His Grace After the Busyness

Recently I’ve been remembering my attitude this past summer and all I can ask myself is “Why was I such a jerk?”

Why was I so hesitant to put everything aside. My busyness. My feeling of being somewhat important. I’m ashamed now to admit that I was dreading having nothing to do. No volunteer work. No mommy visits. An empty calendar.  Being busy makes us feel important. It use to make me feel important and valuable. So many times we wave our busy lives around like a flag of honor and pride. “I’ve been so busy” “I don’t have time for anything I’m just so busy” How many times have we heard these words from so many people as if being busy gives our lives value but in reality a life well spent is making every moment a time to value. The first lesson I’ve learned is: I should be spending my time doing something of real value with and for my family and eternal value for God. I was so selfish when all He wanted was to be with me. I still can’t completely wrap my mind around this: The Grand Creator of Everything just wanted to be with ME. Now I really feel important.  I wouldn’t trade these last 3 months in God’s presence for anything. The more we get to taste of His goodness and love the more we crave. A thirst only He can satisfy. The second lesson I’ve learned is: When God asks something of you woman…just do it! No whining. No analyzing. He only wants good things for you to bless you and bring the dead parts of you to life! That I may have life and life more abundantly. (John 10:10 NKJV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. ….when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. Jeremiah 29:11-14

What parts of your life is He bringing back to life?

Learning and Leaning

It was the first morning of back to school. I was giddy and excited at the thought of having a whole three hours to myself but what was I going to do for those three hours? The mall stores don’t open for another 2 hours. Hey Walmart is open 24 hours. Nah I’ll just spend money on stuff I don’t really need. I could dive into the abyss of internet searching and get swallowed up for 3 hours (because that’s what happens when I start looking up articles and reading) OK this is not what God meant by taking a season of rest. He meant Rest in me. So I took out my devotional book and bible and soaked in His word and sat there in still silence. I listened and listened. I did not hear anything that morning but I felt Him shower me with His love. I felt His peace surround me. I could feel His presence all around me. As I began to worship I could feel every ounce of me touching Heaven. My heart felt like it was growing inside my chest. Just like that scene in ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’ when his heart grew 3 sizes that day.

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12

God is always speaking to us and sometimes not the way we expect or think. In this verse we see He could have spoken to Elijah very powerfully in those events that took place but He chose to speak to him in a gentle whisper. That morning He was speaking to me…ever so gently with a whisper that said “I’m here”.

Be Still

This week I intended to write about the healthy ways we grieve and the beauty of using our emotions for healing but I just could not get the inspiration to get started. This will come around another time I suppose. When I began this blog I had every intention of giving it to the Holy Spirit and letting him guide me on what to write and when to write it. This week he has been tugging at my heart about being still.

Be still and know that I am God  -Psalm 46:10

For the last couple of years I have been a volunteer ESL teacher (English as a second language) I loved every minute of it. I got to meet people from all over the world and I fell in love with each and every one of them. As May rolled around this year I started to pray and ask the Lord for guidance to show me what He wanted me to do during the summer months and for the rest of the year. Well to my deepest surprise I kept hearing that still small voice (1 Kings 19:12) saying “nothing”. Uh Oh that can’t mean what I think that means… give up my teaching? Close the door to my students? Sit at home and be useless. (notice how all these thoughts are about me) I was in complete denial until we had a woman’s gathering at my church. Our sweet guest speaker talked about:  You Guessed It! A season in her life in which God called her to do Nothing. Ahhhh! There was my confirmation but thank God for that encounter. She shared how she needed to be busy (just like I felt) and how difficult it was to Be Still yet it brought her so much closer to our Heavenly Father and how much she treasures that year. I left with peace that day knowing this was going to be my season of peace and that I would make the most of every moment.

In my next post I will continue sharing about this journey I am currently on…..

From Victim to Victory

Without pain, loss, grieving in other words “death” there can be no Resurrection.

Have you ever experienced any “terrible” circumstances that actually turned out to be a rich blessing much later? I’d love to hear about it. Sometimes it is the loss of a job, a dream, a business, family member, friendship, etc. God’s word says He can turn bad for good:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good…. Genesis 50:20

I love this poem: Only God can turn a mess into a message
                             A test into a testimony
                             A trial into a triumph
                             A victim into a victory
 

As I shared my experience in my last post I realized my mess/trial was turned into a blessing much later. I learned how to forgive. Without forgiveness we can’t be forgiven and I don’t want to spend my life with a wedge between me and God because I held on to a pain only He could heal. I didn’t want to carry around that ball and chain for the rest of my life. Next week I will touch on grieving and sorrow and letting go. Even Jesus grieved. In our society we are quick to shove those feelings down deep and we never truly heal. Sometimes we medicate our hurts with TV, video games, addictions, shopping, eating, staying busy etc. I was guilty of “shopping” too much at one point in my life but the good news is we can find true healing and feel true freedom. Hey it’s not easy but this life isn’t easy either and it’s a much happier life to live in freedom and victory instead of as a victim.

