Friday, September 23, 2016

Always Feeling Behind?

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     As a wife & mother of 5, my plate is rarely empty.  There's always more laundry, another meal, school work, church services, appointments, errands that should've been accomplished days ago, discipline, someone's birthday celebration, holidays every few minutes, etc & sometimes several happening all at once.  I rarely have white space on my calendar that stretches more than 3 days in a row.  Even if you are reading & have chosen to head your life with career or any other option, it's likely you can relate.
Women tend to keep running lists swarming in their heads.  
Mine is often something like:
  • We are all alive today & have all brushed our teeth (pet peeve=tooth brush Nazi).  Check!
  • Everyone ate something & most of us are dressed.  Check!
  • School work finished.  Check!
  • Everyone loaded in the van finally looking descent WITH SHOES.  Check!
  • Lunch will be on the go since it's nearing 1 (or even 2).  Coming up next...
  • After I answer the 5 texts that were very unimportant but said person thought were imminent.  Check!
  • Call to change an appointment on the road.  Check!
  • Just remembered that I forgot to take deposit to the bank for the 3rd day in a row.  Pondering whether this be life threatening?  Suddenly panicking that I have no idea where it even is...
  • Someone is fussing.
  • 2 others are singing loudly.
  • Cell phone rings.  Mostly I decline calls.
  • The fuss has turned to fighting that cannot be ignored.  
  • We arrive at the destination.
  • All the while my phone dings notifications.  Probably unimportant anyways...
  • I assess hair as everyone exits the vehicle.  Check!
  • I find out that it was the end of the world that someone said stupid.  I try to muster the correct responses.  Maybe a check?
  • We spend 3 times more money & time than expected in town.  Check as always & not even taken by surprise.
  • Load up.  Everyone looking half ragged now but overall breathing & tired.  Check!
  • On the way home I remember the one thing I went to do that I didn't get/do.  DUH!!!
  • Turning in on 2 wheels to unload the Walmart sacks (preferably 50 per arm as to save time), put up only the cold items, bathe, have supper, & rush off to church...Can I do this?
  • Headed to church with everyone looking like we have it all together.  Check!
  • Having an adult conversation for 2 seconds before a phone or kid(s) interrupt.  Again?
  • Blah, blah, blah!
& ends with all those guilty thoughts about what I should've done, what I shouldn't have spent, how I could've answered so & so differently, how so & so didn't get answered at all, how this is due, how this kid is behind on a well check, & how I cannot possibly be at 2 birthday parties at the same time until FINALLY~I sort out every detail of what can be tossed off the list, what HAS to be done the very next second possible, & what can wait.

