Waiting

Waiting is perhaps one of the hardest things to do in life…no matter how young or old a person is. My son can’t wait for the school year to be over. My daughter can’t wait until graduation day in a few weeks. We can’t wait for warmer weather. The list could go on and on…

When life becomes complicated, and we find ourselves in seemingly endless situations that are emotionally, physically, mentally, and/or socially draining, well, waiting, becomes that much more difficult.

Have heart. Keep the faith. Trust in the promises in His Word.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 NLT

Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord! Psalm 31:24 NLT

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 NLT

I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in His word. Psalm 130:5 NLT

Be still in the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act. Psalm 37:7

The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

This week, God revealed His love in a strong way to me. My prayer has been to find balance between work and home…to not feel as though I am drowning at work, to not feel as though I have nothing left to give when I get home because I am so exhausted from work, to find a healthy balance between a job I love and my precious family I absolutely love and adore…

And God revealed Himself strongly this week. His love, His care, His compassion.

My encouragement to you…if you are waiting for something, finding yourself caught in a difficult situation right now, do not grow weary. Instead, pray over the promises in His Word. Trust in His perfect timing. He cares. He hears your heart.

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Disconnected

So…I was trying to leave work Monday night…already an hour later than I had anticipated…coat and bag in hand…personal and work cell phones in my hand…and just like that, my personal cell phone slipped out of my hand. And landed on the floor. Against my desk. With a cracked screen and a blurred image staring back at me.

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You know it’s not a good sign when twenty minutes later, the Verizon man shakes his head and says, “It’s not good.” Cracked internal LED screen. Nope, not good. I used it as much as I could Monday night, moving my apps to the bottom half of my phone. By morning, the phone screen had faded to mostly black.

Besides being able to call my best friend and husband only because I have their face location on my speed dial memorized, my phone is useless.

Disconnected        

I am feeling a little disconnected.

And, I have to admit, I realize how dependent I have become on my phone. Instant connection right at my fingertips. I remember thinking just this weekend…wow, I’ve been on this phone a lot…doing mindless stuff. It’s like when I have any free space…waiting for an appointment, right before I fall asleep…it’s there in my hands.

I find that a little disconcerting.

I believe God can use anything to speak truth to us. I believe there is a message in everything if we will but listen.

This disconnect I feel may just be a blessing. It’s an opportunity to trust God with providing the means to fix my phone. It’s an opportunity to step back and reflect on my dependency on my phone…it’s not a good thing.

Yes, I am going to get my phone fixed. We have the part ordered, and by this time tomorrow night, I should have my phone back good as new. I promise you, though, I will be more mindful how often I pick it up and use it.

I need to be more disconnected from the world and more connected to His Word.

The last thing I should do before bed is read the Word, pray, thank God for the day….

The moments of waiting for an appointment….an opportunity to pray…

As a society we are so dependent on our technology…right at our fingertips. We are always connected. This sabbatical from the connectedness, is well, not such a bad thing.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:2 The Message

When life is crazy, sometimes, all you need to do is simply breathe…

Sometimes when life is crazy, you just need to pause and breathe…to look past the mess in the house…and take time to relax and laugh.

My son and I love watching Chopped on the Food Network. My son has been inspired to create his own cooking creations. My kitchen ends up being a mess despite reminders to him that there is no Chopped clean up crew in our house!! The smile on his face as he shows off his food creations is worth the mess, though.

I believe God is teaching me to listen more…to be fully engaged…less distracted…fully present. Sometimes, I think laughter with a friend,  the quiet of the morning, a hug from my child are God’s way of quieting my restless soul just when I need it.

I love the song Breathe by Jonny Diaz…breathe, just breathe, come and rest at my feet, and be, just be, chaos calls but all you really need is to just breathe…

Yes, sometimes, all I need to do is just breathe. Rest. Be still. Enjoy the moment. Savor the smile of my budding chef, just breathe, and look away from the mess of the kitchen. To listen. To be mindful of the joy God is blessing me with in the moment.

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Psalm 16:11…You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

His Grace Covers me….even at Costco

Yesterday was one of those days. When you spend your day working with people, some days are guaranteed to be well, more emotional than others. Yesterday was one of those heart-wrenching emotional days at work. And, it was a looong day. So, by the time I arrived at Costco, I was spent emotionally, physically, and mentally, and I still had a 40 minute drive home. Thankfully, it was a Monday, and Costco was not very busy. (This meant fewer samples when I was starving and hadn’t eaten dinner, but plus side, fewer people, shorter lines).

I picked up all my items as well as several items for my work. The friendly cashier reassured me that she could ring everything up and then subtotal the two orders to allow me to pay with two different payment sources. Fine, that would work. I paid for my personal order. Then, I pulled out the prepaid debit card to pay for the order for my work. Oops…I hadn’t realized I needed to activate the card. The cashier told me no worries, go ahead. So, I activated it. She then very kindly reminded me that I needed a pin number. I apologized again…because now I needed to call the number on the prepaid debit card to set up a pin number. While I was doing this, she patiently and kindly offered to move the lady’s items who was in line behind me to the next aisle so she would not have to wait. She explained to the lady that I was having card issues. (Actually, it was my lack of preparation considering I had not pre-activated my card, but I appreciated her choice of words). Finally, I had a pin and paid for the items. The cashier was so kind, so patient with. Sure, it probably helped that it was Monday, and lines were non-existent, but perhaps she could read how tired I was, on the brink of tears-just ready to be home with my family and eat dinner that was waiting in my slow cooker. This cashier could have provided a totally different experience for me if she had been impatient or short with me.

