Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rain, Rain Go Away!

In an attempt to lift my mood, let’s visit the gratitude attitude again. I’ve been letting the gray skies have their way with me, pushing me around like I was theirs to command. Well, I’m not.

Looking for that silver lining, I’m turning my attention to the good in my life, as Paul instructs us to do in Philippians 4:8. I don’t think he wrote this to be skimmed over, but because he knew there would be days we’d need this point drawn to our attention.

To sum it up: Think on the good things!

To spell it out, here’s what it says: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NKJV) 
The thunder rolling around the heavens is no reason to let lethargy have its way. The thunder, too, shall pass. There are rainbows to look for!

I challenge you, again, to come up with your own list of good things to think on; replacing the negative thoughts that try to consume our days. For some reason, it just seems more powerful to write them down, but, don’t feel like you have to. If you find yourself without pen and paper (or keyboard), just say them; out loud will drive the points home to your conscious and subconscious. Drive down the road reminding yourself about what’s good around you. Fold your laundry while recognizing the sweet things you can see. As your children play (perhaps noisily) point out to yourself some of their best assets (number one could even be that you’re their parent!) Sitting at your desk writing memos or email? What do you love about the person you’re writing to? 


As I eat my lunch and wait for the rain to pass so that hopefully I can go for a walk OUT-side, I’ll ponder the good things.

1.     My salad tastes GREAT!   
2.     I’ve chosen a healthy lunch.
3.     My laptop works.
4.     I have a blog to share.
5.     I can read!
6.     My home is a happy place.
7.     My home is cozy!
8.     No matter how much it rains, my home hasn’t flooded. Yay!
9.    The bulletin board over my desk is filled with things that make me happy.

Not to mention the BIG things:

10.    God loves ME!
11.    My husband loves me!
12.    My children love me!
13.  I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head that DOESN’T love me! How cool is THAT! 
14.     I'm well fed.
15.     I’m smart.
16.     I’m healthy.
17.     I’m beautiful! – I’m feeling happier already!
18.   My husband and my children are all well fed, smart, healthy and beautiful!
19.    God’s grace completely covers me – all the time!
20.    God is soooooo patient with me.

And silly things:

21.    My new carpet is soft.
22.   When I go out to eat, I can tip enough to make the server smile.
23.    My shoestrings are pink.
24.    The burning candle smells wonderful!
25.    I got junk mail instead of bills.
26.    My friends don’t expect perfection from me.
27.    My haircut makes me feel stronger.
28.    I discovered a new favorite tea.
29.    My husband generally fills my gas tank for me.
30.  I have my “junk” phone calls labeled and sent directly to my voicemail so I never even hear the ring when they try to disturb me.

How long is your list so far? I could go on all day. The gift of being chatty.

BUT – the rain has stopped and I’m going for a walk; outside, with a smile on my face and my step-counter on my arm!

I’ll take my pink ‘brella in case the clouds aren’t finished purging yet. But, those simple lists turned me around. For now; I may have to make them again later – and I will, because I know they work. The Apostle Paul knew what he was talking about!

See ya later!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Again, I Say....

Why pout? Where’s the strength in that?

Yeah, sometimes we just don’t feel strong. Everything doesn’t have to be about strength. But, why take a step back every time we step forward?

Ah, we’re waltzing!

Or, stepping back to take a look at where we’ve come from and where we’ve traveled along the way? That’s a beautiful picture, isn’t it? One that’s totally worth taking in periodically, for sure.

Moving forward, standing still; dancing or resting. We’re alive!

Whether it was hard to get out of bed this morning or you leapt from your slumber anticipating the day - you woke up!

Whether you were stiff while you brushed your teeth, forgetting to notice the beauty in your reflection or you greeted the day humming, with a smile hanging off your ears and offering up a prayer of thanksgiving - rejoice, you have glorious breath in your lungs!

Whether you feel it or not you have power, because you love.

But, you can only express that love as you allow yourself to receive love.

Guess what! “God IS love!” (1 John 4:8)

When God fills your life, He saturates you with Love to overflowing. That’s the love that you pour out on those you cherish.

God doesn’t simply have love, or choose to love; He IS Love!

And if God is Love, how can we love without Him?

In His gracious love, whether we feel worthy or not, He allows us to choose how much of Him we’ll receive; how much of Him we want; how much love we’ll allow Him to pour through us.

