Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Let Go, Let God! {Random Journal Day}

Seems like lately it's either a physical struggle
                     an emotional struggle
                                            or  a relational struggle...
We've all had days,
                                 sometimes months
that we just seem to struggle with one thing or another.

I know struggles are supposed to strengthen us...
                                                       bring us closer to God.

So often, though, we fight and struggle even more to be free of these struggles...what a crazy cycle of actions and reactions.

That's why I'm sharing this entry from my journal today.{for Random Journal Day blog hop} It describes how I've been struggling and trying not to fight against that struggle, but instead, seek God daily.
Thursday, November 16th, 2012:
O.K., Lord, take these anxious feelings away from me! My emotions are on edge this morning, as I got 2 phone calls from my mom, saying my brother(in the hospital) isn't doing well. Been also feeling anxious about Tyler(my son). I just want peace and no more drama. Still wishing we could get away for a few days, but can't afford it right now. Been trying to listen to what the Lord's trying to tell me...all week a theme has been coming up in my devotions:
Let Go - Don't hang on to the yucky stuff  in life: worry, resentment, frustration, negativity

Let God - Fill me, instead, with good stuff: Joy, gratitude, love, peace.

Lord, it seems like I'm struggling with having a positive outlook, lately. My passion for life is barely flickering, some days. Help me to find that passion again, for You and for my life! Amen
 "There are times in life when you finally have to surrender your own wants and perceived needs to the loving direction of God. When you let go of your expectations or your need to control a situation, you will receive more good than you could ever imagine. Then, let God guide the outcome of any situation. " (source)

Music is one of my favorite ways to seek God's presence in my life. This Audrey Assad song has really touched my heart during this time of struggle...

"Carry Me" by Audrey Assad:
Pain is a forest we all get lost in
Between the branches hope can be so hard to see
And in the darkness we've all got questions
We're all just trying to make sense out of suffering but

You say I am blessed because of this
So, I choose to believe
As I carry this cross, You'll carry me
Help me believe it

Fear is a current we all get caught in
And in its motion faith can be so hard to find
And we all falter 'cause we're all broken
We're all just trying to turn the shadows into light but

You get glory in the midst of this
And You're walking with me

And you say I am blessed because of this
So, I choose to believe
As I carry this cross, You'll carry me

And I know Your promises are faithful
And God, I've seen Your goodness in my life
And oh, I've found Your mercy is a river
Your love is an ocean wide

You say I am blessed because of this
You get glory in the midst of this
And You're walking with me

And You say I am blessed because of this
So, I choose to believe

As I carry this cross, as I carry this cross
'Cause as I carry this cross, You'll carry me

You'll carry me, God
You'll carry me
And Your love is an ocean wide
I also desire to make this post an opportunity to give the Lord thanks for all He continues to bless me with, in spite of (hopefully, as I learn from) these struggles in my life....sharing the gifts He has bestowed upon me every new day through the Joy Dare.

3 gifts of traditions:
1,115 - A new tradition with my hubby and son...to just take off in the car and end up where we end up on Thanksgiving weekend!
1,116 - Having a meal together with my siblings and parents.
1,117 - Attending church together on Sunday mornings, followed by eating out for lunch.

3 gifts family:
1,118 - Spending a few hours with my son and hubby at Lake Michigan on Thanksgiving Day.
1,119 -Talking and laughing at the table, after our family meal together.
1,120 - Trusting that the Lord watches over family members who can't be with us at the family Thanksgiving meal.

A gift grateful:
1,121 - Oh! How can I list only one thing that I'm grateful for? Today, it most definitely is God's presence in my life, through the Holy Spirit!

3 gifts only in Christ:
1,122 - Forgiveness of sins through the blood He spilled for me!
1,123 - Hope for eternity with Him someday in paradise!
1,124 - The power of His great love!!!

