Thursday, February 20, 2014

Soul-filling Satisfaction

"For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." Psalm 107:9

We live in a land of overindulgence. You want fast food...have it 24 hours a day! You want more T.V. Channels...Just add them. Want the newest fashions...go out and buy them. It's all around us. At our finger tips. We live life as gluttons in many areas or our life.

Don't like something? Want something different? Then most of us have the ability to change that....And we fill our lives with meaningless stuff. And as we continue to fill our stomachs. Fill our closets. Fill our homes...many others go without.

I wonder if in order to receive soul-filling satisfaction it will take a complete turn in our thinking. It's no longer about me and what I want, but it's about what others need and how I can fill a need in their lives.

So often I have walked by others an ignored an obvious need in their life. Living in a culture that screams self-reliance it's hard to break free of the thought...

They should be able to take care of themselves. They should be able to help themselves.

Many times if we see someone who can't help themselves we reject them. They are unworthy of our help. Why would I waste my time and energy to help anyone who is unwilling to pick themselves up, dust off the dirt and carry on?

Tears come to my eyes just thinking that at one time I had this attitude. I had these thoughts. How ungrateful I am for the help that was once given to me. Now my heart burst with the thought of how many people are in need of help just an arms length away from me. The joy filling their faces when a need is met. The prayers for help are answered. The heart of God rejoicing because we have opened our hearts to listen to Him. We are reaching out and taking care of the least of these.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Truth of the Missing Shoe

I have a problem with extremes. I am either all in or all out. Completely motivated one day...the next day laziness and apathy become my best friends. Motivation is squeezed from my veins until there is none left for me to muster up. This is the truth I listen to when I live my life. I refuse to do things because of my fear that I will take it to the extreme. So I continue to live in another extreme of just not doing anything.

How do I pull myself into action and stay within a happy medium. No extremes. Just living. Doing things that I love like running and staying out of both sides of the extreme. So last week I did just this. I told myself the truth that has always been there...I can do all things and keep it safe if I keep my focus on Christ and what he has for me.

I used the excuse for so long that I only has one tennis shoe. So naturally I can't go running. I can fit in a workout because I don't have the shoe that I need. I have looked for it, but I have to be honest. It wasn't a hard long searching. I searched for it like my children look for their things. I didn't look under anything and I didn't move anything. Because then...I would probably find it and I would no longer have an excuse to not do it.

My fear of the extreme is what kept me from really looking for that shoe. I have continued to let that fear keep me from staying healthy. If I continue to live in the extremes I will never be healthy. I will either be eating junk, not exercising and putting more stress on my body. Or I will restrict food, over exercise and beat my body into submission. Both extremes are not healthy. Both extremes will not help with healthy living.

Both extremes are poor examples to pass onto my daughters.  

So here is where my truth is. I bought a new pair of shoes and I am living in the middle. Loving it. Enjoying something that has been a passion of mine. Passing on something to my daughters that I can be proud of. Healthy living. Taking care of this body and living a life that will honor God. Truth...being set free.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Peace Within my Soul

"Rayvena, you are so beautiful! Did you know that?"

My 4 year old is so confident. Her reply to me this morning rocked my world. It rocked my soul awake.

"Yes! I looked in the mirror this morning!"

Why can't I say that? It's the truth for any of us. If I look in the mirror I will see the beautiful woman that God has made just right. My nose isn't too big. It's just perfect. One eye may be slightly smaller than the other, but it adds to my unique qualities.

The days that I pick myself apart are days that my peace has left. My soul fills up with anxiety, worry and the heartache begins. Why can't I be perfect? Why can't I achieve all the things I want?  My thoughts begin to spiral out of control...those days my peace has left nothing goes right. And you snap when your daughters eat the apples you bought just for you.

I learned an important lesson from Nehemiah this week. I struggled through the "after them" and "beside them" verses and felt like I didn't get anything. Perhaps it was just my bad attitude at the time. But...

I can't have the full peace of God unless I am willing to admit my need for Him. I can't have the full peace of God unless I admit I need others. 

Nehemiah couldn't build the wall himself. He relied on God, and every step of the way prayer was his first thought. Asking God for help in every situation. He also realized that he needed the help of those around him. He gathered up all those he could and they worked together. My journey in life. My not walked alone. I have loads of people wanting to help. I have God just waiting for me to call out.

