Tag Archives: rest

Time to Adjust My Crown

James 1:12 
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

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Under normal circumstances, I would NEVER have posted this photo of myself.  But, today is not a normal day by any means.  After a little bit of road rage on the way to the store, while driving my dad, then a few people “in my way” at the store, and a grumpy dad because of it, and then 3 hours of healthy food prep for the week only to have someone say to me (I am sure in love and concern):

Have you lost any weight since you started making all this “heathy food” because it sure doesn’t look like it.”

Preface this with the night before my body acting out of whack and not getting much sleep and this makes for a very “fleshy” day.  Under normal circumstances I usually don’t have road rage and I am not irritated by those also shopping for their weekly groceries but for some reason today was just one of those days.  Then when I heard the words of defeat concerning my weight I was just done.

On a day like today I just need to take the advice of our pastor this morning and “Adjust my crown” and know who I am in Christ.  On a day like today I need not worry about the mistakes I have made, I just need to adjust my crown and move forward.  When one realizes they are the daughter or son of the Most High King the perspective of life should change.  One should be able to stand up tall and put their shoulders back and accept who God says they are not what the world just threw at them.

I could walk around the rest of the day moping and sulking because nothing I seem to do changes my outward appearance.  I have cut out soda (6 months), I have GREATLY reduced my sugar intake and gluten.  I cook fresh veggies for lunch and eat salad…I could go on but I think we all know the routine.  What will it take to lose the weight?  More healthy eating?  More exercise?  More defeat to push me to try harder?  I have been there and done that for months now with no results.  I even was doing my Faith and Fitness videos and feeling really motivated until I saw no results so I just gave up.  Defeated I stopped encouraging others all together.  Why bother?

Well, it’s time for me to put on my “Big Girl Panties” and buck up to the plate and try harder.  Do more to be active.  Do more to be healthy.  Concentrate all my time on measuring and monitoring my meals.  Time for me to be very meticulous about what goes on health wise for my body….

WAIT…(INSERT SOUND OF A RECORD STOPPING ABRUPTLY)

I do not need to do any of those things if they are causing me to worry or be stressed.  I must simply adjust my crown and move on.  Move to prayer and resting at the feet of Jesus, for it is at His feet that I will received all of the answers I need.  It is in my resting where God can do His most mighty miracles.

I am at the heaviest I have ever been pushing 210 pounds.  No wonder I am tired.  No wonder my body is out of whack, however, I can’t do anything about it if I am worried and stressed and over achieving.  Pushing myself to get motivated.  I am only going to achieve weight loss if I take Jesus with me.  If I allow myself to be still long enough, He will show me what to do and give me the desire to complete it.

Well, now that I have decided to straighten my crown and not to accept what the world thinks about me, I can enjoy the rest of my evening with my beloved husband knowing that I am loved by the Most High King and He is happy to see me with my crown on straight and my heart in the right place.

Dear Lord,

Today I pray for all of those who are struggling with poor self image and weight issues.  Help them to see themselves as You see them not like the world does.  Help them to rest in You and to be still long enough to hear what the next move is.  I pray Lord for hearts to be healed and lives changed.  I pray for crowns to be straightened and for minds to be renewed.  Thank You Lord for direction in all areas of our lives.  Thank You that You accept us just as we are and You love us right where we are.  In Jesus Name Amen.

 

