2 Corinthians 12:9-10

New International Version (NIV)

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cracks In The Windshield

GORI, GEORGIA - AUGUST 13:  A woman sits behin...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Cracks in the windshield are so unpredictable.   You think you know where it is going and then suddenly it is going in a different direction.   As soon as I got in my car this afternoon I saw this huge crack across my windshield.  It wasn't there this morning.  It started as this little vertical crack, which supposedly was "fixed", and next thing I know there is a horizontal crack almost completely across. 

Life is a lot like cracks in the windshield.  You think you know where is it going and then suddenly and without warning it goes in a different direction and throws you for a loop.  You think a little problem is "fixed" and the next thing you know there a bigger one in its place.  Stress and frustration sets in because now you have to put more time and effort into something that started out so small.

But unlike the cracks in a windshield, there is something or better yet Someone who can ease the burden and fill in the cracks and in time can make it look brand new.  No matter how big or small the crack, he can fix it, only this time it won't fall through.

Isaiah 33:2- O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Honor

Honor Your Parents (THE COMMANDMENTS)Image by loswl via Flickr
What does it mean to honor someone?? By definition honor means - to hold in honor or high respect; revere: to honor one's parents.

I had quite a morning this morning.  It started at 6:00 am,  well for me that is early.  I had to bring my dad to have a procedure done since my mom was out of town.   I complained a little about having to take a vacation day in order to go with him, but I did it, because I am his daughter and that is what I am supposed to do.  So I spent an uneventful morning waiting for my dad's procedure to be done, comprised of reading magazines and watching Fox News.  The procedure didn't really take that long and by 10:30 am we were already back home.  But I still needed me to make sure that he was ok before I could leave, even through I would be checking up on him periodically during the day.

Well, on the way home he stuck some money in my purse, he said it for me having to take the day off to help him.  I gave it back to him and told him that was my job and that I was taking a vacation day and was getting paid anyway.  But he insisted anyway and stuck it back in my purse.

I know that I complained about having to take a vacation day, but he is my dad. There was no way I was taking money from him for that, I'm his daughter it is my job to take care of him. I didn't want him to feel like he owed me anything for being there. I know that there are some situations where I maybe would have taken the money, if I wasn't working or wasn't getting paid for the time off, maybe I would have taken the money.  But that wasn't the case.  I wasn't losing anything by taking the time off.

The Bible tells us the honor our parents, its one of the commandments.  I know that there are some situations where this task can be difficult and I know that there are some situations where it is impossible. But I try to honor my parents for no other reason but the fact that they are my parents.  It doesn't mean that I have to do everything that they say, be obedient or submissive to their commands.  It does not mean that I cannot stand up for myself and say what I need to say to them.  But I do believe that it does mean giving them a higher level of respect. I don't always get it right, but I do try. Even though they may not always be there for me, I will always be there for them.

Ephesians 6:2-3 (KJV)2Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 3That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

P.S.- I gave the money back, he just doesn't know it yet, I hid it under some of his things so he wouldn't try to give it back to me.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Need to Breathe

Panic Attack or Anxiety PTSDImage via Wikipedia
Its been a long time since I had an anxiety attack.  I have a history of anxiety attacks and depression.  I have been able to keep them at bay for quite awhile. But last night I had a lot on my mind, that and I wasn't feeling well.  I couldn't fall asleep.  It was probably after midnight when it started.  I laid down in bed and it was then that I could feel the walls closing in on me.  It is the worst feeling in the world having an anxiety attack, your body feels like it is shutting down.  I kept saying "I need to breathe."  I jumped out of my bed and walked around the house, saying it over and over again "breathe, breathe, you are not doing this."  I went back into my room and dropped to my knees.  That should have been the first thing that I did, but on the onset of the attack I just wanted it to stop it before it became full blown.  I can usually maintain them before they get out of control, but only with God's help.  As I dropped to my knees I kept saying "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD" (Psalms 46:10).  That scripture always gives me peace. I stayed in that position saying it over and over until the attack was over.  As I laid back down I tried to think of other things and eventually that awful feeling went away and I was able to fall asleep. I hate when that happens.  It is bad enough when you can't control what is going on around you but to lose control over your body makes the situation that much worse.  But as long as I kept my focus, I overcame that obstacle.

How often do we forgot the power of God?  How often do we turn away from him when we need him most?

Never underestimate the power of God, especially in your darkest moments.

My anxiety attack reminded me of the words from one of my favorite songs, so I put the words below.

