Excellent! The beauty of being short and sweet – I envy that gift!

Shamieka Dean

Today’s Nugget: Are you seeing God or your problem? Which ever one you choose to focus on will have dominion. I would rather choose the one who can fix the other. Which one will you choose? Be blessed! ~Author Shamieka Dean~ #motivationsbyMieka

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The Name Above All Names

via 123RF.com

via 123RF.com

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

I have been trying something new lately, and it is making a big difference in my life. You might wish to try it too.  🙂

It sets the tone for my day just as it should.

Because after all, what should be the first thing I think of when I wake up?

What should be that thing that I carry with me every waking moment?

What should it be?

I say the name of Jesus.

I wake up, and I say His name.

“Jesus”

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Most of the time, I still only say it in my mind, but I am trying to remember to actually say it out loud.

This shouldn’t be difficult to remember, should it? But I have 46 years of not doing it to reverse out of my groggy morning routined behavior.

But He will help me – my wonderful Jesus. He already has.

“JESUS! JESUS! JESUS!”

via FCI.com

via FCI.com

Guess what else?

Every time I say His name, I smile. From the inside out.

“Jesus.”

The Scripture says of the name:

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

via FCI.com

via FCI.com

Say it loud – “JESUS”

Say it clear – “JESUS”

Say it now – “JESUS”

Say it here – “JESUS”

via FCI

via FCI

Believe

wallpaper4God.com

wallpaper4God.com

Wake up

Look up

Drink some coffee

Love a child

Hug readily

Blow a Kiss

Press Closer

Pray

Sing to the Lord

Cheesy Smile

Smell a Flower

Bible Time

Go to the Store

Share

Stranger Love

Heart

Be willing

Be dedicated

Be love

Be

Look Up

Pray

Sing

Smile Again

Take a Walk

Read a Book

Run a while

Nap

Sing in the Car

Be a dork

Listen well

Pray

Embrace Joy

See Jesus

Visit someone

Live today

Wear flip flops

Build a snowman

Breathe

And Pray

Look at babies

Laugh a bunch

Do some kissing

Sky

Be light

Be real

Be true

Be His vessel

Trust

Pray

Believe

Love

Live

Laugh

Joy

Peace

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“If you can Believe, all things are possible to him who Believes.” Mark 9:23

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Even HE

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When He was here, living in flesh amongst us, even Jesus – the Savior of all – even He looked up. He made communion with His Father of the utmost and primary importance in life.That causes me to wonder something in relation to what we should do ourselves:

Maybe that’d be a good idea for us…..to look up….all the time.

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will
darken their faces. Psalm 34:5 NLT

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Jesus Has a Sense of Humor!

via C28 Christian Images

via C28 Christian Images

This following after Jesus with reckless abandon deal is a lot of things, friends….

It is trial producing
It is a blessing
It is backbone strengthening
It is spirit testing
It is mind blowing
It is peace
It is joy fulling
It is deep
It is exciting
It can be “scary”
It is faith deepening
It can get hairy
It is awe inspiring
It is full of toil
It is sprinkled with waiting
It produces new soil
It is full of growth
It’s all that it’s rumored
Today I’m reminded most
That Jesus has a sense of humor!

Dudes! I have so much to share with you…but today I won’t share it all. I shall do it incrementally….and yes…it may seem random and out of order. That’s what its all about these days when it comes to what’s going on around here!
No, but seriously…it really is because I always share what God puts on my heart in the order He leads me to share it. And sometimes that seems random, but our God is a God of order, isn’t He? And His order is far different from ours. If you really think about it, ours is in all reality, a bunch of chaos. It’s just another one of those little lies the enemy likes to tell us.

So, I gave my notice at my night job last night…that is another story I will post about another time. But suffice it to say that there are some truly wonderful people I work with there, and although my husband and I have no question this is what needs to happen, already, we have seen some interesting things emerge about where we may be going from here.

Today, there are two things that happened out of the blue as the morning dawned. Ha Ha…I have to pause to laugh at myself right now, sorry.

via Christart.com

via Christart.com

Actually, one of the things is not something I had “planned”, but looks like a possible blessing, for sure. I’ll talk about that in a minute. The other thing, made me literally laugh out loud – I will get to that as well. But first, I must digress…..

You know, when the peace about what to do in this part of the puzzle came about for us (to quit the night job), we felt a sense of relief (I guess that’s what God’s peace is all about, right? Duh.) God had finally given us a little thing we could actually “do” in this process. Whew! We are digging God’s peace, bro.

Christart.com

Christart.com

We embrace the waiting aspect of everything else, but as you know from last week’s posts, I was indeed getting weary….weary about having no direction at all….weary from waiting. I grew from that, and I expect God will continue to have me wait upon Him forever in many different ways. I am sure husband man is growing from that as well.

I am now open to that – an area I needed growth in, for sure – waiting. But lest ye need reminding: I have a loooonnnnnggggg way to go with that. Yes, a very long way. He, the Almighty….He knows it too.

Christart.com

Christart.com

Anyway, I can’t possibly put everything down I’d like to say today – no way. But I do want to tell you something interesting. The desire of my heart (as far as the work I do outside of the home) is to put my whole self into the church, but there is the financial aspect of things and the timing aspect of things that may not make that be able to happen – at least, not in Annie’s special little idea of great timing (which is flawed, my friends…very, very flawed sometimes).

Another great thing about God! Because He has His own plans. We don’t know what they are.

Christart.com

Christart.com

But to be truly obedient, I have to be “open” to whatever He may want for us…for me, and my role now as far as what, if anything, I do outside of the home…whether for service, for employment, you name it.

So….true to my nature, I am hopeful that He will open more doors for me to get to work even more at the church – if that is what He wants. But it may not be what He wants. Sigh….So I went ahead and decided to complicate matters (dontcha love that?) and  look into (be open to) other things, and just trust Him. Hopefully, these other things will be able to work along with what the part time job at the church involves – but we don’t know yet, do we?

It wasn’t a part of my “plan” at all, but He led me to go ahead and apply for some other jobs. I was reluctant because of what I said – I would rather leave myself wide open for the church and what it may grow into (it still might, who knows?). What if I am offered things that might intervene with that? What if something else comes up that totally thwarts that little desire of my heart? What if I get more and more confused again? What if…what if….what if?

Yep…I’m doing it again, and God is letting me laugh at myself right now. He can manage it all. He may have plans for me in one of these areas I never even considered. I am thinking in that limited way again – that way that says…ummm….”why in the world would you ever leave a sweet job like you had to even think about doing something else that wasn’t in the “plans”? Give yourself a break…enjoy being a stay at home person and just work at the church part time…stop confusing the matter.”

Ha Ha Ha!!!!

Get this: I had applied, (just because this job came up on my site I look at from time to time) for a job that looks pretty sweet, yo. I only did it because it almost felt irresponsible not to apply. This is a hard job, but daytime hours. It is right up my alley. It is also a job that everyone and their dog and kitty cat along with all their imaginary friends wants in this city. I am not worried about it at all. Honestly, I don’t care that much about this right now. I just opened myself up to it in case the Lord would want me to. Guess what? I was “selected” for the next step in the process – 48 hours after applying. They aren’t even done accepting applicants yet. It doesn’t mean anything, and I still don’t care much about it either way, but I found it interesting. So I shall start that next step. And then I will put it back down.

That’s not the funny one though. The funny one is this: I keep getting alerts about this one job out there in my city. The title of it seemed like such a turn off, that I kept just “deleting” it when the alert came up, you know? It has been starting to really bother me though, because it keeps on coming up! So this morning, I wake up and it’s there….again! “Fine! I will read the job description, God!” Ug.

So I read it. Friends, this might be something. On the surface, everything about it seems not Annie-like. But isn’t that the point? Aren’t we supposed to not make this about ourselves, but about God and what HE might want for us? Oh yah…..

But the things needed to do this job, well, they are Annie-like too. I have never seen a job description written quite like this one that is not a part of a church or Christian ministry. It says things like “must have a heart for this or that”, “must have a true passion for helping people in time of need.” Stuff like that. But at the same time, it is a firm and reputable company laden with benefits and things like that as well. You usually don’t see those two things go together. Doesn’t make a lot of sense. Just like me….ha ha. Aren’t we funny humans?

