And the storm stirs again

It has been a wild ride in our household the last few years. I have written in the past about all the frustrating storms we have gone through. I describe these storms in our life as frustrations. Nothing in our personal experience has been as drastic as others may have gone through. Our personal storms have been more like a small earthquake with some shaking up and a bit of damage, but is eventually repaired. The loss has not been completely devastating, as so many face.

As I am reflecting back, I clearly see that these storms raise their ugly heads and stir the safety around us into a tempest mess. Each time we face one; we have thrown our quick tantrum and then come to the realization that God is still God  and is always in control and will see us through it.

Each storm that we have come through,  we are stronger for it. Our foundation may be shaken a bit but because it is firm, our foundation is not destroyed. We have learned how to hold on tighter than ever before while we wait for the worst to be over. We have learned to lean on and trust in new ways. May every bit of glory ALL be the Lords~

I am not diminishing anyone’s storms in their lives by sharing that we can get through them and even be stronger than when we started.  I do know that our personal storms range in great variety. But I know who is the victor as we dig in to the very truth and nature of our God. I know that there is a plan and a purpose for our lives and when we face these storms they are just a minute in the grand scheme of time and what God has before us will be accomplished!

Recently we were sure that our most recent storm was just about over. Rejoicing and shouting out that we had seen the end in sight. Only to discover that what we thought was the end was just a new stirring to take us even deeper in our faith. We had a direct hit from the enemy. We recognized the hit for what it was and took control over that area in our lives.

These are the questions that arise:

Are we still trusting in the middle of this storm? Yes.

Do we know our storm will end as every storm eventually does? Yes.

Am I going to allow my faith be moved because of a new set of winds blowing in my face? Absolutely not!

I will be a part of the force, changing the atmosphere around me, not be a part of the storm but an opportunity to share my victories!

Challenge this day my friends: Hold on tight, do not bend, stand firm, for your storm will come to it’s end. Allow yourself to be stronger from it and never forget to share the testimony. In the midst of that storm reflect back on other points in my blogs; equip yourself for the storm, expect a good outcome, sow into others lives anyway, and trust that joy is always yours!

Proverbs 10 :25-

When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone,

but the righteous stand firm forever.

Ex-pec-ta-tion

In my lowest times of depression I had no feelings of expectations. Everything I had hoped for or believed for seemed to be crumbling down around me. With those crushed in the moment dreams I was was fearful to dream again. But then I realized I was sinking deeper because I was not expecting anything better for my life. I began to EXPECT joy and to EXPECT blessings. I started EXPECTING  the things I believed in once, would happen eventually. I EXPECTED Gods favor!

What happened was a transformation in me and my life. I began to see fruit from the things expected. I began experiencing joy because there was no other option in my mind. I began seeing our needs cared for, relationships healed, and God moving in wonderful ways. Because I expected it, I hoped for it, and when you expect something or hope in something, you begin to move forward in that hope.

Websters definition of  Expectation :

1. A strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

2. A belief that someone will or should achieve something.

A life without an expectation or with a goal in mind for yourself is not a very hopeful life. You must have hope for your future and actively pursue it. Through prayer and confirming in the word that your expectations line up with with God’s plan in your life, NOTHING can stop you!

God plans for us to be productive, joyful, and abundantly blessed.

Challenge this day friends: Expect a change, Expect better, Expect joy, Expect your goals to come to pass and Expect an end to your frustrations. Don’t walk through life without the knowledge that you CAN achieve that which God puts before you!

Proverbs 23:18-

For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

(KJV)

Trust

 

Trust: RELIANCE on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

My husband is the kind of person that will trust anybody. He always believes the best of people until they prove themselves otherwise and even then he will often make excuses for them, giving the benefit of the doubt. I don’t allow him to watch any infomercials, or he will be convinced we need the latest gadget because someone said it was amazing. He is loyal to the end and he believes the best in people.

I most often am on the complete opposite spectrum. I don’t believe in anyone until they prove themselves. I feel everyone selling something exaggerates their cause, therefore I must try before I believe in a product. I am loyal until I am hurt and then I will not let the offender back in my life (very often).

I have learned from my husbands example to allow myself to trust more. I find his faith in people has also spread to his faith in the Lord and that is inspiring. He KNOWS and has confidence in the fact that the Lord will do all that His word says He will do.

I am learning from my husband, to open my heart more. To apply His trust in the Lord and to use his childlike faith as a lesson on my own life. I see great fruit in the very things my husband had trusted the Lord for. Having a wife full of joy is one thing my husband has seen fruit in.

My husband has learned from me that full trust, belongs only to the Lord. That man can let you down, but God never will. I have taught him to seek the Lord first on the decisions we are to make together.

