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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In a nutshell!

So the rush is over and Christmas was awesome! I am so happy that I got to see all the ones I love and I am so thankful for each gift received. I did not want it to end. You can just feel the spirit during Christmas. Everyone is cheerful and merry! It makes me feel so peaceful.

Now that Christmas is over, I guess my immune system shut down. I have a stupid head cold and it is no fun at all! There are so many other things that I would rather be doing instead of sitting on the couch with tissues, water, vapor rub, and the remote control. I am really starting to get some major cabin fever.

So I figured to help occupy my time I would post some pics of Christmas for your viewing pleasure. Christmas this year in the Clark household was held Christmas Eve-Eve. My husband had to work Christmas Eve and we had plans to be at my moms Christmas morning, so we celebrated sharing our gifts with one another earlier(which is not unusual for us-we are too much like kids)

So with a tight budget we were forced to become more creative. Let me just say that my husband out-did me by a thousand. I have wanted a pot rack for years now and I got one for Christmas. I have looked over the past three years for one to suit my needs and my taste...each rack fell short (especially for the price). However, when my husband walked in with my long awaited Pot Rack, I literally SOBBED...not cried, not shed a few tears...but, sobbed!!! I was so overwhelmed with joy and awed at the beauty of this thing he was presenting to me. He took time from his busy life and MADE me a pot rack...and it is more beautiful than any I have ever seen.

Here it is "wrapped"


Now here it is hanging


And now up close

He did a GREAT job, huh?

And!!!!! That is not all he made. He also made a checkers board game for my step dad and the family. See:





He is so talented! I love it~

This is Christmas Day at mom's house. I made all my nieces and nephews a video of a trip we took earlier this year to the beach. They loved it. My oldest nephew said "You need to be a producer" Don't you just adore innocence...it was far from perfect...but they loved it. "Looks like a youtube video" they said....lol. This is us watching it. Notice in the bottom right corner the kid passed out on the floor. Christmas is tiring, I tell you!



And here I am opening up a gift. Notice the expression, I must have loved it, huh?
And finally, one of my hubby and I...he looks thrilled to have his picture taken!!!

So in a nutshell, this was my Christmas. Of course, there are tons of other family members involved.....However, my husband nor my nieces and nephews can win at fights with me of having their pictures publicly posted. My mom and sis would kill me...that is why they aren't on here. But oh how cute they were in their pajamas and messy bed hair!!!

Looking forward to a new year, now!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Oh! Yeah!

So I woke this morning before six o’clock and sleepy-eyed, let the dog out to potty. I walked to the coffee pot and attempted to make a pot of coffee without spilling any water or coffee grounds. As I tried to make my way to the coffee pot, I noticed the sink was overflowing with dishes that had food stuck to it. It looked as if the plates were trying to grow produce.
(Who let them sit there for two days? Ewwww)
So I emptied and loaded the dishwasher as the coffee was brewing.
Scratch, Scratch, Scratch…woof woof (translation: mama, it’s cold outside…let me in!!!!)
After letting the dog in I proceeded with fixing that much needed cup of coffee with extra sugar and half-n-half. Two sips and my eyes were opened. (looove making coffee strong) My blurry vision became clearer and I instantly wished I was still groggy. With clear eyes, I noticed my home was a WRECK!!!!
I ran about making the bed, vacuuming, dusting, putting away clothes, straightening the mess, cleaning the bathrooms, and spraying some Apple-Cider air-freshener throughout….Deeeeeeeep Breath…..ahhhh!!!
I sat down and proceeded to make the following:
Christmas to-do List:
1. Finish buying gifts
2. Wrap all gifts
3. Bake goodies to deliver
4. Try to stay sane
5. Mail Christmas cards (less than a week left before Christmas…gotta hurry)
6. Clean a few more houses next week
7. Remember to breathe
8. Determine what food to take to parties
9. Spend some time with friends
10. Try to stay sane
11. Finish watching my Christmas movies
12. Remember to Breathe
13. Deliver appetizers to the Fire Department Christmas Eve

Yep, that sounds like all.
But something was missing. I forgot one thing??? The edginess I felt couldn't disprove that I had forgotten something…. Let’s see…hmmm…okay
Woke up? – Check
Let the dog out to potty? – check
Coffee? – check
Clean home?- check

What WAS I missing? OOOOOOHHHHH YEEEAAAA!!!!

I reached over, grabbed the handy “one click turn-er on-er” my hubby got for our tree and clicked “on”

Suddenly my home was filled with bright Christmas lights and shiny, sparkly ornaments emanated delight. But something else was still wrong….

I felt a (figurative) tap on my shoulder.

God- “Good morning, Rachel! Busy this morning, huh?”
(Thought) Great! Got caught again!!!! – see November 24th entry
Rachel- “Yes, Lord…trying to wake up and get my day started.”
God- “I see that. I see that you are antsy, too”
Rachel- “yes, Lord…I am…I was feeling like something was missing and so glad you popped in to remind me.” (spoken with a fake niceness…see, I don’t like the Lord reminding me that I forgot Him, makes me feel bad)
God- “OK, well, I just wanted to let you know that I am still here and if you want to feel calmer, you know what to do.”
Rachel- “Yes, Lord…thank you”

Immediately I prayed, thoughts filling my mind. Thanking God for answering the prayers I asked last night and praying for the day ahead. Once I was done, I felt whole again and everything was in place.

This morning reminded me of what happens so often during this season. Of course, there are people who celebrate the “holiday” only- you know, those who don’t celebrate the Christ-child. Joyful with their lives filled with all the shopping, baking, presents, parties, etc… then becoming frazzled and stressed and anxious and all… and not really knowing why.

It came to my mind that I too, was beginning to get to that point and I needed a break. To stop and remember why the house was messy and why my tree was in the corner and to remember why the nativity scene on my table was there. It’s Christmas!!!
The most wonderful time of the year, for me.
I am so glad the Lord reminded me that putting Him before all this business is important. Without Him, all of this running about makes no sense and this getting frazzled is really silly. It is useless and unnecessary.
So #1 thing now on my to-do list is: make time with God first and foremost at the start of each day. I know by doing this, I will remember what this season means. I am thankful the Lord is in my life and for the reminders He gives me. Without Him, Christmas just would not be Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Merry Christmas



The night’s sky shone one bright star.
Unseen angels surrounding;
Weary travelers-
Filled with hope; holding on to a promise.
Two millennium ago…


A journey foretold by God.
Scared, frightened and alone;
Mary and Joseph-
wondering, searching and praying
God’s mercy; He would show…



In search of safety;
Seeking security-
a place to lie.
A voyage to deliver
A babe…
A lowly stable
presenting a prophecy;
Fulfilled-
A little child with one great aspiration
God’s people to save…
Merry Christmas









