There is nothing-no circumstance, no trouble, no-testing that can ever touch me until, first of all it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a GREAT PURPOSE, which I may not understand at the moment. As I refuse to become panicky, as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will ever cause me to fret-for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is- that is the rest of VICTORY!!!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Taking back power.....

I am so excited for today's blog post because I believe so deeply in the power behind it and what it can mean to someone. Its a topic that I needed to be reminded of this week. I think forgivness is one of the hardest things for us to understand and practice as Christians. I think first of all its so hard because we dont understand what forgivness is and the reason behind it. So many times we think of forgivness as telling the person who hurt us or the situation that its ok, and thats not it at all.

Forgivness isnt about being ok with what happened but instead releasing the person or situation who hurt you from having power over your life. You can forgive but that doesnt mean you forget. You can't change what happened, you can't change how it made you feel in the past, you can't alter the person its made you but you can decide that you will no longer be a victim to the pain and you will take a stand and take back the power its stolen from you. The person who is responsible is no longer thinking of how much its hurt you, they aren't sitting around dwelling on how wrong they were towards you but instead you are the one being affected still and thats not fair. Its not fair to allow the person who hurt you to remain apart of your life and have control over you any longer, its not fair for them to have one more ounce of your energy and to keep you a hostage to the circumstnaces they caused. Whatever has hurt you in the past is just that, the past. The past can only have as much power and role in your life as you allow it to.We think of forgivness as a gift for the person who hurt you but really its a gift for yourself, its allowing you to no longer be tied by the pain that person put on you.

When you give a gift you do it because you want to not because you have to. Forgivness is about giving yourself a gift because you know in your heart you deserve and need that gift, you need to forgive that person in order to allow yourself to heal and to give yourself permission to relinquish that person from having control over your life any longer. Forgivness is about moving from the hurt of the past towards healing and freedom. Maybe a friend, family member, co-worker, someone from church, something from your past or whatever hurt you. Maybe you have held onto the pain its caused for years and in some cases its caused bitterness and deep hurt, maybe its caused you from really experiencing the freedom Christ has for your life. The first step in freedom towards someone thats hurt you is to seek forgivness, your not saying that persons actions were acceptable but you are saying you will no longer allow them to have power over your life. After you forgive that person for the way they hurt you, then you can receive that forgivness, you receive the freedom that God wants to give you because you have forgiven. This allows you to move forward and walk in the freedom that God has given you. Unforgivness only allows Satan to have a foothold in your life and to and a place to cause space and distance from you and Christ. Sanctus real has a song called "Forgiven" and it says this:

Well the past is playing with my head
And failure knocks me down again
I’m reminded of the wrong
That I have said and done
And that devil just wont let me forget

In this life
I know what I’ve been
But here in your arms
I know what I am
I’m forgiven
I’m forgiven
And I don’t have to carry
The weight of who I’ve been
Cause I’m forgiven

Christ never wanted for us to live in prison to our circumstances, the pain and the hurts of this world which is why He sent His only son Jesus to die for us so that we too could be forgiven of our mistakes and failures and be free from the chains that they place on us and live a life free and filled with His blessings. "My chains are gone I've been set free, My God my savior has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns, unending love, amazing grace." Whatever you are facing or whatever chains have ahold of you I just encourage you to cut the ties, seek forgivness and receive it. Allow God to come in and begin to heal your heart, don't allow your circumstances or the pain to have ahold of you any longer. You were made to be free and blessed and no longer have to be a victim to whoever or whatever hurt you. Take back your power and walk in the freedom God has planned for your life!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The real winner is......

When most of us hear the name Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Lebron James and John Elway we are immediately aware that these people are all amazing athletes. How many of you however know the name Michael Maze???? Michael Maze is famous alright but probably in a sport most of us don’t follow avidly or could care less about. What sport am I talking about you may be asking yourself, well the sport I am referring to is ping pong.

Some of you are probably laughing right now because I’m sure a lot of people don’t consider ping pong as a sport and to be honest I’m not so sure but that’s not the point to debate right now. Even if you’re not too familiar with the ins and outs of ping pong I’m sure most of us have watched it a time or two or played it. I know that in college it was a big thing to do especially on a campus in a small town with not much to do at times. I am terrible at ping pong but my husband is pretty good at it and really enjoys playing it with his dad and brother whenever they get a chance.

The game of ping pong really is simple if you think about it, I mean I know there are rules and regulations for the game but basically it takes two people competing against each other by hitting a ball back and forth with wooden paddles trying to score to win the match. I started thinking about this and felt like so many times relationships can be like an intense game of ping pong especially during conflict. Like a ping pong match during a conflict whether it be in a marriage, a friendship, an acquaintance or whatever it may be we find ourselves using our mouths as paddles and our words as the ball taking quick swings at the person on the opposite end whom we usually care a great deal about just to win the argument or "match." Regardless of the rules we have set forth ahead of time in the heat of the match we lose sight of them and are only focused on winning. Often we say things that are untrue and hurtful to purposefully take a quick jab at the other person to give us an upper hand in the match.

Alot of times we will feel powerful and good about ourselves initially because we allowed our emotions to step in and spout off whatever came to mind but usually it doesn’t take long for the guilt to set in by the way that we managed to tear the other person down and damage their spirit. That attitude and behavior is something Satan sits back quietly and feeds off of because if we can destroy each other with our actions and words then it makes his job much easier and causes a barrier between us and the Lord. Because our emotions are so unpredictable and so quick to change from moment to moment especially in the midst of a confrontation with someone we love its easy for us to fly off the handle and think that our feelings are truth and whatever they are telling us is rational when in fact a lot of times they aren't.

James 1:19-21 " My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."

We should ask for the Lords wisdom to help us live out James 1:19 however in the heat of the battle instead of being quick to use our words as ammo against the other person we should ask for the Lords help to capture those negative thoughts and point out what’s real and pleasing to Him and what’s untrue and hurtful so that we can avoid reacting destructively. 2 Corinthians 10:5 "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

Although it may seem silly we should think of our words like a tube of toothpaste, after the toothpaste has all been squeezed out of the tube no matter how hard we try we will never be able to put it back in. Words are one of the most powerful weapons we can ever have against another because once they are spoken we can never take them back therefore we must remember this next time conflict arises and we find ourselves preparing for a match, not with a wooden paddle but, with our words. Is taking a few cheap shots with your mouth and winning the match at the expense of the other person’s spirit really worth it???

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Giant shoes....

