Another week is here. I can't believe that it's almost October. And speaking of October, I will be joining www.thenester.com for 31 Days of Change. Our topic will be We Give Thanks. "We" meaning the kids and I both. This past year has seen huge changes in our lives and it's easy to look at the things we might get discouraged over, but I want us to remember to focus on the blessing God has given us, how He has truly brought us through time and time again. So, happy Monday :) Thankful.
Deuteronomy 7:9 GNT
Remember that the Lord your God is the only God and that He is faithful. He will keep His covenant and show His constant love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and obey His commands.
But wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy. And goodness is the harvest that is produced from the seeds the peacemakers plant in peace.
If you plant seeds of peace, goodness is what is said to be followed. Planting requires tearing up the ground, breaking it apart to receive a seed. It requires action. It requires walking. It requires waiting...patiently. It requires tending. You don't plant corn and think your gonna get wheat. I have such the hard time letting things sink into my heart. What you sow, you too will reap. Just my thoughts on this Sunday morning. Thankful.
It's hard to see....you might just miss it. But I saw it. And it made me stop and think what in the world??? I have lived here for 18 years. My children have grown up on this piece of land. My step dad built this house over 3 decades ago. I have tried to leave this ground time and time again for a new place. God has held me fast. And so here I am and I am good with that. This is the place He has me for a purpose and it is home. So saying all that, I know that 20 years ago, a flower bed set in that place. My mom loved to plant things everywhere and she was good at it. A plant sees me coming and usually tries to hide because it does not want to go home with me. Death is eminent...I have no green thumb and I am okay with that too. Know your gifts.....About seven or so years ago, that all became restructured. The ground leveled and grass grew...if you didn't know what was there before, well you would just never assume......but that flower just popped out of the ground. That flower who has not been seen for years, a seed obviously there, hidden, came forth. And this is no wimpy flower. It's got a solid stalk. And it's flower is wispy and beautiful.
Sometimes it takes a really long time for a seed to come up, for a flower to bloom and I sure never expected to see that going into October.....but then God is in the business of surprising and His time isn't ours at all. Thankful.
Isaiah 43:19 Voice
19 Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening
now, even as I speak,
and you’re about to see it. I
am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there had been none.
True, this is a hard topic to write on. I want to believe in so many things....true words, true love, true friendship, true faith, true worship...and that God is true to His word. And I guess that's the foundation of it all anyways, believing that what He says is true. Even if it looks like it isn't. His true is what gives us the ability to be true...to those we love even when they wound, to be true to what we believe, even when it means we walk alone, to be true to ourselves, even if that means making the hard choices. True is what I want to make sure that my children see in me, that when I say it, it will be. True is what I want my friends and family to be for me and I for them. And true is what I want to be able to love like. No matter the cost. No matter the cost. Thankful. That's true.
Seems like sometimes we get a reprieve :) This week found my girl participating for Spirit Week, getting ready for homecoming. She is a Senior. She decided to make it count. She's learning about stepping out of her comfort zone my girl is...and I am so proud of her. She is learning with every step to face her fears and be a light perhaps where there is none. She is learning to look at other and their actions with different eyes. She is looking past hurts and seeing the people underneath. People just like you and me. And I would venture to say that she is discovering that it is a little less scary and a whole lot of fun in this instance.
I am proud of my children. They are everything I dreamed of being. They are not afraid to go forward, to risk, to try and to love. That is amazing. I wanted a very different life for them than the one I had growing up. And even though some of the situations have not been perfect, their reactions to them have been humbling for me. We don't have to be perfect parents. We just have to be there, living our convictions and beliefs. I promise you sweet mama, they see, they STILL copy all that you do. It still matters, even especially at 17 and 16. What you impart into their little souls stick. And it makes all the difference in the world. Thankful.
I talked about God setting us up for success a couple days ago. I believe He does. And that success can come in different forms. Opportunities. He gives us the chance to grow, the chance to trust, the chance to step out and risk, the chance to shine a light in our heart and show us where we might need a little pruning. The question is what will we do with these opportunities? Yesterday found everything that I am being called into question and the battle begins to hold on to who He says we are in the midst of what others might say. I was reminded that words wound. But I was also reminded that when we use words for hurt, it's out of our own pain. I've been there. I've done the wounding. So yesterday found me at a complete loss for words. What to do when the pain is great and you know that the only answer is be still.....well, the opposite of words that hurt are words that heal, words that affirm. And when you can't do anything else, you can praise. And sometimes even that might just be with your tears, but what I know to be true is that He see our hearts, He knows the truth, we are not the judge and He will use even trials for our good.