Sunday, December 6, 2009

Spirit Gift

One of the most memorable Christmases I remember was a Christmas full of giving. Each year I would gather my girlfriends together at my home for a get together. We usually would bring a gift and play Stingy Santa. (If you never played, you bring a gift, write the amount of numbers as there are people, draw a number and pick presents in the order of the number you have. If you got a higher number than the person before you, you could choose if you wanted to pull a gift from the pile or steal a person’s gift who went before you if you liked their gift a lot)
Anyway, one year I asked the women to bring $10 a piece instead of a gift. We had appetizers and chatted for a while. Then we all loaded up and went shopping for coats until the money ran out and delivered them to a local school. I think we received more of a blessing than the children who received the free coats for the winter. We each were moved by the gift of giving.
There are so many people in need each and every day. Right now I know people who are in jeopardy of losing their home and people who are in great pain and can’t afford a doctor’s visit. I know people who need groceries, warm clothes, or those who can’t afford to provide a Christmas for their children. Each year there are people who go in debt shopping above their means for Christmas. They start the day after Thanksgiving and they don’t stop until the day before Christmas. I say this because before that has been me. But, that Christmas of giving, I learned something important; giving to those less fortunate is more of a gift than anyone could ever imagine. It changed my attitude and the way I gave for Christmases to come.
This year, I wish above ALL that along with sharing God’s love with others, that I could provide for a child or family again. I would love to be able to help some of these people I know, but financially, I am not in a place to do that. And it has made me reevaluate the way I spent money in the past. God has taught me a valuable lesson.
Now that I am in a different situation financially than in the past due to my husband’s long and unexpected lay off, I am thirsting more now than ever; to give. I know this season in our life will pass and I am grateful for this struggle. I thank God for it; because, it has opened my eyes to the changes I will make in my life when God guides us back to financial blessings.
What I can offer of myself this year is my time, God’s love and the message of Christmas. I am thankful for this opportunity God has given me to reevaluate my past habits and change them for the better. I challenge you; if you are able financially to help someone this year, please do. Whether it is a small gift or a large one, I know that if someone needs it….it doesn’t matter how much you can do….it will bless their lives!!! And, I promise the blessing in your spirit that you will receive will be greater than you could ever imagine.

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

What I am thankful for this time of year:

Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows
Warm PJ's
Electric Blanket
Christmas tree
My lighted Nativity Scene
Christmas Music
Candles
My ornaments from Callaway Gardens
Heated car seats
Christmas movies
Watching "Little Women" each year when cold weather hits

But above all of this, I am most thankful for my Lord and Savior. Each year our tradition is to put the Christmas Tree up the day after Thanksgiving (although due to my hubby's work schedule this year we had to put it up the day before) Anyway, we trim the tree, move furniture around, place the lights and ornaments, play Christmas music, fix hot chocolate and decorate the house in and out with all the Christmas decorations. But my most favorite part of decorating my tree is the King's Crown Tree Topper I place on the tree. A lady I used to work with made them by hand and gave me one. I have placed this on my tree now for nine years.






Now, most people would think...aren't we supposed to be celebrating Christ's birth? Yes.
So, why are you placing a symbol of His death and suffering on your tree? Because just as the poem that goes along with the tree topper says "to place this crown for all to see, the kind of King that He would be"
Placing this topper on my tree reminds me of WHY we celebrate Christ's birth this day. It is because of what He did for us to provide a hope and peace.

Luke 2: 11 "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you..."
Savior means: One who helps a person achieve Salvation. Christ's birth led to His teaching, His healing, His love and compassion. His birth led to the selfless sacrifice of His life, which gives us eternal salvation.

While during this season, the feel and beauty of the Christ Child's birth is Holy and Reverent, I still remember the eternal gift His life left for me.
Remember during the rush of shopping and going, going, going...to pause and reflect on the reason we celebrate December 25th. Christ the Savior was born. He then chose to die for our sins, and He was resurrected for our chance at an eternal life with Him in Heaven. "O Holy Night!"







Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lets have some healthy fear!!!!

If you have come to this site from my devotional at sheseeks.org; Welcome!!

This week's devotional at She Seeks is on fear. It is hard to find peace when fear is present. People have many types of fear. It can come in many forms; such as:

Fear of spiders
Fear of snakes
Fear of being alone
Fear of the unknown
And so on...

I used to have daily panic attacks. When daily attacks occurred, they came at a time in my life when there were many things I needed to change. I used to think that "freedom" was not being under authority and that living as I wanted would bring peace. I misunderstood my parents' concern, not as concern, but as judgement. I then realized that the path I had chosen was wrong and I felt that I was unworthy of going back to God. Well-I was wrong, VERY wrong. Panic attacks brought to me to my knees and back to God.

I changed the direction of my life. I saw my parents' love for just that...LOVE and I knew that God didn't consider me unworthy.

However, at times...panic attacks still occur. And they occur now for a different reason. For me, it seems that having a panic attack or even the idea of a panic attack can bring fear to mind. When it grips, it hangs on tight. I am fortunate because I have gone from daily attacks, to random attacks. I at one time thought I was completely over them (still have hope that it will happen). But once in a while they strike back with a vengeance. I even suffered one this past weekend. Why? I am not sure. Thankfully, the Lord has shown me tools and techniques to help when I become anxious.

One tool I have learned is to stop when my body tells me to. If I am very tired and have gone and done too much, if I have given too much of myself...that is a sign I need to rest. If I continue to push myself, I can become susceptible to another attack which leads to fear. This tells me something is wrong.

When the enemy wants to control our mind or feelings, fear becomes present. This can be referred to as the "spirit of fear." The spirit of fear is not of God, it comes from Satan.

2 Timothy 1:7 says: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (NKJV).

God does not instill fear in our hearts or mind. He instills love and peace. 1 John 4:18 says: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..."

God is perfect love. Therefore, I should not fear.

Is there fear in your life? Do you fear the unknown? loneliness? disease? financial distress? One of the hardest things to do is to tell your head what your heart knows. When the struggle of fear is present it is difficult to tell your head what is rational. I know!!!! I try!!!! But just because it is a struggle does not mean peace is not obtainable.

Trusting God, knowing He is there, and relying on Him to help you are perfect ways fear can be removed. When we trust and rely on God we are telling the enemy that he has no control in our lives. Because God tells us in His word that He does not administer fear, we can use this as a tool to fight the "spirit of fear" away.

The only "fear" we should have in our lives is the healthy kind. Healthy fear, you ask? Yes!!! Fear of the Lord.

He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress...(Proverbs 14:26 NIV)

Now that sounds like an AWESOME type of Fear. I claim that one!!!! You?

I pray that if you have fear in your life that both devotionals (sheseeks and rachelwclark.blogspot.com) have offered helpful advice today. I pray that God removes the spirit of fear from your life and that you will learn to trust in Him and rely on His perfect love to cast out all negative fear.

Love in Christ,
Rachel

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a day which we should all have in our hearts every day. Praise and giving thanks to God for each day of life is something that should be a daily part of our routine. However, since there is a day set aside for "Thanks"giving, I want to focus on this day.

The "first Thanksgiving" (although it wasn't repeated each year thereafter until President Abraham Lincoln declared it in 1863) was celebrated in 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and the neighboring Wampanoag trial celebrated the harvest for the upcoming winter and a kill of enough food to last a week and enough harvest to get through the winter.

It was later followed by a christian group of pilgrims (formally known as Separatists) declaring a day of "Thanksgiving and Praise in response to evidence of God's favor..."

Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a National Holiday to be celebrated the last Thursday of November. But it wasn't made official until Franklin D. Roosevelt set the date as the last Thursday of November in 1941 and it was approved.

George Washington issued a proclomation for Thanksgiving ( each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day Proclomation) declaring a day to be set aside for Thanksgiving which should be "a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God."