Nothing melts my heart more than than to see my 6 yr. old walk around trying to imitate her daddy. In her eyes he is this untouchable, strong, courageous, fearless superhero. She puts to much trust in Him and even in her 6 yr. old mind wants to be like him and try her best to fil his shoes. We have pictures of her when she was a toddler clunking around wearing her daddys shoes on her feet that looked enormous. She tried with all her might but seemed to never be able to get very far in those giant shoes without tripping and stumbling along the way. Regardless of how hard she tries or how much she grows I'm sure she will never be able to fill those shoes, but the amazing thing is that its ok. I was reminded of this yesterday cleaning up my front porch and seeing a pair of pink and black little addidas soccer cleats sitting next to a grown mans pair of Nikes.

I think so many times we look at God as being untoucable, sovereign, a King, Master, dictator, ruler, perfect. We feel like in order to go to church or have a relationship with God there is a list of expectations on ourselves, there is a sense that we need to have it all together and meet certain standards to deserve Gods love and grace. So many people believe you have to clean yourselves us first before you can go to church or have Jesus apart of your life. It can get overhwleming and discouraging and then we feel like we can never fill those giant shoes God has for us. Whether it be people or the church in general I'm not sure where this list of expectations come from, why do people feel so strongly that there is a prerequisite of being clean. It can be so confusing but isnt that the point of Gods grace and redemption, not to bring a clean story before Him, but to bring a messy one and allow God to transform our lives. The beauty of God's power is the journey beyond the craziness we bring to the table its the way God intervenes on our behalf, down to every detail, every little nook and cranny and renews our hearts and lives and begins to write a new story.

The truth is God is more than a King, master, sovereign ruler, He is our friend. He is personal, He is loving, He is faithful, He is a strong hand we can reach out and grab in the midst of our brokeness, our hurts, our failures, our mistakes. There is nothing in this world that is ever too big for God, we can never outsin or go beyond a place where Christ can't reach us. He wants to be present in the midst of our mess, He wants to take ahold of our aching hearts and shattered lives and help us to walk forward with confidence that we are not alone, we dont have to do it alone ever again. Thats our mission as Christians to share our hearts and stories with others. To show that we also can never fill Gods shoes but He has still given each of us His grace, redemption, mercy and love. Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Whithout Christ we are so ordinary but with Him we can do extraordinary things.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

As I have said before I love Fall. I love Fall but hate the inevitable that after Fall is Winter. I do ok the first 6 weeks, then every year around late January/early February I start getting the itch for warmth and sunshine after being cooped up in the house for months. Yesterday with the rain, cold and drearyness it was so blah. I had a doctors apppointment early in the a.m. and it was such a hassle running across the parking lot in a downpour, I actually almost used a picnic blanket in the back of the van as my raincape. What a sight that would have been to see a grown woman with a stripped cape running across the parking lot at 9 a.m.There is such a sense of freedom when the weather is nice I think because its just so much more conveinent to come and go without the hassle of bundling up and fighting the snow, ice and cold.

One of the things alot of people look forward to with the warmth is taking vacations with friends and family. Most of us have taken short weekend trips by car here or there but alot of times we fly to our destinations anymore if its going to be a longer trip. I have to say i'm not much of a traveler and have only flown twice in my life, all the other trips were very long insane charter bus rides. The few times I have flown however were somewhat nerve racking although I have heard it gets better each trip. I'm not sure if its the take off, landing or flight itself that most people fear but one thing that made me nervous as well as others I have heard is the ear popping in the middle of the flight. Its crazy the number of things people will load up on before they fly to try and prevent it. Something pretty interesting however is that flying isnt the only cause of excessive ear popping it can also happen when switching floors on an elevator from a very low point to a very high point like in a skyscrapper as well as driving in the mountains. We know that in each of these situations its based on a change in altitude but the extremes are very different. When flying we all have a goal destination and in order to get from point A to B we have to journey through a certain route to get there.

Life is often like this journey in the sense that sometimes it can be beautiful and calm but other times our ears begin to pop along the way causing distractions and interfering with our trip. there are many remedies we can try to drown out the ear popping like gum, pinching our nose and blowing, ear plugs and more but ultimately there is only one way to cause the distraction to stop and thats for us to reach a stabilized altitude. Like the different remedies used for flying we use different tactics in life as remedies to drown out the distractions that Satan puts in our way each day along our journey. Some things we use are relationships, sports, money, careers, addictions, materialistic things and the list can go on and on but really only those things help ease the distractions they never rid our lives fully of them. Satan loves for us to put these temporary fixes in our lives to distract us from the beautiful journey God is trying to show us .

The only way we can level ourselves out along the journey is through Jesus. Jesus is that constant, that height, that we reach that can calm the popping and the noise and completely make it stop not just eleviate the symptoms and noise. The tough part is that we want the quick fix, we want to reach for the fast remedy to try and ease the noise in our lives but it wont last. If we can hang on long enough to allow the plane to level out just as we are calling on Jesus name we will find comfort and peace that will not fade. If we allow ourselves to get caught up in these short fixes then Satan has no reason to work on us because we are doing it for him and it only seperates us from Gods plans for our lives.

Romans 8:31-35 "So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in scripture." There is a song by Natalie Grant that says in it "Every fear has no place at the sound of your great name, the enemy he has to flee at the sound of your great name, Jesus worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, son of God and man you are high and lifted up and all the world proclaims your great name." I love this because for me its a reminder that whenever I am in the midst of a battle or Satan is trying to throw distractions and turmoil in my way I can call on the name of Jesus to deliver me in that very moment, praise the Lord!!!!! James 4:7-8 (Message) "So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time."

Regardless of what journey you are on right now whether it be one you have been on for awhile and the destination is still pretty far or you just have a few floors to travel up on this ride in your life it can be tough. Satan is going to try and throw in distractions to take away from the journey and the things God is trying to show you along the way.I just encourage you to call on His name whenever you feel distracted like you can't quiet the noise around you and He will deliver you and fill your heart with a peace to keep traveling a little more free.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I'm hungry............

We had our third session as a Community Group last night studything the book "The Power of a Whisper." Its been a really awesome time each week that we can come together as a group, dig deep into what God is trying to reveal to us through the series, share our throughts together and lift each member of our group up in prayer. Life gets crazy, we all have busy schedules, kids to run here and there, meetings, comittments with our families or churches and sometimes its really hard to spend time with God. As Christ followers we recognize how extremely important it is to be in Gods word on a daily, commited basis. Proverbs 6:23 "For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life."

We have a daily battle in the Cameron household I'm sure most of you can relate to. Either because you have children, nieces or nephews, grandkids, babysitting kids or have ever known a kid in your life there is one phrase they like to say often. Sometimes I feel like someone is playing a cruel joke on me and hiding somewhere in my house laughing just to see my reaction when Macie says to me for the 20th time in a day "can I have a snack?"