Guess what the title of the position is? Drum roll please…..

Funeral Director

I will leave it there. I am applying this morning. Ha Ha. This isn’t about embalming bodies, friends. Seems dark and weird still though, no? But if this is what the Lord might have in store for my role in bringing glory to Him, who am I to challenge it? It may not be….. He may just want to see that I am willing. But I have a funny feeling about this. I don’t know why. Ha Ha.

And I sit here and laugh at myself again because I am like a toddler, right? I am laughing, but screaming within myself…”But God!”

“But God…I want the church thing!” (in the whiniest voice I can muster up)
“But God….whaaaaa…I want to do this other thing, it would be way more fun!”
“But God….aren’t you going to let me have the desire of my heart?” Hee Hee Hee….whine whine whine.

And then the verse…the verse that continues to come back to me through this whole journey…the verse of His voice, assuaging my discomfort, reassuring me of His sovereignty and might….the verse of His voice that I imagine Jesus saying to me with a smile on His face if He were here right now….

There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand. Proverbs 19:21 NKJV

Annie B? In a funeral director position? Are you kidding me right now?

Annie B? Surrounded by death and grieving people? You must be joking, right?

Annie B? Annie B? Annie B?

And a small whisper….one I need ever-so-frequently to hear, dear friends……

“No….not Annie B, dear child. Not just about Annie B. and her husband. Not just Annie B. and her family.”

“Jesus!”

Oh yaaaaahhhhhh………It’s not all about me and my role. It’s not all about me. It’s not about us. It’s not maybe even a little about me or us. It’s not me….It’s HE.

Jesus…..Jesus…..Jesus.

Aren’t you glad that He can teach us, humble us, but laugh with us as unto a two-year old throwing a little fit – one of those kinds that is kind of cute, but in which they still need a little bit of correction too?

Just another one of the reasons I love my Jesus, friends. Just another one.

Gettin’ M’Gear On!

Recently (as in the last two days) my family and I have had a triumph in Christ – the details of which I plan to share in full as soon as I am able. It’s time to rejoice about this special thing, and we are doing just that.

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So as always, this morning I am going to begin it all by asking the Lord to direct my steps and the path He has set before me, because enjoying the fruits that come out of this triumph does not come without some action steps on my part – things the Lord would have me do to do in relation to all of the things involved. But I need to do it along with the help of my Lord – I realize I cannot do it alone. I will rejoice in that as well, but I am pausing each morning to set the day that lies ahead right into His hands…

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As I have much to do, I must remember that the Lord is the one who will choose the plans and how to go about achieving the goals He has in store. So I shall proceed, most prayerfully, with what I think I am supposed to do, but always remember, that HE, the Almighty and most Sovereign Lord, has the full power….He owns all my “rights”…..He is the Mighty Director. And He can change things any time He sees fit.

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I feel excited about this and a huge weight is taken off of me and my family, friends. New things are happening, and I have never really been one to look forward to change – not until it has come to fruition. In this, I am excited about what the Lord is doing right as it is happening. I see the new growth now…..and I know there is more to come. I can enjoy the journey of it all – the trip He is taking us on – instead of only looking forward to the destination. I kind of have a feeling that idea of destination is only partially true anyway when we are walking in the Lord’s will for us. We may land somewhere temporarily, get to hover a while…but He will continue to move us according to  His will.

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There is peace to be found in that…in Him. In the midst of all the unknown and the chaos. In the midst of the times in which things will run smoothly – like the well-oiled operation that the Lord is capable of making this part of our journey, and also in the midst of the parts that will be frustrating, chaotic, and just plain hard. It’s His kind of peace. That’s the kind that I am really into, friends. ‘Cause it’s the only kind that’s real.

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I have been warned….the enemy will try to attack, so I will be putting on the full armor of God each and every morning. I will be checking in with Him throughout the day to do the safety check that is always needed with one such as myself. The armor, if kept on, is impenetrable by the enemy. I have a tendency to take pieces of it off at times. So, I pray that the Lord will keep me geared up every step of the way, since I tend to be an undisciplined soldier. I realize to the full, that for me, this starts in the mind. So I am giving that to Him.

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This is not my darkest valley, but it does entail a lot of unknown. But I am not afraid. AT ALL. I am free from fear right now. I pray the Lord will remind me of this when I start to get a little scared, as I know it will happen. Sometimes it may be a test of faith. Other times it may be a full scale attack or sabotage carefully planned out by the enemy but that comes upon me when I wasn’t looking for it. We can be on guard for what we know to watch out for, and even try to anticipate the element of surprise, but we are not children of the enemy, friends. We don’t think like he does. But instead of this making me afraid, it makes me know all the more how very much I need to trust in the Lord. He has my back….even if or when we get a major or minor injury, He has our backs.

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And as much as I know that the Lord has our backs, there will be the need for courage. This kind of courage can only come through Him and reliance upon Him. I look forward to having my backbone tested. I also look forward to the times that I am standing strong and don’t have to undergo much of a test. All of these things are blessings from the Lord and part of His plan to make us the disciples that we need to be. All of it prepares us to be better soldiers for Christ. We don’t know what may be around the corner, friends. Actually, if you read Revelation and follow the news, the truth is that we do know. We just don’t know when. And we need to be prepared. Practicing courage is one way the Lord admonishes us to do just that. And he lets us practice through these small, little life changes that may seem like a big deal to us right now, but that will pale in comparison to some of what may come our way before we leave this earth.

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There is beauty in that – a kind of beauty I never really saw before. Isn’t it wonderful how the Lord continues to open our eyes to things? His truth is not something that we can ever get enough of or fully tap out – it it eternal. And although the Lord is unchanging, we are creatures who are limited in what we can, or are willing to see. We can only take in so much at a time. But when we submit, and when He deems us ready, He reveals new truths to us to enrich us, embolden us, prepare us, and to bless us.

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In all of it, none of this really is what matters most anyway. Because there is only one truth that really is significant and lasting. And that is Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers us. That is Jesus Christ and the blessed hope that we will live with Him forever and reign with Him in a kingdom more glorious than we could ever truly imagine. That is Jesus…Jesus….Jesus, my friends. I love the truth of Jesus Christ.

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Always remember…even He looked up. He modeled that for us – how truly important it is. To look up and give the glory to God. To look up and ask for guidance. To look up and seek His will and direction. To look up and worship, praise, thank, and bask in awe. To look up for every single thing……big or small, when it’s easy and when it’s not. Because we CAN. If Jesus thought it important….and if HE thought it a privilege, shouldn’t we?

via davidbelcher creationswap

via davidbelcher creationswap

More than anything else, the Lord reminds me that the most important gear of all is love. Let’s get suited up, friends. There is a long day ahead. There’s a lot of love to show. Let’s do this thing!

Sparkle for Sparkle

via microsoft office images

via microsoft office images

One day last week I was on a short break at work (NOT the work I do at church – my other job, folks) and I ended up crying in the restroom….again. I wasn’t crying about work…I was crying because of hot flashes and just….just, to cry, I guess. I was also laughing out loud as it was happening. Laughing…Crying… All at the same time. I entertain myself quite frequently.

Nice way to start a blog post, eh?

Don’t worry, it’s all about hormones, my friends. Nothing earth shattering going on here at all.

But I start the post out this way on purpose. The reason is because a lot of people have told me that they think I am just always sparkly – always happy – always smiling, shiny, glittery, and – well…..just… little “Miss Perfect.”

Photo Credit Stux Via Pixabay

Photo Credit Stux Via Pixabay

But I am not. And I think it’s good for people to be reassured of that – people who wonder why they don’t have it all together, when it seems like those around them do.

This, along with my primary goal of glorifying my Savior, is exactly why I make sure, in these writings, to share a mixture of those things which are joy-filling, positive, fun and happy, with those that “shed light”, so-to-speak, on all the dark that I have experienced as well. I share these things here on this blog, and I share them out in the world….as the Spirit of the Lord leads me. Because maybe you have experienced similar things too – or maybe you are going through a difficult situation running along these very same lines and you need to know that you are not alone.

