Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fear or Faith?

If my memory serves me right, there was a reality show called Fear Factor. I only watched it for seconds as I flipped channels. People's fears were being tested to the max--eating worms, laying in tubs of snakes, falling from heights. I never understood the point in giving attention to our fears in such ways. Dollar signs, I suspect...anything for Hollywood and attention.

Micca takes us on a much deeper level in chapter two, "The Fear Factor", of her book, An Untroubled Heart. After you read this, see what others have to say also at Lelia's.

God does not want us to live in fear. Rather, it is His desire for us to live fear-free and faith-filled. Micca tells us that "'fear not' is stated in the Bible 366 times. That's one 'fear not' for every day of the year, with one extra left over for those really hard days." God is faithful to remind us to not live in fear. Shall we not be equally faithful to live in faith and not fear?

I was not surprised to see Micca quote a scripture I memorized some time ago. It's one of the most "popular" on fear. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT, NKJV, and ESV include the word fear with or instead of timidity. "You and I were created to live by faith, and in God, we have all the power we need for a faith that is stronger than all our fears." (emphasis added) "Most of what we worry about never comes to pass but we insist on tormenting ourselves anyway." How ironic, huh? It seems so senseless as we just worry in vain.

Worry causes: torment, temporary insanity, sleeplessness, reduced productivity, lack of participation in life. Living with fear means missing opportunities, wondering why, living below the mark, and stumbling. "Confidence in a faithful God unlocks the gateway to overcoming the fears of betrayal, loneliness, rejection, and the unknown."

No worry, know faith
Know worry, no faith

It is a hard and touchy question, but one I've often presented...if we worry, are we really trusting God? What kind of faith do we have? Do we have faith on a certain level? Do we worry on a certain level? I also pose the question, can worry become sin? I believe yes! If we worry to the extreme on an issue, then we are giving that issue more thought, more energy, more attention than we are giving to God. So what does that mean? It becomes an idol...anything we place above God. We may not be stating the worry is more important that God but by consuming our thoughts and hearts, it is saying that.


"The truth is my biggest obligation is to maintain my relationship with God." God doesn't expect, nor does He want, us to do things on our own or in our own strength. It is only through His power, strength, and grace that we can do anything. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 The things that are impossible with people are possible with God. Luke 18:27

I about fainted when I read this: "Is there someone in your life planting doubt in your heart and mind over something you're already doing? If so, don't listen. Don't look back. Keep your eyes on Jesus and keep walking on water." Well, yeah. Whether directly said to me or not, I have many someones who doubt what I'm doing, that is believing God for restoration. I do not hold this against anyone. I know all wish me well and just want what's best for me. Maybe others are afraid to encourage me for the possibility it might not happen. Maybe divorce and multiple marriages are so rampant that it's hard to believe with me that this is God's will per His word.

I also know one of the "someones" is the great doubter and deceiver of all--the enemy. By no measure does he even want a marriage restored and God's glory shining. So, I will keep my eyes on Jesus, knowing I'm standing on His word, and will continue to walk on water with Him. Remember when Peter took his eyes off Jesus and he began to sink? I refuse to sink. I refuse to take my eyes off Jesus. I will trust that when He sees my eyes wonder, He'll send one of His helpers to encourage me in my stand and belief for restoration. He's done it for 21 months.

"God never meant for you and me to be strong in and of ourselves. We were meant to show His strength in our weakness as he provides for our needs." The prophets who by faith...from weaknesses were made strong. Hebrews 11:34 Power perfected in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real. The enemy is sneaky. He is the father of lies but also the father of fears. He knows fear can inhibit and freeze us. He tries to convince us of many fears: God doesn't have time for our issues, He isn't powerful enough, He's too busy, we have to do it ourselves. "We fear that if we bend our will to conform to God's desires, He might send us to some remote wilderness as a missionary." I had to chuckle as that is so true for many of us. If I give into His desires, what will He make me do? What will He ask of me?

Ironic that Micca brought up her incident with a snake, which is my worst physical fear, even more than heights. She leads right into correlating that to the biggest snake of all--satan. How true that we will continually encounter the enemy throughout our entire walk with Jesus. The closer we walk with God, the more we are active for Him, the hotter satan is on our trail. If we are lukewarm and inactive in our walk, then satan isn't threatened and therefore there's no need for him to be after us as much. Our Christian journey is marked by trials and temptations, providing opportunities for us to shine for Jesus.