First of all let me start out by saying yes I feed my child and yes we do give her snacks but I'm sorry when your holding a bag of candy hearts from February and asking if you can have a snack of course my answer is going to be a big NO! Macie is 6 and I know going through a growth spurt so I'm sure she is hungry pretty much non stop but my problem is when my hair is sticking straight up, I have morning breath, I would love to sleep 5 more minutes but yet she insists she is starving and needs breakfast only to take 2 bites walk away and ask for a snack 45 mins later, yes I have an issue with this. The battle doesnt stop at 11 a.m. though, no we do this cycle throughout the entire day following lunch, and dinner not to mention we have to make sure we have a snack before bed.

My sister was in town and got to see this first hand. We went out to dinner to celebrate a family members birthday and of course Macie wanted nothing to do with her "real food" but instead the ice cream machine she kept eyeing from across the room. I made a deal with her knowing the challenge and melt down I was in for later, that she could have ice cream but she was getting nothing else to eat the rest of the night. Well like clockwork we get home and start moving towards our bedtime routine when out of Macs mouth I hear "can I have a snack??" As calmly as I could knowing Mt. Everest would surely errupt throughout my 6 year olds body at my response I said "no." I explained the rationale as simplest as I could and needless to say she went to bed without a snack, but food for thought for sure.

This everyday cycle can be exhausting at times and eventually it will click for her but I wonder how frustrated God feels with us everyday. We constantly ask for him to bless us and give us snacks and treats but yet we don't take the time to sit down and truely be fed and noursished through His word. Phillipians 4:19 (amplified) "And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." As much as I want it to click in Macs head that a meal is so we can sit down and be filled up not through snacks, honestly I still have trouble with this lesson everyday myself. I go through my day seeing the handprint of God here and there but yet at the end of the day when Mac is in bed, I'm watching t.v. tired from chasing a 5 year old, medical chaos, bills, cleaning and whatever else my day has brought I do fail at times to sit down and instead open my bible and look to the Lord who can give me peace and help me to let go of that day and to look to the next with hope.

I am sure Macie really was more hungry when she woke up the next morning than usual because she didnt get a snack before bed but often we have days we wake up hungry also and can't figure out why? We can't seem to get why everything keeps going wrong in our day, its because we are empty and we havent been filled with His spirit to give us the strength to get through those moments and we are doing it on our own strength. Sure there are healthy snacks but they just aren't meant to fill us up. Snacks get us through the day in those times where we can't sit down and be filled up immediately but when we have the time to "eat" we need to allow Him to feed us. The point is we all like little treats to boost us throughout the day but if we want to be fed we need to make time to sit down and have a full course meal dining with Him.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Purify me Lord with Your cleansing power....

I feel extremely blessed to have a husband that is so domesticated :) Since we have been married Scott has always done all the laundry and most of the dishes, and let me remind you that we are old fashioned and don't have a dishwasher. However lately I have secretly grown a passion for washing dishes and have been doing them alot more. Maybe it sounds silly but I feel like I can uncover answers to all of lifes problems while scrubing yesterdays brownie pan or the juice stained Hello Kitty cup from breakfast. I know others that feel the same way with different household chores, one good friend of mine loves to fold laundry. There is something about the warm clothes and how her mind is able to wander for a few minutes during that task to whatever she is going through. Another friend loves to mow her lawn. She is a single parent but feels like that is her time to process life and get away for a bit and relieve her frustrations.

Yesterday I spend the entire day almost decluttering my house. It felt so good tackling room by room with a giant trash bag ridding our lives of the "stuff" that just got in the way each day. Maybe its odd but I have come to realize lately that I love washing dishes, vacuming and giving Macie a bath. There is something about being able to visually see something become clean that is very freeing and peaceful to me. However goopy that casserole dish is if I scrub hard enough with soap, and bubbles I can wipe it clean and looking new. Seeing the vacum marks in the carpet after its been swept so it looks clean and neat is comforting. Putting Macie in the tub at night and washing her hair until she smells like fresh strawberries and baby powder is comforting. In all of these things its evident to me that I find comfort and peace in cleanliness. When my house is a wreck and I know someone is stopping by I feel blah and want to hide, I think it has something to do with the fact that I have always felt if my house seems organized and clean then my life will seem to be that way also. Its been amazing lately with Fall, the coolness in the air, pumpkin candles burning, the windows open. Its been the atmosphere that makes me want to really get things clean like washing the walls, mopping the floors and washing all the window blinds and curtains. This would be ideal at least once a year and feels so good to have done but last year because I was in the hospital sick so much we weren't able to do those things. Scott tried to keep the house picked up and looking neat but there is something about really scrubbing things down to the core and cleaning it good. Ultimately I don't think our house was grossly dirty but it was somewhat chaotic and disorganized but there came a point where we just got used to living like that and knew eventually we would really get things cleaned up.

There is a Spongebob episode called "The Battle of Bikini Bottom" and in this episode Spongebob is very obsessive about being clean all the time and Patrick his best friend likes being dirty. They battle back and forth about who is right but the truth is that they have just both gotten used to what is comfortable for them. While being comfortable about being clean Spongebob loses the ability to sympathize with any flaws or dirt Patrick has and vice versa Patrick has become ok with being dirty and a mess all the time that he doesnt see what being clean is like and how important it is. So at the end of this episode they end up switching roles and Patrick realizes how great it is to be clean and free and Spongebob gets a little taste of reality and becomes a little less judgemental at Patricks dirt.I wonder which character you can relate to in this episode?

Do you live each day in sin after sin that is separating you and making you a mess before God but yet you have become ok with that because its "comfortable" and eventually you will "really" clean up? Or are you like Spongebob and you live everyday as clean as possible to the extreme that you judge others or think that you are above them or to clean for them and you can't sympathisize what its like to be a sinner also? The awesome thing is that regardless of how dirty you think you are or how much of a mess your life is you can hand it over to the Lord and be washed and made new and shiny in an instant. Psalm 51:1-2 (amplified) "HAVE MERCY upon me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to the multitude of Your tender mercy and loving-kindness blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly [and repeatedly] from my iniquity and guilt and cleanse me and make me wholly pure from my sin."
God loves you and wants you to live a life free of the dirt and the grime but you have to be willing to step out of your "comfort" zone and allow Him to cleanse you from the inside out, every sin, every flaw, every struggle and imperfection so that He can create a pure heart within you and help you to walk a new life of holiness. That doesnt mean you are going to be perfect like Spongebob and always squeaky clean because we are still human and imperfect, but it does mean that in those moments where we trip and fall in a mudd puddle in life God can clean us off and help us to start again.

