Tag Archives: life

Love is seek and find

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Love is seek and find

I had this funny thing happen the other day. I wanted to spend time with the Lord, but my son and husband were having a “camp out” in the living room where my Bible, devotionals, and journal were. I lay in my bed wandering if I could try something new instead of being stuck in my box of “this is how I do my quiet time.” Upon which the Lord reminded me that I had noticed an old journal and some pens in one of my bathroom drawers. What was is doing there you might ask? I have no idea. Since it was so out of place I remembered it, so I grabbed it and purposed to journal there. As I opened it, I saw prayer request from 2013, and I spent some time in awe of God’s hand as I could see specifically now each one had been answered abundantly. I praise and rejoiced and my faith was once again stirred. Next I noticed that I had written a challenge to myself- get outside more. Funny, that is still, in 2017, the same challenge. Here is what I am learning, to love myself well, which consequently aligns me to love others more, I have to honor what makes me come alive, and one of those things for me is the outdoors. I am making a choice to be intentional about getting outside and doing some outdoor activity multiple times a week.

As I am slowing down to focus on loving myself and others well, I thought it would be a good idea to read the Song of Solomon. It is a book in the Old Testament filled with love poetry between and woman and a man who are deeply and madly in love with each other. However, the book is full of seeking each other out, finding each other, and then having to seek once again. Sometimes, when one would find where other was, the other one wasn’t ready to be found. The book ends with them seeking for each other once again, not the ‘happily ever after skipping down jolly lane’ we expect from a great love story.

At first I thought this was strange but I sought the Lord to teach me something new. He began to show me how love is never finding the one you love and then staying in that blissful place forever. Love is being committed to seek and find, forever. We are always changing and growing and becoming. Along the different parts of that journey, different types of love will be required. I believe this could be a true piece to every relationship, even with myself and with God. As life flies at us, we have to continue finding new facets of God which in turn unveils new pieces of ourselves. Sometimes we find something new and amazing and sometimes we uncover something hard to process. We can choose to show up and love if we choose to invite Jesus into it all. Apart from Him, I think the notion of this eternal game of seek and find would be overwhelmingly exhausting.

I’m just beginning to embrace this notion and trying to live it out. It definitely feels less ‘wrapped up in a neat box with a bow’ than I want it to. But I can tell this type of perspective on love is more genuine than I previously expected and yet tremendously less likely to set me up to be deeply disappointed than what I’ve understood before.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about love or how you plan to love yourself well this year!

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Ready, set, SLOW

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Ready, set, SLOW

As I sit here to write, honestly I feel incredibly rusty. Life has been….busy…that’s a nice word to sum it up. So many good things, some hard, and a lot of new has been unfolding. Sometimes new takes up a lot of emotion, time, space and energy. Funny, come to think of it, having to small children takes a lot of that as well. Oh, and then there’s the whole keeping a marriage alive part. Whoops, let’s not forget about homeschooling. Whew, I just got plain worn out. Somewhere in the bustle, I forgot about myself, my needs, and taking care of me, and you know what? I ended up sick for a month!

As this new year turned, I watched so many receive incredible words for their year filled with purpose, achievement, and accomplishment. Yet me, I’m over here with a different flavor altogether. What I got for my year was, SLOW DOWN, this is not a race. I felt an encouragement to rest in all things, to stop pushing so hard. To relax into the beauty of these moments I get to live.

How in the world do you do that without growing lazy, weary, or complacent? Do I even know how to live life from rest? I like to work and I like to make things happen, would I still be able to do that if I first choose to slow down? I’m really not sure yet, but I believe God always has my best in mind, so I am taking steps to find out.

Here is what I’ve tried so far:

  1. I’m getting outside more. Starting slow by committing to 3x/week walk with a friend.
  2. I’m writing again. Ta da…..this is the first fruit of it.
  3. I’m playing with my children more. (This is my favorite so far!)

I will share more about this next time, but lastly I wanted to encourage you with an acronym I received. Perhaps this will be helpful if you are stepping in a new direction too.

S-tart

T-o

E-ncounter

P-rogress

S-lowly

Let’s step slowly in the direction of our dreams together beginning now. Happy New Year to you. Looking forward to slowly unraveling the gifts this year has to bring!

Which invitation will you say yes to?

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Lately, the Lord has been revealing to me how each interaction and set of circumstances is simply an invitation. I get invited to be offended. I get invited to love in the midst of adversity. I get invited to be afraid. I get invited to trust God. I get invited to join in celebrated. I get invited to feel alone. I get invited to love. I get invited to hate. I get invited to life. I get invited to death.