It is meant to be a time to set aside to thank God for His bountiful blessings in our life. It is a day to focus on all God has provided for us in our lives. Our family, friends, clothes, food, homes, health, Nation, etc...

However, the meaning has been stripped away from this day, entirely. We now focus on the menu, where we will hold the gathering for the meal, over stuffing our bellies (I admit...a fun part), watching the parade, watching football; and some of us while drinking our alcoholic beverages to an excess and then passing out without the first thought of THANKS in our heart.

Then there will more than likely be drama in most household's because either:
A. The turkey will overcook and ruin the chef's mood.
B. The toilet may overflow and flood the house.
C. Aunt Jane Doe will have an attitude problem and get mad about where Thanksgiving is held this year and more than likely not show up.
D. Cousin Janette Doe will arrive unwillingly and sit in the corner with her I-pod stuck in her ears, not speaking to anyone.
E. Little Janette Doette will fall while running and bust her lip, blaming it on John Doe, who will blame it on Jonathan Doe.
F. Uncle Billy will be that person drinking in excess and proceed with foul language and aggravating the kids.
G. Grandma will arrive mad because she wasn't asked to bring her sweet potato pie this year, but instead Great Aunt Gertrude was asked.
(Names have been changed in the Drama Scenario...however, situations are real and have either occured this week or will occur tomorrow)
And so on...

It really is a shame how entitled we all think we really are that we make this about ourselves and not what it really is all about. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." This of course, mean every day.

However, I think this verse needs to remain in our hearts for tomorrow (a.k.a Thanksgiving). Instead of focusing on what we want, lets focus on what we have. Lifting our thanks and praise to God for all He has given us. A free country, another day of life, the clothes on our back, and the food on the table.

I know I am thankful that this country was founded on Christian values and principles. I am thankful that I am free to worship (and blog) for my Lord. May we too remember our troops who can't be home...continuing to fight for us.

Let us also honor our heritage.

I pray that tomorrow you wake up with a grateful attitude and loving spirit. I pray "thanks" will be on your lips and love in your heart. Happy Thanksgiving, remember what it is all about.

God Bless!!!

(Info gathered from History.com, si.edu, and religionfacts.com)
(Go to www.sheseeks.org to read a great post on how to get past all the drama)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Work and Faith and Sin and Goodness...and so on

Hello visitors! How are you today? Things on my end are great this morning (you may be here in the afternoon or evening, but I am writing this in the AM) I have been doing some major soul searching here lately...
(SOOOOULLLL!!!! Where aaarrrreee you? Who aaaarrrreee you?, etc...)

I am reading books, blogs, daily devotionals, praying, seeking, searching. I am getting tired, though. I really must admit it.
You know how when your eyebrows need waxing and your mustache needs trimming ;)
and your legs need shaving and you have to pick out the right outfit and then you fix your hair and apply your makeup just so? You know how tiring that is? Well, trying to primp and pluck and shave and fix your soul is just like that, but ten times more exhausting.

Evaluation:
God breathed? yes or no
peaceful? yes or no
patient? yes or no
loving? yes or no
encouraging? yes or no
giving? yes or no
selfless? yes or no
honest? yes or no
cleansed? yes or no

whew!!!

I really want to be the best for God that I can be. Honest and true and emanating His love. The thing about is, am I trying to work at it or letting Him work at it for me? I mean I WANT to go to heaven. I want to see Jesus face to face and worship God and all of His glory with all of my fellow believers. Hands raised, mouths opened in song, joy flowing, etc...

So, the reason I am trying really hard to evaluate my soul is because I was the number one
"Grace can't be enough for me, maybe if I do this or change that or go here or smile like this; then God will love me more and it will add more points to my Heaven tally"
Each time I slipped up in sin... overwhelming guilt would flood my being and I would think, I have got to do something to make up for this really quick.....let me go grab my Bible or let me go bake someone a cake.

Someone once said to me. "you have a hard time accepting God's grace, huh? Why do you think you aren't worthy?" This really got me thinking. I thought that I thought that I was worthy of grace, do I not think that now? Too many thoughts.

Which leads me to this:
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith --and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--" Ephesians 2:8.

HERE! Right here!!!!!!! This is what is happening

God: (tap, tap)...ummmm hello? Rachel!
Rachel: Me?
God: Yes, you!
Rachel: Yessss sssiiiirrrr???
God: Hi there! Remember me? Almighty, Beginning and the End, Alpha and Omega, Bright and Morning Star?
Rachel: Yes Sir
God: Oh, well you have been acting lately like you didn't remember me. Anyway, I see you have been trying to get to heaven by not accepting my grace and thinking your good deeds and works were going to get you there. Is this true?
Rachel: Well, yes...but you see...
God: Um Hum, that's what I thought. Well listen, what part of "You cant get to Heaven by works and deeds without faith" Don't you understand? I know you love me, but if you are going to love me; then you have to believe me. My grace is sufficient for you. I have never lied and never will lie, I am not going to change my mind and say..."Hey, Peter....post a sign at the pearly gates that says effective March 19, 2022 all those who enter need to grab the evaluation form that I set up by Pearly Podium number 1 and check off all the good deeds they have done verses their sin and we're strictly letting in now on a "Works Alone" basis...so those who kinda took it one day at a time...you know, all leisurely, just accepting my love, grace and having Faith in my promises and believing in my Son...they will know you had to work harder. This ain't no free ride up here!"
Rachel: (nervous laughter)
God: But seriously, Rachel. What do you think I sent Jesus to earth for? I let Him come so that all may have an abundant life (John 10:10) and no sin has a hold on you that I cant cover and cleanse (Romans 6:14). You see, you can't work harder than everyone on earth and think that my grace is not what provides for you (1 Corinthians 15:10)

It has taken me many years to understand that God's love and grace is all I need to cover me. I must have the FAITH not the works to believe and receive. I mean works are fine, we are supposed to do good deeds and all that...but, without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6)

So anyway, Honestly...this blog was more for me than for you. If you get something out of it, great...if not, I am sorry if I wasted your time. (not really) ;)

I think because we are always having to strive to prove ourselves to people and work and society, that we think it is the same with God. The joyous, glorious thing about it is....God's not the same as that, we don't have to prove to Him we are good, He knows our hearts.

Hallelujah for that!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

CONTEST

What is your most memorable Holiday moment? Enter your story as a comment. If you run out of space writing, continue your story on a separate comment. It can be funny, inspiring, or whatever you want it to be. Winner of the contest will receive Free Watkins Products. Products include dip Samples to share during the season, lip balm and a small jar of lotion to carry in your purse.
Contest from November 19, 2009 to November 30, 2009. Winner will be announced on here on November 30th. So if you enter, please make sure to check back on the 30th to see if you won and to claim your prize. The winner's story will be posted as the main blog for the day!!! Instructions on how to receive your prize will be explained on the 30th.

Thanks and God Bless!!!
Rachel Clark

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Got to stay away

I have been working on a book proposal. I am getting overwhelmed, I must say. It is all I can think about at night. Catchy Titles, interesting table of contents, witty story lines, encouraging words and on and on and on. I am so ready to have this thing over and done with. However, I have a long way to go. And right now my brain is fried so that makes it even more difficult because A. I feel guilty for stopping so abruptly as this and B. what if my ideas stop flowing and I lose my rhythm?

I had to seek some encouragement from God's word and stumbled across Mark 6:31. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. That is how I have come to feel; coming and going with even no leisure to cook, clean, rest, etc...