Psalm 51:7-10 "Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean [ceremonially]; wash me, and I shall [in reality] be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness and be satisfied; let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my guilt and iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me." I encourage you right now wherever you are at to think about Easter season and the fact that Jesus died on the cross for each of our messes and He can cleanse us and restore us. He can replace the chaos in our hearts and lives with freedom so that right before our very eyes we can witness His cleansing power.

Friday, September 23, 2011


As I shared yesterday I am blown away each day by Gods faithfulness. I am reminded more times in one day than I can possibly count how much I need God in my life. There are times and seasons in life where it seems like we just can't get enough. Our hearts are breaking and we need only His strength to sustain us through every moment of the day. We go through periods where literally we are empty and it takes the grace and strength of God for us to take one step at a time, one day at a time and one battle at a time. I know many people around me are in a difficult season of life right now. You feel like God has left you and the things around you make no sense and seem to have no rhyme or reason.

Its always so frustrating to me to visually understand Gods hand in our lives sometimes. If your sick you go to the doctors, they run a few tests, find the problem and fix it. Its not at easy with our hearts. When our hearts are broken and in need of repair all we can do is lay it at the feet of the cross and ask for Gods strength and widsom to reveal what needs fixed and restored. I am a person that loves to decorate my house, I love to decorate even more for the different seasons. There is just something new and exciting about getting out my fall pumpkins, or gingerbread men for Christmas. I think some of that is we get bored with seasons. We feel like we have been stuck in a season for so long we are ready for a change of scenery, we are ready for a new season in our life. Although I can't stand snow or extreme heat I usually do ok with the change of seasons in Ohio because its so temporary and we can do anything for a little period of time.

Life is alot like this, we find ourselves in a season whether it be a happy time or a dark, cold lonely one and at first we feel like we have the strength and the stamina to give it all we got and fight with everything we have. Then somewhere along the way it gets old, our hearts become tired, our energy runs out and we need a change. We need the Lord to step in and heal us from our brokenness so we can be renewed by His Spirit and move to a new season. I love post it notes its actually one of my favorite ways to decorate. Its not merely for the look but for what it means to me though. I go through seasons where I really need to be reminded consistently of the Lords presence and truths in my life and so I will place post it notes everywhere around my house. Maybe its a scripture verse or just a positive thought that I need to use as armor against Satans schemes and post it notes are helpful to me. Its funny because when my husband comes home from work or back from somewhere and sees the house decorated in post it notes he knows something is up. It doesnt mean, I'm stronger, I'm more spiritual, it doesnt me i'm a better christian, it doesnt mean i spend every moment in my bible, it means I need Jesus more and I am weaker and in desperate need of the Lords truth in that season of my life more than ever!!!!

I just encourage you that whatever your going through right now, just reach out to the one who cares so much for you. He cares about every detail of your life regardless of how big or small it may seem.
"Faith is unutterable trust in God, trust which never dreams that He will not stand by us." Oswald Chambers. He cares about every season you are going through and knows when you need a change, He knows when you need His healing and His restoration and renewal. I am so thankful that we serve a God who can carry us through the seasons life throws our way and sustain us through it all.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I still believe...

I am amazed at the Lords faithfulness. I dont know how many times I have to be reminded of this but I am always blown away. Even in the midst of some personal physical struggles its amazing how I can feel the Lords hands on my life and guidance in each step I take. I have been struggling with some health obstacles lately and have a hard time getting anything accomplished in life blogging included. We are so blessed to have such great friends and family who have encouraged us and prayed so diligently through the battles. Thank you all so much I can't express that enough. We have a plan for the health stuff but are continuing to trust God and seek healing in this situation!!! Hope to be back blogging tomorrow, love you all!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rafting through life......

Growing up I have never been a need for speed, adrenaline rush kind of junkie. I have never been bungee jumping or sky diving, I have never been parasailing, or even white water rafting for that matter. Actually come to think about it I have canoed many times but even then I ended up in the trees or flipped before my trip was over and I did that once a weak at least for 2 1/2 months while working at a youth camp haha.

Maybe some of it is lack of opportunity but I think a big majority is probably fear of the unknown. In all the extreme things I have mentioned they are all under professional suppervision with extremily safe equipment and a semi controlled environment. I think out of all of these extreme adventures however, the one that scares me the most is white water rafting. I can picture it now.... little me in a huge life jacket and helmet I can barely see under, with eyeballs as big around as golf balls like one of those twisted whiskers characters on greeting cards, shivering in fear and probably coldness because i'm always freezing all while my mind is racing a million miles a minute about whats ahead. I can see the boat we will be riding in and I know the people around me that will be riding along also but I can only see a glimpse of the route we have to take on the river during our journey. The waves are crashing against the rocks so hard i'm just sure they are never usually this violent and will most definitely throw us overboard. If we aren't thrown overboard the waves will still deterr our boat from its usual route down a different one our guide doesnt know well and the next thing we know we are lost no mans land and nobody will ever find us out there all alone. Ok so maybe that scenerio is a little extreme or I will just tell you all that I was being extreme because of course I would never really act like that in real life if I were going whitewater rafting, hmmm or would I :) haha???

Extreme or not how many of us treat life like this everyday. We work ourselves up so much and allow our minds and that human instinct to take us to extremes in every situation. Life is alot like white water rafting, its very unpredictable and sometimes the waves are bigger and our trials our bigger. Sometimes we can't always see the route ahead and even when we think we know it, trials and waves can rock us just enough so that our route is changed. The truth is God is alot like our tour guid rafting though but instead of leading us through crazy waters He leads us through crazy life. Professional guides are trained viorously and know almost every square inch of the river that the rafting trails are on. They are prepared for every disaster that we could ever probably think of and they have a solution for them also i'm sure. God is like this in each of our lives. Regardless of which route we end up on, what trials we face, what triumphs we celebrate He knows and will be by our side through the entire journey. Although it may be scary and we may feel alone at times we have to remember we arent, there's always family, friends and supporters around us helping us sift through the raging waves of life along the way. When we feel like we dont know what to do we just need to trust and have faith that God will have the solution. Mark 4:35-40 "That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?" He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

Whether it's our first time rafting or trying to climb a mountain life has put in our way many people have been down the same journey before us and i'm sure there will be many after but the tricks and lessons we learn along our way is our chance to share our story and journey with others so that their ride through life isnt as tough. Every moment we can share with someone else about the journey we have been on is a moment that another person can gain wisdom and insight from. You may not see the beauty behind your story but I guarantee someone else will. There are trials in life that we can't explain but in those moments I think God uses those things to show us something new that will bless our lives. So many times when we have traveled a route over and over we get content with whats around us and fail to see it for what its worth but then when we are sent down a different path our eyes are opened to new and beautiful things that we would have never seen otherwise.We can't always control the weather around us as we are traveling in our fragile boat and sometimes we make mistakes along the way and dont operate the boat properly. Regardless, God can take our mistakes, hurts, and whatever is thrown at us and stabilize us on a new direction. A beautiful quote I read was this,"I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to still reach my destination." We can't always determine the shift in our journey but we can allow God to adjust our sails and lead us to a new destination.

