Removing the mask

Today was a hard one for me. I hate to cry in front of people and had a whole audience this time (5 people!) The tears were contagious and others had cried as well.

Through  this heartbreak, I am reminded that I must walk in joy daily and choose joy for my life, but I do not need to walk around as if troubles never come my way.

If I walk around always saying I am fine when I am not, then I am putting on a mask and it is not healthy. Joy is mine because I choose it, it is inside me and Christ provides it, but I will face trials as will everyone else.

Often I have had Christians complain to me that they don’t feel like anyone wants them to be ‘real’. They feel that it is necessary to plaster a smile on their face all the time because nobody really wants to know what may be uncomfortable to look at. They hide their sin, they hide their pain, they hide their fears, and trials. They paste on a  smile and act like everything is wonderful.

There is a difference between sharing your heart and being a whiner, pity me party type person. Our hurts, our scars and our pain are REAL and we must deal with them.

I am not saying it is okay to run through life complaining all the time to everyone you meet about everything you are dealing with at every given opportunity. It is important to know who we can turn to with all of us, the good and the not so great. This allows people to share your burdens and be able to lift one another up in our times of trial.  When your testimony arrives, these friends, pastors or whoever it is that you had shared the full truth with, will be able to rejoice when you have welcomed the complete victory!

I am learning the balance between who I share with and who I do not, as well as spilling everything and keeping everything in. I will say it so important to not be a gloomy gus with everyone, everywhere you go. But when asked if you are okay, if you are not, do not lie, be truthful and say how you are. REJOICE that the Lord will turn your situation around for good, while being real.

I can allow friends and family to see my tears or know my hurts and frustrations, and I can still obtain joy in the midst of it. I can share it ALL with Jesus.

He knows my coming and going, I can shout out LORD I AM UNHAPPY AT THIS MOMENT! (most often that is when His peace will rush me ).

Sometimes the root to having joy, is to allow ourselves to be who we are with no strings attached. We are to grow and walk with Jesus daily and when we do that we shine with the glory of the Lord. We do not need to wear a mask covering up who we are.

Challenge this day my friends: Remove the mask you have hidden behind… Allow others to know you, to pray with you, to encourage you. Allow Jesus to remove your hurt and burdens. It is time to be free and allow those things to be revealed so we do not continue to harbor them!

2 Corinthians 3:16

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Childhood joys

The sun shines bright. My spirit perks up a bit just to have the glorious light beam across my face and the warmth hits deep!

I am taken back to childhood days. Days that were complete bliss in the midst of the most simplest moments. Memories flood back  of blowing sticky bubbles, drawing in sand with my fingers,

drawing in Sand with my son

picking dandelions as a prize for my mommy, imagining I am the princess dancing in the kingdom, running in green grass with bare feet and how the grass stained the bottom of my toes, and moments of laying on the ground in fits of giggles when my friends and I were exhausted from the games.

This is the kind of pure simple joy that I am trusting for daily. My joys do not come from my circumstances or the amount of money I put into an experience, but just by having the experience. Joys that come from simply living. Joys from spending time with the one that loves me most and encourages me to have the heart of a child.

To have joy, simply because I have the right to. I can still dance, sing, clap, laugh, be silly and simply just be me.

I AM a princess. I AM a daughter of a king. One that does not have to give up the childlike presence in my heart. I am encouraged to be as a child. To laugh and have joy, to look at all the blessings as sweet gifts. To look at a bird flying in the blue skies with awe anew. I have the ability to look at the awesome gifts the creator has given me with fresh eyes and wonderment. I can stop taking the world around me for granted. He has given me a beautiful picture to wake up to daily…. life.

Challenge this day my friends: When struggling with walking in joy, stop and look at things in your life with wonderment. Have that childlike faith that the things you need to change will. That you still CAN be anything He created you to be! Walk with you eyes forward and face what you must, but remember, there is joy in simple things!

