Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Oceanside Revelation

I learned something about myself recently. You may wonder, considering I am creeping up on the big 4-0 very soon, "what else can you learn about yourself after 40 years?" I have always been a worrier. I told myself it was just my nature. Maybe to some degree that is true. I know I am not alone. If the Bible has so many verses on worry and anxiety, it must be a problem for at least a few other people. I have found myself lying in bed awake well into the early morning hours, mulling over possible situational outcomes and considering aspects of different situations in the past and possibly in the future.

Lots of things have culminated in helping me see the truth. Until now, I feel like I have been in a fog. Fearful, overwhelmed, surrounded. I have been focusing in on one small piece of a 1000 piece puzzle, losing sight of the whole. One thing that made it all "click" - I went to the ocean. (For a midwestern landlocked girl, this is a big deal!) When I was standing on that beach, staring into the vast, beautiful, powerful ocean, I thought of MY God. I thought of the Creator who created this powerful and vast ocean. I thought of the powerful God that can work all things together for good (Romans 8:28). I contemplated how trivial some of my "worries" are when faced with the eternal. I was awestruck by how much I had lost sight of how BIG God is, how nothing is beyond his reach. I could hear in my mind,

 "When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
 Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
 It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
 It is well, it is well, with my soul."

Do you know the story of "It is Well?" The Hymnist, Horatio Spafford had sent his wife and four daughters on a sea voyage, hoping to join them later. The ship his family was on collided with another vessel and his four daughters did not survive. On his voyage to join his wife, he penned this hymn while sailing the area of the ocean where his offspring had perished.

I was sent into introspection standing on that beach with the cool water lapping my ankles. When "trouble" comes, how do I react? (My definition of trouble is a whole different subject for another time.) Do I run to my Father, confident in His care, provision and concern? Do I bemoan my troubles to others, on Facebook or in real life to garner sympathy? Can I say, "It is well with my soul"?

The other song that reverberated in my heart while wiggling my toes in the sand?
"When the oceans rise and thunders roar
 I will soar with You above the storm
 Father you are King over the flood
 I will be still, know You are God."

Sometimes we need to be still, rest in his peace and KNOW, He is God.

Do you need a dose of perspective like I did? Be encouraged! "Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders— he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out. He’ll never let good people topple into ruin." PS 55:22 MSG
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 NLT
"So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:6-8 NLT

Don't let Satan or circumstances snatch your peace. I returned from my trip, this wonderful time with my husband and my God on flights that were less than perfect (by far), to raw sewage in my basement and ill children. It would have been easy to fall back into my old patterns of worry, fear and despair. But I fought for joy and peace. You can too. Rely on God. Stand firm and hold on.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kechene Photo Update

This post is a long time coming. Sorry I haven't gotten it up sooner. Lots of thanks to all the wonderful people that helped make dresses, donated tees for boys, donated money for materials and of course, my friend, Chaos, that delivered them all the way to Kechene, Ethiopia. Look at these wonderful happy faces!!!
Thanks for an opportunity to live outside my own little world.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One week

Yikes! Just a week. Pictures to take, slide shows to finish, hot dogs/cookies to make for a crowd, a child to graduate 6th grade, a house to clean, laundry to do, clothes to wash, food to cook, friends to see/check in with, graduation parties, vacation plans to finalize..... All good, all competing for space in my head. Prayers for peace, a sound mind, a heart calm and comforted by my God.

Dresses for Kechene Thank YOU!

For those of you that helped provide for the Dresses for Kechene project - A personal "Thank you" from the children to you! I don't know about you, but I shed a tear or two! Love these precious faces!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Worry much?

Today I googled "Do women worry more than men?". Among speculation galore, the interesting consensus is yes. Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders. About 3 years ago, I had a panic attack. It felt like what I thought a heart attack would, and needless to say that starts a vicious circle of more panic, more pain. (I will say while I have felt close a couple of times since then, I have not succumbed to an attack.)

While I know I am not supposed to worry, I do.

I worry that I am not being all God called me to be. I am not. Only Jesus was perfect. If I was perfect, would I have a need for God? His power is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)

I worry that I am not the parent I could be. I am not perfect. God fills the gaps.

I worry that I will be left alone. I am never alone. Even if all on earth abandon me, He will my cup and portion be. (Deut 31:6, Heb 13:5, Ps 16:5)

I worry that I am too judgmental. Judge not lest you be judged. I continually ask God to help me to see others with His eyes. He looks on the heart. Man looks on the outside. (Luke 6:37, 1 Sam 16:7, Heb 4:12)

I worry that I am judged. God looks on the heart and his opinion is the only one that matters. (1 Sam 16:7, Deut 6:18)

I worry that my children will forsake the teaching of God and cause themselves heartache. Train up a child in the way they should go, and even when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Prov 22:6)

I worry that I am not enough. I'm not. If I were, once again what would be my need for God? (2 Cor 12:9 again)

I worry in general, about my children, my spiritual walk, my husband, my marriage.

See a theme? The Word of God is the answer to any problem I have. Even my worry. Lately the following verses have been on my mind.

Ps 55:22-23 The Message

"Pile your troubles on God's shoulders—
he'll carry your load, he'll help you out.
He'll never let good people
topple into ruin.
But you, God, will throw the others
into a muddy bog,
Cut the lifespan of assassins
and traitors in half.
And I trust in you."

1 Peter 5:7 AMP

"Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, [once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully."

Philippians 4:6-7 NASB

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Thank you God that you carry my load, you are my help, that you care for me, that you listen. I want your peace to guard my heart and mind.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Flaws and all

God doesn't love me in spite of my flaws. He knows me. He created me. He loves me flaws and all. He knows when I am having a rough day, a day when I feel like noone is listening, He is.

I had one of those days recently. I expect that you might think I took the high road, stepped back, counted to ten, prayed to my Heavenly Father, read the Word and sang a praise song. I admit I did not (although I wish I had).

With each incident I became more and more irritated. I started snapping at my kids and my husband.

Then the shame sets in. Why was I acting like this? Why?! I tell myself it is because noone listens to me. Those always, never, and noone statements we all say to try and make our point. The ones that are not always full of truth. My statement was untrue. My Heavenly Father listens. He hears every word. The cries of joy, the wails of grief and pain, the whispers of defeat and sadness, He hears them all. And

Ps 56:8 NLT "You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book."

HE KNOWS. He knows every joy, fear, worry, hurt, kindness. Not only does He know, He has the answer.

I made a mistake. I let my emotions carry me away. We all have emotions, and they are not inherently wrong, but we can't allow ourselves to be ruled by our emotions. Sometimes we have to stop and press the reset button. What is your reset? How about the things I mentioned above? Distance, reading the Word of God, listening to praise music. Remembering and rehearsing God's promises. How about reminding ourselves to think on the good.

Phil 4:8 NLT "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."

But God doesn't condemn us. When we are "tested", when we start to lose ourselves in our emotions, know it can be a chance to grow.

James 1:3-5 "For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking."

Apologies made. Thoughts readjusted. Seeking wisdom. Sharing. Flaws and all.