     Most nights I stay up until the wee hours of morning finding a fun way to teach the next concept to the kids, researching whatever thoughts are left swirling in my mind sporadically during the day, reading books that challenge me, praying, or sitting as I am now typing away even though it's nearing 2 am.  The kids get their time, Nathan & I get our time, & this is my time.  This is the time I have set aside for just me & God.  During the day, sure I pray & praise & try to ring out every possible teachable moment.  However, that time is usually shared with others.  This is the time I carve out, the time when I prepare myself for the journey ahead.  The time I choose to prepare to fight the good fight, to read God's word & listen ever so closely without interruption.  Once my thoughts clear, I can sleep like a baby.
     How do I turn off the world?  I just told you how.  I set aside preparation.  One must sacrifice in order to achieve.  I can't offer my family anything if there's nothing left, no reserve.  Take advantage of whatever time works for you to strategically plan.  Grasp a hold of your vision & revisit priorities.  Think through the failures where you misspoke or misspent.  Take a hard look in the mirror.  Reevaluate.  Pray, study, & pray, pray, pray.  Praise God for your blessings, for a chance to try again.  Adjust.  Wash your face.  Be ready to face another day with your head held high.  If you have only lemons, make lemonade, & do it right!
     My most frequently asked questions:  How do I do it all?  How do I not loose it?  How do I find the time & muster the energy?  How do I feel joy & peace in the chaos all the while the world seems to be falling apart at the seams?  My answer is simple.  Take time for God.  He alone has everything under control.  Without Him, I am nothing.  He is my battle plan.  He holds the key to success.  He paves the way.  It may not always "feel" good & the future may look unclear, but His ways are steady & true.  He will not lead us astray.  He loves with a love that our feeble minds cannot begin to comprehend.  He holds the future.  I don't have to think about it.  All I must focus on is holding to His hand.  Within myself, I am nothing.  I can't do enough.  The hours tick by unannounced.  It seems as if just yesterday I began this journey & today we have a 14 year old & staring at our 15th anniversary.  We have already survived more years of marriage than the average couple, have more children than the norm, pastoring a church an hour away at a young age, a move, career change, the recent death of a close grandmother, more broken bones & surgeries than we had ever let enter our minds, bills higher than we could pay at times, unanswered questions, blame, blatant lies, criticism, doubt, fear, uncertainty, & the list goes on way too long.
     But with God, our days are brighter, our steps are lighter, our spirits are lifted.  We walk unburdened for He bears our burdens.  We walk out in faith, holding on to hope.  We have a love immeasurable.  He doses our salvation with sanctification, covers us with His sweet Holy Ghost, & fills us with His light for all the world to see the Sonshine.  If I choose not to trust Him, I fall apart.  I wound those I love & care for the most.  I eventually find myself at His feet once again surrendering self if there will be any good thing to come from this clay again.  If anything, it is a gift only wrapped through Him & by Him.  Time for God isn't an option.  It's the only thing that satisfies an otherwise unquenchable thirsty soul.
     After we die, bills will still come in our name.  Taxes will probably be owed for that year too.  Hopefully, money will still be in our bank account.  With my track record, my vehicle will need cleaning, my purse will have trash floating around in it which may be safer to discard than salvage, & my laundry basket will not be empty unless of course my mama just sent her angel over or my friend Kendra happens to be visiting.  Also, don't judge by the scrapbooks I left behind because in that case I only have 2 heirs...(Future note to my little 3~Life threw us a curve ball having you back to back.  This mama loves you so big that I just chunked that aside to actually have time to love on you & spend every second being with you instead of documenting it perfectly.)
     It's not our job to be ahead.  There will always be something on our to do list left unchecked.  There are gazillion stories of the "perfect" degree that doesn't land a dream job, the "perfect" couple that split, the picture of "perfect" health that was diagnosed, etc.  Perfect for me tonight is staying up after everyone here is snug in bed pouring out my heart & praying that God use it to bless a soul.  We are not behind.  We are not forsaken.  We will not settle for overwhelmed or never enough.  In short, 1 Peter 5:6-11, God's word clearly states, "He may exalt you in due time...for He careth for you...the God of all grace...make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.  To Him be glory & dominion for ever & ever.  Amen."

