Friday, September 16, 2016

Finding your Sunset After Loss

   God never intended for anything we learn about life to be just for us.  It is intended to help others in their journey.  I have avoided writing and blogging regularly, because my attention has been needed elsewhere.  Now that Franklin ha been placed in his new home, I know he is safe and well cared for far better than I ever could.  It has freed me from worrying about him.  I am rediscovering creativity, and able to do more things   I also have avoided writing, because the lessons I am learning are still not bunny rabbits and rainbows.  Even a year and 4 months after mom's cancer battle ended though it is easier now, it is still hard, not so much, because I want her back, but because she brought such joy to everything, and she was so good at keeping everything smooth.  I still miss her  laugh and smile.    I love to talk about her and do things she loved  to do.  I laugh at the things she uses to do that drove me crazy.  As most of you have figured out I love sunsets!  To me, life contains beautiful sunset moments so beautiful if you are not paying attention you will miss these.  It could be something as simple as a card in the mail that lifted your spirits.  It might be the sound of your grandchildren playing in the yard or lunch with a friend  Many of my friends' faced losses in recent days.  Some the loss of a friend, others loss of a parent, pet, or job.  No two losses or relationships are the same  I am no expert on loss, but I am learning a few helpful tips for embracing Sunsets after a loss.  This post is for those of you in difficult situations.  You might be struggling with the question why am I in this situation...
 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change James 1:17."Click for reference  You may not be able to see or embrace the gift that comes as a result of loss quickly, but if you search long enough, you will  begin to see that in the loss there are sunsets moments and your losses will mature and change you.    I have and will continue to make mistakes, as well as just blatant bad  choices.  Most of these tips I have learned as a result of my own shortcomings.

  • Be forgiving of yourself and others.  You will make mistakes and your actions will sometimes be disappointing to you and to those that care about you.  Give grace.  I am still learning  to do this, and will for the rest of my life.
  • Allow yourself to feel confusing feelings, and resist the urge to scold yourself.
  •   Self Care.  If you are like me, you may be tempted to think self-care is unbiblical.  Yeah me too I understand.  I think about Daniel in the Bible, though, and he took the time to make sure his body, mind, and spirit were taken care of.  Yes, he trusted God to care for his needs, but he also was wise and mature enough to take responsibility to invest in his own well-being.
  • Lower your expectations of yourself and  others.  Don't look for others to be able to understand or validate your feelings.  This is totally unfair to expect.  Look to God , who knows You and your situation fully.   
  • Ask for prayer from people you trust.  
  • It is ok to escape for short periods, but be wise and escape only in the short term Be careful how and when you escape.
  • Be specific about needs and expectations.  I do  not  do well at this.  mostly because I never want to be demanding or entitled    If I  drop something in public, then I need to ask someone to pick up, instead of attempting to miss rolling over it.  Mom laughed once, because I broke a pair of shoes, by running these over, because I didn't want to stop whatever she was doing to ask her to move my shoes out of the floor.  Sometimes God places us in situations because we need a reminder we are not in control, and we need to run both to God and others. 
  • Be thankful for blessings big and small
  • Find your passion...  This is an ongoing process...  Find joy in small things.  I recently discovered I enjoy coloring.
  • Look for ways to support and comfort others facing a loss of any kind.  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Cor. 1:3-4  Text found here  What have you found helpful in finding joy after loss?  How can you use your own losses to help others in theirs?  Are you finding your own sunsets after a loss?  I am discovering it is not just a monthly process or even a yearly one.  It is a journey that lasts a lifetime.    Moment by moment you will find your sunse6 again after your losses.  My dad use to say all of life is about loss, and in a sense he is right, but in loss there is a deeper gratitude for joy and finding your Sunsets again.





Monday, June 06, 2016

What Kind of Christian Am I Anyway?

