Tag Archive | Hope

Power

I saw this picture on my friends Facebook page the other day and was moved. Here in the midst of these mighty waves stands the light house.  To me it speaks to the things the Lord has been showing me, to pursue peace by right perspective.  To keep my eyes on Him.  A thousand or more correct choices a day.  Persistent choices.  Purposeful choices. No matter the storms that are ranging around me or just life full of its diversions and distractions.    He is not merely a temporary retreat.  If I take where I am right now and see it through His eyes, knowing that in this place is something I need to learn.  I need to be attentive to keep my focus and perspective.

In this place I find peace regardless of the waves that crash around me.

He is my lighthouse

Psalm 46
1 God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.
3 Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! Interlude
4 A river brings joy to the city of our God,
the sacred home of the Most High.
5 God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed.
From the very break of day, God will protect it.
6 The nations are in chaos,
and their kingdoms crumble!
God’s voice thunders,
and the earth melts!
7 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel[b] is our fortress. Interlude
8 Come, see the glorious works of the Lord:
See how he brings destruction upon the world.
9 He causes wars to end throughout the earth.
He breaks the bow and snaps the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.”
11 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.

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Negative Focus

focus

He has to renew my mind because I can not.  I am flawed and lack focus.  Well correction.  I can focus on the wrong things. I can focus on the problem not the solution. I can spin in circles draining my joy trying to master the problem, make it make sense, understand it and still find no way to control it.

“A renewed mind is Presence-focused.” That comes from a daily renewing of my mind.

Not every mountain is mine to climb.  Not every problem is mine to solve.  At the last minute there may be a detour and if I am focused too far ahead I have wasted so much time and energy that I fall out of focus on the today, on the now.  He ALWAYS makes provision, I have to seek Him, renew in Him, focus on Him and stay immersed, in Him.

The result is I lose my Joy and I have days like I had yesterday where I allow outside stuff to steal my peace.  I lose my focus.  I think it was last week I read a devotion on Choosing Joy. 

“. Jesus did not come so that we can merely survive life. Pagans can survive life. Jesus came to be our joy…..Joy is not the result of outward circumstances. Joy is an inside job, a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control. Every trial or loss, every defeat or victory measured against this confidence can be counted as joy….The Apostle Paul was a man of great joy. By human terms, he had every right to be angry and even bitter. Instead, he chose joy. Persecuted, imprisoned and facing His own death, Paul says, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-12, NIV)…..We cannot avoid pain but we can avoid joy. Our inward perspective does not have to reflect our outward circumstances. The pursuit of joy is a matter of choice…..

A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, a baseball cap on his head, ball and bat in hand. He was muttering, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!” Then he tossed the ball in the air, swung at it, and missed. “Strike one!” He picked up the ball, threw it into the air and said to himself, “I’m the greatest hitter ever!” He swung at the ball again. “Strike two!” He paused, examined his bat and ball and threw the ball into the air, missing a third time. He cried out, “Wow! I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!”

Yes, the pursuit of joy is a matter of choice and perspective. It is also a matter of obedience. As Christians, one of our spiritual priorities should be joy.

“One ship sails east.

One ship sails west.

Regardless of how the winds blow,

It is the set of the sail

And not the gale

That determines the way we go.”

(Author unknown)

Set your sails for joy, girlfriend! Celebrate! Revel in who God is, in what He has done, is doing and will do in your life when you choose joy.”

 

And there it is.  Perspective.  Choice. A matter of obedience.

Keeping it real….today is a new day.

 

Pause

pause

In just one pause, one deep breath, one slow down there can be peace.

….And just like that a few days slip past and I am absorbed back into the chaos and perspective and peace are in my rear view mirror.  Lesson number one for me today- relationships doesn’t take the weekend off.  Lesson number two in direct line with lesson number one- I need to stay dialed in to my pursuit of perspective and peace by staying dialed in to my relationship with God.  Lesson number three- my days are filled with me, an imperfect person, moving through an imperfect world, surrounded by other imperfect people doing less then imperfect things so why expect anything less?

I must keep my perspective on the things that matter- on GOD.  On the one perfect in my imperfect life.  Things seem great I must trust Him.  Things are falling apart I must trust Him.  Its a lazy Saturday afternoon I must trust Him.  Its a world wind Monday I must trust Him.  When my bonus is big I must trust Him. When I don’t know how we will make it through I must trust Him.

