~Radical Obedience~

‘God wants to purify our whole heart so we are prepared and mature for our calling’ – Lisa Terkeurst

Amen!!

Ok….So I had an entirely different thought process going on with my initial writing that I was working on yesterday into last night.  I had (over half-written) thoughts on my radical obedience in listening to God with regards to going back to school…the feelings I experienced when I began to take small steps towards God’s Will for my life, my future. All that good stuff…big obedience, the radical kind.

Not that this good stuff isn’t real-life…for me, it is. I’m living with the fact that on Monday, I’m back to school. And, get this…my very first class, with my very first Fall semester in college?? Math 110…first thing Monday morning. I’ll be honest in saying that this path of obedience is making me realize just how real it really is on my big scale.

But, what happened this morning feels a little more day-to-day real life. My writing direction has been changed and I’m being obedient.

I woke up to my refrigeration only creamer having been left out on the counter…all night. Ruined.

I LOVE my coffee in the mornings…but, only with a hefty pour off French Vanilla Creamer. If I don’t have creamer, I don’t have coffee. Substitutes are made from time to time…this morning was one of those times.

Ruined. That’s all I could think, I just ruined a brand new container of creamer! My coffee will no where near taste as good as it can be and here it is the first day of school for my kiddos so, I’m up earlier than I’ve been in weeks and weeks…I NEED my coffee.

That made a rough few min for me…6:15 am digging around in my cabinets for (hopefully) powdered creamer for my first cup (actually hoping for several cups worth).

Thank goodness I had some powdered French Vanilla in my cabinet…maybe even on the verge of being stale but, at that time, I didn’t care. I needed that first cup.

So, taking my first sip, I’m thinking this isn’t so bad…I’ll deal and enjoy my cup. Still realllly wanting my really good creamer the entire time and wondering why in the world did I leave that out? In my ten years of being a regular, buy coffee, buy creamer collect coffee cups kind of drinker I’ve never, not one time, left an entire (brand new, opened two days ago) container of creamer out to be ruined!

At some point yesterday evening, after a long non-stop kind of day, I made a pot of coffee, drank a few cups. I needed the evening energy boost. I also need my creamer to make it worth while.  I knew I would drink a few cups so, I left my creamer out for those few…a routine for me. After those few, I (usually) put my creamer back in the fridge…it’s never really even been out long enough to get warm much less ruined. Not real sure how I got that distracted…our kitchen isn’t out of sight by any means. We have an open floor plan and when we’re in the living room, we’re also in the kitchen and dining room. From where I’m sitting here at my computer, I can see my coffee pot…no excuse other than not paying attention, I guess.

So, after digging and finding powder first thing this morning, I’m drinking my cup(s) while kids are getting ready, having breakfast before school (we even had enough time to watch a few min of our recorded ‘Duck Dynasty’ from last night!) It was a ‘happy, happy, happy’ morning, kids excited and laughing, I’m snapping pictures out in the beautiful, cool sunny morning!

As were waiting on the bus, I’m getting excited to dwell in some Intentional God time, finish up my blog, maybe check facebook.

It was then that several conversations my hubby and I’ve had the several weeks hit me, right along with some frequent stomach pain.

We’ve spent lots of time talking about our health.

Just in the last couple of months…I’ve experienced some stomach issues that I’ve never dealt with before. A few times he’s mentioned I may be drinking too much coffee?! (It was actually mentioned to me last year by a doctor. I drink too much of the java!!)

I’ve agreed…with summer school, all the studying that came along with it, coffee was my ‘get through’. My constant, comfortably warm, tasty ‘Cup of Joe’. With that being said, I know too much coffee can be bad for me…but, for the last several months, I’ve ignored that fact.

God has told me I can get by without my creamer, at least for today…and probably even tomorrow.

After all, when it’s the powdered kind, I tend to drink wayyyyy less cups. So, I will abide and move forward with receiving confirmation that I need to cut back to one or two cups…ok, let me be honest….maybe 2 or 3 cups…

Am I being ‘radically obedient’ while listening? Not in the last several months (with coffee anyway).

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For me, my time (my journey where it currently is)…yes, I am being obedient with school, with other things but, apparently I needed to learn a lesson with my coffee.

I’m doing without my creamer today and I’m fine. (Sort of forced obedience)

I’m starting 12 credit hours of school next week. (Choice obedience)

I’ll be fine.

I will remain in Him.

Obedient.

‘Remain in me and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, And you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me’    

John 15:4

I will continue to bear fruit as long as I’m working towards God’s will for my life and He remains in me daily, in ALL things…even my intake of coffee. And, if I’m not ‘listening’, He will make it known…one way or another.

I’m thankful for that revelation, for direction,  and so thankful for even the small convictions. God is working out my ‘kinks’ as I type…little by little, and with each and every small step, I walk closer and closer to Him, His Plan, His Will.

~To this day, I have to seek it by asking for the desire, discipline, discernment, direction, and delight~ Lisa Terkeurst

I love our current Online Bible Study by Lisa Terkeurst, ‘What Happens When Women Say Yes to God’, Our small group, It helps my accountability, my drive to blog every week. I also love reading other blogs…how real some of these women are in their personal pursuits of what we’re all ultimately seeking…that perfect peace and true JOY that comes from seeking and allowing God into our lives…by living day-to-day radical obedience…even with things as small as French Vanilla Creamer or ‘big’, life-altering things.

