There’s a Yes in that No!

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The Word of God admonishes us to “let our yes be yes and our no be no.” That is truth we need to live by, as so often, we fail to be honest ~ we waver ~ then we are tossed to and fro. We often add emphasis to our yes or no to make our point. This is unnecessary and according to the Lord, comes only from the evil one.

We are not to swear by anything or anyone else ~ just to say yes or no.

Sometimes circumstances change though, and we have to change our minds. If that is the wise choice, then our answer may have to change along with the situation. Then, we must stand firm in that new answer ~ once again.

We may have to give a new answer ~ a different one. But in that moment, we still need to  simply answer….. yes or no.

Again.

This will bring about a time of testing for us, friends. It is hard to stand by our answers, especially when they have to change. We get caught up in thinking that our first answer should remain no matter what happens.

But it can’t always be that way.

  • The person who has cancer, and thought they would be able to continue to drive or attend PTA meetings for another six months…but the test results show that there needs to be a change of plans.
  • The play you said you thought you could attend (on time) for your child’s drama performance, but traffic decided otherwise for you.
  • The commitment you made months ago to help out in another area in church, at work, or at a friend’s special party ~ and illness changed things on a dime.

So yes being yes and no being no is not about whether or not your answer will ever have to change. It’s about not adding to it by swearing by any other power outside of your answer.

Was your initial “yes” not true? Certainly not! Circumstances simply changed.

So let’s look at another part of the struggle in our need to sometimes say No. This part of it is the part that I am dealing with currently, and it is WAY harder for me than the kind of things I listed above.

It’s about the perspective thingie.

For me, the struggle is not about whether I stand firm in regard to my word, barring circumstances that I cannot help. Instead, it’s about how there is always a “yes” to be found in our need to say “no”…..IF we are now having to say “no” after prayer and consideration from a Godly perspective.

It’s about how hard it is sometimes to see the Yes in the No and know that God’s got plans. Plans to work all things together for our good. Plans to show His mighty strength through our weakness.

Plans to prosper us and not harm us.

HE knows what the Yes is in the No.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Let me tell you, friends. I cannot COUNT how many “No’s” I have had to dole out lately.

Here are just a few:

  • I have to say “No” about serving or attending church on Wednesday nights right now – it’s the middle of my work week and I have to use Wednesday as a day of rest, a day of not going out in the evening. Period. And I hate it.
  • I have to say “No” about doing more than one or two errands at a time ~ even when it’s something that might mean a lot to my kids if I could say “Yes.” Hate that too.
  • I have to say “No” to doing the big grocery shopping trip every week ~ this means my husband gets to do this chore after working way more hours than I do during the week, along with the many other things he has to take care of on the weekends. Really hate this one!
  • I had to say “No” to several things at work that would not only benefit me career-wise, but really benefit the company for which I work if I could pull it off right now. Hate, hate, hate it!
  • AND…..at work: I can’t have a “normal” workspace….I can’t wear normal headphones like everyone else around me. I can’t sit just anywhere. I can’t volunteer to do extra things that would benefit many people, even though I am skilled to do the tasks. My boss has to build me a special cubicle just so I can cope with the sensory stimuli issues this Fibro is causing me and the pain that ensues as a result.

No. Can’t. Sorry. Unable to at this time.

Did I say I hate it yet?

BUT….God is working on me, friends. He is helping me to see the “Yes” in all of these “No’s”.

I don’t know about you, but right now in my life, it doesn’t bother me to miss out on opportunities as far as work is concerned. I don’t care about moving up the ladder, getting a new and more challenging  job, or making more money. So I don’t have to contend with that whole set of angst that comes along with that.

But I hate to disappoint others. I hate to say “Yes” and then have to change it to “No” if circumstances with my health change. I dislike immensely having to inconvenience others and make them do more work to make things work out better for my health.

I forget about Jesus and how He allowed the other man to help Him carry the cross.

I forget what I know about all the Yes’s I find in Him. And they are often found in saying No here on earth.

So I have to LOOK ~ I have to SEARCH ~

I have to look hard for the Yes in the No.

  • I am saying Yes to God and the prodding inside to take care of my health right now, even if it means that others may be disappointed (although they are understanding at the same time).
  • I am saying Yes to being open to going down whatever path God leads me by not walking through doors that swing wide open just because….they are open.
  • I am saying Yes by saying No to all that glitters in front of me and around me, and embracing the glitter that’s in the mud right where I am at for this moment.
  • I am saying Yes to allow others to help me bear my own burdens.
  • I am saying Yes by saying No ~ Yes to whatever the Lord has in store ~ for all of us.

I will rise up out of the mud some day and the Lord will choose to open a different door. We don’t have to go through every door that is already open, dear friends. Maybe someone  else needs to walk through one of those doors.

Just cause it’s open doesn’t mean it’s mine to walk through.

How about you? Do you find it hard to have to say No to things that seem like they would be great for you or for others IF the circumstances were different? Is it hard for you to have to do it, even though you know it’s the right choice? Can you see the Yes in your No today, and if not ~ have you asked God to help you see it? And have you cried out and asked for Him to comfort you in the part of it that feels like you are missing something, or letting others down?

I can practically guarantee it when I say that it’s not all about the person saying No. I can assure you that others involved have their own process to go through in relation to how your decisions impact their own. Maybe God is working in their life through you or in a way that they don’t know about yet.

We have a responsiblity as Christians to move out of the way and let God be God, right?

Newsflash for Annie: My “NO” may be a big “YES” for someone else.

Oh yah ~ it’s that thing again ~ It’s not all about ME.

I don’t know about you, but here is what I have started to see. I can have the fullest of confidence that God is working in each of our lives if we are seeking Him. I can rest and find peace in my No, even when it makes me uncomfortable.  And I have the hope and the assurance that my No will do good somewhere ~ because God’s got this, friends!

I pray that you will know this too.

That you will know that your No is meaningful. That your No will help you to know God better and say Yes to Him more of the time.

That you will know that in your No, God’s got you. Yes…He does!

That your No means Yes, Yes! ~  When you turn it all over to Him.

Yes. God’s got you.

Yes, He knows.

Yes. He plans to prosper you.

See the Yes found in Jesus, even through all the No, No, No’s.

That’s the only real Yes that we need! And there’s NO doubt about it!

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

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14

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He’s Freeing Up Space

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Do you pray that the Lord would help you to be able to place Him first in your life? Do you find yourself crying out to Him ~ “Lord, help me do what I am supposed to do without sacrificing my relationship with You.”

God first. Yes…God first.

How do we move through the day and take care of all our responsibilities without sacrificing our focus on that gift of a relationship? How do we go from place to place and task to task without taking our eyes off Him?

I find this more and more difficult with each passing day, friends. And I am more committed to God first than I have ever been before. Some of that may simply be spiritual warfare ~ the enemy is not too hip on me placing the Lord in the Number One spot in my life. I’m aware of that and I pray accordingly.

But that’s not all of it.

For about two years now, I can’t get away from this nagging inside. It’s something I find difficult to articulate, but I assure you it’s very real. I am only recently truly starting to believe it is God’s voice and not my own. It’s about whether or not I should continue to work outside of the home. I keep thinking it’s because I am meant to eventually do something else, take care of my health, my family, and my home. But I think the overarching reason is that He wants to free up space.

I  had to test it out, you see. I had to be sure it wasn’t just me talking.

All logic in regard to this situation flies right out the window when I look it bold in the face. God has actually used my decline in health, I believe, to tell me it’s really Him talking. He is knocking, and has been for a while. It is beginning to sound like pounding.