The afternoon found me exhausted on every level....and a change in plans that seemed to be something that might cause stress actually became a 2 hour opportunity to just settle and let Him work on my very sore heart. He gives us opportunities all along the way to see things differently, to change our actions, to let Him change who we are and perhaps change the lives of those around us. We can use these opportunities to build others up or tear them down. And our choices in every situation, ultimately change us. Thankful.
This is the picture that hangs in my bedroom. Sometimes I can't stop staring at it. We walked out on long pier to get this shot. All the way to the end. And we found exactly what we wanted even though we had no idea what that would turn out to be. Looking behind us, it is all ocean. I feel like that is where we came from in all this. A big sea of past that we can't go back into. And that's a good thing. There is one way to get to where we need to be. And we cannot go to the left or the right, for we would surely fall straight down into deep waters. We must walk straight ahead. The way is not flashy or exciting. It's solid and sure. It requires purposeful steps....but it will get us to where we need to be. Dry land. It reminds me of the path that is this journey we are on. Choosing to follow Him and His way gave us sure and solid ground, getting us to exactly where we need to be. Thankful.
Monday morning...when I walked outside yesterday, the cool breeze struck me. A change I wasn't quite expecting. Yet this past week did bring that kind of change for me. Unexpected answers and unexpected doors. Some of these things left me exhausted and I just wonder when I will settle into some sort of routine. But maybe that's the whole point of this place I am in. He doesn't want me to settle, doesn't want me to be comfortable here or get tunnel vision. This is not where I'm staying. This place of much transition is not a place to rest. He says in John 14:1 (The Voice) "Don't get lost in despair; believe in God and keep on believing in Me". Keep on believing......Thankful.
And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. (Philippians 1:6 AMP)
This time of transition has left me feeling a little bit just out of sorts. The newness of things kind of leaves me reeling. This is when He calls me to be still. Be silent. Wait it out. I'm much better about not bristling at this now days. You see I am finding God really does set us up for success. He does. He whispers which way to go. But I find for myself, in the times where I get one word directions like Go....No.....Stop.....Wait...I get panicked. I don't understand. And so I begin frantically searching for the rest of the story, for the rest of the words and more often than not, I don't need all that. I'm not prepared. When He pulled me back into a time of stillness and complete reconstruction it felt like, I tried desperately to heed His direction. He was setting me up to hear Him....and that would lead to success....and as I wobbly navigated a huge shift yet again, He called me to be still this morning. And I was very antsy. That is usually when I know that something is going on. My spirit is restless. So I lay quietly on my bed and prayed, and as I began to settle He began to speak. Today, so much through the always insightful words of Jim Mather.
"You were born for relationship. You were born to be loved unconditionally"....and it was in that moment, seeing words that expressed my deepest fears and my deepest desires I did let it wash over me. I let go of those words that have haunted me for literal months....you are going to end up alone and miserable.....because those words spoken into me don't define me. I was made for relationship, for unconditional love. But I had to find that in Him before I could ever find it in myself. I had to be able to give it away before I could ever hope to receive it. So there it is. There it is. Thankful.
Pictures....of my kids, of us, a family.......I was at a loss as to what to do for so long. And for so long, really I didn't want change. I wanted something to be constant. When I would try to move in my own emotion, God would say No.....And so I waited. For the last little while, it has felt almost uncomfortable. Because in some respects, I don't want to look back, I don't want to be bound. I don't choose to live in what was anymore. Some of the pictures represent happy times. Others just masked a deep well of pain bubbling just under those smiles captured in a brief click of a camera snap.
