Monday, January 30, 2012

Kindness and Honor

This past week I was challenged in kindness.  Early in my faith walk God revealed to me the importance of honoring my husband in word and action.  It was what God used... and how God used me... to transform my husband.

Now that he and I share the same path I will forget, from time to time, the importance of honoring him in my words and actions... still.  I saw it this past week, I began to pray through it, and Sunday I became fully convicted of it.

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God's hand for that person.  
- Proverbs 3:27-28 (The Message)

You see, my husband likes to talk.  We joke that he is worse than a woman at times!  I can get chatty, but he takes the cake.  I marvel at how different we are yet how God draws us together to relate through talk.  This talk is often my downfall.

I, on the other hand, have my list of to-dos.  Bible study, breakfast, kids on task, blogs, teaching that new math concept, having that heart-to-heart with kid #2 who would rather fiddle the time away then actually do the school work, discuss treaties in history and bone structure in health.... grade papers, make dinner, clean up, read that book the pastor asked me to and, finally, get ready for bed... but I won't go into that elaborate schedule!

You get the idea.

And right-smack-dab in the middle of it, hubby walks in from a meeting and doesn't just share the meeting content but every side tangent too.

I smile and listen at first... then slowly my patience wears and before I know it, I am almost in tears thinking of ALL that I need to be doing.  I get short, my words are terse, my actions show agitation and soon, I leave him feeling burdensome and uncared about.

I am not proud.

But... I share all this because I imagine I am not alone.  Granted, many husbands leave the home for their work and wives receive that quiet time and look forward to hubby's later return and interruptions... I remember those days... affectionately at times!  But some may have husbands that work from home (or, unfortunately, that may be unemployed at this time).  While their work and interests keep them busy, there are always those injections to our day that we aren't prepared for.  The syphon of our time we had hoped to keep for our own intent and purposes.

Are we being selfish?

The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others... harvests a crop of weeds.  All he'll have to show for his life is weeds!  
- Galatians 6:8a (Mes)

Yes, to a point we are.  My old rebuttal was, "So is he because he won't see the time I need for other things."  But if a wholly honorable marriage begins with complete selflessness, glorifying God with our language and actions, then wouldn't it stand to reason our husband's need for us, our time, our ear to hear... are greater than our need for that time to other things?  God first, spouse second, kids and so on.  If we choose not to honor the sanctity of our marriage, won't weeds begin to sprout?

On our way home from church I humbled myself and apologized for a week of short attitudes.  I wanted to say "But..." through the whole thing, however, we should never apologize with a contingency.  I was able to share my feelings; how I feel I can't do all God calls me to for His kingdom work when we take a 30 minute discussion and drag on for 2 hours.  (I said it with more grace than that!).

He heard me.

The kids went in the house and we stayed in the car talking... sharing our hearts and desires.  I found and understood the root of it all:  his need to align with me.  He wants me to know what he has going on and what he is thinking and feeling... and he desires to know my heart too.  But that takes time each day to sit and discuss.

We problem solved.  Agreed to keep our daytime conversations short and to the point so our work was not put so far off course.  I agreed to let him know when our talks are getting lengthy and I needed to get to a task.  But most importantly, we agreed to a set-aside time each day to have our heart-to-hearts... to align our spirits in all we have going on.  I acknowledged his need for me and he recognized my needs too.

I felt honored... and honorable.  Much more than continuing into a new week with lengthy daytime conversations and terse responses.  I found what I needed as the result of my submission and Christ-led humility.  I don't feel like I won... or lost.... I feel honor and that is the spirit that glorifies God most in these matters.

I pray to live in that honorable place each day.  With word and action.  I pray you may know the peace and humility that leads to honor in those difficult situations too.

Many Blessings to you in the week ahead,

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.
– Colossians 4:6 (NRSV)

Joining Michelle today at:

Friday, January 27, 2012


I keep hearing this song on the radio and it just pumps me up. As we all jump into the weekend I thought I would share so we could all be lifted up together!

God Bless you for a beautiful weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Steps Established

I love this picture, taken this week by my husband at a spot locally called "The Bowl".  A hot sledding area nestled between two converging roads, on the side of a ridge, overlooking the valley and the majestic Rockies not too far away.