I encourage you that wherever your at whether it be on the embankment scared of getting in the boat, or in the midst of the raging waters unclear of the journey ahead just know that God is in the boat right with you. He will make a way when there seems to be none, He will pick you up and hold you when you need to feel peace, He will guide you down the path when it suddenly changes and He is powerful enough that He can direct the waves and turmoil in your life to cease. I dont know what your going through today but I do know we are all white water rafting through life everyday and my goal is to not fear the unknown but yet trust Him with it instead., afterall i'm not a trained guide for troubled waters but He is.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I wonder.......

Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler Ross writes about the 5 stages of death and dying which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Working in the healthcare field as a Nurse and aide for 5 years I have witnessed each of these at one time or another. People who are given a poor prognosis because of a terminal illness or a diagnoses of a crohnic condition which they will have to treat the rest of their lives all experience this. I have seen people jump around from stage to stage, go back and forth between stages and have also witnessed family members go through these stages along with them. Its interesting though because I think our spirits can also go through these stages. Our spirits can go through the death and dying process during a hard time in our lives and I think thats ok but whats not ok is the death part. Maybe we have gone through a trauma in our lives, or a storm and we find our spirits battling one or all of these stages.

Denial is the first stage and a place where i know we have all been. Regardless of what we are going through we just dont want to believe that its really happening we dont want to stop to think that its really our life. Anger the next stage is tough because I think there we become mad at God alot of time. We think "why would you allow this to happen" we get mad and at times can allow our anger to cut off our relationship with Christ.

Bargaining is something I know I have done which is the next step in the process, we plead with God for something and promise something else. "oh please God if you will only let this relationship work i will be a better christian," or "please God i really need this job to work out and if it does i will never turn to sin again." This stage is tricky and I think can take us back to the anger mode if what "we want" doesnt happen. We bargain with God because we want things to turn out "our way" when in fact alot of the time it doesnt. That doesnt mean God doesnt love us it just means whatever we were bargaining for wasnt the best that God had for us even though it may take us a long time to realize this.

Depression is the next stage and a hard one. We get so caught up in our circumstances that we isolate ourselves from loved ones and from God. We feel sad and unmotivated because things arent working out "our way." When we need God most in the midst of this stage is when people often tune Him out. Instead of running to the cross and to loved ones around us we shut ourselves off from everything.

Acceptance is the final stage and eventually regardless of the circumstance I think we come to this point in our lives. We realize that regardless of whats happened and whats going on "it is what it is" we can't go back and erase our mistakes, we can't go back and change the diagnosis, we can't go back and redo that relationship so we must accept what is happening in the "now" and move on. There is freedom in this stage however because we finally let go of the past and focus on the future. In life its not always about the prize its about the journey. When the race is done and completed what will we take with us more...the prize or the lessons we have learned from the journey??? I think our spirits all go through these stages at one time or another in the midst of a crisis in our lives but coming to a place of acceptance and acknowledgment that God is so much bigger than whatever is going on we find freedom. We finally let go of all we have held on to for so long and allow the chains to be taken off. We come to a point where "we finally get it." A point where we say "ok God i'm not sure why or how I have gotten to this point but I'm done I give up I accept what is happening and I give up my control and plans to you."

Whatever you are going through in life right now try to look and see what stage you are in??? Know that regardless of where you are or what you are going through God is there....He is not suprised by your pain or suffering but He is there in the midst of it. Allow yourself to learn from the process and find healing and freedom in accepting whatever it is thats going on and knowing that God is bigger and He can meet you right where you are.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Which God will you choose?

Yesterday evening we completed our first official week together as a group studying the book, "The Power of a Whisper." The discussions were amazing and inspiring to me, lots of food for thought for sure. The overall theme I got from yesterdays group was really how intimate is your relationship with God. Do you see all good things in life as "Whispers from God." When you feel the urge to help someone in need, to mow an elderly neighbors grass, to bake cookies for a family, carry groceries in for a single mom is that because a whisper from God or something else, maybe your conscience? This is something I struggle with because I want to believe that everything I hear is God's voice but is it really so? Do we hear God's voice in even the smallest things in life or is it just our desire to do good or be a good person? Afterall even non christian people do good things. After our discussion time I walked away feeling as if God truely can talk to us through all things and even the small situations. We read that every good and perfect thing comes from God so maybe even non christians that dont have a relationship with God can still do good because of Gods whisper but they just may not recognize it as being the voice of God. James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. "

We also talked about how often we praise God for things in our lives, do you praise Him for only the big things or do you find yourself saying thanks throughout your day for anything and everything. Going around the group it seemed as if each couple was on opposite sides of the fence in this. For me I praise God for everything, if I am making a recipe and happen to just barely have enough ingredients I say thank you Jesus, if I go to the store and get the perfect spot I say thank you Jesus, I am very much a visual person that looks beyond the obvious and tries to look deep within things. My husband Scott is a very awesome, loving christian man. He would do everything he possibly could to serve and offer himself for what God wants for him and our lives but he is not the, praise God for a parking spot kind of guy. He believes that things happen by more than coincidence but I dont think he would go as far as saying God planned things pefectly and set the timing up perfectly for me to have the perfect parking space. Where do you stand on this? Are you the kind of person that praises God for everything regardless of how small and insignificant may seem or are you more like my husband and thanks God for all things but doesnt consider the little thing as a "God thing?"

I guess I feel that if its something that has blessed my day, its something that has made my life easier even if its finding ingredients for a recipe then I am going to praise someone so it might as well be Jesus! Do you think people who believe life is full of everyday whispers from God hear more from Him or are some people just more aware of His voice and pay attention a little more? It interesting that the title of the book is "The Power of a Whisper" because sometimes when we  are trying to hear from God we have too much noise around us and just can't hear his voice. We think God is going to send a plane with a traling message across the sky aimed towards us but its just not like that. If we are open to quieting ourselves before Him we will hear His voice. I'm not sure if people who are intune with God more hear more from Him or are just more aware.

To sum it up we choose which God is apart of our lives. A God who reigns sovereign and sits high above us on the throne or a God who is knowable, accessible and sits at our sides. God wants to be apart of every aspect of our lives and how much are we willing to give Him? Are you willing to give Him all praise and allow His whispers to be the guide that carries you through life each day or are you ok with just hearing God in the big stuff or praising Him in the big stuff? Try and remove some of the distractions this week in your life and really listen for that still small voice of God, a God that wants to have an intimate love affair with you each day. A God that cares about every hurt, joy, fear, and dream. A God that is big and powerful but also loving an personal.