I thanked her, and as I walked away, I thanked God for allowing me to experience grace at Costco. After a long, emotional day at work, I needed this grace, and He knew exactly what I needed when I needed it. God’s like that. He takes care of us and always provides a lesson…He never lets go of us.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”          2 Corinthians 12:9

In our weakest moments, He is our strength. He will carry us through. His grace is enough. Even at Costco.

His grace

Encouragement for Anxiety

Worry breeds anxiety. This may sound crazy, but I never thought of myself as a worrier until my best friend pointed that out to me…less than a year ago. My grandmother was the worrier in the family, not me. As I  took a step back and let my friend’s words sink in…. “you might be the biggest worrier I know”….I realized, okay, maybe she has a point.

I just read something on Facebook the other day that reflected on how worrying about things that might happen actually causes more stress and fear than actually facing what we fear.

Losing a job, financial concerns, paying for college, health, the list goes on and on…things that might happen, things that I am in the middle of, trying to figure out…so, what’s a girl to do, a now self-professed worrier???

Turning to the Word, I have found two passages that really, really help me when I feel worry and anxiety.

S0, here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work and walking around life-and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.    Romans 12:1 MSG

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That passage encourages me so much. God truly cares about every detail in my life-my drive into work, my interactions wtih others, the everyday stuff that can threaten to drag me down, my comings and goings. I remember doing a Bible study group with some ladies from my church. We were reading through a book, and the author described a situation where she had prayed to God to help her find the perfect dress for an event she needed to speak at. The author struggled with acceptance of her body image as well as some financial struggles. I’ve never forgotten that…it really resonated with me. God cares about the little details of our lives when our lives are surrendered to Him so our hearts can be open to receive His blessings.

The other passage that I have found extremely helpful to break down and pray over is this:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.             Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

I find it helpful to break down these verses and pray over them. I tell God what I need. Then, I reflect on the ways He has already worked in my life, and I thank Him for  all He has done, trusting that He loves me and will carry me through.

One other thing has been very helpful in changing my perspective. During some difficult months at a challenging job in a challenging environment, I kept a gratitude journal. Each day, I looked for things that happened that were positive. Day by day, this became easier and my list grew longer each day.

Yes, our days will be filled with trials, bad news, difficult situations, but God cares about every detail in our lives and  wants us to pray over everything. And, a little gratitude can go a long way! The promise of spring really does come.

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True Help

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I look up to the mountains-does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2 NLT

Do you need help today? Whether in something big or something small, turn it over to Him, surrender your worries, your troubles, the things that can cause you anxiety…. Give it to Him, where true help is. I can’t, He can.

Full of Good Intentions…

The sun is pouring through the blinds of my living room window. If I close my eyes, I can imagine that outside those blinds are a view of the ocean and palm trees, but I’m not in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina anymore. I’m back home, in Ohio, and if I peek through those blinds, my deck is covered in a few inches of fluffy white snow on April 9th. Sigh…. When will spring come?

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This morning is quiet. My boys still sleeping upstairs. My dogs napping in the front room. My daughter off to work already. I savor the quiet time to reflect.

Another week behind me, the weekend here. The week a whirlwind, life moving by so quickly. I am trying to be more intentional with my time. Intention…a thing intended, planned… We’ve all heard people describe someone as being full of good intentions. Usually, though, that phrase implies that person truly meant to do something, but well, it just didn’t play out as intended. I can relate as I reflect back on a conversation with some people at work that did not play out as I intended.

But, what if I think of intentions a little differently…as something positive…

Intention…

A thought, a goal,

Maybe even a dream

But nothing more

Than a word unless

Intention becomes

Motivated by action

Even small steps

Can move mountains

Reveal glimmers of hope

The hardest thing

about intention

is the need to stick to it

Especially on the hard days,

the sick days, the fall apart days…

Keep holding on,

Pushing forward.

Intentions are pathways

to something better.

I wrote this the other night…my intentions to be more active daily and to write daily. At bedtime, I still had not written, so I wrote this short little poem. I’ve been thinking about intentions all week. I began this blog with the intention to write about my struggle with food issues and sprinkle in my faith, but I soon realized that I didn’t want to write about food and take pictures of food, but rather, I wanted to write more about my faith journey. I accepted my previous job as an intended move closer towards my career goals…God used it for so much more in my faith journey in learning to trust Him more. On the hard days, the sick days, the fall apart days, I know I need to be intentional in remembering all the ways God has been faithful in my life in the past. I think of the story of Joseph and his brothers…You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people…Genesis 50:20.

When God is first in my place, when HE is my one true thing, when my heart’s desire and intention is to follow Him, I can trust that He is guiding my journey every step of the way…even on the hard days, the sick days, the fall apart days, when the world around me seems to be against me, He is still in control.

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