Rejoice. If you’re not filled to overflowing, you can be.

Simply receive.

Choose to receive!

The more you receive, the more you can give away.

In those moments when you feel like you have nothing left to give, God’s Love will pour out of you.

“I can’t…” is a lie!

You can!

You get to choose!

Today, choose Love.

Rejoicing has to follow. Not because we insist it follows love, but because it’s the natural order of things. Rejoicing is a consequence of Love.

Love creates strength and wears joy.

By the way, joy doesn’t always smile. Joy isn’t that bubbly energy we see some people exuding. Joy can be there even in the tough times, when it’s hard to smile. “The joy of the Lord is our strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10)

So, again, I say – rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

Heavenly Father, today I choose You!
Right this minute I choose to let Your Love in to bathe my heart
and soothe my soul.
You are Love; fill me with Yourself and pour out of me onto everyone I meet today. Let joy resound in me and strength rise up.
Restore me, O God. You are my Light and my Salvation, in You I rejoice.
Thank You for every blessing You provide, especially those I fail to notice.
I love You, Lord.
With the authority in Jesus’ precious Name, I pray. Amen.

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Sneakier Kind of Crisis

What kind of a crisis goes unidentified; unlabeled?

A health crisis might be faced when we or a loved one is given a frightening diagnosis.

An emotional crisis might rise up against us when suddenly a rug is pulled from beneath us; life takes a turn in an unexpected direction.

A financial crisis may loom over us if we lose our job, or if some insurmountable expense is hurled our way.

But, how do we define a crisis we feel sneak upon us, with no tangible beginning and no see-able cause?

Sometimes we just feel as though we’re going through something that rattles us or throws us off course, when nothing around us has realistically changed for the worse, at all.

We might call it depression – or oppression. We might simply call it a case of the blues, or a pity party. We could refer to it as “falling off the wagon” – when we’ve cleaned up a part of our lives for a significant period of time and we relapse. But, how does that relapse happen when we can’t point our finger at an action that caused it; the trigger that caught us off guard?
What about when this “crisis” occurs due to something in our subconscious that we’re not even aware that we’re carrying around with us?

If I was drowning, trapped in a car that was rapidly sinking and filling with water, surely I’d be in a panic. But, the ecstasy I’d experience should someone rescue me would be hard to put into words. So, right here, right now, I won’t look for that description.

My car, so rapidly sinking and filling with water, was my mind. I felt as though I was trapped there, spiraling to the bottom of an abyss too dark to fathom.

When rescued, I took on new life.

Even my email address exudes the victory as resqued1. I once displayed a vanity plate on my car which read, FORGVN1.

In my enthusiasm, I allowed myself to believe it was a one-time rescue; that I’d never be trapped in a car like that again.

But, the truth is, I’ve need to be rescued most every day. On the days I seem to sail through without a hitch, I surely ride on autopilot in my own vanity or on the tailwinds of a recent victory of some sort.

Daily, I need to immerse myself in the Living Word of God, or again I’ll begin to sink into a frailty I prefer to leave behind. I sink, not because I cannot swim, but because I have an enemy that would tie a weight around my neck to pull me from joyful freedom, only because he sees God living in me, thriving and lifting up the very hearts of those around me. He hates that.

Yet, oftentimes I allow myself to “forget” where my strength and joy comes from. As if I could forget to eat or breathe, no; I’d die. I ponder, how can I have so much disregard for the spirit in me?

Ah, no. I am the spirit in me.

So is this then, a lack of regard for my very self? I am not merely flesh and blood; that simply houses who I am. I’m not only the thoughts I think and beliefs I hold dear or the fears that sometimes seek to take control; that would be my soul, what makes me unique among humans.

Yes, the spirit I am, lives in this mortal house; why do I allow the needs of the house or the soul to usurp my need spiritual need for nourishment?

O foolish Helen! Who has bewitched you? …. How are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? (See Galatians 3:1-5)

Though I exhort you all to remain in the Word of God, how do I sometimes think I can get by without it? Forgive me, Lord!

I am God’s forgvn1 and His resqued1 – but, it’s a daily thing; moment to moment. I need to remain connected to the very Source that gives me life and rescued me. And in this, yes, God is faithful. He will always draw me into His arms and hold me and empower me and forgive me and fill me with His joy. He believes in me, even when I stop believing in myself. He lifts me up and surrounds me, in His Word.