 

When Grace Sweeps In

Have you ever gone through something really tough, life changing, and quite frankly unfair in your life? When I was 4 I was molested by a neighbor a trusted friend of my parents. I can admit it was confusing at the time I wasn’t quite sure what was happening or why. As children our coping mechanism sometimes is to pretend it didn’t happen and just keep on going. Life as usual I suppose. I remember being threatened by this person not to tell my parents or else he would hurt them. As a little person I fully believed this. How many of us know the enemy is such a liar? He instilled fear in me so I kept quite but this is where His sweet sweet grace swept in:  During this dark time in my life I saw Jesus face to face. I had an encounter with the One True God. One night there He was. He appeared in my room. I knew of Jesus from stories in church but how much do you really know at age 4? I for sure knew this was Jesus. He was so beautiful..surrounded by this glow (His glory I assume), I was so drawn to His kind face, His smile, He reached out His arms as if calling me in. I walked over to Him and He just held me in His warm embrace, caressed my hair and face. It was the warmest most comforting feeling that I can’t even explain. I felt like I was melting in His arms full of love for me and I didn’t want it to ever end. He never said any words to me but He didn’t have to. I knew right then and there that I would never be the same and that He was with me even through the darkness. Why did this happen to me? I have no idea. I don’t hold it against God. All I know is He was there and is still there for me. Through my trials and defeats His mercy never ends. The one thing I take away from this is: I was very vigilant with my girls. I kept an extra eye out for them and made sure to cover them in prayer that this may never happen to them. Know what? God was so faithful. They were never victims. If I had to go through what I did so they wouldn’t have to that is just fine by me. Isn’t that the heart of God? He let His son Jesus take all our punishment so we wouldn’t have to! Amazing!    Many years later I was talking with my Dad and started to share this encounter. His eyes got soooo big and he began to tell me that I would tell him as a little girl about this encounter and also talking with angels and he thought I was making it all up. This is tooo good to make up dad.

 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’ Numbers 6:24-26

 

24 Hour Getaway

So what is a girl to do when her husband’s birthday is right around the corner and you are just not ready to leave your 4 yr old son. I’ll tell you what you do: You sneak away for just 24 hours to Shreveport, LA and talk your 3 daughters into taking shifts to watch your 4 yr old for FREE. Love that word. Drove from Dallas in just about 3 hours. Beautiful countrysides for the most part and just for the record we partied like rock stars! OK more like lounge singers. Yes we were in bed by 12:30am and not that I want to brag BUT we did hit 5 casinos in about 7 hours. Did I mention we played like big ballers too? Yup! Hubs put $5 in each slot machine and if we didn’t hit the big jackpot with that he would simply say “Let’s move on I don’t like that machine”. I’m not one to enjoy seeing my money sucked in by a shiny slot machine as it waves as if to say goodbye. At least it was Goodbye Abraham not Benjamin. I doubt I would take a trip out there again but at least I can say “Been there – Done that”

Now if only someone could answer this question for me: What is the deal with so many senior citizens in the casinos? What do they find so intriguing? Do they think they will hit the jackpot? Someone please tell me I’m dying to know!

On to the pics:

The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk

The River

The River

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Celebrating an Awesome Man

Today is my husband’s 40th birthday! Of course I want to honor him and mention just how much I love and appreciate him. A man who truly loves God and a man that God used to bring down my walls, melt my heart, show me God’s grace, and renew my faith in Love again. After my divorce I really did not see myself remarried. Firstly because my ex had pretty much convinced me that no one would or could love a mother with 3 kids (made sense at the time) and secondly I really had that wall pretty high up there but how many of us know nothing is impossible for God? Then comes Tavo….it’s really kinda funny. Here’s this guy that is totally the opposite of what I thought was “my type” rough around the edges and God knew he would grow to be totally my type and my everything. Never thought we would end up married (more about that in the future) but God’s redeeming grace stepped in once again and gave us undeniable signs that HE was bringing us together. Well I can’t say enough about a man that has put this family first, that has taken in and loved these girls of mine that aren’t biologically his and has provided for us without complaint. He will also be the first to admit that this isn’t what he had planned for his life either but that’s God for you. He turned my ashes into beauty (Isaiah 61:3) He truly did turn my mourning into Joy. HE used this beautiful man to restore a torn woman’s heart and I better stop here because I am now sitting in a puddle of tears and just want to run over and kiss him and thank him for not giving up on me and loving me and my girl unconditionally. Happy Birthday My Sweetheart!


 “ ….To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3