Category Archives: Love, God

Posts by Amy

The Rise and Fall of Social Media

Admit it, at least those of you who use social media, you have a love-hate relationship with it all.  The whole concept is great…I mean, you can stay in touch with people far away, share pictures with family and friends, make announcements to large masses of people, advertise your business, and now even sell things in an online garage sale-style type of forum.

But then there’s the other side of the coin.  When you flip it, you see what’s on the back.  What’s there are things you don’t have.  Places you haven’t been.  Experiences you’ve never had.  Some days, the back side just leaves you longing for more.

Why?

Because it’s only a natural reflex to see someone having a good time and wishing you had been there or that your family could do those things, be in that place, see what they saw.  We notice if we’ve missed an invite, missed an opportunity, or missed a chance at doing something on a day you ended up doing nothing at all.

Come on now.  I know I’m talking to someone!

Here’s the funny thing.  Those things you’re wishing for…you find yourself getting lost in…that you feel like you’ve missed out on…they’re not meant for you!  Harsh reality is, if they were, you’d be experiencing them instead of someone else!  Take a second to think of the things you have to be thankful for so far this year…

It doesn’t have to be a long vacation, a party or anything of the sorts.  What about your family? friends? church? Have you started school? Got a new job? Moved to a new home?

We have to learn to be content with what we have.  Learn to make memories out of the mundane.   Be happy for others without forming a jealous thought.

What it boils down to is something we see making way for a thought that we tend to think on.  We think on that for so long, in such a way that we start to daydream.  We hope, we wish, we long for things that just aren’t ours.  Philippians 4:8 says,

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

We need to park our minds on things of this nature.  Things that we can be grateful for.  Reasons we’re blessed.  We need to park it there and stay there!  Those times will come when you see someone else having fun and you need to be happy for them.  Happy because they are enjoying their time but also happy because you’ve made your own memories too!

This past weekend, my family and I did a whole lot of nothing! My daughter went through her closet.  My husband practiced tying knots with extra rope he had since he was recovering from a back injury and needed to rest.  And I worked for many hours on my computer, preparing for a group I’m hosting in a couple months.  Those things seem a little boring but here’s the cool thing…

My daughter and I also went grocery shopping together.  It’s such a great time to catch up!  I took her and a friend on a little FREE morning trip downtown.  We BBQed twice! We woke up late, had a delicious breakfast, and even got in some time working out.  We watched movies together, went to church together and truly enjoyed just having a whole lot of nothing to do.

Yes, we missed out on some things.  Yes, we said no to a few.  We could’ve kept ourselves busy.  We could be upset because we weren’t invited by everyone to everything.  We could be nervous that this is life.  But guess what?  If it is life, then I think I’m quite happy with it!  I am blessed to have a home to live life in!  I am blessed to have a vehicle to take me to the park, or for a walk or out for the day.  I am blessed to have the opportunity make my own memories and do things my way.

You see, the rise and fall of social media isn’t that it’s going away.  It’s that it’s causing our emotions to do things that we shouldn’t allow it to do.  If you’re find yourself grazing for infinite amounts of time, or feeling down instead of happy for others, or just noticing a change in your mood once you dive in, then it’s time to bow out.  Not forever, unless that’s what you determine is best, but just for awhile.  Just until you can recount your blessings.

I know I’ve said this time and time again but here me folks — you CAN control the thoughts you think on.  You may not be able to control how they get into your mind but you can choose whether or not they stay there.

So it’s Monday.  Maybe you have to work, maybe you don’t.  Maybe you’re on vacation, maybe you’re not.  Maybe your situation isn’t so bright, maybe, just maybe…it’s how you look at it.

Choose your kind of happy today!

Come To A Complete Stop

When you hear those 5 words, what do you think of? A stop sign, right? Maybe those of you teaching your teenager to drive are specifying what they should say or do to know how long is long enough to stop.
 
As adults, most of us don’t practice what we preach in that scenario. Coming to a complete stop has meant pulling up to the stop sign, looking both ways quickly while we gently roll through it. We’ve made our own definition of stopping and, so far, it’s worked quite well.
 
What if traffic was going so fast in the opposite direction and the stop sign only pertained to the way you were headed? You couldn’t just work your way into traffic going full speed in the opposite direction. Considering your limited number of options, you’re forced to stop.
 
