Saturday, November 26, 2016

Internally & Eternaly Different #hope

My home is strewn with toys and so many shopping bags that we can't deny we spent some time Black Friday shopping yesterday. What a wonderful Thanksgiving! Unexpected, last minute plans ended up with my entire immediate family (minus the little princess) being here in Georgia with us. Since it was a last minute gathering, we found ourselves eating our turkey and sides at Golden Corral - this was a first for us. (No! There were no leftovers to enjoy this year!) 

Would I choose do the whole crowded buffet thing again? I don't know, it was kind of nice not to have all the hours of pre-prep while meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and then the chore of cleaning it all up 30 minutes after it all began...but isn't that all part of the journey anyhow? Needless to say, it was definitely a great Thanksgiving, but slightly DIFFERENT. That is the point I'm trying to make. Other things were different this Thanksgiving too.

There were new places added in at the table for new family members we didn't have last year. There was more rambunctious noise making and playing since my grandson is now in his terrible twos. (I might add, still just as precious to this Noni.) Not to be outdone, my niece and nephew are more grown than I could have ever imagined being at their ages. How does that happen anyhow?!

Those are all external things which were different. I'm sure if I sat here and thought about it long enough, I could come up with a multitude more to share. There were some things that were internally different though...and eternal too.

When the Lord begins to work, He does it up right. Remember? I've talked in several different posts, like The Un-peeling, that God has been working with and in me. As my sister and I had some "heart to heart" talks over the last few days, we were able to share how God has shown us different things during hours of darkness in our lives. God's been growing us in different areas. (He does that, you know, to make us better.) As we go through life, we often pick up extra baggage that we don't realize we're lugging around. Sometimes we're so loaded down and exhausted from carrying it all that we collapse under the weight. True story!!!

As God gently peels back the dark corners we don't want anyone else looking at, much less ourselves, He also gives us the courage we need to stay on the wheel while He does the work. I can honestly say that this Thanksgiving, there was more things different than just where we ate, last minute plans and guests who made surprise appearances that made my heart do crazy stuff...

      There was more different than what could be "seen"...some excess baggage was missing.

 When we allow God to begin to relieve us of unnecessary baggage (it comes from all types of places, in all shapes and sizes too) we've accumulated simply by experiencing life and the effects sin has upon every part of it, the sky is the limit. It's simply an amazing process. Our entire perspective changes. (I think I've written about that recently too!)

With excess baggage eliminated, there becomes more room for meaningful life. We give God permission to allow us to experience more abundant life. He won't force us to give up this baggage we've acquired; however, He does encourage us to give it all to Him so He can bless us beyond imagination. When we are brave and obedient enough to give it all to Him, He carries the load and we get to enjoy freedom. What a swap!

Freedom comes in all shapes and sizes too. The beautiful thing about God is that He takes away our baggage and the chains that bind us too. We aren't responsible to lug any of it around any more; instead, we're blessed with undeniable testimonies to share with others who are struggling in places we once were. It's a beautiful cycle we can become a part of. In the process, we are healed.

Are there things that need to be different in your life? Have you been lugging unnecessary baggage around? This is a great time of year to take inventory of our hearts and go on an anti-clutter campaign with the Master. Once we give Him the key to those ugly places we'd rather forget about, He can do amazing transformations. 

When we give Him the black, ugly pieces of a heart that's intended to beat vibrantly with life, in turn, He gives us freedom, healing, peace of mind and joy unspeakable. 

There will always be the opportunity for this exchange because we live in a world infected with sin. God stands willing and ready at all times...even at this very moment, we can send up a prayer and let Him know we're handing over the key to those wounded parts of our lives. Let Him come in and do some remodeling of His own. He'll make something beautiful, I guarantee you. I can testify to it!

Won't you join me? There are people in all of our lives that need this wonderful news of HOPE. What greater gift could someone receive this holiday season that to experience an internal difference? And eternal! What greater gift could we give than to share our testimony and tell of the hope we've found? Share today! 

God bless each of you and have a happy holiday season~