Friendship

In my mind, I feel that I often fall short in my friendships. I am so busy so much of the time that I feel like I am not always able to invest the way I would like to. To me that brings on that ugly “f” word…FAILURE!

But God sees me differently. He sees my heart. He knows my desires. He knows my intentions. And because He knows me so well, He puts people in my path that remind me that I am being a good friend, that I am investing my time into people, and that even though my time is sometimes limited, I am making a difference. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

And because He knows me so well, He puts people in my path that remind me that I am being a good friend, that… Click To Tweet

The best kind of people are the ones that come into your life, and make you see the sun where you once saw clouds. The people that believe in you so much, you start to believe in you too. The people that love you, simply for being you. The once in a lifetime kind of people.”

This quote was handwritten on a card I received in the mail today. A card that went on to thank me for being such a good friend. As a tear rolled down my cheek, I realized that I am not a failure. I am just a busy mama who is making her best effort to get it all done. And someone sees me as who I am, and loves me anyways. Someone appreciates my friendship, even though I am so far from being a perfect friend. I make a difference, even when I don’t always realize it.

Are you struggling in your friendships today? Are you feeling like a failure, or that you are lacking in that area of your life? God sees you, He knows your heart. He knows just who you need in your life to make you feel like a special person, and to show you the meaning of true friendship. And He will bring you a card, a word of kindness, a moment…He will bring you just what you need.

And in all of this, we need to remember that we have the greatest friend of all in Jesus Christ. He never lets us down, He is always there, He knows us so very well, and He calls us “FRIEND”.

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)

Do You See?

Do you see me? I’m the lady at the red light who is dabbing her eyes with a napkin. No, I don’t have allergies or a cold. Did you ever consider that those are tears I am wiping away? Perhaps my thoughts wandered as I was driving and I was having a memory of someone I lost.

Do you see me? I’m the man at the table who lingers a little too long over my dinner. It’s not that I really enjoy your company all that much, but it sure beats going home to an empty house and a closet full of my late wife’s clothes that I can’t bear to let go of.

Do you see me? I am that widow sharing memes on social media about love and loss. Somehow it makes me feel closer, if only for a moment, to the one I lost. I live for the day we are reunited.

Do you see me? I am a tough-as-nails woman who is used to being in control. But I have no control over this. I can’t stop my loved one’s death process, and I am having to learn how to be okay with losing control. I am having to learn how to wear my heart on my sleeve and still be seen as strong.

Do you see us? We are a devastated couple. We tried so hard for so long to experience that pregnancy, but that baby just wasn’t to be. How do we move past this grief? How do we get the courage to try again?

Do you see us? We are the group gathered around the cafe table, all caught in the loneliness of having lost our spouse, seeking companionship from those who have experienced the same. We talk of them and share fond memories, and for a little while they live on in our words.

Do you see us? We are family, yet today marks the anniversary of one who went too soon. We share the photos, pledging to never forget, and try to somehow not feel guilty for still being in this world.

Do you see us? We are just kids. We don’t really understand about loss and grief. All we know is we miss our person. We want to talk about him, but when we do, our mama cries. Then we feel guilty, so we keep quiet, holding our memories close to our heart.

To the world, we look okay. But on the inside we are struggling. Do you see our struggle? Do you even notice? There is pain all around us. Everywhere we look, people are suffering silently from grief and loss. Some are holding on by a thread, taking each day as it comes, waiting for someone to acknowledge their pain. Others are more verbal about it, but their words don’t quite match their inner pain.

I have found through my own recent experience of too many losses in too little time that grief can be all-consuming if we let it. It is a constant battle to acknowledge your grief, believe it is necessary, yet not let it take over your every thought. It is a fine balancing act between letting yourself experience the loss and moving forward.

How do you do it? For me, the answer is simple. God has some beautiful words on grief that are found in the pages of His precious message to us. The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed spirit. (Psalm 34:18). Thank you Lord that just like a protective father, you stay close to us in our storms and valleys. He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3). Thank you Jesus that our hearts can find healing in You. Thank you that you are able to take a broken heart and piece it back together. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4). How beautiful it is when we feel the precious hand of Jesus upon us, bringing us comfort in our pain and sorrow. What a blessing it is to be comforted by our Savior. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10). God never leaves us. He walks with us through our darkest places and pulls us back into the light. He holds us in His arms as we battle through our pain, and gives us strength to face each day. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life, (Psalm 119:50). Yes, we grieve. Yes, we feel the pain of loss deep within us. But God promises to be our strength. He promises to never leave us. He promises a joyful reuni9n for all who know Him. It is those promises that keep us moving forward, nudging us back into “living” and learning to find a new “normal” in our days, months, and years.

BALANCE

I have noticed many on social media declaring their “word” for 2018. It’s that time of year when we are putting away the old and looking forward to the new. What does God have in store for this new year? What opportunities will there be to serve him? So, I have pondered over the last few days, trying to decide what word best suits my hopes for 2018. The word that keeps coming back to me is…BALANCE.

I hope that I am able to balance all that God has so graciously given me. I want to do a better job of balancing my role as mama and wife with my role as business owner and ministry leader. I want to balance my time better so that I can do more of what he has called me to do…write and speak of Jesus, and encourage others through the words he gives me. I want to balance my “to do“ list with my “want to do” list. I want to balance my laughter with my tears. (My tears tipped the scales in 2017) I want to balance my friendships and weed out those that cause me struggles. I want to balance the opinion I have of myself so that is is more in line with the opinion my Savior has of me.I will remind myself that confidence isn’t arrogance. I want to give my courage a little more balance against my fears and go for the things Jesus is holding out his hand and offering to me.