If you are a regular on the social media site Facebook, then you probably have taken one of those what kind of person are you quizzes.  You know what kind of friend are you?  What kind of parent are you? What kind of movie star would you be?  Ok, all I have proven at the moment, is I spend too much time on Facebook.  During my volunteer shift, in effort to aid clients emotionally, and spiritually as well as practically, I am encouraged to inquire about their spiritual background, or preferences.  I realize what a privilege this is, and how personal that is, and so I approach the subject respectfully for the sacred ground I tend upon.  I truly do desire to serve the whole person.  For example, if someone states I am a Christian, I say what that means to you, because being a Christian means different things depending upon a person's own definition.     I have recently asked not out loud, but over the course of a year or so, what kind of Christian am I?
I wish I could tell you I'm one of those Christians that every time someone asks me how I am doing, that my response is "better than I deserve" because while that statement is of course true, It isn't me, it isn't how God wired me. If God has wired you that way you are blessed with a depth of spiritual maturity I don’t have yet. You have nothing to be ashamed of and I'm inspired by you. For the rest of us who haven't yet made to where you are standing, please be patient with us who openly acknowledge our doubts and questions before the great God of the universe. I have a false perception and expectation of what contentment actually is.  My mentor challenged me to redefine what being content means for me.  What did it mean for Jesus, Paul, Joseph Peter, and others?       .Well let's start with Jesus.  Hebrews 12 2 says fix our eyes on Jesus for the joy set before Him despised the same and endured the cross.  Elsewhere in scripture tells us in the Gospel accounts that Jesus desperately wanted to be spared from the cross.  It was for the joy ahead of him that enabled Him to endure the agony of the cross.  It was not that he loved being in pain, or pretended that He enjoyed the ordeal.  He offered himself based upon the future outcome and result that would take place, salvation.     It isn't that he was content with the immediate circumstances, but He was content in the rend result...  He was content IN this, not with this. The same with Paul I'm sure He did not enjoy jail and isolation or humiliation.  He still chose to view his life and his loses through the lens of Gods eternal and present promises.  It is possible then, to be discontent with a circumstance itself, and still be content in Christ.   .  11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.'  Phil. 4:11-13.  

The world says we are entitled to instant gratification. We become disillusioned with ourselves and God, when we experience road blocks, losses or even less than favorable events in our lives.  All as result of not understanding Christ has not promised a joy ride, of gratification, but a lasting journey which offers contentment in, not from our circumstances.    This is what enables a mom at her breaking point, not to throw in the town on guiding her sassy teenager.  She understands that while she may not, be content with their behavior,  she marches on, because she is content knowing and  that one day her investment will pay off even if it simply means knowing she did her best.  What if contentment means choosing to respect your boss, even if you don't agree?  What if it means mourning that outcome, but staying faithful in prayer anyway?  What if it means being gracious, and thankful when life does not go, as planned or the bill is more than you were prepared to pay?  I don't know about you, but redefining   contentment this way, takes a lot of pressure off.  There is a difference between complaining, and simply acknowledging that while life isn't a fairyland. There is a sure foundation.  What kind of Christian am I?  I am the kind that is learning and growing imperfectly in contentment found outside of external surroundings, within the unchanging faithfulness of the Christ.    How do you define being content?  Like me, do you need to reexamine your definition of contentment personally despite what society throws at you?   Don't miss your sunsets, because of the clouds.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Celebrate the Gift!

