Lights, Camera , Action!

My good friend and I are at the Joyce Meyers conference this weekend. It has been a great joy to be involved with wonderful praise and worship with others and to hear a speaker that has blessed my walk greatly over the years. MUCH word has been shared, along with the grace of Jesus. The title this week was ” I am okay, and I am on my way. This sums up my life over the last year, regardless, of each situation, I AM okay, and I am on my way to the greatness in store for me.

Well, I did not put two and two together, but at Joyce Meyers conferences, there is a BIG camera on a boom that looks over the audience, because her conferences are then televised. I did not mind the big camera too much, even though there are rumors that cameras add ten pounds. For the most part I forgot the camera all together, but I would look at that camera if I wanted to itch my nose or shift in my seat or something completely embarrassing to make sure it wasn’t pointed at me, and forgot it the rest of the time.

Then at the end of the evening after shifting, scratching my nose and making ‘modest’ lady like adjustments, I look over and right on me is a small camera that the whole time was moving all over the audience and I didn’t see it! It was right on me as I was making some adjustments….So let me say right now, Joyce Meyers, if you find this awkward looking dark haired thirty something year old, looking down to make sure I was covered and  adjusting my shirt, yah, well, it could have been me! 

This moment made me laugh at myself, as embarrassing moments often do, and I realized, I had my eye on the ‘big’ camera, often like I do in life, I have my eye on the ‘big’ picture.

So much so that when I have a vision or a dream and I want to succeed, I may get discouraged, looking at that BIG picture and it not happening as quickly as I want it to. Or when the BIG problems mount up for a moment they are all I see. So focused am I on the big thing, that I miss all the little spectacular things going on around me day by day. There are many good things that I should be thinking on. 

I must take time to see ALL the work about me that He has done. All the moments that I CAN rejoice. Even if I have not reached my destination and obstacles come in my way over and over, He is always at work and doing great things in my life.

Sometimes those ‘little’ things turn out to be even more significant in reaching the dream He placed in us anyway. That ‘little’ camera may be the one that captures my laughter and joy in the teaching rather than the BIG camera. It is important we do not get so focused on our obtaining that which is in our heart, that we ‘miss’ the other good stuff. In this case I am not quite sure if the cameras captured my smiles and pure joy or my awkward moments, but it doesn’t matter, He is GOOD no matter what the focus was 🙂

 

Challenge this day my friends: Don’t get lost in your moments with tunnel vision only seeing the dream, the good or the bad, but instead be observant seeing ALL that He has done. For HE IS GOOD!!!

 

Philippians 4:8-

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I want to radiate

I am aware the background to this message may sound like I am a tad bit spoiled. Trust me when I say that I know I have been. Here is a glimpse of that spoiled child in me anyway. 🙂

We live right next to a highway. On that noisy highway, are the neighbors, a gas station and a restaurant.
We blissfully slept in our new home the first few months, then one night when we clicked off the lights there was still  so much light in the room we could see the expressions on each others faces from across the room. There was now a flood of bright white light pouring in. Our neighbors so graciously bought floodlights for their parking lot and pointed them straight at our bedroom window. Previously we lived on a quiet 22 acres in the country that was stark black at night, this was a drastic change.

It could have been broad daylight it was so bright in the room. We had no money for curtains, so for a few weeks we slept (or tried to) in the light. Payday came and we found some discounted black curtains on clearance and it was blissfully dark in the room again, with only a little light seeping through the edges of the curtain.

Thinking on this light and the fact that it wasn’t very pleasant, still makes me think about how light works and how it pierces the darkness and changes a room.

A dark room with a few carefully placed lit candles becomes warm and friendly.

Reflecting on light and how bright and persistent it can be, reminds me of my desire to be that kind of light. One that changes an atmosphere and continues to shine, just because I am there. I want to lighten a room (in a GOOD way) by bringing joy and a hope.

One of the definitions of light in the dictionary is : The radiance or illumination from a particular source.

I WANT to be that particular source.  I so desire to radiate with the love of God, with HIS light. I do not want to bring darkness to a room with my grumbling, gossiping, worrying, complaining, sad self. I want to be SO full with the joy of the Lord that it can not help but spill out and onto others around me.