Whatever He says, Just Do it!

Thanks for reading my thoughts and know that I LOVE blog-hop Thursdays!!!! It’s like devotional-type moments all put together in one spot!

P31 OBS Blog Hop

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~A ‘Yes’ In Each Of Us~

Hello Blogging World!!

I’m so glad to be ‘back’ and thanks to Melissa Taylor’s new study of Lisa Terkeurst’s book ‘What Happens When Woman Say Yes To God’, I’m inspired to blog again!!! :)

Speaking of this new study…just stop for a second and try to actually get a visual of this:

*21,514 (at last check) participants in this study from 119 countries across the world that are coming together to read, study and share what they’re learning, what God is speaking to them while digging into this wonderful book!! WOW…how awesome is this? I like to picture almost 22,000 women all standing in a stadium of some sorts, huddled up together and raising their hands in unison, all 44,000 palms facing UP, all while praising God and saying YES! Can you even imagine that sight? What it would look like sitting in the top bleachers and looking down?

God must be incredibly proud that we’re all taking part and so proud of the women that work hard to put it all together!

`When you give God the honor of your time, you will see Him show up in your life`

-Joyce Meyer

What does is mean ‘Saying Yes to God’? There are thousands of women out there that are pondering this very question….really digging deep within their soul to answer this for themselves, for their lives and their purpose.

There is no right or wrong answer here…it’s all with in yourself and between you and God.

In my personal opinion, Saying Yes could be anything from having dinner done when you need it to be done due to schedules or, Yes, God, I will make it a point to pray for that friend or family member that may cause hurt feelings because they never call to see how we are doing.

Saying Yes could also be a life-altering encounter or admission that will inevitably change your life.

Saying Yes, God, I will praise You in this storm. 

Yes, God, I will read that book You’ve laid on my heart to read.

Yes, God, I will make sure I’m at church getting my spiritual feeding.

Yes, God, I will make it a point to play with my kids today, do something they want to do instead of things we have to do.

It’s different for all of us. Our personal ‘Yes God‘ is dependent on so many things and our ‘Yes, God’s‘ can be numbered in the millions when looked at from the point of almost 22,000 women seeking that answer!

Again, in my personal opinion, not one Yes is better than another Yes, nor is one Yes any less impacting than another. The only Yes that matters is when we are answering God, no matter how big or small.

For me, Saying Yes has been one of those life-altering scenarios.

The last time I blogged was about a week before I was to start my first ever college courses. I was filled with anxiety, literally panicking at the thought that I would be in a classroom atmosphere trying to re-learn algebra 21 years after dropping out my Senior year in High School (Ironically I didn’t finish my Senior year because of algebra!!).  What in the world was God asking me to say Yes to?!

At the time, I wouldn’t have exactly put it as I was saying Yes to God. I was interpreting my direction as God putting it on my heart to go to school. I love the fact I can use the term that I was saying Yes to God!! I am humbled before Him, His guidance, His direction.

At the time, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, I only knew that I was headed the direction God directed me to go.

Was it crazy? Was I crazy?!

3 young kids at home, my husband working 60 hours a week and here it was I suggested needing to leave each night Mon-Thur to attend 3 hour classes?! My husband was supportive and very helpful! I’m telling you, I didn’t do anything BUT homework and studying for 8 weeks straight!!!! Oh, I may have started a load or two of laundry but, I’m serious when I say ALL I did was homework, more homework and studying for tests! My wonderfully supportive husband came home from work each and every night, and as he walked in, I was walking out. We literally exchanged a quick hello and immediately a kiss goodbye. He came in, cooked supper, put the kids to bed and then helped me with algebra when I got in!

That first week was hard on me mentally. The enemy did his best to derail every positive thought I had about listening to God. I was ‘too old’ or ‘not smart enough’. I was a horrible wife and mother for attempting to do this at this point in my life, our lives collectively. With each passing day I fought off those thoughts and within a couple of weeks, I was loving the classroom atmosphere, the time away, even the homework. I can remember walking out of class one beautiful evening, the sun going down and thinking to myself, ‘I’m actually doing this!’

God’s direction was filling me with a feeling of accomplishment and a humbling sense of pride.

`I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him` Ps 62:1

A few more weeks pass and the enemy tries to strike me down even harder than that first week. At the end of so many days, I felt confused…my brain was tired from all the variables, the coefficients, fractions and polynomials. It was taking every ounce of energy from myself, as well as my husband, to maintain the 80 I had to have in order to move up from the remedial class I was taking.

I began having thoughts of failure…even though I maintained my 80 the entire way through, I lost out on my ‘God time’ I had before I began this journey. There were no more hours with God, I barely had time to say a few seconds worth of prayers each day. How was it that God wanted that from me? How could that be? I was under the impression that this was for Him and here it was, (I felt) He was farther away than He’d been in a long time. I started questioning my path…am I sure I ‘heard’ Him right? Am I sure this is what He wanted from me?