Of course, I love my man James as his short book is poignant and powerful for every aspect of our lives. Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 Flee...f.l.e.e. I envision that to be instant and fast, immediate and rapid. He has no power over us. Rather, we have the power of Christ, the power of His blood. He can tempt but He can't conquer. James goes on to say: Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8 It's imperative that we sandwich the two sentences in verse seven with verse eight. Submit to God...resist the devil...he will flee...draw near to God. We are protected when we submit and draw near while resisting. See the encompassing circle of protection.

Walk out of His care. Walk into this fear.

"Faith in God's provision is our anchor that secures a life free from fear." (emphasis added) P.R.O.V.I.S.I.O.N. If we believe and trust His provision, then why shall we worry? Over what is there truly to worry? Nothing, with His provision.

Don't let anyone - friend, foe, family, satan, anyone - tell you that you can't walk on water when you are already walking on water. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep walking on water. I've had plenty of people think I can't walk on water; it won't happen as they are viewing it from human eyes but by supernatural eyes. I will continue to walk on water with Jesus and one day another person will also walk with us also.

Keeping My Eyes on Him
Stepping Out of the Boat
and Walking on Water,

© Copyright 2008

Friday, March 27, 2009

Blogaversary Count Down

I guess it is the "thang" to do when we have a blogaversary...have a give-away. I think the reason many of us choose to do this is because it's such a milestone. Those outside of the blog world don't realize the impact and how important it is. Some may think it's just crazy women (and some men) rambling about what they ate for breakfast or what time they went to the potty. NOT. It's about so much more. Ministry, love, friendships, bonds, healing. Some of my closest and bestest friends are online...some I've never heard their voices and none I've seen their faces outside of a picture. I feel weird saying this to my "in person" friends because again I just don't think the bonds in this atmosphere are understood. The word "blog" seems to have a trivial connotation to some "outsiders".

For the record, for my sanity, for your wonderful knowledge, let me share how God birthed me into this world. No not the physical world. I think you can all figure that...mom, dad, together, sperm, egg, Paula.

When my sweet beloved left 21 months ago (in June 2007), I remember that fall going online to christianity.com. I haven't a clue why I did. Maybe some sort of junk mail from crosscards.com I perused the site and clicked on about seven devotionals to which I subscribed. I read those daily for a while but soon found how crazy I was as I couldn't keep up with them. I am now down to three from those original but I've since added another one from Rejoice Ministries. One of the devotionals was Proverbs 31. I think every woman in blogland knows of P31. Ironically though, not many do outside blogland (at least the ones in my small town), maybe because we are far from the Carolinas.

One devotional of P31 was written by Rachel Olsen. I don't have a clue what she wrote. I just know at the bottom where it always gives the blog site, it said join her for a study on the women of the Bible. Alright! I signed up. Man, it was awesome. I began to meet these women...these women in the Bible and in blogland. I read my assignments, I commented, I read other comments. To this day, I still remember the majority of what I learned. We read about the obvious ones: Eve, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, Potiphar's wife. But then those I hadn't known: Rahab, Deborah, Jael (stabbing the man with a tent spear!).

I would visit the blogs of several of the women doing the study. I know at one time Rachel had over 100 comments on her study. It was a big group and a big deal, especially for me in many ways. I would visit other blogs and think "wow, I wish I could do that. She is gifted. She has a gift for writing. I wish I could write like that." I thought that every time I visited a great blog.

One day, I was forwarding an email to my church ladies' small group. As usual, I don't just forward inspirational emails. No, I have to put my two cents in and write something. That is exactly what I was doing...and...BAM! Mid sentence, God spoke. He said "you can write. You can create a blog and write what is in your heart." I remember, I cut my email short to the girls, and said "God just spoke to me, I've got to go." I went right to blogland and created it. I remember just the words "His Way". I knew that my life was not happening the way I wanted nor the way I thought. I knew He had a plan and He would restore my marriage and my life and my heart but in HiS WaY. I knew there was a scripture to support that. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8.

And thus...His Ways was created in me. My sweet beloved had told me over the years together that I had a gift for writing when I'd write him letters, cards, emails. He would always say how well I wrote this or that. Always. I never really thought much of it. I knew for a long time I was better at the written word than the verbal one as I need the time to process my thoughts and formulate in my head.