My daughter is resting.  The climb from the spot where everyone looks like ants from here wore her out!  So there she sits... looking.  I think of her, halfway through 8th grade.  Next year she will be "High School" with all new focus and direction where studies are concerned.  For 8 1/2 years we have laid foundations and prepared her to prepare for her future... the time for walls to go up on the house of her tomorrows is quickly approaching.

I don't know what her future holds... I don't even know what my future holds!  But I know the steps we take in the Lord will get us there.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.  
- Proverbs 16:9

 When we look out on the horizons of life we may glimpse His plans in the distance but the path to that destination can be filled with the unexpected.

My thoughts and prayers often turn to hope in the steps the Lord establishes for us... that we may be able to admire the view no matter where the path may lead.

Many blessings as you trek out today!

Linking up with Somegirl today:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Strength in Brokenness

I am broken.

I won't lie.  I won't sit here and type how whole and complete I am... I am not.  As a matter of fact, I don't think anyone is whole.  We are all broken in some place or another and it is in that brokenness that we are weak... in that weakness that we search for Strength...

I have begun taking prayer walks every week.  It is remarkable, in the quiet stillness of a place, how God will  show me the simpleness I am often lacking when I lay down the whir for that quiet time.

With heart messages of love and grace lately, I sat on a stump looking out and praying for understanding in current areas of brokenness.

Alone and still I gazed out upon this tree.  A recent message rings in my ears; Grace strengthens us, it helps us weather the storms.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  
- 2 Corinthians 12:9

In God's economy, weakness is what we should boast about.  That's what Chris Lautsbaugh tells me.  I can't argue, I know he is right.

We live in societies that tell us to be strong, show strength, do things that reflect strength... who are we impressing?  Is it so bad to say, "Yup, I screw that up all the time?"  Wouldn't it say more if others knew we had weaknesses too?

"Come Thou Fount" came to mind as I prepared to write this.  A song which is more like an anthem... an acknowledgement of blessings and weaknesses.  A declaration of understanding Whose grace covers our failings.  Whose devotion overcomes our falterings.

The final verse speaks most intimately to my heart today:
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

I am broken.  I will always be broken.  But I trust the Lord will heal me again and again.  Each leak that springs, he will repair and bring me towards whole until that day I step into the place His grace has prepared.

May you rest in his love and grace today... to know your brokenness is shared, your brokenness makes you strong because in  your weakness, HE is there to make you strong.

Many sweet blessing,

Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
I'll praise the mount I'm fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Monday, January 23, 2012

Living Missionally in Grace

We seem blessed by churches where the preachers interact with the congregation.  They will throw questions out like, "What do you think of when you hear the name Jesus" or "God" or "What is your favorite characteristic of Christ".  I'm the one, sitting observantly in the mid-section shouting out "GRACE".

I don't know what it is in particular that fascinates me about God's "Amazing Grace".  The song is great too and perhaps the message there is where it begins.  Because, for me (and for many) I was hopelessly lost.  I was on the verge of complete destruction... and He stepped in.  He gave me grace where grace was not due.  More than that, every time I slide backwards... he gives more grace!  How can that be?

Grace, as a noun, means:  mercy; clemency; pardon

When we submit our lives to Christ, that is just what God grants... mercy and pardons for all of our past wrong-doings... miraculously, he keeps pardoning us too, every time we try to do what is right and just miss the spot.

But it gets better!  Once the noun aspect of grace has taken affect, the verb portion kicks in:  to favor.  Once we have been pardoned we then become favored.  And the most amazing part of it all:  We don't deserve it!  But He does it anyway... again and again!!

We had a visiting missionary from South Africa at church yesterday.  He shared on grace and his calling to bring that message to the people of Africa and the world.  

I love listening to missionaries speak.  Their perspective is not the common perspective.  My husband has said that often of our own calling and how we, as missionaries, see the world... different from many.  I had to ponder: if this message of Grace and love is to be Known, don't we all need to live with a missional perspective?  To forgive and love and teach as Jesus did?  To give grace where grace isn't due... and then give grace some more?

We don't have to be missionaries to live by Grace.  We don't have to be missionaries to fully grasp Jesus' perspective.  We need only be wHoly devoted Christians ready and willing to live with a missional perspective.  To take the bad and see the grace.  To know in all situations we may find ourselves, His grace is enough and then reflect that perspective to those around us.

