Please Accept my Apology

Dear Followers and Readers,

I don’t usually write a second post for a day, but I need to apologize to each one of you. I am so grateful for each one of you who come to visit my blog and to those who receive my posts via email. I do not take it lightly that you take time to read and connect with me. I appreciate each one of you.

It is because of my appreciation for you that I am writing this apology. I was just going through a few of my recent posts and realized that there are way too many errors. I was appalled. I know how time consuming reading blog posts can be, and there is no reason why you should have the task of reading something that has not been edited well.

I want to apologize for my many mistakes, and I want to make a promise to you to take more effort in editing.

I thank you for sticking with me through this learning process in blogging.

May your day be full of many beautiful blessings!

 

The Importance of Pockets

Pockets are more necessary than I realized. Pockets are for soul refreshing. 

I just got home from doing a little shopping and banking. It felt good to get in the warm house. Here in Wisconsin it is in the 20’s heading for the single digit temps later this week. I stuffed my hands into the pockets of my sweater feeling thankful for cozy pockets to warm my cold fingers.

I am realizing I need pockets.

  • Pockets to carry little treasures.
  • Pockets of time to accomplish the items on my to do list.
  • Pockets of truth to bring me out of the place of lies that I sometimes get lost in. (I need friendly reminders me of what God’s truth is about the situations in life.)
  • Pockets of peace to know stillness and rest.

I am realizing the need for another pocket. Christmas is less than two weeks away. I started to take inventory of all that needs to be done in the next few days before Christmas and gulped, wondering, how is that going to happen?

I am realizing I need the pocket of time between now and when the new year begins to prepare for all of the holiday events that are scheduled. I also need to take time to breathe so that I can enjoy the presence of the Lord in my life.

You have to plan for pockets, or you end up without any when you really need them. I am saying all of this because I realized today that I need to take a couple weeks off from posting. I will begin posting again a couple days into the new year.

I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Christmas full of blessings. May your hearts be filled with the joy of knowing Jesus and celebrating all He is to and for us. l pray that the new year will draw you into deeper faith in Him so that you know all of the peace and hope that you can have in Him.

May your souls be refreshed this Christmas. Take time to plan for the pockets you need so that you don’t miss what is really important, the true reason for the season. Jesus is born, He came to be the Savior of the world. Praise God!  

MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

The Lord Gives Us Victory!

Are you prepared for enemy attack?

Here in the middle of all the preparations and even in the quiet of our hearts, our enemy, the devil, can attack with weapons that bring us down by way of feelings of insecurity, overwhelming stress, worry, or fear. We lose our hope and joy so quickly,  we are overcome, and often unprepared for the battle. We feel all alone and scared. 

I was recently studying the Bible narrative of Elisha and his servant in 2 Kings 6:15-23. Elisha’s servant got up in the morning to find them surrounded by enemies, and he was full of fear. Elisha immediately asked the Lord to open his servant’s eyes so that the servant would be able to see that there were more with Elisha and him than with the enemy. The Lord did just as Elisha asked and the servant saw all of the horses and chariots of fire with them.

I learned, as I studied this, that horses and chariots symbolize divine power and the fiery nature of them signifies a divine presence.

Satan uses the circumstances of life and our areas of weakness for his benefit. He wars against us, overpowering us when we least expect it.

This story of Elisha made me realize that at the first sign of enemy attack, as I recognize Satan moving in, I need to pray as Elisha prayed for his servant. I need to ask the Lord to help me see the Lord’s power and His presence standing with me. I need to seek to be equipped to operate in His power, kingdom power. 

“… greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. ” 1 John 4:4

Satan knows our weak spots. It is often when we get too tired, feel lonely, angry, or hungry that we are even more vulnerable to his attacks. During the holidays we have extras added to our to-do lists and we grow weary in the busyness. We need to be alert as to how we are feeling, and be vigilant about standing strong in the Lord. The battle doesn’t stop because it is the holiday season. Satan doesn’t take vacations.