And so I waited. Nothing fit. I had ideas and in the end they were just band-aids on the bigger issue. I have a big blank wall in the den. It held who we started out to be. On my birthday, my sisters gave me a massive frame, filled with beautiful reminders of what He has given me along the way of this journey to fill in the deep crevices of barren left by what was uprooted. Yesterday I received a surprise I wasn't expecting until today at the earliest. We had family pictures done a month or so ago. They show the family that we are right now. And it is beautiful. It is different, but it's who we are, living in this moment. And room by room, picture by picture, frame by frame, it changed. All of it. What I looked at this morning as I woke was a declaration of not only survival, but blooming in this desert we have been planted in for so long. The house felt weighted. Rooted. Grounded. It feels real. It tells the story of who we are.....where we have been. Sometimes you have to go forward, not knowing.....believing that the place He is taking you will be just as He promised. For your good.
I don't think it coincidence at all that I woke this morning to rain. Washing away the old, settling the ground, making way for the new. Thankful
I'm finding my way in all this new. We are settling in and I don't even know exactly what this place is, yet we are strangely at peace. I am trying to get my balance. Everything has shifted. I have more time, but what to do....I need to write and I need to run like I need to breathe. And as much as I have gotten down my routine with the kids in the morning, my routine with Him is once again in transition. But here is what I learned....He meets me. It is so much more about our heart than I ever realized. I wrote Wednesday morning, ran, came home and began getting ready for work and stopped to read an email. And there He was. It's not about fitting Him into my routine, it's about taking Him everywhere I go. Some days flow better than others. Some days I can journal and write. Some nights I just want to go to sleep. He wants to be a part of all of it. I'm holding less condemnation and just living more. Each quiet, tiny moment, He meets me. When I do this He whispers.....reminds me of all the promises. God is real or He isn't. It's all true or it isn't. In the quiet of these moments, my hurts can surface. I can be still enough to look at them and deal with the emotion of it all. Hand it over or hold it. Push it down and say not now or feel what I need to and choose to forgive. Each time He asks me to forgive, He asks me to follow through with love. And that is hard. And it hurts. But that's where the healing is. And each step, each piece released makes me better able to do it again, and again, and again until it spills out into them but splashes on to me at the same time. You cannot give grace and forgiveness without it leaving its marks on your own heart and soul. You cannot give love and not have that seed sown right back into you, giving you what you desperately needed. Grace and love and forgiveness are messy. They are not ever meant to be contained. They are meant to be spilled, to be poured out, lavished on another and when we do this, we cannot help but be drenched in the perfume of it ourselves. Thankful.
She was silenced. She found her words. She was crushed. She learned to stand again. She doubted. She learned to trust. She feared. She learned to do it anyways. She cried. She learned to be sensitive to the tears of another. She was wounded. She learned what it is to heal. She was lost. She became found. She was alone. She was placed in a family. She held it all so tightly. She learned to open her hands. She learned to give.....so then she could receive. Thankful.
I'm weary too. These days of change have been shakin' it up and eventually the dust settles and I am just tired. I see God in all this. I trust Him, I do, but today, even my bones feel tired and I wonder when....when Lord, will help ever arrive? It's hard being a mom, making choices that may or may not be the ones you felt like making today...I want to run this morning, but I need to catch up on some house things, go into work early to get home just in time to take my girl back to school to get the information we need for all the changes coming her way. I had been hoping that our season of so much different would come to a halt, but it doesn't seem to be the case.
So my prayer is simple, like when I used to pray when they were so very small...help me Lord..meet me here, cause I just don't have the energy....and He will. He is faithful. When I feel like I am one person pulled in so many directions, He reminds me that these are the times to find the quiet, to rest my heart and to listen. The louder things get screaming for my attention, the quieter I need to be. He's got this. He's got me. But the winds of change can sweep through and make us feel like Dorothy in that big tornado. Today I'll seek His peace above all else. The rest can wait really. Thankful.
Labels....they stick and sometimes it seems we might not know how to take them off. Some, we may purposely hold on to, afraid we might perhaps disappear if the label wasn't attached, whether it truly represents us or not. I'm loosing a lot of labels lately. Some not of my own choosing, some by surprise, but once it's done, even though the space feels bare, it's still the right thing. I'm gaining some too though. And they are slowly replacing what was stripped away....and some could only be given because things were removed, making room for the labels He wants to give me. Some came off quite easily, leaving no trace behind....others are weathered and stuck and are going to require some assistance. Strip off all the things that hinder and run this race set before you. Thankful.