Imagine my surprise when someone who features quality blog content on their website decides to feature my blog.  I thought It was a joke or scam.   I haven't traveled the world, and I'm not the funniest gal on the block.  Though I do have a sense humor all my own that I like to think comes from my mom.  If anything these last few weeks bluntly revealed  a confidence crisis for reasons that need not be shared here.  I began doubting my ability to do much of anything right.  Between an annoying mild case of shingles, Steady changes at a volunteer job I love, and a dog who despite the vet's objections though reasonable,,I'm still convinced needs anxiety medication.  Oh and adjusting to a new chair, and examining many of the life choices I have made, and trying to improve.  I've stated before how I have a difficult time with seasons of change.  When mom passed in April I honestly do believe I coped well with saying not goodbye but see you later.  In last two months, it has registered to my heart and mind.I have to live the rest of my days on earth without her involvement and help.  Yes, I did that very thing once she was too sick, but in those months all I expected was to survive by the grace of God, and I did. Now the expectation is that I will thrive and live, and until now I have never imagined my life without hers too.   I've been an adult, but never one without her input and support,     There is a fine line whoever between sincere improvement directed by the Holy Spirit, and just plan apologizing for who God created you to be, and over the last couple of months it has developed into the second category for me . As Christians sometimes I think we get caught up in this thinking that it is somehow God's desire for us to see how truly bad we are, and only then can we see the value of God's goodness.  If you don't relate, don't stay on this statement.    I realize there has to be a balance.  Prideful and arrogant thinking are not pleasing to God, but neither is shaping yourself to match who you and others say you should be  This has been difficult in the area of grief, because everyone including myself envisions there own view of what grief should or should not be.     Back to the first sentence I wrote I was shocked and exited to learn someone who does not know me decided my writing is valuable to others.  I also take it far too personally when people have some type of content criticism of what I write. I don't mind grammatical and structural correction, but content is hard.   Thoughts of trying to make my writing what others want to read isn't a bad thing, but if that is my focus, not only is my motive wrong, I am missing the opportunity to be who God designed and created me to be.   New Year  resolutions aren't appealing to me, but there is one desire I have going forward and that is to focus on valuing the gifts and blessings God gives me. If I do this, It will also motivate me to minster to others who need to know that even if one person's life is blessed by theirs, then  life has purpose and even more they may come to know how deeply they are loved by The Creator Himself!  When we are living out our purpose we are fulfilled. When we are fulfilled by the One  who gives us purpose and value, then our focus becomes not on  finding our value, but in serving and giving to others.  As many around the country this weekend proclaim that Life is a gift, and each person has worth, I wonder what the world would like if we strive to take three actions. Do something along with me. Take a moment not to focus on your flaws, but to celebrate your gifts.  If you are like me, you'll find it much easier to calculate your missteps, than to celebrate your strengths and your progress. Second, Tell someone they matter, and in some small way SHOW them. It might be a card, a compliment, a prayer, a hug, or a creative gesture.     Third, Thank the people who celebrate and encourage you.  Thank God privately for using others to encourage you. Name some of those people as you give thanks for them.  Ready, yeah I'm going to do it with you.  When we are done let's start over tomorrow. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

When Prayer Becomes the Hardest Thing You Will Ever Do!

I strive to be at least two things.  One a good listener, Two, a person of prayer,  When mom got very sick, my prayers were short and simple.  Sometimes all I could do was pray a few words at time.  Secretly at the time, this went on for several months,  I would do my best to go through the motions knowing others were holding up in prayer.  It is not easy being known as "the prayer warrior" in most of your circles .  Don't get me wrong it is one of the greatest privileges in life is to pray for others..  What an honor that others allow you the joy of sharing their burdens and counting on you to pray.  What a great joy it is to trust God and watch Him act.  In spite of this though I continue to wrestle in prayer these days.  It does not seem to come as natural as I might have once thought it to be.  Some days it is hard to focus and my mind wanders.  Other times it seems like I just don't know how to express myself.  I know there is a shock huh?  There are a few lessons I've learned recently, or am continuing to learn.  I'd like to share  to share a few, in case it could help someone.

Prayer is hard no matter who you are...  No one person is a master at the Practice of prayer.  I know you like me, must have had those moments where you thought if I could pray like that guy, It would be so much better.  Trust me he struggles just like you, and if he doesn't now he will some day.Romans 8:26
Humans have made prayer into a formula, instead of a two way grand fellowship between God and man . We create patterns in prayer, many of which are good. We need to include elements like Thanksgiving and confession see Ps. 100 and Psalm 51, but there are seasons when we should allow our hearts to flow freely as we would, when we have a conversation with  someone else.  This one is hard for me.   As I am super structured and this also how many of us are taught.  I always laugh when I think of  how my grandfather would jokingly whisper to me Rubadubdub thank you for the grub, before his actual heartfelt dinner blessing. I truly believe God created enjoyment and He values humor.  No one has taught me more about incorporating laughter in prayer than Jennifer Hand.  Sometimes we stress so much about how to talk to God.  Recently. I was upset, because I just could not pray.  In a rather helpless moment of attempting to ask God what was wrong with me, it seemed God was impressing upon me the reality that wasn't a time for me to speak words, but to invite God to speak to my spirit.  I would never have spoken the special words God gave to me, to myself.  If you are struggling to pray, It could be because it is a time God is desiring to speak to you. Prayer is mostly hard, because we make it hard.  A friend reminded me recently, We can be more ourselves with God, than anyone.  This is because He more than anyone else: knows who we really are!  Do you ever wonder if you can do the prayer thing?  Well, two years ago, I might have shrugged my shoulders, and arrogantly thought to some degree it is not that hard. Of course, that was before Prayer became the hardest battle I'd ever fight!  I'm just starting to come out of the driest and most difficult prayer season I've ever had in my Christian life to date.  I can also tell you if that is where you are, it is okay.  You are okay.  God is still there.  Don't quit, but give yourself grace!  God is patient...  Keep going, It will be worth the struggle.     

















