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Process

I read this yesterday from Jesus Today, but never moved my marker, so I read it again today. Sometimes it is so important to repeat yourself.

You are being renewed day by day. So do not be weighed down by yesterday’s failures and disappointments. Begin this day anew, seeking to please Me and walk in My ways – focusing on today! As you do, I am able to transform you little by little. This is a lifelong process – a journey fraught with problems and pain. It is also a journey full of Joy and Peace because I am with you each step of the way.

Notice that you are being renewed. This is not something you can do by your effort and willpower alone. My Spirit is in charge of your renewal, and He is alive within you – directing your growth in grace. Do not be discouraged when you encounter problems and pain along your way. These are vital parts of the renewal process. Muster the courage to thank Me when you are going through painful experiences. Find hope through trusting that I continually hold you by your right hand – and I am preparing you for Glory!

It is so difficult to remember that I am ‘in progress’. There is no finish. I will never ‘arrive’.

On top of that, God doesn’t expect that from me. He is absolutely happy with the process.

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slow suicide

In August our church started the “The Comparison Trap” series by Andy Stanley. I have been ruminating on pearls of wisdom for weeks.

Proverbs 14:30
…envy rots the bones.”

Where do I look to feel okay? Who or what is my mirror?

As we are working through parenting and family issues, I have to continue to remind myself, that my parenting skills and/or lack thereof do not define me. This is a process. I am learning, she is learning. We are going to make mistakes.

Am I allowing what others have to keep me from enjoying what I have?

Am I allowing what I don’t have to keep me from enjoying what I do have?

For me, why am I allowing my feelings or insecurities keep me from enjoying all that God has blessed me with? Often times, for me, the answer is yes.

We are all using someone or something as a reference point; who or what am I going to use to tell me I am okay?

We all have a wonder, a whisper in our minds that say “am I okay?”

The “ought” and the “ought not” is the law of God written on our hearts. Even if I had ______ (any number of things that I have my heart set on), I would still wonder.

This I know to be true. There have been times in my life when my insecurities have been at bay, yet, I always wonder.

Because of the break between the Creator and creation, there is an insecurity deep within out soul. Nothing and no one can ever fully restore this break. What God did when He sent Jesus to the world, was to make us “Sons of God”, we were adopted.

God, who knows everything about you, about me, sent His Son to make it possible for me to be adopted by God. I am His child. Because I am His child, He sent His Spirit into me in order that I can call Him “Daddy”.

Daddy

He made me for something particular. It is something for me, that He wants me to do. Since no one else is made for this same thing; God doesn’t compare me to anyone else.

As long as I look to my left and right, there will be no peace.

Heavenly Father, I want to see me the way you see me.

God tells me, He tells you, you are fine, because you are Mine.

My greatest potential is found in the will of God.

Andy Stanley closed with something that I try to tell myself, “Take your cue about you from the One who made you, who loves you and who redeemed you.”

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always faithful

I have wanted to write for weeks. Each time I begin to formulate what I want to say in my mind, it seems so incomplete that I stop. Wait for the ideas to materialize into a cohesive entry. As you can see, the wait has been a while. Maybe I just need to dive in…

I finished radiation treatment on Friday, August 22. It took until Monday, September 1 for me to cry. Crying can be cleansing. Can allow you to start anew. I feel that is where I am now, starting anew.

What did I learn? There are easy lessons. Show up. That was a big one for me. I often look at what I have to offer and it seems so little. So, I don’t. This experience taught me to show up. When people need me, when they need help even when they won’t ask, show up for them. So many people showed up for me. They loved me with their kind words, their prayers, cards…I was blessed by a community and a family I sometimes think I don’t have. Everyone was wonderful. It is my turn now.

Just as it is taking time for my skin to heal, it is taking time for the lessons to reveal themselves.

I have felt as though I needed to run away at times. Need time to myself. Be away from concerned eyes. I get to take that trip tomorrow. Just an overnight. But, it is to see Women of Faith. I am going alone. I have been looking forward to it all week. I keep imagining it as a date with Jesus. Time to be with Him. Let Him do His work. I haven’t been to Women of Faith for years and years, so I am looking forward to seeing the ladies and sitting under the blessings of their teaching.

Can I just say, in the event you are feeling otherwise right now….God shows up. He does. It may not be in our timing. It may feel like He has forgotten or doesn’t see. But during this hectic week of trying to adjust to being back in the office, learning a new routine, keeping my health in perspective, being there for Hannah as she navigates this new school year, He has shown up. He has comforted my soul. He has given me rest when I was threatening to stay up all night to worry. And, the Holy Spirit has been revealing how He has been with me every step of the way.

