August 24, 2016

Take it BACK!

It would be far easier for me to surrender to defeat.
Surrender to "what is".
To give up hope of anything ever being different than it is in this moment HERE.  
Sometimes breaking {FREE} takes effort.  
Sometimes it's a grit-your-teeth-dig-in-your-heels-bulldog-determination refusing to allow {THIS} to be the finale.  





When the curtains close I want to be dancing.


But there are days when I don't FEEL like dancing.
Days when I don't feel like {JOY}.
Days when I can't even......


     Sometimes those days turn into weeks and weeks turn into seasons.  But if we're not careful those seasons can consume us and rob us of every GOOD thing.  Every joy.  Every blessing.  Because, sweet friend, God. doesn't. change.  

Our circumstances do.
Our EMOTIONS do.  (Heaven help us!)  They attach themselves to whatever the situation at hand calls for.  They're fickle at best never predictable.  
But GOD. NEVER. CHANGES.  He's still just as much committed to you now as He ever was.  His promises and plans for you have never changed.  

     If He hasn't changed then neither has His word for you. The freedom He has for you.  The peace He has for you.  And the JOY He has for you.  
You don't find your freedom by surrendering to your circumstances. You find your freedom in taking back whatever was taken from you.  
Have you lost your joy?!?!? Take it back!
Your peace? It belongs to you! Take it back! 

     For me? Right now? I'm taking back my health. And I'm not going to get it by sitting on my couch nursing my aches and pains. I'm going to get it back by eating right, moving and pushing myself.  Some days may be slow. Some days I may ache.  But I can't stop and won't stop.  I'm not going to get energy by waiting till I feel like it.   I'm going to keep moving, even if there are days it is a SLOW CRAWL......I am going to take. it. back.  

     I know there are seasons for Grace.  Days when you can't even.   Allow yourself that rest but know that THIS IS NOT THE FINALE.  THIS IS NOT THE END.  We are to go from faith to faith not from problem to problem. Your greatest struggles and most difficult circumstances are God's greatest opportunities!  GOD has the final say.  NOT your circumstances, not your sickness, not your grief.  TRUTH has the final say.  Heaven wins.  So  GET UP......dust yourself off and KEEP. MOVING.   One step at a time.  One day at a time.  Take back what belongs to you!  

August 22, 2016

The View From the Top

I climbed a mountain today.  Well, Kennesaw Mountain.   But it might as well have been Everest.
It wasn't pretty.
In fact, it was downright ugly.

I got a small glimpse of the view from the top about halfway up.
Every cell in my body and every fiber of my BEING was screaming "CLOSE ENOUGH! You fought a good fight.  But here is where we bow out."  
I wouldn't have been ashamed to tuck tail, turn around and gladly make my descent.  
At least I gave it a good effort.  

As people ran----no. GLIDED past me-effortlessly, LEAPING over rocks and rough terrain I felt my inhibitions and inability grow GREATER by the second.  

No.  I came to climb this mountain and that is what I will do.  I came for the view.  

I turned the corner and there it was.  The plateau of the mountain with a view for miles.  


......and.....then as I mopped myself dry I gasped for breath, completely battleworn and exhausted, eyeing those who came up behind me smiling with makeup in tact and an air of perfume in the air!??!  The perfume was CERTAINLY not coming from my direction!  (HOW they managed to get up here without breaking a sweat is beyond me.)  But for ME?  I made it.  
I did what I came here to do.  

For you more experienced exercise enthusiasts this was NOT an easy climb for me. It was HARD.  Stress and grief is unkind to a body and my body took a hard hit.  This used to be a fairly easy climb for me but today I earned the right to see that view.

As I stood there looking over the silhouette of Atlanta I remember the day I finished a hard and difficult climb. 
The day my husband passed away.
The day that I made it to the top and it crumbled beneath my feet all in the same day.  