I want the surroundings about me to brighten with joy and animation because I am there and the Spirit of the Lord is a part of me.

One way to be the full light the Lord has for me to be, is to dig into the word and allow Him to work in me. Spending my days in prayer and worshiping the Lord in Spirit and truth continually and asking Him to always have His way in me. It is so important that I change the focus of my world around me and circumstances to a focus of Him and a love for His people. Taking steps towards being a light and letting go of the things that darken me is the only way I will be a light that penetrates the atmosphere!

Challenge this day my friends: Decide to be a light, and go for it.

Let me know the things you have done to be a light to others. Let’s share our ideas and experiences so we can grow together.

Psalm 89:15-

Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, LORD.

New Living Translation

Can I have a do over???

Image I remember playing games when I was younger. There were times that the dice didn’t roll the way I wanted it to or a play didn’t quite go the way that was planned, and I would ask, “Can I have a do over?”

I don’t know how many times in the last twenty years I had asked God that question. My prayers have often included, ” Lord if only I could take that back!” or ” Please let me try that again, I will do better next time.”  After the question leaves my mind or lips, I always had to face the  reality that there was no do over.

All those opportunities that I either had taken for granted or thrown away, I can not grab those same opportunities back. I find that no matter how big my regret of my mistakes, and the mess that they made, I can not erase the consequences of something I did.

One thing I can do, is pursue from this moment on a life full of joy and promise. I would rather have a life filled with joy and a hope for my future than looking back and always wishing I could have done things differently.

Living a life full of joy is an action involved journey. I can not live in joy if I am constantly walking in regret. I can take those moments that I messed up and say, “Well, I hope not to do THAT again!”  and move on.

There is a season of growing and learning from these past wrong doings, mistakes, or foolishness, but I am not to allow it to hold me down or hold me back. When I have repented and done what I can do to make a situation right in His eyes, the Lord forgives us from our sins and our past mistakes, the slate is wiped clean. I do not have to keep rewriting the mess out over and over again. I too can let it go as the Lord has.

When I am walking in the question, “Can I have a do over…..PLEASE!” I am walking in condemnation. I am not walking in victory. If I have taken my issues to the Lord and asked for forgiveness, then I am forgiven. The Lord does not want us bogged down by regret and shame, constantly looking back at, “what if” and “if only I had”.

If I have missed an opportunity because of foolishness, I can trust my God is good enough to bring new opportunities my way. It is important I learn, grow and then let go.

Walking in a life with Jesus, I don’t have to ask ” Can I have a do over?”, because He already finished the game and gave the victory to me ! I just need to stop and remember to accept it.

Psalm 103:12

as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

( 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)

Grace in your face

 

Tonight was a whirlwind for my husband. Our friends were visiting from Idaho. They moved away five months ago and we were SO blessed to have a real hug in person, to visit and to sit at a meal together.

There was sharing and laughter and good eats. Then the guys decided to take our friends Subaru for a drive. Our friend had bought it six months ago, just before his move. My boys LOVE Subaru’s and everyone was excited to check it out. The first ride was a run with my sons in the car. They took it to back roads and on a gravel road did some showing off.

Then the guys brought the boys back and went out by themselves. Dan was driving our friends car. There was a little playing with the car on a straight away back road, but Dan had slowed down and was driving normal when a curve was coming up, that he knew was there.

Dan had not driven a stick in ages and this car had power. Dan slowed down before the curve and somewhere somehow,  that is when things changed quickly. He describes the moment as slow motion. The car left the road and rolled. There was no guard rail, there was no skidding, there was no wreckless driving, just a ditch to meet and it totalled the car.

The men were trapped, upside down. They unbuckled and dropped and had to break out the window to get out of the car. There is so much that was happening in their minds and in the process, I was not there, so I can not fully comprehend or relay the experience. But what I can relay is the reaction of a Godly friend.

Dan was panicked in that car. He is claustrophobic in normal situations, there was a moment he was trapped. The car had smoke coming in, our friend had a bloody nose, the airbags had went off, they were buckled in and it took breaking a window to get out of the car.

Our friend talked Dan through the panic and kept a level head.