So, with that came my first post on April 9, 2008 entitled He Spoke.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd have the impact I do on others. I still don't think I impact many for much. BUT, I have to believe and trust what my readers and now wonderful friends tell me. I have to remember it's not the numbers. Even with 63 followers, my flesh wants to say but I only have ten comments or six, or sixteen. It's not about numbers. It's about souls. And if you read and are encouraged but never comment and tell me that, it's okay because your soul is better for it. I would like to be selfish and say please comment and comment regularly. Tell me how my writings make you feel, good or bad.

I don't remember how it came about, but then God spoke to me my blog mission. I believe in one post I had just written a couple sentences. Then later I went back to retrieve them and officially claimed that as my blog mission: to enrich your life, encourage your heart, enlighten your mind, and strengthen your walk.

So because I learn from the best, I am going to leave you with that cliff hanger. I'll be back to tell you how I want to bless my pReCiOuS pEePs in celebration of how you have blessed me and what God has done in me and through me. I love you all...my precious peeps.

Come back now, ya hear.

Lovin' Him and Lovin' Ya'll,

© Copyright 2008

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Surviving My Unthinkable

New spring season. New week. New beginnings. New online Bible study. Won't you join us? Go to Lelia's to find out more or just read more. Even if you are not reading the book, I'd be ever so blessed and overjoyed for you to visit here every Tuesday to read what God's showing me. Share with me what you gleam from God through me. I'm only a vessel. His vessel.

Micca Campbell is one of the fabulous ladies of Proverbs 31 Ministries founded by Lysa Terkeurst. She has a new book called An Untroubled Heart about "finding a faith that is stronger than my fears".

Let us look at chapter one "When the Unthinkable Happens". Knowing Micca's story, I presumed the chapter would tell us of her unthinkable...losing her first husband at a young age in a burn accident leaving her a single mom of a young child. I could relate to her experience of the unthinkable. My unthinkable happened to me 21 months ago on June 22, 2007.

Micca describes Porter. "I knew this person who didn't even kiss on the first date was the one for me...It felt as if the whole world had been created just for us. Nothing could penetrate our circle of love. I had found my prince charming and I had planned to live happily ever after." I thought Micca had entered my head and wrote MY thoughts and heart in her book. I put a note in the margin: "C and me". My dream has been temporarily shattered for now. Not by death like Micca but by divorce by the legal system, which many time feels much worse.

This also hit me. "My dream had become a living nightmare from which I couldn't escape. Life was lonely without him. I felt deserted by my God, the God I had loved and served since I was a little girl. Why would He betray me? Why didn't Porter fight to live? It wasn't fair! This was not what I had planned."

Why had God allowed this to me? Why didn't C fight for our marriage? Why did God allow satan to lie to him about God's view of our covenant? Why wouldn't God change this course? Why has He not allowed me a second chance? You, God, could've changed this. Again, I could related on a different level the pain and confusion Micca endured.

"Our present fears are fueled by our past experiences." Isn't that the truth. For whatever reason, it seems my recent house deals have shown me God is working. He has not forgotten me or my dead marriage buried six feet under. He is not being flippant about my circumstances, my heart, my life. He needs more time for His plan to work. He wants more time. Things and people need more time. I can feel a certain sense of peace and endurance to continue to wait. Yet even with a certain phase of my life beginning anew, I fear being too happy with upcoming changes. I feel guilty for a certain level of moving forward without my beloved. It just doesn't seem fair or right for me to walk this path without sharing it with my love. I don't want my life fully rebuilt on singleness with him. Though I know for now, I must. I need to accept that, know it's okay, and remember my hope and belief in God's power to restore.

"There is nowhere we can go to escape God's presence. Though it might not feel like it or look like it, God is always near." Isn't that awesome. The word escape seemed to be in bold, highlight, and capitals when I read that. To escape something is to try with all our might to get away, using all our energy to run from something. No matter what we do, we can never escape God. I trust just as the Lord chased me and didn't allow me to escape Him forever, He will also not let His other children escape Him and His way. He will do whatever it takes to woo His children back onto His path, back into His graces, back within His obedience.