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Sunday, October 04, 2015

Is Surrender Possible?

Can I surrender all?  After all the last time I asked God to help me love Him more than anything or anyone in my life. It wasn’t long after that that when the word cancer invaded our lives.  I continued to pray the same even as time passed and year after year mom's cancer remained and sometimes grew larger. I watched as she placed a smile on her face as life forced her to take early retirement.  I watched as she prayed for others, and rejoiced when they were healed.  I watched her laugh when others would have cried.  The day I knew my life would never be the same was the day I got the call  cancer was found in her brain.  I felt as if the air almost left my lungs barely able to nod.  I watched as her once strong body that took care of me, was feeble and lifeless unable to raise her head.   Helpless I prayed asking God to spare her from such agony. I begged God to let me  take her place knowing I could never fight as hard as she did.  I often thought the world needed her more than it would ever need me. As she felt pain that without pain medicine would not stop.  I watched as my family’s hearts were broken into pieces, and I powerless to do anything.   Yet there was and will always be the glorious hope to come, and that quiet peace only God could give..  He gives it still.  Oh the joy and fun of the legacy she gives us now in all her humanness. 
Of course our church is talking a lot about surrender as we study the Holy Spirit.  What words come to mind when asked if I have been in a place surrender where God proved faithful?  Yes, God is faithful when we surrender our lives.  Yes it scares me what continual surrender may mean in my life.  Does it mean more discomfort?  The truth is a lady in my church and countless others who has endured more pain than I ever will.  God has never required me to go to AFRICA to feed the poor or say goodbye to child I gave birth to.  The list is endless.  Admittedly, I could not find the strength to sing the words I surrender all the first two times, last week at church because I was scared.  God has provided everything I need!  He has given grace beyond what I could deserve and yet there is that fear that God will command me to do something radical, and what if I “surrender” in advance whatever that might mean, and then I can’t find the courage to follow through?  It has been hard for me to sing that song, but harder now.  I never want to commit to sing words I can’t live out, but then it hit me I can’t surrender in my own power.  Surrender is only possible through the supernatural enabling of God.  I cannot know what God may or may not ask of me either now or in future, but I must trust that God knows my heart, and I desire to be faithful.  He will enable me to choose to a surrendered life.  The God of the universe can handle my failures.  He has already redeemed these anyway.  So what do I have to lose?

The process of sanctification isn’t my job.  It is God’s process not mine.  It is by Faith like in Hebrews, that we chose surrender not just once but continually.
Surrender does not mean we will be exempt from persecutions or trials.  Jeremiah proclaimed truth and was faithful despite not having a happily ever after, or seeing results. Jer. 35… America is a results driven society.  I am learning faithfulness driven by anything other than for faithfulness sake, is not surrender. Will I be faithful if it guarantees me little upon this earth, but coasts much more?  It has been and will continued to be my prayer for God to enable me to surrender. 
                Here are some reasons to surrender.  One, Jesus is worthy of surrender.

