord. Once He holds it, He will give you more than you ever imagined possible.

Mom

 

ps. this is some good advice on the subject 😉

http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/42855-8-women-christian-men-should-never-marry

Green eggs and ham… literally

My father was very active in my life growing up. He took me to Blue Birds, trick or treating and allowed me to dance o his toes. One Saturday morning he made our breakfast like he often did, and he set the plate before me.

He had a huge grin on his face as he waited expectantly for my glee. I looked at that plate and cried. My father in his creative genius and love for me, made me green eggs and ham. I hated the color green and as I looked at the green glob of eggs on my plate, my emotions overwhelmed me, not at his love but the thought that I was hungry and how could I eat these green things.

I look back now as a parent and think with great joy what an awesome father I had to take the time to make something special for me. He knew I loved the story of Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.

I am reflecting on this gift and wondering… how many times do I look at the gifts the Lord has set before me with disdain or sadness rather than the gratitude and joy that should be in my heart.

How often does He place gifts and I don’t even recognize them for what the are?

I still do this today with my own husband. He will go out of his way to do things for me and I just take them for granted or do not appreciate the way he does them. Instead I am looking at the way  I would do it, or he should do it. What kind of gifts am I throwing away every day?

In the bible, often God would give His people gifts and they would complain, or not see them as they were.

Some of the gifts I have overlooked from the Lord are:

The gift of time: Instead of rejoicing that our basic need was met in layoff time for my husband, I fretted and worried about where the next job would be. Instead of enjoying each moment with my boys I focused on their tomorrows far too often than I should have. Rather than enjoying my moment with loved ones I fretted about their leaving more than just enjoying the moment.

The gift of peace: I overlook the peace in my life often. I have to remind myself that the Lord grants peace to my heart and that anxiety or worry leads to depression. I have to not overlook this gift He has given to me. He causes the calmness in the sea of life that only He can provide.

The gift of needs: Often when I look at our life situation, I have focused on all my wants and they seem to fall short. Yet, when I look at my needs, He truly does meet them. Not in a way I think they should line up but He meets my need nonetheless.

I am so truly thankful that God is a Father that bestows gifts to His children. I want to keep my heart and eyes wide open in thankfulness as I see the work of His hands for what they are. He desires to give me gifts, to do the work ahead of me so that I may  enjoy great things. I do not wish to complain or look at those gifts with disappointment because of my immaturity in Him,  but rather with grown up insight.

These are just a few simple areas that I overlook and I am sure there are so so many more! What gift can you be thankful for that maybe you overlooked?

YES I WILL!

Years ago, and many years after, I began to believe the lie that my gifts were not adequate enough, or the things the Lord has called me into I am ill-equipped.

So I usually, stand in the background, knowing full well that I have something before me but I sit and ignore it. Or others have been used to tear me down, so that when I share my heart, they discouraged rather than encouraged.

I read a book once, about a woman who was ill-equipped in her own eyes. She was asked to lead a small choir and had no ‘formal’ training. She had musical background in her family, but such a task she had never taken on before. She allowed God to use her gift and ability in the moment. This woman went on to lead the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir!

Look at the story of Moses. He was inadequate in his thinking. He asked God to use another and God said, you are the one.

I am not claiming that I will go on to do extraordinary things in such a way, only that I will do what the Lord has laid out for me to accomplish. I am claiming that I am not going to let fear hold me back from stepping out into uncharted territories.

So often we let the assumptions of what we think the outcome will be, stop us from seeing what the outcome really is.

There was a day that I was anxious about driving even to the beach, because my fog and fatigue will take over. The beach for me is about an hour away. Then one day God stirred up in me to take the van and go… to Idaho. This location was a 10 hour drive!
At first I asked the Lord, ” Is this really you? Can you be calling me to do this? I can’t! ”

But the stirring in my spirit would not cease and their was a treasured friend at the end of the long drive waiting. I surprised this friend and I obeyed the Lord. Little did I know the friend had been crying out to God for someone to come.