God is always near. What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? Deuteronomy 4:7 I admit for 21 months I fluctuated on wondering where God was or better yet what he was doing or rather not doing. So many things can be revealed through my house deals. I believe it has little to do with relieving me of the physical and financial burdens. It has more to do with: 1) showing me He IS working in my life (all aspects). 2) If He's working in my housing, then I must trust He is also working in my beloved's heart and restoration though I see nothing of it. 3) It will take more time - 21 months to sell a home - how much more difficult it is to work in hearts thus even more time needed.

I thought it no coincidence that Micca shared a Psalm with us that I committed to heart years ago. The Lord is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 God is the best help we could ever need or hope for. He is in control of my troubles and your troubles. He's here to help in all trouble. He has the answers for any trouble we can encounter. He can do what I can't in my troubles, what you can't in your troubles.

Again, Micca and I must be reading the same Book! I love James and particularly the scripture she shared. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 Trials bring a mixed bad of emotions. For me, they are mostly painful, draining and difficult. At different times, they've brought anger. As difficult as trials are, it is beneficial to see them as stretching one's faith and character, growing closer to Him and more like Him. Considering it all joy when we face trials is a matter of perspective and focus. Joy is not because those things happen. Joy is in spite of those things happening. Joy is because we are leaning on Him, growing in Him, and testifying to Him.

In addition to producing joy, trials should produce endurance: the ability to endure anything with Christ and the ability to go the distance and not poop out. Of course, I don't believe God expects this to happen over night. It is a process. We are a work in process. Trials have made me much stronger even though I am still very weak outside of Christ. Even though I don't think I can handle this or that, trial x or y, I'm sure I can because I've endured the worst of them: rejection and abandonment by the love of my life.

Surviving with Christ,

© Copyright 2008

Saturday, March 21, 2009

God Is Always Faithful

I know it's about time to think of my weekend post. I'm so ready to write with the Lord. I've sought my notebook and asked Him to show me the words and the post to share with others. On the way home from my ladies small group Bible study on Thursday, I went to the Lord again, praising Him for what He's done. In awe of why He'd do such things for me. In awe of how I can clearly see His plan, His hand, His direction in my life the last 21 months. I passed a church and just happened to look to my right. What did it say? Yep, you got it...the title of my post. "God is always faithful." I knew it then. Even though I passed another sign saying "Without God, we cannot. Without us, God will not." Ponder that. A broad thought yet profound statement. I still knew the direction I was to take but no words.

God is always faithful to us. He is faithful when we don't see Him. He is faithful when we don't feel Him. He is faithful when we don't understand Him. He is faithful when we are not faithful to Him. Get it. He is ALWAYS, ALWAYS faithful. What does He have to do or say to solidify that in us? Yes, I believe most of us know that. But do we know it? Really know it. Really feel it. Really believe it. Or does He give us signs? Does He show us His hand in our lives to reaffirm He is faithful? Yes, there are signs all along our paths to show His faithfulness to us. We only need to look, see, and pick up those signs and place them deep in our hearts.

If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:13

My Lord has been faithful to me. More than faithful. More faithful than I deserve. I see His Hand. Oh, how I could tell the stories of how He's shown me a direct relationship to someone entering my life 25 years ago and how that person to this day has been used by God in regard to my recent house deals. (She entered by life 25 years ago and has only recently reappeared in the last couple of years.) He used her and her friendship with me to keep His plan in check as of recent. I can't explain it better than that without sharing more than I'm allowed. I hate that God has clearly shown me His direct hand in a specific situation yet I've given my word to not share that information. It was confidential but she shared it with me. I'm so glad she did, not because it was confidential or not because of the information itself. Rather, because it pointed even so clearly and directly to Him. Oh how I wish I could share more details so you too could see His hand...see the awe I feel. But, you will have to trust me and allow me to praise Him in my heart and through my vagueness.

I have no idea if this is going to
enrich, encourage, uplift or strengthen anyone. Oh how I pray it does. I just feel led to share His faithfulness to me and to encourage others to hold tight to His faithfulness to you also. I hope I never forget this time of God revealing His faithfulness. May I cling to this in times when I don't clearly see or feel His hand in my life, when I'm clueless as to what He's doing or why He's doing this or not doing that.

