A Thousand Blessings

Monday, November 19, 2012

I recently picked up the One Thousand Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp and it fit perfectly with where I've been lately. For the past couple of months, I've been in total awe over the completely blessed life I have been given by the generous grace of God.

In her introduction she explains how the original book One Thousand Gifts came about through a challenge from a friend to keep track of one thousand things she loved. As time progressed and she gave thanks for big and small things in her life she realized how much more she was being blessed and how much closer her relation with God became. In that same spirit I myself am going to begin a journey to give thanks for One Thousand....or more....blessings in my life.

1) I am thankful to have been chosen by God to be His daughter. It is not a position I take lightly. I desire to make my Papa proud.
2) I am thankful God blessed me with the best grandmother. She loved me in ways that still bring a swelling to my heart. And she taught me the greatest love in life is that between God and His child.
3) I love the three children of my heart that He allowed me to assist in raising. The adults they have become make my heart smile.
4) I could not ask for better than the two sweet voice that call me MiMi. Their precious faces and loving hearts always make my day joyous.
5) I have a job that is more of an answer to a quiet prayer than I ever expected. This place He has picked for me fulfills so much of what I desire to do and be in ways I never would have imagined on my own.
6) The blessing of a mate who is by no means perfect but is absolutely perfect for me could only have come from a generous and loving Creator who not only knows the desires of my heart but also the needs of my spirit.

That's my list for today. I feel so overwhelmingly loved!

Internal Chatty Kathy

Thursday, October 25, 2012

For as long as I remember I've had this propensity to analyze and over analyze just about every conversation (written and spoken) I've had. I've been plagued by the phrase, "what did they mean by that?" And truth be known, I've been guilty of saving texts, emails, instant messages, and voice mails for months just so I can go back over them to make sure I know what they meant.

What an uplift  to my heart to read in Unglued that I'm not the only one. And not only do other women do it, but there is a way to put a stop to the negative Nelly inside my head. Praise God! Prior to this, I've never done an online bible study and I've never read a Lysa Terkeurst book. How perfect is God's timing? He readied my heart for what I needed to read, learn and apply to my life.

I've long struggled with accepting compliments. When someone compliments my work, my appearance, my attitude....anything, I'm compelled to point out my flaws to prove I'm not worthy of their praise. It is something God has been working through in me. And so now instead of pointing out the flaw, I'll smile and say "thank you." BUT inside, here comes the negative chatter. They're just being polite, they want something from you, they weren't paying attention, and on and on and on. So for me the two go hand in hand.

In His divine wisdom and love, God has blessed me with the perfect man for me. God has given him an insight into my very heart and soul....and mind. When he sees the wheels turning in my head about to attribute a hidden meaning to something he has said or done, he immediately calls me on it. I'll admit at first it irritated me because not only did it suck the wind out of my sails, it drew attention to my negative inside chatter.

In Unglued, Lysa suggests three questions to ask ourselves in order "to hold our runaway thoughts, assumptions, and misperceptions in check." Those questions include asking yourself if someone actually said this or are you making an assumption to their meaning, am I actively immersing myself in truth and are their situations/relationships that feed my insecurities? Over the last few days, I have been putting those questions into practice. And I can honestly say, they are working.

Last Saturday, my beloved and I were working outside putting tarps over a trailer full of hay and when we were done, he said, "You are beautiful in the moonlight." And my response was, "oh well, then I should always stay in the moonlight then." Because what I heard was I was only beautiful in the moonlight and what I assumed he meant was I wasn't beautiful any other time. (How quick are those runaway thoughts?!) Bless his heart, my perfect man said, "well that's the dumbest response I ever heard."

And he was right. It was a dumb because it attributed my negative inside chatter to him. And he didn't deserve that. That was before I read the chapter. That was before I had time to digest those three questions. And before I had time to pray and immerse myself in God's truth.

So last night, he's telling me about how he had been doing some work outside and there was a pile of sawdust in the yard from where he had shortened some boards. I didn't notice it and told him so. He said, "well, I wouldn't expect you to." And immediately I had all these negative thoughts about to runaway. But I paused before saying anything at all and let my mind process what he actually said vs. what he could have possibly meant by it. So instead of assuming he meant I lacked good observation skills, I asked why he wouldn't have expected me to see it. Turns out the pile was behind the shed. Needless to say, I never would have seen that unless I went behind the shed with a flashlight.