It was at that point I made time to see my counselor…I had to share with her, get her thoughts. Her wisdom has always been invaluable to me and this would be no different. Sure enough, she informed me that there are times that we’re more quiet with God, things do slow down when it comes to the amount of time we may (or in my case may not) spend with Him. She told me that in those times in our lives, it will be those 5 min devotionals that will ‘bless our socks off’.  He knows what we’re doing, He knows when our heart is in the right place…and for this we will be blessed, if we are saying YES to Him!

She was right.

I fought with my insecurities pretty much throughout the entire 8 weeks and I WON! I passed that class with an 83 (almost an 84)!! I passed my computer class with a 99! The night of my final in math I felt proud of myself and so incredibly proud that I serve such a God that, with His help, I was able to walk away from an algebra remedial math class that 21 years ago scared me out of my last 6 weeks of High School!

I’ve now ‘graduated’ from my remedial algebra into Algebra 110 which starts in less than 2 weeks from now. Included with this 110 math, I’m taking a total of 12 credit hours…a full load!  I’m approaching this differently, I for sure have more confidence, and I know I can (with the right weapons) fight off my enemy.  My small steps are leading me down the path He has intended for me and I’m going along for the ride…praising Him the entire way!

I also know that I’m saying Yes to God…even though my ‘Yes‘ is different that what your ‘Yes‘ is, we’re all working toward one goal…for one God. To share His love, grace, mercy and Forgiveness.  We strive to make Him proud, we want to stick out in a world of ‘No’s’.

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What if you’re reading this and thinking, ok...Yes, God. Now what? What am I saying Yes to? How? When? Where? With what? It can seem overwhelming to know you’re putting yourself out there and saying ‘Yes‘ to God knows what…but, I can assure you that if you do…you will be blessed. You will, slowly but surely, gain confidence in yourself for making the choice(s) that God wants you to make. His plan will become clearer and clearer with each ‘Yes‘. Indeed, He has a plan for each and every last woman in this study…He has a plan for each and every soul that lives in this ‘No’ world…but there are but a few that choose to listen. I’m so thankful I want to say Yes to God and just as thankful that He is patient while I work through the earthly issues that still bother me. He knows my heart…He will wait patiently.

If you’re having trouble ‘hearing’ Him…maybe not knowing what your ‘Yes‘ is…please take the time to be alone with God. Talk to Him as you would a dear friend, tell Him your concerns, ask Him that question of  ‘what, Lord?’ He will answer you through your days, your thoughts, your heart and mind. But, to receive that divine guidance we must be open to a ‘Yes‘ while fighting through this ‘No’ world. That, alone, makes it difficult but not at all impossible.

`Oh Lord, I have longed for Your rescue and Your instructions are my delight`  Ps 119:174

Thank you, always, to all who take the time to read my thoughts, my feelings and perspectives. I’ve missed the blogging world and I hope to keep up through this study. School starts back up for me and I pray I can handle it all, right along with this awesome study as well as continuing on with ‘Blog Hop Thursdays’. I LOVE reading as many other bloggers as I can on Thursdays…when so many share their true thoughts and feelings it really helps me to not feel alone in my earthly struggles.

God Bless

Side note: If there are any bloggers out there who can help me out, I would really appreciate it. As you can see my blog is very plain…no links to other pages or anything other than a photo or two and tags. I know Melissa’s blog said to use the link to be able to click right back to her blog. ( I think it’s copied somehow??) I have no idea at all how to do this…I would love to have that on my page, just unsure how to get it there. If there are any seasoned bloggers out there who could offer a quick how-to in the comment section, I would be so thankful. It would be very helpful for me next week! :)

~Wilderness Blessings~

“You cannot come to know God through the experiences of others, this must be done by you”

~Joyce Meyer

A couple of years ago, I was in bad shape. Major depression had taken over my days, my nights and even my dreams. Tears came easily and without warning. Endless days wrapped around the ‘whats’, ‘what-ifs’ and ‘hows’ of an inevitable foreclosure and relocation which, in-turn, left me feeling helpless and hopeless.

As a mother, I felt horrible…I mean, one of my responsibilities as a parent is to provide a stable environment, a stable home. Another responsibility? A clean home.

Which brings me to a specific day…one of many that were filled with desperation for one thing or another. Some days it was groceries and others were toilet paper. Days that were, by all accounts, our ‘Wilderness Days’. Let me begin by sharing that even though I may make light of this experience, I’m now on the other side and I know the ending. At the time, I was far from the faith I have now and was  just getting to really know God. Just coming to terms with His will for me, for my family, for our lives. It took some getting used to. Along the way, I fought it, I cried, I begged for anything but.

My ‘out-loud’ prayers, during this time, although gaining in sincerity, were still sort of ‘off the wall’. Random ramblings of a mind that was unsure of even making sense much less, making sense to the Creator of the Universe. The Maker of Heaven and Earth. My God.

This particular day was messy…figuratively and literally.

Figuratively speaking, I started the day with the ‘Why God?’, the ‘How is this happening to us God?’. Tears, more tears and frustrations. Literally speaking, my house was a mess. My ‘to-do’ that day was filled with 2 days worth of dishes, at least 5 loads of laundry, sweeping and vacuuming.

Going through the motions, continually reminding myself about our problems, dreading everything about my day, my house, my mothering have-to’s, my wife responsibilities. Teetering on the edge of an emotional breakdown.

As it went, I did not have an emotional breakdown, I had a vacuum breakdown instead.