Are you someone who wonders about such things at times? If not in reference to me and my “sparkly-ness”,  maybe in regard to someone else around you who seems to be more joyful than not…..happier than you are…..who seems to have it together most of the time?

Photo Credit Sevk via Pixabay

Photo Credit Sevk via Pixabay

Do you feel inadequate when you look at the joy someone around you exudes and wonder what is wrong with you?  Do you ever compare yourselves to them and feel you come up short? Do you think something is wrong with you because you aren’t that way right now? Do you sometimes not like those people in a season of sparkle because you assume they are either fake, have a hidden agenda, or something about them and their mood just seems too good to be true?

Just know this:

We all go through seasons in life. And you know, even the people who are mostly sparkly have their less-than-shiny times (I can assure you of this).

I have gone through vast periods of dark and have had my fair share of the light as well. Through them all, the Lord has done His work in me. And I have to say, I enjoy the sparkly times more than the darker ones, but I have learned and grown so very much from both. God can always grow us, enrich us, and do a mighty work in us – no matter what the circumstance. We just need to seek Him and accept in faith He shall do His work in us in His perfect timing.

Via FreeChristian Images.Net

Via FreeChristian Images.Net

When I am not going through anything that I think “warrants’ feeling bad, that is when I get upset, like that night last week. I start to listen to the little enemy whispering in my ear….

He says things like this:

  • “Gosh, Annie…don’t you think you are being kind of petty that you are in here crying about some lame hormonal issues when there are children starving in the world?”
  • “Oh, you are such a loser – you are never going to be able to be good working in the church, Annie – they need strong people there who can rise above such stupidity as this.”
  • “Why isn’t God helping you right now? I mean, sure, there are worse things in the world to contend with, but doesn’t He care that you need to be able to get enough rest to be cheerful and shiny to help lift others up? He is leaving you in the dust.”
  • Or the worst….”I bet God is really displeased with you right about now.”

I know these are lies – which makes me cry all the harder – because I hate that they can even be heard, even if I don’t entertain them or give them any credit.

via stockvault

via stockvault

I don’t “fake” sparkly, but sometimes I do have to work at it. I don’t buy into the “just act how you feel for the sake of being fully transparent and honest”, stuff. Quite frankly, I think that’s a lame excuse to just be ugly, self-seeking, and plain rude. So, having to expend some energy doesn’t really bother me. What does concern me sometimes is that I still feel sooo uncomfortable when I just can’t get past something that is sapping my sparkle. See, I forget about that “God’s timing, not mine” thing, folks.

Once I check in with God and make sure it isn’t due to any sin on my part, I am usually then okay. He then helps me accept it for the gift that it actually is to be in a slump for a moment, a day, a week, month, or however long it lasts. Whew! That is a relief when it happens that way.

And when it is due to sin, or disobedience, He is faithful in helping me out there too. It’s even more unpleasant, but necessary at times. (Remember? The not perfect thing I have?) Yah.

I see the bummer attacks like I had in the break room as another form of God’s grace being made manifest in my life – I really, really do. I tend to want to be good – I tend to want to be the best I can be (yes, most of the time) – I tend to expect myself to be sparkly, even when I don’t feel like it. I tend, I tend, I tend…………Sigh.

I know this doesn’t earn me anything with God, or with other people – but it’s still how I like to be whenever possible. It doesn’t make me a good person – it doesn’t make me a person absent of sin – it doesn’t make me anything – I am just called to do it. Not everyone is called to this either, and I realize that. But you know when you are.

Why does God call some of us to be sparkly whenever possible? Because I think we need light in this world and He knows it (of course!). I think we need people in this world who can be sparkly most of the time. I think we need “builder-uppers”, positive forces, and all that seems “nice” in this world, as long as it is done with pure, sincere, and Godly motives.

And sometimes, we aren’t equipped to be that, for whatever reason or circumstance. What is important, is that we do it with the right heart, the right motivation, and we realize we cannot do it in our own power. What is important, is that we follow after that calling if it has been placed upon our hearts and that the glory be given to God, not ourselves as we do so. What is important, is we seek to uplift out of love, not out of the ulterior motive of getting others to like us, make us feel better about ourselves, or validate us.

That night, I was angry and frustrated with myself because I temporarily forgot that I can’t pull myself out of my little slump in my own power. Hence, the Satan whispers.

Right now, most of the time, I am in a season in my life where God has equipped me to be this way – sparkly. Not every day, but a lot more than say, a year or two ago. I am enjoying that and am grateful for that, and I definitely want to use that to lift others up, rather than wallow in it and suck up all the benefit for myself. But I do have down days like today, and don’t we all?

You know, I have found that it relieves people to know that – to be reassured that even the sparkly and glitter-like people in the world don’t have it all together. That they don’t always feel good – that they don’t always feel blessed, even when they know that they are. That they are human,imperfect, flawed, downtrodden, and a host of other things too. That they can be understanding of such things as depression and grief, sadness and loss –they can relate – have compassion that is genuine and real – be merciful out of truly understanding versus just being nice. Not all sparkly people are genuine, this is true – but know that some of them are, and let them be the ones to build you up and offer support when you need it.

In relation to myself, I don’t share this to be a martyr at all – God has placed others in my life who build me up too…some are sparkly, and some are not sparkly. I do share this because it is so important to me that people realize that even the sparkly people might just be able to understand what you are going through.

As a side note – Sometimes sparkly people aren’t placed into our lives just to cheer us up. For example, you may be surprised that I have it on my heart to help those who are grieving – just to be there for them…to understand what I can about what they are going through and help support them. To weep with them if they need a friend. I want to laugh with those who need to laugh, and be a shoulder for those who need a lift.

Doesn’t sound too sparkly, does it? But it’s all part of what the Lord is placing upon my heart – and I want to follow after and seek that with all of mine.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15

Besides being able to understand others, God allows us to go through rough things to remind us we need a Savior! He graciously and mercifully allows me to see quite clearly how not perfect I am – not to condemn me – but to keep me on the right path.

  • So I don’t forget my Savior again, like I did on and off for years….
  • So I don’t forget that I NEED Him….
  • So I don’t forget that life can be a pain in the rear and that if I never went through any stuff, I could not love others the way He would have me love them.
  • So I never, ever forget how far-reaching His love for me is!
  • So I can truly appreciate the joyful times, and carry the joy and the peace that He gives me in Him with me through any and every single circumstance in life that may ever come my way.
  • So I can continue to care for others who don’t feel so sparkly. (SECOND in line next to my relationship with Jesus)
via 123rf.com

via 123rf.com

Part of why I have sparkle right now is because I understand the dark stuff too. Like many of you, I know grief, friends. Like many of you, I know depression. I know anxiety, pressure, “be all you can be” mentality, vanity, selfishness, loneliness and sin, frustration, confusion…just name it.

And right now, with no shadow of a doubt, I know hormonal imbalance and how it can change that personality you think  is yours. It’s quite a good lesson to be reminded that nothing belongs to us…not our sanity, or our next breath. And certainly, most certainly, not our hormones. Ug.

So, when I am able to feel and be “sparkly” I really feel good about it – hence, even more sparkle – Sparkle for Sparkle! I have something dark to compare it to, so I can appreciate it to the fullest! God’s light shines all the stronger through that dark.

“You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.” Samuel 2:29

via stockvault

via stockvault

When He does bring me into the lighter times, I feel strongly that I should appreciate it to the fullest – praise Him for it – and use it to build up and edify others….don’t you? Don’t you find that you want to spread the joy when you can…when it’s appropriate? And then, you have room to weep with others when they need you to do so….because He has made that room for us…He has filled us with what we need to help support others in their darker times.