Sometimes the hardest thing is to sit and rest. I ALWAYS have a hard time with that. But God has been blessing those small breaks I take to breath Him in.

Thank you Jesus.

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what i know to be true

This week has been so very emotional. Last Sunday I walked into church with such a heavy heart. The situation in Iraq had me shaking; angry, sad, hurt. The message was exactly what I needed, isn’t God so awesome like that? It is just like Him.

It was a reminder to be combat ready. We must have the expectation that there is an enemy and is ready to attack at any time. Therefore, I must always be ready. We studied 1 Corinthians 16:13. We can be combat ready when we are watchful, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong and do everything in love.

The Bible tells us we will be hated just as Jesus was hated. We will face horrors because of our God. This doesn’t by any means negate the horrors and atrocities happening to Christians around the world, but it tells me, I shouldn’t be surprised. Yes, I can outraged. I should do all I can to help them. But, I should never be surprised. The world is sick. We cannot believe that because we love Jesus we will be spared this sickness. He wasn’t.

After clarity sank in, the week begins with the death of Robin Williams; a fellow warrior in the life-long battle against depression. I think Glennon from Momastry said, when a fellow warrior dies, it frightens those that are still in the battle. Your mind races, “if they can do it and they have, etc. etc. How is possible for me to make it?”

As you work through these feelings, you are then bombarded with arm chair doctors and Christians who damn him. Who say that if you did xyz enough that you would not have depression. That it is a lack of faith. That it is a lack of joy. Just have more joy.

When I was watching the Olympics earlier in the year, they were discussing a skier and a close friend who had died. Do you want to know how it was described? The announcer said, “He lost his lifelong battle with depression.” (or words to that effect) I have to tell you. I love this. I love this so much. Because isn’t that how it feels? You are losing your battle. You didn’t give in. You didn’t take the cowards way out. You just were so wounded that you couldn’t fight anymore. You succumbed to your injuries.

I won’t go ad nauseum into the comparisons, though I have heard some awesome ones. If someone with asthma died from their asthma; would we say, “well, they should have just calmed down and breathed more. what a coward for not breathing more. They should have believed more in Jesus. Their faith was imperfect.”

Guess what? ALL of us have imperfect faith. Because we are imperfect.

As always, listening to everyone talk about it makes my brain hurt and race. It makes me sad that people can be callous about something they so clearly don’t understand. It isn’t the blues people. It is who I am. It is part of how I think, react, live. It touches everything about me. Just as diabetes, asthma, and congentital diseases are every part of the person who lives with them.

I won’t discuss medication. The argument is so tired and shameful. I am wounded by Christians who have opinions about medication, yet do not have depression and have never lived with depression and without medication. That tightrope act we put on, because we want to be ‘good’. The times we struggle to take medication because we don’t want to need it. We don’t want to seem ‘less christian’ than the next person.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Paul says “I WILL BOAST ALL THE MORE GLADLY OF MY WEAKNESS, SO THAT THE POWER OF CHRIST MAY REST UPON ME.” I will BOAST! I will not hide. I will not pretend that I can handle it. I will not worry that my disease will make Jesus look less than who and what He is to this sick world. Just as I would hope and pray that someone who was born with a deformity would not worry that they make Jesus look less than who HE is.

I will boast. I will love. I will hug. I will not judge. I will seek out those who are afraid to get help and remind them, our weaknesses don’t steal from Jesus. They glorify Him.

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limping

the last few weeks have found me limping along. I had so many plans for all I was going to do and accomplish while I was working from home and undergoing treatment. Instead, I have found myself exhausted. I have cut my hours back at work; using up vacation days I scarcely feel that I can lose. I don’t have energy to exercise. Keeping up with just the bare minimum has been a feat of monumental proportions. I have let myself down. All of my insecurities have come rushing back. I don’t feel like myself. I don’t like how I feel.

Because I don’t feel like myself and have been experiencing the insecurities in rushing waves, I have found myself checking out more; too much tv, too many internet games, etc. All of these empty pursuits leave me feeling, well, empty. More empty than when I started.

Questions and ideas race through my mind. Should I start a Bible study? Should I host a group this fall? Which one? Should I force myself to do the exercise videos? Maybe you should just skip a couple of meals? You need to insert yourself in that situation, obviously so and so is not handling it properly. You are running out of time.

