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.

Comfort in My Chaos

Some days are just crazy, and some days God just knows you need a little pick-me-up. Today was one of those days for me….too much to do and to little time to get it done in. (Actually that’s the story of my life, not just my day!). I felt like I was drowning in my “to do” list. When I get this way, I start to doubt myself and my abilities. The devil knows my insecurities and loves to attack me when I am stressed. I know I can’t be the only person he attacks like this.

I am right in the throes of this when I look down at my phone. I see that I have a message request from someone I don’t know. I check the message and God touches me right to the depths of my heart with the message I read. It was from a friend of my dad. My dad passed away exactly two months ago today. And at almost the exact time of the day as he passed, I got this message. This man had just found out on about my dad’s passing, and wanted to offer me his condolences. He also wanted me to know that every time he spoke with my dad, my dad told him how proud he was of me. Oh, how that blessed me! Every little girl wants to make her dad proud, right?

So you see, the devil may have been trying to make me feel bad about myself. But my God is mightier that that ole devil ever will be. He used the kind words of a stranger to remind me of who I am. He reminded me of a father’s love. He brought comfort to my weary heart. Thank you, Father, that you never leave us and that you know just what our heart needs and when it needs it.

Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. (Psalm 119:75)

Abundant Riches

And God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

Oh, how I love this verse and the promise it brings. God doesn’t just meet our needs. He meets them “according to his riches”. God’s riches are vast and beyond any measure we can imagine. He is the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills. He is the creator of the universe and everything in it. His riches are incomparable.

The word of God is not empty or wasted. If it has been put into our beautiful bible, it is there for a purpose. “According to his riches” is not an afterthought, or a way of making a sentence seem more interesting. It is a statement of truth that assures us that our Father in Heaven will meet our needs, and far exceed that. He will bestow upon us blessings in abundance, and goodness far beyond our imaginations. How fortunate we are to have a Father who is so in love with us, and has such a desire to see us blessed, cared for, and thriving.

Thank you Father, that you love us. Thank you that you know us. Thank you that you are aware of our needs, and that we need only to reach out and take your hand to have those needs met. Thank you that your awesome abundance flows into our lives and fills us with a richness that can only come from being blessed by you.