I shutter to think  that if I would have taken my inadequacy and let that be my leading rather than the Holy Spirit, a need only I could fill would have been unmet. Anyone could have come along and met this friends cry, but God had instilled the gifts that are unique only to me, to show His love.

Not only did she see the miracle of Him answering her cry, but by sending someone to go so far that struggled with driving, we both saw the miracle of Him sustaining me. The joy that greeted the end of the road and the first step to see God’s miracle of healing in my life because of the link to obedience.

God can not do a work within us in a miraculous way, if we allow ourselves to stand in the way of the work. If we tell Him, “no”,  each time He has an opportunity to work through us, we will not see how His strength can be more than enough in our areas of weakness.

Boldly go forth and step out in faith in the areas He has called you!

He is MORE THAN ENOUGH.

I will look to Him for my strength and say YES I WILL!

Different but still loved

I have three boys. My oldest tends to share characteristics with both my younger boys. However my younger two boys are complete opposites.Image

 

This is the side of the room that belongs to my slightly OCD son who is into sports and extremely organized. He is not a great fan of video games and would like to be physically active most of the time. He fights hard for his grades, with much effort and care. He will erase his homework over and over until the work is just perfect.

 

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This is my other sons side of the room. He is what the world would label ADD. He is not athletic in the slightest, he prefers books, intellectual aspirations and using his grande range of vocabulary. He gets great grades without trying and has little interest in perfection. He likes playing video games often. To get him to be physically active, is as bad as pulling teeth.

 

These two boys of mine are completely different and completely loved. I could not imagine my world without either one of them. I am extremely blessed. They are compassionate, loving and use their many talents and gifts uniquely. 

They are a small picture in the larger scale of life. Think of these two in the world around us. They are as different as night and day, as are the children of the Lord.

We are all equally loved, equally thought of and He is a jealous God that wants time with each and every one of His children.

He sees our differences… he already knows them… He created us uniquely for His purpose.

I know it is common that if someone doesn’t think the way we do, or see the world the way we do, or take action the way we would our hackles go up. But that is not the Love of the Lord. The Lord gives us all free will, why must we try to force others into our box and into our way of thinking, judging and full of hatred. This hatred is tearing the country apart and often leaves Christians with a horrible reputation.

My son that is the neat freak gets a daily dose of learning how to live with another completely different than him. He used to go insane being in the same environment with his brothers mess. But he has learned how to help his brother in his weakness and love him for his differences. 

I am looking at these boys, as their example on how to show the love of Christ despite if they are driving us insane with their differences. Jesus called us to love one another. In these struggling times it is so easy to point the finger to the one with differences than us. But let us not forget that we are to love them, God holds them every bit as valuable.

Ephesians 4:2-3
 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

I AM all this and more!

 My in-laws passed down some valuable lessons to my husband during prayer time when he was a child. My husband then passed these very true facts down to our children and I over heard and learned as well.

 I still to this day need to make an effort to remember what my position is, what I have, and who I am in Christ.

 I AM above and not beneath.

I AM a winner not a loser.

I AM a believer not a doubter.

I AM blessed coming in and blessed going out.

I AM able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I AM the head and not the tail.

I AM what God says I am and I can DO what God says I can do.

I AM filled with love, power and a sound mind not a spirit of fear! I have the mind of Christ.

 When I stop and remember the truth rather than what my moment would have me believe it is then that I know I blessed. I see my atmosphere around me change. It is very hard to walk around in depression when I am speaking life over my home, children, husband, loved ones and self. It is not hard to have hope when I focus on HIM and the fact He is always faithful.

 It has taken a long time for me to believe these truths about myself. But truths they are and I will not forget them. 

 ALL situations will work out of for the good of those who love Him. I KNOW the Lord will work all things out for my good, because I love Him.

 I look at all the ways there has been grace in my life and all the way things already have worked out for good. I can trust that it will continue. I am one blessed gal.

