My “Be Still”

I have come to realize and accept that I need my “be still” moments.

Life has been a crazy whirlwind henceforth my quietness here on my blog. It has been filled with work busyness, holiday things, and extra crazy obligations.

This has been a particularly challenging year for me in so many ways. I have been quietly pushing on. Recently, I have had some powerful reflective moments that have caused me to step back and reevaluate my life and priorities.

I didn’t like some of what I saw.

I may have shared this song before but Granted by Josh Groban has been very meaningful to me the past several months.

Granted by Josh Groban

I have come to realize that I need my “be still” moments. I need to catch my breath. I need to have time to sit and be still. I need to be in the Word. I need time to write. (I did do a modified #Nanowrimo this year). I need to be more present and intentional with those whom I love. I need to practice listening even more actively.

At a conference I was recently attending, we were asked what we considered one of our strengths. I immediately chose compassion. I love people deeply. I feel deeply. I care deeply.

Life is all about relationships.

Life is really hard yet really beautiful. I can’t fix everything in my life, but I can step out in faith and follow the direction I feel God is leading me.

“Be still” moments are my saving grace. They refresh me, restore my sanity, and help me to discern the still small voice of God in my life.

In the busyness of life and especially now during the holiday season, I encourage you to pause and find your own “be still” moments. Maybe it’s a certain place like the coffee shop or some early morning moments while the rest of the house is still sleeping or perhaps by the glow of the Christmas tree lights at night… wherever it is-take time to pause and reflect on your life.

You can never have back the time that has slipped away.

How do you reenergize in the chaos of life?

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Showers of Blessings

Today is the day of Thanksgiving in America. It is a day of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole (my contribution), and pumpkin pie. It is a day of football. It is family and traditions.

It is a time to be reflective on all you have to be grateful for.

This year, my Thanksgiving looks and feels a little different. Our traditions have been altered due to family logistics and other particular issues. Our college age daughter is working. There are other variables in life that just makes this year’s Thanksgiving different.

What about you? Are you trying to move forward with life even though things are different?

God uses those messy situations, those hard times, the devastating moments, the lonely days…all of it to draw us closer to Him.

It may not make things easy, but today I choose gratitude.

This Thanksgiving may be a bit different but wow, do I have so much to be thankful for.

Just a week ago, I was able to observe my college age daughter in all her glory leading a children’s program. This morning, my teenage son is baking just because he loves to cook. My dogs lay peacefully at my feet. I have accomplished a huge feat in my professional goals. My husband and I celebrated 20 years of marriage earlier this year. I have an accountability partner who is encouraging me to write daily for #Nanowrimo. And I sure do have a lot of great friends!

Yup, there’s a lot to be grateful as I reflect today.

Despite it’s been a few weeks since I have had a moment to catch my breath to blog and my back spasms continue and my stomach issues are flared, Thanksgiving is so much more than food and traditions. It is a moment to pause and realize life may be full of challenges, but it is also overflowing with everyday blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving. I am grateful for each and everyone of you. Thank you for taking a moment to pause and read my thoughts. What are you thankful for today?

Gratitude is a choice. Choose it.

#blessedbeyondmeasure

Bobbing in the Deep Blue

The peacefulness of a leisurely ride around the lake is my idea of a perfect lake day.

I have children and a grown-up child at heart husband, though. Their idea of a lake day involves tubing and skiing.

My husband tried to teach me how to ski once. That old wooden ski popped up and whacked me on the head. Even though his parents have since purchased newer skis, my desire to learn to ski drowned in the bottom of the lake years ago.

Tubing is not my friend, either. Something about being dumped off a tube and left bobbing in the deep blue as I wait for the boat to rescue me leaves me feeling so vulnerable and out of control.

Those are two things that I do not like. Vulnerability and lack of control.

Surely, I am not the only one out there who hates that feeling…

And yet, this is exactly the place God has allowed me to swim in this current season. The waters have been rocky at times. When you stand before uncertain times as I have been and yet can be calm and trust God to guide you through, then that my friend is peace.

Jesus said in John 14:27 (NLT)… “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

In Exodus 14:14…the Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.

And another great reminder….Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Some seasons in life are just simply hard. They test our faith and endurance. In the end, they are great opportunities to grow in our faith and trust that God is truly in control.

My pastor had a great word of encouragement to continue to trust and persevere in our faith walk….blessings come with investment.

So, keep on walking and swimming in your faith.

And in my laking case? I did end up tubing with a friend asking our husbands to please take us at a slow pace. We trusted them and guess what? They were true to their promise.

I will likely never find myself on skis like my daughter, but I will keep plunging along in faith despite the uncertainty of the future.

Sometimes, a little vulnerability and uncertainty while you bob in the deep blue is exactly what we need in order to find ourselves exactly where God can allow our faith to grow.

