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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)