He has been faithful to provide my finances. He has been faithful to provide peace in the midst of confusion. He's been faithful to provide an outstanding realtor. He has been faithful to guide my decisions. He has been faithful to make my path clear. He has been faithful to provide overwhelming peace when I needed it so desperately in decisions. He has been faithful in instilling in me a gift and love for writing. He has been faithful to provide a deeply loving family. He has been faithful to provide friends who genuinely rejoice with me. He has been faithful to share hearts I've never met yet they have embraced and loved me for who I am. He has been faithful to extend encouragement through others of who I am in Christ, who I am in heart, who I am in personality.

I've never felt so beautiful as a person inside. I've been encouraged in such a way that I'm beginning to believe again I am and have a beautiful heart and a sweet spirit. Rejection and abandonment from the past had caused me to think I really am a terrible person. No, I've done terrible things for reasons understood now, but those terrible actions/sins don't make me who I am.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

You found his heart faithful to you, and you made a covenant with him to give to his descendants the land... You have kept your promise because you are righteous. Nehemiah 9:8 His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' Matthew 25:21
I hope He has found, is finding, and will continue to find my heart faithful. I know He is righteous and will keep His promises. Oh, I definitely desire to share in my God and Master's happiness. Is there anything better?

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to His service. 1 Timothy 1:12 Again, I can only hope and pray HE sees me as faithful. What honor it is to be appointed to His service, to do His work.

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 He has definitely strengthened me and protected me from harm the enemy intends.

So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. 1 Peter 4:19 I can attest to my own share of suffering and pain. I don't believe some of it has been God's will but rather He's allowed it and allowed free will. Nevertheless, He is my faithful Creator and I commit myself to Him always and doing His good.

See how faithful He is...
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. Deuteronomy 32:4

All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant. Psalm 25:10

For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. Psalm 33:4

The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. Psalm 145:13b

Rejoicing in His Faithfulness,

© Copyright 2008

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lift Up Thy Soul, Not Thy Self

With the end of this Self Talk, Soul Talk study, a chapter in our journey has closed. A chapter in this book has closed. But the chapter of learning will never be closed. Jennifer Rothschild has opened our minds and hearts to the concept and awareness of our thought closets. It contains good items, bad items, things out-dated, things desperately needing tossed. We are to take captive our thought closets. Take control and manage what enters and exits. Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corithians 10:5b

When we look for a house (anyone doing that?), closets are typically not our main focus or concentration. Any woman loves lots of closets to hold lots of stuff...stuff we can hide or stuff we can't seem to let go. Does that sound like anything else? Our thought closets maybe? Closets aren't a make or break item in a housing deal. However, we see how very important our thought closets can be. They can hold much negativity and drain our lives or they can hold positive thoughts that encourage, uplift, enrich, and strengthen. Just as it is my desire and mission of this blog to do those four things for each and every reader, I too, need to be concerned that my own thoughts bring those four elements to my own life.

Just as we should take better care of the closets in our homes, it is even more important that we give much care and concern over our thought closets.

Jennifer reinforces to us in chapter eleven (Lift Up: Praise the Lord, O My Soul) how important and vital it is to put others before us. We need to lift others up. As a result of lifting others before ourselves, it truly does help us more. We can think that putting ourselves first gains us much. But really, putting ourselves last gains us more than we could think putting ourselves first would do. Many who are first will be last; and the last, first. Matthew 19:30

Mother Teresa once said "A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves."

Jennifer says "When we lift others, we grow stronger, healthier, and happier." Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

In addition to raising up others for our soul, we must raise our hearts and eyes to the Lord in praise. When our lives our Christ-centered we are more at peace, happier, healthier, and stronger. "Praise is a part of enjoying anything." I never really thought about that. When we enjoy good food, we are praising the cook's efforts. When we enjoy a good book, we are praising the author's skill. When we enjoy a gorgeous sunset or sunrise, we are praising the Creator's beautiful handiwork.

We know God wants us to praise Him. But, He also wants us to enjoy Him. Wow...to enjoy the Almighty, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. He delights in us. He also delights in us delighting in Him!!

"Ironically, our own selfishness deprives us from what we long for most." Read that again. Being selfish and going after that "thing" we want so bad ultimately ends in our misery and unhappiness. Putting God, others, and selflessness before ourselves brings true reward and happiness to our souls. He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30.

I whisper that most mornings...Lord may You increase and I decrease today. (At least when I'm cognitive and conscious enough to remember.)

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord. Psalm 19:14 Not necessarily pleasing but to just be acceptable...how glorious that is still. To simply be acceptable in the Lord's eyes, let alone pleasing.