Friday, September 16, 2011

You go before me.......

Its crazy how God works. Honestly I just have to sit back and laugh sometimes because there always seems to be moments in life where things come together in a way that you know is of God. It may have taken months or years for it to fit together but evenutally the light bulb comes on and that ah ha moment is revealed and every little intricate detail falls into place. I started writing about a completely different area today and then I really felt like the voice of God was saying "don't go there, I want you to go here." I have to admit I'm a little what I like to call as strong willed aka stubborn so there was definitely resistance on my part. When I write on here I really try to share my heart as much as possible because I truely feel that what I'm going through or the things I'm learning is God driven and I know someone else has to be feeling the same thing at that time. Today I'm just going to share my heart and the place I'm at in life really.

Its been a wild ride the past 2 years and although there have been many struggles and difficulties the Lord has always been faithful and has used each moment to shape and mold me into who He wants me to be and to the place I'm at exactly right now. Its hard to share on here and get you to understand the absolute joy and excitment I have for Jesus and this time of my life.  When you are touched by the love and power of the Holy Spirit you can't possibly keep that inside and want as many people to know and feel the excitment that you feel. When this happens you come to a point where you are willing to go anywhere and do anything you feel is God driven and apart of His plan. It may not be whats popular it may not be whats comfortable and it may not be what you find as stable, everything around you shows how irrational it is but God is saying "I dont care, I will orchestrate the details you just trust me."

I'm at a place like this right now in my life. A place where I really feel like God is saying to me "I want more from you, I want to do more in you." The hard part though is that it means for me to make a huge life altering change. I struggle with the fact that if the side I feel is comfortable, were really that comfortable and i was really that content with it then why do I have any questions at all??? There is doubt placed in my mind for a reason.  I struggle with the part of being comfortable, although it may feel safe do I want to be safe??? Did God put us on this earth to serve Him and spread the gospel only if its "safe." There are ministries all around the country who got to be what they are because they stepped out in faith and decided not to play it safe. Did Beth Moore, Joyce Meyers, Dr. Dobson, World Vision, missionaries in other countries and the list could go on and on get where they are because they played it safe and only went where all the details were set out in front of them?  No they got to that point because they agreed to go wherever and do whatever God would call them to do, even if it meant going against the world and going against what was comfortable and logical to them because it was God ordained.

Right now I'm trusting God with this decision in my life. I have come to this place for a reason and am starting to really feel like certain things over the past couple years are starting to all come together and make sense and I can see the reasons behind it all and the place for it ahead and its crazy how much it makes sense and how amazing it all is. 1 Corinthians 2:9 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind can possibly ever imagine the plans that God has instore for those who love Him." I'm trusting God with this decision, I'm trusting God with my life. I'm pouring out my heart and letting go of whatever fears, insecurrities or anything that may be a hinderence and hold me back from doing the will of God. I'm trusting the unseen and saying "Your will be done God." I'm giving away my control and selfish desires only to fulfill His plans, whatever they may be, whatever it may be doing and wherever that may be I trust in Him alone and don't need to know all the details now, or be completely comfortable in whats ahead but only in Him alone. "You go before me, You shield my way. Your hands uphold me, I know you love me."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Battle scars.....

Its amazing to me to watch my 6 year old daughter Macie on a daily basis as she discovers new things in the world. Its as if you can see the wheels in her little mind turning 100 miles a minutes trying to take in as much as she can in fear that she will miss something. As a parent its one of those most beautiful things to see but also a little scary too. I want Macie to explore the world and discover new things but I'm always afraid along her journey somewhere she will make a mistake or get a boo boo. When Macie was two she was playing quietly in her bedroom which should have been our first clue, but the next thing we know she has 6 staples in the back of her head.

As a parent I felt horrible because I had let my baby down and now she was hurt and if only I would have done this or that maybe she wouldnt have staples in her head. Then I started thinking what if it leaves a huge nasty scar and everyone will be able to see it how terrible would that be?? After a little time and the adrenaline rush had worn off I was able to be a bit more rational and think to myself, so what if she does have a little scar? I have had more surgeries than I can count and have quiet a few pretty large scars from them and when I was younger I really hated them but as I have gotten older although I dont love them I have learned to appreciate their worth. Its become a part of me and represents the battles I have fought physically and although they have been painful and difficult I have made it through them.

Why is it that regardless of whether its a physical scar or an emotional one we are always trying to cover it up?? Isnt a scar nothing more than a representation of the journey we have been on? Isnt a scar often significant for the healing thats taken place from something painful? Its crazy to me the extent some people will go to cover up scars, there are more creams than you can imagine such as Mederma, bio-oil etc.... all claiming they will make your scar completely disappear and some people even go as far as laser treatments to try and remove them. I even started thinking about stretch marks and how crazy we are as women that as soon as one starts to pop out its instant panic mode, but really doesnt that stretch mark represent something so amazing and beautiful, the miracle of pregnancy and a new life being formed from within our very own bodies?

I'm not claiming we should walk around pointing out our scars to everyone we come in contact with but I'm wondering how much different things would be if we werent ashamed of them, if we werent ashamed of the journey behind the scars? There are very few people in this world that doesnt have a good childhood story of how they ended up with stitches or staples from one thing or another and I would also bet that if we werent so afraid to hide we would realize even as adults we have similar scars.

Now we all know that physical scars are much easier to expose than emotional ones. I think alot of the reasons we believe this is because we are so afraid of what others will think. If we can put on a mask and pretend that we have it all together and nothing has ever compromised that image then everyone will love and accept us. This is a lie from Satan that we believe so often because although I cannot see the hearts of every person in this world I can say with 100% confidence that we all feel like this. We all wake up every morning whether we realize it or not and put on our mask, we try to hide our imperfections, our hurts, our burdens and our scars because others dont have them only me, but you know what??? they do have them its just that they are at home covering them up at the same time and have maybe been doing it for so long they just have it perfected a little better than we do. Satan wants nothing more than for us to cover up those scars and the pain that the Lord has brought us through. I believe in my whole heart that beauty is always traded for ashes and God lets not one ounce of pain take place without a cause. We may not see the cause for years but eventually our scars are beauty marks and battle wounds for not defeat but a hope in the life of another.

One of the greatest things to me is that moment I am sure we can all recall when after we have faced a huge trial in life we come to a point in our journey where we have the opportunity to use what the Lord taught us to help someone going through almost the exact same hardship. Whenever this happens in that moment I feel so overwhelmed that I would like to jump on a roof top and sing "hallelujah" at the top of my lungs but instead I find myself smiling inside thinking "ok Lord I get it you knew exactly what you were doing." 2 Corinthians 1:4 "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."Satan wants nothing more than for us to count our scars and hide them but God wants to take our broken pieces and turn them into a beautiful mosaic for Him.