Dan was beside himself to have destroyed a friends beautiful car. Our friend assured him  over and over that this possession was not more important than Dan. He was thankful to be with Dan. He was full of grace and kindness and forgiveness. There was nothing but assurance and an example of love.

This reminds me how the Lord is with His children. He is full of grace, full of love, full of assurance. He knows His children’s hearts and when we come to Him with a contrite heart, asking for forgiveness, our God offers it. Just in this way. No strings attached.

God also showed favor and grace in another way. Our finances are a mess. But we have enough set aside for the deductible of the accident. We were saving it for moving when the home is taken away, but we know that there will be a different provision if and when that time comes. Our God IS a supplier and full of mercy and grace.

There was no ticket, the police officer found no fault with Dan’s spotless driving record, and stated. ” usually, there would be a ticket, but I see no sign of reckless driving and a ticket will not help your situation so I am not going to give you one.” Again this is a sign of how unmerited grace works. We did not deserve that favor, it was just given.

Our friend Don  (Best friends dad) was over for dinner as well and  happened to not go on that drive .  He received the call and went to them. He did not give us women details to worry us, he went with a calm. He was saved from the experience of the wreck and I am so thankful for that. He was there to be a calm and a hand to aid the guys at the site. He was an encouraging and solid voice and I am SO blessed he was there. Another example of God’s grace!

My husband and our friend…. WALKED from the car. The fireman said they were extremely lucky to have no injuries. Again, this is a sign of grace.

Dan was angry at his fault at wrecking a friends car, he was furious, he felt bad, he felt foolish, we have a thousand different ways we would have rather this day have gone, but we have experienced grace in a way we never had before.

This friend, never once raised his voice or blamed Dan in the situation, but assured him and encouraged him instead. The wife (my best friend) was with me when we got the news and she was teary eyed, not over the vehicle or the disappointing concerns of what to do to fix it all, but she was teary eyed over knowing how bad my husband would feel. She was concerned for us and our finances. She was concerned for us and not themselves.

What have I learned from this example? Think twice where I would find fault with another, even if fault is theirs, I can find that as an opportunity to extend grace!  I can show love regardless of a situation. There are far more important things than what my small mind may see.

Thank you dear friends for being a living example on being a child of God that gives unmerited favor to others…. grace is an amazing gift to receive!!!

Challenge this day friends: Recognize areas in your life where you have experienced grace. Extend grace in new ways to others in your life. Be a living example of Jesus.

Hebrews 4:16-

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

(NIV)

Thank you Lord for keeping your children safe in their time of need!!!!

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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) 

Childhood joys

The sun shines bright. My spirit perks up a bit just to have the glorious light beam across my face and the warmth hits deep!

I am taken back to childhood days. Days that were complete bliss in the midst of the most simplest moments. Memories flood back  of blowing sticky bubbles, drawing in sand with my fingers,

drawing in Sand with my son

picking dandelions as a prize for my mommy, imagining I am the princess dancing in the kingdom, running in green grass with bare feet and how the grass stained the bottom of my toes, and moments of laying on the ground in fits of giggles when my friends and I were exhausted from the games.

This is the kind of pure simple joy that I am trusting for daily. My joys do not come from my circumstances or the amount of money I put into an experience, but just by having the experience. Joys that come from simply living. Joys from spending time with the one that loves me most and encourages me to have the heart of a child.

To have joy, simply because I have the right to. I can still dance, sing, clap, laugh, be silly and simply just be me.

I AM a princess. I AM a daughter of a king. One that does not have to give up the childlike presence in my heart. I am encouraged to be as a child. To laugh and have joy, to look at all the blessings as sweet gifts. To look at a bird flying in the blue skies with awe anew. I have the ability to look at the awesome gifts the creator has given me with fresh eyes and wonderment. I can stop taking the world around me for granted. He has given me a beautiful picture to wake up to daily…. life.

Challenge this day my friends: When struggling with walking in joy, stop and look at things in your life with wonderment. Have that childlike faith that the things you need to change will. That you still CAN be anything He created you to be! Walk with you eyes forward and face what you must, but remember, there is joy in simple things!

Matthew 19:14

But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

(NLT)