Addressing the issue of inside chatter will lead us to freedom. Freedom to pour out love on others, to think clearly, to obey God's call on our lives no matter what others think. Think on and live out truth and only truth! (Pg 149 Unglued).

I am making imperfect progress!!




The dreaded "J" word!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Jealousy. Just the mention of the word can put people on the defensive. We instinctively know that it's not a "good" emotion. We want no part of it. Jealous? Me? No way.
But in all honesty, jealousy sometimes creeps in when we aren't looking. At times it masquerades as something else....doubt, insecurity, comparison, pride....but at the core, it's envy.
I've never been one to really be jealous of material possessions. I had taken to heart the belief that to be jealous of what another person had was equivalent to telling God that what He gave me wasn't good enough.
But then there came the time that I remained single while every one of my friends got married.  Don't get me wrong, I was ecstatic for my friends. They deserved happiness and it looked good on them. But suddenly that jealous spirit was alive and thriving within me.
It started with doubt and insecurity. What's wrong with me? Then comparison. What does she have that I don't? Then pride. I'm just as pretty/smart/talented as she is. I personified that wicked green eyed monster.
I'd love to tell you that it only took a matter of days to snap out of it. I'd like to tell you it took just a couple of weeks. I'd be ok with telling you it only took a couple of months. In reality, this gloomy despair went on for the better part of a year.
And when I say gloomy despair, it's not an exaggeration. Jealousy consumed me. I just didn't realize the core of what I was going through was jealousy. I never labeled it jealousy because I was too busy making it all about me.
I spent so much time in prayer seeking answers from God. What was wrong with me? Why did He want me to remain single? If He wanted me to live a single life, could He please make it bearable?
God didn't answer me in any way that I could have expected. He just showed me the beauty of the life I had in that moment. I know that it was a slow process but He finally got through to me.
"I'm not designed or assigned to carry someone else's load. When I wish for someone else's life, I waste the limited life energy  I've got to face my own challenges and opportunities. God has a beautiful plan for me - a creative best I can accomplish with my life." (page 136 Unglued) Ultimately, I couldn't compare my journey with Him to that of anyone else. He was still preparing me for what He had in store for my life. It's all about His timing.
And He has placed the perfect man for me in my life at the perfect time. A man that He hand picked for me. A man that He knows is who I need and who needs me. Those single years weren't wasted. That was time God used to prepare and polish me so that I could shine for Him.
I can't guarantee that jealousy won't rear it's ugly head again. But as Lysa says in her book Unglued, having a jealous or giving spirit is MY choice. I never want to lose sight of the magnificence of my reality in pursuit of what I perceive someone else has. I will give thanks for who I am, for what I have, for what I can do, and for Who I belong to!


Unglued in Action

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The past couple of weeks have had me so busy. There has been a flurry of activity everywhere and it seems the days disappeared right before my eyes.
With all the business of being busy, I fell behind in the Unglued bible study. I started off right on track and was actually proud of myself for sticking with it. I have a history of starting lots of projects with gusto and then fizzling out to nothingness rather quickly. So when this week started and I was barely into reading chapter 5, I began to fret and feel a tad bit....unglued.
As I struggled to finish  Chapter 5 and  get started on Chapter 6, I began to hear those whispers. The ones who reminded me that I do have a "quitter" history. Voices that alternately fought to make me give me up or to skip over 5 and go directly to 6 (or better yet to skip both those chapters and move on to 7 to be with everyone else). I felt the weight of guilt and shame try to settle upon me as Chapter 5 seemed to grow in length every time I picked it up.
But because I've been reading Unglued, and  been using it in a practical way everyday rather than storing up the info for when I "really" need it, I shut out those voices with God's word. "We must spend time with God. letting His truths become part of who we are and how we live." (pg 76 Unglued). With each turn of the page, I felt God's presence cheering me on and I'm not going to lie...I felt victorious. And I'm so glad I read Chapters 5 & 6. There was so much powerful good in those chapters!
Today I finished Chapter 7 and knew in my heart and soul that this chapter is the one Satan was trying to keep me from reading. Two sentences in that chapter at first glance were powerful, " Remember who you are. I am a child of God, holy and dearly loved, whom God has set apart for a mighty plan." And they brought to mind the scripture in Isaiah 54:
 “Behold, I have created the blacksmith
Who blows the coals in the fire,
Who brings forth an instrument for his work;
And I have created the spoiler to destroy.
 No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord."
I put down the book to take care of some tasks and started to somewhat casually say a prayer of thanks to God that I am His child. And that's when the Holy Spirit settled upon me so heavily and I felt from head to toe how significant those sentences are...how significant it is to be the child of the Most High God...how significant to be holy and dearly loved and oh how magnificent to be be set apart by God for a mighty plan! And I wept for joy.
Thank you Lysa TerKeurst for being an obedient servant of God and for sharing so much of your glorious imperfect progress. You have profoundly touched my heart and given me practical tools to keep me on the road to imperfect progress myself. And thank you so much for those words that reminded me how precious it is to be a child of the Holy One. 
 