Regardless of where you have been, what you have done or what you have walked through in this life I guarantee you arent the only person who owns that scar because there is someone, somewhere else who knows the pain behind that healed wound. Next time Satan tries to tell you how ugly that scar is you remind him how beautiful the Lord has made it and what awesome things He has done in your life and others around you because of it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dirty, broken, mess.....

Its not hard to turn on the t.v. each day or read the paper and figure out that "we are a mess." Our society is falling apart and each day more and more people are being touched by the evils of murder, rape, abuse, addictions, poverty, disease, abandonment and more. Have you ever seen one of those commercials for the ASPCA?? On the commercials they show different pictures of animals that have been abused and abandoned. The pictures are heartbreaking and always make me way too uncomfortable. The animals look mangled, their hair is matted, they have cuts on their bodies, you can see their ribs through their skinny torsos and somehow the first thing our heads tell us to do is turn away.

We dont like to feel uncomfortable, if we turn away then we can pretend its not true. Even when the hurts of this world are displayed right in front of us we are so often too worried about being uncomfortable then stepping in the thick of the mess and trying to help with damage control somehow. Its easy to have an opinion about the mess our world is in but another to have a piece in fixing it. I know I have been guilty so many times of being ok with staying in my comfort zone and leaving the things that make me uncomfortable to someone else.

When we were in Cleveland a few months ago we somehow made a wrong turn and decided to pull over in a church parking lot to figure out where we were going. After we pulled over we glanced up ahead of us and there sitting on the steps of this church was a man starring right at us. His clothes were dirty, his hands and skin appeared rough and weathered, he was surrounded by a couple trash bags of stuff, he was a mess. This man could have been a murderer or criminal for all we know but there in the midst of his brokenness he needed someone to reach out and offer him a hand. He needed a little glimpse of hope and compassion even if it was through something small. So after sitting there a few minutes Scott got out of the van and offered the man a drink from our cooler. We didnt know how he would respond or even if it would mean anything to him but Scott did it anyways and this man responded back with such gratitude and appreciation. It was as if that bottle of gatorade meant more than a drink for his body but hydration for his soul. Obviously in that 5 minute encounter we werent able to understand his story or know the journey he has been down. He knew nothing about us but the space of the unknown was filled because of the love of Christ. It didnt matter where he had been or what he had done, or who we were, or what we had been through in that moment it was all put aside and love and compassion was shown in the midst of the mess.

In the Bible you will read story after story of people that intervened in the lives of the broken, the hungry, the sick and the poor. Jesus didnt stop to ask for a list of qulifciations in order to touch the lives of those who needed Him. He didnt go through a checklist of things that would make them adequate enough to receive His grace and mercy. He instead met them in the midst of the mess and offered love and hope to them first and then used that encounter to shape and mold them. "All of the biblical characters were a complex mix of strengths and weaknesses. David, Abraham, Lot, Saul, Solomon, Rahab, and Sarah were God-loving, courageous, brilliant, fearless, loyal, passionate, commited holy men and women who were also murderers, adulterers, and manic depressives. They were men and awomen who could be gentle, holy, defenders of the fait one minute, and insecure, mentally unstable, unbelieving, shrewd, lying, grudge-holding tyrants the next," Mike Yaconelli. Jesus hung out with prostitues, tax collectors, adulterers, disease stricken people and He never once turned away because He felt out of place or uncomfortable but instead offered His love and grace to those who needed it the most. Colossians 3:12 "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

We all need to feel loved and cared for, we all need to feel as if we belong. The murderers, rapists, drug dealers, abusers that you see on t.v. didnt just fall from the sky, they are still someones son, daughter, sister, brother, mother, father, and friend. It may be an overused cliche' but as followers of Christ we need to step out in love and hate the sin but love the sinner. We need to offer hope and change so that we can help clean up the mess around us. Their are so many people in this world broken and alone that just need for someone to give them a chance and help show them that they have the ability to be good and to do good things in this world because of the transformation of Christ.

"Spirituality is not a formula; it is not a test. It is a relationship. Spirituality is not about competency; it is about intimacy. Spirituality is not about perfection; it is about connection. The way of the spiritual life beigins where we are now in the mess of our lives. Spirituality is not about being fixed; it is about God's being present in the mess of our unfixedness," Mike Yaconelli. A few years ago I came to a breaking point in my life, I was an active part of our church, my husband plays on the praise team, our daughter was going to the preschool at our church, I was a nurse, and felt as if my life was together and I had it all figured out. What God started showing me though is by taking away one thing after another that I had invested my life in that even when the things around me made me feel as if I had it all together I was a mess underneath it all. I had to come to a point where I had to get real before Him and admit that I needed His grace and love and that I was broken and empty and needed His grace and forgivness. There were criminals and deeply wounded people that had it more together than I did I think even though I wanted to believe otherwise.

You may feel that you have it all together and maybe you do, or you may be a complete mess, either way you are never beyond the need for God's grace. "Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace," Jerry Bridges. Maybe an alcoholic in a coffee shop needs to hear the love of Jesus, maybe a criminal in Prison needs to hear the love of Jesus, maybe a drug addict single mom needs to hear the love of Jesus, the battlefield is endless and so is His grace. Be that glimpse of hope in the life of someone this week that needs it so desperately. Offer yourself as the hands and feet of Jesus and get down in the trenches of the battle and mess of this world and reach out a hand to the undesirable, the dirty, broken, hurt soul of someone who needs it the most. Step out of your comfort zone and extend the gift of grace to someone for you once were given the same gift.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Secret Garden.....

As a little girl I remember falling in love with the movie "The Secret Garden." There was something about the chaos the children in the story was facing and being able to get away in the walls of the garden and feel completely free. There was a girl Mary who was an orphan, Dickon and Colin, who suffered from sickness and severe anxiety of becoming crippled and hunchback. All the characters in this story carried such heavy burdens but yet they were merely just kids. Finding the garden allowed them to escape the walls of their troubles and hid beneath the trees and brush to a place where they could feel protected and free. The children laughed and played behind those safe, familar walls and discovered what it was like to let go of all that was facing them on the outside.

