Tag Archive Life

ByAngie

Don’t Feed The Animals – How I Learned To Remain In The Presence of God At ALL Times

In my previous post, In The Midst Of A Cloud, I mentioned the worry of becoming distracted and being drawn out of a continuous presence with God and the joy that only comes from Him.

What if an animal suddenly appeared in the fog and surprised me?

Well, sadly, in life it is inevitable. There will always be “animals” that come looking for food, water, or shelter. What makes the difference, however, is how we handle them.

In 2003, my two older children (who were both still babies at the time) and I moved with their father to Mesa, Arizona so that he could attend law school. I remember that on certain Saturday nights, the local news would put out a special about Arizona wildlife and how to live amongst the animals. The Phoenix metro area was quickly growing, people from all over the world were moving there, and new construction was being put up constantly. We humans had invaded the territory that they knew as their home and they were confused, and some were even angry. There were tips on what to do if a predator was in your yard, how to back away from a rattlesnake, who to call should you find a Gila monster, snake, coyote, or other wild animals on your property, and more. They included tales of forewarning with past examples, including one of a child that had been carried off by coyotes because the family kept feeding the coyotes and one day it showed up to find they had forgotten to put food out. Their biggest point that was made over and over: DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS!!!

I knew this from living in the country in Kentucky, and from stray cats in the suburbs of Southern California. Unless you want an animal to stick around, never offer it food or water. It becomes dependent on you and will refuse to leave, eventually annoying you and possibly cause grief in retaliation for its anger.

So how should we handle the “animals” and distractions in a spiritual sense? The same way, don’t feed the animals.

Stress, negative thinking, sin, drama, gossip, worry, anxiety… the list goes on. It will always be there. It is inevitable that we encounter some of these things occasionally if not on a daily basis. But do we feed it? Are you offering them water without even realizing it? Maybe they are just silently sitting in the corner enjoying the shelter. The Bible gives a clear instruction on how to avoid feeding these things with our thoughts and time:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  -Philippians 4:8

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. -2 Corinthians 10:3-6

No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. -2 Timothy 2:4

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. -1 Corinthians 10:31

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -Matthew 6:21

And many, many, more…

 

If my thoughts and actions steer clear of the animals, when they appear I will be able to handle them in a way that my Father God approves of, especially if I am making the effort to stay in His continuous presence. HE MUST COME FIRST! However, if I take my eyes off of God and put them on the problem before me, I am leaving His presence to feed the animals. My mind quickly becomes overwhelmed and tired, unable to make sense of what is going on and missing the presence of my Savior.

It is not an easy effort to keep our flesh from luring us away from where our spirit wants to be. It has to be a constant conscious decision to stay in His lap and ask God how I should handle the animals. It requires studying the Word of God and applying scripture to each and every situation. Not feeding the animals means that sometimes, though I could possibly fix a situation, I can’t. I have to stand back and remove my hands from the project so that He can move or so that I am not dragged into a place where the cloud (see the previous post mentioned at the beginning of this post) can’t move to. While sometimes God will have me help a situation with something He has willed me to do, I have to pray and use discernment to know whether I am working in a safe garden or if there is a critter there waiting to bite me. From time to time, I have to refrain from conversations that would lead to feeding animals, possibly hurting the feelings of someone that does not understand. No, it is not easy, but it is SO worth it and over time it becomes more and more a second nature.