Now let’s talk about life. How fast have you been going? Are you noticing what’s going on around you? Who needs what? Where are you headed? Do you even have a clear direction? Are you going so fast that you don’t even know yesterday from the last?
 
We’ve all done this. Some of you have been here before, others are there now. You’ve begun to roll through the signs telling you to STOP. Signs such as exhaustion, weight gain/loss, irritability, lack of sleep, lack of or over abundance of emotion, forgetfulness, sickness, and the list goes on and on. There are signs everywhere, telling us to slow down but eventually, we will come to a crossroad where we must stop.
 
Hear me out on this one folks…
 
There are some times that we need someone to tell us to STOP. We need to heed their advice for our safety as well as others out there on the road. If we’re not careful, we could injure ourselves or others along the way. Unintentionally, by not giving ourselves any time to stop, we are making the road more difficult to travel than it should be. Just because we ignore the stop signs, doesn’t mean we’re going to get there any faster — or at all if we keep up the pace we’re going.
 
Psalm 46:10a says, "Be still, and know that I am God;"
 
It’s a verse we can use in so many different ways but in this case, we need to stop and really hear those words.
 
Stop worrying if everyone has everything.
 
Stop trying to be everything to everyone.
 
Stop trying to be everywhere at the same time.
 
Stop trying to do everything.
 
Stop trying to be a part of everything that’s going on.
 
Stop worrying if you have enough and just know that you ARE enough!
 
God didn’t put you here on this earth to run yourself ragged. He didn’t intend for your purpose to be, “work yourself to death.” He also didn’t decide that you were the one that was going to do all of the things that could easily be done by several people. Look around. Do you enjoy what you see? Are you taking the time to truly enjoy what you see?
 
Take a look at this picture. My love for cows is the reason we came to a complete stop to take this photo. I love the warning that here, at this very spot, cows may be crossing. It’s a warning to all the drivers on this dirt road that they might just need to stop. Of all the things in the world, God cares about us so much that he gives warnings for us too. Sometimes he gives them to family, friends or coworkers to share with us and sometimes He just gives them to us. Often times, we have both but still fail to listen. That’s when we’re forced to stop.
 
Back to the picture. Take a look around at the scenery. What once was a beautiful ranch became a burnt mess back in October when a fire ravaged the area. I don’t know about you, but that is cause enough for me to stop immediately.
 
Some of you are there. The fire is roaring, you are forced to stop moving, and you just don’t know what to do next.
 
Read the scripture again: “Be still, and know that I am God;”
 
No one is going to get the best parts of you if you aren’t coming to a complete stop. You can’t give everything and think you’ll have something left. Your family will suffer, friendships, your job, your ministries and finally — you.
 
Don’t let that fire have a chance to start in your life.
 
Don’t miss all the warnings and continue to speed through life.
 
Don’t wish you hadn’t waited so long.
 
Life is too short and if you go too fast, you’ll miss it entirely.
 
I know this is for someone today. I’ll be praying for you. Love you all.

User Error

Do you realize that typically, we are the ones who set our own limitations? I say typically because there are certain physical limitations we cannot change and rules we must abide by but otherwise, we set our expectations high but often lower our limitations.
 
Why do you think that is? Low self-esteem? Lack of confidence? Situational setbacks? Those may all be true but for the most part, we have a tendency to be so proud of others for their accomplishments while verbalizing that we could never do that.
 
My question is, why not? If the opportunity is there, other than time and hard work, what is holding you back from going after whatever it is? If we are given a chance just by being who we are then who are we to hold ourselves back?
 
I understand stepping out of your comfort zone might be a little scary and setting the bar high for yourself often demanding, but if you can expect more out of others why not do the same for yourself?
 
Imagine you’re sitting there, wishing you could do something that you’ve never done — run a mile, do 20 push-ups, write a book, lead a group, meet new people, go for a promotion — and the list goes on and on. So you’re sitting there, thinking, wishing but never really believing in yourself enough to take that chance and do what you want to do.
 
I’m calling this your “User Error”.
 
Typically, you have a few tries before being locked out in situations like this, but fortunately and unfortunately for you, your opportunities are endless. You can want and wish for things for a long time and just never try. You are given chances time and time again, doors opening and closing before your eyes, little reminders of the dream you have, little nudges of movement but no actual push of the forward motion.
 
Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
 
If I adopt that scripture into my mind and believe it to be true, I know I have enough to at least try with all my might to get to where I want to go. I may not be there tomorrow. I may find out that what was at the end of the tunnel wasn’t for me. It may take a little longer than I would have wanted. But if I’m believing that God has given me all I need to be successful at all I’m called to be then I truly am the only thing holding myself back.
 
I don’t know who this message is for today, but I felt these words very strongly on my heart. I’m believing that soon, you will feel empowered. You will start to align yourself with the right people, the right sights and sounds, to just make that next step…then another…and another…until that limitation no longer exists. If you’ve used up all your “User Errors” simply because you’re afraid, now’s the time to try again.
 
Photo Credit: Aubrey Marie, Mexico 2016

Guacamole

I won’t apologize for making guacamole. I don’t need to justify that I’ve spent my time mashing avocados, squeezing limes and adding a dash of sugar. Those delicate little leaves of cilantro, so perfectly chosen will add the final touches.
 
Still reading? Good! Because Guacamole is Part II of Cilantro. For those of you thoroughly confused, I suggest you stop reading right now and go to yesterday’s post. It will all make sense then!
 
I felt I had to follow-up Cilantro with Guacamole because of one, very important reason. Those leaves are a part of something bigger. Each has their own flavor that they bring to the bigger project — Guac!
 
All metaphors aside, what is it that you and those you’ve chosen to be in your circle have done or are doing? As with you and your greater purpose, those you are aligned with will also serve one another as well as some outside of your carefully chosen few. When everyone comes together, adding their own distinct flare [your talents], with it comes a taste like no other. A few additional ingredients, such as your time/dedication, wisdom, and a dash of the sweetest gift from above and you have something to share!
 
Ah…but not everyone likes guacamole, maybe even some of you reading this post…but stay with me here! Even though you may come across those who don’t like what you’re throwing out, aren’t picking up what your dropping, or who just have a problem with what you’re saying, that doesn’t mean you need to stop.
 
HEAR ME ON THIS ONE…
 
You were NOT put on this earth to please everyone therefore, your mark on this world should not be dictated by those around you who are not part of your immediate circle. Even still, those within your bunch might disagree a time or two, but remember that you CHOSE them for a reason. Their gifting on your life might just be wisdom a time or two to bring you back to that walk with HUMBLE CONFIDENCE.
 
You see, we have an inner circle of carefully chosen individuals who will grow with us and make a difference by simply being together with us. There are other circles that are equally as important such as those who are a part of your church family, work family, and so on. Something has to be said about these groups as well because just as we have to purposefully choose who to allow into our immediate circle, we must do the same with the rest.
 
Face it, you are not going to go to every Bible study, be a part of every small group or go to lunch with everyone after church on Sundays. You may not even know what’s going on in each other’s lives until the very last minute. Same goes for work — you may not get invited to the after work gathering, you might not be on Joe Schmo’s wedding invite list and you just might not be on the attendee list for a meeting with the big shots. Want to know something cool?
 
IT’S OKAY!!
 
We shouldn’t put people into our circles because we’re afraid to miss out. That’s important so I’m going to say it again…
 
WE SHOULDN’T PUT PEOPLE INTO OUR INNER CIRCLES BECAUSE WE’RE AFRAID TO MISS OUT.
 
Why are we letting people into the inner workings of our lives simply because we need to add one more notch to our friends’ list? Or is it because we’re afraid something might happen and we wouldn’t have been a part of it?
 
We have to learn to say — WHO CARES!!
 
It’s not that we don’t care or that we’d rather stay in a bubble, but if we try to be everyone’s friend, to be everywhere, do everything, the only thing we’ll be missing out on is what COULD be happening in our own lives! Think of all the time you wasted just wondering why you weren’t on the guest list. What else are you missing out on because you’re somewhere else in your mind when you’re body is right here?
 
It’s time to work on that end result — that Guacamole — those other circles and see that, they too, matter to the greater purpose of your life. Not every ingredient will be added. Not everyone will like it. But one thing’s for sure, the right people will get what they need at the right time when YOU ARE ALIGNED THE WAY YOU SHOULD BE.
 