God knows that we are goers, overachievers, we push ourselves hard. We don't give ourselves credit for the accomplishments we achieve, but if we perform less than we know we can, we aren't afraid to beat ourselves up about it, either.

So I have to commit myself to staying away from creative thinking for the next two days. This should be hard, but I have to give my brain a rest from all the coming and going it has been performing lately. This may be a little difficult for me, but my brain has got to reenergize and I have to make sure that I wait on God to direct my words for this proposal so it is all about Him and not about me.

Cross your fingers for me :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Are you kidding me?

After really being on a kick lately about women being portrayed as only beautiful if they are perfect & after getting aggravated with us being shown as objects, I would like to know what you think of the following commercial? Please post your comments below. Also, be aware that while visiting this website, the comments below the video are extremely distasteful. I suggest you not read them. To leave a comment here you may have to enter an e-mail address. Do not worry, you will not be bothered with Spam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCHKXICefFw

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dreaming and Waiting

Okay, I admit it! I am a dreamer! I have a dream in my heart and a desire that burns deeply. I have a feeling that God wants me to be somewhere other than where I am. I have a desire to witness for Him. I want to share God’s love with many women. However, I am stuck.
I don’t know where to start, what to do, how to accomplish it, which path to take, etc…etc… It is rather frustrating, I must admit. The one thing that I remain hung up on is that I want to make sure that what I do for Him will be to glorify Him and not me. I don’t want it to be about me, at all. Our human nature can make us want to seek attention and credit, but it is not up to us to want that for ourselves. The things we do for Christ should be what He wants us to do for him. If we wait for Him to direct out path, our works will not go unseen by the One who matters. And it will produce more good than if we are “doing” for our own credit.
Even now, as I am typing this, I feel a tug in my heart. I am very overwhelmed with emotion because I am seeking. I am seeking His direction and praying for Him to show me what He would have me do and where He would have me go. Is it through blogging, writing devotionals, attempting a book, speaking?
What is it and how do I get there, how can I find it? I feel like it would be easier if God would speak to me like He did Samuel. But then again, I may be confused if He did…such as Samuel was. However, I am trying to take the advice Eli offered Samuel; 1 Samuel 3:9 – So Eli told Samuel "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down…
That is my request…Speak, Lord, I want to hear you. I want to know where you want me to be. I want to know how I can be a voice and witness for you. Use me…your servant is listening!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Low on Dough???

My never-ending cycle of laundry is driving me bananas. The separating, washing, drying, folding and putting them up has me about to scream. The sad thing is this is only a household of two. I don’t know what I would do if there were more clothes to wash. I feel so sorry for those of you with more to do than me.
Everyday seems so routine doesn’t it? Wake up, get the coffee, eat breakfast, get dressed, and start the day over with the same things to do. I used to couldn’t wait to be a grown up with my own house when I was little. But I don’t remember signing up for this….lol.
However, I don’t really think we are intended to live life this way. Sure, there are responsibilities we can’t avoid and that require daily attention. But let’s put some fun back in to our lives. Small things, even. It doesn’t have to be costly. (And who can afford much these days?) The other night my hubby and I ordered cheap dinner and then rode to various locations in our town and took pictures together. It was really fun.
Here are some fun ideas for things you can do with the family or as a date night:
1. Do what we did and eat cheap (order off the dollar menu) drive around town and get out and take some pictures.
2. Have a picnic.
3. Make S’mores.
4. Bake up some brownies and divide them evenly and take them around to friends, family or neighbors.
5. Have a weekly game night (charades or Pictionary ideas can be printed for free off the net)
6. Bring the mattress into the living room and let everyone pile up on it and have a movie marathon.
7. Stay in your pajama’s all day long and make breakfast, lunch and dinner with goodies in between to snack on all day while watching TV and NOT cleaning.
8. Have finger foods one night instead of making dinner.
9. Go to dollar store and buy all $1.00 items to spice up family dinner time. You can find a lot of themed items there…have a luau night.
10. Make a family mission statement and give everyone a copy.
11. Visit a free museum.
12. Make a fort out of blankets or camp out outside.
13. Write encouraging notes and mail them to friends and family.
14. Do a puzzle together as a family.
15. Go rollerblading or bike riding or walk in the woods.
Enjoying life and being content, even when the bank account is low, is what God wants us to do. Part of Philippians 4:11 says….For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. (Content means happy, satisfied and pleased)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

With the problems women already have with their appearance and their body image; a recent headline really struck a nerve with me. A very well known celebrity has been encouraging her daughter to take her clothes off for a movie. She persuaded her daughter to take a role as a stripper and a lover to her “boyfriend” character in the movie and to get naked “while she’s still young.”

Media already plays a huge role in the way women feel about themselves and how men view women. Clothing ads all have skinny models. Movies portray sexy women with perfect figures. Modeling shows parade around stick thin women all competing to win a large monetary contract leaving those who do not make the final cut feeling horrible about themselves. It is shocking to me that even a mother would encourage her child to parade her nude body around for millions of viewers while playing a stripper.

Not only are we subjected to “perfect” “sexual” women on television, in movies and magazines; but we also see them displayed in pop up ads while innocently checking our e-mail. The other day I was googling a VERY innocent subject searching for an image to use in a card I wanted to print for a friend. Somehow my google search engine setting was changed to “No Filter.” I came across a very pornographic image. I was in shock! I was angered!

The world has an extremely distorted view of beauty. I wish I could shake each person until their brain rattles and they see what true and real beauty is. (lol…my anger showing?) But out of the anger and the insecurities and the self disgust I often feel, there is one thing I hold on to; my Lord and Savior.

I know my God sees how beautiful I am. He made me. His designs are all perfect. His works are awe inspiring. Each woman or man or child…we are all beautifully created. What matters most about each of us is our internal beauty. The saying “pretty is as pretty does” is honestly a very true statement. There are women who seem perfectly put together externally, but their internal attitudes make them appear less attractive.

The Lord says:
1 Peter 3:3-4 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious

In other words, it doesn’t matter what we look like or what we wear. It matters not our hairstyle or how straight our teeth are. We are called to be beautiful within.
Just to clarify, I think there is nothing wrong with wanting to be physically fit, dress nice, or watch what we eat. However, we should not let it be the driving force for our validity as a woman of beauty.

The other day we had a womens meeting discussing the truth of beauty and I was called on to share something with the women on “real” beauty. Below is a poem that I wrote for that event. As I read the poem, the instrumental version of Barlow Girl’s “Mirror” was playing while I removed every ounce of makeup and recited the following poem. I hope that you will gain something from it. I pray that the Lord will teach you the beauty you posses and that you will see that because you are His child, because you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”; that you are worth more than a rare diamond.

Made by your hands
Designed from your plan.
The same one who made the seas
Created the beauty in me
Lies of this world tell me who I should be.
But Father, I trust you…

You know me inside and out
Your love for me, covers all doubt.
True beauty lies within my heart
I am your work of art
Lies of this world try to tear my beauty apart.
But Father, I trust you…

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain
In your eyes; I could never be plain.
Fearfully and wonderfully designed
In your eyes; my beauty shines
Lies of this world try to make true beauty blind.
But father, I trust you…

Complete in your reflection
My loveliness needs no correction.
You love me inside and out
You notice what my heart is truly about
Lies of this world try to fill my head with doubt.
But Father, I trust you…


Rachel W. Clark
September 2009

Please see the Barlow Girl Video at the bottom of the page titled “Mirror.”

