WHY?!?

  Through all the torment and struggles of life on this earth, I am often left questioning why. There was a season that I had felt guilty for asking God, why.  I felt like I was not trusting enough and doubting, simply because I had questions stirring over my situations.

 I look back at my children when they were small and their season of parroting; “Why? Why? Why?”

As frustrating as it may have been at those constant moments, I would stop what I was doing and answer all of their ‘why’ questions, as best as I could and as often as I could. I knew the ‘why’ season was my most opportune time to share with them. They were actually interested in what Mom had to say.

I feel like God is this way too. He wants to hear His children. He wants the opportunity to share with your heart. You may not always get the answer you are looking for but if you stop and listen you just may get an answer. The Lord is a living God that speaks to His children today. You may not get an audible voice but you can, as a believer learn to listen to the Holy Spirit that is your gift and comforter.

Having this one on one relationship with the Lord, person to person, will leave your heart joy. Even if you don’t get an answer you are expecting there can be peace when you know the ‘why’ of a situation. 

I don’t believe it is healthy to focus only on the why that is stirring in your heart, but I do believe it is perfectly okay to voice it. It is perfectly okay to be real with God. He wants all of you. We tend to hold back, but how can He be our everything if we do that?

Challenge this day my friend: Go ahead and ask your why of Him. Pray that He give peace to your heart and an answer to your questions even if it is an answer you don’t like. 

Matthew 21:22- 

“You will receive whatever you ask for in prayer, if you believe.” 

(ISV)

And the storm stirs again

It has been a wild ride in our household the last few years. I have written in the past about all the frustrating storms we have gone through. I describe these storms in our life as frustrations. Nothing in our personal experience has been as drastic as others may have gone through. Our personal storms have been more like a small earthquake with some shaking up and a bit of damage, but is eventually repaired. The loss has not been completely devastating, as so many face.

As I am reflecting back, I clearly see that these storms raise their ugly heads and stir the safety around us into a tempest mess. Each time we face one; we have thrown our quick tantrum and then come to the realization that God is still God  and is always in control and will see us through it.

Each storm that we have come through,  we are stronger for it. Our foundation may be shaken a bit but because it is firm, our foundation is not destroyed. We have learned how to hold on tighter than ever before while we wait for the worst to be over. We have learned to lean on and trust in new ways. May every bit of glory ALL be the Lords~

I am not diminishing anyone’s storms in their lives by sharing that we can get through them and even be stronger than when we started.  I do know that our personal storms range in great variety. But I know who is the victor as we dig in to the very truth and nature of our God. I know that there is a plan and a purpose for our lives and when we face these storms they are just a minute in the grand scheme of time and what God has before us will be accomplished!

Recently we were sure that our most recent storm was just about over. Rejoicing and shouting out that we had seen the end in sight. Only to discover that what we thought was the end was just a new stirring to take us even deeper in our faith. We had a direct hit from the enemy. We recognized the hit for what it was and took control over that area in our lives.

These are the questions that arise:

Are we still trusting in the middle of this storm? Yes.

Do we know our storm will end as every storm eventually does? Yes.

Am I going to allow my faith be moved because of a new set of winds blowing in my face? Absolutely not!

I will be a part of the force, changing the atmosphere around me, not be a part of the storm but an opportunity to share my victories!

Challenge this day my friends: Hold on tight, do not bend, stand firm, for your storm will come to it’s end. Allow yourself to be stronger from it and never forget to share the testimony. In the midst of that storm reflect back on other points in my blogs; equip yourself for the storm, expect a good outcome, sow into others lives anyway, and trust that joy is always yours!

Proverbs 10 :25-

When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone,

but the righteous stand firm forever.

Get Equipped and Stay Equipped

 

  I am a double sided coin when it comes to conflict in my life.

  If I care enough about something or someone I am all in, all the way, going to fight to the end. This woman can be a roaring lion if I am protecting those I love.

 On the other spectrum, if I feel something is not worth the wasted energy or if it feels to heavy to handle and the conflict is concerning me,  I will run and not face it. I find that I am willing to fight no holds bar when another person or issue is being attacked that I care for, but rarely if I am the one being attacked or hurt will I fight.

God has taught me that I need to be equipped to fight this illness, to fight the targets coming against my thoughts, to fight for my relationships, to fight for my finances, to FIGHT and  not lay down and be trampled over. Just because humans are not attacking me, does not mean there is not a battle going on. I need to be prepared to face it. I need to be able to say, I AM WORTH it and the victory is already mine..

 I become better equipped as I spend time praying, worshiping and praising, and reading his word. I equipped myself with the armor of God as a teenager and there are times I have neglected that armor or not used it for it’s purpose. God gives His children everything they need to equip themselves for each day. We just need to apply those pieces of equipment to areas of our lives. 

A soldier going into battle without his weapon will not fair well. I will not fair well if I try to fight fatigue and illness by only applying part of my tools instead of all of them. I can conquer the broken relationships if I have the mind of Christ and not a heart of fear. I can mend broken pieces if I love rather than run.

There is a place and time when you do not let yourself be bowled over and stomped on. It is important to handle those moments in a healthful way rather than a destructive way.

In order to walk in fullness of joy, I firmly believe we need to grasp that we HAVE and the tools to obtain it have already been supplied!

Challenge this day my friends: It is time to equip ourselves and stay equipped. I have not found a scripture yet, that tells us to lay down the armor of God. Or to run from the things that you fear or want to just lie down and give up on. 

Ephesians 6:11-18

Put on the FULL armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

For our struggles are not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark worlds and against the forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore put on the whole armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything to stand.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled to your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

In addition to all this take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.

