Monday, July 31, 2017

The Race

Run the race
No matter the ride
Strive each day
To win the prize
No matter what is seems
Keep walking - even limping
The victory will come
If you just keep on - winning
Day by day
Moment by moment
Don't quit, don't give up
He's holding you - your Father
Don't be discouraged
The race is almost over
Get up
Arrive a conqueror

"I press toward the mark for the prize 
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 3:14 

It's On the Table

I've spoken a lot about the "messy" parts of know, the ugly parts we can't seem to escape from quickly enough, the parts we don't scrapbook or post to Facebook or Instagram. The parts that aren't Pinterest pretty! We've agreed that each and every one of us have those awful-feeling days and moments in our lives - yet they probably look different for each of us.

I was reading today, one of my favorite scriptures in the Bible and one verse poked at me really hard, Psalm 23:5 -

"Thou preparest a table before me 
in the presence of mine enemies:"

What?! The word "enemies" here translates to being cramped, be in affliction, to be in distress, to be in trouble, vexed...I had never looked at it that way before today. It wasn't necessarily someone who was provoking me. 

I thought about how my mind, emotions and feelings play tricks and get the best of me at times. Yes, God is working on this with me - daily. When they aren't "for" me, they're against me...thus, I think it safe to say I can label them as enemies. 

When these things (thoughts, emotions and feelings) get off track, as they often do, life can feel mighty messy. However, I can still take rest in knowing that even in those moments of shifted focus and weakness, God prepares a table for me. I can be at peace even when everything within me is screaming, "This isn't a time for peace. I don't like this season! Everything is crazy and upsetting!" Yet, I know my God. 

Although at times I forget and become blinded to this truth, He can do anything, whenever He gets ready. So, preparing a table for me to sit down at and get exactly what I need to be victorious isn't a problem for Him. Goodness, if I can just remember that! Everything I could ever need, He supplies. It's on the table!

Who prepares a meal for someone without sitting to enjoy it with them? When I prepare a meal for my friends and family, I want to sit with them, to enjoy the time together, as well as the food. I want them to feel safe and to stop everything else and just be present. I think God longs to do the same thing with you and I. 

During messy parts of life, He beckons you and I to get our eyes off of our "enemies" and join Him at the feast He's prepared in our honor. A safe place too. Truth is, sometimes I fail to look beyond my situations and circumstances. Anyone else have a problem with that? True statement though: one thing God won't do is MAKE us sit at the table, we have a standing invitation though.

The banquet room is always ready...there we can find peace and safety - even in the midst of our enemies. He longs for us to sit and share what we're feeling with Him; for us to cast our cares upon Him. There's always a seat there with my name on it! Yours too. This table is a place of refuge. Of relationship. Of healing. Whatever we have need of, it's on the table.

Let's pull up a chair today, forget about the "messy" that makes us feel weak and brings confusion and lack of focus into our lives. Our enemies have no reservations at this table! What a blessing.

Let's enjoy peace, rest and all the goodness God longs to share with us. I invite you to join me as we look into His eyes and receive rest for our wearied souls. Hope. Everything we need, we can find in Him. Our enemies aren't welcome, my friend, but everything we have need's on the table.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of this world
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Friday, July 21, 2017

It Can't Stay Forever

We're all in one, a season. They are inevitable and perpetual. Spring, summer, winter fall...spring, summer...catch my drift here? Never-ending. 

Wasn't God kind to create this world with variety? I love the spring, when flowers pop nervously out of the ground to greet us with bright, colorful smiles after a bleak, harshly-cold winter. My favorite season is fall, when the fiery hues are vibrant and the leaves crinkle loudly under my boots. And...there's summer. That's all I'm going to say about that! Seasons. Although we each have our favorites, aren't we thankful that we don't get stuck with just one?

Yes, we're all affected by seasons in "life" too. Some of us experience empty nest season while others have rambunctious toddlers, brimming over with energy, running throughout our homes. Still, others have tweens and teens who are in the closing years of their adolescence. Some of us are in a long stretch of marriage (for me it will be twenty-six years this next week), while others are just beginning and are in the "newly wed" stage trying to figure it all out. may know exactly what you're doing and where you're headed in life, while I am filled with much uncertainty. You may have conquered all sorts of tests and trials while a friend may be floundering trying to figure it all out yet. A co-worker might be experiencing extreme health issues while you're in a healthy period of life. One person may be fretting about the lack of security and peace of mind that comes with having a place to call home, while another might be settled securely into their place of safety. We're all in seasons. I don't mean to drag on and on, but do you see what I'm saying? I hope so.

No matter where we find ourselves today...there is HOPE. That thread we're all so desperately trying to hold on to. THIS SEASON won't last always, my friend, remember the phrase, "this too shall pass"? Today, I'm thinking of one verse in particular:

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

When we wait and "keep on keeping on" no matter what life brings our way or what season we find ourselves in...we SHALL...girls, it's going to happen!!!

We SHALL renew our strength...
when we've experienced weakness and hopelessness.
We SHALL mount up...
when we've been down and in the depths of despair.
We SHALL run...
when we've wanted to break down and hide.
We SHALL walk and not faint...
when we've felt like giving up and throwing in the towel.

Wherever we find ourselves, the Lord SHALL ________. You fill in the blank with your situation or need...whatever your season. 