I even stepped out and quit my awesome job over a year ago. I went where I felt He was leading me. Each place I went was “not right.” Then, I came back full circle and was led by Him right back to my old job, but with a better schedule ~ working days instead of nights. What a blessing!

But I am getting sick again. I don’t blame that on my job, rather, my working outside the home is making the health issues worse than they would be if I could stay home for a while. Is the Lord trying to make a good out of the “bad” of my health issues? Is He trying to use this to get me to do what He possibly wanted me to do all along: Quit and DO NOT go out and get another job right away. Quit working outside the home and (ready for it?) Wait.

Wait.

I am torn – I literally feel the sickness from the tearing in the pit of my stomach. I don’t know what  God has in store, but something’s about to change radically in my life. I can feel it.

I know that God is paving the way for what is going to be happening. I can see signs of things being set up and laid out perfectly for me, although the unknown of just how extreme it will be is still there. I have to keep myself in check by laying the fear that tries to take root inside of me right in His lap on a moment-by-moment and daily basis. That’s probably where the sick pit comes from – sometimes I am busy at work or somewhere else and can’t seem to fully turn it over to Him until I catch a break.

There’s a change happening for me at my work soon that may mean I can cut my hours down even further. This may be all that is needed, and what He has had me waiting upon, but it may not cut it. It may be that I have to completely stop working. Part of me just wants to cut to the chase and  hang it all up right now.

Wait.

If I were to go where the peace seems to be in regard to this situation, maybe it would be better to do so. Just stop. Stop working outside the home and trust Him that He will lead me to what I should do at home. Whether that means finding a part time job I can do from here or not work at all, I don’t know.

I just feel I am toying with this whole thing and have been for some time. Do you ever feel that way? Like you don’t trust that inner voice because you need time to sort – test – make sure it’s not your own voice or some temptation that’s pulling at you? That you need time to put it to prayer and make sure that before you act, you are within His will, not your own?

I share only the very top layer of this with you today, as I don’t want to go off on multiple tangents. But know that this is deeply layered ~ so many things (too many to count) are screaming that I need to do something differently regarding this whole thing.

I have been trying. I have been praying. I have been flexible and willing to try things out. But the nagging is still there.

Wait.

Is it this?

No…that’s not it – you haven’t gone all the way with this, Anne. I want you to COMPLETELY stop. I want you to COMPLETELY trust me. I want you to COMPLETELY understand and have faith and believe and give it ALL UP and trust that I have a reason. I have a plan. You won’t know what it is until you give it all up. You will have to Wait even then before it is revealed to you. But you must step first.

Or is it this?

Have faith and hang in there. You can do this – not in your own strength, but in Mine. I have gifted you with this wonderful job and if you persevere, I have plans for you. Plans that will balance out your need to focus on your health and your family and your home and finances. You need to trust me. You need to  hang in there. I  have a plan. Just wait for it.

Friends, I don’t know which one it is. But I do know this ~ God has a plan. I also know this: I hate waiting. I’m an action kinda girl. I’m also an impatient kinda girl. I just want to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Yet I don’t want to let my family down. Such a dumb thing to get so worked up about too! (See how the enemy gets to me?)

But I would covet your prayers. I wish to be obedient, but to the right voice….HIS.

If you are struggling today with something similar, do you know that He does have a plan? Do you trust that He will make it clear which way you need to go, even if the logistics of the decision you must make aren’t laid out “clearly” by human standards, defy logic, are risky, and contain much of what seems to be unknown?

Do you struggle with risk or movement, or do you struggle with being impulsive and impatient?

Are you pressing in and asking Him to make you willing? Do you trust in Him that He will make His will known to you? Do you believe He will be there in the waiting, whichever form it takes?

He will, you know. In the middle of the twisting and the angst, He offers peace to carry us through. He is our foundation. He will knock and even pound to break through the crazy that tries to block our hearing, our sight. He will be with us in the empty spaces of the waiting and fill them up.

He will free up that space ~ the one that is deep, deep down underneath all the layers. He will free it up and we have only to listen. Listen intently until we hear.

And once we do hear? We must move.

He’ll help us know where to walk.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3: 5-6

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Workin’ It

Determination

A new person in my life reminded me of something really important last week:  We must guard our thoughts……Actively.

Isn’t it funny how these little “revelations” hit us? It’s not like I hadn’t heard that before. It’s not like I haven’t read it over and over again in scripture.

So as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

It’s not like I haven’t studied all the Lord says about the importance of guarding our minds, walking in victory and not receiving condemnation from the enemy.

But guess what? I still needed to be reminded. I needed to hear it from someone else who follows after Christ as well.

I always say this: “We forget to remember.”

I believe part of this is due to the fact that we allow the enemy to close us up – to trap us inside our own minds – so we are just stuck with it (the negativity). Or so he wants us to think.

Another reason we forget to remember is we fail to remain active in guarding our minds. To remember that we need to continually seek God’s power and protection over our minds is so very crucial. To remember that one slip…one moment…one second with us not watching or asking for the Lord to cover us, and the enemy sneaks right in.

Damage gets done very quickly that way.

This new person who helped me is my boss, and I am so grateful to her. She spoke God’s words to me, reminded me of how important it is to walk in victory, not receive condemnation, and at the same time, she acknowledged that even so, “it’s still hard.”

It was scary to share this stuff with my new boss, for sure, but I don’t regret it. Truth is more important to me than “looking good” from the outside. If the inside is messed up? Well, what we show on the outside won’t last very long, performance-wise, now will it? I want truth – I want for those I work with to know they can count upon me that they will be getting the real stuff. I want it to be lasting! That can’t happen if we just suck it up and try to perform for the sake of appearances if something is eating away at us from the inside.

Eventually, inside comes out.

Yes, the things we go through that can attack our minds, our feelings (which like to take over our logical thought processes) and our full knowledge of the fact that we are children of the Almighty Godthe Great I AmThe Mighty Redeemer – those things are still hard to contend with.  Even when we know this truth. I am so thankful that my boss encouraged me that she understands that.

Wow…it sure does help to be reminded of it in ways that are uplifting and empowering, yet don’t let us off the hook! It’s awesome to be supported and listened to in ways that make us feel excited and hopeful in Christ anew! It’s amazing to encounter new people in our lives that find new ways to help us to know we are not alone, and that we will overcome with the power of Christ and fellow believers on our side!

I want to be that for others in my life, and I am so grateful to have people around me who can do the same for me.

Things in my life may still be a roller coaster at times – feelings are tricky that way and so are hormonal imbalances. But I am so grateful that God never changes!!!!

He can move mountains, remember?

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

So can we if we stop trying to work it all out by ourselves.

So can we if we have faith and wait upon the Lord.

So can we if we are honest and transparent and swallow enough pride to go to others to help us protect and guard our minds in the name of Jesus!

Today if you are workin’ it and feel alone in the mess of it all – if you feel you are about to crumble underneath the pressure – I encourage you to find a fellow believer to confide in and be transparent with who might be able to speak God’s unchanging word into your heart. Just like my new boss did for me, you may find yourself encouraged. They may just help you to remember what you have temporarily forgotten.

It’s hard to be transparent. It takes what feels like risk to do this. But if you ask me, it’s much more difficult to be an ant trying to push a huge boulder up an even bigger hill all alone. That simply sets us up for failure and makes the ground of our hearts ripe for the enemy to do his work. And make no mistake: that enemy WILL work it!