So...I do. I ask for peace. I ask for that calming in my soul. I reach out for support when I struggle and I long for those moments when God says...

"Sadie, you are beautiful! Did you know that?"

"Yes God! I looked in the mirror this morning!"

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Words to Live by: Determined

I am not by nature a determined person. When I think about words that best describe me that is not one of them. When I began thinking about what I would write for this weeks Blog Hop at Proverbs31 the word determination stuck out to me. Yet I really didn't want to write about it because...

Then you would know where I am failing often in life. I lack determination and often things can smother my want to be determined. Like today the weather is my nemesis. When I muster all my strength to pull up determination the chill in my morning air and the snow falling quietly sucks it all out of me. My determination to wake up early, pray and have quiet time was killed. I was left lacking.


But God says something different about me. He believes that I am determined and He wants me to live life with determination...but He doesn't want me to do it on my own. Perhaps that is always my downfall. I try so often to do this walk on my own. I fool myself into thinking that I don't need anyone. If my friends saw where I am they would be disgusted or perhaps they would laugh at my feeble attempts to accomplish the smallest things.

And then there is God. Many times I find myself fearing Him. So often I have said that they only opinion I should worry about is God's, but sometimes I make Him out to be a monster. I cling to this verse...

Romans 2:4 "Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?"

God is no monster. It's His kindness that brings us to that most important place where we can turn around and follow after Him. Accepting His sacrifice and forgiveness of our sins. His kindness brings us closer to Him.

I tend to forget to ask God for help. I forget to ask Him to give me strength and to keep me determined. I forget that He has given me the gifts of friendships that keep me accountable. I need to keep asking God for help when I need it. He's not angry. He's not embarrassed by me. He loves me and wants to walk this life with me. With His help I will continue to be determined. Together we will fight for it not against it.

Ephesians 1:17-19 "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." 


Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Raging Battle

I am participating in an online Bible study. Something I have never done before, but I am so thankful that Proverbs31 Ministries is currently doing the Made to Crave study. When my friend first suggested it I wasn't really interested. I don't struggle with food the same way other people do and so I thought the study would not resonate with me...I was wrong.

Perhaps because I don't struggle with food in the same way the study has really hit home. It's not just about craving food, even though we all do at times. It's about craving anything more than we crave God. So many times I see my cravings as a bad thing, yet the craving feeling is not what is wrong, but perhaps what I am craving. Or the fact that I am craving it more than I crave that time with God.

I have to be honest. I crave hunger pains. I crave the feeling of an empty stomach. When I crave that my heart is filled with guilt. I know that these feelings and my actions are harmful to my body and my life in so many ways. And how do I counteract those guilty feelings? Fast food. It's almost like I think it will counteract my dark thoughts of wanting my stomach to growl.

Why do I crave these things more than God? Perhaps the answer to the questions is actually less important than what I do about it. How do I change these cravings into cravings for God. It's not easy to change your thoughts to something else when you have been actively looking to one thing for so long. I think perhaps it's that hard work and sometimes frustration at the times it doesn't go well that keep so many from changing those cravings over to God.

One thing the author said really hit home for me...
"Each time I crave something I knew wasn't part of my plan, I used that craving as a prompt to pray. I craved a lot. So, I found myself praying a lot."

What an amazing thought. Some days might be a constant battle of putting down those cravings that aren't good and picking up a prayerful attitude. There maybe days that feel like they are never going to end, but it's building that habit of trading in our bad thoughts for time with God that will be beneficial to us in the long run.

One important thing to keep in mind. Don't walk (or hike) this path alone. Keep your friends surrounding you. A good support system is key to success in any journey. Not all of your friends will understand what you are doing, but that's ok. Find those friends who do get it and share your successes and failures with them. We are all in this walk of life together.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Book Review: Women Living Well

Book Review:
Women Living Well
Finding Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and Your Home
Courtney Joseph

At first when I was sent this book from Booksneeze I wondered to myself why I had chosen this book to review. To be honest it took me so long to actually open the book and read it that they had suspended my account and I had to get reinstated. The whole idea of finding solitude and finding time to spend with God has been a constant struggle in my life. I am not like the writer of this book. It wasn't just after I had children that I found it hard. It's been a constant struggle in my life. 