  Two, He himself has surrendered to God and for the sake of his children, and it cost him everything. Romans 8:32. A life surrendered always brings peace, God is good, and his ways are perfect. it is by faith, I take the first to surrender which is an expression of willingness.  I continue in a place of not knowing what the journey of what surrender will look like.  Where do you my friend find yourself on this journey surrender?  Each journey will look different.  I’m sure not the poster person for surrendered living. The more I look to the Savior the more I know it is the life I am called to live.  Would love to hear from you.  It might be that grudge you’ve been holding for twenty years.  It could be that substance you find comfort in, or that to do list you always check off.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hide and Seek


There are some advantages to being in a wheelchair.  One is not having to stand in long lines.  My shoes don't get dirty too often.  I sometimes get a perk here and there.  Children like to ride with  me, so I often get cool points with them.    On the flip side, skipping school wasn't really possible.  I mean it isn't if teachers or principal would just suddenly notice that girl in wheelchair suddenly exited the class room.The same was true for hide and seek as a child. A relative decided hiding my chair under a sheet might me feel a little better about my disadvantage in the game.  As I think about it now, it makes me laugh at the kind gesture.  As you can imagine, the sheet trick didn't work so well.  It just drew attention to the very place where I was attempting to hide.  
Sunday, I attended church with my friend,  The message was on a psalm 23.  I've read it, and heard it many times but really just tend to pass over it.

   'The Lord is my shepherd;    I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1

   It is not the only time in scripture talks about a shepherd "If  a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? 13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away!' Mathew 18:12-13.  Shepherds and sheep aren't topics which comes up in common conversations in our culture.    As we get older it becomes easier to hide ourselves.  It reminds me of the sheet I put over my chair foolishly thinking as a kid that the sheet would help increase my chances of winning at hide and seek.  As a Christian I sometimes deceive myself  into thinking figuratively I can run and hide myself from God.  I can hide the pain and sin with the sheet of busyness or numbness food, or TV.  If I make excuses for not picking up that Bible, then I won't have to say what is really on mind or heart.  I can just go through the motions at times and mostly no one can really see the inside.  The reality that I was reminded of Sunday as a guest at my friend's church was that no matter how far I wander like  sheep, Christ still follows and pursues me.  We all wander in different ways, some wander through addiction, a past abortion, an extramarital affair, you might find yourself wandering in a pool of bitterness. Like me you might be wandering in sea of questions, fearing that if anyone knew, they might think you are not who you thought you were. We fail to see that we need is not the sheet we hide under, but the Shepherd to hide in.   You think if you wear a "sheet" you can hide from God and others.  Others are easier to hide from, but God sees you in your game of hiding.  He sees you and He loves you.  He invites you and me to lay down our sheets we are attempting to hide under.  It might take a prayer your weren't expecting like it did for me, on Sunday or a moment of stillness where you have to stop.  Stop hiding.   Christ is a Hiding Place, which actually means that the one place we can go where we can be totally free is in the presence of Christ.  What we really want is a safe place where we can stop hiding and rest.  That  place is Christ Alone  If you are wandering or hiding from God you are not really hiding at all. He is still seeking you because He either wants to be YOUR Shepherd  or He already is.  Will you join me as we stop hiding from, and start hiding IN Our Shepherd?  

If you want to know more about Two Rivers Church which is actually located in Ooltewah TN Go To The message at this church is a big part of what inspired this post. You will find a caring place that's foundation is The Gospel.  


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Does God Give the Silent Treatment?