I can’t answer for you what changes it is that you need to make, but I can tell you this…some decisions will be hard. You will miss out on a few things. But as I said the other day, you can CHOOSE the thoughts you allow to stay in your mind. When the doubt, sadness or loneliness creeps in on you, as it will when you feel you’re “missing out”, get your head back in the game. Call on God and ask Him to take those thoughts out of your head and then — CHANGE THE SUBJECT! Busy yourself with works within YOUR CIRCLE and stop worrying about others.
 
Hope this reaches someone today. Love you all!

Humble Confidence

I’m fat. I’m ugly. No one really listens when I talk. I have no purpose. I have no direction. I’m boring. No one really likes me. I wish I were more like her. I wish I were stronger like him. I don’t matter.

Now that I have your attention, I want to ask you a question. Have you ever said any of those things? Have you ever wondered if you’re ever going to amount to something?

I’m talking to people of all ages here, from the teenagers to the adults. And it’s important so you’re going to want to park it for a few…

This has been on my mind for quite some time. I hear students and grown adults alike, who don’t understand their value here on earth. Too often we look to someone else’s talents, achievements, direction and assume that if we don’t have the same ambition, we just aren’t worth it. SO NOT TRUE!

There are days when we are down and quite frankly, those days SUCK! But you know what? You can CHOOSE the thoughts you allow to stay in your mind. I’ve shared that with my daughter a time or two but definitely have to remind myself often. We have an enemy out there who wants to take our joy and replace it with all those negative comments up there ^^^. And you know what? YOU HAVE TO TELL HIM NO!

Each and every one of us here on earth brings a certain unmatched charm wherever we go. We are all smart in different ways with the chance to make a difference in each other’s lives just the same. Here’s the kicker though —

1. We have to believe and know in our hearts that we’re worth it.
2. We have to CHOOSE to say NO to those thoughts that try to creep in and tell us otherwise.
3. We have to stop comparing ourselves to others because our journey is different than their’s.
4. We have to remember that we can have one of the greatest qualities a human can possess.

#4 is special. These two words were put on my heart yesterday out of no where. Many of you know how I work and so you’re not surprised to hear me say, it has to be from God. My faith has gotten me a long way, but it’s my process of being who He’s called me to be that has kept me strong.

Those two words — perhaps the greatest quality we can possess — HUMBLE CONFIDENCE. Having confidence is one thing because you can be confident but arrogant. You can be strong but ignorant. And you can be smart but not compassionate. Humble confidence describes a quality that allows us to see our strengths, to pursue using them, nurturing them, and using them for their intended purpose. Each purpose will be different, but it will be for the greater good. You may not touch thousands of lives, or you just might, but I guarantee it will be more than just about you. It’s never just about us. It’s never just about us and our chosen few. It’s about those that God puts in our path to learn from, you love on and to share with. He brings us people to help us through our ups and downs but when it comes down to it, we have to know how to reach out in our own strength and know that we DO MATTER.

Your uniqueness is what sets you apart from everyone else — from your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, siblings, parents, friends, etc. Of course you’ll have similarities and qualities that you’ll get from someone else you’re close to, but your skills, your desires, your direction is uniquely yours.

Don’t worry so much about 20 years from now — concentrate on what’s in front of you. Make the most of today and what’s next will come naturally. Realize that your strengths are there for a reason, even if you don’t know exactly what that is yet, and learn to walk with HUMBLE CONFIDENCE.

I, for one, am so glad to know you. I am so thankful that God put you in my life. Whether I see you every day or never at all, you did make some sort of an impact on my life or you wouldn’t be here. Know how important you are. Even if we don’t have everything in common or follow the same path, our paths did cross for a reason. We may travel together for awhile then wave goodbye at the fork, or we may be on a journey together that will take us through to what’s next — who knows. But I do know this…

You are smart. You are strong. You have purpose. Your life has meaning. It doesn’t matter who or how many like you. You are uniquely you and that is the best news! You will make a difference.

I want you to know how special you are. I’m praying today that this verse empowers you in your walk with humble confidence. Love you!