 There were days, seasons, years where our life together was a DIFFICULT climb.  
 Messy.  Sometimes downright UGLY.  Days when I wanted to quit and everything in me was screaming, ""CLOSE ENOUGH! You fought a good fight.  But here is where we bow out."  
The hard seasons.  The days that ended with both of us in tears with no answers. 
But I was in it to finish it.  
Quitting was not an option. 
I can't say I finished well.  I can't say I didn't make mistakes.  
I can't say that I loved him well everyday of our marriage.  But when the rubber hit the road, when things got hard, we didn't quit. 
Things we were believing for.  Things we had prayed for.  Things we had fought for....started coming to pass.

Our final year was our very best year.  
I would have never known the thrill of the view had I quit halfway up the mountain.  But there I stood.  On the top of the mountain we had climbed together.
Hand in hand.


That's where TRUE LOVE happens.
In the staying.
When things get hard to keep climbing- TOGETHER.

As it crumbled all around me and I looked around at all the pieces asking God, "What now?"  
GRACE held my hand and one step at a time- SLOWLY- we started climbing again.  

That's the thing about grief.  It takes its time.

It's not in a hurry.  These last 3 years I have been COMPLETELY, THOROUGHLY and TOTALLY undone.  I've been challenged.  I've grown.  I've confronted some HARD things. Found my footing and started climbing again.
I've gained perspective.  and MOSTLY?  I've felt the nearness of my Savior more than I ever have before.  

As I make my way back down the mountain (that's the EASY part.) I hear the lyrics play from my headphones, "By your Spirit I will RISE from the ASHES of defeat."

One. Step. At. A. Time.

May 29, 2016

Facing the Hard Things

Life isn't easy.  
If you've lived any amount of time you've already discovered that.
It's messy.
It's trying.
It's uncomfortable.
It's HARD.  

Every day we are faced with tiny decisions that make up our entire day....each day laying up for us an entire lifetime.
Do I eat this ice cream?  Or do I choose vegetables or fruit?
Call in sick or go to work?
Go to bed or finish what I started?
Face new challenges or run away from them?
We want what's palatable.  We want comfortable.  We want EASY.  We want to satisfy our cravings in this moment with little to no regard for its consequences tomorrow.  


Then there are cross-roads decisions.  LIFE changing, fork-in-the-road decisions that change your course and move you in a new direction.  Sometimes those decisions are made with the purpose of undoing a bad one.  To turn around when we've gone the wrong way.  Sometimes those decisions take you in a NEW direction.  With little to no promise of its outcome.  Only FAITH and the SPIRIT to guide you.

Sometimes that direction is forced on you.  Without permission or warning.
SUDDENLY you are left with a broken heart and unanswered questions.

These last 3 years for me and my family have been LIFE changing.  LIFE altering.  
A SUDDENLY......and things were different.  A looming "what now?" as I waited for God to show me what this is all supposed to look like now that my husband was gone.
And then there were all of the decisions......  

Decisions I needed to make on behalf of myself, my children and our family.
HARD decisions.
PERSONAL decisions.  Things I needed to confront and deal with before I could move forward.  It got messy, hard and uncomfortable.  God exposed things in me that needed to be exposed before I could move forward into the NEXT thing.  Do I deal with them....knowing it would be uncomfortable, PAINFUL, messy and hard?  Or do I bury it all somehow thinking I would be better off not facing and confronting those things that would one day keep me from being WHOLE and SATISFIED.  Living in the center of peace?
I chose hard.
I confronted the hard things.
I found ONLY life and restoration on the other side.


Then there were the decisions about my children's future.  
The day I KNEW it was time for us to move.
Every decision brought us to a new place.
NOTHING familiar.
Our home.  My children's school.  Our church.
NEW beginnings.
Surrounded by unfamiliar territory. HOPE in front of us...but a nagging fear.  
"Did I do the right thing?"  "What if I missed this?"

But all I need to do is look around to know I followed HIM here.  He was already here.  He'd already prepared a place for me.  I needed to be willing to leave comfortable, safe and easy do the hard thing.