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Faith Zero

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[ Faith in What We Don’t See ] The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.
Ever been so lost at sea that you are being tossed to and fro and lose all sense of where you are?  Ever been driving in a storm and lightening is flashing and thunder is crashing all around you and your body is on high alert of danger?  Ever gone to a new school and as all the unfamiliar faces gawk at you in curiosity you feel unwanted and unliked?  Well, this is what life is without faith.  Without faith nothing is possible.  Faith is how we get closer to God and it is the very substance that brings us into the presence of God.
When my faith was at zero I could not make heads or tails of my life.  I was standing in a dirt storm chocking on everything that hit me.  My eyes hurt because of the debris.  My lungs were working over time to catch up with the fear racing through my body.  I could not see God.  I could not see anything good in my life.  I felt doomed to die right where I had chosen to be.  Now that might sound a bit dramatic but when you get to the point in your life where you feel that you must fix all of your mistakes before God can change your life, that’s how it feels.
Empty. Exhausted. Alone. Depressed. I begin to seek God.  I wanted out of my mess.  I wanted to feel what life felt like again.  I longed to smile.  I longed to be carefree.  I had this burning desire within me to move beyond my past, yet I could not make sense of the broken, shattered heart laying before me.  Where do I even begin to let God into my mess?
With one teeny tiny seed of faith.  One moment of surrender on my lips.  One whispered sentence into the surrounding darkness, “I’m sorry Lord, please forgive me.”
My life has been dramatically changed in five short years because I chose to believe God was bigger than any mess I could have ever gotten myself into.  God is bigger than addictions.  God is bigger than abuse.  God is bigger than neglect.  God is bigger than shame.  God is bigger than sin.  God is bigger than regret.  God is bigger than pain.  God is bigger than any bad decision I ever made.
Today I can hold my head up and be thankful for my word of the year: FAITH.  I look forward now to what God can and will do in my life.  My marriage, children, job and christian walk are all in His hands and I just need to rest in the knowledge of who He is.  Yes. Rest.
Dear God,  I thank You and praise You for bringing me to such sweet freedom in knowing who You are.  I pray that You will keep me on track.  I long to Linger in Your sweet Presence.  Lord, I pray for those who are reading this today that they will begin to believe that You are bigger than anything in their life right now.  I pray all will find rest in You today.  Thank You for being bigger than life to us.
In Jesus Name.  Amen.

.Too Many Yes’s

Some say it’s normal.  Being busy is a way of life.  Not being on the go means you are not doing enough.  To sit down is to waste time.

In today’s society there is so much to do.  We are constantly filling up our calendars with all kinds of events and goals and never ending chores.  Our to do lists get longer and longer by the minute.  Then, we lay awake at night when we are suppose to be resting and think about all of the things we did not get done.  Is this really how God intending us to be as humans?

In the video you will notice there are cups and cups and CUPS of coffee to help get through the week.  After I produced the video God said to me the coffee represents how often we rely on other things to get us through our days rather than leaning on Him for our strength and support.

We would run ourselves ragged if we continued on that pace in the video for very long.  When we are so busy doing the WORK of God, when do we have time to spend with God?  Which is why I would like to suggest that we take ACTION and learn to rest.  What?  Rest is an Action?  Yes.  Yes it is.  If we forget this one simple element, rest,  in our life, we will soon be unable to take any action at all.

A is for Abide:  Learn how to stop running around and just abide in Jesus.

C is for Calling:  Are the things you are doing really your calling?

T is for timing:  Is there realistically time in your schedule for what you say yes to?

I is for intent: Why are you saying yes?  To please God or man?  Is it  yes just because there is  a desire to fit in?

O is for Open Communication:  We must have open communication with God so that we will be directed to the things He wants us to do

N is for Next Step:  If we are rested, God will be able to define our steps and put us right in line with the promise of

Jeremiah 29:11

 This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

I know I made it seem easy, yet I know it’s not.  You have to start with loving yourself enough to say NO to those things which are hindering you from spending quality time with God.  You really don’t have to do it all.  That’s a lie from the enemy.  He wants us to have our calendars filled everyday.  He wants us to be worn out and unrested.  But God doesn’t.  He wants to lead you beside green pastures and let you see the still waters.  He desires to restore us and guide us in the right paths.  He wants to protect you from evil and comfort you.  He wants you to sit at His table amongst your enemies.  He wants to anoint your head with oil and fill your cup to overflowing.  He wants goodness and mercy to follow after you and He wants to dwell with you in His house…..

BUT

How can He do this is we don’t sit still long enough?

Dear God:

Forgive us for being so busy that we miss you in the process.  Teach us how to rest.  Show  us how in our own individual ways what it means to rest.  We give you permission to slow us down so that we can rest in You daily.  Lord, we praise You for the work You are about to do in our lives.  Thank You for loving us right where we are.