One key thing to remember, and though this is not the context that these scriptures intended, it makes a point:

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 1:26-28

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.
20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
Genesis 2:18-20

What do we learn from this? Read it a few times and see if you catch this as well:

  1. God gave us dominion over the animals. We are not to be afraid of the animals! (I should write another post on how with scripture I overcame my intense phobia of snakes another time… I still steer clear though. No snake handling going on over here…) We have the right to tell the animals in our lives to get out of the way, we have dominion here and they are not to distract us. They are not allowed to control our mind or emotions. Oh, there’s a whole other blog post there, too… I’m sorry, and I used to be guilty of this, but your actions are not excused by your diagnosis. God has called you to act a certain way and clinging to a label that has been put on you instead of the name God gave you is not okay. Instead of Redeemed and Worthy, I used to answer to Anxiety, Victim, and more. I even expected others to know that was who I am and to cater to it. Don’t allow it! You were made for more!
  2. God gave us other humans to help us. WE SHOULD NOT SHUT OUT OTHERS! While their actions may involve animals, the people are NOT the animals. We are to help them, they are to help us, we are to be companions. There should be LOVE and not repellent. Especially our spouses, children, families, and those we have entered into covenants of ministry with. Genesis 2:18 states it clearly, IT IS NOT GOOD THAT MAN SHOULD BE ALONE! As a recovering introvert that took it way too far, I repeat this to myself a ton. There is nothing wrong with wanting alone time or needing more quiet time than others. But it is not good for us to only seclude ourselves. He gave us spouses, family, church families, and friends for a purpose. If another person, however, is allowing the animals to overrun them, this is the time to distance ourselves so that our minds are not overtaken by the animals of stress and worry.
  3. Adam named the creatures. I have always imagined this to have been such fun as he sat on a boulder and was like, “Hmm, let’s look at your features and temperament.” I think the image of a boulder comes from a drawing my Sunday School teacher (and cousin) Sis. Peggy showed me in my primary class, but it always brought me such delight. Did he name some of them funny names just for fun? I don’t know… But what are we naming the animals that are trying to distract us? Are we naming them things which they are not to make us feel more comfortable about keeping them around? Are we renaming gossip as concern? Are we renaming anxiety as natural? Oh, be careful little mouths what you name…

I have one last point I want to make with this, and it is the biggest.

Not feeding the animals includes our thoughts.

In fact, it is more our thoughts than anything, I believe. Think on these things Philippians 4:8, remember? Maybe we didn’t physically react to an animal. We ignored it and walked right into the house and it went on its way. But when you got in the house, did you sit at the window and wonder what happened to it? Did you lay awake and worry that it was going through your trash? Did you worry that it was a skunk and was going to spray and you’d have to smell it all night?

We have to take captive our thoughts, ladies! The moment an animal appears, we need to turn from it or rebuke it, depending on the situation, and then pray every time it comes to mind. We have to make a conscious decision to not dwell on the animal but to pray about it and move on. That’s it, it’s done. No calling a friend and talking about it more than to ask for prayer to the point that another animal, gossip, has been birthed. No allowing your thoughts to run wild until you forget you left the gate open and anxiety wanders in. Keep the gates closed, don’t feed the animals, and stay in His presence. It’s not easy, it’s not always pleasant, but it is necessary to keep the animals away.

I touched on this before, but I want to repeat it again: Always remember when it comes to the animals, Ephesians 6:12.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

In any situation, don’t start to feed and run with the animals. Wage not, meaning don’t gossip, argue, or act nasty. Don’t fret with anxiety. Your battle is not with another person. Our battle is with the enemy of our souls. Jesus already won that battle! So wage not, but intercede! Intercede in prayer for the situation and leave it at the foot of the cross.

 

Do you have some animals nagging at your door? Have you learned how to get them to leave? Are you in need of prayer? Feel free to comment here or join us in one of our Facebook groups. We’d love to hear from you!

ByKaren

LOVE is a Battlefield?

“We are young ~ Heartache to heartache we stand ~ No promises, no demands ~ Love is a battlefield…” ~ Pat Benatar ~ Love Is A Battlefield

Love is a Battlefield? - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

 

The old song has been used time and again. whether it’s a throw back movie, a commercial, a girl rock band, or karaoke.

We’ve all heard it.  It gets in your head.