To see what others have to say on this final chapter go to Lelia's.

Lifting My Soul to Him,

© Copyright 2008

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Just Me...Seeking...His Way

This is a totally free lance post. I feel I must share some piece of encouragement, enlightenment, enrichment, or strength with you all. Oh how I long to love the Lord with my written word. How I long to commune with God in my written word. How I long to minister to the hearts of the readers who've blessed me by their eyes on my words. I had some pieces rolling around in my head. Some drafts started from long ago. But something in my heart says to write on the current days of my life and heart.

Many of you know what is occurring right now in my life regarding the selling of my house. Because I believe so much in the power of prayer, I've mass emailed about 100 people. I know it was more than 50 because hotmail only allows 50 recipients at a time and I had to send two emails. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16

During the last 20 months of this very painful yet enriching journey, God has never left me. I can never allow the enemy to convince me otherwise. I have said from day one, I know God has a plan for the selling of my house. Maintaining my house financially and physically without my beloved for so many months has been emotionally draining. I've at times wondered why, why do You want me here so long and still. Yet, even in wondering why, I didn't question His plan. I didn't question His power to sell my house regardless of the market. He is so much more powerful that a failing economy. I didn't question He would make good out of the sale of my house. My house really has been released into His Hands. I admit it's been harder to let go and release to that same level some relational matters and desires for restoration. I guess the closer things get to our hearts, the harder it is to let go. Don't get me wrong, there are so many emotional aspects of living in my home, selling it, and moving to another alone. Yet, marital and relational issues are so much closer to my heart. When it's a matter of love, can we get any closer to the human heart? Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3

I admit I feel I've seen God's hand less times than I've not seen His hand. Catch that? There are few times I've "seen" Him working. "They" (whomever they are) tell us that when we least see His hand, that is when He is working the most. Amen to that, huh? I can only hope and believe that to be true. Or rather, I know He is always working in my life but to Him that doesn't always mean He has to be busy. We in our flesh typically feel we must always be working or doing. It's not more apparent than in our conversations. Most of us hate those awkward moments of silence. We hate those moments of not doing and feeling we are being productive. YET, so much good comes from silence. So much good comes from putting aside the to-do list and waiting. The Lord is good to those who wait upon Him, to the soul who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25

The Lord has been so good to me in this heartbreak that I never thought I'd have to endure nor never thought I could endure. He has been faithful to me. I know He is faithful to us even when we do not feel Him nor do we see Him doing anything. I'm no stranger to being real with Him and yelling out to Him. Asking why He won't...or why He can't just...or when will He...I've cried and begged Him. I've pleaded please, please, please. Yet, silence. OR so I think.

After 20 1/2 months I have a real offer on my house. After so long, I got use to the phone calls for a showing and used them as an excuse to clean my house. Fifty-three showings. Will it be the last? Only God knows. I live in a very nice and pleasing home and have grown very comfortable in it, especially during the winters. My first visit to my yard a couple weeks ago and my heart raced at the anxiety of all the yard work that spring brings. Oh my. I dread it. I love it but dread doing it alone and with the memories. I remember that day so clearly when I quickly cleaned some flower beds last minute before a showing. I cried out and begged Him to take this home. That was Saturday, February 28th.

So, the nervousness came this past Wednesday when my realtor called to say "we have an offer". Oh my. I'm not ready, Lord. Oh the packing, the moving, the emotions of leaving, the anxiety of finding another home and deciding alone. The last four days have been filled with prayers and many pleas to the Lord to "show me". Show me Your way. Psalm 25:4 I've gone back and forth from excited to nervous. Two highly possible houses have been laid before me. There couldn't be two more different houses, both immediately available. Oh how I wonder if one of these He has prepared for me and which one. I would so quickly jump on the one He desires for me with no question, if only He will tell me, show me. I will obey. I feel Him working but just can't see the path clearly. Only time will tell. Days and we should know if I need to pursue a new home. I love the house where You live, O LORD, the place where Your glory dwells. Psalm 26:8

How can nervousness and excitement reside in the body and heart at the same time? So many events can do that. The big one being a wedding. Graduation. Moving. New Job.

Have you ever pondered on this odd mix of emotions? How complex our Creator created us with such an array of emotions.

He is good. He is mighty in all His ways. He has a plan. He is the Man. He is the Miracle Maker. He is everything.