Whether it be strength, health, finances, restoration, peace, security, etc.; we can be assured that in His time...HE SHALL. This season won't last always! 

If it seems unbearable, if you feel you're about to break under the heavy load, if you're discouraged today or if it feels like you're missing out while others are carrying on...hang in there. We're all in different seasons. Your season hasn't come to can't. He sees. He knows. We're not alone or on our own. 

Repeat it with me today...HE SHALL BRING IT TO PASS! It can't stay forever.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

How Great Thou Art

This week, my hubby took me on a surprise excursion. What fun! The road led us past corn fields, grassy meadows and into the foot of the mountains. I love nature. I am amazed at the creativity of my God and sometimes wonder how exciting it might have been to be there in the beginning when He spoke it all into existence.

Standing across the way, I took it all in from a viewing deck. I stood speechless at the awesomeness of another one of God's creations we'd just discovered. Little River Falls. 

The falls roared so loudly...I thought about the strength of the waters cascading over the rocks. I thought about the tumbling of the current at the bottom of the falls where it all came crashing together. I noticed the quiet, softness of mist rising through the air as the warm, sun rays made it sparkle like bits of glitter scattered about here and there. 

I thought about the Lord. How He is the strongest force to be reckoned with - hands down. Almighty! I thought about how He is also such a compassionate shepherd. Gentle. 

We traveled up the mountain a bit more and stopped at one of the overlooks. The same falls but from a much different vantage point. I couldn't hear the roar or feel the cool mist but it's beauty was still undeniable and again I stood in awe. 

Standing there, taking it all in, I sent a whisper heaven-ward, "How great Thou art!" Nothing can match or even compare to the greatness of my Lord. Absolutely amazing! I can only imagine how David must have felt when he penned the words:

"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;"  Psalms 8:3

He is the Almighty. Yet, He created such intricate details for us to enjoy. It wasn't enough to give us a world to live in, He made sure we'd be awed by it. Isn't that just like my God! He went to the "nth" to show us, just a little bit clearer, of how much His heart passionately cares for us. 

"What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" Ps. 8:4

The same great, big, amazing God that created this masterpiece I was enjoying created you and I. Us! Weak, frail, limited human beings. We're sinful, we doubt and question His ways far too often. Yet, He thinks of us constantly and loves us beyond our wildest imagination. And...wait for it...He desires relationship with us! 

This great, big, awesome God, wants you and I to remember we're the works of His hands too. He created this beautiful world, filled with sites like Little River Falls, for us to live in and enjoy, but He created us for His dwelling! What?! I cannot begin to fathom that!

Simply in awe today...the only reply and praise I have in my soul is this: I am so deeply humbled by the opportunity to be His dwelling place; my heart shouts loudly from the hills...Oh God, how very great Thou art!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Only Me - Part 2

It's  been over a month since I posted I'm the Only Me You Get. Life gets busy, life happens, and it can be like a roller coaster at times. With a grimace on my face, I read the title of my last post once again today. The thought was certainly accurate, yet I've been feeling much differently since then. Why? Because my FEELINGS are sometimes way bigger than the truth! I know, it's not supposed to be that way. They cast shadows on what I know to be true. Still, although I know this, my perception can get cloudy at times. You too? Sometimes it's easier to write something like Poor You, If I'm the Only Me You Get.

I'm afraid I'm not the only "feel-ist" who deals with ugly episodes of lies and tricks. How can I be so sure? First, most of us reading this post are probably females. Secondly, we will all experience times when we're feeling  insecure and weak. Thirdly, we go through different seasons spiritually, as well as, physically. Sometimes those seasons leave even the strongest ladies feeling unable to cope on every level. Key word: FEELING. Wonder Woman? Not I!

Ladies are "feelers" and if we're not constantly on guard, we'll get tripped up by the exact characteristic God intended to be one of our strengths. Yet, which one of us diligently keeps our guard up all the seconds in every day? I'll be honest, I fail miserably at times...feelings win. Then, the lies and savvy tricks overwhelm me. What, you too?  I look at myself and think, "Girl, you did it now! How'd that happen?" In those moments it would be easy to give up. "What's the use?"

I read something the other day that spoke to my soul. "You'll never hear God say you're more trouble than you're worth."

Even when we're weak and feel like a failure, when we feel we can't hold the shield up for one more second, when we think it's over and we've lost the battle...God still stands guard. He is still the Victor and He's not afraid of our feelings. Most importantly, He'll never say, or think, we're not worth the fight.

There are moments in all our lives when we're ready to give up on ourselves. There are paths we walk that will test our stamina and our determination. There will be days when we have to ignore what we're feeling. Though we may fall, He will pick us up - again and again. We learn and grow. In those character-building moments, the Lord holds us and gently teaches us to trust, rest and hope in Him. The valley is never a waste when you have the Champion on your side!

No matter how we  may be feeling today, where we might find ourselves on this pathway, we can be hopeful. It's OK to feel weak, to need help, to need bandages for skinned-up knees at times. It's completely alright not to feel like Wonder Woman, or ourself for that matter. Feelings don't always tell us the truth, but God does. He says we are His. We are special, strong and brave...and we have what it takes to Him. We can lift our heads and proclaim, I'm not my feelings! I'm more than a conqueror...and the only me you get."