Our enemy wants to defeat us all the more as we seek to prepare for and celebrate our Savior’s birth. Remember to stay strong in the Lord, moment by moment, throughout this season.

Remember the Lord’s power and presence are with us to help us and defend us. We need only call on Him. He is able to give us victory against all of the feats of the devil. 

 God Victorious, help us to see, know, and rely on You to supply Your power and make Your presence real to us in the times we feel attacked or in a weakened state. We want our lives to bring You glory as we celebrate the wondrous gift of Jesus. Help us to not be defeated, but rather to overcome with Your kingdom power. In Your victorious name I pray.  Amen. 

The Lord gives us victory in our battles, remember to call on Him. HE IS ABLE TO DO MORE THAN WE CAN ASK OR IMAGINE!


 

The Lord’s Extravagant Love

“I have done everything wrong!”

I came to that realization recently as I listened to Ann Voskamp’s book The Broken Way. 

I have been the too busy, driven person, too often unavailable in various ways and not present to those around me. Distracted by and overwhelmed with my to do list, striving to check off one more task. I feel that I have missed so much because of living many years of my life that way. It was doing it the wrong way for me in that I now wish I would have been more present and available to others, and especially to the Lord.

The Broken Way is an excellent book. It makes me want to grow in so many ways. It leads me in doing a lot of deep thinking. It made me realize more of my brokenness. It brought me to a place of feeling a sadness that led me to repentance. I talked with the Lord, I talked with my husband, and I talked with some dear friends, in the days that followed, about my realization. The sadness felt big.

My husband and I were recently walking through some rocky farmland, and I started to hunt for a treasure. I love rocks, but I wanted a really special one. It was freezing cold out and the wind was blustery, so my time was limited. I settled for a piece of a rock that looked like quartz on one side. I wasn’t thrilled with it, but I liked the shiny quartz side. I really wanted something that had a special meaning to me, but I could’t seem to find that special rock.

Sounds silly, I know, but it seems more often than not, the rocks I find have a special lesson for me. And as it turned out this one does also.

It was three or four days later after my finding the rock, I was writing in my prayer journal, the rock sitting on my bedside table. I glanced at it feeling disappointed as I wrote to the Lord a prayer about my brokenness.

I picked up the rock and looked at the quartz side under my bedside lamp. It was then I found that this rock is very special and extremely meaningful, more so than I could ever imagine. There on the quartz side in the pattern of the rock is a tiny little heart in the rocks own lines. “There is love in the brokenness.” That is the thought that went through my mind. The Lord loves me in and through my brokenness.

You see, that rock is a broken rock, I have a piece that is probably only a third of the whole rock. It is because it is broken that I can see the beauty of the shiny quartz. It is because it is broken that I could see the heart in the pattern of its lines.

It is now in my brokenness that I see more of the beauty of the Lord’s presence shine into my life. It is in my brokenness that I find that I am more open to my own neediness for His love and to know his heart.

I am thankful, so thankful, to the Lord for the amazing ways He shows me His loving presence. He knows exactly what I need in my brokenness, and even leads me to a rock in the middle ofan entire field of rocks to show me He is with me in my brokenness. He hears my prayers, He knows my heart. He loves me in such extravagant ways.

He is a personal God full of love for His children.

THANK YOU LORD FOR YOUR AMAZING LOVE TO ME!

 

Reflect

The word reflect has different meanings.

A mirror reflects what is in front of it.

I can reflect on my day and consider how it went. When I reflect in this way I think back over a period of time or a conversation or just something that I want to have rerun through my mind.

Now that we are in the month of November and we are coming up to the Thanksgiving season, I think this is a good time to reflect.

It seems that the Psalmists did a lot of reflecting as they penned the Psalms. Many of their reflections led them to sing praises or to respond with hearts filled with gratitude.