I will be glad and rejoice in Your love, for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. Psalm 31:7

Trusting in His Goodness,

© Copyright 2008

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Don't Quit: Press On

Jennifer's opening story in chapter ten, "Press On: March On, O Soul", is such a true example of what we (or at least I) do so much of the time. When singing the national anthem, she choked on one word. Her family was very gracious in extending congratulations to her. They saw how she recovered the choke and sang very well. They saw the 81 words sang well, but she saw the one sour note. She couldn't hear the compliments, applause, and consoling. Instead, the one negative overshadowed all of the positives. Is that not all of us? At the least, it is our human tendency and our initial thought, of which we struggle to prevent and reverse such pattern. We are a work in progress so that's okay as long as these initial thoughts don't force us out of the race. "Running the race makes us weary, and sometimes we want to just sit it out for a while."

Oh my, is that ever true for me. In the recent months of this so far 20-month journey, I've felt so much weariness upon my soul. Just as I feel I'm too tired to continue, God refocuses my vision, reenergizes my soul, and refreshes my desires. Many times this process is daily and sometimes of late, can be hourly. One hour ready to give up. The next, ready to run. The next, too tired to get up. The next, running shoes on. Then, sitting down in weariness. Then, a slow trot. You get the idea. Constant. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race mared out for us. Hebrews 12:1

As Christians, I don't believe we can ever give up. We have the hope of Christ and we must never relinquish our hand from God's power to sustain us. We must run the race. Fight the good fight. (Side note: I typed this post Monday night. Tuesday morning in my reading of the Word, I read this. You can imagine my surprise, when the exact four words I used last night are actually words in the Bible. How awesome and timely!...Is that You, God? Your voice?) Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. 1 Timothy 1:18-19

In my mind I see 'to press on' as perseverance--going even though there is no more gas for going. But, to march on, seems slighly different. Marching is an orderly fashion, disciplined, determined, and one step at a time. It can be methodical--planned and precise. Jennifer shares how to make perseverance practical.

Turn Your Feelings Into Action
Do something: pen to paper, foot to floor, eyes to sky (praying). All the while, keeping focused on Jesus. Big feelings paralyze us. Small feelings move us. Jennifer quoted an unknown wise soul: "Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble." Ponder that for a moment.

Affirm Your True Identity
"Just because you have frailed at something doesn't mean you are a failure." Sometimes it is very difficult to separate those. We are forgiven by God for our mistakes. Yet, we have a hard time forgiving ourselves and separating our mistakes from our identity. Actually, most all failures lead to some sort of success if we don't give up. "Soul talk will always begin with I am. Remember, I am is not the same as I feel. Don't let feelings define you; let who you are define your feelings."

Speak Truth to Your Soul
Walter Elliott wrote: "Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races, one after another." I believe that is the only true way to survive and thrive. One step at a time, one small race at a time. One day at a time and sometimes it is one hour at a time. "What you feed grows and conversely what you starve dies."

Exercise Discipline
Are those two nasty words, at which we roll our eyes, or what? "Disability rarely hinders us as much as defiance....Small, daily disciplines can develop a sturdy soul--strong and protected from the crushing effects of despair."

"Facing a daunting task--particularly one that involves risk, sacrifice, and pain--can make the best of us want to wave a white flag." Feeling feeble, overwhelmed, weary, tired (emotionally), depressed, and unequipped are very tempting reasons to lay down the sword and give up the fight. I can honestly say that from current experience. But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. 2 Chronicles 15:7

We need to not be too quick to let down our guard when a victory has been won. "The moments following great victories may be the most vulnerable moments you face." We all know that when victory is won, we are relaxed with our guard down, and satan comes to knock us behind the knees!! "If we keep telling ourselves to persevere when we're winning, we'll sing the same song to our souls when victories are hard to find." You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36

When I so often don't see victories in what God has called me to do (stand for restoration) I feel much like Elijah. I have had enough, Lord. 1 Kings 19:4

Richard Nixon said: "Defeat does not finish a man, quitting does. A man is not finished when he's defeated. He's finished when he quits." Wow! That is so powerful. Ponder that a moment.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

Suffering--> Perseverance--> Character--> Hope

Tarry on, peeps. Tarry on.
To see what others have to say, go to Lelia's. Scroll down two posts to read my chapter nine.