I snapped…cried and cried like there was seriously something worth sobbing over…this time not necessarily about our uncertain future but about the fact that I had 3000 sq ft of hardwood and carpet to be vacuumed and I couldn’t even get that done easily. Why in the world was my life so hard at that moment?

In sweeping through the house, I had lots of time to really let God know how I was feeling. I was open-eyed praying while sweeping and crying.  In my words to God, I remember saying something so trivial that I made myself  hysterically laugh at the pure craziness of it.

I sobbed something along the lines of ‘God, could You, would You…the Creator of ALL…the entire anything and everything…possibly help me to find a vacuum? Oh yeah, and since You’re God and all, could it be an Oreck please?’ (Side note: I’d always wanted an Oreck)

~Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul~

Job 7:11

I was so upset which caused me to be so immature and mouthy towards God. After my sarcastic tone and words, I cried some more. I apologized and God knew. He knew where I was coming from, He knew my heart, and at that time, it was breaking. Breaking for our everything…the vacuum cleaner incident was just an outlet, a justification of sorts for me to cry and cry over a thing.

~Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?~ Job43:5

Several weeks after my crazy cry out to God…sarcastically asking for an Oreck vacuum cleaner…my husband and I were shopping in a Good Will Store and sure enough, I came upon a used Oreck!!! That moment was an amazing God moment for me!!!!!! I know that sounds a little bit insane…but, after living through what I did the day I cried out to God to just help me find a good, dependable vacuum and here this one was, right before me with a price tag of just 8$!!!! That was way more than coincidence, God put this before me as a validation!!!!!!!! Now, the irony in this…I’ve shopped thrift stores, second-hand stores for years (and years & years) for my kiddos clothes…it’s a hobby that saves us money (the best kind)…So, years into this, and even years after I’ve never, not one single time before that or since then came across an Oreck vacuum cleaner!

God answered my prayer in a most profound, obvious way. What a blessing in more ways than just having a vacuum cleaner that works beautifully!  My lesson learned so early in my intentional faith was the fact that God heard my prayer, and because it was meant to be, I became an owner of an Oreck vacuum!! Trivial sounding? Maybe. But, God works in mysterious ways. I’ve shared that ‘God moment’ over and over and over…it’s a personal testimony that has helped build me to where I am today. And, speaking of my today’s…I still use that very same Oreck :)

~Today also my complaint is bitter, my hand is heavy on the account of my groaning…I would lay my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments…Would He contend with me in the Greatness of His Power? No, He would pay attention to me~

Job 23:2-6

Although during that same time I prayed for what felt like forever for God to help save our house, our land…all we knew for over a decade of our lives, that prayer was not answered. But, even though I was upset, heartbroken and I remained faithful. I admit to owning a tear-stained Bible through a few years, times were incredibly hard but, I clung to the fact that I had my family, we were healthy, I was married to my soul-mate…things could’ve been much, much worse.

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I love how the Book of Job is followed by the Book of Psalms. One end of a spectrum to another…tests of true faith to then a book of praises that recognize God’s Greatness, Love and Mercy that we feel when we’ve lived through our own personal tests. Like Job, I don’t understand why we lost everything but, looking back…I know, beyond a shadow of any doubt, I found so much more!

My family…myself…we’re on the other side of that ‘Wilderness’ time in our lives. As I look back now, I smile at the irony of the Oreck. I smile at God for helping me in that way. Not even the literal Oreck but, the lesson in faith that it taught me…even to this day…this is one of the greatest blessings I’ve ever received.

Blessings come in all forms, all shapes and in all situations. We just have to be open to receive them and most importantly, acknowledge them and where they come from, make it a point to praise God through our own personal ‘Wildernesses’. We are all alike in that, at times, we all wonder, sometimes aimlessly, in our own ‘Wilderness’. The lesson, the blessing, I took away from my vacuum cleaner is not one that anyone could’ve told me…I had to experience it. We all do, in our own ways. I thank God that I was open to it, I thank God I came to see so much more than an Oreck.

My current ‘Wilderness’ is upon me…my college classes start on Monday. I’m an introvert and I’m scared. But, this I know…God will reward me for my effort, my push forward and I will forever know this…all because of a used Oreck.

~For the Lord, Your God, has blessed you in all the work in your hands.

He knows you’re going through this great wilderness.

These 40 years, the Lord, Your God, has been with you.

You have lacked nothing~

Deut 2:7

Thank you, again and always, to all who take the time to read my thoughts, I know they can be long-winded…I just love sharing. I love Melissa Taylor’s OBS for encouraging me to share, our small facebook group (Group 19 Yay) for encouragement as well. We are currently working through Chapter 8 of Tracie Miles, ‘Stressed-Less Living’ and I’m not at all ready to see this book come to a close BUT, we will start another and you can bet, I’m so there!! These studies, these books have encouraged my growth and most importantly, they’ve been a consistent outlet for helping me to realize the little ‘things’ in life aren’t really ‘things’ at all!

God Bless :)

~Giant Ferris Wheel~

When I was a young girl, our family had a tradition of visiting the Texas State Fair every year. The day would be planned weeks in advance. My brothers and I spent days talking about food we’d eat and games we’d play. We would challenge each other on the rides we would brave. Each and every year, our goals would get bolder and bolder.