My oldest leaned over today with a contented, satisfied smile on his face and said, "Mom.  I LOVE our life."
When I was finally alone and thought about those words I found myself with tears running down my face. Only this time?  It wasn't hurt.  It wasn't grief.  It wasn't confusion.  It wasn't brokenness.  I have cried those tears.  Many times.
These tears were tears of gratitude.  An OVERWHELMING gratitude for what I've been through and where I find myself now.  
In the center of PEACE.  
I am GRATEFUL for the HARD things.  GRATEFUL for the dark places.  GRATEFUL for the storms.  In those times I only found Him nearer.  He used those places to refine me, heal me, restore me, redirect me....

Do I expect easy tomorrow?
No.
I expect it to be hard.  Messy still.  Sometimes uncomfortable.

Life WILL be hard.  It will hurt.  There will be DARK places.  Broken places.
But I've learned this.  NOTHING worth having is EASY.  Sometimes the most BEAUTIFUL things come through the HARDEST and DARKEST times.  Jesus knew that more than all of us.....but for the JOY set before Him....He ENDURED.  He suffered.  He knew that on the other side He would have done what He came for.  I am not equating my suffering with His death on the cross by any means. But if we only had a GLIMPSE of the JOY He had set before US ..... the hard times would be a little more bearable.  KNOWING that He always has our best interests at the center of His heart.  Only GOOD things.  For He's a GOOD Father and it makes the hard things worth it.  



Here's to living life to the FULL!  

No matter what it may bring!

February 12, 2016

Miracles Happen in our Simple Offerings

God can display his power in fireworks and grandeur.
.......But sometimes He uses fish and bread.
If you are waiting for just the right moment, a sacrifice big enough,  a grand opportunity or a bigger stage .... the right words or a more influential and louder prayer!. .......know this......
Sometimes miracles happen in our most simple offerings.
The boy only had some fish and bread.
God didn't need anything more.
He didn't need a lofty and wordy prayer.
He didn't need a big platform.
He didn't need a person who had it all together. 
He didn't need a crusade....nor did He need to wait for a better sacrifice.
HE TOOK WHAT WAS AVAILABLE.
He TOOK the ONE WHO WAS WILLING. 
He took the smallest offering.
.....And HE did the unexpected.
Friends....some days that's you have to give.
A tiny offering.
Some days all you can muster is a bit of strength and a small amount of WANT-TO.
Some days you start with little. 
And SOME days just as the day's begun....you wish you could start OVER. 
Those days have as MUCH potential for miracles as the BEST of days.
Those days when your kids are golden and you have it all together.  The days when your offerings are GRAND and your strength is GREAT. 
At your weakest....your WORST days.....have potential for the GREATEST of miracles.
However INSIGNIFICANT to you....GO in the strength you HAVE.
GIVE the best you DO have in this moment.
An HONEST offering. A HUMBLE offering......
And allow God to make miracles out of the smallest things.

February 4, 2016

There are no Shortcuts


     
We come to resent the process.  Longing to find a short cut.  Wanting to forgo this leg of the journey.  It's uncomfortable and HARD.  Sometimes painful and exhausting.  Grief.  Transition. Unforeseen circumstances.....everyday LIFE.  We try to navigate around what we are supposed to journey THROUGH.  
     
     These were my thoughts this morning as I tried my hardest to find a way to AVOID the car rider line at my daughter's school.  I conjured up shortcuts in my mind trying to find a way around it all.  I decided at long last.....I had to do as all the other mothers had to do.  Wait.  
 

When life gets uncomfortable the last thing we want to do is endure. We become restless and agitated and long to be ANYwhere but HERE.  WAITING.

WAITING takes courage. 




WAITING when things get uncomfortable.  WAITING when things don't turn out the way we expected them to.  WAITING when things get hard.

You may not necessarily appreciate it now but what God is doing today is preparation for tomorrow. He's always one step ahead of you. 
It's in those moments we have to remind ourselves.....