That’s what led me to the tears and laughing out loud, almost hysterically at myself last week…the hormonal stuff I am going through. I do not wish to minimize the things in life that are FAR worse than hormonal imbalances and the ripple effect they have, because I am all too aware there are far worse things in life to deal with, friends. Some of you are in the midst of that right now. And as I said, I have been through loss, sudden death of a loved one, prolonged death of a loved one, heartache beyond imagination in reference to sin, choices, mistakes, and some things I just won’t name here. I have been with others who have lost children, battled cancer, thought they would be leaving this earth and didn’t know who would take care of their own kids, financial destitution, and fear beyond imagination. I have known what it feels like to be on the brink of losing your sanity, your child, your marriage, your sense of security, and your relationship with God. I have been in places where there seemed to be no spark whatsoever -No glitter – places that seemed just perpetually dark. But He was there, friends of mine – even when I didn’t see Him…And He has brought me through – every time.

And this hormonal season (I am told it can last 10 YEARS – really?)……..I know this too shall pass. AND, it will enable me to help other women when they too go through such things. Because I will have been there (or….sigh…may still be there).

A little girl having a great time on a swing in a playground.

Know what? I am choosing to keep hold of the joy I have in Jesus, even when I don’t feel sparkly or happy. We all can. This is just one of the blessings we have in Him. Joy in Jesus is not contingent upon happiness, feelings, moods, or hormones. The devil can’t take that from us – not ever!

Do I hope to be back to my sparkly self sooner rather than later? Sure! Do I feel added pressure because I started helping in a new role at my church in which being upbeat, friendly, approachable and caring  is very important? Sure! Do the physical, and now emotional symptoms get me down – all the way down on the bathroom floor at times? You betcha!

But I will not be defeated – I will not have to worry that the enemy will get to take this stuff and make it into something that he wants for bad. I will not forget who is fighting for me and to go to Him constantly and ask Him to fight those battles, and help me to stand strong and do my part – I will try my best to remember too, to get out of the way and let God do HIS part (which is most, if not all of it, I tend to think).

via stockvault

via stockvault

I am going to make my next post more “sparkly” and more fun ( I think we need that after this) but keep in mind, I am talking to myself in all of these posts I share, friends – far more than I am to anyone else. We all have struggles, big and small. We all feel less than sparkly, for serious things, or things that are simply dumb old thorns in our sides. But we all can have Jesus on our side too – as long as we choose Him.

I am not perfect. I am not perfectly sparkly, or perfectly drab. But I am a child of God – and that, I am very, very thankful for – no matter how I might feel today. How’s that for sparkly? And how’s that for a perfect life?

I am going to milk that sparkle for sparkle for every last glittery little drop it’s worth!

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**Blessings to those of you who feel sparkly today – and to those of you who don’t!

Jesus, Joy, and Jiggle Jeans!

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Guess what I did today? I bought bigger jeans – whoo hoo!!!!! Not something you hear most women celebrate about much, right?

Well, Dig this…………………

The other day I mentioned that I had lost a lot of weight over the course of a couple of years. A LOT, as in about 100 pounds. It took about two years to lose the weight, and I have now maintained that loss for an additional 18 months. (By the way, this was all Jesus’ doing, I kid you not!) So, this is not a brag post – I have a point  here! But you must know by now, that it takes me a while to get around to it…hee hee.

Part of what happens when you are a peri-menopausal, middle aged woman who abused her body for as long as I did, is that if you are actually blessed enough to be able to get in shape again; ever reach an “ideal” weight again – if you had that much to lose – you are going to be left with a lot of loose skin – it won’t matter what you do – shy of surgery, it’s going to be there.

Surgery is not happening for me, friends – no way. I am not judging whether or not that is right for other people, but for me – in light of the spiritual aspect of how this all played out in my life specifically, that is not where it’s at. And I have no problem with that.

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This is not about looks – but it is about “comfort.” The loose skin bothered me for quite some time, and it still does once in a while. But it bothered me more than anything else, because it isn’t comfortable in clothes. Neither is being 100 pounds overweight.

But see, when I was that heavy, although it was just a bunch of “fat”, things weren’t “loose”……it was firm fat – or it gave off the sense of feeling firm, I should say. It provided a false sense of security, friends. I felt “full” with that fat in there. I knew it was bad for me, and yes, there were aspects of that that were uncomfortable as well, but when it comes to that feeling of fullness, it was there. And I was in all actuality, a very empty woman. (And it wasn’t because of the weight issue)

Losing the fat made me feel a lot better physically, but for a while, it was weird. It was hard to adjust to less of me in other ways. It was strange to get a take on where I was at, physically, in time and space. For example, I walked around for a while with far less bruises, because I wasn’t as large and didn’t bump into things as much or fall down and slip as much as when I was heavier. But after a while, as I got even smaller, that inverted – I actually couldn’t gauge where my body was in relation to things as well as before; how close I was or wasn’t to that corner of that table. So, it took a while to figure out the logistics of it all.

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Back to the skin though. So, I lost the weight, and found I needed a new wardrobe, right? So, little by little, I started to buy my jeans, mostly at the consignment shop that I love, since it’s cheap and jeans aren’t. And I found that I really, really liked the jeans the more fitted they were. This isn’t for the reason one might think, either. It wasn’t because I wanted to look “hot” in my new jeans, although it did feel good to be more physically appealing to my husband with my newfound shape. It wasn’t because I wanted to flaunt anything about how I looked at all. It was because the fitted jeans made me feel more safe and secure – they held in the residual jiggle the loose skin was causing.

I am not saying there is really anything wrong with that, but I have noticed something lately – maybe over the last three months or so. I don’t like that feeling any more. I don’t like the feeling of the tighter, more fitted jeans, even the ones that are still worn with taste and not showing anything off. I am not saying I wouldn’t still wear a pair of them here or there, but I am finding that I am gravitating to a looser feel again.

The jiggle is still there – just like I said. And when I wear the looser things, it is exacerbated. But I feel better when I don’t try to hold it all in anymore. I am not only okay with that, but I am starting to prefer it. In fact, if I could, I would probably move from jeans to pajamas all the time at this point. No Problema!

Young Woman Stretching

You may think I am crazy, but this is exactly indicative of where I need to be at in my walk with the Lord. I need to be okay with the jiggle in life – more okay than I am now, at least. I need to not need that security blanket of the world – the false one that anything of it offers to us – just like the more fitted jeans. Jesus is my only security – He is it.

As Christians, we must be willing to risk….and it can be hard when we are intent on keeping things reined in when it comes to sin in our lives, discipline, obedience to the Lord, and all the other stuff we don’t want to be lax about. At the same time, I truly believe we are called to “let it all go” or “let it all hang out” sometimes, for lack of better phrasing. In other words, our very endeavor at times to keep it reined in, is what actually binds and restricts our spiritual growth. We do need to be vigilant about sin, but not in our own power (trying to do it without God’s help), lest we begin to attribute too much of our success in those areas to ourselves. We don’t even know what tomorrow will bring – I am reminded of that all the time.

  • “As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:16
  • “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1

There is only one thing to boast about……….

  • Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:31

But we must also be careful not to confuse boasting with rejoicing. Rejoicing in the Lord and what He has done is okay any time!

  • “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

The difficulty lies in the fact that we need to do both. I need to stay fit because my body is a temple and it should to be offered up as a living sacrifice unto the Lord – and I want to rejoice in the Lord than He has enabled that! But I also need to remember that none of that should offer me a false sense of comfort, security, or anything else of the like, and that none of it is my own doing! Hmmmm. Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda? Or Gonna, Can, and Will? It isn’t a choice – it’s a must for me. It’s also a want, and I am so thankful for that!

You know, as I reflect on this, I realize that the Lord really helped me to stay aware during the process of weight loss about not allowing it to become a false idol. There were a couple of patches where it was teetering on the line sometimes, but He always graciously drew me back. I am so grateful to Him for that. Even when we are successful in something, the Lord can still use it to “grow” us. We don’t have to experience failure to grow and draw even closer to Him, even though we do sometimes, and He grows us through those setbacks too. I love that about God, amongst everything else He is: That He makes the most of us and grows us through our success stories and through the ugly stuff too.