Put yourself on the hook with someone else who is a follower after Christ today. Tell them if you are having struggles with your inner thoughts. Then, take the power out of the hands of the devil and place it right back where it belongs!

In the hands of our Mighty and Wonderful Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Photo Credit SodaHead

Photo Credit SodaHead

I won’t even try to shed full light on how strange I am when it comes to the topic of moderation or extremism. Sometimes, I am an extremist with regard to certain things: I can adopt a very “all or nothing” kind of mentality and approach. Still, at other times, I can be very balanced and moderate about certain things. It all comes down to what I am passionate about and…well, what I’m not.

Typically, I think I err more on the side of truly being an extremist. That’s not a popular thing to say, is it? But if I am really being true to the way that I believe God has made me, I am that way. Most of the time, if I am not going full force with something, it is either because it’s not something I am good at, OR…..

I am afraid.

Yes: It’s that stupid and ugly fear thing again. And that’s the truth of the matter.

Here’s the thing though: I think moderation is over-rated in today’s world. I also think in many cases, it’s a lie. Welike to say being moderate is good, but often that is just being used as some kind of excuse for something that is anything but moderate.

OK…let’s digress a moment and get something straight. I’m not talking about the obvious stuff here, like a little bit of chocolate – I’ll give  you that one. Clearly, it’s better to be moderate about that kind of thing (although if you have some kind of secret in regard to that you can share with me, I’d love to hear your story of triumph and victory over chocolate and all it’s yummy goodness!)

I think it’s the idea of moderation – being in the gray area – being numb, indifferent, indecisive – just “existing” – that is so alluring (and deceitful and twisted up) in today’s culture and world that is getting me tonight. In many ways, I see that the idea of “moderation” and how we pretend that we covet it is actually what we are taking to an extreme in and of itself. People are getting downright pushy about it if you ask me!

The truth is, people just want to do whatever they can to allow any and everything to be seen as acceptable (moderate) or justify the fact that they have actually just “grown cold.”  And if we want to be really generous here, I guess we could say that most of us in some ways have at least become somewhat tepid. The endeavor to be moderate in all things is part of what we use to cover our sin and justify it.

Jesus isn’t tepid. He isn’t a model for how to be lukewarm, either. If anything, Jesus was and is radical. But He warns us that sin leads to this kind of thing. Blase

What’s the opposite of love again? Oh yah….it’s not hate.

It’s apathy.

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold. Matthew 24:12

Instead of going on and on tonight about this topic – about the state of the world (myself included in that for sure) and how we got here, I am going to make one single point about moderation and how I see it in my own life.

When it comes to sharing joy and the love of Jesus, I have decided that moderation is going to be thrown out the window!

I have talked about this before – what a struggle it is for so many of us who have been given this drive to share joy and love with others in the name of Jesus – yes, in many a blog post, many conversations, and  through many different encounters, situations, and circumstances.

Yet I still find myself consistently being tempted, in more than one way, to hold it back – sometimes just a little – sometimes A LOT.

It’s starting to make me angry. And that is a good thing, because it’s righteous anger.

For me, that spells M-O-T-I-V-A-T-I-O-N.

And for me, that spells A-C-T-I-O-N

And that spells G-O-O-D.

God-kind of good.

I find myself being pressured to acclimate – assimilate – mold to the current culture, dynamic, situation, group, vibe, accepted norm; the  list goes on and on ad nauseum.

This happens in the most unexpected places. In fact, some  of the places I find it to be the most dramatic are the very places in which one might think that sharing Jesus joy and love would be so very welcomed!

But it’s not. Either it is just not viewed as “acceptable”, or it simply freaks people out. Even the good stuff can be uncomfortable, huh?

I think that in many cases, friends, people just don’t know what to do with it when we shine the love and joy of Jesus outward without reservation. Even among fellow Christians (especially there, actually), it can be seen as “less than reserved”, inappropriate, or just plain weird.

Fact is, whether people have cold or lukewarm hearts (even if they don’t know it yet) OR if they are simply being lulled to sleep, our joy that emanates from Jesus bursting forth from inside of us and outward to others is going to be a shock.

Kinda like a blast of cold water in the face when you are in a deep and beautiful, calm slumber. It’s not the most pleasant feeling at first. But eventually, you can end up refreshed after the initial shock does wear off.

Jesus is screaming inside of me “time to wake up!!!!!”

Guess what? I’m not going to get up and face the shock alone, yo. Ha Ha!

I’m not a morning person. I like my sleep too. My flesh is funny that way. So, the rest of the world is going to have to come with me (at least, whoever I can possibly pull along with me for company).

I AM going to obey my Lord and Savior and since He’s saying to wake up, I’m a’gonna do it!

If you are in the same situation, let’s pray for one another. People don’t tend to really like to be awakened that way, even when they are starving for water – they’d just rather be left alone to sleep and stay comfy. In fact, we might get a slap or punch, or kick right in the chops while we’re at this.

Today I realized that I thought that I’d decided months ago to stop holding in the joy and love of Jesus. But I really hadn’t done so in full. I’m sure I will still struggle at times, but the Lord has made it clear that what I’m doing so far has not been the best that I can do or allow Him to do through me. It’s sad, but true.

I had decided to do that -to let that joy and love thing cut loose. But…the trouble is, that I only did so in the places where I felt the risk wasn’t too scary.

Transition time is over.

We’ll see if I can stand up to the test, because the time is here – NOW.

In a way, I feel free. I have decided I will not try to resist in certain places – to hold that joy and love in anywhere, anymore on purpose or to accomodate someone else or something else. Sure, I may have hard days where I am struggling, but I am going to be on my knees in prayer every single day asking for His power to overcome it. If I am holding back, it will be for some other reason – (I am sick, I have another struggle I am working through, that kind of thing). But I have made up my mind that if I find myself holding back because I am fearful of others and what they might think or how they might react, that I am going to get on my knees and pray for the power and the discernment that it’s time to cut loose.

THAT stuff can no longer be a reason to water down the joy and love of Jesus.

What might this mean for those of us who no longer are willing to hold back?

We might be looked upon as not having a gentle and quiet enough spirit.

People at church, work, in the community may feel we need to contain ourselves…be more professional, sensitive to the culture, or PC.

We may actually irritate people. OH NO!

People may not trust us or our intentions and motivations.

I say to that – Passhhhhh!

Here is what I plan to ask myself daily:

Am I feeling like I am holding back?

If yes…is it because I am afraid of stepping on someone’s toes? Then STOP holding back.

If it’s yes because I just don’t feel well, try to be loving, and go to prayer.

And then…..hang on to your hat!

Yes, moderation is sometimes over-rated – and to me, that’s the wrong thing to get extreme about.

Let’s be extreme and over the top when it comes to Jesus Christ and what He has laid on each of our hearts. He has work for us to do, friends. I feel something really building – not just within myself either. I feel stuff happening out there – gaining momentum. Do you?

He is saying to PRESS HARD.

He is no longer whispering.

He is making it clear that the time is NOW.

There’s nothing moderate about them apples.

Whatever He is calling you to go after with HIS kind of power and HIS kind of extreme, do it! Whether it is to be the gentle comforter, the balanced intellectual, or the joy giver, just do it.

It’s time to go after it with all that we have. It’s time to unleash the King’s power and voice and reach throughout this world.

It’s time.

Do whatever it takes to wake up – bathe in Him even when it feels shocking.

And then?

Take as many with you along for the ride as possible.