Cilantro

There I was, making guacamole, trying to pick off the perfect leaves of cilantro. When I was done selecting just the right amount, I decided to pick off all of the bad leaves or those that were going bad. I don’t know if you know this or not, but if you take the bad leaves or semi-bad leaves off of the bunch and put the rest back into a baggie with a paper towel, they will last so much longer, many times 2 weeks in my fridge! To care for this bunch that often only costs me two quarters sounds a bit excessive, I know. But who wants to have all the ingredients for a delicious salad or guacamole and fail to have good cilantro? So I take extra good care of it (I have a few other food tips if you want them too, just ask!).
 
Anyway, the metaphor here is simple. Cilantro represents you and your circle of friends, something we’ve been talking about quite often in youth. The bad leaves are those that could potentially cause the others to go bad. Inevitably with cilantro, they’re all going to go bad at some point, but many of those delicate leaves are going to fulfill their purpose by serving me and my family for dinner. They’re going to make us smile, satisfy our craving for guacamole, and fulfill our hunger. That’s right folks, there is a greater purpose for cilantro.
 
But there’s also a greater purpose for YOU! if you don’t skillfully select the people who shouldn’t be a part of your circle, there’s a better chance of things not going as they should. Those people are going to come into your life, believe me, but you have the choice as to what role they play. Will they be a part of your inner circle or will they reside on the outskirts where your kind gestures make way for a safe distance? Who are you letting influence you? What kind of impact are they having on your life? What in the world are you doing with people who make you feel worse when you should be feeling better?
 
There are so many questions to ask when closing off that circle of friends and even family that you allow into the depths of your life. Some people have to stay on the outskirts simply because they bring out the worst in you, other because their attitudes towards others are damaging yours.
 
When I was a teenager, the key was just in having friends. It wasn’t about quality friendships or even trying to choose people who knew me for….well, me! I used to be embarrassed to say that but I know now that my past is something that I can share to help others learn and grow. You see, I may have had many acquaintances, but not a whole lot of lasting friendships. I was impressionable. I was reasonable. And I gave people a chance, too often, to be a part of my inner circle when they never even worked for it. I realize now that my circle should have been smaller — so small that it would leave room for only myself, some family and a few close friends. The rest could still spend time with me but they wouldn’t see the parts of me that caused me to doubt, feel anxious, nervous, not confident, or even worse, just plain bad. Why? Because those that shouldn’t be part of my circle make all of those insecurities worse; maybe not intentionally but because they had that tendency to be the bad leaf in my bunch, I should have weeded them out sooner.
 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming my poor choices or lack of direction at times on anyone other than myself. However, I am saying that had I chose to close off my circle sooner and broadened the vision for my future, I may have prevented so many struggles with doubting myself and being untrue to the faith that I so desperately tried to hold on to.
 
Regret isn’t in my nature. I may have made some pretty poor choices and acted so unlike my true self more often than I’d like to admit, but I don’t regret a thing. If I wouldn’t have done every, single thing right and wrong in my life, I wouldn’t be here today, writing about cilantro! My path may have been full of shortcuts, detours and a few deep waters, but the other side is plush, green grass with beautiful sunsets and birds chirping in the background. Every day might not be my favorite, but my life is…because I got it back. I closed my circle and open it very rarely to let in those that compliment me. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather take out the bad leaves now just in case they try to spoil the rest…
 
I have a purpose, just like that bunch of cilantro I’ve used as a metaphor. And although I make guacamole, I know my purpose won’t end when I dip the chip! I have to carefully, skilfully, purposefully choose who, what, where and when each and every day. It’s a circle that is ever-changing, revolving and fresh. So before you make your next choice, maybe you should take a look at who and what is around you. Are there any leaves that shouldn’t be in your bunch?
Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals." ~1 Corinthians 15:33

PEACE

In the devotion I was reading this morning, I immediately noticed the multitude of times the word PEACE had been added to the day’s reading.

From the shared verse (John 14:27) to the lesson, the word had been used 21 times.  At first count, there were 20, but something told me to look again…I found one more.

21 seemed relevant but I wasn’t exactly sure why.  So I looked up the significance of the number 21 in regards to the bible.  Needless to say, I didn’t get the answer I was looking for.  I don’t really know what I expected but since my word was PEACE, I thought I would find something a little fluffier than “exceeding sinfulness of sin”.  Another source says this:

“…the great wickedness of rebellion and sin.”  Later on saying, “…beginning a new level or effort that is sinful and disobedient against God.”