Can I Call It Grace?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

While reading Chapter 3 of Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst, I reflected on all the labels I've attached to myself as well as those placed upon me by others. Some I can remember shedding, while others were just covered up by a new one. Emotional, introverted, dreamer, procrastinator, needy, impatient, fatalistic, out of control, perfectionist....sinner.
It's hard to shed a label once you've accepted it as truth and incorporated it into your character. It becomes one of the buzz words you use to describe yourself while trying to put a positive spin on it. I'm impatient but I get the job done quickly or I'm a perfectionist so you know the job will be done right. And then it becomes like a security blanket that you can't part with.
A couple of years ago I did the Beth Moore Believing God bible study. Part of the study was to say a 5 statement affirmation several times a day. One of those statements was "I am who God says I am." That was the hardest thing for me to say. I had always taken that "work in progress" phrase to heart so to say I am who God says I am rather than I am becoming who God says I am was very difficult. All through that study I said those words but never really accepted them as true.....shh...don't tell Beth.
Then about a year ago, God finally convinced me that who I am at this given moment is who He says I am. He is chiseling me and He is transforming me. But it's on His time not mine. So at any given moment I am His masterpiece being revealed.
-For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
As this scripture says, as Lysa expounds on, I am His workmanship and He has prepared a work for me as well as prepared me to do that work. He is fine tuning me. He is chiseling away the hard places that don't reflect His vision. Those labels attached to me are no match for the Father's chisel.
And as He chisels....Grace. I will see it. I will feel it. I will call it grace.

Who's Side Am I On Anyway?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm into the first week of the online bible study for Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst and just finished reading chapter two on Wednesday. Just two chapters in and I've already discovered so many golden nuggets! From reading Lysa's account of her life moments and reading the comments of my bible study buddies, I know I am not alone in feeling "unglued" and that there is a better answer than duct tape!
When I discovered the reference to Joshua in Chapter two, I had instant joy. Joshua has always been a favorite book of mine. Several years ago while I was facing a major life decision and was seeking assurance after assurance and more assurance from God that I was taking the right path, He led me to Joshua 1:9 ("Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”). What more could I ask for from God than that He be with me?But I digress.......
So I'm very familiar with the passage in Joshua that Lysa chose to illustrate the question "Who's side am I on?" But I had never viewed that passage in quite that way. I had always just took it as an assurance that God is always on the right side.I never turned it around on myself until now.
Who's side am I on? Do I switch sides if the going gets rough? Do I wait til the battle is over and the victor is clear before choosing a side? Do I fully trust God 100% with everything?
I reflected back on some incidents in my past and wasn't exactly proud of all my track record with trusting God. I start off 100% trusting God....or so I think. As time goes by and the situation hasn't been resolved in the way I thought, or the timing I thought, or the way I would have done it, I start to question myself as to whether I heard God right. Did He really say this or that? Did He say move or be still? So then I go back for more assurance (see paragraph 2) that I did get the right direction or instruction.
Even at all that I never connected not trusting God completely with not being on His side. In fact I find it appalling to think I was ever not on God's side. But now I can understand that being fully committed to being on God's side leads me to trusting Him 100% with all my heart at all times.
From chapter two "And if we ground ourselves in the reality that we trust God, we can face circumstances that are out of our control with out acting out of control. We can't always fix our circumstances, but we can fix our minds on God. We can do that." I like that. It reminds me once again that I should always fix my eyes on Christ..not on the raging storm. Everything in this world is temporary. The lasting constant is Christ. I have to keep that as my "true north". Everything else leads to chaos....to coming unglued.