Counting the days down to Fair Day…until finally one (very early) morning, it would arrive!

After about an hour on the road, through still sleepy eyes, we’d begin our back-seat tradition of looking for the always there Texas State Ferris Wheel. It was a game of sorts to see who ‘could win’ and spot it first. We’d look and look, til we saw it, then we’d yell out…’THERE IT IS!’

From miles and miles away, towering above all else that direction, we would see this Giant of a ride. A huge, magnificent rounded structure that would move slowly in a circular motion. From that moment on, it was all we could look at, the monstrous circle in the sky that was like our beacon, our direction to the fair! Now, wide awake with anticipation, we’d know it wouldn’t be long!

How exciting it was to finally get there! The sights, the noises, the familiar smell of the famous State Fair Corn-dog, smothered in mustard, right along with the sweet, sweet smell of funnel cakes frying. The laughter, the cheers from people playing the games that constantly rang with bells and dings.

At some point in our day, we’d end up at the midway. My brothers and I would remind each other of how we said, this year, we’d ride the Ferris Wheel. More than not, we were all talk and no show when it came to that monstrous giant of a ride. It looked terrifying, maybe not from a distance and especially not from talk through anticipation of the day because…you know… as of 3 weeks ago, it was a done deal, we’d ride it this year…for sure!

When we actually got to the Park Midway, it became a different story. That ‘Giant Ferris Wheel’ became real when we were actually standing at the base of it. The three of us, although bravely committed at first, would inevitably ‘chicken out’ when we saw the monster from ground up.

‘Are we going to do it?’ one of us would ask. Nope. Not this year.

As we then would walk past the line, I would look at the excited faces…laughing and pointing up. I would follow their stares and see tiny arms and hands sticking out of the baskets that were teetering back and forth in the wind. I would hear screams and laughs. I wished every year I would’ve found the courage to be in that line, to feel that excitement of actually riding to the top.

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This same scenario played out year after year. Am I going to this year? This one? This one? Yep.

Nope. Still too scared, the fear got the best of me for so many years.

One year,  I finally mustered the courage to do it.

Omgosh…all of the sudden, I found myself in line, sooooooo sick with anxiety, but…no matter, I was going to DO IT! I’m not sure what happened that particular year that made me finally go through with it but, I, to this day, am still thankful I overcame my fear of that giant. That monster of a beautiful circle that loomed over my thoughts, it became so much more than a ride. It was my ‘giant’ that I would overcome…I would finally be able to say, ‘YES, I’ve ridden the Texas State Fair Ferris Wheel!’

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I vividly remember the ride to the top, the creaking and swaying of the metal enclosure as it slowly but surely made it’s way to the very tip top of the circle. All the way up, I was extremely scared, when the wind blew, I would think we were tipping over. When we would stop, I would think it had broke down and we were going to be stuck. When I heard screams from other buckets, I just knew someone was falling out. Through all my anxious thoughts and worries….I was trying to focus on the top. Trying to think about the view that would be so awesome very shortly.

The view that, for years, I was too scared to see.

That view, the thought of the climax of my ride, kept me breathing and excited for my ‘trip’.

I was not disappointed.

The view from the top was unlike anything I’d ever seen in my short 14 or 15 years.

Magnificent. Breathtaking. Majestic. Serine.

SO worth the ride, even worth the fear and indecision that I fought with through the years.

Had I not struggled with those emotions, those feelings, I don’t think I would’ve been near as appreciative of the view from the top.

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In recalling this ‘giant’ from my childhood, I’m reminded, in my adulthood, I still have these ‘giants’. Granted, they’re not literal giants like this Ferris Wheel but, giants none-the-less. And, just like the Ferris Wheel…I know, kind of , sort of, what my view will be from the top.

Magnificent. Breathtaking. Majestic. Serine.

As an adult, I’m reminded daily of things and giants that I need to overcome to finish my ride to that beautiful view from the very top.

In some ways, I’m tackling a few of them right now. College, for me, starts in just about a week and a half.  I’m scared to death. But, I’m tackling it…fighting through the insecurities and the thoughts the enemy has worked so hard to plant in my head.

I’m doing it. Intentionally.Period.

In other ways, I’m still trying to find ways to work through my fears. I justify them. On some days, I even dwell in them. But, I’m working through what I can when I can. I know my rewards on the ‘other side’ will be awesome.

I’m working on it. Period. Small steps…even thought they may be fearful, creaking in the wind, so to speak…the anticipation, even the anxiety will be worth it one day.

God is with me, He’s always been with me. Through each and every Giant I’ve faced and will continue to face, He will be there rooting me on, filling me with the peace only He can. I’m committed to walking through all my fears, my insecurities, and in the end, just like my ride to the top and the magnificent view, He will fill me with a feeling of accomplishment and being humbly proud of what I’ve overcome. Some days are harder than others and some days are so hard that I cannot get myself in such a happy, positive position. Thank You, God, that those days are getting farther and farther between.

Through it ALL, my Giant will ultimately BE GOD, My Giant will no longer be fear, insecurity and doubt. It will be the Magnificent God that has always been and always will be.

~Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest with we do not give up~  

Gal 6:9

Dear God, Thank you for your unending love, mercy and grace. Please sharpen my vision to Your ways, Lord. Your will. I pray for guidance and direction, always seeking You, looking above and beyond. My head is bowed below while keeping my eyes on You God. I ask for forgiveness and understanding for my doubts and questions. Forgive me that, on some days, storms cloud my vision. Thank You for understanding and meeting me where I’m at. Thank You for reminding me that, even through my issues, I have a harvest soon to come.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Just like the ‘Giant’ Ferris Wheel, I will over come my personal giants through determination to see the ‘view from the top’. I look forward to my personal revelations and God-given strength to help me get there. If I have a bad day today, I will be that much more thankful for when I wake tomorrow because, for me, it will be a new day, filled with God’s mercies and LOVE.

Thank you to all who take the time to read my thoughts and thank you to Melissa Taylor’s OBS for encouraging my personal walk through sharing by blog. Being involved in all of the Online Bible Studies have really made me accountable for getting real, looking inside myself and God’s Word for my answers that I forever ask myself. I’m so grateful for this time in my life that I am recognizing my ‘giants’ and working on myself day after day.

God Bless :)

My Pride, My Disgrace

~Pride leads to disgrace,

but with humility comes wisdom~

Prov 11:2

In Mark chapter 7, Jesus teaches us on ‘inner purity’. He tells us it’s what inside that will ‘defile’ us. It’s from within, out of a person’s heart that comes ‘evil thoughts…envy, slander, pride, foolishness’ among many more.

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In my Bible, Pride is defined as an ‘inordinate self-esteem or conceit, disdainful behavior or treatment of others’.  Pride is also, at times, referred to as the greatest of the seven deadly sins.

More descriptive definitions:

1the quality or state of being proud

a inordinate self-esteem : conceit

b a reasonable or justifiable self-respect

c delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship

2proud or disdainful behavior or treatment : disdain
Wow.
I’ve never thought of myself as having a problem with ‘pride’. I mean, I’m a lot of things…insecure, anxious, a worrier, a doubter…even a complainer but prideful? I’m not one to boast or ‘show-off’, I for sure lack in the self-esteem department of prideful behavior, nothing happening there. I don’t really own any possessions that I would consider myself getting a ‘delight’ or ‘elation arising’ from owning. I’m pretty down-to-earth…very humble in what I am blessed to own and have. I thank God daily for all He has given me, for all the people He has put in my life, in my path. I thank Him for every messed up road I’ve been down because I know  had it not been for all those roads full of potholes and cracks, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. I am humbled before my Lord.
But, Prideful?
Nope. I didn’t think so.
Wow…what an eye opener this week’s suggested Blog Hop titles have given me. So, we’re in the 6th week of working through ‘Less-Stressed Living’ by Tracie Miles. I’m getting so much out of this study, so many revelations and moments of inspiration. My journal is filling up with quotes, scripture and personal moving moments. As I learn more, as I read and share with my small Facebook Group (19…WooHoo) I feel the growth.
I also feel the pruning that is required for growth. Ouch.
As I look to ‘real-life’ situations and how they pertain to me personally, I’m reminded of a dear friend, whose ‘pride’ was the very last thing on her mind here just a couple of months ago.
She was asked by her (now 16 year old)  son who his dad is. He’s known growing up that his biological father wasn’t around, I’m sure he’s wondered where he is, who he is…a natural thought process for a child that doesn’t see his father or  has never know him. Without going  into literally a novel of background, she has never known who his father was/is. In her past, she fought demons that some of us only dream about in our worst nightmares and for years, they got the best of her. She’s seen and done things that most of us can’t even imagine. That was her past…fast forward to her now (years and years in to her sobriety and living for God) when you look at her, you can’t even imagine her fight for redemption and where she has taken that in her soul, her heart and how she lives her now life.
When she cried to me on the phone regarding her son asking her the inevitable question, she cried for not herself, for she knows her God has forgiven her for past transgressions and sin. She cried for his feelings, her son’s heart, and his disappointment. Not one time did she say anything like ‘What will he think of me?’ She was mature in her faith enough to know that her Father in Heaven has forgotten her past, and that she is somewhere that her life now makes a difference because of that past. She is not ashamed. She was not worried about what people would think of her, she lives for God, His Kingdom and His Glory. A life lived in the Spirit is marked by her now behaviors, her now character and now fruit.
I am so inspired by this, by her actions and her re-actions. I knew when she shared with me, that she was in the right frame of mind, she was sad for her son, his heart…but not out of shame for herself. She was removed from that past by God, His love, His forgiveness, His Mercy and she tells anyone that wants to know her story how God redeemed her, how He saved her life! I would say that is pretty far removed from being prideful. How inspiring to me…to so many!
When I think about her story, her testimony, I can’t help but think that I’m not doing the same thing…yet. Here’s where I’ve finally realized how pride is getting in my way of God and His Glory. Looking back on the definitions of pride…all of them, except one does not fit for me. But, one is enough.
Pride a reasonable or justifiable self-respect. 
This would be my downfall, my thorn, my ‘stumbling block’.  Although I’m just now really coming to terms with me, my personality, being prideful…it looks like I’m guilty. I am ‘self-respecting’ myself by not stepping out, sharing my testimony. I’m not sharing God’s Love, His Forgiveness or His Mercy. I am oh so thankful each and every day but, I’m failing to let go of that ‘what-if’ pride. Had I been my friend, and in some ways I am…I know shame, I know a lifestyle and choices from choosing that lifestyle that seem unforgivable… I would’ve asked and wondered ‘What will they think of me?’.
That is holding me back from moving forward with my ‘Greater’. That ‘prideful’ thought is keeping me here, stuck in my thoughts and worries of the ‘what-ifs’. Even taking it a step further, that same ‘pride’ is even hurting some of those closest to me…in very personal ways. I’m holding back on so many fronts.
I am worried about judgement from people. Period. The ‘what will they think of me?’. The strange thing is, I don’t worry about that from God. I know forgiveness, I know the feeling of being set-free from a past that is not good, was hurtful to other people, a past that didn’t live for God. In this way, specifically, I’m not living for God yet. I pray that one day I will be able to let all of that go. Give it totally over to Him and let His promised Grace cleanse my entire soul. Not just the bits and pieces that I feel are cleansed but all of it, wholly, completely and divinely.
Until then, I will pray daily for my soul to be connected in ways that I’ve yet to connect. Ways that, like my dear friend, make a difference in my now world. I know God has this plan for me, He’s just working out the kinks at the moment while putting people, situations and thoughts in my mind that will, one day, make me a better person.
~And this word is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But, anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.~  1 John 2:17
Thank You Lord for Your continuing Love, Grace, Mercy and for the Will You have for my life. I know what it is, God. Please forgive me for it taking a little while to get to where You want me. You  know that I am a work in progress and that’s OK. You understand me, my deepest thoughts, my heart and You know I’m intentionally walking toward You. You’re proud of me for that and I’m so thankful.
In Jesus Name,
Amen 