But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.  
 - 2 Corinthians 8:7 (ESV)

There is so much more I could and want to say on grace.  But perhaps it will appear in another article on another day.  For today I want to encourage you to deeply and truly consider grace and what that means.  To live missionally where you are, to know life is fleeting, moments pass, situations change but God and his grace are eternal... we must live as lights of hope to those who do not know this yet.  To accept our fallings, accept His grace, and reflect His love through it all.

May God guide and bless you in a life of grace this week.

Photo provided by stock.xchng
Scripture from Bible Gateway

Monday, January 16, 2012

That Love Feeling

My husband designed this.  It is for the pastor's new sermon series.  It wasn't used though... too Valentiney.  We both knew he was right.  After listening to the message on Sunday, Valentine was definitely not it.

Isn't that what we think of when we hear the word "Love"?  Or love may inspire images of favorite food, book, music and so on. 

Isn't that just like man?  To cheapen something deep and Holy driven for our own personal fleshly fulfillment?  I am guilty of it... we all are. 

However, true LOVE is more than a feeling.  If I based my love for my husband on how I felt... I can tell you with great certainty, half of our marriage has not been spent in "love"! 

Love, perhaps, as an action.  We can show love in how we act towards others.  But, no, that isn't it either.  We don't always feel like showing it.  How do you get consistent, deep and true LOVE?

The image of love has one thing right:  Hearts.

I say that because love should generate from our very core.  Not as a feeling, but as a fulfillment. 

Our hearts should be driven by the Holy Spirit.  All we do should be measured against our Savior and His great love revealed to us.  If we do not begin at the heart, all we do 'in love' is no more than empty motions which will eventually fade away.

If you are a follower of Christ Jesus, it makes no difference whether you are circumcised or not. All that matters is your faith that makes you love others. 
- Galatians 5:6 (CEV)

How many of us step out and do because it is the right thing?  Not because it is a heart thing.  How many of us step out and do because we seek man's approval and reward?  Not because we seek to be relational and approved by God?

What if we took 1 Corinthians 13 seriously?  Consider, if you don't live a life of love...
... nothing we say will  matter
... nothing we know will matter
... nothing we believe will matter
... nothing we give will matter
and worst of all....
... nothing we accomplish will matter

All things we do, work, family, teaching... everything... needs to be motivated by love.  Not that fluffy, happy, fun feeling of love.  NO, the ready to get my hands dirty-be subject to my faith-reflect the nature of God kind of love.  The kind of love that doesn't care what others think of us but rather what they think of God as the result of us.

That's love.

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. 
- Ephesians 5:1-2 (Mes)

The sermon series goes for 5 more weeks.  I am looking forward to the challenges of truly understanding God's heart for us to love.  And not the pink-and-red-lace-doily kind of love.  No, the Rise to HIS greatness kind!

Will you take the 1 Corinthians 13 challenge with me?  Read it every day (or at least once a week) and be transformed by God's heart for ours.

Many blessings to you this week as you walk in His Word and live on Monday what you hear on Sunday.

God Bless,

Friday, January 13, 2012

This Is Your Life

Wednesday I felt led to share about letting go of the past.  Yesterday, as I drove around town running errands, this song rolled across the airways and the volume dial turned towards up:

It was as if God was sharing an extended addition to "Stuck in the Mud" from the day before.  It stirred my heart, thinking of where I was 20 years ago, where I had hoped to be.  My dreams of who I would be and how I would accomplish so much.

Then something changed.  A man entered my life, you probably know Him.  His name is Jesus.

Is my life like I had dreamed 20 years ago?  Not exactly.  I was wishing and striving towards things and ambitions this broken world is successful in tearing apart.  No, my life now is actually better.  Not better in things or haves.  Rather, it is better in the joy and hope I couldn't have anticipated in my self-centered early adult naivety.

As a matter of fact, listening to this song, thought provoking as it is, brought to mind a need for one more line:

This is your life, are you who God has called you to be?

Our human mind dreams up faulty dreams to fit a faulty world.  But God's dreams fulfilled through us, are always perfect when held up against divine objectives.  I may not have all the things and prestige a world thinks I should have... but I have all that my God gives me, how can I not be complete in that?

Thinking on this Thursday, praying your ponderings bring you answers and peace today.