Guess I hadn’t expected sin and disobedience to somehow describe my discovery of PEACE.  Ah!  But in that sentence lies the very answer that God may just have spoken [to me] about this very message.

In John 14, Jesus was preparing his friends after their last supper together.  Perhaps one of the greatest things he reminded us is that we can experience a “sense of well-being in the midst of hardship.”

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do no let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27

When I thought about what the Holy Spirit might trying to reveal to me, I thought of two, very important things.  Both have significant meaning to me at this very time in my life.

The first thing He revealed is that He has given me a Spirit of PEACE.  Amidst the turmoil in the world, I am able to have PEACE – true and total PEACE – in Him.  Any time I let the problems of this world affect my mood, I must remember this gift that He gave me in such a time as this.

Secondly, He reminded me that sin and disobedience do affect my PEACE.  Distractions and deterring from a plan that keeps me alongside Him strips me of the very PEACE He so graciously promised.

So now what?

God’s trying to tell me something and I really want to listen.  It’s like an old television show with the word of the day.  My word of the day is PEACE and I will carry it with me today, just like it was part of my outfit.  Then tomorrow, I’ll get up and do the same thing, maybe even writing a card and sitting it next to my bed so that the first thing I see in the morning is a note that says PEACE.

I don’t know if this message was just for me or if it’s meant for you as well but I certainly do believe that God’s PEACE is promised to us all. Regardless of your situation or the outcome, you have been given a PEACE beyond all understanding.  Take that gift and use it to set your mind free – free of distractions, free of disturbances and free from the disobedience that is bringing you farther away from your Heavenly Father.

I pray that today, you experience PEACE like you haven’t found in so long.

Faith Through the Flooding

This was a difficult time for many.  The flooding brought with it destruction, devastation and heartbreak.  For some, it wasn’t about displacement but inconvenience.  For others, it wasn’t about loss but about impatience.

At a time such as this, when one could choose to have an attitude of gratitude, instead, focuses were on the traffic, the cancellations, the things we weren’t able to do because of the flooding.  I just nodded my head as a lady referred to our “island” just as so many had done before…making a joke of it all, while all I could think about was how blessed I was to be one of those who lived on said island.

How quickly we forget about those in need when we have to take detours — when we have to sit in traffic — when we can’t do all the things we want to do but have all we could ever need.  Sure, I’ll admit that I was bummed about all the school days missed, but I prayed about the outcome and I know that God will come through in His way.

We made the most of our days together — enjoying free lunches out, getting caught up on some things, sleeping in a little.  My husband went to work in the city each day, despite the continued rumors that there was no way out.

People made excuses for their poor attitudes, shared in complaints, joining together to talk about how inconvenient this all was when so many have lost so much.

As the waters recede, I’d like you to take a few minutes to reflect on this past week.  Did you spend more time complaining than you did helping?  Did you feel more sorry for yourself than for those who truly experienced loss?  What have you learned that you can take from this week to share with the next generation?

Let’s stop complaining about the rainy days when they’re few and far between.

Let’s not focus on what is a momentary inconvenience when so many others are hurting.

Let’s take some time to give back when we can instead of staying to ourselves.

The next time you start to get frustrated and feel the need to complain, think about those who really have something to complain about.  Most of them aren’t wasting their time talking, they’re getting their hands dirty.  Maybe you should to.

Expectancy and Gratitude

I’m crying.  I mean really crying.  I’m a girl and it’s not the “typical” time when you’d expect me to be emotional.

What’s going on…

I just realized how incredibly thankful I am.  My tears are of gratitude.  It’s been SO long since I’ve felt like that.

I’ve been minding my own business, praying through things that used to frustrate me, praying while I exercise, listening to music that helps my mind stay focused, choosing the thoughts that I allow in my head.   I could go on and on about all the things that I’ve been working on lately, but we don’t have that kind of time.

This morning, I woke up, read the verse of the day and immediately started to get distracted.  Then I got out of bed, got on the scale, grabbed a cup of coffee, then got back into bed to write a few things down.  I left my job about 2 months ago to pursue writing and focus my attention on being the  woman, wife and mother that God has called me to be.  Since that day, just over 2 months ago, I’ve lost 15lbs and found my WANT TO right in the middle of my do I have to?