Because He says so.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Romans 12:11

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A Carpenter likes to Build Things

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them– every day begin the task anew.” ~ Francis de Salesphoto credit: tumblr.com

Do you sometimes feel stuck, or like you aren’t being very efficient? Ever get the sense that you are expending vast amounts of effort, but may in reality, just be spinning endlessly upon a going-nowhere-kind-of-wheel?

Sometimes in order to create a masterpiece, we have to practice and plan, plan and practice, and practice and plan some more. We can end up feeling that we are somewhat stuck as we chip away ~ working at the foundation of what we wish to actually accomplish for what can seem to be a very long, looonnnng time.

We become impatient because we can see the end result we wish to achieve – that thing of beauty – that hope, dream, expectation or vision, before we are even yet equipped to put those finishing and pretty little touches on it.

We are rushing creatures, we are.

Today the Lord is really reminding me of how very valuable and worthy it is for us to spend solid time on the foundation of any and every single thing we wish to build. It’s about His timing, not ours. I seem to need to be reminded of this far too often.

Whether it’s learning to be super efficient in a new job…
Create a piece of art that reflects our talents and heart and soul…
Decorating a home, a desk, a room…
Delving into a book in the scriptures that seems obtuse, difficult to comprehend for us…
Or building and nurturing relationships – both new and old.

It all takes time. We don’t just get to do the cool stuff.

Sometimes being stuck in the foundation feels lame, and I can attest to that in so many ways. I tend to want to be up and running, maximize efficiency and creativity, and just….GO. One of my main personality traits or strengths, I guess you could say, is to be a “maximizer.” I would rather refine something to greatness than create something from scratch. It’s just how I roll. But that doesn’t mean I always get to tap into that talent and it certainly doesn’t mean it doesn’t grow me to have to go outside of that thing I am strong in from time to time.

God is the solid rock of all that we are as we follow after Christ with everything we’ve got. And Jesus, the Master Carpenter doesn’t skimp on the foundation of anything.

Guess what? He is an expert at it all! He is the Creator of all. He is the Maximizer of all. He is the best at foundations and the best at the flair.

He IS.

We can learn from that…
We can definitely allow Him to work through that…
We can resist that, or we can turn to Him to help us see that He will get us through!

No…we won’t be stuck in the concrete of the foundation forever. Sometimes He will allow us to stretch and fly. Other times, we have to buckle down in what appears to be the muck and the mire.

It’s all a part of His awesome plan to help us to build something beautiful, yet solid. Both things are so very vital to His divine order of all.

No, friends, I don’t like the foundation part of building things. But I sure do know that it’s crucial to learning to let the whole of the Master Carpenter and His expertise be manifested through me.

If I had my way, I’d already have the foundation in place and just refine, refine, refine stuff. But that isn’t the way that it gets to work in most situations, now is it? And it has been proven to me time and time again that “my way” is not the “best way.”

Today, if you feel like a hamster whose heart is about to give out from all the spinning and the toiling, just remember that you ARE going somewhere, my friends. So am I. And the Lord will tell us exactly when we can move to the next level.

Jesus is building great things through us all if we seek after Him and remember to let Him do the guiding and the design of it all – especially in relation to the timing.

One thing’s for sure: anything we build with Him at the core of it all is going to be an utter masterpiece.

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“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27

Keep your eye on the Ball

Photo Credit 123RF.com

Photo Credit 123RF.com

Sometimes things happen that seem right, perfect even…. and then, in a very short time, it becomes clear that it’s not.Then, we have to adjust accordingly, prayerfully, and try to be balanced as we adjust (i.e. don’t act totally impulsively, yet don’t wait to long to obey if you feel the Lord calling you to action).

This can be so very, very hard to do. And it can be painful too.

Yes, God is unchanging, but we are finite little creatures. We have our strengths, as well as our certain human limitations.

And yes, God can do anything through us that He chooses to do, as He is also unlimited. But sometimes, we can get so caught up in the attribute of perseverance (after all, that’s a good thing, right?) that we end up moving over into disobedience if we are being asked to do something that seems like “giving up.”

When this happens to us, and it becomes pretty clear after searching the Word and praying a lot, I feel it means that He is asking for us to submit even further -to let go of the “perseverance” mentaility – to surrender, folks.

Then He can work within what seems like a limitation, and cause us to go down a different path entirely. Funny thing is, this happens in His timing, not ours. And at first, it can seem illogical, or like an attack from the enemy. It can be utterly confusing at times.

Photo Credit 123RF.com

Photo Credit 123RF.com

This is where I am at today…..

Over the last 72 hours, I have been squished and prodded to the point that my heart literally feels like it’s been twisted through a meat grinder. Didn’t this same thing just happen a couple of months ago, God? Did I make a mistake? Was I disobedient?

The answer is no. God showed me that He is going to give me choices sometimes that aren’t limited to one good choice, and one “bad” choice. Sometimes, there will be several options that are all good – but one might be better than the other.

The hard comes into play in the fact that I feel Him wanting to bring me into the best choice –  the hard comes into play in that we often don’t know what that best choice is until we get our feet wet and then realize “nope, this isn’t it.”

I don’t like that feeling much, do you? I don’t like letting others down when I find that a choice I made that involves them too, ends up not being right for me. It impacts them too.

God showed me this weekend that He is big enough to take care of them too – oh yah!

Duh.

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Guess what? I have clarity now about moving out of the one choice and not knowing which thing to do next (again – sheesh). I have His peace, His joy, and His constant and reassuring presence – it’s been there underneath the tears that have been shed, and shed, and shed. It’s been there under and through the struggling, the prayer, the exposing of my inadequacies, vulnerabilities, the list goes on and on.

Part of what the Lord helped me to do these last couple of days is the following:

  • Get the junk out – I had to compartmentalize the part of this that was an attack from the enemy so I could then deal with what was left. That was my blog post yesterday – the enemy and his stupid lies.
  • Once that was done, I had the other part left. At first, I honestly didn’t know if the big blob of junk was all from the enemy or only in part. Once I took out what was from Satan, I was at first a bit disappointed to see there was, indeed, still a ball of stuff leftover to contend with. (I was secretly holding out the hope that it all was just a stupid attack that I could then stand up against and persevere against with the help of the Lord and others)
  • That remaining ball of stuff is some hard truth, but it is from the Lord…I know this without question. Today and last night I have been dealing with that along with Him. After all, He is the One in charge here.
  • I had help today too – and some of the other days. My dear husband helped me immensely. Also, we sought some good solid counsel at the church from our Assistant Pastor. He confirmed what I thought the “divine ball” of stuff was indeed in line with God’s will for where my priorities should be from here. We know this because a few of the things I had shared with my husband actually came out of his mouth when we talked and we hadn’t told him any of it yet.

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Today, if you feel like the enemy is juggling you around, go ahead and allow the Lord to help you to call his little bluff. Grab the mighty hand of the Lord and stick it right smack in the middle of all the jiggly juggly balls  and cause the enemy to falter in his pristine and seemingly-faultless ability to continue juggling  and juggling away.

His games need to end – because he’s not only playing with you (that enemy), but with God, if you are one of God’s children!

I never really liked clowns and circuses much……..did you?

Think about keeping your eye on the right ball today – you should find it right inside of the One true Savior’s hand:  Jesus Christ. Master of All.

He isn’t clowning around, either.

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For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Whispers from the Enemy

You can’t do it…

You aren’t worthy….

You aren’t equipped…

Cut your losses…..