The beauty of "imperfect progress"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The statement from chapter 1 of Unglued: ”What kept me from making changes was the feeling I wouldn’t do it perfectly. I knew I’d still mess up and the changes wouldn’t come instantly.” resonated in my soul on such a deep level that it felt like my heart was vibrating!
I have struggled for so long with the idea of being "perfect." It even crept into my spiritual life. I had to be the "perfect" christian. And as we all know somewhere in the deep recesses of our hearts and mind, perfection is impossible for us to attain. So I basically set myself up for failure on a daily basis. And after the failure would come guilt and shame that I had failed myself, my family, my friends and more importantly I had failed God.
It set up a vicious cycle in my prayer life. I'd spend part of my prayer time requesting help to be perfect, part for forgiveness for failure and the part in desperate pleas for a better tomorrow.....a perfect tomorrow.
After this cycle went on for too long, I finally had a dear sweet friend who FINALLY got me to truly understand what God's grace meant for my life and my failures. You'd think that was the beginning of my success story right? From that point on I wasn't bound by the desire to be perfect or the fear of failure right?
Ah, if only! In reality, what happened was I quit trying. If I couldn't make perfect choices then I would just not move. I was afraid to take risks, to get out of my comfort zone for fear of making a mistake. I took the beauty of grace and turned into something that made sense with my need to be perfect.
After several months of this refusal to budge and being bound by a new fear, God let me in on a little secret. I was never going to be perfect and that was perfectly fine with Him. In fact, if I could attain perfection, I would have no need for Him. That was my wow moment. God not only expects me to be imperfect and make mistakes, He is there to make my imperfection work for His glory!

I second that emotion

Monday, September 24, 2012

I committed to doing an online bible study for the first time in my life after reading a post by Lysa Terkeurst over at Proverbs 31 Ministries about her book Unglued. What drew me to the book was for one I enjoy her writing style and two she seemed to have been writing from my journal of life.
With the beginning of menopause a year or so ago, I have struggled with keeping my emotions under control. Sometimes it's like watching a video of someone else. I say things or feel things that have no rationale. I have spent much of my prayer time asking for help with being able to control or even eliminate emotions and to get out from under the bondage of hormones.
After reading chapter one of her book yesterday, I have a new hope. I believe God can and will show me how to properly use and express my emotions. No longer do I feel hopeless and like an utter failure emotionally. I anxiously await to see how "God reveals how emotions can work FOR us instead of against us."

In Awe

Friday, September 21, 2012

It is never a bad feeling to be in awe of the Almighty. I never tire of those moments when I behold what an awesome God I serve. I love that when I've just about gotten used to His enormous love for me, He pours out even more!
I've been in a bible study over the book of Proverbs for about a month now and oh my God is just so....well so God. He had already been revealing to me how I had been "fooled" by the interloper over the summer but with Proverbs....wow did I see how deep that deception went and how God outlined each step in His word. Not just how the interloper comes at you but also how to combat that.
One particularly profound moment happened in Proverbs 4. In that chapter God talks about how the wicked are constantly plotting evil and trying to lure us into it. And His advice? Don't even look in that direction! Don't get caught up in trying to persuade them away from evil UNLESS God directly instructs you to do so. Otherwise, we get sucked into the evil.
God is God and I'm so glad He is my everlasting, loving, constant Savior!

Ah, what a whirlwind

Monday, August 20, 2012

My last couple of posts reflect the emotional upheaval that came my way a month or so ago. You know what stinks about those times of upheaval? It's KNOWING it's an upheaval...an attack....and still not being able to stop the whirlwind.
Insecurity and inferiority. Those are the two most used weapons in the arsenal of the enemy. That enemy comes in many forms but ultimately those forms are just the devil's disguise. He loves to remind us of the past mistakes and missteps we took....to keep poking at the wounds. It's his way of getting us to doubt God by doubting ourselves.
I have connected with "the one" God created for me. We share a love that has withstood doubt and separation. We are in such a good place now. And I know without a single doubt that God has great things in store for us. We are committed to serving God as a team.
Knowing this deep in my heart and thanking God for it, allowed for me to let my guard down. And when the attack came, I knew that was what it was. And I fought it off. And then....
Curiosity got me. Yes I admit it. I wanted to KNOW why. I wanted to KNOW how. Unanswered questions that demanded answers....you know, so I could move on...right!
He was so good at not giving me straight answers. And by doing so I kept getting sucked in deeper. So far in that I thought oh this guy still needs someone to rescue him from himself. Did God bring him into my life at this time because I need to help him? And that my friends is the biggest trick of all.....allowing the enemy to convince you to go under again in the name of God.
That toxic mix with all its allure....and don't get me wrong it does have an allure...just not of anything good, had me on the edge of a huge cliff. There were days where it seemed I was in over my head and never coming back and other days when the LIGHT dispersed all the darkness and I saw it all for what it really was.
Today I leave it all behind. There can be no friendship or rescue operation. He may need help...he does need help. But I'm not the one to do it. God will send the right person at the right time.
All of this whirlwind has reminded me in a profound way, I follow God not the other way around. I don't go before Him just because I think it sounds like a good idea or what He would want me to do. I wait on HIM.

Light of the World

Friday, August 3, 2012

Have you ever spoken to someone who's past looms so big in their lives that they can't see any reason to ask for forgiveness, much less expect it? Unforgiveness...even of ourselves traps us in a dark and lonely place. Because without forgiveness it's impossible for the light of God's love to penetrate our hearts and minds.
I read an inscription once that said the reason the windshield is so much bigger than the rear view mirror is because our focus should be on the road ahead. It's not that we can always forget about our past or even should. But we should take our lessons from it and move ahead. If our focus is always on what's behind us we miss some wonderful moments in the present and the hint of beautiful things to come.

Frustrated

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Do you ever feel like your words just aren't getting through? You repeat yourself, then use different words...simpler words...complicated words....and the person just doesn't seem to be getting it?
I have decided he's just being purposefully obtuse. I know he understands the words. He just chooses to ignore them..ignore their meaning...ignore the conclusions to be drawn.
It frustrates me to the point of aggression. And then I feel the fool for losing my cool.
Today stinks :/

my inspiration for going forward today

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

based on the scripture Exodus 14:13 - Do not be afraid. Instead stand still and watch God do his work of salvation for you today.

No one does it better than God so what do I have to worry about?

Emerson quote of the day:)

Monday, May 7, 2012


inspiration

I love this scripture in the New Living Translation. The prayer that follows is based on something I read in a prayers and blessings  calendar.

Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. Psalm 43:3

Dear Lord lead me today that I may walk in peace, teach me that I may serve you with humility, and bless me that I may place all my hopes and dreams in you knowing with absolute confidence that you are faithful. Thank you for loving me with an overwhelming love even when I only liked you.

Yes I am a slacker :)

So....that whole vowing to blog more went bust..ha. I should know better than to make vows. I do much better when I'm not trying to do better.

careful consideration

Monday, February 13, 2012

Careful consideration. I can't tell you the number of times I have heard someone say I've given it careful consideration or something similar. My question is how long are you going to carefully consider before you do....before you live?

To Do list

Thursday, January 5, 2012

So it's been a good long while since I blogged. I'd say it was all because I just hadn't found the time but truth be told for the most part I haven't had anything to say that I deemed worthy of a post. Sometimes when blogging I feel this pressure to be witty or wise or profound. And there are very few days when I feel that I am those things.
As you know the new year always brings resolution talk. And every year I make and break them or I steadfastly refuse to make them. This year I wasn't so sure. Sure I'd like to make positive changes in my life but I don't want to feel bad about myself if I can't make make them in the way I forecast making them via resolutions.
Today I decided to on a to-do list instead. This appeals to me on a few levels. For one I am a list maker at heart. And I love to-do lists. There is so much satisfaction in seeing things get marked off a list as accomplished. And what's more is a to-list about making things happen more than trying to change.
My to-do list is by no means finalized (mostly because I just thought of it today!). But so far the one thing that has been laid upon my heart is to make at least one encouraging comment everyday on facebook. This may sound trivial but if you've ever spent much time on facebook, you've probably noticed how negative it can be at times. Or maybe I just know a lot of negative people!?!
My other to-do is to blog at least once a week. And I've decided to let myself off the hook when it comes to posting something profound. I'll just resign myself to being myself and as myself I know I have days when I don't have anything exciting to say. But what I do have to say, I will say.
Be on the look out for me. And if you notice me not posting, call me on it. Sometimes I need some accountability :)