Life can be tough and the battles we face can really weigh us down at times but we can always rest assured that apart from the chaos around us we can always take refuge in the arms of Christ. As I was walking home this morning from taking Macie to school something stood out to me and caught my attention. The gate to our backyard that we use daily to get to Macie's school is starting to become overgrown with tree branches and Ivy and the entrance is almost hidden. Its my own secret garden and the feeling I get as I step from the outside world each day into the familar threshold of my own backyard there just seems to be a sense of peace wash over me. Its as if regardless of what I'm facing on the outside, whatever battles are waiting for me out there, within the walls of my home I can find comfort and peace. Its a place that I can escape too and be me, bearing all my hurts, fears, sorrows and troubles before the Lord and finding comfort in His arms.

There are people around me right now facing some very difficult battles. The unknown is scary and can be overwhelming and exhausting. In those moments where we have nothing left to hold on to its comforting to know that we can take refuge in His arms, crawl up in His lap and find comfort from whatever we are facing. The words to the song "The More I seek You," say this. "I want to sit at Your feet, drink from the cup in Your hands, lay back against You and breath, feel your heartbeat. This love is so deep, its more than I can bear, I melt in Your peace, its overwhelming." The words to this song are so comforting to me, its as if I can literally find peace in His arms. Psalm 27:5 NLV "For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock."Whatever you are facing right now know that you can find peace and refuge in His arms.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The C word....

Its that time of year, actually its probably my favorite season of all, its Fall. The leaves will soon be changing, its time to break out the hoodies and sweats and I abosulutely love the warm colors of fall and smell of Apple cider and pumpkin pie candles burning throughout my house. Its one time in life where the big ugly scary C word doesnt scare me so much, yes I mean change. Change is something we all have to deal with, we can choose to battle it head on and go with the flow or we can resist the direction life is taking us and find ourselves caught in an intense battle. There have been times in my life where I resisted change kicking and screaming and others where I couldnt wait for a change. Maybe your in a good place you feel in your life and then the Lord calls you to make some changes, big or small. Or maybe you are in a rough spot in life and you are desperate for change, a new direction a fresh perspective.

There have been many changes in our household over the past month or so. Its been difficult adjusting for all of us but little miss Macie has had it the hardest by far. With starting kindergarten, soccer, dance, a new class at church its just all happening so quickly and all at once its hard for her to keep her balance it seems. We have had some rough mornings over the past few weeks where she just didnt want to go to school and would be in tears every morning as I dropped her off. But when I returned 6 hours later she would be all smiles and full of excitment sharing about her day and how much fun she had. I don't think its necessarily school she doesnt like because she says "its fun" but I think its just the change of it all and newness of what her life is like now. Its going from a schedule she was used to and comfortable with to something different and unknown. Each day she does something new and is experiencing many firsts right now and that can be scary. Even as adults we can all feel overwhelmed and afraid at times because of changes in our lives. Maybe we dont know all the details but just feel like its where God wants us to go in something. Maybe its a job, a realationship, a new house, a new city it can be scary. It may take an act of faith alone and trusting that God who loves us more than we can imagine knows more than we do and wants nothing but the best for us so all we can do is be obedient. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future."

A friend had a quote posted today and it said this "Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." John C. Maxwell. This quote is perfect because regardless of how much we resist change things are going to happen in life that require us to move from where we are at to somewhere else. We can resist that change and allow ourselves to be held into the past or we can grab hold of whats ahead and choose to grow and learn from it. By trusting in the Lord and giving our hearts and every part of our lives to Him we can trust that we have a firm foundation and even when life shifts and changes we can remain comforted in His arms. Change is hard but with Christ we can be content regardless of what our circumstances are around us. "We need inner strength to keep from being overwhelmed by outward circumstances. We must allow God to gather up our fragmented dreams and mold us into the image of Christ. To do that, He may have to crush the few pieces we have left into fine clay, water us with His word, reshape our lumpy mass of leftovers, and put us back on His potter's wheel." Joyce Meyer

When we feel like the world is breaking beneath our feet God can uphold us with His hand and allow us to not be moved. When devestation hits around us we can still praise Him because He is still the God now in the midst of heartache that He was before. Psalms 18:2-3 says: The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, [who is worthy] to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.Life isnt always about how we are going to adjust to whats around us but being merely content in Christ so that our circumstances will not cause us to move. Change is never easy for anyone but its a time for us to step out and trust God with the unknown in our lives. Regardless of how scary and how little details we have we can rest assured that God has plans to prosper us and not to harm us and if its coming from Him then we can find comfort in that.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Power of a Whisper....

Tonight, 29 groups of different ages, genders, backgrounds and stories all met in our gym to kick off Community groups for this coming year. I am going to be honest here and say community groups were something I had a very hard time getting into initially, but soon realized it wasnt the group or the discussions that hadn't attracted me it was the mere lack of commitment and effort on my part. After I really started trying to be consistent about going and giving it my all I found that it was an amazing way to connect and grow in my realtionship with Christ with the help and encouragment of my group. It became a time each week that I looked forward to so much and felt a hunger to feel that closeness with each other and God through our discussions and prayer time. We battled many ups and downs throughout our time together last year, deaths, births, major illnesses, job, family and financial struggles, you name it we probably faced it. It became such an amazing sense of unity and support that I think we all gained because we knew regardless of what we were facing we had a group that was there with us to encourage and pray for us.

I am excited that this years groups have kicked off and we can begin a new journey together. Our groups have changed a little this year because of the growth thats taken place but I think God is using this to stretch us and take us out of our comfort zone a little more. Pastor Phillip shared with us tonight the series that all community groups will be doing for the next 4 weeks and thats the book "The Power of a Whisper." by Bill Hybels. We all face moments in life where we feel like God is speaking to us and asking us to go in a certain direction or face a specific situation and it can be difficult to decipher His voice. Or we have so much clutter and noise in our lives that we often forget to take the time to be still and hear what He is trying to say. This series is a way for us to have the tools to hear His voice more clearly and understand if it is the voice of God we think we are hearing.

Scott and I were talking a little about our first impression and the discussions that took place tonight and we both feel its going to be an awesome series. I know that we all want to follow the voice of Christ and its hard sometimes to decide what that means. I think most of us have an innate sense to be kind and giving and good but is that our personalities or is that from God? When you get a deep sense to help someone in need is that because you just have a generous heart or is that because of Gods leading??? One of the members in our group mentioned tonight that its tough to know weather its Gods voice or just your conscience and wanting to be good or do good. I have to admit I really struggle with this. I often find myself not being able to know whether something I am feeling is the voice of God or a desire in my heart thats of my own abilities.

These are just some thoughts that I wanted to share and get throughts from others, how do you feel about this or what do you think about the voice of God in your life each day??? In the next 4 weeks we will be going through this series and during that time I would like to try and share the journey of what I feel like God is showing and teaching me. Do you know what it means to hear the still small voice of God??? I pray that as we begin this series I would learn to remove all that distracts me from the sweet whispers of Jesus so that I can allow my life to become more Spirit led and directed.