I sit down each morning lately and this is my view. Evidence of the ones who are here. I watch out the window each morning, get some coffee in me and pray for them as I watch them walk to the end of the drive and wait for the bus. And I pray. For them, for their day, for their safety, for their futures. When they were little I sat at a different table, looking out a different big window. Having coffee and praying for my young family. Looking at a different view of the same woods and trees and sky. Crayons and homeschool curriculum covered the table. Now its, psychology, geography, computers and classic books being discussed in Literature class. They need me as much now as they did then. And God rearranged things to make that possible in this time. They are happier. Peace has settled in their hearts. And I am learning to be still. To let peace settle in my heart too. So as I whisper my prayers and see the flashing lights take them on another days adventure, I am choosing to live in this day, in this moment. To be grateful for the small, the routine, the lunches made, the laundry done, the dishes to be washed and the meals to be prepared. This is shaping lives. This is giving me the platform to instill Him into their lives and also into my own. Thankful.
So a new week is staring me in the face. The last two have been quite interesting. Change. All of it shaking things up. Last night small group began at church. And that was completely out of my element. Because then you have to share about the real you...and that's hard. As the discussion turned to what our gifts are I thought about it in my head...I'm an encourager. It's who He made me to be and some people might think that is the craziest thing ever....I hid from that for a long time and acted in the complete opposite of what an encourager is. Sitting there on the couch with my younger sister, who became my hand holder on this latest stepping out adventure, she looked at me with her beautiful wide eyes that see the good in most everything around and whispered...tell them your gift...that your a writer....and I just never thought about saying it out loud....to people. Because that makes it real somehow, and when you say it, to people you SEE in real life, then what? What if they judge and say no way! You are sooooo not a WRITER! But as I sit here this morning, I know that yeah, I am. I am a writer. I am also an encourager. And the two for me, go hand in hand. It write better than I talk. My emotions spill out through my words and sometimes when you are trying to get that out, especially when speaking, it's a very difficult thing.
And so it's Monday....but somehow, it's just not the same old day, the same old thing anymore. I don't have words for it really other than transition. And He's in this whatever it is. And He made me for this. He made me for words, for hard, for this very moment. Thankful.
Genesis 12:1 NIV The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country and your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.
Go. This theme has been ever present lately. Move. I have no idea where, what, how....just go. And so I have. I get so caught up in feeling like I have to do things just right. Like one slip up and punishment is sure to follow. And I guess that partly comes from being corrected for doing things completely wrong for a really long time. At some point, yeah, He's gonna correct that. But now, well, it's different. I'm seeking Him, He knows my heart. And it's about my heart, not my works. Stepping out in faith, going to where you have no idea, deep waters, it may feel like punishment at times. Really it's stretching. Growing. Birthing. And that is painful. But the end result is beautiful. I stepped out of my comfort zone again tonight. I'm just gonna keep stepping out. He can pull me back in if I get ahead of myself. Learning, trusting, growing....and just a little bit excited :) Thankful.
God has been speaking so much to me about reaping and sowing and breaking down and rebuilding, restoration for years of decayed and broken dreams. I look at all the old He has stripped away, things demolished things so far removed that even the memories of them seem a bit unclear. I was reading a devotional about the fiery furnace and the three boys Rach, Shac and Benny...why yes, I am quoting Veggie Tales, because otherwise I could not spell their names....
When faced with bowing down to worship someone other that God or die, they chose God. They knew He could step in, but even if He didn't, they could.not.do.it. I had a little taste of that this past week. I was not being threatened with flames, but honestly, the trials that we face in each of our lives are just that, our very own furnace. What I was facing was my own weakness, the things I struggle with. And would I trust Him enough to say, it's just not in me to do things the way I have in the past, I trust You Lord, even if this feels like I'm going down in flames. Sometimes it takes the flames to burn away the things that hold us in bondage. And what we tend to find once we step out is that He has refined us, like gold, stronger for letting the things that do not belong be consumed by His grace, Him mercy, His truth, His blood.
Psalm 127 says that unless God builds the house, that it's builders labor in vain. I can testify to that. Shaky foundations crumble when pressure is applied. But as I have been looking at the pictures of what my family is right this very minute, I see a house that God is building. I see what has come out of the fire, us, His own workmanship, and I see a strength that can only come from a foundation that has a true Cornerstone. Thankful.