I enjoy using journals to do a lot of personal reflecting. One of my journals is a Spiritual journal where I write prayers and also jot notes about what I am learning in the Scriptures. I write how the Lord is at work in my life within various situations. And I write cries to Him telling Him my deepest thoughts and feelings. My other journal is a creative journal, almost a scrapbook of sorts, I use magazine pictures and words, paints, and pencil crayons to express where I am emotionally, or what I am thinking. I also use souvenirs (tickets, napkins, coaster, etc.) to help me remember a special time or place shared and glue them in my journal and then write a synopsis of the memory for safekeeping.

It is always fun to read my Spiritual journal and be reminded of the journey the Lord has brought me on, seeing how He has answered prayers. Or to read about what He has taught me about Himself, or, often, what He has taught me about myself. I enjoy looking at and reading my creative journal too. It is full of picture memories of times, places, and feelings. Sometimes bringing smiles, other times bringing tears.

Reflecting is a valuable tool.

The Psalms are like a journal of writings describing life at a certain period of time, where they record their cries to the Lord. Sometimes the Psalm is filled with words of praise, sometimes, anger or fear, and other times words of gratitude, or a combination of all of them. One thing they all have in common is that they reflect on what God has done.

We can use individual Psalms to lead us in personal prayers of thanksgiving changing the words to reflect on our own lives and what we see the Lord doing on our behalf. Or we can use the themes of a Psalm to outline themes in our own prayers.

The next few posts between now and Thanksgiving, I want to use some of the Psalms of praise and thanksgiving in helping us reflect on God and all He has done for us.

Praising God and giving thanks brings honor to Him. 

It seems that in the busyness of life we cry out prayers of need, or read off lists of intercessory prayers, but rarely remember to tell the Lord thank you. This Thanksgiving seasons, let’s pause and reflect on God’s goodness, His faithfulness, His eternal, unfailing love, and so much more. Let’s come before Him with thankful hearts and give Him praise.

I hope that you will join as we seek to grow thankful hearts as we dig into some of the Psalms.

May your journey in reflecting upon who God is and what He has done for you fill your heart with thanksgiving.

Is Your Soul Hungry or Nourished?

I have been noticing the past few months that as I take a quick break from the pressure cooker of responsibilities and obligations in order to choose activities that encourage me to breathe deeply, I am suddenly overcome with sadness.

It happened one day as I chose to take a quick walk in a park by a river. I had my camera along and was taking photos for memories of this peaceful time. I walked along and suddenly felt as though I was about to burst into tears. Feeling too vulnerable to allow that to happen, I quickly stuffed my feelings away, but remained aware of the nagging ache within.

It happened just yesterday, I stopped at a favorite coffee shop, bought my Americano, and headed back to my car to continue on my drive home. I got into the car, set my coffee down, put my head back breathing deeply, and felt this incredible longing to not have to move. Again, the feelings of sadness filled me, and  I pushed them away, starting the car for the drive home.

So, what is this about? I have been thinking and praying about it as I realized it was happening more frequently. I have come to realize through books I have been reading and through intimate times with the Lord that I am yoked to satisfying people. It is a hard yoke to bear. Jesus promises that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (see Matthew 11:28-30).

I have been trying so hard to control everything, to be responsible for everything, to please everyone, to do it all, but I cannot do it. I am yoked to an impossible taskmaster. 

So what is the sadness about? The sadness is about my hungry soul. I have been trying to get it fed in so many places, but I never get the nourishment I need. I am left longing, starving, needy, and fragile. Fragile? Me, Miss Independent, Self-Sufficient? Yes, fragile.

I am needy for a place to grow that is safe, where there is food to nourish my soul, and a place to have belonging for my heart. I am needy for the place where the taskmaster isn’t cracking the whip to see how much I can do, or how many appreciate me, or if they are satisfied, but rather where there is unconditional love that I can be held in.

The place I am talking about is this, it is the place where I can put my fragile roots down in the soil of Christ’ love and be free and nourished so that the flower of my true-self can grow. It is being yoked to Him who knows me so well, so intimately that He will lead me in all of life to fulfill His purposes. But, the difference is, there I don’t have to prove myself, because I am already loved and accepted just as I am.