Through our differences I find we balance each other out perfectly and are truly each others help mates.

Challenge this day my friends: Take the time to find areas you are not trusting the Lord in. Lean on His strength, His goodness, His character and ability with a confidence that He is true to His word.

Proverbs 3:5-

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

(NIV)

 

 

Thank You

 I get so disgusted when I am out and about shopping and standing in line I notice the people around me are in so much of a hurry, that they do not stop to thank anyone. I hear from one say, “thank you and have a good day” and there is silence as a response. It is so sad that I feel like apologizing and shouting out THANK YOU to the person that was left without that little blessing of feeling appreciated.

 Thank You! Two simple words can mean and do so much. When you thank the service worker with a genuine heart, you sow a seed of joy. When you thank your parent, friend, teacher, child or spouse for all they are and do, you sow a seed of joy. When you stop and take the time to say two words to our Lord for what He has done, you sow a seed of joy. Often the seed of joy may be in the receivers heart, but mostly a grateful heart sows a seed of joy in your life.

 Having a thankful heart keeps you focused on the good in your life rather than the troubles that may be stirring. When you share a thankful heart you give an opportunity for another to experience a seedling of joy. Take time to stop and be thankful this day.

 I have seen a quote on Facebook before, I apologize as I do not know the author of it; ” what if you only woke up today with what you thanked God for yesterday?”   

 This gives us a pause to really think. Have we walked around with a thankful heart? Have we walked around with the goodness of knowing even in our worst circumstances there is always ‘something’ to be thankful for?

 Let’s start simple; thank you for this breath! Thank you for a new day! Thank you for the sun that will shine and bring life and for the stars that hang in the sky at night. Thank you that this day I can say, thank you within my heart and that I will be grateful not now but always.

 It is time to be thankful afresh. It is time to remember all things, you can be thankful for, and you can spread a little joy!

 

 Challenge this day my friend: List your own simple things to be thankful for. Come up with at least one to think upon. Make sure you share a thankful heart with someone else.

 Psalm 107:1-

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

(NIV)

 

The Breath of Life

I have been hurt so many times in my life in so many ways. People will come and go and when I think I have a good set of support systems in my life, things get shaken up again. People that I never thought would choose to walk away, are walking away.

When I look at other peoples circumstances, my life is extremely blessed, and I shouldn’t feel neglected as a grown child of God. But I am human and there are times my flesh wants to rise up and battle what I know to be truth. The truth is I am loved! The truth is there are seasons for everything and everyone. The truth is God is my all. The truth is when I am tense and holding my breath it is then that I need to let it all out and breathe!

In the seasons of feeling like my very  breath has been taken away from me with a new and harsh blow from the reality of life, I need to remember to breathe in the breath of LIFE.

So many times the human has failed me again and again. I hold people up to a standard that I set for myself and if I see them walking away when I never would,  I want to grab on to their ankles and scream “WAIT YOU CAN’T DO THIS!” But it is not my place to do so.

We all have a will that we may choose to follow even if it does not line up with what God intends for our lives. If I see someone running head on into traffic and I am blocked from grasping them, I am going to say something, but if they choose to run for it anyway there is nothing I can do to stop it.

It is times when I feel helpless that I need to remember, God has all things under control in my life. If I am left hurting, He will heal me. If I am alone, He will comfort me. If my world around me appears to be crumbling, He will hold me up. I just need to stop and breathe in His breath of life. Take a moment and remember He is God of all seen and unseen things.

Challenge this day my friends: Take a moment in the craziness and the hurt to just stop, pause and breathe Him in.

Job 33:4-

The spirit of God has made me, and the breathe of the almighty gives me life.

(New American Standard Bible)

Perception

In my family, perception (understanding), has many angles even when we are on the same line of a topic, we see things completely different. We live in a house with three teenagers and constant energy. I can ask someone to do something and watch them take action and do completely the opposite of what I had meant. I can get very frustrated in these moments and have decided to try and stop and get a clear view of how I came across or put myself in their place for a bit.

People are so unique in their thinking process and life experiences. We can  all look at a glass and truly see it many ways; half full, half empty, or who cares give me a drink. No two people are exactly alike and there is room to be misunderstood or not have a full understanding of what people mean on the best of days. Adding the stress of life, work, family and friends and your perception can be completely blurred by your situations.

When people do not understand you, it can be a great stress in your life if you let it. I have had to step back on many occasions and let the Lord do His work in my heart because I have gotten bitter when others have not understood me, or what I considered, not listened to me.