 

 Challenge this day my friend: Even if you do not believe that YOU ARE, speak these truths, until the truth becomes alive in you. Speak the truth I AM until you ARE. We can do EVERYTHING He created us to do!

 Ephesians 2:10- 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 (NIV)

 

Before the storm and in it

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A few months before our first storm, in our everything is finally going smoothly again season, I had painted a picture. Now clearly I am not a great artist, but this picture represented praising God through the storms of life. I had decided I was going to praise Him through anything.

I had no idea how much I would need to remember those words and that initial feeling when the painting was complete that praise was my offering, no matter what.

I have learned that the praise from my lips brings me joy. I have learned focusing my eyes on greatness rather than the destruction around me brings me joy.

I have found that a God that cares enough to keep me in a home when income was cut by 2/3 for over six months now,  cares enough that my husband crashed a car and survived, cares enough that there are days of strength in the midst of illness,  cares enough that my children bringing me laughter after days that they make me want to pull out my hair, is a God that cares ENOUGH.

Life is not JUST what you see in front of your face or in your moment. There is a whole world going on around you despite that storm. There is ALWAYS something to find to praise.

When I was consumed with depression and despair, all I spoke out of my mouth was anger, frustration, hopelessness and turmoil that was inside me. It was bringing about death and destruction.

I decided it was time for a heart change when I sat in the shower dreaming of my blood pouring down the drain. I was awakened by the Spirit of the Lord stirring in me… “This is NOT what I have for you!”

The strange thing is, my despondent depressing days surrounding mostly my illness. Nothing tragically frustrating had happened in our life for  a few years at my darkest time. Things were quiet and mostly good, except I was physically sick and felt miserable. The pain was blinding and living in a fog had broken me…for a moment.

It is now that I can look back and see God was saying, you are stronger than this. He had a testimony for me to share, and the work had only just begun.

I decided at my worst that it was time to get my heart right. Out of the heart your mouth will speak. I had aloud despair to consume me and to be my heart condition and I would not settle for  it!

It was after that shower that I had looked up and saw the painting I had painted. I painted this painting by ‘accident’ I had no intention of a tree, or a storm or hands raised, I was painting and it took shape.

I decided looking at this picture that I wanted to WALK in a heart of praise. I wanted praise to consume me, I wanted praise to pour from my lips continually.

I have had these moments before, I have always been a worshiper, but God was doing something even deeper than I could imagine!

I had no idea the battle front I would be facing when I made that decision all those months ago to praise Him in every storm. But praise Him I have, and praise Him I will. I know that He has awesome plans for us, and while I blog and learn new joys every morning, you watch and see, He is going to do GREAT things in the midst of these storms. I mean my lands, look at what He already had done through my last blogs.

Challenge this day my friends: It is time for a starting place, I do not care how small it seems, praise Him this day for something. Praise Him for a sunrise, for a hope, for a moment, or for the simple fact that

He is GOOD.

Psalm 30:12

That I might sing praises to you and not be silent. OH LORD MY GOD, I will give you thanks forever!

(NLT)

Heritage

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I look at my father and grandmother together and my heart swells with joy. My father respects his mother. He holds her in high regard. He would never chose to hurt her with his words or dishonor her.

I know along the way, my grandmother must have made mistakes. I am a mother of three and I have made plenty of them. It is only normal that we wouldn’t get everything perfect. But no matter whether we make mistakes or not my grandmother has a son that honors her, and I have three sons that honor me. 

My grandmother has passed on traditions to her children. She has passed on characteristics and traits as well as her families culture.

She has learned new things her whole lifetime and shared those experiences of joys, pains, struggles, triumphs, heartache and love with me during late night conversations when I was a young lady. I treasure each moment that we have spent having those talks and prayer times. 

My most recent visit left me cherishing those moments passed even more. As my grandmother’s memory fades from that it once was, I am left with the reminder that we are human and time is precious. 

My father raised me with care and love and shared his wisdom and kindness and has taught me how to forgive. These things I am certain he had learned from his mother. Even if  mother and son were not aware that she was passing traits to him, she did, and in turn he passed them to me.