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

His Healing Flow Is Enough

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     Hard topic for me...  It's most definitely not hard to receive nor hard to give either.  I love gifting.  I love serving.  I love sharing kind thoughts, doing good deeds.  I love making someone's day brighter.  Most of us do.  That kind of kindness comes easy.  It's easy to feel love & extend love.  What is difficult about it is loving like Jesus.  Can we love beyond fault, failure, pain, or hurt?  Does the unlovable exist?  It sure seems like it at times.
     We've all been there where someone hurt our feelings, called us names, lied, cheated, and the list can go on way too long.  Children usually can brush it off very quickly & bounce back easily.  It's us adults who can't when events are seared into your memory without calling ahead & asking for reservations.  Things can happen quickly, before you have time to even process it all.  When someone is pierced with a knife, it requires a time of healing.  Healing must occur.  Injuries can leave you scarred & handicapped.  The cold hard facts are that things may never be the same again...
     God says to love, love beyond boundaries, love without measure.  Yet, I am human.  What hinders me & most everyone else is our innate ability to recall the facts, our instant replay button.  Some things will never make sense.  Some things will never change or be repaid.  Some things just can't.  Yet the text from the Bible that rings in my ears clearly states what is impossible with man is possible with God.  It's God who brings the healing to the table, not the evil doer.  I picture Him at an old table talking with me, extending a beautifully wrapped box as a gift.  He doesn't dangle it out of my reach.  He doesn't mention that it's value is far above what anyone could pay.  He offers, I humbly accept.  It's something I can't explain.  His love for us all is amazing, beyond my feeble comprehension.
     What about restoration, restitution?  God's word is true.  I believe in those too.  They may or may not always come to pass in every situation just the way we would order it up.  Heaven only knows.  We are only held accountable for ourselves.  We do not hold the power to lead another.  God does.  He can.  He CAN move mountains, but He may instead hand us a shovel.  In the end of Job, Job was given more than he had to begin with.  God didn't resurrect the family that he lost.  He never says he replaced them either.  They were gone.  The door closed.  Life moved on.  He just blessed again in His timing, in His will, & in His way.  Job learned to live & love again.  That was His healing flow for Job in this life.    
     We cannot predict the future but we can go on.  We can rise above the unimaginable.  His strength can carry us through uncharted waters.  He can hold our hands tight & lead us onward as we journey.  His healing flow is real.  His healing flow is powerful.  He will never leave us nor forsake us.  His promise in His word says He'll go with us ALL the way, even unto the end.
     Jesus himself faced a hard life & cruel death.  So far, I am abundantly blessed from anything that even closely resembles that.  I have a husband I love dearly.  We share a strong bond.  We have 5 wonderful children.  God has blessed our dreams.  Nathan's businesses prosper & flourish.  I LOVE being a housewife, mama, & teacher.  Pastoring is our love & life.  What more could we ask for?  We could spend our days soaking up the joys & never thank Him enough!
     One thing I have learned in the journey is that His healing flow is enough.  His faithfulness is enough.  His grace is sufficient.  His ways are not my ways.  In fact, His ways lead to a better end.  He sees the beginning from the end.  I must have the faith to trust in Him.  His healing flow is all I need.  Where He leads me, I WILL follow.  I will quit trying to make sense of it.  His healing flow can take care of that.  With Him, we rise above.
     As I type I think of how no one ever asks for tragedy, hurt, rejection, disease, etc but this is life & things happen to us all.  Look around, & you won't have to look far to find someone in more desperate circumstances than yourself.  Go to them.  Lend a hand.  It will change your view.  You will leave thankful.  His healing flow is enough for us all.  Be victorious through Christ & not a victim!

Bible Verses About I Will Never Leave You Nor Forsake You

Deuteronomy 31:8 - And the LORD, he [it is] that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 31:6 - Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Hebrews 13:5 - [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Joshua 1:9 - Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest.

1 Peter 5:7 - Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Hebrews 13:5 - [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Matthew 28:20 - Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

Hebrews 13:6 - So that we may boldly say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Philippians 4:6 - Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Isaiah 41:10-13 - Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.  Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive against thee shall perish.  Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.  For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
Psalms 55:22 - Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.

Joshua 1:5 - There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, [so] I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

2 Timothy 1:7 - For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

1 Chronicles 28:20 - And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do [it]: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, [even] my God, [will be] with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.

Hebrews 4:16 - Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Let's all hold our head up high saints!  God is for us!  He works EVERYTHING for our good!

Our Labor Day Weekend

GIVEAWAY WINNER~I used an online random name generator, entered all of the names, hit submit, & a precious friend of mine named SABRINA won.  It is pure coincidence that we just spent Labor Day weekend in Alabama at Summit Holiness Church with her & many other dear friends of ours.  Anyhow, she is, of course, very deserving!  We love her & her family too!  Happy reading!  Your new book will be mailed!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!