One area that I am finding that leads to joy in my life, is when I lay things down and try to look at them through God’s perception. When someone is hurting me, arguing with me, not listening to me or perceiving life differently than me, I have made a conscious choice to look at them as Jesus would. More often than not I truly fail at this. But daily I am trying to look at those in my life with true love and extend grace in areas that drive me crazy, and pray they do the same for me.

This also leads me to one more thought tonight;  I don’t know how many times I walked through my life having people push their perception of the gospel on me. There are a hundred different varieties of the way Christians believe. I can not possibly make everyone happy and seek the Kingdom of God at the same time. I must push in and read the bible for myself.

I must look at my situations not as my flesh wants to look at them, but rather,  what exactly does the word of God say about my own situation?

Most often, I can not look at someone else’s situation with a completely clear view. My own life experiences and beliefs can muddle it up. I have a completely different perspective than any one else may have.

My prayer when I write this blog is that my perception is not pushed on anyone. I desire that the heart of joy is shared and lead to bless your day, not bog you down with my perception of joy.

I hope to leave a nugget of hope and joy, not a burden that you can never attain it, or that all is well and good for me but your life is far messier than mine and  I don’t understand. I am expressing through these blogs what has worked FOR me and sending a challenge for you my friends to try these tidbits out and see if they can work for you too.

Fullness of joy can make a heart sing when you circumstances say you shouldn’t. Joy can spread from your life to another when they feel hopeless. Joy can be contagious. Sometimes joy starts when we change our perception of things.

Challenge this day my friend: Be mindful and conscious of how you are perceiving others. Are we taking offense when there is none intended? Are we allowing our understanding of what we think someone means, to steal our joy of the day. Ask yourself, “how would Jesus view this, and handle it?”

Proverbs 3:5 – 6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths.

(NIV)

Gardners

I wrote the blog below, right before my season of spreading joy to others began anew. It is because of the careful tending and encouragement of some amazing people in my life that I now am taking the time and energy to be a blessing. It is because of the dry and decaying season that I learned there could be joy in spite of the pain. We just need to sometimes recognize the joy comes from deep down and not from what we see.
The seasons of feeling that life is being sucked out of me, I had to allow others to attend to my heart, body, soul and mind. When man could not do it, I realized Jesus always was there. And when I needed a connection with human, he sent that too. Don’t forget to turn to the very one that created you to be great! Don’t forget to turn to Jesus when the people are stomping on your beauty.
I encourage you to read this previous post to see where I was, and where I am now. There is a great opportunity for joy when we actively see what is being done in our lives and we have joy regardless of the moments.
Posted on October 29, 2010- I am a plant in the garden that was flourishing and full of beautiful green plumage. When all of a sudden some plant hater decided to throw dirt over the top of me to hide me.
I have been hidden, starving for air, the beautiful plumage slowly dying and decaying beneath the new weight that had been thrust upon me.
Then along came people in my life that were turning the soil, fertilizing the soil, watering where the beautiful plant once was and only cracked dirt lie. Many tending the soil didn’t see the growth they expected of me and silently left, shaking their head in quiet disappointment. I was still suffocating under the weight and while they were no longer tending the garden feet trampled over the top of it.
I sat there, quiet, slowly dying as day by day the sun-scorched the cracked parched ground.
Then along came a new set of gardeners. Ones that were diligent and true to their passion for beauty to thrive. They watered and tended once more where others had given up. Where I myself was ready to lay dormant for another long season.
My roots you see were always deep. I was sure the life would return somehow, I just couldn’t bring it about on my own.
I began to grow that beautiful green plumage back. It was a great sight to behold for the ones that tenderly coaxed me. To see a sprout rise up out of the ground a brilliant green. And to their wonder and amazement as I rose fully above the ground my strong leaves did not remain the size they were before but had doubled in per-portion. I was not the same as I was when trouble came, I was stronger and excited to show the new life that I have become.
 Today: I realize the importance of having deep roots in good soil, that while I was in a season of dormancy and hurt, the truth was always there, just needing to be tended and reminded of what exactly I am planted in!
We are born and created to flourish; cultivate the good foundation!
  Challenge this day my friends : You were created to flourish and produce life! Time to cultivate the good foundation anew and if you don’t have the strength to do it on your own, connect with some good gardeners that will help you on your way! If you are in a strong point, till the ground of ones hurting; giving them the truth of God’s word, encourage, bless, or be a helping hand.
Mark 4:3-8
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed, as he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it all up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil, it sprung up quickly because the soil was shallow, but when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants,  so that they did not bear grain.
Still, other seed fell on good soil, it came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.

Enjoy each moment

My sweet friend enjoyed the movement of her children within her. She thrilled at the ultrasounds and their tiny little heartbeats. She had waited a long time for this and now they were here in her womb, developing and pleasing their mommies heart with the expectation of their arrival.