God is here too.
God is at work.
Preparing.  Reshaping.  Undoing things that needed to be undone.
Confirming things that needed to be confirmed.  Sharpening our focus and shaping our vision.  Fueling our faith and passion.  There is work to be done in the waiting. 

 

I have learned the secret to LIVING.  Really living.
CONTENTMENT.  
Finding the JOY in every moment. 
Discerning the seasons and surrendering to whatever the Lord may be doing in that moment.
There is a time to be silent and listen.
A time to speak.
A time to live and a time to die
A time to move and a time to just be still.
A time to build up and a time to tear down.
And there is a time for WAITING.
Sometimes it's uncomfortable.  Sometimes it's hard. But He is  always moving you forward into that hope and future He planned for you long ago.
Peace will come when you can surrender to {NOW} knowing that He is just as present and at work {HERE} as He is tomorrow.  
He is just as much HERE as He is THERE.  
There are no shortcuts.
You cannot navigate around those things you must go through. 
We must endure.  


But Praise GOD He stands with us and gives us strength when we become weary. 
All we need to do is look to Jesus....who endured the hardest thing and know that THIS moment though a necessary thing.....is temporary.

Hebrews 12:3 keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

     

    

January 16, 2016

Being Faithful in a Foreign Land

"Bloom where you are planted"

I'm sure we've all heard that at some point in our lives.  It's what God told the Jews in exile. Jeremiah 29 records the story of the Israelites' exile into Babylon.  I can only imagine how HELPLESS and HOPELESS they felt being somewhere they did not feel they belonged.  They weren't HOME and they certainly weren't in a place of PROMISE.  

But this is what God said to them to ESTABLISH THEMSELVES THERE:  “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. INCREASE in number there....do not DECREASE."  If THAT wasn't enough----they were to seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which they were carried into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers...you too will prosper.”  ...... they certainly didn't BELONG there.  Nor did they want to BE there.  THIS was not their home. But God gave them specific instructions.  WHILE you're in *THIS PLACE*.....flourish.  Be productive.  Be diligent.  Keep moving.  Life hasn't stopped.  My blessings haven't ceased.  This isn't permanent.  But while you're here?  You will PROSPER.  Don't quit.  BE....*FULLY*....HERE.  And I will bless you.  They weren't meant to just SURVIVE in this place. The welfare of the place they found themselves (Babylon) was dependent upon their attitude and willingness to DO what was in front of them to do while they were there.  *AND* it didn't come without promise......He says to them: "......then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land."  It wasn't a permanent resting place.  That season wasn't meant to last.  There was a HOPE to look forward to.  A destiny ahead for them.....but they needed to be FULLY present in the place they found themselves and continue to work and be obedient to what God gave them to do.  *HE* would see to it....*HE* would bring them into the place of PROMISE.  Their only requirement was to obey.  I love this quote by Chuck Swindoll:

"Endurance is not jaw-clenched resignation, nor is it passive acquiescence. It's a long obedience in the same direction. It's staying on the path of obedience despite counter-indications. It's a dogged determination to pursue holiness when the conditions of holiness are not favorable. It's a choice in the midst of our suffering to do what God has asked us to do, whatever it is, and for as long as He asks us to do it. " 


Every step you take to get to your Promised Land is a place of Promise.
Keep that in mind you won't miss a THING he has stored up for YOU.

You may find yourself in an undesirable place....and it's not what you expected or what you were promised.  This too shall pass.  While you're in this season allow the Lord to cause you to flourish and bless you and cause you to walk in His favor....yes.....even in THIS place.  Because even in THIS your testimony will be evidence that God is WHO He says He is.  He will continue to perform His word on YOUR behalf and bring LIFE and prosperity even in *THIS* place you find yourself.  You're not here to merely SURVIVE.  Be a GAME changer. He's still at work.  He's still moving. Being patient in waiting doesn't mean that you quit until conditions are in your favor.  You keep at it.  You keep pressing forward.  And hold on to hope.  An unshakable, unwavering, tenacious HOPE....that God will bring you into EVERY GOOD THING He's destined for YOU. 

