Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Manna for Today

Lately I have been grappling with feeling unimportant and not valued. I have let the words exit my mouth when really they should have stayed in. If I have learned anything over the past 5 years it is that I must rehearse truth to myself and others in order to combat the lies of satan.

I have failed.

No, I rephrase: I have had a setback.

I have fallen from my stable place and slipped back into the pit that menaces that I am unable to change. It is a place where satan lives. It is a place of lowness and darkness and sadness. It is a place where I am most afraid and yet most at home. I don't want to live in that place anymore. I am a conqueror. I have a Saviour who died so that I could be free from death and guilt. He died so that I could be free from the clutches of satan and his demons.
I have dreams in my life that have gone unfulfilled. I am angry, saddened, confused about the fact that they are unrealized dreams. I've entertained the thought that Jesus died for me becasue He had to not because He chose to.

Ridiculous but honest.

I can't understand why Jesus would chose singleness for me. I have spent a lifetime feeling lonely and looking forward to the day that I would have someone who would love me and me only. Someone who would want to hear what I have to say. Someone who would be excited to hear my voice.

Unrealized dreams.

I have concluded that I am not enough for these gifts. Valuable enough, pretty enough, good enough.

Rather than point my life down that dark road I must turn around and head in the direction of the Light of Life.

Today I resolve to take a step in the direction of Jesus' light by reminding myself of these essential truths about my life.

1. Jesus died to save me
"For God so loved the world (bethany) that He gave his only Son that whoever (bethany) believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" John 3:16

2. The Lord made me with purpose and plans
"For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

3. Jesus' death bought my freedom
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us (bethany) free. Stand firm then and do not let yourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

4. I am made new
"Therefore, if anyhone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" 2 Corinthians 5:17

5. My sins are not catalogued
"As far as the east is from the west, so far does He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

6. I am a witness to others
"The righteous are like a light shining brightly..." Proverbs 13:9a

7. I am loved
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness." Jeremiah 31:3

8. My pain is a reminder of my dependency on Jesus
"He strengthens those who are weak and tired." Isaiah 40:29

9. My life has weight and value
"For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

10. I can change
"and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:23-24

Saturday, December 14, 2013

1,000 Gifts Christmas Edition

Celebrating THE GIFT of Christ this Christmas.

I am blessed beyond what my mind can fathom. 2013 has been a year of many blessings as I've learned, and continue to learn, how to walk daily with Jesus. This path that we've been on has been marked by joys little and large. The following list is my small token of putting to computer screen what has danced across the screen of my mind and heart.

Christmas Gifts

1. Twinkle lights on the tree
2. Ornanments new and old
3. Fuzzy sock Christmas party with friends
4. Peppermint hot chocolate
5. Chilly mornings sipping hot beverages
6. Jesus in the morning
7. Jesus during the day
8. Jesus at night
9. All manner of Christmas music on Pandora
10. Gifts piling under the tree and the money with which to buy them
11. Unexpected work bonus
12. Anticipation of Kitchen Aid Mixer that is my Christmas gift to myself
13. Warmth of Zoe the kitty as she sits next to me as I sit next to Jesus each morning
14. Mailbox filling with Christmas greetings from friends and family near and far
15. The rush and bustle of the season
16. The stillness and quiet of the season
17. San Francisco trip with Sue
18. The City all lit up
19. Sight of 4 little nephews and niece bundled in new jammies
20. Lighting of my simple advent candles on Sunday nights

Sunday, March 17, 2013

1,000 Gifts

I recently read the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I know that a lot of you bloggers out there have read it. And many of you have started chronicling your own list of 1,000 gifts. I've struggled with keeping my mind stayed on Jesus and his blessings over my life. I am a habitual worrier and negative thinker. I've had some victory in this area recently with the help and patience of a very good friend and mentor as well as my amazing counselor. In order to work on what is going in my mind and what I am thinking on each day, I've decided to begin counting my blessings. So, here is the beginning of my own 1,000 gifts.

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1. Zoe, who sits right next to me on the couch no matter what I am doing. Typing on my blog, reading a book, working on my bible study, or just catching a show.

2. The sound of the breeze blowing through the trees and the tinkling of my wooden windchimes.

3. Sunday mornings at Big Valley Grace.

4. Neighbors who have taken me under their wing and into their hearts.

5. Watching a friend who I love and respect so much worship her Lord, worship my Lord, worship our Lord.

Wow! It's Been a While

I've been MIA from the blog world for quite some time and that is simply because I've been without the internet. It was just too much to drive the 1/2 mile down to the nearest coffee shop that starts with an S. Really, it wasn't but I was too lazy! So, since I last posted nothing much is new. I still have the same job. I still go to the same church. I still have the same cats that bring me much delight. I still am involved in bible study at church. (Did I memorize James? Uh...no). I still live in the same city. I still battle fear and loneliness. A few things that are different in my life. My niece and nephews are growing and I've not seen them since Christmas but that is a part of life lived apart from much of my family. (Its not even that far away. We just don't get together). I chose to stop counseling after a year and a half. (that was a hard decision) My health has been a bit compromised. My employer has offered me a position that could lead to my job becoming my new career. (I am nervous and unsure whether to accept or not). A man that I was getting to know told me that he was interested in someone else (ouch!) I am beginning to take God at his word and live in truth. That last one has been the most difficult thing ever! I don't know why it requires such effort to read what God says about me and my life and the lives of those that I interact with each and every day and BELIEVE him. I've been told from my early days that I am gullible and impressionable. It has been a trait that I don't particularly like. It has led me into numerous situations that resulted in my embarrassment. But with God, it is okay that I am impressionable. He will never hurt me, poke fun at me, or ridicule me for my lack of knowledge. I am learning that if I want to grow in my relationship with him that I MUST believe what he says. And trust him with my unknowns. It is hard.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Journeying Through James