And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayer and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

(NIV)

 

Ex-pec-ta-tion

In my lowest times of depression I had no feelings of expectations. Everything I had hoped for or believed for seemed to be crumbling down around me. With those crushed in the moment dreams I was was fearful to dream again. But then I realized I was sinking deeper because I was not expecting anything better for my life. I began to EXPECT joy and to EXPECT blessings. I started EXPECTING  the things I believed in once, would happen eventually. I EXPECTED Gods favor!

What happened was a transformation in me and my life. I began to see fruit from the things expected. I began experiencing joy because there was no other option in my mind. I began seeing our needs cared for, relationships healed, and God moving in wonderful ways. Because I expected it, I hoped for it, and when you expect something or hope in something, you begin to move forward in that hope.

Websters definition of  Expectation :

1. A strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

2. A belief that someone will or should achieve something.

A life without an expectation or with a goal in mind for yourself is not a very hopeful life. You must have hope for your future and actively pursue it. Through prayer and confirming in the word that your expectations line up with with God’s plan in your life, NOTHING can stop you!

God plans for us to be productive, joyful, and abundantly blessed.

Challenge this day friends: Expect a change, Expect better, Expect joy, Expect your goals to come to pass and Expect an end to your frustrations. Don’t walk through life without the knowledge that you CAN achieve that which God puts before you!

Proverbs 23:18-

For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

(KJV)

The Breath of Life

I have been hurt so many times in my life in so many ways. People will come and go and when I think I have a good set of support systems in my life, things get shaken up again. People that I never thought would choose to walk away, are walking away.

When I look at other peoples circumstances, my life is extremely blessed, and I shouldn’t feel neglected as a grown child of God. But I am human and there are times my flesh wants to rise up and battle what I know to be truth. The truth is I am loved! The truth is there are seasons for everything and everyone. The truth is God is my all. The truth is when I am tense and holding my breath it is then that I need to let it all out and breathe!

In the seasons of feeling like my very  breath has been taken away from me with a new and harsh blow from the reality of life, I need to remember to breathe in the breath of LIFE.

So many times the human has failed me again and again. I hold people up to a standard that I set for myself and if I see them walking away when I never would,  I want to grab on to their ankles and scream “WAIT YOU CAN’T DO THIS!” But it is not my place to do so.

We all have a will that we may choose to follow even if it does not line up with what God intends for our lives. If I see someone running head on into traffic and I am blocked from grasping them, I am going to say something, but if they choose to run for it anyway there is nothing I can do to stop it.

It is times when I feel helpless that I need to remember, God has all things under control in my life. If I am left hurting, He will heal me. If I am alone, He will comfort me. If my world around me appears to be crumbling, He will hold me up. I just need to stop and breathe in His breath of life. Take a moment and remember He is God of all seen and unseen things.

Challenge this day my friends: Take a moment in the craziness and the hurt to just stop, pause and breathe Him in.

Job 33:4-

The spirit of God has made me, and the breathe of the almighty gives me life.

(New American Standard Bible)

Perception

In my family, perception (understanding), has many angles even when we are on the same line of a topic, we see things completely different. We live in a house with three teenagers and constant energy. I can ask someone to do something and watch them take action and do completely the opposite of what I had meant. I can get very frustrated in these moments and have decided to try and stop and get a clear view of how I came across or put myself in their place for a bit.

People are so unique in their thinking process and life experiences. We can  all look at a glass and truly see it many ways; half full, half empty, or who cares give me a drink. No two people are exactly alike and there is room to be misunderstood or not have a full understanding of what people mean on the best of days. Adding the stress of life, work, family and friends and your perception can be completely blurred by your situations.

When people do not understand you, it can be a great stress in your life if you let it. I have had to step back on many occasions and let the Lord do His work in my heart because I have gotten bitter when others have not understood me, or what I considered, not listened to me.

One area that I am finding that leads to joy in my life, is when I lay things down and try to look at them through God’s perception. When someone is hurting me, arguing with me, not listening to me or perceiving life differently than me, I have made a conscious choice to look at them as Jesus would. More often than not I truly fail at this. But daily I am trying to look at those in my life with true love and extend grace in areas that drive me crazy, and pray they do the same for me.

This also leads me to one more thought tonight;  I don’t know how many times I walked through my life having people push their perception of the gospel on me. There are a hundred different varieties of the way Christians believe. I can not possibly make everyone happy and seek the Kingdom of God at the same time. I must push in and read the bible for myself.

I must look at my situations not as my flesh wants to look at them, but rather,  what exactly does the word of God say about my own situation?

Most often, I can not look at someone else’s situation with a completely clear view. My own life experiences and beliefs can muddle it up. I have a completely different perspective than any one else may have.

My prayer when I write this blog is that my perception is not pushed on anyone. I desire that the heart of joy is shared and lead to bless your day, not bog you down with my perception of joy.

I hope to leave a nugget of hope and joy, not a burden that you can never attain it, or that all is well and good for me but your life is far messier than mine and  I don’t understand. I am expressing through these blogs what has worked FOR me and sending a challenge for you my friends to try these tidbits out and see if they can work for you too.

Fullness of joy can make a heart sing when you circumstances say you shouldn’t. Joy can spread from your life to another when they feel hopeless. Joy can be contagious. Sometimes joy starts when we change our perception of things.

Challenge this day my friend: Be mindful and conscious of how you are perceiving others. Are we taking offense when there is none intended? Are we allowing our understanding of what we think someone means, to steal our joy of the day. Ask yourself, “how would Jesus view this, and handle it?”

Proverbs 3:5 – 6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths.

(NIV)