Pressing On, While Holding On...to HIM,

© Copyright 2008

Friday, March 6, 2009


There is way, way, way too much shouting in this world. My past has been tattered by my own regrettable shouting. There is one kind of shouting that we need more. Shouting to the Lord. The song "Shout to the Lord" makes me think of shouting in a good way. The Psalmist tells us so.

Shout joyfully to the God of Jacob. Psalm 81:1
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Psalm 98:4
Shout joyfully before the King, the Lord. Pslam 98:8

Why are we shouting to the Lord?

There is none like Him.
The wonders of His mighty love.

The greatness of His power.
He is our comfort and shelter.
He is a tower of refuge and strength.
Not just refuge and strength but a TOWER of it.
How huge is that?!

Big enough that...
Mountains bow down.
Sea billows roar.
Enemies scatter.
Stars and galaxies gaze.
Earth trembles.
Every knee falls.

ALL at the sound of His name.

From the song:
Let every breath, all that we are worship Him.
Let us never cease to worship Him.

Let us sing power and majesty to the King
Let us sing praise to the King;

Let us sing for joy at the work of His Hands
Let us love Him forever.
Forever, we will stand.

Because nothing compares to the promise we have in Him.

Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious.
Say to God, how awesome are Your works! Psalm 66:1-3

Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5b

Shouting to Him,

© Copyright 2008

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chill Out & Rest

Come with my precious peeps and examine chapter nine, "Chill Out: Be At Rest, O My Soul", of Jennifer Rothschild's Self Talk, Soul Talk book. When you are finished reading my insight, go to Lelia's to check what others said.
Jennifer quotes author, Rob Schwarzwalder, as saying "Each soul is like a carefully wired circuit breaker than can function splendidly when operating according to its design but which, when overloaded, crackles with the sparks and shouts of a system bearing more than it can hold." Breathe. That's one long sentence but quite true. I'll give you a moment to read it again as it's a lot to chew.

My system malfunctioned and over the course of two years I was bearing more than I could hold. My system did more than cracks and pops. Flames spewed. Fires burned out of control. My body failed with ailment so discretely. My mind became clouded. My heart overcame with grief and down trotted. My spirit and personality hardened to something unrecognizable. Again, all done very slowly and discretely. Time for a major chill out. A check up. A reconditioning. A rejuvenation in my soul with my God. Unfortunately, all was not done without a major life change and massive heart break.

My eyes popped out when I read this. "Researches define burnout as a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by long-term involvement in emotionally demanding situations." Wow. That was me. Had you ever asked me, I wouldn't have recognized it as such. I was overcome with being constantly drained by discord among a few loved ones close to me. For three years, my mind never rested. Instead, the emotional pain, drama, dysfunction, and discord only intensified.

Even without focusing on the issues, in retrospect I see my mind, heart, and soul never rested but rather continually sought resolution to these concerns involving the heart, emotions, and relationships. I see now I should've found peace with no resolution, possibly saving some instead of striving to save all the relationships. I wanted all relationships fixed but I see now, I should've let go of the lesser and focused on the two God called me to: God and spouse.

What an easy target I was. Prime meat for satan....weary, straggling, tired, barely hanging on by my fingertips...susceptible to his sneaky and deceptive attacks. What's the enemy do? Kick 'em while their down.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:7-9

I should've FULLY cast my cares on Him and let go of these things. I should've been more on guard and alert, which partly comes from rest. I should've stood firm in my faith, acknowledging and resisting the enemy's attacks.

"We must choose for our wills to take a break from striving, for our minds to quiet the noise of thoughts, and for our emotions to detangle our knotted feelings." Oh, if I only knew how to do that back then. I never rested from my strive to peace relations where discord and dysfunction laid. I never rested from the detangled emotions and the entanglement of relational pain.

"You see, rest isnt' just what God did. Rest is who God is. His rest causes us to cease our striving and receive His serenity."

Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

"How difficult it can seem to remain in the place of rest! Life gets busy, events domino, our nerves fray, and well, you know how that goes."

Like most all things, it takes discipline. We must discipline ourselves to rest. David tells us to rest. Find rest, O my soul, in God alone. Psalm 62:5 God alone is the great Rest Giver. He will give it but we must seek it!!

Yes to rest, no to THE rest.
"Chances are if you say yes more than no, you need to rest."

Chilling and Resting in Him,

© Copyright 2008