It’s been a whirlwind of emotions ever since then.  Some days I feel great, others I feel like I’m missing the mark.  But something felt different this morning.  I felt different this morning.

After I got up and made my daughter and I our typical breakfast smoothies, we laughed through our goodbye hug and she left for school.  When the bus came, she texted me (like she normally does) to have a great day but then she added something…

“Go stand outside, the birds sound really cool chirping so much!”

Well I didn’t go outside because I had some devotions to finish, but I did open the windows before sitting on my bed to read my morning devotions.

Afterward, I wrote in the two books that I write in daily.  One is a 5-year journal Aubrey gave me close to 3 years ago.  The other is a set of books I started when I met my husband 7+ years ago.  I’ve written one reason I love him each day since that very first day.

As I wrote this morning, a feeling of thankfulness came over me and I started to cry.  I wanted to pray then but all I could do was cry.

God urged me then to come here and write.  It has been so long since I’ve had (and followed) that urging.  He is so good to me and yet, I still fail to follow His lead, even at the smallest things.

I sat here for a moment and just cried like a baby.  My prayers of gratitude were my tears; something I didn’t even know was possible.

Oh how I want to stay right here, right now, in His presence with thanksgiving.  So often we walk right past the very thing He’s trying to show us.  We don’t listen when He’s calling our name.  We go our own way for so long that we begin to think our way IS the way.  Then, when we find the way again, things start to become clear.

Fear is pushed aside.

Self-control becomes easy.

Anger isn’t an issue.

Forgiveness comes easily.

Our minds are no longer a way for the devil to control us.

Gratitude is in the forefront and we truly experience things.

I am feeling the release of pressure and the gift of expectation.

The gift of expectation may not sound right but it’s so true.

Psalm 5:3 (NIV) says this:

In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

The gift of expectation simply means that we are not to be worried about tomorrow.  We are IN today and we’re expecting that whatever God brings tomorrow, He’s going to see us through.

Think about it…

Consider it a great gift that God gives us; that we can lay our prayers at His feet and wait patiently with expectancy.

I want you to give it to God today.  I mean really give to Him whatever it is that’s burdening you.  Then wait expectantly AND with gratitude for however He answers you.

 

 

The 21 Day Fast: THE END

It’s never really THE END but I think next week it’ll be time to focus my blog on something else.  Time to just get Beyond the Fast and on to what lies ahead.

We tend to stay where we are [mentally] for as long as we can until pressured enough to make a move.  Why do we wait often for something significant to happen before we choose where we’ll go next?

God’s timing is everything but so is our follow-through.  In order to stay in a certain state of mind, we must keep moving forward or we’ll start to get behind.

Those changes you’ve made, however big or small, they did make an impact on your outlook.  You are now seeing things through a clearer set of eyes and in a way that gives you an opportunity to look beyond your current situation.

You can’t beat yourself up for taking a step back or over indulge in whatever your weakness is just because you made a mistake.  Pat yourself on the back (because you certainly can’t wait for someone else to do it!) and say, “It’s going to be alright.”

Then just start where you left off and don’t turn back.

In James 1:2, we see that our perfection isn’t and expectation.  We are going to have trials, tribulations and temptations along the way.  It’s what we do when in those situations that tells God where your heart is.  And where your heart is makes all the difference in the world.

I don’t know who this is for today, but I sure hope whoever you are, you’re reading this with an open mind.  I’m praying for you today because something inside is telling me that you’re hurting and all you need is a hug to take that next step.  So consider this prayer your hug from me!

Dear Heavenly Father, your child is hurting.  Their choices haven’t always shown your best work in them and they recognize it.  Their path has been curved for way too long and they are ready to surrender to whatever it is that You have prepared for them.  Show them the direction they should go.  Give them the wisdom to know when they have arrived and lead them continuously so that they may grow to be the son/daughter you’ve called them to be.  When the moments are difficult, I pray that they remember you’re there.  When the temptations come, and I know they will, I pray they remember you’re there.  When the path seems to curve more than they’d expected, I pray they remember you’re there.  Today is a day that they will make a choice to follow Your voice; Your voice that You so eloquently chose just for them.  Thank you for helping me to hug my friend.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.