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ahhhhhhhh (big breath and deep sigh)

For the past several weeks I have felt blah! I haven’t known why and couldn’t explain it. I haven’t felt like myself. I am usually motivated and full of life and energy. I seem to be always seeking something productive to get my hands in to. Here lately, I haven’t been me. I haven’t felt like Rachel.
I do not like this feeling. I have tried to pinpoint the source of my feelings. Is it because of the weather and seasons changing? Could it be because my husband and I are struggling financially right now? Is it possible that this wait, for him to receive a job, is finally getting me down? Or maybe, these past 8 months of the unknown, of taking each day as it comes, of looking for strength to remain hopeful that our time will come is finally getting harder and harder to do. I wasn’t sure.
It seems like it is all too common for five things to go wrong when one thing begins going downhill. I am a hopeful person. I try to stay positive in negative situations. It is something I have had to work to obtain. But, positivity started to become very easy for me when it comes to waiting on the Lord. However, lately; it has been really hard to remain upbeat. I am seeking God’s word harder. I am trying to hear His voice in the midst of my “trials.”
The one verse I keep stumbling upon comes from Proverbs 18:10 – The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
It has really taken me almost a month to realize why the Lord keeps showing me this verse. I have not been able to understand it until today. I felt like I have been looking too deep for the meaning to try and apply it to my day. But what I see when I hear this verse and what I visualize has made no sense until now. Each time I hear this verse, I imagine a tornado or terrible storm approaching or I can see a thief or robber or murder chasing after me and running in to this strong, steel, unbreakable building and hiding for safety. Then it hit me…..I am seeing this correctly.
That is exactly what is happening…my finances have taken a hit from a terrible storm. The enemy has sought after me to steal and rob my joy and my money. He has tried to kill my spirit and shatter my strength. But I hear the Lord telling me to keep running to Him and I will be safe. It does not matter if it takes 100 times; for 100 times He will be there. The Lord won’t let this storm remain in my life for longer than He knows I can handle. He is showing me that while I wait, I have a place to run.
I know that things will look up for us, and though it is weary to wait for the time…it will come. It has just been difficult for me because I am great as a giver…but not as a receiver. These past 8 months, I have had to humble myself to receive from others. People in my life have given to us financially, provided us with meals, and so much more. I am thankful, for I know the Lord gave these people to us for a reason. I know that through their hands, He has been providing and I trust Him to continue.
I know that eventually things will look up for us. My husband will have a job again, our bills will be straightened out, and we will be able to have more money than we need. Be assured, when that time comes…we will give unselfishly to others and we will save as much as we can…just in case. I know that the Lord has been teaching me, shaping me, and preparing me. I know He has a greater vision ahead. I lost my sight and direction for a couple of weeks. However, now I am starting to see again.
Thank you Lord for your promises. Thank you Lord for Jeremiah 29:11… For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I claim that!!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Small Break

For some reason my writing bug has left me. I haven’t felt inspired or creative enough to write anything at this time. I am praying and trusting the Lord to reveal to me what He would have me write. So, I may be off of here for a while….seeking.

Monday, October 5, 2009

For the love of God

Who has been wronged? How many people have hurt you deeply? Who has loved with all their being and given of themselves unselfishly to another, only to have it thrown back in to your face?
I have! I had a friend that I loved and cared for deeply. I would do anything for her and the majority of the time did. For one reason or another, our friendship ended. When it did end I was left brokenhearted and confused.
I used to let people use me. My need for approval in the past left me giving my all and draining my soul. I wanted to be liked, loved, considered a good friend, pleasing and loving. But, for all the wrong reasons.
Instead of loving her in a manner in which God would be glorified, I let fear of rejection run my emotions and overdid myself. I bit my tongue when I saw her life being shattered because of the decisions she was making. I knew the reason her life was crumbling was her lack of faith and her non-existent relationship with Christ. I did not ever want to upset her. I would speak little of turning to God for help, but if I felt her close up, I would pretend I never said anything. I felt that if I were to be honest with her about the way her life was headed, that I would be considered closed minded and mean. Instead of being the godly friend I should have been, I failed her.
When this relationship finally came to an end, it was during a time in my life when my own relationship with Christ was strengthening. Timid, quiet, “respectful”, open-minded me suddenly started speaking my mind to her about her lifestyle and the response wasn’t received well. One time in particular she told me that I was self-righteous. She told me that I acted as if my life was perfect and I had no problems. That after 10+ years of friendship with this person and me giving my all to them, I was told she never considered me anything other than an acquaintance. WHOA!
However, I cannot fully blame her for the hurt I felt. I accept probably more than partial responsibility. Because I loved her, I should have been honest with her from the beginning and never tiptoed around her to avoid confrontation. If I had been honest all the time in the beginning, instead of when our relationship started to crumble, she may still be in my life and I might have been able to be used as more of an influence on the importance of a relationship with Christ.
Now that I am older and have learned from my mistakes, I have found that it is easier to be myself – Jesus lover and all- and to be honest about who I am from the beginning. If my convictions run someone off, at least I know that a seed has probably been planted. It saves me a lot of hurt and heartache now to be me from the start because I know God shines through and if they run away screaming, at least I know that I did what I could to be a true witness for Christ.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Removing Mountains

When I was a little girl, I took Mark 11:23 literally. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and thrown into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
We took trips to the mountains for vacation. I had heard in church that if I had faith the size of a tiny mustard seed that I could say to this mountain to crumble and be removed. As we were climbing the mountain roads in our car I would confess to myself that I had at least that little bit of faith. I would repeat over and over in my head “be removed mountain, crumble!” Thankfully the Lord never answered that prayer, because we were driving on that mountain I wanted to crumble.
As I have aged I have not taken that verse as literally as I used to. However, I do not think that I have given it the full power it deserves, either. I like to think that my faith is the size of a mustard seed. In fact, I know at times that it actually is. I see prayers answered when I ask the Lord to take care of a situation in which I have been asked to pray on. However, I have noticed that the same mustard seed faith I have when praying for another’s need, seems to be smaller when I am praying for my needs.
For some reason I feel that God is more likely to answer my prayers for someone else other than for me. Why? I think it is because I do not feel worthy enough. Why should I? I know my sins, I know my faults, and I know my doubts. When I pray for another I am not thinking of their sins, faults, doubts. I pray believing God will answer their need. But as I travel along this road of prayer and faith with my savior I have to remind myself that God’s grace is what makes me “worthy.” I have had to teach myself to be positive in prayer, to praise in prayer and to know that whatever I ask in prayer, believing, that I will receive. (Matthew 21:22)
Prayer can be hard and it can be confusing. Prayer can feel like it needs to be said using big words. But God wants us to have a talk with him. To talk to Him earnestly and let Him know what we need, as we do with our friends. I have learned that sometimes all I have to say is “God, you know my need.” When I feel like I can’t express it properly or when I feel worn down from waiting, I just say to God…”you know my heart, you know my need, and I trust you to take care of it.”
Jesus’ death for my sins; His shed blood….that is what makes me worthy. I may forget it at times when the enemy chooses to remind me of how unworthy I am…but God gently reminds me that “He knows my heart, He knows my need, and I need to trust Him to take care of it.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Never Alone

My heart aches for the worthlessness women feel. In my life I know some of the world’s greatest mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, Christians, professionals, wives, WOMEN that exist. It really pulls at me deep inside when a woman feels ugly, unworthy, depressed, defeated and so on. I wish that I could open their eyes and clear their minds. I want them to see their value and worth.