December 30, 2015

When you think things will never change

It's so easy to surrender to hopelessness thinking nothing is ever going to change. Wondering how much more you can bear. Thinking the next wave is the one that's going to take you under. It hurts so much and you wonder how much more it will hurt before the tides turn....how much time will pass before things looks different.
Panic sets in and we see no hope for change.

Here's the beautiful thing about faith.
PERSPECTIVE.
He is working ALL things together for your good. He has an eternal perspective. A kingdom perspective. His vantage point is greater than ours because He IS....the beginning and the end and every moment in between. That's why we can rejoice in this moment here because we KNOW.....no matter what it looks like. No matter what we are feeling. This. Is. Temporary.
God is not bound by time.
You may FEEL you cannot endure a moment more but He knows.
In an instant things will change. In His perfect timing. When He has finished His work.
We become bitter and come to resent the process but this moment is nothing compared to what He's going to do.
Hold on to HOPE .
We don't have to see it to believe it.

For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!], Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18

December 12, 2015

Hope Doesn't Disappoint

HOPE doesn't disappoint.........

       but I sure do feel the heartache of GREAT disappointment sometimes.  My faith is such that I just EXPECT.....I expect God to show up and do what He does best.  Surprise me with His GOODNESS.  I will admit I have questioned His goodness. His methods.  His timing.  What it is He is up to.  I've EXPECTED things to turn out a certain way and when they don't?  Disappointment hurts all the more.  

HOPE doesn't disappoint......so why do I feel so disappointed?  Why does this hurt so much?  WHY didn't this turn out the way I EXPECTED?

It is in that moment I am gently reminded.

I only see in part.  
I only see a small fragment of the picture.  
But GOD....in His GREATNESS.  In HIS GOODNESS......sees those things that I cannot see.
He sees the beginning.  He sees the end.  And He sees those moments in between.  
I expect based on my limited reasoning and my limited knowledge.

Waiting....
HOPING.....
Anticipating......




My friends.....never forget that GOD IS GOOD.  
If things don't turn out the way you expected.....He is STILL GOOD.
If things aren't going your way.  If everything and everyone seems to be against you......

This ONE thing is TRUE HE is very much FOR you.  You have GOD of the ANGEL ARMIES working on your behalf and if GOD be for you, who or WHAT could ever stand against you?


God is committed to YOU!

He's committed to your journey and committed to the process. 
He will never bring you to a place only to abandon you half way.
He will ALWAYS finish what He started.

He NEVER leaves a job half finished.

He WILL perfect all that concerns you.

We respond to pain and inconvenience as if it's an eternal matter.  As if "this moment in time" is all there is.  But how quickly we lose perspective and forget that these matters are inconsequential compared to the work He is DOING.  

When He delivered the Israelites from Egypt 
*He did it with the END in mind.*
He wasn't going to free them from slavery and then leave them fend for themselves in the wilderness to find their OWN way to their promised destiny. 

He *SUSTAINED* them in the wilderness. 
He *LED* them *through* the wilderness. 
It He went to so much effort to rescue then would He not deliver them and then see it through to COMPLETION?
And so it is with you!!!

He is always up to something.  He is ALPHA and OMEGA.  The beginning and the END and *ALL the moments in between*
If He went to so much effort to SAVE you. RESCUE you. REDEEM you.....would He not take as much care to PROTECT and DEFEND the investment He's made in YOU?

He paid a HIGH price for you my friend!!!
Signed, sealed and delivered.....
You are HIS. 
He will PERFECT all that concerns you. Bring you into EVERY good thing He's promised you and not for ONE moment in your journey will He forsake you. 



Stick with HIM....He's got the end in mind.

These disappointments don't deter His plans for you.  He is not hindered by circumstances.  He is not limited by time nor has He changed His mind about you or His thoughts towards you.  He has not changed His plans.  