So, as a result of this sort of simplistic yet powerful revelation, I have found myself more often than not, evaluating what I am being invited to. When I see that the invitation is to engage in a hate filled, death breeding word battle- I am starting to be empowered to simply RSVP not attending.   When I recognize I am being invited to be stretched beyond my self-imposed limits and all my senses are screaming YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL- I, timidly, RSVP that yes I choose to attend. When I recognize I have two invitations in the same set of circumstances, I am trying to be intentional on choosing the one which leads to life.

Let’s dig deeper into  this life and death talk. Life-giving thoughts are thoughts that agree with the heart of God towards you and/or others. Our thoughts eventually become our words, and our words usually become our actions. Death breeding thoughts are any thoughts that are less than or against what God says about you or others. What we come into agreement with eventually we bring into our reality.

Matthew 12:34-35New International Version (NIV)

34 …….. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.

Ephesians 4:29New King James Version (NKJV)

29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Proverbs 18:21New King James Version (NKJV)

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Agreeing with God- through believing He is who He says He is- and can do what He says He can do, brings life. Anything less than that- truly brings a slow, miserable death. Kind of harsh- or just kind of simple? Perhaps both- you get to decide.

So when I am invited to justify my emotional decisions- and stay stuck in that destructive cycle- I know now that I am empowered to simply state that I will not come to that party. I can choose instead to RSVP yes to take responsibility for my decisions and seek out the Lord’s best for my life, find out his constructive cycle and then begin intentionally living that out. When I am invited to have an opinion about an organization or another individual based on my limited understanding or personal perspective, I can choose to say no to that invitation and instead choose to seek the Lord and ask for His thoughts on that person or organization and choose to agree with His heart.

Most recently, both of my children have been very ill. I have had MANY invitations to feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and completely unfit for the tasks before me. Sure, maybe the first few days I had a great attitude and a can-do spirit, but by day five and six, when the symptoms had reached their height and I was exhausted and felt like I was somehow failing them-I recognized that those thoughts were an invitation to be distracted from doing the task I was entrusted with and I RSVP’d NO! I chose instead to reach out and ask others to encourage me and pray for me so I could be enabled, by His strength and power and Spirit, to continue on.

I feel this message is for more than just me- and in my totally exhausted state I fear I may not have articulated it as well as I would have liked- I pray that somehow the Lord uses these words to challenge you, and to continue challenging me, to consider where we are allowing ourselves to go, and on the flip side- where are we inviting others?

Delayed for the BIG STORY!

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Often times when I am in a waiting season of sorts- I find hope and encouragement in the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. (John 11:38-44)
Many years ago, the Lord showed me how Mary and Martha were close friends of Jesus and yet while their brother was dying and they sent word for Jesus to come heal him, Jesus didn’t make it in time and their brother died. Can you imagine how confused, upset, and disappointed they were with Him? They KNEW He was the healer and yet He chose not to heal. They waited and believed and the outcome wasn’t what they were hoping for. He was not on time by their standards.
I can just see the looks on their faces, wearing their hearts on their sleeves in mourning, and saying upon His return, “YOU ARE TOO LATE- You might as well just go and keep healing the ones there is still time and hope for. It’s no use for You to be here with us now.”
But Jesus, who always kept His eyes on the Father and did what He saw the Father doing, wasn’t too late in any respect. He was right on time. He didn’t respond to their urgency, but solely responded to the Father’s will. God had a better outcome then what the sisters were believing for. You see, they already KNEW He was the healer, but they got a deeper revelation. As Jesus walked into an atmosphere that was overcome with the stench of death and decay- He spoke and LIFE WAS RESURRECTED! They all became eye witnesses that this Jesus was more than a prophet and healer- He was the Resurrection and the Life!

I have always kind of just stopped there in my amazement in how the waiting, and seemingly disappointing outcome, can sometimes lead us to a deeper understanding about the infinite facets of who God is, and how getting to know Him more is worth anything. However, recently, He has been expanding this revelation of HOW GOOD GOD IS, and HOW HIS TIMING AND PLANS are for such a greater purpose than our small story.

John 12:9-11The Voice (VOICE)

9 Word spread of Jesus’ presence, and a large crowd was gathering to see Jesus and the formerly deceased Lazarus, whom He had brought back from the dead. 10 The chief priests were secretly plotting Lazarus’s murder since, 11 because of him, many Jews were leaving their teachings and believing in Jesus.

John 12:17-19The Message (MSG)

17-19 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, was there giving eyewitness accounts. It was because they had spread the word of this latest God-sign that the crowd swelled to a welcoming parade. The Pharisees took one look and threw up their hands: “It’s out of control. The world’s in a stampede after him.”