There’s something better for you somewhere else….

You don’t have what it takes any more….

You can’t be good this way….

You aren’t going to be able to help anyone, including yourself….

Listen to your heart….

Run…..

Hide….

Quit…..

Stop….

Get out while you’re still ahead…..

It’s okay, you just made a mistake….

Seek what you want……

Make it easy on yourself, already…..

Why are you doing this to yourself….

Are you a glutton for punishment or what……

Be free….

You don’t fit……

Get out…..

Look, this is bringing you down…..

You’re a detriment to others this way….

Stop already…..

You are so self centered…..

If it was meant to be it would be going better……

You don’t fit in….

Recognize the signs….

Forget about it….

Stop wasting time….

Realize your limitations…

God doesn’t care either way….

Who cares, just do whatever….

Move….

Succeed…..

Be strong…

Get a backbone, will ya….

Trust in your own feelings….

Trust your own gut….

You don’t need anyone else to help you decide….

You know…

Trust yourself.

Set yourself up for success…

You deserve it.

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2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

This Week was not about Weak

via pixabay

via pixabay

Today I am proud of the weak that I saw confessed.

Let me clarify that: I am proud to see the strength that is shown by others when they are willing to expose (in trust) their “weaknesses.”

Bravery seen through a tear….

Or a flood of tears….

Or a river of them….

A barrage of streaming, stinging, and ultimately, cleansing tears.

Jesus cried. Jesus even pleaded.

I am sure He still cries for us.

While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Hebrews 5:7

I am thankful for my friends, old and new.

I am thankful for their willingness to show me their tears.

I am beyond grateful for their grace and desire to see and share in mine.

I see Jesus in the reflection of them – those tears – and those dear souls.

I see joy through the pain….the admissions.

I also see us all say “sorry” for crying. Why do we do that?

I did it yesterday too. I said “sorry” for crying when admitting my fears.

It’s a gift – To be allowed to share in such cleansing crying and sharing of that which makes us feel weak, but builds us into strong when we allow God to fill us up.

It’s a privilege to be trusted to be a part of that, friends.

But when it’s me who does it, I do the very same thing – I say “sorry.”

But deep down, I’m not really sorry.

I am fearful deep down….scared to show my vulnerability in case it causes someone else to feel uncomfortable. Scared to show that I am weak and in need. Scared to be found out that I am less than humble and still a prideful creature afraid of admitting or showing “weakness.”

I think that’s a tool the enemy uses quite often – getting us to be afraid to be real – coercing us into pretending.

Fear is truly a tool of the ultimate liar.

But as I ponder this tonight, I am also so very thankful.

The world likes to tell us we always have to hide truth – pretend there are no tears.

The world is full of lies too – we must remember that.

Then we can cry some more. For the lies that are so often believed and bought into – yes, even by us….even by those who know better.

So tonight, I remember those precious tears I saw today for the gift that they are.

I don’t revel in the hurt part of them.

I do bask in the joy of knowing they were inspired by Jesus Christ – Savior – Lord – Friend and Redeemer.

I am so extremely grateful I got to see them – feel them – know and learn more about these beautiful souls who let them flow our of their hearts, up through their eyeballs, and down into the kleenex or upon the table around which we were sitting.

What an utter privilege.

Courage seen through the tears.

Exposing vulnerability and admitting we are all bonded by the need for our beloved Savior, His strength, His supernatural and divine power.

Beauty in it all.

Savior seen through the tears.

I’m so proud today of our weakness. I am so thankful for it and the strength of His that is made perfect through it.

God, please give us all the ability to keep on crying when You call us to – so you can keep on healing and keep on using the raw to work Your utter good in and through us.

We are being transformed into strong creatures of Christ – He lives inside of us, after all.

Crying is a purging of sorts too, you know. When the flesh enters in and tries to crowd the Spirit of the Lord out, it is a good idea to submit and allow those pieces of self to be put to death anew.

Self likes to breed, even when we think we have dispelled it from being the center of who we are….remnants of self will always be there and it hurts every time we have to submit and remove it so that HE can grow inside.

So as uncomfortable as this week was, I am very much in awe of the “weak” which is making us all the stronger.

There’s power in that weak. I’m so glad to know where it’s coming from.

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Isaiah 40:29

Matt Gruber via Creationswap

Matt Gruber via Creationswap

Who Pulled the Plug?

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Today was a mixture of many, many feelings for my husband and myself. As you know, last night was my last shift at my night job I have had for ten years. We found ourselves talking a lot today about how thankful we are that I will now be home at night with the family and we will have more together time. We talked about how the job I had was also a blessing and a gift that served a wonderful purpose too, but that time is over now and we are looking forward to what God has planned.

We also pondered the many lessons we  continue to learn as to stepping out in faith, while also remaining wise and trying to find the balance God would have for us in life.

Where is that, friends? The secret to being faithful yet being wise and practical too? Do the two things co-exist? Anyone? Anyone?

Sometimes I think it doesn’t exist. And I am pretty much feeling okay about that for the first time in my life. Honestly, I don’t really think Jesus and the disciples practiced “balance” all that much in how they approached life. However, I need to study that more, because I could be wrong about that. I am interested to get into that in the Word.

A part of me kind of doesn’t really want to embrace the idea of balance anymore anyway. At least, not the kind that I have always sought after until these last couple of years. It has always been pretty elusive anyway – kind of like the definition of insanity: Trying for something over and over again, to only end up achieving (or not) the same result. I’m ready to throw that to the wind unless the Lord changes my mind. It’s too much work to strive for “balance”.

More importantly, it’s not the kind of “work” that yields a whole lot of fruit, is it? At least, not the way I was going about it all.

So I found myself feeling a bit strange again today. Strange is becoming more the norm for me now. Discomfort? Not always. Just….strange. Different.

Strange:

  • Unusual or surprising in a way that can be unsettling or difficult to understand
  • Not previously visited, seen, or encountered
  • Unfamiliar or unseen; alien
  • Peculiar, outlandish, odd, foreign, unfamiliar

See, today I feel like the plug has been pulled out from under me. That brings a lot of relief, yet it’s odd. I am used to operating under pressure, and thriving upon using that momentum to continue to propel forward. At the same time, I have realized for quite some time that the Lord would have us be still at times, right? (VERY, very difficult for me, which is probably why He is bringing it into my life)

Discerning when to push and when to stall is always a struggle for me. It’s strange. It’s foreign. But I am certainly not alone.

Young Boy and Girl Playing in Surf

So we are embracing all that the Lord has in store. He will set the timing for everything, not us. And although that can feel weird, it’s also very, very good. Sigh. (Good things can make you sigh and smile all at the same time, haven’t you noticed that?)

Another aspect to all of this that is a “weird-ness” of its own, is that I have a TON to do! So the fact I feel like the plug has been pulled is kind of ironic. It’s not like I am just going to be sitting around with a whole bunch of time on my hands. I have college plans to lay out for my daughter, financial aid to tackle, mission trips to prepare for for the kids, fundraising to learn about and get done for that, monthly budgeting to do and revamp, about a million, billion, trillion errands to run, house organizing and cleaning to do, tax appointment to make and prepare for, insurance decisions to research and make, blog administration to take care of, church volunteering, bill paying, household duties, and the list goes on and on and on….Then, I need to make sure to share all  my findings with my husband so we can make decisons together. AND, there’s lots of stuff that involves deadlines. You can’t be organized enough to pull these things off without some divine help, yo. Many of you know exactly what I am talking about right now.