He is STILL on course.  He is STILL working towards the GOOD things He has planned for you and HE WILL SEE them through to finish what He started.  

HOLD ON TO HOPE.  It will NEVER disappoint. 

December 4, 2015

When Obedience Requires Faith

God {SIMPLY} requires obedience.

He doesn't have to explain the outcome and there's not always a promise things are going to go the way you expected them to.  He just asks for your obedience.

Here is the promise we have in Him.....

When we are in the center of God's perfect will and we are walking in obedience the responsibility of the outcome rests on HIS shoulders.   

Daniel had no idea that his obedience and loyalty to His God would take Him into the lion's den.

God may ALLOW us ---- for whatever reason only known to Him and the secret places of Heaven---- to go through the adversity.
He DID promise that He would never leave. He DID promise it would not consume us.  He DID promise He would deliver us.  Even from the mouth of a lion.  



Daniel obeyed.

The enemy ROARED!!!!!!! -----and planned to still the HAND of God.
.......but God had plans to SILENCE the enemy.  
We have nothing to fear when we are walking with the Father.
No matter what may come against us God is to working to bring ALL things together for our GOOD for the glory of HIS Kingdom.  He CAN be trusted.  And there is no safer place than in center of God's perfect will.

December 1, 2015

When God Turns the Meager into Extraordinary

He who is faithful with the little he has.....


Every single morning you wake up you have within your possession the same things you had when you went to sleep.
But deep inside of us is this drive....
Wanting more. Wanting the meager to be abundant. Wanting the ordinary to be extraordinary.
It's only when we learn to be content with the ordinary and when we are faithful with the meager that we see God begin do extraordinary things with the offerings we pour out day to day.
The widow woman gave the last bit of oil she had.
As she continued to be obedient and faithful with the little she did have God continued to give her the supply she needed for herself with more to give.
Be faithful with what's in your possession TODAY.
Your home. Your children. The things you DO have. The friends in your life. Your job. The things on your agenda today.
Give without hesitation the things you DO have to give. Love extravagantly. Be faithful with the things God is calling you to today...
And as you pour your life out as an offering .. as meager as it may *SEEM*....God will turn your meager little offering into extraordinary things.

November 23, 2015

Avoiding Disappointment

"I don't want to feel such heartache ever again!"
I've said it many times over and again.

I don't want to feel again the depths of grief that I have......
To FEEL again.  Yes.  Maybe that's it.  Not to FEEL.

I remember vividly the moment this irrational fear swept over me.  Suddenly afraid of losing everything and everyone I cared deeply about. 

Maybe not intentionally but somehow I had created this protective wall around my heart.
Avoiding those deep feelings.  Avoiding what could inevitably cost me another piece of my heart.

I feel deeply.
I love big.
I give without hesitation.
And if I'm honest, there are times that has been a costly sacrifice. 
I've known loss.  I've known heartache.  I have felt the depths of grief.
.........but I too have known unexpected, surprising JOYS. I have known abundance....being overwhelmed with such blessings. I have felt the depths of gratitude in the midst of grief when the presence of God was so evident to me....His capable hands holding me, protecting me, hedging me in and granting me such unexplainable PEACE.

PEACE....I've known peace.
Seasons of rest.

If we are not careful we will forfeit the GRACE we have been so freely given with bitterness.  Voicing our complaints, feeling we've been ripped off when life unfairly deals another blow. 

One of my husband's favorite songs was "HELD" by Natalie Grant.  He found comfort in the words and I thought of them after he'd passed away.




This hand is bitterness.

We want to taste it and let the hatred numb our sorrows.

{BUT}.....The wise hand opens slowly to the lilies of the valley and {to} tomorrow.



This is what it means to be held.  
How it feels when the sacred is                                                                torn from your life and you survive.  
That the promise was that when everything fell.....we'd be held.  


Hasn't He held me?
Hasn't He whispered words of Hope when my heart needed to hear them most?