"Something Beautiful" by Need to Breathe

In your ocean, I'm ankle deep

I feel the waves crashin' on my feet
It's like I know where I need to be
But I can't figure out, yeah I can't figure out


Just how much air I will need to breathe
When your tide rushes over me
There's only one way to figure out
Will ya let me drown, will ya let me drown

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, 'cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees, I'm waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

And the water is risin' quick
And for years I was scared of it
We can't be sure when it will subside
So I won't leave your side, no I can't leave your side
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Empty Promises

Baby's foot in father's handsImage by kate with a camera via Flickr
I am full of empty promises.  Especially when it comes to my kids.  I always seem to make plans that never happen.  I guess I let them down a lot, but the never say anything.  They keep asking for things and I say sure and it never happens.  It's not that I don't intend on keeping the promise, it is that something always comes up to interfere with our plans. But sometimes, every once in awhile, I surprise them and keep my promise.

There is one person that has always kept His promises.  He has promised to give me strength when I am weak.  He has promised to give me patience when I have none.  He has promised to pick me up when I fall and hold me when I cry.  His promises are endless and He has never broken a promise and has never made an empty one.  I strive to be more like Him with my promises, especially when it comes to my kids. Hopefully they won't make the same empty promises that I have.

John 15:16 (KJV)Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.


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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rainclouds and Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms produce many hazards that put li...
My day ended with actual rainclouds and thunderstorms.  But that is what the day brought, rainclouds and thunderstorms but not in the literal sense. 

As I went for my evening walk it started to rain a little.  As I looked to my left I could see the rainclouds, hear the thunder and see the lightening in the distance. On the right was something peculiar, it was a beautiful sunset amidst of everything else.  My eyes were drawn to the sunset, but my fear was drawn to the rainclouds and thunderstorms.  I kept looking back to make sure the lightening was still afar.  But I couldn't stop looking at my right.  The sunset was so beautiful.  As the rain got heavier I glanced again at the rainclouds and could see at the end of them was light again.

I got a phone call today with not so good news.  I could feel the rainclouds and thunderstorms set in.  It stayed with me most of the day only couldn't see the beautiful sunset or the light at the end because I was so worried about the rainclouds and the thunderstorms.  How often in our lives do we fail to the see the light at the end?  How often are we so engulfed with the bad weather that we forget who is in charge?

I didn't really know what God was trying to show me today, until I went for my evening walk.  That amidst the rain, the thunder and the lighting, there is the most beautiful sunset.

John 8:12 (KJV)Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.


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(Image via Wikipedia)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Beyond Religion

Losing My ReligionImage by Cayusa via Flickr
It's not about going to church.  It's not about doing good deeds.  It's not about keeping all of the commandments.  It's about a personal relationship with God.  It it the acceptance of him as your Lord and Savior.  That is what will determine your salvation.  It is accepting that you will never be good enough and that it is only by grace through faith that you will enter those golden gates.

It took me a long time to realize that.  I thought that you had to be a certain way, dress a certain way, do certain things in order to be a "Christian" or be "saved".  I use the term "Christian" loosely because it has been so overused in our society.  When I say that I am a "Christian"  I am only saying that I choose to follow God and strive to be a woman after his heart.  I am imperfect, I am broken, I am a sinner, I fall daily. 

But this I know for sure- God loves me. He loves me so much that He would rather die then live without me. When I am at my worst, He still loves me.  When I have done something that I think is unforgivable, He still loves me.  And if I ask for forgiveness, He will forgive me.  He will take me, just as I am. It's beyond religion. It's Faith!!

Romans 3:23-27 (KJV) 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.



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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This Is Only A Test..

Stupid Exam.Image by purplepick via Flickr
This is only a test. A test of your character. How you choose to react to the situation at hand is completely up to you. How you respond to the situations that arise in your life is up to you. There is no right or wrong answer. There is no right or wrong reaction. It is simply a test of who you are in comparison to who you want to be.

I kept telling myself that today, when work seemed to be getting the best of me.  How do I react to this?  How do I respond?  What do I do?  What do I say? Then I remembered, this is a test.  This is my character, how I respond to this situation could not just affect me, but the people around me.  What do I want them to see? Too bad most of the time I fail this test, but today I think I did pretty good.

Jeremiah 17:10- (KJV) I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

(If this were the real thing you would see a bright light in the sky followed by a loud trumpet sound.)

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

God's Time Not Mine

Waiting....Image via Wikipedia
"The Lord may seem slow, but he is never late" I read that on a sign outside of a church one day.  It got me to thinking about impatient I am about things.  I know that God will not let me down so why can't I just be patient with him.  I know he knows what is best for me so why can't I just let him lead.

It seems that I am always trying to force God's hand.  I want something to happen now, I don't want to wait on things.   So I do things my way and usually things don't turn out the way I would like them to.  I fail to remember that God has always provided, always right in time.