3 gifts humble:
1,125 - Becoming less, so He becomes more!
1,126  - Giving my time, energy, and heart to serving my family and those who are in need.
1,127 - In prayer, on bended knee, seeking God's will in all things.

3 gifts ugly-beautiful:
1,128 - Looking to God for hope and healing, especially when loved ones are suffering.
1,129 - Seeking the Lord's will, when things don't make sense in this world and in our lives.
1,130 - When the waves of life splash on us, knowing Christ carries us through.

3 gifts preparing:
1,131 - Preparing my heart to receive great things that the Lord is going to do in my life and the lives of those I love.
1,132 - Preparing food for family time together.
1,133 - Preparing for the cold, winter weather that will soon be here.
When you are in troubled and worried and sick at heart 
and your plans are upset and your world falls apart,
 remember God's ready and waiting to share 
The burden you find much too heavy to bear. 
So with faith, Let Go and Let GOD lead your way 
into a brighter and less troubled day!
When the cares of my heart are many,
    your consolations cheer my soul.
Psalm 94:19

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Worry Never Makes Things Better

It's the wee hours of early morning and I'm tired, but can't fall asleep. I feel the ache of my body, that begs for rest.

Once again, I find myself worrying about where he is and what he is doing. I ruminate the worst scenario. Why do I torture and punish myself this way?  

I pray, "Lord, be with him. Give him wisdom, the desire and strength to make and carry out wise decisions." I know that God hears my pleas, but my faith is weak. I struggle with trusting my son in the Father's hands. 

I know the Lord is watching over all His children. So why do I worry and fret? I know, it's said that moms worry about their children, no matter how old they get. Why is that?

I think most moms struggle with worry for their children. It's our natural instinct. But is it really biblical to worry as a mom? 

I constantly have to read and re-apply the following verses to my life, when worry starts to rear it's ugly head in my head...

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27)

 I pray for a faith in God's mighty hand over my son, for peace of mind that only God can give, and rest for my mind and body. Some days, I find instant relief, but tonight it's a struggle, a battle that I know all too well Satan would love to win. 

I claim other verses that help give me relief that my son will make godly choices and that God has him in His mighty plan!

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

“For I know the plans I have for you,”says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. You will find Me when you seek Me, if you look for Me in earnest” (Jeremiah 29:11-13) 

My prayers and petitions for my son:
  • That he would be “taught of the Lord” and great will be his peace (Isaiah 54:13)
  • That he would hide His Word in his heart (Psalm 119:11)
  • That God would fill him with the knowledge of His will so he can walk in a way that’s pleasing to Him and his life will bear fruit (Col. 1:9)
  • That his heart would be flooded with light so he could understand the wonderful future God has promised to those He called (Ephesians 1:17-19)
  • That he would trust in the Lord with all his heart and not lean on is own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • That God’s favor would surround him like a shield wherever he goes (Psalm 5:12)

  Lord, I put my faith in You alone! Take my worry and anxieties and give me peace. Also, supply wisdom for me and my husband to know what You desire for us, as parents of a young adult son, to do to encourage him in his walk with You. Amen.

Sharing the gifts that the Lord has provided: November Joy Dare
3 Gifts Behind a Door:
1,097 - An owl hanging, reminding me always...

1,098 - A pantry full of food for Thanksgiving weekend!
1,099 - My son, when he walks through the door, after coming home from a late evening out.

3 Gifts Silent:
1,100 - A quiet house in the morning, after all others have gone to work.
1,101 - My prayers in the early hours of the morning, when my worries keep me awake.
1,102 - Sometimes the silence of immediate unanswered prayer - as I am waiting for the Lord to work in me and/or others in my life.

3 Gifts Hard Eucharisteo:
1,103 - Striving to entrust to God, over and over again, those dear to my heart, especially my son.
1,104 - Mornings, when dirty dishes need washed and clothes need folded and hung on hangers, but I'm struggling to get going.(Very seldom do I share photos when my house is dirty, but today this is honestly a hard Eucharisteo!)