A month ago I decided, with a small group of women at church, to memorize the book of James. We had just started our new winter/spring session of bible study and were beginning to study the book of James with Beth Moore. Part of the study is a opportunity to memorize the entire book of James. I considered it and then just knew that I needed to commit to it.

I decided that it would be a good way for me to build my relationship with God.

And it has. Life has continued to move on at a rapid pace but I think that by focusing my thoughts on the Word of God daily I am better able to stay focused on Him. I am learning to relate to Him in a whole new way.

By immersing myself into the book on this level, I find myself thinking of the text and what it means and how it applies to my life. I know that this is something that we are to do with our regular bible reading. But I just don't all of the time. I usually read a passage and then move on to the next thing. I don't steep myself into a passage. Really take it in, ingest it, meditate on it.

With this intense focus on James that is changing. I am learning to really put myself into the Word. Asking God daily to speak to me. To make His Word alive in my life. Some days I don't do a very good job of surrendering and being open to whatever He would have me learn but on some days I get it and am blown away with truths and lessons.

Today has been one of those days. I spent time this morning working on my bible study and then time on my memory work. It was uninterrupted time, sweet time, Jesus and me time. Still I found myself a little distracted. I think that my struggle with distraction is part of my personality at this moment in my life. I need to begin my prayer time with asking God to help me with my distractability. I know that He will. it is just a nuissance!

So, today I rehearsed my previously memorized portion

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings!
Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to all without reproach and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting. For the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For this person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man unstable in all his ways.
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation and the rich in his humiliation because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuit. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast for when he has stood the test, He will recieve the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God" for God cannot be tempted with evil and He Himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Do not be deceived my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he has brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Know this my beloved brothers: let ever person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:1-21



And I started to think. I have endured trials. I have been tempted. I am rich in comparison to the rest of the world. If I focused only on the things that I have experienced or have characterized my life I will miss the point.

James reminds me that if I endure the trials my faith will be strengthened. He reminds me that I am not to blame God for when I am tempted. And he warns me of the futility of my riches. Pursuing them will result in nothing of substance. They fade away just as petals on a flower falls.

I am learning much by journeying through James. My God is so good to me. I am so grateful to have this time and opportunity to travel this road with Him!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Journey Through the Book of James

Last year I had such a difficult time with scripture memory. This year as I thought about what to do I was bombarded by overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and the inablility to memorize.
I know this to be an untrue set of feelings because I've proven to myself that I have the ability to memorize anything. Song lyrics, lecture notes, numbers, and yes, even scripture.
And I don't lack for accountability. I have a wonderful group of ladies who encourage each other to memorize scripture. I just realized that I did not have the motivation. Who knows why! Just me and my personality.

So, to move myself out of my procrastination and lack of motivation, I decided to take Beth Moore's challenge to memorize the entire book of James.

Yes, I did just say that I am going to attempt to memorize the entire book of James.

I did go from no motivation to an incredibly off the wall attempt at memorization.

But I believe that I can do it. And I desire a more intimate walk with Jesus.

So, here goes.

My first installment in the hopefully soon to become beloved book of James:

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
Greetings.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; his is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:1-8


So, there it is. My first passage.

Lord, help me to grow closer to you as I venture down this road in our relationship. I invite you to be with me on this journey. Please walk with me and teach me. I so desire to hear your voice speak to me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

36 Blessings and Things That I am Thankful For

1. My salvation
2. My cute home
3. Sadie
4. Good health
5. Isaac
6. CVAP
7. Therapy
8. Beloved church family: Big Valley Grace
9. Sweet friends
10. Kensley
11. Family who love each other regardless of differences and struggles
12. Fragrant flowers
13. Zoe
14. Giggles from the seemingly locked up soul of an autistic preschooler
15. Neighbors that have become family
16. My Nikon and the ability to "see" God through a photograph
17. Cole
18. Jesus, my Savior
19. Bookclub: otherwise known as free therapy!
20. Music
21. Knitting needles and enough yarn to cover the heads of many small children
22. A mentor whose love challenges me to grow and gives me courage to face the pain
23. A day away at the beach with a special friend
24. Thursday morning bible study
25. Peppermint candy in a mug of hot chocolate
26. Evan
27. Hot soup on a cold day
28. Prayer and the ability to talk to God when there are no words
29. Being born and celebrating my life during my favorite time of year
30. Vanilla Chai lattes
31. My curly hair
32. Cold crisp mornings and a warm scarf
33. A great pen and my little pink journal
34. Quiet mornings with my Bible, journal, cup of tea, blanket, and cinnamon candle
35. Rain falling on the roof as I am waking up
36. God's incredible and deep love for me!