CHECK IT OUT! If Jesus would have answered the simple request of his dear friends Mary and Martha- and had come right away and healed their brother- they would have been saved heartache, grieving, and suffering. BUT ALSO- many would not have left their teachings and come to know Jesus. There would not have been a stampede after Jesus due to the testimony of their unanswered prayer being answered in a way MUCH bigger than they could have ever imagined!

Can we always understand why we are being asked to wait? Why the answer is so opposite of what we have prayed, believed, and hoped in? NO! Does it hurt? YES! But are we resolved that God is always good and I am ALWAYS loved?

Jesus not healing Lazarus had to cause his heart to ache also- He never delights in seeing any of His children suffer. But our Father is a good God and He sees the BIG STORY! And as we follow Him, He allows us to join in and become part of the answer for others who are yet to come into the Kingdom.

Mary,Martha, and Lazarus got to witness first hand the resurrecting power of God on Earth! Then the overflow of that great miracle, brought many to know and believe in Jesus. If the delay in my answer will be that big- I am going to choose to lay my need to understand down, and lift my hands in Praise to the One who gives me the honor of being part of His BIG Story! Will you join me? 

2 Corinthians 4:17GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

17 Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine.

Drink deep- and be restored!

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A message from the Father today-
Today is not a hard day. Take it moment by moment and enjoy the moments. I am sending you gifts today- provision and wisdom for the road ahead. Go and receive all that I have for you. Do not lean on your own understanding or place your trust in your physical body- just rest in Me. I Am your source, and I Am more than enough. Your joy is in Me- Your hope is in Me- You will find everything You need in Me. Keep Your heart and eyes steadfastly fixed on me and you will see how I have placed provision ahead of time right where you need it. I have placed more than enough- take what you need and give the rest away. Receive freely, give freely. That is the rhythm of love. Stay at my rhythm and pace and do not try to go faster, be stronger, or do more than I have asked of you. Rest, trust, worship- this is the only way to succeed. Rejoice in who I have been to you. Rejoice in the promises I have made you for your future. And rejoice in what you are believing I Am doing right now. Rejoice in all things. Nothing is too hard for me- press into me and find all that you feel like you lack- for the truth is there is no lack in Me. I love you.

Prune out gravity

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John 15

New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus, the True Vine

15 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

 

Recently, the Lord began to speak to me about what needed pruning out of my life. The list included a few things I had no idea were hindering me, and one thing that I had no idea what it meant, however eight week later I am beginning to have a revelation.

He spoke, ” Prune out gravity. You can SOAR. Prune out any idea of anything you feel is keeping you grounded, rooted, secure other than Me.”

Gravity? Isn’t that something I have in my life everyday, a constant, that I never think about but influences everything about my whole entire world?

My response, “Lord, what am I using as gravity? What is influencing my whole world that is keeping me from freely soaring with You?’

Oh my goodness- I strongly want to encourage you to journal this out with the Lord. Ask Him to show you the answer to that question in your own life, and then be quiet, be still, wait….when you start having some thoughts out of a deeper place inside of you begin to write those thoughts down. Do not worry about if it’s you or if it’s Him, just go with it. Later, spend time in His Word with Him and ask Him to clarify what was from Him. This is so powerful.

You and I were created to soar with Jesus, like eagles. So funny thing about eagles, they use the currents from storms to fly higher. They rise above the storm and go higher than ever before. They also were equipped with eyes to see and while flying to new heights can still clearly see what they are after. God will give you Eagle eyes, He wants you to soar.

What is gravity in your own life? Will you seek Him and journey with Him to prune it out of your life?

Jesus, I want to soar with you to whatever height I was created to. Lord, please help me partner with you, take courage, and be able to journey through pruning out anything I do not even realize is holding me down, keeping me from all that You created me for. Make it evident Lord. Show me Your ways. I am all Yours. I love you Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

on the way….

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Just a quick post to share something I have been enjoying….life. I have actually begun enjoying life.There is much joy to be experienced when you decide to live it, in it, each day as it’s own. I have laid down the deadline to arrive, the rush to succeed, and I have chosen to enjoy. It’s been so different, filled with rejoicing, laughter, and at a pace that crisis doesn’t over inflate to insurmountable amounts, and there is time to listen, really listen. It all has begun with a Sabbath, hard in the beginning, but so wonderful….and like dominoes things are taking their appointed places. Joy is wonderful, pressure gone is amazing, and taking the time to healthily process and release the hard is good. Getting to recognize life is full of gifts that I’m tasting, smelling, being  and enjoying for the first time changes perspective. We have nowhere to arrive, we are already here. This is new and still lots to be uncovered, but as for today, in this now moment, I’m celebrating the progress I’ve made! Praise You Jesus! 

Matthew 6: 31-34

31 So do not consume yourselves with questions: What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? 32 Outsiders make themselves frantic over such questions; they don’t realize that your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need. 33 Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too34 So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.