1,105 -Knowing what to do to help encourage my brother, who has had chronic health problems and is currently sick in the hospital. (So often I feel helpless and all I can do is pray).

3 Gifts of Laughter
1,106 - Watching the antics of a squirrel in our yard, trying to find food.(And my dogs going crazy, watching him out the window)
1,107 - Playing with my dogs! (What they wouldn't do for a treat!)

1,108 - A funny skit in the church service on Sunday! Love that we can laugh even in church!

3 Gifts Made, Shared, Passed On:
1,109 - Made: A Thanksgiving Banner
1,110 - Shared: Time with lots of sisters in Christ at our annual church Ladies Tea.
1,111 - Passed on: The love of Christ to others...we need to always be ready to share such an amazing love!!!
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. John (4:9-11)

3 Gifts Autumn:
1,112 - Colorful morning skies on the lake.
1,113 - Other mornings, when a layer of fog covers the lake.
1,114 - Morning frost on the leaves


Saturday, November 17, 2012

"If You Have..." Makes One Think!

I love finding different quotes and Bible verses on Pinterest. Some are quite thought-provoking! As I was reading some quotes on giving thanks, since this time of year often promotes the thought, I came across this quote. I'm not sure who wrote it or where the statistics came from, but I believe them to be true. This really does put things in perspective and reminds me how truly blessed I am. I've known people and myself have NOT had 1 or 2 of these things in our lifetime, but more people have at least one of these things. Is there anything in the list that you are blessed to have today? God provides!!

May you have a blessed and thankful Thanksgiving Week!

Linking up at these Blog Hops:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The War Is Already Won!

I've been studying Scripture lately on the subject of Satan and the unseen spiritual battle we, as Christians, fight every day. The battle between good and evil is strong and without God it would be a losing battle, for sure!

Ephesians 6:12 - ESV For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 


We are warned to be sober-minded and watchful. Satan is cunning and deceptive and his goal is to draw us away from God.


1 Peter 5:8 - Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 


Ephesians 6:13  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

1 John 5:4  - For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 


I am reminded that we need to always claim these verses when we feel overwhelmed, tempted, or oppressed! We are victorious through Him! 


Chris August has a song about this battle between good and evil.  It is so appropriate on the subject of our battle! .....and our victory!

 Counting my blessings:  November Joy Dare

3 gifts from my window
1,082 - grass, rocks, water, and sky!!! (God's creation)

1,083 - A bird in the water, searching for food.

1,084- Sunrise on a foggy morning.
a gift sweet, sipped, salty
1,085- Sweet - donut
1,086- Sipped - vanilla chai
1,087- Salty - Being reminded that we are the "salt of the earth". -
 Matthew 5:13

3 gifts found in Bible reading
1,088- Along with books and study guides, Bible reading is my joy every day!
1,089- For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12
1,090- From the Bible, I am encouraged, strengthened and delivered!

3 gifts of remembrance
1,091 - Remembering in prayer, family and friends who are suffering.
1.092 - Remembering God's presence throughout my life - in good times, and bad....a great reason to keep a journal!
1,093 - Remembering Scripture, when I need to find encouragement and hope.

3 gifts at noon
1,094- The sun, shining through my window!
1,095 - The Lord provides! Food for nourishment!
1,096 - Warmth in my heated house, on a cold November day!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Being Thankful: No Matter What

It's hard to believe it, but on Thursday, Oct. 8, it will be the 1-year anniversary of my very first post. One of the main reasons I started a blog was to keep track of the gratitude list I began back in December of 2010, when I challenged myself to write down 100 things I was thankful for. That list grew and grew. In the spring of 2011, I purchased and read the book, "1,000 Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. By October, I was struggling to keep the list going, and so, I began to blog. 