This is what heritage is about. Passing down to the next generation. Passing down your most valuable treasure. Isn’t love one of those most precious treasures of all?

I am aware not all parents are great benefactors. There are many traits you may wish you did not experience or learn. Even the best intentions can leave scarred, hurting children. My father made mistakes, I make mistakes with my children, but our Heavenly father will not hurt us or forsake us!

My father has adopted me. He is not my biological father. My biological father never wanted me. There was nothing from him. I was held for the first time by my adopted father, never my biological father. I was taught to ride a bike by my adoptive father, I was taught to laugh, blow bubbles, fish and be silly by my adoptive father. I have learned what it means to have love from someone that CHOSE to love me. 

This is what Christ can do. He chooses us. God knew us from the very beginning and He wants to be your father.

I look at this earthly relationship of a father that loved and raised me and a grandmother that loved and raised him and am reminded how much more so should I honor my heavenly father. 

He can be the love that you have not had, or the comfort you have not had, or the joy you have not had. He can be everything you may have wished your earthly father was.

I am reminded of what I should do concerning my heavenly father!

All the things that the Lord promises me, all His attributes can be passed on to me, because I AM His child. I should honor Him, respect Him and give Him my devotion.

I am an heir to the very heritage of the almighty God. I am His and I must honor Him with my life. He has chosen to adopt me into the Kingdom. THAT is something to have JOY in!!!!

 

Challenge this day my friend: Allow the LORD to be your Benefactor. Allow Him to be your parent. To shower you with His love, gifts, treasures and joy.

Ephesians 1:3-6

  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,   even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love  he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,   to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 

(English Standard Version) 

Removing the mask

Today was a hard one for me. I hate to cry in front of people and had a whole audience this time (5 people!) The tears were contagious and others had cried as well.

Through  this heartbreak, I am reminded that I must walk in joy daily and choose joy for my life, but I do not need to walk around as if troubles never come my way.

If I walk around always saying I am fine when I am not, then I am putting on a mask and it is not healthy. Joy is mine because I choose it, it is inside me and Christ provides it, but I will face trials as will everyone else.

Often I have had Christians complain to me that they don’t feel like anyone wants them to be ‘real’. They feel that it is necessary to plaster a smile on their face all the time because nobody really wants to know what may be uncomfortable to look at. They hide their sin, they hide their pain, they hide their fears, and trials. They paste on a  smile and act like everything is wonderful.

There is a difference between sharing your heart and being a whiner, pity me party type person. Our hurts, our scars and our pain are REAL and we must deal with them.

I am not saying it is okay to run through life complaining all the time to everyone you meet about everything you are dealing with at every given opportunity. It is important to know who we can turn to with all of us, the good and the not so great. This allows people to share your burdens and be able to lift one another up in our times of trial.  When your testimony arrives, these friends, pastors or whoever it is that you had shared the full truth with, will be able to rejoice when you have welcomed the complete victory!

I am learning the balance between who I share with and who I do not, as well as spilling everything and keeping everything in. I will say it so important to not be a gloomy gus with everyone, everywhere you go. But when asked if you are okay, if you are not, do not lie, be truthful and say how you are. REJOICE that the Lord will turn your situation around for good, while being real.

I can allow friends and family to see my tears or know my hurts and frustrations, and I can still obtain joy in the midst of it. I can share it ALL with Jesus.

He knows my coming and going, I can shout out LORD I AM UNHAPPY AT THIS MOMENT! (most often that is when His peace will rush me ).

Sometimes the root to having joy, is to allow ourselves to be who we are with no strings attached. We are to grow and walk with Jesus daily and when we do that we shine with the glory of the Lord. We do not need to wear a mask covering up who we are.

Challenge this day my friends: Remove the mask you have hidden behind… Allow others to know you, to pray with you, to encourage you. Allow Jesus to remove your hurt and burdens. It is time to be free and allow those things to be revealed so we do not continue to harbor them!

2 Corinthians 3:16

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.