This week has been an interesting one. It's amazing what 7 days can do and seems like Thursday's got redeemed yesterday. God has pulled me out of my comfort zone and asked me to trust Him big. But in return, He reminded me that it's all His. And His plan will prevail. He can use anything and anyone to accomplish that. Genesis 50:20 has certainly been threaded throughout it all. Today in the mail we received the results of our family photo shoot a few weeks back by a sweetest friend Melissa. And tonight I look at them and I see a different family than the one that was photographed just two short years ago. I see one that is missing but I also see three that remain. And that reminds me of the verse that kinda started this all to begin with:
1 Corinthians 13:13
The Voice (VOICE)
13 But now faith, hope, and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives. The greatest of these is love.
I have faith that He is Who He says He is and that His promises are true. I have a hope in me that all of this is working for my good and the good of those around me, and love. Love. Without it I just don't believe you can have the other two. Tonight I look at the richness of the blessings I have been given. Thankful.
I prayed for mercy. He said give it away. I asked for this pain to stop. He said meet anothers needs. I asked for relief. He's said be someone else's. I asked for the easy road. He's would have none of that. I wanted this to be different. He wanted me to be different. I cried so many tears. He used them to wash away the old. I asked for so many things that I thought were what I wanted. In His mercy, it seems, He is giving me what I needed. Thankful.
This week has found me wondering what in the world...doubting myself, second guessing everything and wondering, am I enough? Am I the mom that these kids truly need? Have my choices completely put them through the ringer? Because that's the way I feel.
My girl has a planner and this morning, I wrote a little note to her, just to say I love you. Today when I got home she said "MOM!! I got your note :) I even told my teacher about it!" Oh, such balm to this weary heart. I forget they aren't necessarily looking at the big and grand things I may pull off....it's the little things...like notes on a napkin in the lunch boxes...both reminded me that I had not done that yet this school year....seems that life and memories really are in the small stuff. A kiss, a hug, a smile, a touch, words spoken.....these are the things that bind them together and hold them when they feel so very small....I know because it's the same things that holds me together at times too. Thankful.
My story...what God has called me to began in me even as a child. I loved writing. Through experience He developed in me the ability to speak. He has called me to use both of these to encourage. All of my life brought me to a place on October 14, 2009. God has also given me the gift of a really amazing memory....and there is good and bad in that too. So on that particular day, God began shaping my life to tell my story. First step in the journey of one thousand miles.....
I needed to get healthy again, to loose a lot of weight and get on track. So for a year and a half with much hard work, trial and error and perseverance, I got very close to my goal. Then I stalled. And I spent 6 months in frustration and as 2011 progressed it seemed like some things were falling away and some were pressing through. God brought me to this place first in my physical to remind me that it was a long hard journey with end results that were are amazing, but more than that, the journey prepared me to help others. To encourage them because I have walked it too.
My physical journey would be the thing that reminds me in this spiritual journey to keep going...because when it seems like results spring up so fast you don't know what hit you, in reality, the hard work had been going on for 2 years before hand. The physical would remind me that doing the right thing over and over will eventually lead to the desired end. Most days it didn't feel like it. Most days I cried and wanted to quit. But I didn't. Because He was growing my ability to stay the course.
Today, I look at the physical and see that I can do amazing things. Because I worked hard to get there and I didn't quit and I kept going when it looked hopeless. And in this spiritual journey, I'm kinda of at the point where I don't see anything at all, but I know it's there. And I am reminded when I am encouraging someone else taking this journey. My words have His power behind them because I have walked this road. And when I speak something to someone, I know they listen, because they have seen my journey. I am finding that actions really do speak louder than words. No one will find your words worthwhile without the actions to back it up. And maybe that's the point. To be able to use your story to impact another persons life, the weight of your words need to be overcome with the actions behind them. It's about getting back up over and over again until one day, your flipping tires without thinking twice :)
I believe this is just the beginning of what He is calling me to. He's again moving me into a place I can't imagine and as much as I keep falling face first into this lately, I will keep going. Because it's who He made me to be. And today, one of my hardest ones on record...and that is saying a lot lately, I'm choosing to be ok right where I'm at. Thankful.