When my son was starting school, we had enrolled him in a very small private school and were told last minute that the school would not be opening.  This was three weeks before school was supposed to start.  My husband and I were scrambling trying to find another school for him, even the public school didn't have a spot (because preK is optional).  Frustrated we just put it in God's hands.  We were supposed to leave to go on vacation the week before school started so we were pressed for time, but we had faith that God would lead us to the right spot.  My husband was driving by a small church that had a sign about enrollment for the school year.  He stopped to check it out.   It turned out the be the perfect little school for our son.  He was enrolled and his tuition was paid two days before we were to leave to go on vacation.  The Lord provided in the nick of time.

Our patience with God shows our dependence on Him, it shows our faith in knowing that He will provide, always.  I just wish I could remember that the next time I get impatient waiting for something to happen.  For things have to happen in God's time not mine.

Habakkuk 2:3- "But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed."
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Friday, July 16, 2010

Judge Not

Mardi Gras (02) - 23Feb09, New Orleans (USA)Image by philippe leroyer via Flickr
Quite a few years ago I went to New Orleans for the weekend with my boyfriend (who is now my husband) and a few friends.  Of course we all ended up downtown on Bourbon Street.  I am not the biggest fan of Bourbon Street, but I went anyway.  It was there for the first time that I saw a man holding a sign like the one in the picture.

I was so embarrassed, I wanted to run and hide.  I had been raised in a "Christian" home and had my own personal relationship with God.  The thing is, it wasn't because I thought that he was talking to me, or that I felt guilty that I was out there, that I was embarrassed.  It was the fact that he was there practically persecuting people he didn't know, representing "Christians".  He was yelling and arguing with people. I was embarrassed because if this is the only interaction that the people there have with "Christians" then why would they ever want to know God.  Who would ever want to feel persecuted all of the time?

My God, my Jesus did not persecute.  And I really think that if Jesus walked the earth today, I am pretty sure that you would find him at places like Bourbon Street.  He wouldn't be holding a sign with accusations and threats, He would be talking and sharing the love of God.  Trying to scare people into repentance is never genuine.  Jesus wants your heart but He wants it because you want to give it to Him.

Which brings me to one of my favorite verses, I wish I had known my Bible better back then or I would I spouted to the man the sign:

Matthew 7:1-5 (King James Version)1Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Words of Advice

my heart is on  your hands.Image by WolfS♡ul via Flickr
I wrote this somewhere around 1993 which would put me at about 15 years old.









Hold on to your dreams
Hold on to your heart
Don't ever let go
Or you'll be torn apart
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Wasted

365::115 - writeImage by brdwatchr1 via Flickr
The other day I found an old binder of things I wrote when I was a teenager.  Needless to say most of it was pretty cheesy, but most things are cheesy when you are a teenager.  The binder was old and dusty, hidden underneath a bunch of junk.  It was quite amusing to go through it and read some of the old poems that I written along with other random thoughts.  I always loved to write, for as long as I can remember.  In the second grade I wrote a poem that my teacher loved so much  she posted it in the main hallway of the school for everyone to see.  But discouragement came when I was in high school and submitted one of many poems to a contest and it didn't place or get any recognition.  It was in that moment that I gave up on writing.  I figured what was the point.

Now, I keep wondering, what if I hadn't given up so easily, what if I had kept up my writing, where would I be right now?  I literally shoved it away years ago convincing myself that I wasn't very good at it anyway.  But what if I could have been?  What if all of this time has been wasted working at a job I hate, because I didn't think I was good enough to do what I love?

But what gets me more than anything right now, is why do I feel such a push to start back up again?  As if it is not all my doing, like there is someone else telling me I need to do this.  It's not my family and it's not my friends, its something inside that just won't let sleeping dogs lie. But, the more I pursue it the more all of the old feelings of why I put it away in the first place resurface.  Am I even any good?  What if I never make it as a writer? So who am I fighting and who is leading me?

Is it my time to start believing  in myself and let God guide me?

Isaiah 58:11- "And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail."

With God anything is possible.
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Monday, July 12, 2010

I Surrender All

Your HandsImage by Toni Blay via Flickr
It has been about 15 years since I wrote a poem, here goes, maybe I lost it, don't laugh.








If I don't see him does he really exist, If I can't hear him is it all in my mind,
My Lord, my God, please give me a sign
Let me know You are here, let me know You love me,
Let me know that You are looking down from above me.
Teach me Your ways, show me Your love,
 So that I may show it to others a gift from above.
Melt my heart, teach me kindness, love and humility.
Teach me these things be a pillar to me.

Be my anchor, my tower, my refuge,
give me a place to go when I refuse
 to conform to the world to be one of them,
to try to live my life without sin.

Help me to reflect only qualities of You,
Help me know what i am supposed to do,
 here on this earth my purpose, my being,
here has to be so much more than what I am seeing.

I reject myself , my life is yours,
do what you will, you gave me that choice.
I choose to follow, I lay my burdens, 
I pick up my cross I'm not far behind you.
Help me to be all that I can be,
not wasting my time on such stupidity
Hear my voice, Lord hear my call,
for I surrender, I surrender all

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Friday, July 9, 2010

This Is My Story, This Is My Song...........