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Flawless Role Model

~Great is His faithfulness, His mercies begin afresh each morning~  Lam 3:23

We live through 86,400 seconds each and every day that we’re blessed to be on this earth. On average, we’re awake for approx 61,200 seconds.

Awake with our loved ones, our lives and circumstances. We’re awake and acknowledging our schedules, work, cooking supper, homework, laundry on and on and on and on. We’re also awake with ourselves.  For me here lately, being with myself has been a little bit of a struggle. My thoughts and worries, at times my negative mindset…my doubts and insecurities…they’re really on the forefront more than I would like them to be at this point in my life.

I’ve spent a lot of those seconds attempting to figure out why my mindset is the way it is, for one reason or another, it  just  does not process without the ‘what-ifs’ in some of my thoughts. For example, I signed up for college…beginning June 3rd. Two classes…full time for the summer session!  This will be my first ever college experience, starting 20 years after I dropped out my Senior year, eventually getting my GED. The devil is wreaking havoc on my already worried mind. What am I thinking? I’m not smart enough. I’m not college material. I will be the oldest woman in a remedial math class that I must take before I even get started on my math requirements for my degree! I am doing my best…staying relatively positive, just very, very anxious about the direction God has been leading me. I know this is God…His plan for my ‘Greater’ but, for some messed up reason, I’m not fully, 100% trusting in Him.

Currently, I fall short a lot of those seconds in my day.

But the beautiful thing is, with being reminded in God’s Word that  His mercies for my shortcomings and negative, worried thoughts that sometimes take over my mind are wiped clean and I get to start fresh the next morning. I get to wake up and know, from His Word, that I can literally start with a clean slate. Gone are the thoughts yesterday.

86,400 seconds. Every. Day.

One more day…thousands of more seconds to keep trying. To keep working towards the goals for myself, the characteristics of a soul that is immersed in the Holy Peace that only God can offer. One day,I will achieve this wholly and completely. The peace only He can offer. Period.

secinadaya

For now, I will be thankful for where I am at and thankful I’m not where I used to be…with my faith, my love and my true self. I will intentionally try to replace the thoughts regarding college and math with the fact that I scored almost perfect in the reading and writing on my placement test…after being out of high school for 20 years!!

I will try my hardest to intentionally FOCUS on the good, His will. I will continue to look to Jesus, my ‘Flawless Role Model’.  Everyday I will continue to work towards my 86,400 seconds being what God intended for me, which is good, pleasing, and perfect!

To find my will, I will continue to walk to Him, listening for His voice. One day at a time, I am moving forward and I know beyond a shadow of doubt that through my little steps, His Big Plan will be discovered!! Each and every second of my day, I will gain more and more victories…the more I gain, the easier it will be to prevail over the next battle!

~Make me walk along the path of your commandments, for that is where my happiness is found~    Ps 119:35

Dear Lord,

Thank you for my blessings that, on some days, I fail to remember and acknowledge. Please be with me, guide my thoughts, actions and re-actions, God. Walk with me in Your Heavenly Peace and Comfort.

Thank You for Your mercies that are fresh and new every morning. Please continue to work with me on my thoughts, my negative mind-set. Please help me to be filled with the worthiness that I know You feel for me. Please help me to spend the 86,400 seconds of my day working towards Your goals for my life. Help me continue to intentionally walk towards you, learning each and every day from examples from my ‘Flawless Role Model’. Help me to walk more like Him, like You. While learning to love my neighbors as well as myself in all my 86,400 seconds you give me daily.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

~…Renew my life with your GOODNESS~   Ps 119:50

Thanks for all who take the time to read my thoughts each week, I really appreciate all the encouraging perspectives and prayers! Thanks, as well, for the encouragement to share while participating in Melissa Taylor’s OBS, currently working through the book, ‘Stressed-Less Living’ by Tracie Miles. I loved chapter 5…my favorite so far!  Being involved with the study as well as my small facebook group (Group 19…YAY) has really allowed me to focus on my thoughts, His will, my writing…all while being lifted up by some wonderful ladies in Christ. I’m here for a reason…and it’s not to waste my 86,400 seconds of growing and learning each day!

God Bless You in all the seconds of your days :)

~Mapping It Out~

~Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. The you will then learn to know God’s will for you, which is good, pleasing and perfect~   Rom 12:2

I’ve spent time here before. With this verse. Over and over. It’s the only triple-highlighted (with 3 different colors) scripture in my Bible, meaning I’ve been there and ‘felt it’, read it many, many times. For whatever reason, I keep being led back to this specific scripture more than any other. Is there something I’m not getting? I feel as if I need to fully grasp a hold of something I’ve yet to even get a grip on.

With that question in mind, I take the time to ‘verse map’ it out, with every intention for this to remain personal…just between me and God kind of thing.

I begin with my journals. In reading back through my thoughts, this one verse has come up so often that I just know there’s a lesson for me somewhere. I decide to purposely spend time in my own words and thoughts, played out over the course of the last few years.

Reading and reading…I slowly come to a sense of seeing my emotions, insecurities and love as a sort of map, a personal road map, so to speak.  Roads…my roads…some less traveled, some filled with pot holes caused by my continual over and over…back and forth. Roads that also get me to a specific place. End of the road. Lesson learned. Purposeful thoughts and nudges that have put me in a different mind frame. One thought leads to another, just as roads can direct you to different spots, my thoughts are taking me from one place and ending me in another.

As I read back a few years, I see my faith grow with every entry. New direction. Intersections that, for me, change in a course of here to there in a moments notice. I see, through my words, where I awoke one day intending on heading one way and end my day going  in an entirely new direction…but, only with God providing the way and clearing the road ahead of me.

Which brings me to our verse for the week. ‘Verse Mapping’.  And maps. Direction. And U-turns. Wrong ways. Even dead-end roads.

Maps. They guide us, they direct us…allowing us the knowledge of knowing which direction to head at any intersection we find ourselves at. When we’re on vacation or in a new area, we rely on maps to get us to our chosen destination. Whether it’s an ‘old school’ paper map or maps on our phones or in our cars, we rely on them often. Without them, we can become lost. We can end up in the middle of nowhere or we can utilize them and end up at our choice destination.

It’s my choice to use a map…or not. If not, I will surely end up lost.

His direction…His guidance. He’s my map, His words are my roads…His lessons are my U-turns.

In realizing this, verse mapping our scripture for the week has become more meaningful than any other verse I’ve spent so much time with. I realize that God keeps bringing me down this road cause I’m not where I need to be yet with this exact scripture. I now realize…by looking at the map…I need direction with this one. I need more work in fully relying on this beautiful promise that comes from my beautiful God…Him telling me that He will transform me into a new person and I will learn His pleasing and perfect will for my life.

I’m not there yet in a total sense. This has become very evident in my thoughts as I map this out. It’s such a personal revelation that most of  it will become just a part of my journal for now. I pray He continues to help me down my road with this…and what it means to me, about me, for me and most importantly, His will for me.

4x4 jm

In a very shortened version of my personal verse mapping, here’s some of my thoughts.

~Don’t copy this world

It’s so easy to conform. God, help me to confirm instead. Confirm Your Word, Your Ways, Your Will.

~Let God transform you

I’m working on it…one scripture, one verse, one direction at a time.

~Change the way you think

This is my biggest obstacle. God, You know my thoughts and my demons. Please guide me through my battles.

~God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect

Amen!! Thank you Lord for all You are, all You continue to be and the fact that You will always be there to guide me…just as long as I decide to pull out my map and help You along the way.

In thinking about and  considering suggested topics for Melissa Taylor’s OBS this week, I really wanted to write thoughts on a ‘Power Surge’. Moments that God has spoke to me, where He has come to me in a physical feeling of connection and love…most of the time accompanied by symptoms like my racing heart due to my excitement level! I come alive when I share these moments! Ask my husband, I get all-out animated when I tell him about them…very giddy with joy and giggles! This topic would just be a ‘no-brainer’ blog post for me…get out my journals, open them to any given page and there will more than likely be mention of many ‘God Winks’, my nudges. For me, this route would be the easiest…less work…just begin to copy my written out thoughts onto my computer, maybe offer a little background. End with a prayer. Hit ‘Publish’. Simple enough. On with my day.

That’s not how it happened. Instead, over half of my day is gone and I’m sharing about maps…way off topic of anything that I’m familiar with. But, I’ve been nudged to study my map…the last few years worth of His guidance, His direction, His will.

Think it’s a coincidence that I’ve prayed for guidance and direction for a couple of years and then this happens and speaks so clearly to my soul? Nope.

He’s already given me several of my destinations, the directions and even helped me to avoid the construction in some areas. All be the Glory…He’s provided my answers…I’ve just got to study the map in continued praise for His love and guidance.

Amen