Isn’t that just awesome?

gospelgifs.com

gospelgifs.com

So, thankfully, Jesus allows me to continue to jog, and run, and exercise to stay fit. I love that feeling of a good run, where you sweat all the junk out, and then your muscles feel warm, and you feel strong. But I know that is not what makes me strong. And that jiggle that is still left behind is a gift to me, friends. Because it is a constant reminder of the grace the Lord shows me in so many ways, each and every day. He has shown it through the weight loss, and He shows it through all of life. Most of all, He has shown it through the gift of salvation He has graciously bestowed upon me and the blessed hope that one day, we shall reign with Him in heaven for all eternity.

I love my new jeans, friends. They feel great! And that jiggle? It isn’t bothering me much anymore. I feel free – free in my Jesus, and free in my jiggle jeans.

I think I will go do a little Joyful Jesus Jiggly Jig right now in my new Jiggle Jeans, yo! Won’t you put on your dancing pants and dance with Jesus and with me today? Let’s get this party started, friends! And then….let’s keep it goin!

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“Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and
harp.” Psalm 149:3

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To Do, or Not to Do

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 ESV

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As always, I have a big, long “to do” list today (hope it doesn’t turn into a “fry day” – lol). Actually, I have several of these lists, because I tend to compartmentalize all my “to dos” into categories or I get overwhelmed. And you know what? They aren’t going to all get done today. No way, man…no way.

You know, friends….I realize, that sometimes, we just have to truly, truly let go, don’t we? Just when I think in my little mind that I have done just that, the Lord gently reminds me – “no, not in that way, Annie…not in that way. You still aren’t understanding yet…you still aren’t hearing me.”

He knows I have “surrendered” to His will in regard to the employment problem/question/issue. He knows that I am willing to change what He wants for me to change if He asks me to. He knows that I am following after Him with all that I have, but the situations and circumstances in life are making that hard and causing me to lose my focus. He knows it all. But that still isn’t what He was calling me to do in regard to letting go. He put this on my heart and in my mind pretty firmly last night and this morning.

Teenage Girl on Swing

Here is what I heard over and over in my head when I prayed: “No, Annie…I mean, really let go! I know you are willing to leap, or jump, or stay put, but just want me to tell you which one to do. It’s not time yet for you to know which one. Annie, just let go of it completely right now. I will tell you when you need to know. Just move through life right now and trust me to guide you.”

Wow! Talk about a challenge for a control freak like myself. I thought I was being sufficiently challenged to have become willing to surrender and jump into what seemed like an abyss or wait in a situation that has become very difficult to wait in, but as always, I am awakened to the fact that I still have so very far to go when it comes to true surrender. I suppose I always will until I get to heaven.

Woman Running with Dog

Oh, guys…I feel so much better, it makes me tear up right now as I write to you before I start this day. I feel such a weight lifted. There is enough to juggle to keep me plenty busy while I wait and while I practice letting go. I have always said to people I work with or interact with that sometimes, what I need to work on is to not work on anything. Sometimes, what I need to do, is not do anything. I coached others in their development for years, and most of them wanted/needed to focus on something in order to grow. For me, and others like me, we often need to focus on having good goals, yes, but just “being.” Oh, this is hard!

My very grounded and spiritually mature daughter said something so very profound the other day when I was discussing all of this with her. Actually, she said several profound things, but one of them was “What I see, mama, is you wanting so badly to turn this all over to God….but you keep picking it back up again every morning. You need to leave it there. Just leave it there for Him and trust Him to give back to you what He decides to give back and when.”

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Does that not blow you right out of the water?

Know something else the Lord gave to her to share with me? Dig this little nugget of truth: “You know, if we aren’t careful, a trial can become an idol too.”

And, now standing by the side of the lake freezing in the wind with no towel.

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Whoa…I love truth! Even when it slaps me right upside the head. Actually, especially when it does that.

After that, I went through about 12 hours of I-don’t-know-what, about the fact that my daughter is more spiritually mature and in tune with the Lord than I am. Ha Ha. (not really funny, but true in many ways)

Below I share in pictures how  I think that the Lord means for us to let go when we  have reached a point with something where we are just at a loss as to what to do. And you know…..when I look at this myself before I send it out to share with all of you, I feel calm about the whole matter for the first time in a long time. You know why? Because I knew it all before – I knew that God has it under control  I knew that He has a plan – I knew He has our backs, He is in charge, and He will take care of all of us.

Woman by Ocean with Arms Outstretched

But I didn’t feel it. And we don’t always, do we? But today, He is giving me a break from that – exhale. Today, He is allowing my feelings to match up with what I know. We need those breaks, friends…don’t we? I am thankful.

Because, well…when I look at this below, I see clearly that this is enough, isn’t it friends? This is plenty to take with us throughout the day. If we can just think on these things…do, or don’t do the other things…God can guide us to do the rest. God is enough….God is enough.

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The verse I placed in the beginning of this post does say we need to run the race with endurance…this is true. We still have to go through this life and press on to the calling God has placed upon us. At the same time, it also says to lay aside every weight and sin that clings so closely – if we really think about it, we aren’t going to be able to run very well if we skip that part, are we?

I hope that if any of you are feeling the same way about a specific situation in your life, that you see this today and find encouragement in here. And if I don’t know you, please know, that the Lord has put you on my heart – I am praying for you, really, I am. He knows your name – He knows who I am praying for. So…do, or don’t do my friends – go with what the Lord leads you to today – but while you do so, think on these things from Him…and carry them with you wherever you may be, and wherever you may go.

Love and Blessings…..

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gopraise.com

Waiting………..

www.heartlight.org

Resting……….

Praying……..

Living…….

Trusting…………

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Learning………..

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Thanking……….

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Following….

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Loving

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Rejocicing

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Looking

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Singing

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Praising…….

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Focusing.

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Remembering

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Knowing..

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The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein. Psalm 24:1

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Very inspiring!

Thoughts and What Nots

Walking Through the Door

“When one door opens, another one closes.”
– my opinion: yeah I wish it was that easy.

“When God opens the right door, He’ll also close the right one too.”
– my opinion: I trust Him more than I trust myself, so I’m going to try to let Him choose my paths I go down and doors I walk through instead of continuing to hesitate in the doorway like I so often do these days.

I’m done with waiting at the door, hesitant to take that first step, and instead feeling safer by walking back inside than stepping onto the unfamiliar grass beyond the patio and the open door leading me to reality.

While it has been nice waiting on the porch and looking through the screen, and then even daring to just turn the knob and open the door a crack, and then a little bit more, I’m ready…

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Keep Looking

“We live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV

Of course, this is true – it’s in the inspired word of God. Yet, as I prayed for God to lift the burden of all I discussed yesterday, and help me to get back to a focus on Him and others ( ug, such selfishness I was wallowing in yesterday!), I knew He wanted to lead me to something else in His word as well. So I kept looking. And I kept praying.

Here is one of the places He took me….

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

He’s waiting expectantly, this little boy. He knows He must live by faith, but that doesn’t mean He has to stop looking. As long as He looks because He believes, he is still living not just by sight, but by faith. AND….with joyful anticipation and delight in the hope of Jesus and His return!

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Today, I reflect on the fact that I believe in Him. I have faith in Him. I trust in Him. And I love Him.

This is my prayer for you as well: That you will keep looking – with joyful anticipaton and expectation. We can live by faith, not by sight and keep looking all at the same time. That is what He reassured me of last night. He is risen – and He is coming back one day!

Until then, we can look while we hold Him close and He lives through and within us – what an absolute blessing, indeed. Be blessed today. Bask in this along with me today.

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Copyright © davidniblack.com via Imagebase

:…….while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our
great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.” Titus 2:13 NLT

Via FreeChristian Images.Net

Via FreeChristian Images.Net

3 Years Down…An Eternity to Go

02-21-2010 -Took the Hand of Her Savior and Went Home

02-21-2010 -Took the Hand of Her Savior and   Went Home

What’s it like to live three years in heaven?

Oh my Dearie, Mama Dear….

Do you know what time is like anymore?

With your Perfect Savior, always near?

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Is it bright and shining, always there?

More than we here might ever think?

Do all the colors look much different now?

Deeper hues of blue, green, and pink?

????????