The enemy seeks to destroy. Each woman I know right now is struggling with something. Some have broken marriages, others have poor body images, and some have no feelings of worth. I feel a deep need for a movement from God to touch each of these women’s lives. I offer the best advice I can, I deeply and earnestly pray from my heart for them all. I wish that these women did not have to experience these battles.

One common factor that I have found in all of us is a battle going on in our minds. Thoughts occur and out welcome their stay. Negativity sinks in and we belittle ourselves. Thoughts of fear, worry, doubt, uncertainty, some even death. It feels almost impossible to train your mind to take a positive direction when negativity creeps in. It seems so difficult to find at least one positive thing to hold on to and concentrate on.

But God’s word teaches us not to worry. He speaks on worry several times in the Bible because He knows it is a part of who we are. We are worriers by nature, it seems. There are several references to worry in the Bible. A few are:

Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.

Matthew 11: 28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

These verses show us of God’s love and His want for peace in our life. Does that mean that we will never have worry and warfare’s? No! Does that mean that if we pray for this peace that it will ALWAYS come instantaneously? No!

One thing that I think we do not understand is that this earth is not intended to be pain free. There is heartache, pain, devastation, and worry. There has been since the beginning and will be until the end. These verses are to remind us that in the midst of these things that God is with you. You may not always feel His presence and there may be times you cry out and feel He is not there. But surely, He is. He does not forsake His children.

We are allowed to go through the wars and battles we go through because they teach us valuable lessons and make us want to draw closer to God. They strengthen our relationship with Him when we recognize we are weak and need to be humbled to accept His grace and His strength. We like to have too much control over our lives and it does not work that way. God has to have complete control for our lives to fall in to place.

Even though there are times we cry out and we get angry because we are tired of fighting the battles we as women have to fight, we have to press on. God will answer our prayers. God does hear our cries. God does not want us to live in fear. He is present. He surely loves you completely.

And whether you have to pray that prayer 100 times or you have to struggle daily for peace or you have to humble yourself and take your problems to a brother or sister in Christ for guidance and deeper prayer…for whatever reason…you have to go through your own struggle or battle. Because, this too shall pass. AND; when it does, you will have grown, learned more, and you may be used to help someone else in their time of need. Rest assured the enemy will be defeated and your prayer will be answered. God is greater than any problem you may face. If you cry out, but do not feel immediate peace then hold on to this truth…God is with you and you are NEVER ALONE.

(PLEASE SEE NEVER ALONE VIDEO AT BOTTOM OF PAGE)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Enough already!!!!

I am trying to be a positive thinker in a negative world. When I hear my family member or my friend speaking negative thoughts it makes me upset. I always tell them to think positive and that when negativity pops in their mind, to ask God to remove the thoughts and to focus on something good. I need to heed my own advice.

I have noticed three situations lately where I have been negative. And on top of that, I have spoken to two people earlier this week about their negative thinking and how to help overcome it. Here are the three things that popped in my head.

1. My grandmother was rushed to the ER last week. The Paramedics were trying to get in her home after she called 911. She could not answer the door because she was disoriented, so they broke in. She is doing better now and went home that same night. My husband went over to her house yesterday to drop off a few things I had for her. He called me and asked me to call her house and let her know he was at the door because she was not answering it. My immediate thoughts, were “oh no, she may be hurt, she may need help.” (She was okay, just had the TV too loud.)
2. My very good friend is expecting a child. She went to hear the heartbeat for the first time yesterday afternoon. After 4 hours of not hearing anything and her not responding to my texts or calls, I became nervous. I thought things may not have gone well at the doctor’s office. I contacted two of our mutual friends to see if they heard word yet. My anxiety caused them to become nervous. They weren’t thinking anything was wrong, until I called. (I did speak with her, everything went well. She heard the heartbeat…she did admit to me that at first they could not find the heart and she, herself, instantly began preparing herself for bad news…she too thought negatively right from the get-go.).
3. My husband was working cutting grass on a farm today with a large tractor. He was to knock off around 6. He told me that if I called and he did not answer that it may be because the tractor is too loud to hear the phone. He has answered each time I called, so I forgot about the fact that he might at some point not hear it. 6:10 rolled around and he hadn’t called me yet to say he was coming home. Dinner was ready and I wanted to tell him to hurry before it got cold in case he lost track of time. For 45 minutes I tried to reach him with no success. I began to fear that he may have had an accident with the tractor so I got in my car to drive to check on him. Not even a mile from my home, he called me back to say he couldn’t hear the phone over the noise of the tractor and was heading home.

During each circumstance, I called out to God. I prayed for Him to (1) let my grandmother be alright; she was. (2) To please let my friend call me soon with good news; she did. (3) To keep His protective hand over my husband and to let him hear his phone; he did.

When the anxiety over my husband’s safety overwhelmed me today, I heard myself speaking the same words I shared with other’s this week. I immediately prayed for God to remove those negative thoughts from my mind. God answered.

I feel it is easier to be negative than it is to be positive in the world we live in today. The world, the media, and everyday people we know are all negative. But I am trying to sink myself into God’s word and His promises to help me overcome this anxiety.

One thing that helps me is listening to God tell me not to be “of this world.” Romans 12:2 says - Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.

The world likes to bombard us with negativity. There have been times in the past people have tried to speak negative things on me (out of genuine concern) and it has shocked me that they would think such. They would say things like, “have you ever thought that “this” may be because of “that?” Well, NO…not until NOW, thank you very much….geez!!!

If the world wants to harp on all the bad things in life and all the “what-if’s” they can, but God’s word tells me NOT to in Romans 12:2.

Other verses I like to meditate on is a portion of Proverbs 12:25 – An anxious heart weighs a man down….How true that rings. Anxiety not only weighs you down mentally, but physically as well. It can wear you out

AND…2 Timothy 1:7 – But God did not give us a spirit of fear. But of power, love and a sound mind. This verse is staple in my life almost daily, I repeat this to myself often.

I believe some of us, more than others, have to work harder to stay positive. It is easy to let fear, doubt and anxiety overwhelm you. Most of us do not think very positively about ourselves that we think something bad is waiting around the corner for us. But rest assured, you can change your frame of mind. As a child of the great King, you can take authority in your life to remove these thoughts and the work of the enemy. For me, this is a struggle that happens too often, but not as bad as it has been in the past. I am learning to lean on the promises of God. I am glad that I caught myself today and asked God to help me. I am thankful that He opened my eyes to see that I need to practice what I preach.

God is a loving God. His love is full of peace and serenity. I know this! I choose to be more positive. I will pray for God to show me how. I will pray for God to show me the instant I am negative and help me to turn it around. I will pray the same for you.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My own good news

I do not watch the news. Well, not as much as I can help it. My husband is a news junkie . He listens to it on the radio often and on TV. When I listen to the news, I remember why I am so against it. Not against the news as information, but against allowing myself to watch it too much. With everything that is going on in our country and around the world these days, it can be very disheartening.

