I want to live the LENGTH, WIDTH and DEPTH of my life. I want to live all my days to the full and not merely endure or survive. As I write this I know that means an unconditional acceptance to live in the blessed, joy-filled moments as well as the deep sometimes pain filled valleys of uncertainty and brokenness. It means showing up for it ALL trusting God has a plan for each piece, trusting that He is in control and His ways are the BEST ways even if I cannot see it. It means allowing pain to co-exist with joy at times. It means being content with any circumstance I find myself in today because I am living my faith out in the ONE who is authoring my story for His Glory. It means believing that whatever He allows in my life is FOR my good NOT whatever He allows is good (because sometimes it just sucks)!
Living it all….I am learning important things:
- DOUBT is a close companion of FAITH. No matter who you are – as long as you live on this planet you will come face to face with a season of hardship and doubt. Doubt always creeps in during trials but when our faith helps us remain focused on a loving God- FAITH builds a fortress doubt cannot penetrate.
- The devil is in the DETAILS but God is in the BIG PICTURE. Sometimes we just have to hang on until the big picture comes into view. Faith is the guide. Let go of the details you cannot control and trust wildly. Stop striving. It just keeps getting you stirred up in the details. Let go and be still. Let God be God. Open your hands to the bigger things He can see.
- DISAPPOINTMENT is a close companion of HOPE. Disappointment forces us to re-examine our hopes. Where and in whom do you place your hope? Disappointment reveals to is that we need to have meaning BEYOND the things we see and experience here. HOPE in The Lord helps us manage life’s disappointments.
- CONFESSION prompts Gods GRACE. We won’t be perfect at navigating storms. Accept this fact and decide ahead of time and move quickly to the cross of Christ who bore your sins and faults so you could be free. Confession and honesty before God prompts His Grace to propel you FORWARD. Difficult times is NO time to hold into baggage you create or others create. Let God do for you what He deeply desires to do – love you and set you free.
Live it all! Live it all while you still have breath in your lungs. Let it all in. Let it all shape you. Let it all perfect your faith. Just don’t try to do it on your own.
At the end of life I want to come off the field with the signs of having been in the game!
Finding love in the shadows….
What is the thing in your life that seems like it hovers over you and creates a sense of looming darkness? Is it fear, finances, broken relationships, illness, the unknown…. Sometimes the circumstances of life move in and seem like the giant we cannot overcome.
Walking in the valley of shadows is an unsettling place to be. Most of us are uncomfortable there. We can tend to focus on the lack of light and the thing hovering over us. Your perspective in the shadows of life is what will determine how you handle it. A shadow is only a shadow because there is a light source behind it. God has not disappeared or let you go. As a matter of fact he is offering you a covering of a different kind. He offers you and I the shadow of His wings. He offers protection and comfort.
Finding the love in the shadows is a way of experiencing God in a whole new way. In the shadows our strength is weak but He is strong. In the Shadows the love of God can conquer our fear. In the shadows we can find the rest our Savior offers. In the shadows we are reminded of the most important parts of life. LOVE in the shadows is deeply personal.
If you find yourself in the shadows today, hold on. God is the light creating the shadow. As you sit in the shadow of His wings, rest in the comfort of a Heavenly Father that offering a love you cannot find anywhere else.
CHANGE is inevitable. How you deal with it it up to YOU!
How do you deal with CHANGE?
As the seasons change around us there are times in our lives when the season change within us. We go from single to married, no kids to kids, chaos to empty nest, career shifts, loss of loved ones, etc. We all experience change but how we deal with it is something unique to each of us.
Ever since I was a little kid, I have been no stranger to MAJOR change. Growing up I lost one house to a fire that left us homeless and one house to a gas explosion that left us homeless again. I graduated college and my parents had moved to another state and I realized there was no home to go back to and it was a ‘make it’ or ‘break it’ time in my life. I wanted children and God gave us triplets making us a family of 6 overnight. I studied to be a school teacher and God led me down the path of becoming a Pastor. Today I stand at the door of change once again…. The path ahead is not completely clear and there many emotions at any given time.
Change can leave us feeling insecure, exhausted, confused, troubled, and anxious to name a few. Some keep so busy they don’t deal with the HEART of the change within. When we experience major change, we can tend to ask WHY too long and never get to the WHAT’s NEXT?
I am no expert and I am far from perfect at living through change, but if you find yourself being face to face with life altering change, here are some words of advice from someone accustomed to it:
- PRAY – God gives and He takes away for His perfect will for your life. You may find this hard to believe in the midst of difficult times, but the more you dwell on the idea that your Heavenly Dad is FOR you and not just messing with you, the more peace you will find. He will guide you, protect you and provide for you. Remember His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). Talking to others as you manage through change is helpful but don’t neglect to talk to the ONE who created you and has good plans for you. (PS – He can handle it if you are a little upset – just don’t get stuck there).
- SURRENDER – God does not require us to be perfect to come to Him. What He desires is for us to be surrendered and dependent upon His wisdom not our own. You may be broken or worn down by the circumstances of your change but bring your brokeness to the Lord, He will not reject you. “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” Psalm 51:17(NLT)
- THINK FORWARD not backwards: When big change occurs, we sometimes can get stuck in the web of all that we are losing or all that seems too big to handle when in reality, we can’t always see clearly. Thinking backwards only causes us to stay in an emotional state of grief or denial. I recommend setting a goal for yourself to list out 3 FMA’s (forward moving actions) each day. This will keep your heart and mind guarded from getting stuck in the muck of self-pity and it will actually help you move toward the direction God may be calling.
- LET GO of the OPO’s – People react to change in all different ways. When we begin to compare how we are responding to the change we face with the way others would deal or think we should deal, we get derailed and lose sight of what God is doing. Letting go of the OPO’s (OTHER PEOPLE’s OPINIONS) during a time of change is important to keeping focused on the ONE voice that can actually transform you and your circumstances.
Change is part of our human experience. No one escapes it. God uses change to shape us and prepare us for WHAT’s NEXT!
A favorite of mine and a reminder that the only thing that NEVER changes is our God!
My love language (according to the book, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman) is Words of Affirmation. I think I cling to words because at an early age I realized how the words we speak to one another are really the true gifts of life. No one or no circumstance can ever take them away. When my house burned to the ground on Christmas Eve in 1975 I will always remember my Dad’s first words that night, “Everything we have is gone but nothing we need has been lost – we still have each other.” When my house exploded in 1983 after a gas leak, I will always remember my Dad’s words, “Here we go again, it’s just stuff, we still have everything we need – each other.” When all we owned was the clothes on our backs, we still had everything we needed. Stuff is not eternal – Lesson learned. Words of life. I have clung to those words when things have not gone my way, when I wanted more than I had or when I lost something I thought I could not live without. Coming back to those words always reminds me of what is really important.
Yesterday for my 44th birthday my family gave me words. They each wrote me letters and notes and all day long I read new thoughts and messages of love. These are the treasures of my life and I hide them away in my heart. I need nothing more. No one or no circumstance can take them away.
Words have power. In the beginning God opened his mouth, spoke and things came to be (Genesis 1:3). Words have power in our lives. The bible tells us our words both bless and curse but this should not be (James 3:9-10). We are spiritual beings, created for eternity and God speaks to us through his Word. The Word of God has the power to increase our faith just by hearing it (Romans 10:17). Words have power to give life. Jesus came and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Putting your trust in Christ and the Word of God will change you forever (2 Cor. 5:17) and once that happens, no one or no circumstance can take that away.
Words…. I love them.