Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Painful Change



"Growth is painful. Change is painful. But, nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong."
N. R. Narayana Murthy
Normally, I am quite open to change, and even welcome it over doing the same things, over and over again. Especially when I have patiently waited for an answer to a specific prayer, the change the Lord has brought about to answer my prayer produces an overwhelming gratefulness and joy in my soul! 
For the past 25 years (but more deeply in the past 8 years), I have prayed over a specific change in the life of a loved one. Throughout these years, God has allowed me and my family to go through some amazing, but mostly tumultuous times. (If you have read my past blog posts, you may have read about some of those times.) My prayer has been to bring my loved one home...and ultimately, back into having a relationship with the Lord. Recently, the Lord answered the first half of my prayer. Of course, I was overjoyed! It was a big step that only God could have opened the doors for it to take place!!
The thing is, it was such an instant event, I'm not really sure how prepared I was/am for the changes that has/will occur...I was so set on the thought that it would take longer than it did (even though I deeply wanted it to be answered right away), that I went ahead and made my own plans, not thinking that they could all be affected by this, too. I truly didn't think that change may possibly upset the balance in my life. 
What I've Learned
  • Painful change and hurting for the right thing(s) - the thing(s) that break the heart of God - is good. 
  • When I try to avoid pain, I avoid taking risks that could change my life and other's lives. When I try to avoid pain, I avoid loving and being loved in return. 
  • There cannot be change without some pain, but it will be worth it if I endure the painfulness of change.
  • I grow and learn new things every time something changes. I discover new insights about different aspects of my life. I learn lessons even from changes that did not lead me to where I wanted to be. 
  • Frequent changes make me easily adapt to new situations, new environments, and new people. As a result I do not freak out when something unexpectedly shifts.(Something I did a lot in the past). 
  • Not all changes lead me to pleasant periods of life. Unfortunately we do not live in fairy tale and sad things happen, too. Overcoming the tough period have made/will make me stronger. 
  • One never knows what each change may bring. When I turn from my usual path there will be plenty of different opportunities waiting for me. Changes will bring new choices for happiness and fulfillment. 
  • Small changes become extremely valuable. One shift at a time, small changes will eventually lead me to the desired big one...God's ultimate answer to my prayer.  
Some songs about change.......









Sometimes I wish change wasn't so painful, I wish pain didn’t affect me so deeply - so that I can love, live, hope and dream more.


But I must remember—if there was no pain, then there would be no change, and without change there can be no joy or miracles! So, I rejoice in the already answered prayer and wait for God to answer the second half of my prayer...

 "God's plan is always the best. Sometimes the process is painful and hard, but He has a purpose for our pain, a reason for our struggle, and a reward for our faithfulness."
(Dave Willis)




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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Eleven Words, One Theme: Change in 2018


Happy 2018!!
I have been contemplating a word for the new year ahead. But, as in the past, it seems like there have been several different words that have gotten my attention. After breaking my list of words down to 8, I constructed a "word cloud" above. Though there are several words, one word is central to me...
CHANGE

Change is inevitable in life. More importantly, I see change being a bigger part of my life this year, more than ever. 

Throughout the year, I will be posting about each of these words and what they mean to me, especially as I consider how God is using them to mold me.

To go along with each word, I am sharing a Bible verse, as well.
  • Change/Prepare - "This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace." Colossians 1:6
   Prepare God’s arrival! Make the road smooth and straight! Every ditch will be filled in, Every bump smoothed out, The detours straightened out, All the ruts paved over. Everyone will be there to see The parade of God’s salvation.” Luke 3:1-6
  • Healthy - "Jesus heard about it and spoke up, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.” Luke 5:31-32
  • Brave - "Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord." Psalm 27:14 
  • Exhale - The Lord God created the heavens and stretched them out. He shaped the earth and all that comes from it. He gave life to the people who are on it and breath to those who walk on it. Isaiah 42:5
  • Freedom - "If you have a chance at freedom, go ahead and take it. I’m simply trying to point out that under your new Master you’re going to experience a marvelous freedom you would never have dreamed of." 1 Corinthians 7:21

  • Turning - "I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back." Philippians 3:12-14

  • Passage - "What I’m interested in seeing you do is: to break the chains of injustice, sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ Isaiah 58:6-9

  • Freefall - "God frees prisoners— he gives sight to the blind, he lifts up the fallen." Psalm 146:9

   "Because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from fallingPsalm 91:10-13

   If God hadn’t been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up." Psalm 94:17-19

  • Trust  - "Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture."  Psalm 37:3 
  • Leap “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets." Luke 6:23 
  • Travel - "From now on every road you travel Will take you to God. Follow the Covenant signs; Read the charted directions." Psalm 25:10
"Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life; don’t for a minute lose sight of them. They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit and attractive. You’ll travel safely, you’ll neither tire nor trip. You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep. No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner, Because God will be right there with you; he’ll keep you safe and sound." Proverbs 3:21-26
"Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God." 1 Peter 1:18

 My Bible Verse Prayer for 2018:
God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me— my whole life one long, obedient response. Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway! Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot. Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way. Affirm your promises to me— promises made to all who fear you. Hurry with your answer, God! I’m nearly at the end of my rope. Don’t turn away; don’t ignore me! That would be certain death. If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice, I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you. Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before you. Save me from my enemies, God— you’re my only hope! Teach me how to live to please you, because you’re my God. Lead me by your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland. 
                               Amen 
 Psalm 119:33-40Psalm 143:7-10, 
I'm  very excited to see how God will be preparing my heart, as He guides me through the changes ahead of me.