Children kidnapped, economy sinking further each day, healthcare being questioned and protested, murders, suicides and so much more. I like to picture my world full of peace. The news would be awesome if they reported: “Today millions of butterflies were seen fluttering in a field of lilies.” or “In debt? Don’t worry, God has all the credits you need.” LOL… (Shouldn’t have watched all those fairytales when I was younger.)

The reason I cannot allow myself to get involved in the news is because I can find myself wrapped in fear. Oh, I always know who is bigger than that fear and each time, I give it over to Him. However, some people can let it govern their lives. Upon watching the news with a group of people yesterday a man felt his need to share his take on every topic. He is very passionate about his feelings, but also you can hear the fear in his voice over what “could” happen.

After listening to him, I felt led to say “Yes, I know it is scary to think of these things and this world is filled with evil. That is why I just have to trust in God to take care of me because His word promises me that He will take care of His children.” “These things happening in our world could be the signs that the end of the world is approaching. To me, all the better, because it shows me His prophecies are being fulfilled and that He will come back and we won’t have to worry anymore over these things.”

But I recognized myself in him. That could and at times can be… me. That is the exact reason that I do not allow myself to watch the news a lot. I don’t want to worry over everything that is out of my control. Still, I believe I have a voice and that I am to use it. I believe that I am to set an example and stand up for what I believe in, and I do. But what I am trying to say is that I try not to surround my life with negative thoughts all day. That is why I limit my news intake.
Seeking God’s word on the fear that I can allow myself to swim in at times, I came across the following verse:

... Say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you."Isaiah 35:4

This says to me, “Rachel, yes; the world is full of evil. There are things that you know are wrong that happen every day. There are so many that do not believe in God and the enemy does have full reign of this earth to tread to and fro. BUT; be strong and do not fear because THE God is your God and He promises to take care of His children. He will come and destroy all that is wrong with this world. You are saved from evil.” …..

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of doubt, I will fear no evil. For thou art with me….

If you feel your life is at times run by fear, know that you are not alone. However, recognize that it is the enemy’s way of stealing your peace and taking your focus off the good that God can do.
And even though I didn’t hear on the news about those butterflies in the field of lilies something else incredible happened to me…. in person.

We have a hummingbird feeder on our porch directly in front of our rocking chairs. At first, the hummingbirds were afraid to come drink because the feeder is so close to the chairs. They have eventually gotten used to us sitting there and we now find them drinking all through the day. Yesterday while outside I was standing directly to the left of the feeder about 12 inches away…only 12 inches. I was watching my husband work in the yard. I heard wings flapping at the speed of lightning, and because I am always so afraid of scaring them off, I was startled and felt like I was invading his space. I made no sudden movements, but turned my head slightly to get a better look and saw right smack in front of me every feather, every color, every speedy flap of his wings, his feet and even the nectar that dripped from his beak when he was done. He looked at me for a split second after eating and then flew away.

No one saw this but me, I knew if I tried to get my husband’s attention by yelling for him to look, that the bird would have left. I felt very thankful for that small gift from God. Afterwards, I relished in the joy that incident brought me and thought of how cool my God is.

It spoke to me of my wonderful God, and that is all the “news” I need. That my God is awesome!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My own retreat

My husband is unemployed and has searched for work since January. I am self employed making little income. I have PSVT, a heart condition, which requires monthly medication. I have severe IBS which also requires monthly medication. We have no health insurance. I sat down to budget this morning and sighed a breath of relief when I realized that if I shifted due dates on bills that we would be okay!!!! I checked the mail afterwards and received a wakeup call. We need $900 extra dollars within the next month (forgot that our vehicles were both due for tag renewals on his birthday & his life insurance policy is about to expire). Well, so much for budgeting.

Things are tight everywhere right now. There are so many families that are suffering financially just as much if not way worse than we are. There are people I know who do not have any financial problems, but their health is severely failing. Also, I know people whose marriages are in need of great repair.

I found myself becoming very sad when hit with all of this. I needed to think and wrap my head around this. I wanted to figure out how we can make this work for ourselves. So, I went outside and saw the beauty of the sun, the clouds in the sky, and felt how nice the weather is today. It has been really hot and humid lately but God has blessed us with a perfect day to be outside and enjoy nature. I started to feel my spirit lifting as I decided I could not handle it alone and chose to hand it all over to God and allow Him to take care of our needs. However, I have to admit that I still feel a sense of the blah’s.

Upon turning to God’s word for direction I came across Luke 5:16 which says: “but He withdrew himself to the wilderness, and prayed.” I was so thankful when I came across this verse. This verse is speaking of Jesus. Prior to this passage Luke 5 is telling us of all the great miracles and healing that Jesus was performing. He allowed Simon to catch a multitude of fish after he had been fishing all night unsuccessful. Jesus had healed a man with leprosy causing a great multitude of people to rush towards him for preaching and their very own healing. These events so overwhelmed Christ that He had to go off by himself and pray. After He did, He was revived and able to serve the Lord once again. Even Christ needed a break from all that He was responsible for.

I really feel God calling me to go off alone and pray and offer it all to Him. I will obey. For I know He is the only one who can make all the wrongs in my life, right. His promise to be here and never forsake me is the one constant and unchanging thing in my life. I choose today to let it go and give it all to Him. I know He will not desert me.

If you are feeling overwhelmed in your life right now, it does not matter the circumstance, retreat to your own solitude and hand it over to the One who can and will handle it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Decision Making

So, here is the thing. Over the past 3.5 years I have been trying to choose a color for my bedroom...... 3.5 years! We started painting the interior of our home at that time and got every room but the bedroom. I wanted my bedroom to be a retreat that felt vintage, country and romantic. I have painted it three times since then and have NEVER liked the color.

So yesterday, I went and purchased two paint samples. I got home, put them on the wall and I didn't like either one. My husband and I went back and I decided on a color and instead of allowing myself more options, I told my husband..."just tell the man, I want two gallons" I didn't care if I liked it or not, I was tired of feeling this way.

Well, we got home and started painting a section and the verdict is..........I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!
I felt a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I realized afterwards that it should not have been so hard to pick a paint color. It led me to wonder about my decision making skills.

It is no secret that I have always had a difficult time making decisions. I have been known to ask the opions of others, often. In fact some of the decisions I have made over the years on my own have been poor choices that led me on a path I should not have taken. I think because of my failure at making appropriate choices myself, it has kinda made me second guess myself in almost every other area of my life.

This made me wonder about what God has to say about making choices. I decided to see what the Bible says about decision making and found the following:

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you."
Psalm 32:8

This verse really showed me something. The reason my lifestyle choices in the past led me further from God's grace and not closer to Him is because at the time, I was not seeking His wisdom and direction in my life. I am thankful to say that over the years I have learned to seek His direction first and have been more satisfied with the outcome. However, there are times that I jump in to an important decision without asking God and waiting for His answer. These are the times when I wish I had. I get frustrated sometimes waiting to hear from Him and instead I proceed with what I think is best.