Blessings to you for a most wonderful weekend,

Linking up with Somegirl today:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stuck In The Mud

Moving forward means letting go.

Yup, try to avoid that one.  When your wheels are stuck, deep in the mud, all you do is spin and spit up a bunch of goopy-messy muck.

Not good.

I had my wheels stuck in the mud a few years back.  God had been so good to me.  Brought me to a wonderful church, guided me in fruit-filled relationships, blessed me with four beautiful children and renewed my life through my trust in Christ.

Then the muck.

Past hurts, wrongs and pain that ran so deep it began to ooze.  It was a trap I couldn't seem to budge from.  It spewed in my words when the subject came anywhere near.  It splattered across most of my thoughts and muddied my perception until all I could see was a giant mud splatter all over my life.

Try getting that out by yourself!

Suddenly, out of no-where, a voice said STOP.

Remarkably, I listened.  I sunk for a few minutes, if I couldn't spin I was certainly going to sink... right?

But isn't it usually in those most hopeless situations that God's glory begins to shine brighter?

Mud like this takes a tow truck to pull out of and when God is manning the hook and wheel, all we can do is hang on and be ready for the road.

HE cranked it into drive, yanked me out, hosed down the car and said LISTEN.

For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. 
- James 2:13

Was I being merciless?  Was I being like the man whose debt had been forgiven and then went out and rattled the cage of someone who owed him money?  Oh Heaven help me if I was.

God began to show me how my hurts were justified.  How, yes, the happenings of past were wrong.  


That was then, this was now.  Who would I be without those hurts and wrongs and experiences no matter how bad?  What testimony would I have and understanding of others in those same places?  Could I really understand those things which I know all to intimately without first going through it myself?

The answer is, no, I couldn't.  

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.   
- Romans 8:28

We don't like the dirty mucky places.  But even getting dirty has its purpose when we trust in the One who makes us clean again.  Most importantly, we can't stay in the mud, spinning our wheels and flinging it everywhere... we just get everyone else dirty with us and, well, no one likes it when someone else makes them dirty too!

God doesn't hold anger and bitterness, unforgiveness or hate.  He only holds hope and renewal, promise and peace.  To move forward into the future He holds we must let go of the past and present we hold.  

It is OK to let go.  We won't fall.  In fact, we can forgive even when the other person/people haven't come to that place yet.  I did.  Oh glory day when Jesus took away the pain.  Oh how wonderful to no longer be spinning my wheels but to instead be traveling down the road fresh and clean.

I pray, today, for any bit of mud that might have you spinning, may you reach out and call Triple T (The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost).  Their towing service is the best!

Many blessings to you,

Linking up today with Mom's Mustard Seeds, Women Living Well, Seeds of Faith, Internet Cafe and A Holy Experience.

Every life has testimonies of how God intercedes to show His power and glory.  To read my story, click below:

Photos thank you to stock.XCHNG

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

All In

 We missed church again this week, stomach stirrings, leftover fluish and exhaustion meeting the mix.  Not wanting to truly 'miss', we opted for our online alternative.  Local and always moving.

I didn't take pages of notes this week.  I usually do with this pastor.  But one note was all it took:

We're all in.

He was preparing for a year ahead, just after a year in review.  He shared the church's 12 points to achieving God's vision and mission for their church.

We are not 'members' of that church, but we believe in what God is using them to do.  And each point hit closer and closer to home.  Enter #12.

Am I all in?

Members or not, God has given us all a calling, a purpose, and a place to rise in His name.  How often do I put one foot in... or worse.... barely one toe?  I say I can, I am, I will.  But in truth, I'm afraid of the water.  Afraid it is too cold, afraid I will sink, afraid a big ole' shark will come up and bite my leg off!

Am I all In?

When I say yes and then bow out?  When I make a commitment, even if only to myself, and then spend more time making excuses then performing the task?

Am I bringing HIM honor and glory and praise because I am in the water treading the deep.


Am I bringing Him shame, embarrassment and ridicule because I can't get past the toe?

I'm afraid I am both sometimes. 