What’s it feel like now for you in heaven?

My Mama, I’ll bet you feel free…

Do you get updates from time to time..

About our lives, much… do you see?

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Does He let you help to ready the places –

In His mansions, where we too, shall live?

We look for the day we will see your faces –

Yet here, there’s more time we must give.

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I’ll bet one of the things He did in heaven…

Was to let you help the little children come home…

You always loved them all so much –

Just as if they were all your very own.

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Dear Mama, what a gift to enjoy!

Things are finally as they were meant to be…

Three years without you has been hard –

Yet His comfort, He’s showered upon me.

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Through grief, and loss I’ve drawn much closer..

Yet eternity still seems far away…

‘Cause here we do still know of time,

But we wait in joy for that blessed day.

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We join with you to sing His praises –

Even though here, there is left much sin…

Three years down, an eternity to go…

We can’t wait to embrace you again.

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What’s it like to spend three years in heaven?

Oh my Dearie, Mama Dear?

You’ll have to share your stories with me..

I cannot wait, every one of them, to hear.

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Free Fallin’?

Copyright © davidniblack.com via ImageBase

Copyright © davidniblack.com via ImageBase

How many of you out there have taken a leap of faith when you were really uncertain as to what to do? Even after seeking guidance, asking God to open doors, asking what “leap” He wants you to take, you still didn’t quite know, so you just left it alone for a while. But then the nudging continued; the deep feeling you still needed to “just do it” stuck with you? And then…… you just had to decide. One way or the other, you had to decide.

Here is the kind of leap I am not talking about:

  • After seeking the Lord and His will diligently, He makes it clear you need to change something pretty significant – you have no idea what all the ramifications of the change will be, but He is asking you to trust in Him. After quite some time, He suddenly opens a door and you know it’s from Him. You run right through that door and just trust Him to take care of the rest of it.

Here is the one I AM talking about:

  • After seeking the Lord and His will diligently, He makes it clear He wants you to do something different than the way you have been. He brings, after a lot of prayer, a change your way – you embrace it and don’t even hesitate, even though the outcome is still unknown as to how it will affect everything or what it may or may not lead to. But there’s still something else in there that you feel He wants you to change as well, yet you aren’t sure what the right thing is to do. You seek His answers, or guidance on this, and….nothing. You decide to wait because God’s timing is different than ours, and waiting and perseverance are a way to trust in the Lord as well. But the nudging turns into a knocking, and even borders on a pounding. It grows every single day. It’s starting to drive you crazy. You pray for help with that too – ha ha.
Zhappy via Stockvault

Zhappy via Stockvault

I would like to hear your stories, if you are willing to share. I would love to hear what bible verses you turn to for the Lord’s direction in these situations as well. I look upon this as a way of seeking wise counsel from others who walk with the Lord….those who have been there…..those who saw failures from not leaping, and those who saw great growth. Those who saw failures from going ahead and leaping, when it turned out to be a bad idea, and still saw God’s mighty hand at work in it all.

You know, I get the whole, “don’t go by what the world says to do” thing. I get that God will take care of me, my family, as long as I truly trust in Him. But there is something to be said too, isn’t there, for trying to obey Him by making wise choices? Seeking counsel is a part of that. This is what He has led me to do again today.

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Copyright © davidniblack.com via Imagebase

Friends, I have this nagging feeling I am supposed to step out even more in a particular area – one that is quite scary – one that may leave my family and myself in a situation financially that is not pretty at all. We have it good – we are not rich by any means, but we have it good. My primary job is a good job. The people are wonderful, the pay is beyond wonderful, and the insurance benefits are just….WOW. It is a dream come true in this economy to have the job I have outside of the church. It’s a good place to work. Most people would get teeth pulled without pain killers for a job like this one.

But…………….

I have done this for ten years, and I have no problem with the job itself – a job is a job, and we can do all kinds of work unto our Lord….doesn’t matter what it is. Unfortunately, this job entails me working at night. Although I am a night owl and always have been, working past midnight, every night for 10 years, well…it wreaks havoc on one physically, and even emotionally at times as well.

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Copyright © davidniblack.com via Imagebase

I am not complaining, but I am saying that in all reality, with the way life was when our children were smaller, this night job was a blessing that I know God provided to my husband, my family and myself. But I feel He is calling me (loudly) to something else. I feel He is calling me to stop the night job. I feel He is calling me to move back as deeply as I can into ministry – through this blog, through another online ministry I am a part of, through volunteer service at the church, and through my new part time job I was blessed with there too. Most of all, through being able to actually be a mom and wife again who actually makes dinnner sometimes, and gets into more of a regular sleep pattern. Through being able to have some fellowship time with other believers. Through a lot of stuff, my friends…a lot of stuff.

There is a TON more to this story, and God has had His hand upon us every step of the way. But, I still just don’t know if He is calling me out of that job now, or is wanting me to be still and wait. Ug!

Another little wrench I can throw in there for you: He opened the door for me to work at the church (very much only part time, for now at least) and I am so grateful for that – I ran through that door with the blessing of my husband and many others along with God’s! I know I am supposed to be there, I have no doubt. Although I would like to do that full time, right now that isn’t part of the plan, and that’s okay. So yes, this allows me to keep the part time night job, and this role at the church too – good news, right? But I don’t feel that way about that night time job. I am sooo conflicted…ug!

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Copyright © davidniblack.com via Imagebase

I feel like it would be irresponsible – but I know I am thinking in terms of the world’s standards in that. Sometimes, I feel like I am being ungrateful to even entertain the idea of still leaving the night job (high paying, awesome insurance benefits, good people) when  the Lord provided a way for me to keep it and step into the role with the church.  I mean, how much greener could the grass get?

But…………………………………

So…here is the burning question. If one has been in prayer for quite some time, is looking to Him for guidance, seeking His will, spending time in His word and spending time with Him, persevering, being open to change according to His leading…..well, what is one to do when there is not a clear cut answer as to whether to close a particular door? There is value in waiting upon the Lord. There also is value in stepping out in faith in the Lord. Which one does He want for us to do here?

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Copyright © davidniblack.com via Imagebase

As far as open doors? They are over the place, friends. And my husband and I are committed to walking right through them if God leads us that way. But, this one, the night job one? He hasn’t closed it….yet. Is He asking me to close it? Or, is it possible that this is one of those things where God is giving me the choice – either way. Maybe He doesn’t see it as me defying His will in any way, because He hasn’t told me otherwise. And either choice I make, will be a way to show Him obedience – trust in Him – have more faith in Him.

These are the things I grapple with today, and every day for the last year. It seems to be getting more difficult. And that is what makes me think that He is trying to tell me something very important – and maybe, just maybe, He isn’t going to tell until I make a choice. Because I think that I have been listening…..but maybe, I just don’t like the way the answer is coming out.

Copyright © davidniblack.com via Imagebase

Copyright © davidniblack.com via Imagebase

I know we are to look to God for our answers – to our faith in Him, in His word, and ultimately, that is who we are responsible to for all this. I know too that ultimately, I need to listen and go with what I feel He wants based upon what He is or isn’t telling me. Yet, He tells us to seek wise cousel -some of which, we have already sought and are grateful for. I am now reaching out to hear from others who walk in Christ. Please share, my friends.

Desire of my heart? Stop working at night part time at the other job- put my all into working at the church, serving at the church, and this ministry and community I have here with all of you. Write a book for Jesus. Trust God to provide and tell me what my part in that should be.  Take steps to make changes in our lives so we can make it financially. Stop worrying about insurance and letting it stop me from doing what I am pretty sure I am being led to do. Be the best follower of Christ I can be, the best mother and wife I can be, and put my all into what I am graced with being a part of in these other areas.

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Concern? That I might be following only the desires of my little heart without even knowing it, were I to make that choice. That we all have to do things we don’t feel led to do any longer. That there is a lot to be said for how the Lord asks us to be obedient, to do things that are hard for us, to persevere, to be patient. And there is even more to be said for being grateful.