Few things rattle my more than someone giving me silent treatment or worse trying to silence me.  While I don't like yelling, I would rather someone yell at me than stop speaking to me.  That might be why the last 2 months or so of God being seemingly silent have been rough for me...  Do you know that feeling?  You read the Bible, but nothing seems to speak to your situation, so you tell yourself eventually God will speak to you and just have to keep pressing on.  When God is silent, it is sometimes because we are refusing to be quiet and listen to His voice.  We are so ,busy trying to fix things or control things that it rarely occurs to us to listen instead of speak.  Other times I believe He is silent because God is waiting for us to respond to something He has already revealed.  I've been there.  Have you experienced this?  Other times, we may not be aware of the reason God chooses to be silent, but we still can choose our response to that perceived or actual silence.
Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6  In human relationships we don't end a friendship, because one goes months without talking, we often pick up where we leave off.  I've experienced God's silence in  an area for ten plus years, but his timing has been perfect in when and how he has worked in the situations.
There are times when if we are not careful we might be tempted to believe Gods silence is a lack of care or concern for us, this is untrue and a misunderstanding regarding God's nature.  While Scripture is a primary way God speaks, I've discovered he speaks through music, the  beauty of nature, other people, and many others forms.  While God will not contract his word ever in any way, we should never limit ourselves to thinking God can or  will only speak to us during a 30 minute quiet time.  I am encouraged by this.  God often speaks to me through sunsets, or a kind word from someone who crosses my path.  When God seems to be silent toward us, we need to ask God to help us look around, and be open to hearing and seeing him, in ways that might be unexpected.  There are times when God may be actually silent, because  of unrepentant sins in our lives.  Ps. 51, and we must look within through confession.  If you have experienced a time or season where God seems silent, you never know how sharing your story may encourage someone.  You and I might be  one instrument He desires to use to speak into someone else's life.  Let's not give up on hearing and seeing God speak but keep a watchful eye, and open ears- knowing He promises to be found by those who seek Him!  Jer. 29:13.  He is worthy of our praise, even when He chooses to exercise his rightful silence in our lives.   



Monday, May 18, 2015

The Power of a Journal!


Why after so many months would I write now?  Perhaps I've forgotten how.  Who is reading now any way says the chatterbox inside my head.  Some people only enjoy reading funny stories, others only like thrillers or sappy, or positive things Some refuse to read anything with the slightest sadness. Be aware this post may contain all of the above..  There are some things I want to say about my mom.  I wish to write only from my own prospective, as that is the only one I can speak from. Please feel no pressure to read this as for some it might be too close for comfort right now.  Mom will be mentioned all through this post, and so if you choose to read it, please do go into reading it blindly.  On April 24th, my mom entered heaven.  I recognize this isn't just my loss, but my family and friends loss too.  I do not feel it is fair to speak for them in this post so I will speak for me.  Thank you all the love and support you have shown for so long!

A few nights ago, I began reading my mom's prayer journal which stays next to a bible she wanted me to have.Mom was never one for  

journaling, until the year 2012, when a friend from church gave her this journal in the middle of her cancer journey.  This was a gift not only to her, but now to me and will be to our family.   I won't share any entries as my family has not be able to read it yet, and plus in some ways to share something so sacred takes the beauty away.    Here are some things I learned. and some I already knew.  I learned there is power in journaling, and if it is a journal to God is never time wasted.

I learned I should attempt to journal more instead of less, because you never how much a journal might impact someone one day.
I learned mom had great strength, but she had that strength because she depended upon God for  her strength.
I learned she loved people and prayed often for so many who never knew they were on her radar.
I learned she was not perfect, but she never let that stop her from being better.
I learned she struggled though she never complained.
I learned how much she loved my brother and me and her prayers showed it well.
I learned she trusted God even when life didn't go her way.
I learned she showed bravery that comes from God.
I relearned how deeply she loved her family.
I learned her faith never wavered.
I learned she got her Miracle, it just came in the form of heaven instead of earth.
I learned that I want to be more like her as I grow up.  Yesterday our pastor talked about thorns in the flesh.  We all have them, and I believe mom's greatest thorn for the past eight years has been cancer.  I rejoice because in heaven, I know that the thorn that she pleaded with God to take away is now gone from her forever!  What does any of this have to do with you?  Well you see I know there are those out there struggling with death whether it be the loss of mom or someone else in your life.  God's ways are not  ours but this does not mean he loves any less or his presence is any less near to us. Isa. 55:9 Romans 8:38-39.  If you trust Jesus with your life and your eternity, you can know the God my mom knew, and the God I know will allow me to see her again.    Time is priceless...  Live  with joy. As the saying says:  Live laugh, and love!  There was honestly nothing about my mom that was bitter about anything she faced in life, so if we want to honor her whether you knew or not, LIVE AND LET GO of whatever makes you bitter!  laugh with me and live with joy in full!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

What's the Big deal about New Year's? 2014 recap

My first and best trip to Cheddar:s with a great Friend was in 2014....  Interesting....   
Summer 2014 Faulkner Family Reunion 
Baby Shower for Kim and Cameron!
Jennifer Hand's book signing.Me stamping my name, as Jenn featured a few of my devotionals in her book.