Matthew 19:14

But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

(NLT)

God shoes

I was reading past posts on an old blog site when I came across a blog that reminded me HOW MUCH my Lord cares for me and every detail of my person. He created me uniquely and I am only called to do that which he has before me.
( From my old blog site ) I am a worshiper at heart. You could never remove my awe and attachment to the Lord. I am in utter adoration of His awesomeness. I had begun expressing worship to Him in dance timidly; a tap here, a clap there.
Now hands in the air, spinning, jumping, feet moving in pure joy I understand the complete unabashed freedom in worshiping the Lord as David. However I try to stay fully clothed only the shoes coming off on the very wild occasions unlike David who danced naked in the streets.
This brings me the importance to my special shoes the Lord hand crafted for me to have.
One night I had a dream, in this dream God called me to dance and I had on special shoes. They were unique and so vivid in my dream I wanted those shoes when I woke up.
Alas these were not shoes I had ever seen before or could pick up at the local shoe store.
That very day my mother in law and I went shopping in the downtown stores. When I entered the clearance section of  a store I had never entered before, there were THE shoes. Now pay attention to this, they were not similar shoes, they were identical. They were unique, never like anything I had seen besides my dream and there was only ONE pair on the shelf and in MY size. They were ballet type flats, teal, with shiny sequences on them. They were the very same shoe as my dream and I had the exact cash for them from Red Berry Boutique.
I do not wear these shoes often even though I love the uniqueness of them and that the Lord revealed them to me before I ever laid eyes on them. I do not want to ruin them.
But in finding these shoes when I wasn’t really even looking, God was doing something in me. Showing me that I am valued, that I am loved, that He recognizes my heart for worship and is calling me to dance. It was like a physical, hand-picked gift from God.
Since this time I have been told many times to dance for the Lord as I struggle in life issues. The joy always bubbles forth as I take the time and worship the Lord in this way.
Fullness of joy is His plan for our lives and dancing is a tool that I intend to use. I will not worry about opinion of man, or how foolish I may look. I will dance, and I will sing and I will be thankful for the shoes the Lord has placed on my feet, stepping in to my position as His worshiper.
As I read thold blog;  I was reminded today that God can reach His children personally. He desires the relationship with us and has things for us as individuals. We don’t have to ‘work’ for our relationship with Him. We only have to trust and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal savior. Like any relationship it will grow as you spend time with Him. He cares about every detail, even the little things!
How He loves us is not measurable by mere words. It is simply GOD. He wants us to wear the shoes He has for us and for us to walk boldly in His path! Confident that HE has equipped us!
Challenge this day friend: Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you in new ways. Do not be so wrapped up in the events of your day and the world around us that we forget to spend time with the one that created and loves us! Place your feet in your GOD shoes and pursue His passions for you.
Psalm 42:1-
As the deer pants for the water brook, so my soul pants after you, God
(World English Bible)

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)

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)

 

Thank You

 I get so disgusted when I am out and about shopping and standing in line I notice the people around me are in so much of a hurry, that they do not stop to thank anyone. I hear from one say, “thank you and have a good day” and there is silence as a response. It is so sad that I feel like apologizing and shouting out THANK YOU to the person that was left without that little blessing of feeling appreciated.

 Thank You! Two simple words can mean and do so much. When you thank the service worker with a genuine heart, you sow a seed of joy. When you thank your parent, friend, teacher, child or spouse for all they are and do, you sow a seed of joy. When you stop and take the time to say two words to our Lord for what He has done, you sow a seed of joy. Often the seed of joy may be in the receivers heart, but mostly a grateful heart sows a seed of joy in your life.

 Having a thankful heart keeps you focused on the good in your life rather than the troubles that may be stirring. When you share a thankful heart you give an opportunity for another to experience a seedling of joy. Take time to stop and be thankful this day.

 I have seen a quote on Facebook before, I apologize as I do not know the author of it; ” what if you only woke up today with what you thanked God for yesterday?”   

 This gives us a pause to really think. Have we walked around with a thankful heart? Have we walked around with the goodness of knowing even in our worst circumstances there is always ‘something’ to be thankful for?

 Let’s start simple; thank you for this breath! Thank you for a new day! Thank you for the sun that will shine and bring life and for the stars that hang in the sky at night. Thank you that this day I can say, thank you within my heart and that I will be grateful not now but always.

 It is time to be thankful afresh. It is time to remember all things, you can be thankful for, and you can spread a little joy!

 

 Challenge this day my friend: List your own simple things to be thankful for. Come up with at least one to think upon. Make sure you share a thankful heart with someone else.