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Really, Really Big Concern? That, like I often do, I am overthinking this whole stupid thing, and God is really displeased with me for that. Ha Ha. I know it’s no laughing matter when it comes to God, but I laugh at myself right now – I just can’t help it. He knows me.

Copyright © davidniblack.com via Imagebase

Copyright © davidniblack.com via Imagebase

Regardless of what we choose, my husband and myself –  I know this: God has us in His hand and under His wing. He knows we are simply seeking His will in this area. And I know my entire family – we will all be in this together with God’s help. I guess the worst thing that happens if we just make a decision to take the leap is that we go through some hardship that could have been avoided- and God works through that too, doesn’t He?

Yes, the nudging I was feeling has turned into a pulling, friends. I am realizing this as I write to you this very moment: That I  have been telling God I am willing to take some steps that seem like they don’t have a certainty about them – ’cause, hey, for me, that is a leap!  I have always been someone who played everything the wise and safe route in life, and a lot of that was due to a lack of faith. And I feel this pulling to leap into the unknown – I just don’t really trust where it’s coming from – God, Me, or the Devil. I’m going to go with God.

I guess, in a way, wondering if I am being deceived is still just  me not having enough trust in the Lord, isn’t it, friends? For if it were coming out of some selfish motivation and intention that I won’t be made aware of for a year or two down the road, can’t I trust Him enough that He will still carry us through even that? That He will teach me how I went wrong and grow me/us through that?

Brandi Wood via Copyright © 2013 CreationSwap

Brandi Wood via Copyright © 2013 CreationSwap

Oh well…I shall be still now and be quiet. Have I driven you utterly crazy yet?  I will be stepping away from the blog for the rest of the day. I hope some of you can share your stories with me.  I get to go do my first shift at the church tonight, so I am excited about that. Thank you, Jesus!

Please pray, my friends….I so appreciate you, your prayers, and I just know the Lord will speak to me through your stories. I also am feeling pretty strongly that He has already given me His answer.  🙂

Love, Annie B  🙂

Copyright © 2013 CreationSwap

Copyright © 2013 CreationSwap

I quote from Isaiah 43: 1-2 is an assurance from God – I think this is our answer:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you,

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you ;

And when you pass through the rivers,

They will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

You will not be burned;

The flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel , your Saviour.”

via imagebank.uk.net

via imagebank.uk.net

Whatz Hoppenin’?

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Somethin’ got ya down today – can’t get into any rejoicing?

Don’t let it hoppen man – in Him, just keep on trusting.

Someone tellin’ ya otherwise, that you outta just go away?

Don’t let ’em do it to ya, hop over there as you pray.

Messages comin’ your way right now and sayin’ you’d better get real?

Hop to it and tell ’em all ’bout Jesus, g’head and do it with zeal!

Tempted to take a sidestep now, just mosey on outta there?

Keep on hopping down the narrow path, it’s full o’ His fresh air.

Thinkin’ bout taking a leap today to celebrate all you’ve done?

Remember who we’re jumping for; it’s Jesus, The Spotless One.

Feelin’ kind of green and icky, wondering if you’re all that?

Better to stay green in Jesus, than slither round like some dark cat.

Knowin’ ya got some work to do, somethin’ seem like it’s outta reach?

Remember who your faith is in, He will help you take that leap.

Think you’re just some ugly frog, full of buggy ol’ eyes and all?

Jump for joy for eyes that see, ’cause our God, He’s big, not small!

Keep Lookin' Up Froggies

Keep Lookin’ Up Froggies

“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26:4

FreeChristianImages.net

FreeChristianImages.net

A Slice of Jesus and a Side of God

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace
because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the
power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

via Pixabay

via Pixabay

  • “What will you have today, dear?”   **I’ll just have a slice of Jesus……………..
  • “And what would you like to drink with that?”  **“Oh…I guess I’ll have an extra large _______ with just a tiny bit of the Holy Spirit sprinkled in there.  You know, actually, we’d also better make that diet, okay?”
  • “And for dessert?”  **Maybe just a sliver of God on the side…..I don’t really know if I have room for any more.”
Used w/ Permission from Microsoft Office

Used w/ Permission from Microsoft Office

Have you ever approached the Lord and the priority you make Him in your life in this way? I am sad to admit that I did until just a few years ago. And I still can end up here at times if I get distracted by the things of this world.
For most of my life, I thought I could just fold Jesus into my heart, mind and behaviors in ways that suited me to fit my own situation and agenda of the day. I’d cry out to Him when I needed help, go to church once in a while because it was the right thing to do, and remember my Savior fondly at Christmas time when I’d see all the little manger scenes  everywhere that contained figurines of my sweet baby Jesus.

I felt love for Jesus, but I didn’t show Him very much of it. I didn’t bother to talk to Him a whole lot, certainly was a fair-weather friend at best, and pretty much just took for granted overall that He’d just be there for me whenever I decided to call upon Him. I didn’t make Him the center of my life, just an underlying part of it. He was the One who was there in the back -behind everything. He was the One I thought I could conjure up whenever I so desired, and then leave in the dust the rest of the time. He was the One I liked to hide away for a rainy day.

It breaks my heart to even think about it as I write about it right now.

PhotoCredit Stockvault.com

PhotoCredit Stockvault.net

Aside from how very wrong that is, how very sad and heartbreaking it is that I was that lame of a friend, child, lamb, follower (ha!) of my magnificent Savior; I also actually believed that as long as I brought Him into my life in some way, that I would be sufficiently nourished and could go on living just how I wanted to live without suffering any real  consequences.

Revolving buffet of Holiness anyone? Ensued the cycle of binging/deprivation: The unhealthy over-stuffing, then inevitable follow-up starvation attempts. The empty spiritual calories; the shame; the hiding behind of everything unhealthy and unstable. And YES, the consequences of a life lived in such a way as this.

Photo Credit Stockvault.net

Photo Credit Stockvault.net

  •  “You aren’t going to get a full, well-rounded meal today, Annie?” **“No…I am still really full from the extra-large platter of Magnificent Self that I had for dinner last night. Besides, today’s meal needs to be on the lighter side…I am starting to feel pretty heavy.”

Ahhh ~ the twisted mind of someone who has battled serious issues with food and weight management. And the REALLY screwed up mind of one who only peppered in the Lord to suit their own fancies or tastes for the day, circumstance, or period in their life they happened to be going through at the time.

Yep, that was me, my friends. I lived it. Sadly, I did.

PhotoCredit Stockvault.net

PhotoCredit Stockvault.net

Yes…this paints a very true picture of how I lived out my spiritual life and treated my relationship with my Savior. This is how I approached receiving my nourishment from the Lord. I’d binge a couple of times a year at most, and usually in the wrong ways…..

  • “Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree…… la la la la,la laaa laaaa”
  • “SANTA!……”
  • “And let’s go to Easter service” (cuz we should)

And then I’d go right back to ignoring Him for daily sustenance and communion.

And worship? Praise? Gratefulness?  We weren’t even going to go there! Who had room for that?

via Pixabay

via Pixabay

If I could make room in my tummy after gorging upon myself at the last meal, I would graciously then sprinkle a little of Him in there at the next one – just to stoke my energy and keep my metabolism going – just to make sure I was “doing the right thing” and taking a balanced approach overall.

  • “There, there...that makes me feel better about myself.”  Ug
PhotoCredit Stockvault.net

PhotoCredit Stockvault.net

But the weight wouldn’t come off – neither physically nor spiritually. The heaviness continued for a very, very long time.

I realize now that I was actually depriving myself of Him. I was fattening myself up with all of the wrong things and stuffing Him down. I was hiding beneath the rolls of stuff that kept me warm and comfortable and which offered an alluring, but ever-deceitful false sense of truth and love. Those “rolls” felt safe, but they were ugly, not necessary, and definitely put me at risk of death.

Photo Credit Julien Tromeur via Stockvault.net

Photo Credit Julien Tromeur via Stockvault.net

Who has room in a set up like that for God the Father, Jesus the Savior, and the Holy Spirit to be the All of their life? Yet another reminder of my flawed thinking: They are One….a package deal….and I was burying the whole of God, and any part of Him, really – right out of my life.