Yes, He is VERY near to the brokenhearted and those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

Hadn't He moved Heaven and Earth for me to make His presence known that very moment I was faced with the grave reality my husband wasn't coming home?
Didn't He make it OBVIOUS to me that He had prepared us for this moment in time.  He knew what was to come and as blindsided and shortsighted as I felt......He showed me all the ways He had.  One detail at a time.

Had He not made the crooked paths straight for me.  Made a way where there seemed to be no way?  Provided miracle after miracle to not only prove Himself to me as a provider and husband but as the One Who is called FAITHFUL.

HE. CAN. BE. TRUSTED.  

Had He not sent ANGELS to my side as my friends sat with me, grieved with me, held me and helped me stand again. Friends who spoke words of encouragement and never hesitated to be whatever they could be at a moment's notice?

And is He not there in the whispers of the night. In the darkness.....when everything else seems to whisper louder.....
I cry out to Him, "I never wanted to do this alone!"  
How quick He is to interrupt me, "My daughter, you were never meant to."  

The light shines in the DARKNESS and the DARKNESS *HAS. NOT.* overcome it. John 1:5

Not for ONE MOMENT has He forsaken me to do this on my own.
But if I am not careful.....my focus will draw me away from the immense gratitude my heart feels and pull me into a place of bitterness, resentment and fear.

He paid such an expensive price --- for me.
He has made every effort to BE for me and to DO for me.
To heal places in me I didn't know He would heal.  To make provision for me where I saw none. To GRACE me with the ability to do the things I had in front of me to do. To show me BEAUTIFUL things in those places where I'd only known devastation and brokenness.  

To robe my HEART in thankful praise instead of a spirit of despair.
GRATITUDE.
A GRATEFUL HEART rests content and SATISFIED.
Suddenly seeing things from HIS perspective.
After all....we belong to the One whose vantage point is GREATER than our own.

{When we face a crisis we are so quick to misunderstand and misinterpret and yes, even MISS the workings of God in the midst of what we are going through.}
Our emotions hijack our ability to see that perhaps there is a purpose He is working out, something greater.....
That maybe somehow He knows more than we do and might be doing something we could not have possibly manufactured on our own.
Sometimes our greatest disappointments, setbacks and heartaches merely reposition us for something greater. 
After all......our greatest disappointments are His greatest opportunities. 


What we think will be the very thing that takes us under----He shows up with a different ending.
A glimpse of HOPE.  That perhaps.....there is ANOTHER plan at work.
A GREATER purpose.  That He has something in mind and He will do whatever it takes to see you through to the other side.  

.........and in the end He won me over with GRATITUDE.......
HOW could I feel like a victim when I see what GREAT CARE He took to see to so many intricate details....and what's MORE?  Draw my attention to His hand in all of it.  So I could see....HOW MUCH HE TRULY DOES CARE FOR ME.
He has NOT left me WANTING.
He has entered my darkest places and shined a light of HOPE and HEALING.   

Suddenly I realize the answer is not AVOIDING heartache.
Keep a tightly clenched fist to those things that matter deeply to us....trying to avoiding loss.  Avoid pain.  Avoid disappointment.

                                 what we are REALLY avoiding is REALITY----
In this life you WILL have disappointment.
You WILL experience heartache.
You WILL have tribulation.  but take heart........I have overcome the world. John 16:33



Then one morning I realized.  Avoiding heartache is an exhausting impossible pursuit.
Avoiding disappointment also keeps you from experiencing success. 
Avoiding change keeps you from experiencing PROGRESS.
Avoiding loss keeps you from experiencing the JOYS of some of God's greatest blessings.


Can I TRUST Him with these things?
Everything I have has been given to me by the hand of God and if I should experience heartache and disappointment remind myself

............[with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.  Romans 8:28


It's not about avoiding heartache, loss and disappointment.  It's about finding those who will stand WITH you in your darkest moments.