In Jesus Name. AMEN

Smashing the Remote Control

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How many times in our lives have when been faced with things that we just did not plan on happening?  Sometimes it’s a car accident.  Maybe the loss of a job.  A loved one passes on.  A sickness comes out of nowhere. Something happens that just stops life as we know it.  Our day to day activities are either altered or come to a complete halt all together and it is out of our control.  Often we have no say in the situation and this rocks our boat to the point of capsizing.  When we are faced with the moment of understanding that we have no control we kinda freak out.

We have been holding on to the remote so tightly that our hands are tired and white knuckled.  We have shaken and moved this remote in every direction possible and it seems to have stopped working altogether.  When the frustration of the situation sets in we are ready to throw the remote as far as we can away from us begging God to take it.  This is the moment when the light bulb pops on suddenly and you have come to the realization you were never in control in the first place.  Never. Not from the time of your very conception.  When we come to our senses and see that we were created for His purposes and we did not birth ourselves we can finally rest.

This is where I reside right now.  I have come to a complete stop.  I have refused to look past today.  How long did it take me to get here?  A very long time.  Now, I am not one to  plan out every detail of my life ahead of time, however I do like to figure things out and sometimes that can be very overwhelming and tiring.  Let me show you what I am talking about.

Back in April I injured my back at work.  I tried to fix it by ignoring it and the pain just worsened.  Finally went to the doctor and that started a downward slide of medications and physical therapy only to arrive at the point where I needed surgery.  In November the surgery took place and I began the slow process of healing.  I was told I would be off work for 4 to 6 weeks and now its almost February and here I am still not back to work.  Why?  Because I am not the one in control.  It’s not easy for me to take time to rest and in these past several weeks I have spent a great deal of time resting and seeking God.  Every time I get myself prepared to go back to work, something else happens to delay it, not my choice, God’s.

So let’s throw a monkey wrench into this drama just for a bit of fun.  The plan 5 weeks ago was that I would return to work on February 8th after my 6 weeks of physical therapy but after a recent visit to my OBGYN I discovered I was in need of another surgery to remove come polyps on my cervix so I have to have a D & C.  Guess what day it’s scheduled for? The very day I was planning on returning to work..What???  God what are you doing?  I now have to call my boss and tell her that I will not be back as planned until the 9th. (provided I even could)  So for the last two weeks I have been dreading going back to work the day after a second surgery.

At church on Sunday night I shared my heart with the people who have been on this journey of recovery with me.  We have watched God move time and time again.  I had finally submitted that this was out of my hands.  As I had spent a solid week trying to figure out how I was going to feel and playing out the what-ifs and getting all worked up I prayed.  I surrendered.  I let it go.  I finally chose to live one day at a time without fear.  I began to believe that God would not leave me hanging or stranded without a plan.  A close friend confided in me that when she first heard I was having surgery she saw it like I was never going to give myself a rest and so God was going to put everything into motion for me, hence the surgery and the multiple extensions of my healing.

What happens when you give it up?  He moves.  He removes doubt.  He moves mountains.  He takes care of everything along the way.  He squashes fears.  He shows up and shows off.  Yesterday as I was preparing for our team meeting making a dish to pass I received a phone call from my doctors office and they were canceling my appointment for Wednesday and could not reschedule until February 15.  My first reaction was: WHAT? What are you doing God?  Now I have to call my employer and once again explain that I will not be returning until a later day.

Then, as if being covered in a blanket of peace, I hear Him saying, “Be Still and Know that I am God.  I am taking care of all things.  All of this is out of your control.”  And with that being said all of my anxiety left.  I no longer have to fear going back to work the day after surgery, God took care of it.  I don’t need to worry about my job, I am only following the doctors and I have no control over that.  God took all of the decision making out of my weary hands.  All I have to do is what is right in front of me.  I don’t need to figure out how my boss will react.  I don’t have to be consumed with figuring all of this out, I just need to be consumed with Him.