Issues and circumstances that have aggravated me and upset me start doing cartwheels and having small town fairs in my mind. Let’s overthink every idea.

Today, I sat down with Jesus and told Him, I couldn’t do it. He is so precious. His answer is always, “I know.” Then quickly, He always reminds me, “I never asked you to. Never intended for you to do it all.”

I started reading in Jesus Today

I will fight for you; you need only to be still. I know how weary you are, My child. You have been struggling to just keep your head above water, and your strength is running low. Now is the time for you to stop striving and let ME fight for you. I know this is not easy for you to do. You feel as if you must keep struggling in order to survive, but I am calling you to rest in ME. I am working on your behalf; so be still, and know that I am God.

Quieting your body is somewhat challenging for you, but stilling your mind may often seem downright impossible. In your striving to feel secure, you have relied too heavily on your own thinking. This struggle to be in control has elevated your mind to a position of autonomy. So you need the intervention of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to control your mind more and more-soothing you from the inside out. Take time to rest in the shadow of the Almighty while I fight for you.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

Like David often did, I find myself back to Psalm 25:1

O LORD, I give my life to you.
I trust in you, MY GOD!

Holy Spirit, I need you to control my mind. I need you to intervene in the thoughts and ideas I have allowed to run loose.
Teach me to rest. Teach me to rest in you. I don’t know how. Help me to stop trying to figure out your ways, and instead learn your ways.

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Prayer for Christlikeness from joyful mysteries

Dear Jesus,
Help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go;
Flood my soul with your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so completely
That all my life may be only a radiance of yours;
Shine through me and be so in me
That everyone with whom I come in contact
May feel your presence within me.
Let them look up and see no longer me-but only Jesus.
Amen.

-John Henry Cardinal Newman

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one day at a time

So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34

Rest has been a long standing issue with me. I mean I can be lazy, but real rest, always seems elusive. I don’t take the time to sit back and let God be God. I don’t enjoy His wonders. I do. I do anything to fill up space.

Since starting radiation, I have come to the end of me. Okay, probably not the end, but I have been forced to stop. Knowing there are weeks left of treatment; weeks left of daily drives to Chambersburg for 10 minutes of treatment, weeks left of going to the spare room every morning at 7 am to start my work day so I don’t use up every minute of leave, weeks of soreness. This has worn on me.

It is hard for me to ask for help. It is hard for me to have others do things that I should be doing.

So this combination of weariness over what lies ahead and trying to pretend that I can do everything I usually did and radiation, it came to a head. After my melt down. After a good sleep. I woke up to Matthew 6:34. I also woke up to the following devotional in Jesus Calling.

Do not worry about tomorrow! This is not a suggestion but a command. I divided time into days and nights so that you would have namageable portions of life to handle. My grace is sufficient for you, but its sufficiency is for only one day at a time. When you worry about the future, you heap day upon day of troubles onto your flimsy frame. You suffer under this heavy load, which I never intended you to carry.

Throw off this oppressive burden with one quick thrust of trust. Anxious thoughts meander about and crisscross in your brain, but trusting Me brings you directly into My Presence. As you thus affirm your faith, shackles of worry fall off instantly. Enjoy My Presence continually by trusting Me at all times.

God is gracious and merciful. He is always with me. But, He gives me what I need, one day at a time. When I look out to the weeks ahead of me, I grow weary. I fret. I get incredibly anxious. But God says, don’t worry about that. Let’s do this one day at a time. Let’s meet together each day and throughout that day. Let me give you what you need for the day. Let me infuse My Presence into you throughout the day. We can do this together. Trust me EACH DAY.

Thank you.

Then today, I read about the tower of Babel. Why was this so terrible? Because the people were making this tower as a monument to themselves. To all that they could do. To all that they could handle.

So, I stopped. God, am I trying to do everything I normally do and radiation because I want to edify myself? So that people will look at me and say, you are so strong. You can do so much. You are wonderful.

And shamefully, the answer I received was yes. Yes, that is my motivation. I want to stand out. I want it for me. I am making my own tower to my accomplishments.

Forgive me Father for trying to be my own god. Forgive me for seeking the approval of man before I seek YOUR approval. Forgive me for piling my accomplishments higher and higher so that I could be a tower in my own life and in the life of my family.

I want you to reign. Only you. Change me Lord.

Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

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I want you to love Me, Listen to My Voice, and hold fast to Me – for I am your life

I want you to love Me, Listen to My Voice, and hold fast to Me – for I am your life.
This is the way of wisdom. I am training you to stay close to Me as you walk along perilous paths. In any close relationship, listening and loving are vitally important-and they are interconnected. Listen to Me as I rejoice over you with gladness and quiet you with My Love. As the Holy Spirit to help you receive My glorious Love in full measure. This will dramatically increase your love for Me.

The world is full of dangers, so it is wise to hold tightly to My hand. Listen-through My Spirit and My Word-while I talk you through tough times. Pour out your heart to Me, remembering that I am your Refuge. As you stay in dialogue with Me, I help you handle whatever is before you. Hold fast to Me, beloved, for I am your Life.

Jesus Today by Sarah Young

Yesterday while I was drowning in fear and worry, everything I read said, “Do not Worry.”

Because He is such a loving and gracious God. Always right beside me. Waiting for me to reach out to Him. He met me where I was. He is ALWAYS here. So hard for me to grasp. But I know it is true.

This morning, Zephaniah 3:17 was in everything I read.

The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

What a beautiful promise.

Yesterday, I asked how do I get His promises ‘in’ me. Today, I know. Stay connected. He isn’t with me and then not. He is always there. It is me that connects and disconnects. It is me that lets all that is around me steal my focus. We have such a loving God. He doesn’t get disgusted with this behavior and walk away. Let me tell you, that is what I would do after the millions of times I have had to relearn something He has so patiently taught me. No, His love is something I cannot understand. I have to trust it is there. When I reach for His hand, it is always there.

Thank you Jesus.

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shaky knees

Isaiah 41:10
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Today I see the oncologist. This is the easiest appointment we have had so far, yet somehow, it has become the one that has me undone.

Psalm 62:5-6
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.
He alone is my rock and salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.

This morning, EVERYTHING I have read has been about worrying. About not worrying. About keeping my focus on Jesus and being assured that He has everything under control. Radiation therapy, husband’s salvation, Hannah’s travel, neighbor issues, work issues; these are not too big for Him. He has them under control.

Proverbs 18:10
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Then why, if I know this, if I know GOD IS IN CONTROL, am I shaky? How do you get His words and promises down in you? How do they become your normal response?

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little annoyances

if you are not careful, you will let little annoyances not only change your feelings toward someone, but they will steal your joy and take your eyes off of Jesus.

we have an annoying situation, someone is not stepping up, doing their part. Not acting like the adult they are. Their actions or lack there of resulting in our family paying their part.

when these situations arise, I find myself fixated on it. Wanting to clarify my position over and over. Wanting to show ‘that person’ how wrong they are.

The Holy Spirit convicted me today. What is more important in life? Money, things? No, relationship. By holding on to this annoyance, I am shutting off relationship. I am shutting off potential in the future. I am not reflecting Jesus’ character. He was often cheated. People treated Him horribly and He was blameless. I cannot ever say that I am blameless when dealing with others.

This doesn’t mean that I have to be a floor mat. I firmly believe there are relationships that are not healthy; for me or for the other person. There are definitely times when you need to step away and say, “I want nothing but good things for you. I am always praying for you. But, we cannot be in relationship with one another. It isn’t good for either of us.”

I also firmly believe I am not made to or expected to pay the consequences for others actions. People make decisions in life. There are natural consequences to those decisions, good and bad. I am not to make myself or my family pay for others decisions. Once again, I am to pray for them. But I don’t have to carry their burden or make everything okay for them.

Part of me always snipped at myself. “If you were really a Christian….”. “If you really loved…”. “If you were less proud…”. I fight these thoughts everyday. Because I don’t want to hurt others. I don’t like conflict. But at the same time, I MUST do what is right for me. I MUST stand by my convictions. BUT, I also MUST do this through LOVE and not anger. NOT pointing my finger at someone and pointing out their faults, how they are wrong, how they have hurt me and/or let me down.

There is a constant tension in me over these things. I am strong-willed. I am stubborn. And I have to be careful everyday to ask Jesus to give me His heart. For the Holy Spirit to fix my eyes on what Jesus would want me to do and think, instead of what comes natural for me. What comes natural is not loving.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Over the past several weeks, this verse has been running over and over in my mind. What do I let my mind, my eyes engage in. What do I watch? Listen to? Talk about? Do? Think about? Are these things “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, praise worthy”?

Sadly, often times they are not. But I seek Jesus, because I want them to be.

Forgive me Father for allowing annoyances to become barriers. Teach me to let them go. To let you in. To stop trying to do, prove, talk about and instead give you room to move. Relationship is most important. Love is what I am called to do. Not prove.