He said to me, "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.  
- Zechariah 4:6

Listening Sunday I became more determined than ever to bleed over the projects God trusts me with to succeed at.  I will not listen to the neigh-sayers, it isn't always for everyone... but it just may be for me.  I am NOT going to put on Saul's armor... I don't need it!  I have my stones and my God, they are enough.  After all, it isn't about me, not in the least.  I will risk the Ocean for my Creator; Jesus risked it all for me.

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called,     
- Ephesians 4:1

In searching God today, I realized:  We must bring Him glory by bringing our all.

I pray you are brave with me today, brave enough to be all in, and not just the toe, in all that God calls you to today.

Many blessings this week!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

In the Palm

It seems to me, the roughest ends produce the most hopeful new beginnings.  It is true, hurts may often cause fear... we may be reluctant to step out into hope at first.  But it isn't we who seek to do if we let the Lord take over and do through us. 

It is this mixture of rough ends, hopeful beginnings and a desire to squash fears and reluctance that have led to greater Leaning and deeper trusting in recent weeks... it led to this heart truth;

He Who holds the world in the palm of his hand, holds my entire life too.

What if we really considered that...

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
   or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
   - Isaiah 40:12

Who?  How much water can we hold in the palm of our hands?  If only that much... how much can we really handle ourselves?

though they stumble, they will not fall,
   for the LORD upholds them with his hand
- Psalm 37:24

That same hand that measured the waters and marked off the heavens... it holds us.  We may feel we have fallen, but like the Footprints in the Sand, have we really fallen at all?  Or is Someone holding us from something even worse?

Why do you complain, Jacob?
   Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD;
   my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Do you not know?
   Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
   and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint. 
- Isaiah 40:27-31

I'm not quite sure what 2012 holds, but I am absolutely positive Who holds 2012.  If this doesn't convince you enough, try this song, I pray it sings to your heart the way it is singing to mine today:

Have an absolutely blessed New Year, just think.... you are His beloved and He holds you in the palm of His hand.

Blessed to you,

Linking up with Somegirl today:

Palm photo compliments of stock.xchng

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Leaving Margins

I am hyper today!  It is strange.  A few months ago I wrote about possessing an evenness... self-control such as Paul discusses in Titus.  I know I need to practice composure (so as not to annoy others!) yet my excitement persists...

Plans are processing.

I am a planner (I'm kind of freakish about it!)  I like to have a schedule.  I think most homeschoolers, parents, and anyone with a measure of busy-ness in their lives needs some plans of some kind if they are to keep on top of things.

I set my plans out in the fall for a productive school year.  It was very exciting.  But I messed one thing up... I forgot to leave Margins.  The pastor mentioned it on Sunday, leaving margins in our lives.  I was so wrapped up in what we could do that I packed in nearly every minute of every day.  I went easy on the kids (I learned back in the beginning of homeschooling that too much for the kids is a big headache for mom!).  But when it came to me... not a moment to spare.

Sad really.

Sometimes the best laid plans, when not laid through the best Planner, are really not good plans at all.

And here I state I'm hyper and excited today!

It is because I started the new year with something different:  a new plan.

It looks a lot like the old one only there have been some tweaks and adjustments.  And it started with one key element:  prayer.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 
- Jeremiah 29:11

How do we know what His plans are if we don't seek Him in what He needs us to do first?  I sought him in our lesson plans.  I sought him in our goals this year.  But I failed to seek him completely in when to get all things done... and when to leave some margins.

By  Christmas break I was feeling like all the things God has set out before me would be impossibly lost because my plans were all in the way.  And then he showed me that was just it... they were MY plans.

So I have started walking.  A few mornings a week.  Seeking and hoping and, most of all, praying.  Talking to my Father, seeking His plans for my day, week, and future.

The joy of these times and what He spreads out to show me has simply run over.  It shows on my face, it comes out in my words, it is expressed in my actions.  I want to jump and shout because I matter to Him enough for His plans to be known and be given for a future of hope.

He wants to share His plans with you too!  I pray you are always hearing them, letting go of your own and leaving margins for all the possibilities He wants to share with you too!

May God bless you this week in all you plan to do!

Linking up today with Mom's Mustard Seeds, Women Living Well, Seeds of Faith, Internet Cafe and A Holy Experience.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year Dawning

Happy New Year friends!

I know the net is packed with new years posts right now... resolutions, year in reviews, and advice on starting over.  New year is all those things to me... but it is something more as well.