I saw the post. And as I was driving to return the last of what remained from a door that He shut, my heart was heavy. And so it was in that moment He asked me to give it away. And I cried.
Why? Do I really have to loose everything? And His words were very clear in my heart.....what good is an instrument hidden away on a shelf? No one can hear the music it was created to make. Nothing else can do what it was created for....
And it was more about me and what He is asking of me than what He was asking me to part with. What good am I if I hide away, being safe and hidden when really what He created me for calls for something entirely different. The music of my life is what will draw others to Him, the music of my life is what harmonizes with others to make something beautiful that no one instrument could ever do alone. But each has a part. And each has to make the music it was created for. Not my sisters or my friends, but my own. And none of that can happen when we are locked up. Sure we are "safe" from wear and tear and dust and breaking. But in that safety, we loose our sound, we decay, we become brittle and of no use at all. So today, I'll make the music He created in my heart. Even if it's rusty and a little out of tune. Thankful.
So many changes in the last few days....but finally there is peace in my heart. I won't say I'm not a little fearful. I have no idea what is next. But I don't feel the weight and the burden that I have been carrying for quite some time now. I feel expectant. I feel hopeful. I have been at this place enough in the last little while to know that He is up to something. Be still, be quiet...He says to me... and when this arrived in my in box, I knew again what He is calling me to this week. He has a plan in this. I just have to be obedient. Thankful.
So, just spending some time being quiet and wondering what in the world is next. Two years ago, God started me on this journey. It's like He said ok sister, 16 years of learning and wandering and good choices and bad choices....time to get busy.....
A year and a half before that, He began laying a foundation, changing me, developing something in me that has always been there, but I had never really took notice of. That brought me to August 2011. My journey to just loose the weight I had gained and finally be where I wanted to be found this girls world turning upside down. Once I scratched the surface, the well just started bubbling and everything I thought I knew, well, I just had no idea. I wanted to just be thin again. Two years later, the girl that looks at me every morning makes me shake my head at times. WHERE did you come from?!?! I wanted something so very small, but I received something so very large.
Then, my marriage fell apart. And God asked me to do something crazy...He asked me to stand. He reminded me that I had made a vow to my husband, but I made a covenant with Him. And again, I started on this journey having no idea what would come of it. I couldn't do this on my own, could not stand on my own two feet. But I have. Through His grace and being obedient to Him, I'm standing in a place I never dreamed I would. What I had asked for was very small. What I received has been again, something amazing.
So when God decided to move me in a different direction a month or so ago I panicked. He has begun stripping things away from me again. Making me stand up on my own two feet and trust in Him alone. No husband, no boot camp and now, the other thing I depended on....the job I have done for 10 years, gone too as of this past week. And as I ran this morning, He reminded me..First of all, I am running. 2 years ago, I never dreamed that would be a possibility. Going to class in the evening was a crutch for me. He said you can do this on your own. And so I have. And it has been amazing. And almost two years later, I never thought I could be by myself and do this parenting thing and running a household alone. But I have, by being obedient to Him and He has honored that. And so here I stand again, the job that I depended on, but I knew He was calling me out of, but I would have never left on my own, gone too. And as scary as this feels, I'm lighter and have that deep abiding peace running through my soul. I have had to cling to and depend on Him to part the red seas more than ever in the past two years. And He has been faithful.
When I discussed everything with my girl, she looked at me and said "Mom, after all we have been through, this really kinda feels like nothing"....she has walked this fire with me. God has changed my children's beautiful hearts and those words meant everything to me. Thankful.
Psalm 143:10 Teach me how to do Your will, for You are my God. Allow Your good Spirit to guide me on level ground, to guide me along Your path.
This is my prayer today. To know which way to go now, what path to take. And that feels scary and lonely and unsure. I've been here before. I have completely screwed it all up before. And there just come the time when it feels like enough. I don't want to walk this path yet again. I need His guidance, His direction. Believing that there has to be something better up ahead because this loss seems great and overwhelming. It seems strange to say and I don't necessarily feel it, but I am nonetheless. Thankful.