I was 7 months pregnant with my first child when my dad was diagnosed with cancer,  he had an inoperable tumor in his nasal cavity.  I remember the day that they told me like it was yesterday.  There was this overwhelming feeling of helplessness as my heart was breaking and the world was literally crumbling under my feet.  Would my son ever know his grandfather?  What will happen to my dad? Only by a miracle was his cancer caught at stage 1, but still any kind of surgery would leave him severely disfigured.  He opted for radiation therapy.  The next few months were gruelling.  I had a beautiful baby boy but instead of being happy about my new son,  I was frantically searching for answers.

I had strayed far away from God.  I was raised in a good Christian home, in fact at the time of his diagnosis my dad was an elder in the church, he was always active in the church,  for as long as I can remember. But as for me I was far, far away.  I went to church here and there, said my prayers every night and figured that was enough.

In my time of desperation and helplessness,  I turned to the one that I always knew would be there.  But as my dad got better I again strayed away, as if I didn't need God anymore.  A little less than to two years later, my dad was told that his cancer returned.  I was floored,  I just couldn't understand why this was happening. 

I again turned to the one that I always knew would be there.  This time was different,   I came to the realization that how could I ask God to help me if I wasn't willing to help myself.  I threw myself in his in His word, searching the scriptures looking for answers.  It was like looking at a blank page and the only words that I could read where "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Matthew 14:31 (King James Version).  It was like God was speaking directly to me.  Four months later I gave my life to Christ. (My dad said that he would go through cancer a million times if it would bring all his children to Christ.)

Since then my dad was diagnosed a third time, but I wasn't as afraid.  He ended up opting for alternative methods, where in his case have been very successful.   And though the road has been bumpy and occasionally I may stray a little,  I still know my way home. I know that what ever comes my way that God will give me the strength to endure. These days I just walk by faith.

The picture above is me and my dad, I was nine months pregnant with my second child, 5 1/2 years after his initial cancer diagnosis.  It has now been over seven years and the doctors call him a mystery because his cancer has not grown, actually they are not really sure if he has cancer at all.  They call him a mystery,  I call it a blessing, a miracle.  God has blessed me in so many ways.   God is good, always.

This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long; (Blessed Assurance, Frances J. Crosby, 1873)

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Anywhere But Here!!

The development of Moscow International Busine...Image via Wikipedia
Some days I want to go anywhere, anywhere but here, and today was one of those days.  When frustration sets in and I just get so overwhelmed, I just want to go somewhere, anywhere.  If  only it were possible to step out of my life, even for just a moment,  I would love to just get away. I would love to get away and forget about everything.

I often wonder if this part of God's plan for me and if so, why does it have to be so hard, and why does the journey have to be so humbling? Will I ever get a  break? Will things ever get better?  Will I ever stop worrying about money, health, my kids? How long will I have to wait?  Will my life always be like this?

Sometimes I feel like my life is a test, a test of my faith.  Will I praise God or curse Him?  I have that choice. But I have always chosen to praise Him, even through the worst.

Faith and hope is all I have.  My faith is what gets me out of bed in the morning, the faith that God knows what is best for me and that he has plans for me.  My faith can endure the worst of conditions and can rejoice in the best.  I know one day it will all be worth it. And anywhere that I may go, God will always be with me.

Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version) For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.




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Saturday, July 3, 2010

When I Need It

God always gives me what I need when I need, but I don't always choose to see it.  Sometimes I am so wrapped up in my own selfish ways that I fail to see what God does and has done for me.  Sometimes I worry about the stupidest things and forget to see all of the blessings in my life. I focus on what I don't have instead of what I do.  I fail to appreciate the little things.

God speaks to me all of the time.  No, I don't hear his voice, but he speaks to me in other ways.  Sometimes it through a song or someone with words of encouragement, sometimes it a message from church or just a simple smile from a stranger.

This past Christmas a group of friends and I went to our local soup kitchen to hand out toiletries and other things that were donated to the people that went there for lunch.  Most of the people that go there are either homeless of close to it.  There I was thinking that I was the one giving, but I was the one that went away with something.  There was a man there,  I don't even think he had a place to stay, but he had this smile on his face and made sure to tell us how much God loves us.  This man had next to nothing, yet he praised God for what he did have, and right then and there it was a hot meal.  This one man humbled me and made me realize all of the things that I have to be grateful for.  The funniest part was that I really needed that,  I needed to see someone elses gratefulness in the worst of conditions.  It really made me look at what I have in a different way.

Thank you God for always giving me what I need exactly when I need it.

(Matthew 6:8b, 31-34)Your father knows what you need before you ask him. So do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today's trouble is enough for today.