 Psalm 107:1-

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

(NIV)

 

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)

Perfectly Marinated

The sunshine streaming in through my windows, shows me the end to winter is almost here. This will mean summer trips to the beach, sunscreen slathered on busy children, sprinkler time and the long days of laughter over family BBQ’s.

One of my favorite things about my friend Lanny’s amazing BBQ skills is that he knows exactly how to marinate his creations. He knows how long to let the beef sit on the grill and how long to let it rest before the first cut. I could easily be a vegetarian if it wasn’t for the tasty brisket  or scrumptious tri-tip steak that greets us around our friends dinner table every summer.The cravings begin year after year when the sun begins to shine.

I find my relationship with the presence of the Lord to work in the same way. To sit and marinate in the presence of the Lord prepares me to do what He created me for. To sit and allow His presence to transform the flavor the world has left behind and to be perfected to how He intended me to be. Time marinating in the presence of God always leaves me hungry for another moment.

Setting aside time with the Lord leaves my heart more tender. I feel prepared to face the world and all that I have to do.

Marinating in the Lord’s presence leaves me joyous and blessed. I find that I  only can get there though if I  lay my self aside. It is then when my self is out of the way that I say, “yes Lord, prepare and transform me!”

We were created to be in fellowship with the Father. His presence is always with the believer. But there is such a significance in stopping and allowing that presence to completely have His way!

Challenge this day my friend : Take time to seek Him and allow Him to perfectly marinate you for the work He has set before you to do. He knows EXACTLY how to prepare His creation. Take time to find him with your heart and soul~

Deuteronomy 4:29-

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.

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)

Gardners

I wrote the blog below, right before my season of spreading joy to others began anew. It is because of the careful tending and encouragement of some amazing people in my life that I now am taking the time and energy to be a blessing. It is because of the dry and decaying season that I learned there could be joy in spite of the pain. We just need to sometimes recognize the joy comes from deep down and not from what we see.
The seasons of feeling that life is being sucked out of me, I had to allow others to attend to my heart, body, soul and mind. When man could not do it, I realized Jesus always was there. And when I needed a connection with human, he sent that too. Don’t forget to turn to the very one that created you to be great! Don’t forget to turn to Jesus when the people are stomping on your beauty.
I encourage you to read this previous post to see where I was, and where I am now. There is a great opportunity for joy when we actively see what is being done in our lives and we have joy regardless of the moments.
Posted on October 29, 2010- I am a plant in the garden that was flourishing and full of beautiful green plumage. When all of a sudden some plant hater decided to throw dirt over the top of me to hide me.
I have been hidden, starving for air, the beautiful plumage slowly dying and decaying beneath the new weight that had been thrust upon me.
Then along came people in my life that were turning the soil, fertilizing the soil, watering where the beautiful plant once was and only cracked dirt lie. Many tending the soil didn’t see the growth they expected of me and silently left, shaking their head in quiet disappointment. I was still suffocating under the weight and while they were no longer tending the garden feet trampled over the top of it.
I sat there, quiet, slowly dying as day by day the sun-scorched the cracked parched ground.
Then along came a new set of gardeners. Ones that were diligent and true to their passion for beauty to thrive. They watered and tended once more where others had given up. Where I myself was ready to lay dormant for another long season.
My roots you see were always deep. I was sure the life would return somehow, I just couldn’t bring it about on my own.
I began to grow that beautiful green plumage back. It was a great sight to behold for the ones that tenderly coaxed me. To see a sprout rise up out of the ground a brilliant green. And to their wonder and amazement as I rose fully above the ground my strong leaves did not remain the size they were before but had doubled in per-portion. I was not the same as I was when trouble came, I was stronger and excited to show the new life that I have become.
 Today: I realize the importance of having deep roots in good soil, that while I was in a season of dormancy and hurt, the truth was always there, just needing to be tended and reminded of what exactly I am planted in!
We are born and created to flourish; cultivate the good foundation!
  Challenge this day my friends : You were created to flourish and produce life! Time to cultivate the good foundation anew and if you don’t have the strength to do it on your own, connect with some good gardeners that will help you on your way! If you are in a strong point, till the ground of ones hurting; giving them the truth of God’s word, encourage, bless, or be a helping hand.
Mark 4:3-8
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed, as he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it all up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil, it sprung up quickly because the soil was shallow, but when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants,  so that they did not bear grain.
Still, other seed fell on good soil, it came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.
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