When people talk about getting up early and having quiet times I cringe. I honestly hate the idea of waking up early. So when she started talking about solitude I knew right where she was going. I struggled with the idea that she was going to talk about getting up early, but funny thing is, God was already working on me. This last week my life has been so crazy. Sleep has been my enemy and one night I just couldn't sleep. 1 o'clock came around and I was just laying in bed staring at the clock. I might have dozed off for a little while, but 3 o'clock...same thing. 6 AM stared me in the face and I figured I might as well get up. My morning was started off right. Peaceful time with just my Lord and I. And then I read her quote about "beating up my family." Meaning I should wake up before anyone else and use my time to spend in solitude with God. That was my best day of the week!

There is honestly so much in this book that it's hard to really touch on it all. She gives wonderful advice on how to show love and respect to our husbands. Keeping their needs and wants in mind during our day to day routine. I strive to be a good wife and perhaps that's the problem...I strive! I try to do it all on my own. Her quote in the book really hit home

"In the world of reality television and reality blogging, we can miss the reality of God's truth. The reality is we are sinners who married sinners, and that reality makes marriage hard. In the world of images, the image of biblical marriages has been severely distorted. Together, let's make Scripture a springboard for our actions and reactions in marriage."

And that's what this book does. It takes these areas of our lives. Our relationships with God, our husband and children and it helps us intertwine the Word of God into those relationships. Some of my favorite parts were the challenges she had in her book. The marriage challenge (which I am currently still doing) and gentleness challenge. It was a wonderful book with so much wonderful ideas and encouragement. 

Today at church I was really challenged with the idea of solitude. In Sunday school they were talking about God's command to fellowship. That we should spend time with people. I heard people talking about how they struggled with that. That they would rather move to the woods and live in a cabin with no people around. I don't struggle with that. I think perhaps I struggle more with the other side of it. I think about those times when Christ lived in solitude. When he went away to spend time just by himself and his father. That's so much harder for me. The idea of being alone is scary. It leaves me too much to my own thoughts and fears. But what a wonderful time to spend with God. Giving him thought thoughts. Giving him those fears. Enjoying those times of solitude that I can hide away with. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Thank You Walter Mitty

There are moments in my day when tears come to my eyes. I can't always explain it. They well up and sometimes overflow onto my checks. Other times they just sit there burning my eyes unable to escape. At times it's just the emotions from my day and my over exhausted body just needing to release something. Anything. Yet putting all my efforts into figuring it all out never works. I just work myself into more frustration with more emotions I can't figure out how to process.

While watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty I couldn't help but see my own life in his. I feel as if I have moments when I pull away trying to figure what might happen if I do this. Or what might happen if I do that. I don't often ponder on the what could have been, but the uncertainty of the future weighs heavy on my heart causing those tears to live in the prison of my eyes.

My favorite moment of the movie was when Walter Mitty takes a risk and runs to find his closest he has never met. Every step you see the motto of LIFE displayed in different ways:

"To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life."

When these two friends finally come face to face after an adventure Walter Mitty had only once dreamed of, they sat waiting for the snow leopard. Known as the ghost cat, because it never lets itself be seen. It finally comes and I expect Sean to go on snapping pictures. But he just looks like he's waiting for that perfect moment. I think maybe he is waiting for the snow leopard to move so it's looking right at him. But he's not. When Walter asks when he's going to take the picture Sean answers with this...

"Sometimes I don't. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it...Right there. Right here."

During the week when I was struggling the most a fictitious character helped me get it. It's not about fighting to get that perfect idea. That perfect picture. The perfect life. It's about fully being in this moment. Being right here where I am. Where I am at. Taking away those distractions of the camera... Computer... Cellphone... Kindle... Book... Music.. and just sitting here and enjoying the moment that I am in. So this last week I took time to just sit and enjoy what was going on. Letting go of whatever I was trying to process. Whatever I was trying to do...and just enjoying what was going on.

Living in the moment. Living in the now...that's where it's at. Thank you Walter Mitty. Thank you.

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