What word (or words) are you choosing for 2018?

   


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Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017: Purpose In Each Detail of Life

Image result for Goodbye 2017

Well, another year is coming to an end. As I reminisce over the past 12 months, I think about the ways in which my word for 2017 (PURPOSE) has helped me look at my life from a new perspective.
So much of my circumstances have been beyond my control, yet I found myself being emotionally controlled by them. 
I have learned a lot about other people and have tried to understand why they may do what they do or say what they say. I have learned to stand strong when I have had to make an extremely difficult decision, not being influenced by unwarranted guilt,  sympathy, or a desire for a closer relationship, but to do what is best for me.
I have learned that, as I look into the past and the future, both have a purpose and hopefully each continues to shape and grow me in a more positive way. Life definitely isn't all peaches and cream. Much of the time, I don't even understand why things happen the way they do. But, because God is in control, I must just do the best I can and leave the rest to Him.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Maya Angelou


A few things I have learned about purpose and God's purpose for me...

REDEFINING OUR SENSE OF PURPOSE

When facing mid-life issues, it’s time to ask, “What is God doing in my life? What gives us meaning and satisfaction? From whence do we derive our purpose for living?" The challenge of locating new sources of fulfillment and joy when jobs, careers and our children no longer dictate how our time is spent and give shape to our identity. Our early and middle adult years do not adequately prepare us for the new role of being an older adult. Shifting out of the role we are groomed for and into the unfamiliar role of retiree and then elderly person may make us question our purpose.

RECONCILING ONE'S SENSE OF SELF WITH PHYSICAL, MAYBE MENTAL DECLINE

In the past we were younger and, in some ways, more vibrant. We had more energy and required less sleep. We didn't worry about what we were eating or how we felt. But now our bodies are talking back and forcing us to be concerned about our health.

QUESTIONS ON THE NATURE OF GOD, HUMAN EXISTENCE, DEATH

We may ask ourselves, what is the meaning of all the seemingly irrelevant details in the cosmic (much larger) scheme of things? Suddenly, we begin to question what we have been doing all this time. We cannot find purpose in the mundane routine of life anymore because we’ve gotten a taste of what is beyond it. We may have deeply held concerns about the worth and value of our life and whether we did all that we might have with the life now slipping away.

FEELING PURPOSEFUL 
It seems that we can all find ourselves on something of that merry-go-round in life. Same thing day after day, after day punctuated by the odd happy event and the odd crisis. Whatever that may look like in the life that we’re living, we may be asking ourselves, ‘What’s it all for? Why am I doing this? What’s the point of it all? Sometimes we don't feel purposeful because  we don't feel we're living our calling because our calling comes so easy to us that it doesn't feel noteworthy.

Yet the simple little ways we go about life, blessing others, helping others, pleasing God, getting errands done, doing chores, and using our skills, are all part of fulfilling our life purpose

http://midlifechristianwoman.blogspot.com/2017/11/purpose-is-found-daily.html

Real purpose—the kind that enables a parent to persevere through different stages of parenting—is birthed in everyday decisions. In those quiet moments where the choice to persevere overrides the desire to run. 

With each difficult encounter, we have a choice: to seek out the the easy, safe, self-protecting path wrought with temporary pleasures, or to stand firm in faith and character, regardless of what God allows to come our way. 

Our role is not to question the when, where, and how(we will never find a definite answer anyway) and to start living in—making the most of—the now (Ephesians 5:16). In other words, God has a purpose in every encounter and every stage of our journey, whether we’re standing in line at the grocery or folding towels at home. His purpose, and our calling, is quite simple: to know Him and make Him known. Only Christ can satisfy us to our core, can bring purpose out of even the most frustrating situations, and can lift us from our petty lives to freedom and adventure.    

Everyday life presents opportunities for our growth in holiness. God can use the ordinary moments in our life to glorify Himself by conforming us into the image of his Son. 

As I attempt to joyfully and humbly give my time and energy to cook dinner for my husband or help my mom with dementia accomplish a task, I lose nothing and gain everything. Living in the reality of this gospel and the future promise of glory motivates me to love others as Jesus loves. I have received mercy in Christ Jesus (1 Pet. 2:10). I must be confident that what he promises for me in the future will come to pass. That’s faith.
https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/god-rules-the-mundane
https://livewellworryless.com/2016/03/31/3-secrets-to-finding-meaning-in-the-mundane/

To seize life is not an easy task but it is probably one of the most important ones I can do for myself! To seize life requires focus, preservation, determination, and inspiration. But most importantly, it requires being still long enough — in this busy world — to hear God’s voice. It requires dropping what I have been doing and following a nudge in my heart! Also, it may require not listening to what other’s have to say about what I should be doing with my life. He will seize life — my life — and guide it but I have to be willing to listen, drop life, and follow. 

“I know that you can do all things,
    and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
Job 42:2

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Psalm 138:8

God made everything with a place and purpose;
    even the wicked are included—but for judgment.

Proverbs 16:4



This vision-message is a witness

    pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
    And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
    It’s on its way. It will come right on time.
Habakkuk 2:3


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I'm praying your year has been a blessing and a deep learning experience, as well...

As I anticipate another year ahead of me, I am thinking about a new word to embrace. Watch for my first post of 2018 to see what that word will be!


   

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