God has continued to teach and bless me spiritually over the past year. Just last month, I posted my one-thousandth gift! Gratitude is such an amazing thing. It lifts me up when I'm feeling down, gives me a new perspective of my life, and helps me grow closer in my relationship with the Lord. That doesn't mean it's always easy to write down what I am grateful for. Sometimes I have to really dig deep and look around. 

The past few weeks have been just that way for me. Family illness, stressful circumstances, and the cold, overcast, fall weather has taken it's toll on my emotions and attitude. In spite of some rough days, God has allowed me to experience His love in extraordinary ways. Number one, I had the opportunity to go to a Chris Tomlin concert. Now, you have to know that Chris Tomlin is my favorite musician/worship leader of all times! I knew for awhile that he had a concert coming up near my hometown, but because of some circumstances, I didn't think we would be able to go see him. That was up till the day of the concert, when a few seats opened up, and my sweet hubby went to some great lengths and got them for us. 
And, what an amazing evening of worship and praise we had! I really needed to have that evening!

God has also been speaking to me through our pastor at church, as his sermons, along with a book I am currently reading (Unglued, by Lysa TerKeurst) have touched specifically on how our thoughts have such an great influence on how we view God and our lives as a whole. It's so amazing how the Lord brings things together to make a point and talk to us through others!

As Thanksgiving draws closer, we tend to think about all that we have to be thankful for. I have found that to be something I need to do every day, no matter what time of year or what circumstances I am going through. God made us to give thanks and look to Him for our joy in life. 
 1 Thessalonians 5:18 - In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

When we go to Him with a grateful heart, He lifts us up and we find renewed strength through Him. 
 Psalm 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. 
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

There are so many things I am grateful for in my life, each and every day. 

Today, though, I struggled to find things to give thanks for.  I decided to take my camera outside, on this cold, dreary, fall day. By the time I walked around my yard and even got down by the waterside of the lake I live by, I couldn't feel my fingers, it was SO cold! But I did find some extraordinary things, small as they may be, to thank our Great Creator for! Even on a day like today, God is so good and gracious!

Counting my blessings:  November Joy Dare
3 Gifts Overjoyed:
1,058 - Last minute tickets to see my favorite musician!

1,059 - An evening out, with my hubby!

1,060 - God's providence, in the midst of hardships.

3 Gifts Hallowed:
1,061 - A beautiful venue for a worship concert. (A gorgeous 75-year old theater).
1,062 - Being in and feeling the presence of God, through music.
1,063 - Each new day, that God shows His presence and love to me.

3 Gifts Eaten:
1.064 - A big pot of yummy goulash, made by my hubby!
1,065 - Chocolate - a little sweetness to energize me when I'm tired and worn.
1,066 - Subway sandwiches, filling and healthy!

3 Gifts Worn:
1,067 - Leaves that have fallen from the trees
1,068 - Water-worn, soaked, and stressed days
1,069 - My aging body, when winter winds blow and seem to go straight through me!

3 Gifts that start with N:
1,070 - Nature...a leafless tree, tall and exposed.
1,071 - New boots - my favorite footwear in the winter!(Any kind of boots.)
1,072 - "Nothing is impossible with God!" Luke 1:37

3 gifts:
1,073 -Gathered: some shells, pebbles, and seeds along the shore.

1,074 -Given: A reminder from God in sermon and book.
1,075 -Good: God's goodness, in the midst of so much evil in this world.

3 Gifts Acorn-Small:
1,076 - Double A batteries for my camera....allowing me to take pictures.
1,077 - Small treats for my dogs...and seeing their excitement as I get a few out of the box for them.
1,078 - Small stones and seashells - small, but so many different kinds.

3 Gifts Government:
1,079 - That God is in control!
1,080 - That I am still able to freely pray to and worship the Lord in this country. (Someday that may change and I appreciate it, while I am able.)
1,081 - Our government was established on Biblical concepts and by godly men and women.

 Always remembering to do this....
 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].
1 Thessalonians 5: 18

Linking over at these blog parties: