WHY?!?

  Through all the torment and struggles of life on this earth, I am often left questioning why. There was a season that I had felt guilty for asking God, why.  I felt like I was not trusting enough and doubting, simply because I had questions stirring over my situations.

 I look back at my children when they were small and their season of parroting; “Why? Why? Why?”

As frustrating as it may have been at those constant moments, I would stop what I was doing and answer all of their ‘why’ questions, as best as I could and as often as I could. I knew the ‘why’ season was my most opportune time to share with them. They were actually interested in what Mom had to say.

I feel like God is this way too. He wants to hear His children. He wants the opportunity to share with your heart. You may not always get the answer you are looking for but if you stop and listen you just may get an answer. The Lord is a living God that speaks to His children today. You may not get an audible voice but you can, as a believer learn to listen to the Holy Spirit that is your gift and comforter.

Having this one on one relationship with the Lord, person to person, will leave your heart joy. Even if you don’t get an answer you are expecting there can be peace when you know the ‘why’ of a situation. 

I don’t believe it is healthy to focus only on the why that is stirring in your heart, but I do believe it is perfectly okay to voice it. It is perfectly okay to be real with God. He wants all of you. We tend to hold back, but how can He be our everything if we do that?

Challenge this day my friend: Go ahead and ask your why of Him. Pray that He give peace to your heart and an answer to your questions even if it is an answer you don’t like. 

Matthew 21:22- 

“You will receive whatever you ask for in prayer, if you believe.” 

(ISV)

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.

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)

 

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)

 

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.

I failed at love and then learned what it truly is

With Valentines day coming up, I am seeing hearts and cards in the stores and it got me to reflecting on LOVE.

LOVE, what does it really mean? Now I know there is that lovey dovey heart , emotional feeling love. But our emotions and feelings can be so fleeting, if we get in our own way or start ‘feeling’ out of love.

Often my family and some friends have pushed my patience level to the brink. I have been hurt that they are not listening, they do not call, or come around unless they need something. Simply put, they were not being aware of MY needs. When these trials arose  I would often pout, shout  or shut down completely into a world of poor me.   I would begin to get bitter and turn them away, so that they could not use me and hurt me any more.

I  have cut some of these people out of my life when the hurt becomes constant, because I have held on to each offense.

I am so thankful for the lessons in life that have taught me the truth of the situations. As hard as it was to look at myself straight in the mirror, I had to do it. It is in front of that mirror that I discovered; the issue is not them, but me.

Why is it that I find all their actions, concerning me so much? Is my comfort level that much more important than they are? Is my happiness supposed to out shine theirs?

Where my immediate family is concerned , in the past I have completely ruined the atmosphere in my home with my grumbling and complaining because they were all playing too loudly or discussing too admittedly their concerns with each other. I would  blow up because they are arguing or talking back, rather than giving the soft answer that the bible calls for.

I ask myself, “why is it, the ones that I love the most, can push me over the edge the quickest?” The answer is startling! I am not loving them.

In order to understand the fullness of joy the Lord has for us, we MUST comprehend love. Love is not-self seeking. When my children are ‘irritating’ me, often there is no reason for me to be irritated. I am just annoyed, because I am seeking what I want over what they are.

If my husbands expressions of how he loves me, are different from what I wanted, I would grumble and criticize. I was trying to change the very gift that the Lord had given me with him.

When I’ve  seen someone hurt that has once hurt me, I have boasted or been proud.

God made it very apparent to me what love was awhile back. And for the most part, great joy has come in as I settle on the word and apply love like His in my life.

I do fail and I do miss it, but thankfully I fail and miss it less and less as I learn more and more.

Love is an action. It is not a feeling. When I am irritated and impatient I am not acting in love.

The bible is very clear on the actions we are to take in love. Jesus was loving, he was giving, he was kind and I am to be Christ like. Who else will be the prime example in my children’s lives while they are home? I want my friends and family to see the kind of love that lives and dwells in me, when I allow my self to get out of my own way.

Challenge this day my friend: Find areas that we can exhibit love that we never thought was an act of Love before. And feel free to comment on the steps we have taken on our comment section. I would love to hear the different ways we are actively  loving our family, friends, coworkers, teachers, church members, neighbors and more.

Lets’ spread true love, one action at a time by following these words below :

1 Corinthians 3:4-7

Love is PATIENT, Love is KIND.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is NOT SELF-SEEKING,

it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs

love does not delight with evil, but rejoices in truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres

(NIV)