Have you ever found yourself bobbing in the deep blue waters of uncertainty?

Comfortable with Uncomfortable

I remember sharing a thought with a friend once…I don’t think God wants us comfortable.

In the valley of comfortable is the land of complacency, stagnation, and indifference. I have been there more than a few times.

In Joshua chapter 7, after experiencing a great victory, the people face a defeat. Joshua laments, Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all-to deliver us into the land of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?

How does God answer him? Get up!!

How easy do we forget our victories when we are faced with challenges, defeats, and mountains??

I am not comfortable now. I am being stretched and challenged. More than once recently, I have felt God telling me to get up when I felt knocked down.

This morning, I can smile. I have had some challenging days, but I have sensed the Hand of God all over my life. Little things have caused me to step back and smile. Progress not perfection. Seeing my son interact in such caring ways with residents. Positive interactions with the staff and residents. Allowing myself to take feedback, reflect, and be willing to grow from it instead of internalizing and being defensive.

Sometimes in the midst of struggle, it can be hard to find the light in the desert.

The light is there. When we keep our eyes and thoughts fixed on God, it keeps our focus on where it should be. My friend, I don’t know what your life looks like, but if you are feeling uncomfortable…trust God to use your situation to stretch you and grow you closer to Him.

Beauty in the Challenges

Beauty exists in challenging situations.

Why do I say this??

I certainly did not see the beauty in the moment. We were lost. It was dark. The roads were curvy. We were almost out of gas. Our cell phone and internet reception was extremely sketchy. We hit very treacherous high water and could not see the lines in the roads.

We followed the GPS to the last 5 minutes of our road trip only to find our road closed due to high water. Nothing existed in the sleepy town except for a church and a bar.

The beauty? When we are in situations where we feel completely helpless, those moments are great reminders to trust Him. God provides what we need when we need it.

We had just enough cell phone reception to call the cabin owner for alternative directions. A man walked out of the bar and told us to follow him to the closest town. The gas station was open. The road to the cabin from this route was dry. Our son helped us navigate the new directions and reminded us to work together.

This morning after a night of great sleep, I am thankful for safety. I am grateful for sun peeking through the trees. Although so much is going on in my world that feels overwhelming and uncertain, I know Who is guiding my path.

Don’t take a moment for granted.

Granted by Josh Groban

Keep Moving Forward

I love the opportunity to “reset” on the weekend. One of my favorite things to do is go for a very long walk with Quill.

My mind has the freedom to be free from distraction and to reflect on life. A lot is going on in this mind right now so my walk yesterday was especially therapeutic.

I thought I would share my reflections with you…

1. Keep moving forward.

2. Don’t dwell on what is behind you.

3. Believe great things are ahead.

4. There is joy in the journey even when the path before you is uncertain.

As I walked, I listened to this new song by Jonny Diaz… Let Faith Move You.

https://youtu.be/-10O7HGjcbs

The song has a great line about packing your bags to take a journey of no regrets. What would I pack in my bags? Confidence, hope, faith, trust.

What would you pack?

Keep moving forward!!

Who do you say He is?

Who do you say I am?

This is the question Jesus asked his disciples. He wasn’t interested in what they thought other people defined Him as. He wanted to know who they defined Him as. (Matthew 16:13-15)

Our pastor asked us to close our eyes during the sermon. We were to ask ourselves that question. In the quiet of the church, with my eyes closed, I dared to ask myself that question.

Rescuer.

Jesus is my Rescuer. As my Savior, He has rescued me from the depths of hell. He has rescued me from the storms of life. That’s not to say I haven’t endured the storms, but He has walked with me to the other side. And most often, He rescues me from myself.

How often are we slaves to the bondage we enslave ourselves to? The pain of our past. Bitterness. Anger. Fear. Anxiety. Complacency. Unworthiness.

What is enslaving you?

As I sat by myself enjoying some much needed quiet time, I glanced down at my feet dangling in the water.

What did I focus on?

The chipped off paint from my nails. Life chips away from our feelings of completeness, worthiness, and beauty. Just as the chlorine stripped away the paint, we allow the irritations of life to strip and chip away at us.

So, yes, Jesus is my Rescuer. He rescues me those feelings of unworthiness, of failure, of fear…

When the world screams that I should just give up, throw the towel in, walk away, be knocked down, surrender to defeat…He whispers to me that He is right with me in the midst of every storm, every failure, every feeling of defeat and inadequacy that I feel. He knows those hopes and dreams deep in my heart. And, He knows the fears that surround them.

I am stronger from the struggle.

When I can analyze not internalize and self reflect for my growth and spend 1-1 time in prayer, yes, I know I will be okay. The struggle is real and the battles seldom cease, but Jesus is my Rescuer.

His promises are true. He sustains and carries me. He anchors me.

I challenge you to ask yourself…Who do you say He is?