About 20 years ago I began noticing a pattern.  Not a practicing Christian at the time, I didn't fully understand it.  I have since articulated, however, the Source and meaning:

Every new year, in January, God puts a message on my heart.  A message to symbolize the year ahead.  A message that unlocks potential most would call resolutions.  I use to make them until I felt led to do something different with them:

It isn't a resolution, exactly, it is a time of prayer and seeking.  God, what is your desire for me in the year ahead?  How can I serve You, reflect You, show Your love best?  I begin to write out and consider how He desires I rise to His call in these aspects.  I rewind and fast-forward and through it, through the time, I hope in His desires for the year ahead.

This year, on the flip side of a Christmas that brought a lot of hurt and hardship, unexpected darkness seeking to snuff out the light of the season, my prayers and seekings in New Year's hopes have been in greater earnest.

My journal pages are filling up fast these weeks.  My head bows more often then ever and my hope and faith are filling me to step forward each moment knowing His promises will not fail.

God has been drawing me to curb my responses; sometimes the best reaction is to not react.  I can't control what others do and say... but I can lean into the Holy Spirit to guide my words and actions.  And at the end of the day, it isn't what we have done for ourselves but rather what we are doing for Him, through Him, that helps us sleep at night.

I thought I was handling it... getting it.  I didn't believe Sunday's message would be pertinent, I didn't expect it to move me at all.  Like many others, Pastor did a year in review.  Is that possible?  Review messages from a full year... didn't I already get those messages once?

But the montage' of moments from 12 months past was just what the Lord had ordered... pages in my journal filled even more.  Yes, I heard these messages, but like any good Word.... you can never hear it enough.  He was reiterating my heart's understandings and reminding me of even more.

Like affirmation that my contentment of late has become my own enemy and blotted more fertile spiritual growth.  Even contentment in the bad only leads to complaining and disgust.  Contentment in the good stifles the great.  We even forget, through our contentment, what God has spoken to us... His messages and beseeching, flying away in our sedentary Spirit.  We must nail His Word down, etch it in our hearts and not stop till everyone sees it reflected in our ways.

Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 
- Hebrews 2:1

A friend told me once when we were transitioning through some great changes and facing hardships, when all else fails and things seem dark, remember what you last heard God telling you and hold onto it.

I'm holding on now!

As I pray through the trials of late, we remembered Ruth from February and how our trials are part of the story God is writing for us.  It is through our difficulties that we grow.  We are responsible for our own actions, not others.  When I shifted from worry and hurt and complaining in what happened over Christmas and instead turned to face God in lieu of facing my problems on my own, my heart swelled with peace.  He showed me how my scope and perspective needed changing... He even reminded me how the many trials and adjustments this past year have grown me, humbled me, and caused me to be grateful in ways I never expected.  Tears came first but hope was always renewed... it will be this time too.

And as I considered the source of our troubles... the differences in belief and the knowledge of Truth in our extended family, Pastor reminded us it doesn't matter what they think.  Let them laugh as people laughed at Jesus when he proposed to revive the dead.  Who was left laughing in the end?  I can be faithful because Jesus was faithful and all that matters is when I stand before Him in eternity with confidence that I did what I could and I did not shy away because they laughed.  

We can not fail in our ambitions Holy inspired.  We can not turn from our call to march forward... not because of hurt or fear or uncertainty.  Joshua's leadership taught us that.  As I thought of family in various states of unbelief, denial, and lashing out with hurtful attacks because I seek to march across the Jordan, I seek to see the walls of Jericho fall, a message flashed across the screen...

They overthrow their father's failures

... and it hit home.  Orphaned by a biological father who sides with harsh atheism, separated by in-laws who scream profanities inches from my face... my family tears apart, it writhes in despair... but I will and can overthrow the mantel of hardship and march on for hope.  I can prevail in His name, through His strength.  Each day can dawn brighter.

On the flip side of Christmas week and at the cusp of a new year dawning Pastor reminded me that our greatest triumphs come after our biggest failures.  I believe the most beautiful healing comes after the deepest hurts as well.

I pray, today's post most personal and poured out in hopes of testimony and inspiration, you may have renewed hope in a new year ahead.  Whether you make resolutions or simply submit your plans in prayer, may you know His greatest blessings in your life this 2012.

Most humbly yours in Christ!