Did I mention that time with God and time spent loving family and people is going to come first?

So, what’s up with that feeling? I just don’t really get it yet. And maybe I am not supposed to fully get it anyway. Isn’t that what it means not to “lean upon our own understanding?”

I have always been someone that has felt the desire to work hard and maximize the use of my time. Although at times that has been something that became a false idol of sorts, many times, it has been something I can use to be a light to others. So, I trust that. I trust that the Lord would have me use that as a gift He has given to me. I just have to use it when and where He leads me to. And I have to continually seek Him about that and make sure to check my heart with Him all the time about it. Just like with everything else in life.

So even though I have as much or more work to do right now than I have ever had, I still feel like I was running on a treadmill and the electricity just went out. My equilibrium is off, friends. And my husband, the wise man that he is, said “give yourself some time to adjust.”

Things that make you go Hmmmmm.

Is it possible the Lord is blessing me right now by giving us the time needed for me to complete some major projects we need to have done? I need to tackle so many things, and having a week or two to do so is such a relief! So, why do I still feel so weird? I’m definitely grateful….there is no question about it!

Right now at least, I think what the Lord may be trying to tell me is that I need to look up and try to view things a little differently in regard to this weird-ness I am experiencing currently. See, I will still be running, but in a much better way now. I love running and the Lord knows it. In fact, I think He gave it to me as a gift, I really do. I am just going to be running a little bit differently than I am used to now.

I think it’s going to be something more like this……..

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See, there’s no plug involved here, friends. There is fresh air, way more color to gaze upon, and a lot of beauty to soak in and enjoy along the way. There appears to be little surprises that spring up around each and every corner, and I may even encounter other runners there who have been doing this far longer than I have and can share stories with me about how much better it is to run here – in God’s country, versus on a treadmill dependent on the electricity of the world to power it.

I have good running shoes…..they can handle this change in pace and surface, for sure. They are grounded in the Word of the Lord….I stand on a strong foundation. So does my wonderful husband. So does my beautiful family. So do my fellow believers in Christ, particularly at our church.

We are not alone. The Lord is our rock. He is our solid ground. He doesn’t need to be powered by a man-made cord and electrical outlet. He is reliable. He is strong. He is joy, peace, and wisdom. He is everything the world is not. And most of all, He is love.

We have the privilege of always knowing exactly where we are ultimately headed, isn’t that wonderful? We get to gaze upon so very many things along the way and find God in those surprises, but the ultimate destination never changes. I LOVE that the Lord has given us that gift too!

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My equilibrium may be a little off right now, but who says that doesn’t lend to an eventual new sense and understanding of balance? The kind of “balance” the Lord actually really always intended. The way I envision that, is that in some things, friends, we aren’t to take a “balanced” approach at all. We are to go after it with all that we have. For example, loving like God loves entails risk. There is not a lot of balance to be found in risk. Making Jesus the center of your life doesn’t often lend to balance either. Not at least the way the world has portrayed balance to be. And in other things, I think He gives us the freedom and flexibility to make judgement calls – toss that out because this other thing is more important (usually some stupid task can be tossed if a person who needs love comes along, for example).

Kind of fitting, then, to feel like the plug has been pulled – like the needle on the record has been ripped away suddenly – screech! It jars you – jars you right out of that mundane little “balance” you thought you were living out all the time that you were running and running and running. Strange how those two things went together, hand-in-hand as well.

The plug on the treadmill? It’s been pulled. But my husband, my family, and myself? We are more plugged in than we have ever been before.

We are right where God wants us to be – and it’s weird, and glorious all at the same time. We feel clear, even when we get dizzy sometimes. We can see even though we don’t necessarily know what is around each and every corner. And the only one who is pulling any strings at this point is the One who knows what’s best for us.

I’m trusting in Him today. I pray to do so every day. And instead of fighting the fact that I feel off balance, I have decided, like so many other things in life lately, just to go with it.

I think maybe it’s time to start body surfing along with running too.

Dude…Surf’s Up!

Running without electricity, and going with the waves.

I’m in.

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

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.

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!

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.”

Signature:2a0f6d0366f291694bd9cc422bff24b12e1d3afd88bc0ed09c9a8814df3c0837

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…..

gopraise.com

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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Fry Day or Fly Day?

via Pixabay

via Pixabay

Usually by Friday, I am pretty max’d out, dear friends. How about you?

No question, I am tired….it’s been an awesome week for me, but a really, really full one!

Whew! And we still have Friday.

Maybe some of you feel a bit run down or a little physically tired –  like me?  And some of you are weary from a spiritual or emotional battle you are facing or still dealing with, and  you also may be approaching this Friday as yet another up and coming “Fry Day.”

Take Heart!

Because even though we might be tired, weary, feeling defeated, or just plain bummed out…..guess what?

I have another secret to share…(just in case you didn’t know already, or maybe the enemy has made you temporarily forget)….

It’s……………

Via FCI

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…..” 2 Chronicles 16:9

By the way….you don’t have to be perfect little people to have a heart that is loyal to Jesus. (Just in case you may be wondering about that too.)

HE is the answer to all that wants to fry us up and scramble us in this crazy life.

via FCI

via FCI

But we do need to partner with God in all that we do, (or don’t do) don’t we?

I find that usually, my “part” in that partnership is to remember that it is not a 50/50 kind of a deal…HE is the Powerful One…the Awesome One…

Only He can un-fry my fry days. Sometimes, He even turns it completely around and makes it become a fly day! Isn’t God amazing?

via FCI

And check this out! I came across this tonight without even trying…See what I mean? God just does stuff like this all the time!

“Those who serve God must serve Him in His own way, and in His strength, or He will never accept their service. That which man doth, unaided by divine strength, God can never own. The mere fruits of the earth He casteth away; He will only reap that corn, the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love. God will empty out all that thou hast before He will put His own into thee; He will first clean out thy granaries before He will fill them with the finest of the wheat. The river of God is full of water; but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in His battles but the strength which He Himself imparts. Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give thee victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.” – Charles Spurgeon

via FCI

via FCI

This Friday, I am choosing to Fly with God even if I feel a bit fried.

I’ll just be riding on His wings, yo.

How boutchu?

“….the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze” Psalm 18:32-34

via FCI

via FCI

He Has Undone, Comfortably Numb

Photo Credit-StockVault

Photo Credit-StockVault

When I was a young child, I accepted the gift of salvation that Jesus offers to all of us. I understood that He sacrificed Himself on the cross for my sin, that He rose again and now lives with His Father in heaven. I understood that He lived a sinless life on earth, that He was all man, and all God too. I understood a few very important things about my Lord Jesus. And I wanted to be saved by Him.

What I failed to grasp, was that I needed to make Him the Lord of my life. That by asking Him into my heart and life, I should not only have been asking to accept the gift of salvation, but for Him to help me, guide me, direct me, love me, BE with me….while I still roam this earth, and always. I accepted the salvation offer as far as my eternity was concerned, but I didn’t want to give everything up in order to follow after Him and His will in my life. I was sorry for my sins, but I didn’t really repent from them – as in, decide to completely turn away from them and ask Him to help me stay away from them as well.

Photo Credit Stockvault

Photo Credit Stockvault

As I “grew up”, I definitely knew within myself that I needed to do this, and I chose not to. I had no excuses…I was no longer a small child, and I had been provided with ample opportunity to make this choice and refused to do so. I could hear God nudging me, but I wouldn’t listen. I was choosing to go my own way. Whether or not that means I was really saved is not why I am writing about this today. I do have to say though, that I am not so sure that if I would have taken my last breath in my mid 20’s, where I might have spent all eternity.