So today I am trying again to find that place, and stay there. It seems that the Lord takes off the heavy burden of the yoke of the other taskmaster, and I am relieved. But all too soon I have put it back on trying to find my own nourishment in the satisfaction and the appreciation of others. I lose sight of the love Christ has for me, I forget about the freedom I have in Him (see Galatians 5:1). 

There is a place for the fragile me, for the hungry me, for the heart filled with unfulfilled longings, for the needy self, there is a place in His love for all of me. He is the One who can fully nourish and satisfy me. I know this in my head, but I have to yet learn to live there in that place.

How about you?  Is your soul hungry? Or have you found the nourishment of Christ’ love and learned to live there?

I know the tears may still come when I forget that He is the One who meets my needs, it is just a gentle reminder that I have been trying too hard, not resting in His love. There is hope in knowing He will help me in this process because He is my loving Father.

Looking for JoyWings

Where is joy?

There are so many oppressive things in life. You listen to the news or read a news feed on your computer and you feel pressed down on every side. Accidents, illnesses, depression, suicide, broken families, terrorist scares, floods, hurricanes, or tornadoes. All of these weigh heavily on us. Feeling dissatisfied in a relationship, being hurt by a best friend, or a bad business deal can crush you. Circumstances can bring us low.

Yet Scripture tells us to “Always be joyful” (1 Thessalonians 5:16 NLT). Did you catch that? Always. Not just when circumstances are pleasant. Not just when life is good, but even on the horribly, terrible, bad days, we are to be joyful.

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It is through the Spirit at work within us that we are able to know joy in times of deep trouble, when life seems so overwhelmingly hopeless.

But, it isn’t only when things are terrible that our level of joy fades, too often it seems joy is rare in every day life. I recently noticed that to be true in me. I feel hungry for more joy in my life. I did a little Bible word study in order to learn more about joy.

Here is what I discovered from some of the verses I read.

Joy is found in reading God’s Word and knowing that our belonging is in Him.

Jeremiah 15:16 “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.”

Psalm 119:111 “Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.”

When we take time to be in the Word, He leads us in delighting in Him, in finding joy in Him. I find that joy comes in seeing how intimately He knows my heart and the neediness of it. He meets me in His Word in a personal way, drawing me to Him in deeper connection.

Joy is found in receiving from the Lord.

John 16:24 NLT “Until now you have asked nothing in my name.  Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

When we pray to the Lord and look expectantly to Him for answer to the words of our prayers, we can find joy in Him answering us in beautiful, creative, loving ways.

A few weeks back I prayed for the Lord to make His presence known to me in a special way, I wanted Him to reveal Himself to me in a way He had not before. That afternoon He showed me a beautiful butterfly that sipped nectar and flew around me repeatedly as I mowed the lawn. The butterfly in its fluttery dance filled my heart with joy in the Lord’s gift of creation. It was a precious time. I found “JoyWings.”  My heart found wings to fly to the Lord, my heart was filled with joy in Him.

Joy is found in the presence of the Lord.

Psalm 16:11 NLT “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your hand are pleasures forevermore.

It is in our quiet times seeking the Lord, looking to know more of His love and as we know His presence we know joy. He leads us in wisdom, He shows us our path, He touches our individual lives in such a way that we find joy in His closeness.

Joy is given from God.

Romans 15:13 NLT “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Isaiah 29:19 NLT “The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.

The hope that we have in knowing all the Lord has done for us brings joy to our hearts, it is a resulting gift. It is Paul’s prayer here in Romans that God fill us with joy. We can continue to pray for this as our personal prayer for our lives.

The second scripture tells us that walking in meekness leads us to the promise of fresh joy in the Lord. (See my post Surrendering: Growing Meek in Spirit for a better understanding of growing in meekness and what that means.) Reading the Word, digging deep for understanding, and then walking in obedience can bring joy as the Lord is faithful to fulfill His promises.

I found new hope for living joyful always as I read these verses.

Finding JoyWings every day to fly to the Lord with praise and to give Him glory is my hope as I continue on this journey of knowing Him more.
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