We cannot avoid disappointment.
We cannot avoid heartache and loss.
but if we are wasting all our efforts in trying to do so then what we are really avoiding is LIVING. 
  
He has made a promise to you.  He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you.
He has promised you a hope and a future. 
No matter what {THIS MOMENT} looks like ..... every moment is working together for GOOD.   You can resent and even try to avoid the process or you can embrace the process knowing His heart for you is ALWAYS good.   

November 14, 2015

Our Response to Tragedy

      
Our RESPONSE when faced with unthinkable tragedy is PIVOTAL.  It will determine what happens next.   Everyone responds differently.  For some of us it will propel us into fear and we stop moving, stop doing, cower in a dark corner and cease to exist.  Still others......fight back.  
      When my husband passed away I remember vividly my phone call from my pastor.  Within moments of learning the news, he called.  Very assuredly and very calmly and confidently he said, "Here's what we're gonna do."  He laid out for me a strategy.  A plan of attack.  How I was going to respond to this tragic moment.  I was to take my children and go to the Word.  Before anything else.  Before any decisions were made.  Before panic took over.  I was to go to the Word and read it till I couldn't read it any more.  I could barely read the words through my tears and they were only a whisper....but still I read and I kept reading .... Truth.  When the enemy was throwing a barrage of lies and doubt, fear and panic .....I was reading Truth.  

      The next morning and the morning after that and the
 days to follow my pastor would give me the next step....and the next.  With each word a new directive....laced with HOPE and TRUTH.  

     This is CRUCIAL in your darkest moments.  It's okay to grieve. I'm not saying there is no time for grief.  But if you don't take the time to map out a strategy.  If you have no plan.....the darkness will overcome you......we need that time to process and heal but we cannot stay there.  
                                   Because this IS war.
The enemy strategizing and scheming against you.  His plan of attack?  To rob you of HOPE, FAITH and TRUTH.  To attack your future and the WORD that's already in you.  One of his greatest tactics is fear.  Getting you to doubt the Truth you know.

  On the battle field the most successful soldiers have a strategy mapped out.  If unprepared the battle will quickly overcome him.  There's no time for panic.  Your best strategy against attack is the Word.  Fight fire with fire and let the peace of God rule and reign.  
And then surround yourselves with those who will fight WITH you.  People of FAITH.  Surround yourself with those who SPEAK the TRUTH and WALK in the TRUTH. THOSE are the people who will bring you BACK to the TRUTH in your darkest moments.
We were never meant to do life alone.


The light shines on in the darkness and the darkness CANNOT overcome it. John 1:5




October 21, 2015

When You Don't Understand What He is Doing

Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”  John 13:7
You do not understand NOW........
Oh how we struggle with this one.
We feel restless.
We want answers and we want them NOW.


Here's what we forget....
GOD can not, WILL not, be hurried.
There is a process.
An unfolding.
There is a purpose to the waiting.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and  incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
1 Corinthians 13:12

You don't NEED the whole map.
He's not going to give you a presentation of what's to come and why.
He has given you TODAY. THIS MOMENT HERE.
You handle what He's given you today and He will handle those things which are beyond your reach.
If you'll be obedient with what's in front of you TODAY......
HE will make sure He gets you to where He needs you to be.....one step at a time.


Can you trust a God who isn't OBLIGATED to explain His actions to you?
The comfort lies in this TRUTH.
He is GOOD. 

And every action, every purpose of His heart, every intention is laced with GOOD and to bring about His PERFECT will for your life. 

It's in that moment....the moments of questions, the moments of doubt, the moments of uncertainty that He asks you, "Can you TRUST me?"  

Can I TRUST Him, NOT knowing.  Can I trust Him without requiring explanations and details.  Can I TRUST Him and trust His heart for me is GOOD.  Can I trust that He will lead me into every good thing He prepared for me long ago? 

Friend, His heart for you is only GOOD.  You may not understand what He is doing NOW but one day you will if you'll just hang on and allow Him to work it all out for YOUR GOOD and to His GLORY.