Red is not my favorite color. It's distinct in nature. It's loud and hard and makes you take notice. Red reminds me of angry and war and all the things I would rather not face. Red makes me think of an emergency. But red also makes me think of Him. He can be all those things and then also the complete opposite. The red of His blood shed created the white, my most favorite color, in my life and heart and covers all the loud, harsh and hurtful things making them no more. It covers the hurts and the why's and the tears and the confusions and brings peace. Thankful.
What a difference a day can make. I can tell you that I am certain more than ever that God is with us. He never leaves. He has shown me enough to know that He is in all the details and will go to any lengths for His children. Sometimes things happen and we don't understand them. That has certainly been true on this journey of mine :) Today started of pretty peacefully. I had a plan, things fell into place and I even made muffins. As I was running this morning, a song by Christa Wells played on my iPod. And I ran and sang and kind of made a declaration. This Thing Is Not Gonna Break You. I got ready and went about my day and in an instant, the bottom fell out. And I was left standing there, reeling and thinking you have got to be kidding me. This isn't really happening is it? And today when the bottom fell out, I was surrounded. By Him, by family, by friends, by prayers. A marked difference from when I began this journey. I have no idea where He is taking me, but I know Who is leading. I'm a little afraid, but I'm not frozen in fear. He has parted the waters for me so many times before and I am almost a little excited to see where He is taking me. Do it afraid. Thankful.
Christy is the sweetest thing and she and her family are picking one family a week from each of the 50 states to pray for. My family has the amazing honor of being first on the list. Alabama :)
Today I am reminded that God carefully guides each step we take. He opens a door as another closes. Sometimes that door is pretty big. And He asks .....do you trust Me?......Yes. Yes I do. Even if its with shaking knees. God knew today how much prayer I would be needing. And He decided to show me He has got it covered in a really big way. Thankful.
I was reading a post today written by my sweet friend Sarah. And part of what she wrote struck me deeply. It has been my struggle for so very long..
"His choices become my
identity and I wrestled with how to move on and live again......"
Those words are my very own. I just don't think that I had realized how to give these feelings a place. I have lived with the shame and humiliation of another persons choices. Had to crawl out from under being the girl that got left behind, endured the whispers and stares and sat quietly while they made their own judgements against me and assumed what they would about my life, a path that only I have walked. I have had to hand it all over to the One Who knows the heart of the wounded and the heart of the ones who created those wounds. You see His love for all involved isn't any different. He cries for each of His children, the one that are hurting and those that hurt others out of their own pain. I am more than the labels that someone else assigned me. I am more than the choices that they have made and that I have made myself. My life is not defined by who I once was, but by who He has created in the most desolate place. Trying to find my identity in Him has proved to be one of the most challenging things I have ever faced.
Trying to find myself...who remained after all the ashes had fallen? How do I let people in to see that girl and still not let my wounds be ripped open again when the well meaning or perhaps just plain nosey ask "so what happened?!?!" I have to breathe and remember to use my nice words when there are times I just don't have any...so I smile politely, excuse myself and usually go cry in a bathroom. I'm more than what happened. I'm more than what these seemingly endless days speak of what is my life. And that is just hard. These are the times I wrestle with Him. These are the days I am learning to be thankful for even if it is through tears. Because I won't accept these labels. And I want people to see Him, not what happened to me, but what happened because of what He has done through this. Thankful.
He has woven us together. Threads connecting us in many ways. Some of us share a past, some a story, some have walked where the other has just begun her journey. These threads are ties that bind. They hold us together when we want to run, they keep one from falling and another from getting ahead of herself. They become tighter and stronger with each movement on this journey. My story becomes her voice when she cannot speak. My words become her prayers when she has no voice. Her prayers become my anchor when I cannot find my words....threads..woven together to create a beautiful story of it's own. Each strand important, for the finished work would never hold without all of the threads in place, doing what it was created to do by the One Who created the design in the first place. These are the beautiful women God has placed in my life this past Sunday as we shared our families, our lives, our stories for Labor Day. Thankful.
10 For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), [a]recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
I love this verse. My verse for today. Such a reminder to me. This day holds much meaning for me. It has been a day of new beginnings over the course of my life. And I feel it in my very soul today. Today I just praise You Lord for who You are. Praise You that You set me on this path and that You are with me today, holding me up and guiding me forward. Thankful..today that word doesn't even begin to describe it.