Dear Lord:

Thank You for being in control.  Thank You for filling me with peace.  I stand here surrendered to whatever Your  plan is knowing You will always make a way. Help me to stay here on Your promises.  Help me to accept that I am not in control.  I choose now to render whatever control I think I still have powerless.  Thank You for figuring out this life for me so that I can just rest in Your Presence.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

 

A Safe Hiding Spot

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Some days I just want to play a good game of hide and seek and never be found.  The demands of life sometimes can weigh a person down to the point when everything seems to be like a tornado rather than victorious living.  Day after day of work going the wrong direction or employees who just don’t understand the value of what we do.  Everyday normalcies like eating and sleeping and bathing.  Checking in on family and friends.  Reorganizing the house.  Mowing the grass.  Going to the store for supplies.  Sigh!  The list is ginormous!!!

Can I just rest?  Can I just lay here and breathe?  Perhaps I can just be like a chameleon, so that I can just blend in and no one sees me for a minute.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love life, but there are times when disconnecting is the best thing I can do:  no phone, no computer…no point of contact.  Just a moment or two with no commitments. Just enough time to rest and re-energize.

These are the times when I know I can climb in my Daddy’s lap and rest.  Times when He is calling me to Him.  Moments of my day when I can just stop and appreciate that He loves me no matter what and He is taking care of all the things of my day.  I remember as a kid climbing up on the couch next to my dad and feeling so safe, so loved, so comfortable…it is the same with God.

Tonight as I was driving home from a meeting I was being wooed by God Himself.  I live within minutes of beautiful Lake Michigan and I was driving the opposite direction to go home and first the cloud structures caught my eye in my mirrors.  Then I began to see streams of color.  For a minute I was going to turn around but it has been a long day and home was calling my name, then the whole view in my mirror got so intense I could no longer ignore it.

As I found a place to change directions I was thinking several things:  I am tired, its getting dark, I am low on gas.  I will miss the sunset anyways.  These thoughts were quietly interrupted by these simple words, “But I just want to show you something.  I long to spend time with you.”  I knew in that moment God was calling me into His lap, so I turned up my worship music and headed towards the lake in search of my surprise.

I did not get far when a deer appeared on the side of the road just as if it was waiting for me to see it before he ran off.  God knows how excited I get when I see deer.  I turn into a five year old on their first visit to the zoo!  As I continued on my journey I saw five more deer who were just standing there long enough for my to take a few photos.  I was pretty excited at what God was showing me.

I arrived at the shores of Lake Michigan just in time to see a thin red line spread across the top of the water, I had missed the sunset, but what I got to see was so much better!  I got to spend some quality quiet time with my Daddy and it was amazing.

 As I drove past the lake the waves were violently crashing as a storm had just gone through and God said, “I will protect you from the crashing of waves and so much more.  Stay with Me here and nothing will touch you.”

Prayer:  Dear Lord, Thank you for the time we get to spend together.  Help me to seek you more rather than hiding from You.  Allow me to feel Your peace all around me.  Allow me to we wooed by You.  Let me be content in the small things you show me.  I love you Lord and the attention to detail You provide in my life.  Thank You for loving me.  Thank You for keeping me safe.  In Jesus Name  AMEN.