The day came for the twin boys to be born. Sadly they arrived too early for the hospital to take any measure to help them. They lived and breathed for almost two hours. Mother and Father got to hold them, and the blessing of taking pictures of them, but in the end the boys did not get to experience life on this earth for more than that moment.

My friends heart is aching in ways I could never possibly describe. She will go through her grief and cry out to the God of all creation and ask why.

I am left remembering that pure joy on her face with the news she truly was expecting. The joy when she placed her hand on her stomach and talked about her plans.

I know my friend was a wonderful loving mama to these boys. I know if she chooses to have more children she will be wonderful with them. I also know that even though the loss is so heavy, she values these little boys that she lost.

There is bitter sweetness to the moments of pregnancy that she had. She felt them move, she experienced the growth of these boys, she heard their heart beat and saw their faces on the ultrasound. She enjoyed each moment that she had them, even though her time was far far too short.

I have learned from standing on the outside of this experience that I have treasures in my life that I did not realize and I was taking for granted. Even though I hurt at moments in my  life, I need to look at the joys in those moments. I need to always rejoice, always pray and always give thanks; I need to make sure I recognize some moments in life it will be easier than others to do so.

Challenge this day my friend: I encourage you to enjoy each moment with these treasures that you have. Each moment is precious and may not last as long as we wish and it is in the times of grief you want to be able to look back on the joys.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

(NIV)

 

Silence is golden

 

A proverbial saying, that many take claim of its origion is ,”Silence is golden”. While I know the interpretation is meant to be, keep your mouth shut, I am reflecting on that fact how nice it is to be sitting in my quiet and still home at this moment with no noise and buzzing of activity going on around me.

Being an only child with  working parents had left me growing up with some  alone time. I had become comfortable with the quiet. The peace of no distraction and no noise was my friend.

Then one day came marriage and then baby one, two and three. Life has rarely ever been quiet again. My husband is also an only child, but one that thrived on the communication and busyness around him, and still does to this day. He has energy that makes a cup of coffee jealous. And his perpetual great morning attitude drives me crazy.

The boys have the stereotype energy of boys. They always have something to share and are always on the move. It is healthy for them but at times is mind buzzing to me how busy they all are.

I stayed home and home schooled my boys for much of their younger years. We had a meeting of one kind to go to or another almost daily; rehearsals, bible studies, home groups, play groups and church. I think it was literally years before I had a moment of silence because even nap time was filled with their lullaby music.

It was when we were  living in the country and  my children were in school for the first time that I realized afresh how a completely quiet moment can be a blessing. Oh, how I had missed the stillness of nothing. I learned in this season how to truly be still, and know who God is. It was time to exalt Him in a new way and keep the distractions at bay.

I often had let busyness  and life get in the way of just being silent and listening. I learned to use this time alone and quiet, to reflect on what the Lord was sharing with me or what my friends and family have most recently imparted in my life.

A quiet moment can be the most peaceful, joyfilled moment of our day. Simply being still and listening to the soft stirring of the Holy Spirit.

I now have an unemployed, energetic husband at home, and teens bursting in the door with their excitement of the day. But now that I know how important the silence is to me and the daily exalting of my God, I take a time for that. Even if it is set aside in only a moment, it is set aside.

I do have many aquaintences that feel like silence is their curse because they are alone. They hate the quiet, or may not see the sweet gift that it can be to have a moment of nothing. I pray they can embrace some of this opportunity to listen in the silence and even enjoy it. I also pray all their hearts desires come into fulfillment.

Challenge this day my friend; Look for the opportunity to steal a moment of golden silence.

Psalm 46:10

Be still and know I am God,

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.

(NIV)

Rest

My grandfather probably teased all the kids with the same exact line; ” You are going to have three boys, and their names will be fart, fizzle and stink.”  I wish he would have lived to see the day that a smile crossed my face at the remembrance of these words when my third and final son was born. Years later, I can see how often the nicknames would fit perfectly for my  boys.

I will never forget where we were at our moments of sharing and teasing. Most often it was in the summer months and sitting beneath an old established oak tree. Our backs would be pressed against the trunk and we would share stories and apparently prophecies. I drew so close to my grandpa in these moments of quiet rest in his presence. Listening, taking in his experience,laughing together and sharing what was on our hearts at the moment.

 It is on todays reflection that I am reminded how important resting is for the soul. That we need to stop and rest and spend time in the presence of God to reach that full potential of joy. Allow the Lord to speak to your soul. Life can get away from us, even with the most important tasks.

Challenge this day my friend:  Take a moment to breathe in the Spirit of God and just rest for a moment.

 

Psalm 62:5-  Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.