See, I didn’t want to admit that I need His help each and every day, each and every moment. I didn’t want to commit to developing a deep and personal relationship with Him. I didn’t choose to make that relationship two-way. And as a result, I cut Him off and out of my life. This brought about a lot of suffering in my world that I couldn’t withstand without help. I looked to the wrong things to assuage that pain.

Photo Credit StockVault

Photo Credit StockVault

I am writing to you tonight to share how very important it is to make Him the center of our lives – And I’d like to share some about how this played out for me……..

In college, as I was drifting further and further away from Jesus and all I knew to be true, my very favorite song was one that represented my deepest wish….to just be numb. It was called  “Comfortably Numb”, by the band Pink Floyd. Here are just a few of the lyrics you will find in the song:

  • “Hello. Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone home?”
  • “Come on…Now. I hear you’re feeling down. I can ease your pain. Get you on your feet again.”
  • “There is no pain you are receding. A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon. You are only coming through in waves. Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying. I have become comfortably numb.”
  • “When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse. Out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look but it was gone. I cannot put my finger on it now. The child is grown, the dream is gone. I have become comfortably numb.”

There is no question that this song sounded good, but what it represented for me in my life at the time was quite true, and not pretty at all. It was a perfect snapshot of how I was living my life, how I approached Jesus, and the darkness and sadness I was filled with and would carry around with me for a very, very long time.

Photo Credit Stockvault

Photo Credit Stockvault

I didn’t want to feel anything, my friends. I knew that I had to squash out the Holy Spirit to live my life the way that I thought I wanted to, and to do so, I would have to become numb. I went after that with all that I had.

Numb to the pain of depression, sadness and loss. Numb to the dissatisfaction caused by feelings of not being adequate, valuable, or worthy. Numb to the emptiness of not feeling loved, accepted, and a part of something the world adored. Numb to the reality of who I was, how I was living my life, and the fact that I was running from the truth of Jesus Christ.

I had to work hard to do this, yet not lift a finger either. Believe me when I say there were plenty of numbing agents available right at those very fingertips. I simply needed to sit around and wallow in mediocrity…in self-centered desires. But I also had to think every moment of just what I would do to forget about it all once my “responsibilities” of the day were taken care of and out of the way. The work came in to play through the fact that it became harder and harder to stay numb. I had to make achieving this the absolute center of my life –  And it ran me ragged.

Photo Credit StockVault

Photo Credit StockVault

In those days, I turned to lots of things for my necessary anesthetics. Sometimes I would party it up and drink myself into a stupor. Other times I would just stay in bed for a couple of days at a time. And then there were other things too. I don’t make it a practice to look back on those days too terribly often, because the Lord wants us to look forward and focus upon the present joy we have in Him now. But, it can be beneficial to share these things with others – others who may benefit from seeing how our Father can deliver us from so much darkness if we just allow Him in – if we choose not only to ask for salvation, but ask Him to be the Lord and King of our lives – If we stop running away from, and start running toward our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Later in life, I hid behind less ugly looking things in order to become numb, which now, I realize was just another form of sin that looked more acceptable to myself and to the world – I was “layered in goodness” as I like to say. In fact, a lot of these things were applauded. Things like being completely dialed in and having total control over everything I did…everything I touched. Striving to be the most dependable…the most caring….the most trustworthy, kind, compassionate, successful, self-driven, self-sufficient, and about a hundred other things I could list, person around. The deceitful web was being woven much more proficiently – it had to be in order to keep me in and drown Him out.

Photo Credit StockVault

Photo Credit StockVault

It really wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to really understand that what was missing all along was my willingness to completely let go of all of that – that sense of control and being in charge of my own life. I had to give up my life to God completely, and choose to follow Him. See, I didn’t want there to be a cost to be a follower of Christ…. I wanted to enjoy the benefits of being “saved” but not take up my own cross and truly love Him and surrender to His will. Although salvation is offered out of grace, being a true follower, lover of, and child of God is something that definitely comes with a cost. It is not always comfortable – it can be really uncomfortable, in fact. But it is always rewarding.

Those sins we are saved from and that gift of eternal life? Well, it cost Jesus something. It didn’t just happen to come easily. Although I can never repay Him, or earn my way to heaven, (Jesus paid it all) I still owe Him everything I have. But this is not a drudgery to me at all….I want to give all of myself to Him now. Not because He needs me, but because He wants me, and because I truly love Him. I have my acceptance. I have my love. I have my success -and it’s all wrapped up in Him. That’s far better than a superficial layer of goodness…it’s down deep.

Photo Credit StockVault

Photo Credit StockVault

There is a lot more I could share about this, but maybe I will have to do that in the form of an entire book one day. And some things…well, some things there are just not enough words for.  I am not sure yet, but I am not convinced that this isn’t one of those things – the entirety of it all, I mean.

Now that I have made Him the core of my life…now that I am no longer drowning out the Holy Spirit, living for Jesus instead of for me, and am seeking to follow God’s will and spend every moment in His presence; I am getting a really good taste of both the blessings that come along with that as well as the hard stuff. Just because we finally decide to commit our entire lives to Jesus, it doesn’t mean that we have “arrived” to a point of perfection in our daily lives and walk with the Lord. Ha Ha. This will be a journey that does not end until we go home to live with Him for all eternity – and then…. well….then, the greatest journey of all begins! And it shall never end. I venture to guess there will not be discomfort involved.

Until then though, the two ends of the spectrum actually co-exist for me right now in a couple of different areas in my life: The blessings, and the hard and uncomfortable stuff.  I have had seasons in which it was mostly peace and happiness, and the absence of stress to embrace and enjoy. There have been other times in which I have been in dark and granite-hard places with very little sign of physical or emotional peace on the horizon any time soon. But Jesus has been there with me the entire time and His true joy and true peace have been there under it all the whole way through. Thanks be to God!

Photo Credit StockVault

Photo Credit StockVault

Yes, right now, I am in a very strange season – it’s all mixed together like I mentioned. I am experiencing a deepening of my relationship with Him, am starting to really feel love for others grow and grow by the day, am wanting to reach out to people in need, make more close friends at my church, and my family is really flourishing. At the same time, I am frustrated and feel kind of in limbo about where I am supposed to be, as far as what I do outside of my home – in service to others, in relation to my employment, and a few other things too.

And again, there is that duality at work here of waiting upon the Lord and listening to His voice, and taking steps on my own to determine what doorknobs to turn right now. I was thinking tonight about the following verse and how it keeps coming back to me over and over again….

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let  your requests be made known to God.”  Phillippians 4:6

Photo Credit StockVault

Photo Credit StockVault

Tonight at church as this verse came to mind while I was immersed in worship of my King, and I thought to myself…”I wonder if a particular verse in God’s word can ever just get ‘used up’?”  You know, get old, lose it’s freshness, not be applicable any longer? And the Lord whispered to me that His word shall never pass away…..that it will always be applicable in my life….that He put it in my mind, yet again this evening for His divine reasons…which are always good.

Unlike the verse says, I am feeling anxious right now – but I don’t want to be. I do feel lost in this particular area of my life, yet I don’t want to feel that way. I felt so discouraged Friday night at work and came home in the wee hours of the morning so very upset with myself for being that way. I feel unrest in my heart about where I am supposed to be, where I am supposed to go. I am not comfortable at all in this area or circumstance, yet the Lord has helped me to persevere. I don’t feel at peace about it, but I have HIS peace. I don’t feel happy all the time, but I have HIS joy. And I know….I know with absolute certainty, that He has my back. He has His plans for me! I am no longer rolling the dice about what direction I will be going. And regardless of this one area being less-than-fulfilling, I don’t look to that area for contentment…so there it is!

Photo Credit StockVault

Photo Credit StockVault

No matter what happens – no matter how things work out – through the waiting, the feelings, the discomfort and the raw of it all – He is with me. I am no longer numb. Sometimes I don’t like how that feels. But I see the greater purpose for it now – at least. I see as much of it as the Lord wishes to reveal to me for where I am currently at. He has undone my numbness, and for that, I am so very grateful. And I can hear His voice now – I am no longer choosing to drown it out. I can be grateful for what I have, seek His will right where I am at, while simultaneously staying open to what He may have in store for me tomorrow. It’s all good! We get to feel the uncomfortable things this way, yes we do…but we get to feel God and the good things He has for us as well. Numb is numb all the way around. And un-numb…..it’s un-numb through and through also.

The light of Jesus is no longer a “distant ship’s smoke on the horizon” for me. And that “fleeting glimpse”? Well, it’s no longer fleeting or just coming in from the corner of my eye – HE is dead center. And the child? The child is back….she has been reborn. She is growing more and more child-like as God “grows her up” by the moment. And because of HIM, she has become un-numb.

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Photo Credit StockVault

Comfortable or not, she’s glad to feel again. She’s glad to hear again. She’s glad to see again…to look full in His wonderful face. She is glad, she has His joy and peace, His salvation for all eternity and His daily saving grace…and in the most un-numb way that could possibly be..she is  forever-grateful to Him….forever grateful that He has undone the comfortably numb.

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Photo Credit Microsoft Office

You say Leap and I say How Far?

It’s not that I don’t want to express my willingness to take a leap of faith… it’s a matter of not knowing how far I am supposed to jump that concerns me. This is where I allow my feet to get stuck in the sand…it’s always on the “how far” part of it all.

susan helmuth via creation swap

susan helmuth via creation swap

Friends, I don’t know if you ever do this, but I do –  I confuse myself sometimes. But I also realize that sometimes it’s just me, and other times it’s really because there is this dark and kniving evil one that likes to whisper in my ear in deceitful and just ugly ways. He likes to make me fear. He likes to erode away at trust and faith in the Holy One that I love. He likes to do mean and nasty things.

Doug E Fresh via Creation Swap

Doug E Fresh via Creation Swap

One thing that makes it easy for him to do is that (remember the control issues i mentioned?) I have a thoughts-driven mind. Yah…it can get in the way of surrender sometimes.  There are great benefits to thinking the way that I do, but I have to keep turning it all over to Jesus or it can turn against me in certain situations, cause me to be less of a risk-taker, and move me out of His will and into my own. I have to pray about this….a lot.

Courtesy of CreationSwap

Courtesy of CreationSwap

We all have changes that we need to make sometimes in our lives. Occassionally, it all lines up clearly for us, while other times, not so much. That’s when it’s time to trust in the Lord to either open a door, shut one, or give us the courage and the strength to start listening to the Holy Spirit and just start walking (or kicking, or diving, or jumping…depending on what He says to do).

Jennifer Powell via Creation Swap

Jennifer Powell via Creation Swap

Sometimes the changes aren’t even because something “bad” is going on…in fact, the one I am considering would be going from good to better in most ways, and only scary because of worldly things that offer a sense of comfort and security for me in my little life. Hmmm….that one seems obvious, but our little minds get in the way and complicate it all, don’t they? God sometimes asks for a blank slate from us – a willingness to go in blind.

http://www.creationswap.com/jboriss

A big part of my problem is I am a planner (uh-hem, “control” again). I’m usually okay with a certain degree of the unknown, but I realize that the Lord may be trying to grow me in this area – you know, more of “let go and let God?” See, it’s time to be more trusting in Him for ALL of it – not just the stuff that doesn’t seem too terribly scary or ultra-risky. God’s plan for me is whatever He leads me to in the now. I’m ready to believe in the promise that He has good things in store, and that I don’t always need a backup plan to make me feel comfortable.

David Bierdebeck via CreationSwap

David Bierdebeck via CreationSwap

Have you heard the saying about the Israelites and their lack of faith in crossing the Red Sea back in the day?  “Step FIRST, and then He shall part the waters.” I don’t know who said it, but whoever it was seems to be onto something. Um hum. This kind of faith entails completely uprooting oneself from what seems safe and secure in this world and putting down new roots where Jesus wants us to be – and stay rooted in Him, no matter where this life takes us.

Jeff Boriss via CreationSwap

Jeff Boriss via CreationSwap

So when the enemy plays this confusing game with my mind, which is all too often cooperative with his malicious little efforts, I have to turn off that thought driven brain of mine and press in deeply to the voice of the Lord. I have to shut up and listen, seek Him and His guidance, and then move when I feel the little push on my back to venture onward.

Chris Kennedy via CreationSwap

Chris Kennedy via CreationSwap

And as I prayed this morning I heard God say to me that asking “how far” really would be just sort of the same thing those Israelites did. And, I had an ah-ha moment with the Lord. Bright, aren’t I? (sheesh)

Jeff Boris via Creation Swap

Jeff Boris via Creation Swap

Yep, asking  “how far” to qualify my “willingness” to leap is really only my effort at covering up the fact that I am not displaying enough trust and faith in the Lord. He may want for me to be uncertain as I step forward – he may want to do it for a multitude of reasons. Wouldn’t it be cool if He wants to do that so that I can stand in awe at what happens as I am stepping – one foot at a time, with only His light and inner voice to guide me?

Forest Cavale via CreationSwap

Forest Cavale via CreationSwap

And I am reassured today too as I think on this. Because even if my foot lands in some icky stuff, and I start to sink, God has a reason for that too – and we know He is good at pulling people out of those types of troublesome situations. He saved us from the worst already.

Krist Adams via CreationSwap

Krist Adams via CreationSwap

So, I am not scared any more. I never thought I could be this way about something as life changing as this little thing is going to be for my family and myself. And  you know why? In addition to knowing that God has me covered, I see that it really isn’t all that big of a deal in the face of it all. We have overcome obstacles together – rather, HE has delivered ME from challenges, torments, pain, past, sin, suffering, craziness, that makes this pale in comparison.

Marian Trinidad via Creationswap

Marian Trinidad via Creationswap

I’m not sure where I’m going yet…..is it here? or there?  I just know I am ready…ready to jump. I think I’ll even get a running start as soon as He says “Go”. I already hear the whispers now, saying…”get ready.” I can literally feel the green light of God about to turn on any moment.

Matt Gruber via CreationSwap

Matt Gruber via CreationSwap

I am actually kind of excited now. In fact, when He says leap, I am going to stretch out with everything I  have, ask Him to put His mighty and divine muscle and power behind me, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll even do a backflip

Sharolyn Newington via CreationSwap

Sharolyn Newington via CreationSwap

Do you need to take a leap of faith into the unknown or something that might seem a bit scary either today or sometime soon? If so, you are in good company if you trust Jesus as your Savior…. and you need not fear.

 “And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”  Matthew 8:26        

Trust in HIM.

“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”  I Corinthians 2:5

Krystian Jaskula via CreationSwap

Krystian Jaskula via CreationSwap