I am human, and limited in my capacity; I have a puny little brain. So, I will be the first to say that when it comes to the Trinity, I simply cannot do it justice to write about it – at least not yet. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I believe the truth and awesomeness that our God is All

  • He is our Father, the Creator of all, and sooooo much more than that.
  • Jesus Christ, the Father’s only son is the Redeemer, my Savior and sooooo much more than that.
  • And we have been blessed too by and with the Holy Spirit, the Helper, the voice of wisdom, and soooooo much more than that.
  • Three in One, my friends….Three in One.
Photo Credit ImageBank.UK

Photo Credit ImageBank.UK

With all of my heart, I desire for the Lord to reveal to me even more of an understanding of all that He is…as much as He desires…as much as He wants to help me to expand my feeble mind,  heart, everything; to know more of Him. A fast way to ensure this doesn’t happen at all, is to continue to merely sprinkle the Him into our lives, rather than open ourselves to His will and submit so that He can fill us up with Him entirely.

We have the privilege of feasting upon the Lord if we have accepted the gift of salvation offered to us through Jesus Christ, and we truly ask for Him to be the absolute Lord and center of our lives. If we want to eat clean and gain true nourishment; be fit, and be healthy – we cannot eat only once a day. And we certainly can’t make that meal one that is laden with bad stuff of no nutritional value to us whatsoever. It creates a false sense of fullness, and leads to so many awful things.

Photo Credit ImageBank.UK

Photo Credit ImageBank.UK

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matthew 4:4

You know, I have also found that bigger doesn’t always mean stronger for we humans. I am literally just over 100 pounds lighter than I was a couple of years ago, and I assure you that I am FAR stronger than I was back then. Just look at David and Goliath for proof that smaller can definitely be stronger….and it’s because of God. 

God though? God is not small. Yet He works through small all the time. He works through weak. He works through frail. He works through meek, low, and broken. God’s greatness works through it all. That is why He is often so dearly referred to as our Awesome God. He has it all under control.

via Binlam Free Photos

via Binlam Free Photos

And strong and powerful as He is, and weak and sinful as we can be, He can, and does meet us where we are at, and He is always good for us.

Now that I am healthy, I have found that I actually prefer vegetables and lean meats more than all that other junk I used to stuff myself with. They are more dense, they give me more energy, and they just plain taste better. The more I eat of them, the more I want to continue to fill my body with these wonderful things.

The same goes with God, and all that is holy living. The same goes with being in His word, being in fellowship with Him, and listening to and living by the Spirit. The same goes of obeying the commands He has set forth instead of living for the junk of this world.The same goes in keeping my eyes fixed upon Jesus, the cross, and the full and beautiful knowledge and hope that He is risen, and one day, we will reign with Him forever!

Photo Credit ImageBank.UK

Photo Credit ImageBank.UK

This, is now more than simply my “preference”. This, I now crave. I find myself wanting more and more of Him and His nourishment with every passing day. These aren’t icky veggies, my friends. The “meat” lies in the veggies. Just when I think I am full to the brim, I want more. And you know what? That’s a sign of a very healthy metabolism. I want my spiritual metabolism to work the way it was intended to all along – I am so thankful to see that it’s even possible! It’s really true when He tells us………..

“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

Who says that the treats in life can only be the stuff that is just plain bad for us? I am grateful for the change the Lord has created in reference to my taste buds.
When I look at the growth He has brought about within my spiritual self over that same period of time I was getting fit and healthy physically, I notice how both things ran parallel to one another. That’s a thing of God too! The smaller I have become, (focus on SELF), the more room there has been for Him to live inside of me and truly become the center of my life. (more of HIM)

Used with Permission from Microsoft Office

Used with Permission from Microsoft Office

Although I am 100 pounds lighter, I now feel more spiritually full and stronger in the Lord than ever. I am standing on the strongest foundation one can – built upon Jesus Christ and all that He is and all that we have in Him.  I think it might also have to do with the fact that I stopped buffet-type eating when it comes to my spiritual nourishment, and  now I just order the Jesus special at every single meal. I even snack!

But make no mistake: I get off track and start to sprinkle in too much self, even when I don’t realize I am doing it. And God has been faithful in showing me when this is starting to happen. I love the fact that the voice of the Holy Spirit keeps me in check that way. I love that God has my back. And I love that He makes it clear when more discipline and obedience are called for – and He gently reminds me that I will need His help every step of the way.

Used with Permission from Microsoft Office

Used with Permission from Microsoft Office

I have also noticed that I am far more thirsty than I used to be if I don’t drink enough water. Water and hydration is so crucial. I think that the more fit you are, and the more you exercise, and the more efficient your body is at processing and purging toxins, the more water you actually need. The more you crave. And the Lord promises us that he will quench our thirst too – He really is the only true hydrator. Awesome again! He even tells us we will never be thirsty again if we remember to drink of Him….

“but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

Via Imagebank.uk

Via Imagebank.uk

Although the wrong approach to the Lord dominated my life for years, just like everything else I said, the quantity does not outweigh the quality. Self may have more time under it’s belt, and self may have more years of my life that have been centered on Jesus, but self has not won by any stretch of the imagination. What the Lord has done in the recent time of my life holds far more power than four dumb decades do.

He works through that too, you know. He works through “fake big.” His big gets bigger in us as we get smaller. His big shows up in us as we move through times of weakness and times of triumph. His big is always big, no matter where we are at. And He shows up when we ask for Him to show up – then, everyone else, including ourselves can see. Instead of being buried under the rolls of deceit, He is there…always, guiding us, leading us, and feeding us. And not with empty spiritual calories.

So have a feast today, my friends – not one of magnificent self, either. Let’s fill ourselves to the brim with the Lord – and watch how He will work to grow us, but not to make us any bigger than we need to be. Let’s have quantity and quality in Jesus!

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. John 6:35

This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.     John 6:50

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Wonderful reminders placed out here for us by this dear soul today. Check out the rest of the site on Grateful, nonetheless!

Grateful, nonetheless!

When Dr. Stanley was a young man, one week spent with his grandfather charted the course for more than 50 years of preaching God’s Word.

During those few days, he learned the first of 30 foundational truths that guide his life and ministry to this day.

1. Our intimacy with God – His highest priority for our lives – determines the impact of our lives.
2. Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.
3. God’s Word is an immovable anchor in times of storm.
4. The awareness of God’s presence energizes us for our work.
5. God does not require us to understand His will, just obey it, even if it seems unreasonable.
6. You reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow.
7. The dark moments of our life will last only so long as is necessary for God to accomplish His…

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He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not?

Have you ever played this game?

Photo © DavidNiblack.com

Photo © DavidNiblack.com

Well, you don’t have to with God………

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Psalm 136:26 “Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.”

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Think about THAT!!

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Rejoice in THAT!!

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Rest in THAT!!

Photo © DavidNiblack.com

Photo © DavidNiblack.com

Be grateful in THAT!!

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Share of THAT!!

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Dwell on THAT!!

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Partake of THAT!!

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Give from THAT!

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Sing of THAT!!

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Receive of THAT – from the LORD – And HIS love.

He gave it to us through His one and only Son…..

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And it’s never, never, ever a “not.”

1 John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!…

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So Glad

Via TheChristianWallpapers.com

Via TheChristianWallpapers.com

So glad He is love

So glad He reigns above

So glad He’s more loyal

So glad He’s the royal

So glad He loves better

So glad for His letter

So glad that He tames

So glad I’m not stained

So glad He creates

So glad for new slates

So glad that He chooses

So glad we aren’t losers

So glad He’s the father

So glad that I’m smaller

So glad that He came

So glad He heals lame

So glad He saves sin

So glad He lives within

So glad He’s so great

So glad it’s not too late

So glad He is risen

So glad He is living

So glad for the time

So glad that He’s mine

So glad He gave brothers

So glad He saved others

So glad He is love

So glad we’ll be above

So glad for His hope

So glad for cut ropes

So glad I am free

So glad He saved me

So glad He loves souls

So glad we, He holds

So glad He is all

So glad all in all

Hans via Pixabay

Hans via Pixabay