I have to build in the pause.  I have to build it in as I start my day and every hour of every day because life is going to through me crap, curve balls, distractions and sometimes even good ones.  I have to have those 10 second windows built in to remember HE is perfect.  To see things through Him.  To ask. To wait. To listen.  To hear.  It is not about my circumstances but about my reactions, about my right responses and the ONLY place I will find those is in the Pause- in the Purposeful Perspective that comes with Peace.

So as I am hurrying to do something last night that was good but not necessary, as I missed my exit and back tracked around, as I walked in to just turn around and walk out, as I grumbled the first 1o minutes of my ride back home I heard that small voice. ” Not everything that is good is worth it and did you even take a moment to pause today?”

Ps 73 21-28

21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
    and I was all torn up inside.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant—
    I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
23 Yet I still belong to you;
    you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    leading me to a glorious destiny.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    I desire you more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
    but God remains the strength of my heart;
    he is mine forever.

27 Those who desert him will perish,
    for you destroy those who abandon you.
28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
    and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

Ok to Choose

goodbetterbest

So if you know me at all you know I love to bake and every single Christmas I bake.  A LOT!  From Frosted sugar cookies to fudge, Santa surprises to chocolate covered pretzels.  Probably about a dozen various special treats and gift them to my family, friends and neighbors (and help my husband need gift exchange because he gained another pant size.)   This past holiday season I did not bake.  Nope. Not one single treat and let me tell you, you would have thought I committed the unpardonable sin.

Let me explain.

The last quarter of 2015 I realized something I have never grasped before (or maybe held so loosely too I let it slip away).  Everything that is good is not profitable.  Everything that I like to do and want to do is not always what is best. I can’t do everything.  Not everything is meant for me to do.

I tried to go full steam ahead, do all the things I think are expected of me and all the things I need to do, all the things other people should be doing and find time for the things I love then I burn myself out.  Add to that being in a desert place spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally and you have a recipe for a meltdown.  I was at capacity and on empty and realized very clearly that if I added one more thing I would be in trouble.

So I choose wisely.

I realized that the things I had no control over were out of control and the things I could control I needed to reevaluate for importance.  The cookies, a few parties, decorating, projects around the house, extra activities I hoped to do- all made the cut.

The cookies was the biggest thing.  I found myself apologizing. I cried. I felt like I was letting everyone down in falling to make this holiday tradition happen.  I mean as silly as it is now because everyone did survive without Christmas cookies (to hear my husband you would think he lost a limb and was starved to death).  The moment at which I came to the realization that to make the cookies meant sacrificing being able to stand up without excruciating pain in my knee, meant giving up sleep my frazzled mind and body desperately needed, meant letting down my kids and my husband and my poor neighbor who starts asking at Thanksgiving when I will start baking, I realized something.  In that moment I realized growth. Growth in that I put what was best for me before what was good and everyone made it out alive.  I put what was needed before what was wanted.

May not sound like a big deal but to me this is huge. I live in the place of making everyone else happy.  Not because they require it but because I do.  I have always been a Martha and I needed a Mary moment. I need to be still (well as still as I could be) and I needed to catch my breath, to eat someone else’s cookies, to be quiet and boring and rest and miss those parties. I needed to not second guess my saying No and rest in my right to choose.

Too often I get lost in the “must’s” and the “think I should’s”.  Simple answer as to why:  because I lost perspective and peace.  I stopped seeking the plan for my day in a quiet and still moment with my maker. I started borrowing from what could happen and what should happen instead of living in what was happening and allowing it to.  I filled my time with stuff- necessary or not.

Now in setting limits, expressing your needs and making clear boundaries, in choosing, sometimes others are offended. Sometimes they see it as your feelings are more important than theirs.  For me that is not what it was about at all. It was for me and continues to be because I have been to the bottom and I know what it feels like to not choose and loose myself, almost completely and finally.

What a freedom there is in living IN today. Taking moment by moment.  I am sure I sound like a broken record but there is peace and taking it as it comes and trusting and resting that my steps are order, when I have HIS perspective on my day.

choices

 

Mary and Martha
38-40 As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”
41-42 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

*Disclaimer:  No innocent husbands were hurt in the process. My sister saved the day and made sure his waist line didn’t miss out on cookies and that there was a plate for Santa*

 

Attitude of Adventure

adventure

noun an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.
verb engage in hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory.
Very rarely have I woke up in the  morning thinking, “wow, what adventure awaits me today!”  If I am honest any adventure in my day usually had something to do with Dora the Explorer and now since the kids are grown/growing its the grand babies world of Minnie and Elmo.  Adventure is not necessarily how I see my day.
Enter the end of 2015 and start of 2016 when I resolved not to resolve.  I decided to take it moment by moment with a bent towards doing small manageable goals that for once are sustainable and obtainable.  In a world where I love to make lists and check off and get things done I can easily map out my day and miss a lot of what has happened.  I recognize that going through the motions even if a result is achieved is not always best.  Then there are the days since I started this new outlook that I feel like giving up.  Yet I am reminded again today to change my VIEW- my perspective.  To take each day as an adventure carefully planned out my guide.
Jesus Calling devotion today reads like this:

-Jesus Calling Devotion For January 13-
Try to view each day as an adventure, carefully planned out by your Guide. Instead of staring into the day that is ahead of you, attempting to program it according to your will, be attentive to Me and to all I have prepared for you. Thank Me for this day of life, recognizing that it is a precious, unrepeatable gift. Trust that I am with you each moment, whether you sense My Presence or not. A thankful, trusting attitude helps you to see events in your life from My perspective.

A life lived close to Me will never be dull or predictable. Expect each day to contain surprises! Resist your tendency to search for the easiest route through the day. Be willing to follow wherever I lead. No matter how steep or treacherous the path before you, the safest place to be is by My side.

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
—Psalm 118:24

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
—1 Peter 2:21

What a great 13 days of 2016. Each day has been full of adventure- highs and lows a like.  And I have been trusting and thankful, living my days closer to Him that sustains me and has never failed me.  My trust is in HIM, my hope is in HIM.  Listen my life has NEVER been dull.  Like everyone, it is always something, but I am promised that this is the day HE made and He will direct my steps when I recognize that today is a day he made, a precious gift that once lived is gone.  When I take every moment and every interaction and see it through His eyes it really does change me and change the results of my day.
Welcome Wednesday- lets get this adventure started…………

Just ONE

one small

I was reading a devotion this morning about an overgrown garden.  The author was taking in the over growth, the forgotten and untended plot but with a sense of hope could glimpse what it could be.  She noted it would not be without hard work yet”promise was burgeoning just below the soil”

I think that was where I stood just a few weeks ago.  After a season of overgrowth, where I had allowed weeds of self doubt, condemnation, frustration and just pure exhaustion to drown out anything productive in my soil. I lost sight of potential as well as promise.  I started to walk through and past my “Garden” without any consideration. I literally was going through the motions.  I had lost hope with all the commotion.

I read too this morning her words “When we glimpse an opportunity before us, do we turn our gaze because we are wary of the work the soil demands?”

How true the words. I have read them over and over.  How true that I can see the things that need to be done but fall victim to excuses, fear, frustration.  I let what others say, do or WON’T do stop me from what I should do. I fall victim to procrastination because the task seems to daunting.

” You need only consider your next step.  Don’t be overwhelmed by the size of the task before you.  Focus on one thing that must be done next and trust God to level the ground before you.”

I am here Lord, I am doing this.  One day one moment one call one conversation one trust one step at a time.  I can’t stop re reading. I am here. I am doing this. I am pushing off the things that have bound me up and I am doing it.

“And then watch in wonder as it begins to blossom. When we are faithful to simply show up with hands willing to work, we can watch in wonder as God brings forth fruit from our humble efforts.

Yes- tears streaming as I type this!  YES YES YES

I was ready to give up on so many things. I was hurt and frustrated and gave back in to self doubt and fear. But YES I am doing it. I am showing up from the time my eyes open til my feet are pulled back into my bed. I am willing I am taking that one simple step and showing up for my day.  At work I am just blown away to have such success in just a few short days.  But it is right here. I made a choice to allow my efforts to be as unto the Lord and not be side tracked with anything. I made a choice to allow one positive thing to radiate through my whole day and my whole being and walk simply through my day for HIS glory for He is my provider.

He brings forth the fruit from our humble efforts. HE provides the increase. When I am faithful HE shows up.  When I trust and walk simply HE is there.  He give the increase. It is Him.  He is the WHY and the HOW.

I am so thankful. I am so blessed. I am so ready to continue to clear this path and see the fruit and the journey.

1 cor. 3:6

(You can read the Proverbs 31 devotion for today here)

Probably won’t but I should

rainy dayDay 32 Project 365

Been awhile since I did more than a quick post from my phone. Though I am actually logged in tonight I am not quite in a place where I am ready to really write. I am recovering from feeling like death warmed over and still not myself. I am exhausted and emotionally feel like I have been ran over. I can’t quite explain that either. I mean I can, but, I probably won’t. I am stuck and feeling like I am going through motions. I know what I would like to do, but, I probably won’t. On that note I need to go back to some basics. Some things I know pull me out of this place. I need a new direction. I need ………to catch my breath!