I do find it cool how God works in our lives. Little did I know or expect that trying to choose a color for my bedroom wall would reveal a new lesson from God. I have DECIDED (lol) that from now on, I will pay more attention when faced with a serious or not so serious choice. I will stop, pray, seek and listen. Because God is my savior, I will continue to be in His word so that He can teach me and lead me in the way I need to go.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What I would tell God

Have you ever felt like a song was written specifically with you in mind? Can you still remember the first time that you ever heard it play? Remember the way it sent chills from your head to your toes and you could not help but close your eyes and revel in the beauty of the song?
I am a music LOVER…music calms me when I am angry, makes me cry when I am sad, energizes me when I need that extra boost. I have fallen in love with “Revelation Song” by Kari Jobe. If I could talk to God in person; one on one and let Him know exactly how I felt for Him, this song would encompass everything I would want to tell Him. From the words to the piano, to the drums, to the guitar, to absolutely everything it encompasses, each individual portion of the song would be what I want to say to God.
When I hear this song, I imagine standing before God and being moved by His beauty and love for me. It makes me think of the day when I will get to see Him. There is a portion that says “With all creation I sing, praise to the King of Kings”; how awesome that day will be. The glory of knowing all my pains, fears, sickness, and doubts will be forever forgotten. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty….such a marvelous mystery!!!!
(scroll to the bottom of my blog and click on the Revelation Song by Kari Jobe; youtube video and enjoy)

Monday, August 17, 2009

When was the last time you laughed? I mean a full-hearted, loud, hard to breathe, tears streaming down your face, can't stop laughing-laugh? For me it had been a while. I tend to be so serious about things. Bills get overlooked, laundry gets piled up, I can not find anything for breakfast, I realize I need gas in my car when I only have 10 minutes to be somewhere and on and on and on. Life is so busy and our minds are so overcharged that "fun" can be the furthest thing from our mind.
The other night my husband was asked to go fix his sister's computer. We headed over to her home to complete one more task before our day ended. Little did I know that I would wind up laughing so hard that I couldn't breathe. Another "to-do" turned into a night of talking and laughter.
It felt so good to laugh and share. My soul felt cleansed. When we got in the truck to head home, I was in awe at how great I felt. I slept sound when I crawled in bed and the next day I continued snickering over things I remembered from the night before. It made my day so much brighter.
As women we tend to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Some of us are daughters, wives, friends, mothers, grandmother's, aunts, Sunday School teachers, caregivers, professionals, sports team leaders, bill payers, grocery shopper's, homemakers, the list goes on. Some of us are all of the above. No wonder we become so serious.
We all need to take the time in our life to stop and laugh. Schedule a girls night out. Call a friend over for a two hour visit. Listen to a clean comedy station on the way to run your errands. There are many ways that we can add a little laughter in our life. We need it, it is the best medicine! It cleanses our souls and makes us feel lighthearted.
I challenge you to schedule that downtime with someone who makes you laugh. I hope that when you do that you will laugh so hard, you cry or even wet your pants (lol)!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bring the Rain

I have been seeking a closer walk with God lately. I can remember always knowing that God existed. From the time I can recall my first memory, I believed in God. I was baptised when I was 9 years old. Although, I believe at that age, I did not fully comprehend the actual relationship. I was in church most every time the doors were opened until I was about 18 years old. I mostly enjoyed going to church, esp. as a youth because with all the things that were always going on in our youth group, it made it fun and the relationships I formed with people my age was a crucial part of my happiness at that time. I still did not fully comprehend the relationship with God, though. I knew I believed, I knew He sent His Son for my sins, but I guess I did not really grasp what that meant.As some teenagers do, I rebelled and did so hardcore. Even though I attended church regularly, I put on the sweet girl image during services, all the while acting as someone else entirely when away from fellow Christians. I did not do this intentionally, nor did I feel at that time that it was really wrong because I knew God loved me and in my mind, as long as I sought forgiveness, it was okay to do.

Our church was an awesome church with lots of teens and lots of activities and then things started to change. It seemed to me that there were people in our church who started doing some things that in my mind seemed ungodly. There were changes being made and my pastor decided to step down from preaching and for a while did not preach at all. Once this happened we kinda ceased going to church on a regular basis and tried to find the right church home for us. During this time, I graduated from High School and moved in to my first apt. with my best friend. All I had was a mattress the first night I moved and had not even packed all my things from home. I was so anxious to move away from home, I slept that first night on my mattress reveling in the joy of freedom.If I had known at that time what that freedom would get me in to or how that freedom would affect my life later, I may not have made most of the decisions I made. But, such is life (and teenagers)...

I ceased going to church all together. Why go to church and feel guilty about my sins when I could sin all I wanted and there were people there who did not judge me for the life I was leading simply because, well...they were doing it all with me? I will not go in to all the mistakes I made or all the things that happened in my life. Simply because I am not brave enough to allow everyone to read it when I am still ashamed of most. I would love to, one day, to share my testimony with young girls esp. maybe i can be a speaker somewhere that I know no one...lol...

Anyway, slowly i began realizing that maybe my life was a mess for a reason and decided that I needed to be back in church. It started back when I met my future husband and we began talking (not dating) but talking. He was someone I could tell ANYTHING to and he did not judge me. He accepted me for me, shame and all. So I think subconsciously I knew he was the one for me, and wanted to test his faith in God before we began dating, so....I made him go to church with me. Once I saw he was willing to go...I knew he was the one. I enjoyed the services and realized that I had been missing God's word in my life.I believe sometimes God breaks us down so that we have no one to turn to other than him.

Well right when I started going back to church, I stopped again. Things in my life started falling a part. I moved away from home again (had to go back once b/c of lifestyle choices not working out) and being on my own for real this time, I started to notice that I could not make things go right in my life on my own. I needed to be "saved". I sunk in to a deep depression and began having panic attacks, going to bed at 6pm and sleeping until 8. Missing work on a regular basis and crying at the drop of a hat. My poor "future" husband at that time...whew...I know he must love me to have dealt with that. I began praying, reading God's word, attending church and begging for forgiveness of all my faults during my "leave of absence" so to speak. Slowly I began to feel like myself. I was beginning to feel peace and joy and not fear and depression.

Since I married, we have gone to church on a regular basis. However, I still struggled with my past. Beating myself up for the things I did and not letting go of the pain and accepting God's Grace. I felt like a poor Christian, when the whole thing about it is how we are not worthy, we are saved by Grace. Yet, I still did not understand how if I could not forgive myself, then how could God.I love how God loves us. I love how He knows what is best and how He allows things to happen to us and how He gives us needs that can only be filled by Him.

My husband and I went to a seminar for my birthday two years ago, at that time I was thirsting so strongly for knowledge and peace. There were still things in my life I could not let go and things in my life at the present time that I could not understand how God was allowing that to happen. While at the seminar we purchased so many books on relationships with God. While reading one book in particular I learned of the most vital information that until two years later I would not discover. God gave me the desires and feelings in my life that I sought so hard for and could not find because He loved me. He loved me so much and He wanted me to discover that only He could fulfill those needs within me so that I would trust Him to provide for me and so that I would seek a closer walk with Him and not seek the approval of man. So that I could realize that depending on someone else to make me happy or depending on getting selfish desires fulfilled temporarily does not sustain. So that I could spend eternity happy, joyful, peaceful and with Him and His Son.

I know that I have a long way to go and that with each day comes a new desire, a new question, a new longing...I am glad He keeps them coming so that I can remember where I have been and why I can not depend on this world to satisfy me,so that I can continue to seek Him and the closeness I so desire....like the Mercy Me song..."Jesus, bring the rain"... (look up the song, it is awesome)