Most people who interact with me on Facebook and in real life know my mom had very serious surgery on November 22nd 2014.  She is recovering, and the surgery went as well as could be expected.  Praise The Lord!  She has had many ups and downs in recent months.  Life has been somewhat chaotic since November.  As a result, I have not blogged or written in any public forum other than my mom's caringbridge page since October.  I cannot relive such events, except to shout from the roof tops, God is who He promises to be!  Before I move on to the reason for my post, I want to thank you for your ongoing prayers for mom and the family.  To follow mom's  journey you can visit:  Mom's journey

As we are now into the year 2015, I want to recall some of the blessed moments of last year, and share a word regarding this New Year...

2014 Vacation to Fort Walton 
My 31st Birthday....


              2014 had some great moments....  It had funny moments, It was happy, silly, crazy, and hard sad moments. As we embrace 2015, none of us can really know what will happen in the coming year.   As a Christian, there are a few things I do know.. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."  ECC. 1:9.  I also know however, that by entrancing the Gospel we can rest assured we have access to God's mercies,not only in light of a new year, but every moment of our lives!  See Lam. 3;23.  While the troubles of 2014 won't just magically be erased, because it is a New Year.,There is a great God who will sustain us and gives us a fresh with every moment.  The truth is some of this year will be the same as last year. Portions of this year will be new, but whatever this year is, or isn't God is already there!!!



Monday, October 20, 2014

Pintrest Christianity...

If you aren't familiar with the website Pinterest I'll try to explain.  Pinterest is a website which allows a person to organize different aspects of their lives on an electronic bulletin boards.  For example, if you want to pin articles for work, then you might pin work related ideas,.  If you want a board that reflects your style or parenting, you would name the electronic board accordingly.  Sometimes I will get busy looking for different concepts and pin the information article book or outfit on the board. If I catch a mistake like this even months later, I am compelled to move the item to its proper board.  I like for a lot of life to fit into compartments or proper places.  As I causally pinned items to my own Pintrest it was if I heard a whisper saying Pinterest Christianity.  Pinterest Christianity I wondered where did that come from?  Days later the phrase entered my mind, prompting me again.  What are you attempting to show me Lord?  It hit me right between the eyes, all of us treat our lives and our faith like it is a pintrest board in some ways.  For example, I may be quick to invite God to have central place in my volunteer work or church activities, and music, but my movie and food choices not so much.  I might choose friends who love God and are devoted to God, but can I say that I am quick to listen and forgive when I'm hurt?  What about those times I promised to fulfill a commitment, and no one knew except God that I actually forgot or did not follow through?  

    I'm an advocate for authentic living.  I'm not the example of what this looks like a lot times, so let me not try to point you to myself as the standard here.   Pinterest gives users the option of having up to three secret boards, which means only the user has ability to see content of such boards. I suppose I understand the need when it comes to planning a party or inside jokes, but I don't have secret board on Pintrest. It's more common though, or should I say tempting to have secret areas in our lives.  Bitterness overeating people pleasing love of another person as much as or more than God.  I have those secrets too.  God knows mine, but you may not see those in me, or even in yourself.Like it or not it is impossible to have secrets from God.  Oh we can have secrets with God, meaning He alone knows us better that we know ourselves or others but there isn't a secret good or bad, we have that He isn't fully aware we have.  What's my point, I doubt as Christians we will reach a place on this earth where we are aware of God in every aspect of our lives.  If you think are one who has, I'd love to see it.  It is certainly something we should ask God for, and be willing to allow him to permeate our lives with more of him!  "In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Prov. 3:5.  AMP  The next time you and I see a Pinterest board or a box or wallet, let’s stop and ask God to help us give him central  place in the areas most challenging.  So that the next time we sing the I give you my life, It will reflect a little more of our reality than It did the time before.


  Do you practice Pinterest Board Christianity too?  What is an aspect of your life, which you desire to invite God to transform?  If you are like me, there may be many.  I am committing these to prayer one at a time.  How about you?  Let's move together from Head knowledge, to heart transformation! 


http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/diy-drawer-dividers