It’s All About Me

Psalm 18:16-19

But me he caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down, but Godstuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!
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I have come to the conclusion that no matter how hard I try to think I have it all together, God still searches for me.  Once I thought I had marriage figured out and took a turn on the wrong path, figuring God was unhappy I just continued.  Once I thought I had friends figured out, then I lost most of them, figuring God was still unhappy I just went along friendless.  Once I thought I had my job figured out, still confused at times on this one but now I know God has my back.
What changed?  Easy, I simply surrendered.  I gave it all to God.  He gave this life to me and once I accepted Jesus in to my life I was suppose to hand over my life to Him.  How did I miss such an important step along the way?  Maybe it’s because I was 6 when it happened.  Perhaps it was because I did not learn from the right church.  Or maybe, just maybe I had to go through some things in my life so that I would appreciate what I have now.
I won’t get into the death of flesh because to some it might not make sense, but we as Christians need to come to a place where we just surrender it all, trusting fully in God to take care of EVERYTHING.  Let’s take for instance when I told God after my divorce that I did not need a man in my life anymore.  I wanted to simply publish my books and travel the world speaking to churches.  Didn’t take long for God to step in and give my a second chance at marriage with a man who loved me as much as he loved Jesus.  God once again had a better plan for my life than I could have ever come up with.
So why am I still trying to pretend that I have everything under control?  I don’t know. Guess it’s just human nature.  Just recently I have been frustrated with my books not being published yet and have been pouting a bit.  I began to try to figure out and plan how it’s suppose to happen only to receive a word from God that I am to be thanking Him for publishing my books.  Sigh! Why is it always so easy?  Our minds want to figure it all out when if we would just speak things as though they ought to be instead of what we see right in front of us, perhaps God could move quicker on our behalf….
Whatever it might be in your life, began to let it go.  Start to thank God for you family being saved.  Start thanking God for finances.  Begin to believe that God is for you and not against you.  All He requires is obedience.  When in the same night I was instructed to thank God,  I was also instructed to just rest in Him I started to say all the things I needed to do and there was no time for rest, I began to let it go.  If God wants me to rest in Him then rest in Him I shall do.  I will up my worship and just rest in His lap, watching as He unfolds His plan for my life right before my eyes.

Reflections of the Follower

1 Peter 4:14-16

If you’re abused because of Christ, count yourself fortunate. It’s the Spirit of God and his glory in you that brought you to the notice of others. If they’re on you because you broke the law or disturbed the peace, that’s a different matter. But if it’s because you’re a Christian, don’t give it a second thought. Be proud of the distinguished status reflected in that name!
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Well, last week we rested, renewed and let Jesus hit that RESET button..so what’s next?  Hmmm.. reflections.  Let’s do a little exercise.  Go look at yourself in a mirror, any mirror available.  Go ahead, I will wait……
Okay, what did you see?  Did you like the reflection?  Did you find flaws?  Did you point out anything you wanted to change about the reflection?  Was there anything you were happy with?
Now, how do you think people see your refection as a Christian?  Does the reflection of who you are match up with who God is?  Do people want to see something change in you?  Does the reflection make people happy or sad?  Do you like your reflection of God?
I know, these are tough questions but let me lighten the mood and show you I surely am not attacking you or how you reflect God.  I “mirrorly” want to show you how to get to the place where you can reflect God in such a way there will be no questions about who you are in Christ.
First of all, let me let you off the hook…you are human and humans make mistakes and it’s okay.  We cannot come to the place where our reflections match our God until we choose to rest, renew and reflect.  We need to remember that from the moment we say yes to Jesus He says yes to pushing the reset button and the process begins.  Some things we learn quickly and a result it seen almost immediately.  Other changes take time and perseverance.  It all begins with listening to God and being obedient and open to His will for your life.
Now, the world is filled with mean, unsaved people and our mission is to share Jesus with all of the those people and shed Light into the darkness.  I know it’s not easy especially when some of the people knew the former you.  They know what you did last summer and perhaps are still mad at what you did.  Who knows?  We often get caught up in thinking that WE have to doing something to change the world when in reality it’s all up to Jesus!
So what I want us to focus on today is simple….what messages are we sending to those around us?  Are we reflecting Jesus when we talk about our co-workers?  Are we reflecting Jesus when we drive angry?  Are we shedding Light into the darkness when we speak harshly to others?  We need to understand that being a Christian is a 24/7/365 reality.  Yes, we will make mistakes and that’s okay as long as we remember that was just part of our old-self rearing it’s ugly head for a moment.  Know that it is not a part of the new you.  Let Jesus hit the rest button on that area of your life and try again.
How can we keep our reflection one of Jesus?  REST.  RENEW.  RESET. I know it sounds simple…it is!  Let Jesus change you from the inside out.  Disregard the bad from the world and let God be your vindicator, you are just called to love.  Choose to love you.  Choose to love Jesus.  Choose to love the ugly of this world. When you do all these things your reflection will become all that God intended it to be!