I want to balance my “to do“ list with my “want to do” list. Click To Tweet

Yes…BALANCE is my word. How will I achieve it? Through lots of prayer, through believing that I am more than a conqueror, through knowing I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, through knowing He calls me Friend, through looking in the mirror and seeing one who is more precious than rubies, and through knowing I was created for such a time as this. Look out 2018….here I come‼!

PEACE

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. ( 1 Peter 5:7)

Life can throw curve balls at us that we never expected…loss, pain, hardship, uncertainty. What we do with these is a choice we each must make. Do we wallow in our troubles, staying up all night worrying, crying ourselves to sleep, taking out our frustrations on those around us? Or do we place our baggage at the feet of our Savior and trade it for his perfect peace?

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

Are you trusting God with your needs and concerns? Trusting him gives us peace amidst our troubles. Trusting him prevents that nasty old devil from having a field day with our fears and doubts. I know that can be easier said than done. I frequently find myself drifting into a pool of doubt, fear, and uncertainty. I could easily be buried in it. But my God is good, and he reaches down with his gentle hand and gently pulls me back to the surface, or he softly whispers in my ear that all is well. Thank you, Father, for that beautiful spirit that speaks me into calmness and peace.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace, in the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

God doesn’t tell us we will never have trials. In fact, he assures us we will. But he does promise to walk with us through our valleys and lead us to the mountaintop. When we put our hope and trust in him, we receive this beautiful sense of peace, a peace that surpasses what we, in our humanness, can understand.

Are you experiencing peace in your life today? Are you giving God the opportunity to calm your spirit and lead you up the mountain? The view from the mountaintop is beautiful…you won’t want to miss it.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

HOPE

The thought, the message, the word of this first week of Advent…Hope. As I focus on that word, as I ponder its meaning, The Lord gives me time to reflect on what Hope means in my life.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

I have been through some pretty rough stuff this year, some real tribulation, but I can still have Hope for the future. I have had to call out to God in desperation many times, but I still know that tomorrow will be a brighter day. I know that there is something good ahead when the hard days come. How do I know this?

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, plans to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

God is SO not done with me yet. He is SO not done with you. When the hard days come, when the struggles seem insurmountable, He will pick you up in his gentle hands and lead you into a future of promise and possibility…a future filled with Hope.

Are you feeling discouraged? Do you feel as if the world has let you down and the future looks bleak? Don’t give up. Trust in the One who made you…the One who made you with a plan and a purpose. Wait on the Lord to reveal His plan. Put your Hope in Him.

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Oh…what blessings God has in store for all of us! Oh what goodness is coming our way! Take heart and have Hope. Your best is up ahead.

Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:18)

Many blessings to you as you put your Hope in the Lord and let Him guide your path💜

Grief Lessons

When someone we love passes on, we are left with a myriad of emotions….sorrow, regret, misery, disbelief, uncertainty, sometimes anger, sometimes relief that they are no longer bound by suffering. Often, we question “why” and we try to understand. The truth is that we may never really understand why God chooses the time that each life comes to an earthly end. His ways are not our ways. And so we are left….clinging to memories and wondering what to do next.

In my own recent loss and pain, I have found a way to move through the days and weeks and months. I ask myself….what did this person mean to my life? How did this person impact me and on what level? What did I learn from this person being a part of my journey? And when I ask that question, I am able to ponder on all the goodness and richness of life that God so generously gave me with the gift of those precious people whom I have lost. Oh what a blessing they were to me! What beautiful memories I get the joy of carrying in my heart! What tremendous ways they shaped my life and helped me become who I am today! What precious, beautiful gifts they were! When I realize all of this and put my thoughts on these facts instead of on my sorrows, I am able to feel the joy in my heart again. They joy for the pleasure of knowing them. The joy for the memories we shared. The joy for the tears we cried. The joy for the lessons of life.

Life is a string of comings and goings. People weave into our lives through biology, through circumstance, through God’s divine purpose. Some stay a great while with us and we create bonds that death cannot break. Others are fleeting, but bring laughter and joy to our hearts just the same. Whatever the case, the loss is great. Our hearts break. Our tears fall. We question why. But on the other side of the grief comes hope. Hope for a tomorrow with a little less pain in our hearts, hope for the joy and blessing of memories, and hope that we will one day meet again.

Thank you God that you bring hope through our despair, comfort through our pain, and joy through our mourning.

 

Joy Trumps Sorrow

I said goodbye today….to one of the greatest men I ever knew. He was a man who loved me as his own since I was fifteen years old. He taught me much, laughed with me often, and cried with me when necessary. I feel so fortunate in this life to have two beautiful men I could call “Dad”. Two men who loved me….differently yet with the same degree of honesty. What a lucky girl I am!

I have said goodbye to both of them in the last few months. Life has dealt my heart a little more than the usual amount of pain this year. But there is joy to be found amidst the sorrow. As I looked around today and saw the love of my family, my heart filled with joy. As I listened to my children speak of their grandfather, I was filled with joy. As I watched the next generation laugh as they shared their memories, I was filled with joy. And as I ponder the generations to come, I know that joy will continue to fill my heart.

The joy of the Lord is greater than any sorrow. It surpasses all pain. It perseveres through every trial. The joy of the Lord is a gift that God bends down and gently places in our hands, we need only be willing to accept the gift.

Thank you Lord that joy trumps sorrow every time. That you for the sweet gift of family. Thank you for the precious opportunity of beautiful memories. Thank you that we are able to see the beauty that lies beyond our tears.

The joy of the Lord is my strength.