My question, is WHY did the songwriter use LOVE? Out of everything that comes at you on a daily basis, why choose the word LOVE over the word LIFE? I believe there are people out there, as well as myself, that could better relate to a song that sung to the tune of, “Life is a battlefield…” better than the original . I mean, WHO doesn’t face battles in life, right?

This adventure that we call LIFE is so unpredictable, that we don’t know from one day to the next how to prepare. Do I go out today with an umbrella or a bullet proof vest? Should I put on my “bigger” girl panties or am I safe in just my “big” girl ones? When I am supposed to turn the “other cheek” which set should I offer? Talk about battlefield…

This battlefield of life is where the friends that you’ve had since forever become your enemy. Children are constantly bullied not only by other children but by adults.  Kids and Teens are taking their own lives at an unforeseen rate due to the rise in bullying and nothing can be done about what can not be seen… Talk about battlefield…

Drugs that older street drugs are reappearing under new names, with higher usage and addiction rates. New drugs, which are targeted to teens, and the college age, young adult crowd, are made to look more enticing and fun than they used to.  This is causing more overdoses and the ones that are becoming addicted to this stuff are your “normal, everyday” person.  Chances are, that someone you are close to has tried these drugs or are using now. Talk about battlefield…

More preteens and teens are facing depression now than every before. Body image is thrown in their face everyday.  It’s on TV, magazine, social media, catalogs, mannequins, videos, etc.  Young people are starving themselves, cutting themselves, etc., because they think they are fat when they look perfectly fine.  Some of the music that kids are listening to will increase these emotions.  Their image, in their minds, is equal to their self worth, their ability to be loved, their attractiveness to the opposite sex. This all leads to depressive states which could trigger other things. Talk about battlefield…

I believe that Pat Benatar had a point with her hit “Love is a Battlefield”, but I also believe that she had it wrong.  The battlefield of LIFE has definitely surpassed any type of battlefield that Love has.

LOVE  took care of every battle and the war was won on Mt. Calvary.

LOVE was Christ.

Come to Earth as flesh.

Crucified.

Risen.

Soon coming King…

ByAngie

Where We’ve Been, What’s New, & What’s Coming

Angie (Me), Karen, Emily, & Judye

Angie (Me), Karen, Emily, & Judye

Where We’ve Been

Ever set out to do something, and know that you have set way too high expectations for yourself, but you try to do it anyway?

On July 31st, we left our home in Southern California for vacation. It was supposed to be a 2 week trip. We drove to visit family and friends in Kentucky and Tennessee first. That’s where I was reunited with Karen, Emily, and Judye for the first time in over 15 years along with everyone else that I love and miss dearly in my hometown. After 5 days there, we drove up to where our family will be moving in a few months, Pennsylvania. We were supposed to spend about a week there.

This is where I laugh. Because that was my plan, but not God’s plan.

We were in Pennsylvania for 4 weeks. When you add our week traveling before that, we were away from home for 5 weeks. Thank goodness I over packed! My husband’s employers took really good care of us and made it a very enjoyable time. I almost didn’t want to come home, except we kind of need to pack so we can move there permanently. I cannot wait to return.

During all of this, I did not have steady internet let alone time to tend to the blog. In the beginning I really tried. I thought I’d be able to keep up. After the 3rd week, I realized it just wasn’t going to happen and gave up.

I truly believe that God allowed for our trip to be so long and undistracted so that I would fall in love with the area we are moving to.

Isn’t it amazing how God does things? Circumstances happen, and we think they are too simple or mundane for God to have planned them, but really, He is in every little thing. Which causes me to wonder, why don’t we include Him in every little thing? I mean right down to trimming fingernails and pouring a cup of coffee. He’s protecting us from slipping and cutting our finger or burning ourselves, after all. Okay, now I’m rambling, and I’m sure you got the point…

One of many photos I took in Pennsylvania

One of many photos I took in Pennsylvania


What’s New

While on this trip, there were a lot of little discussions that led to one big decision.

For some time, we have attempted to monetize this blog. Keyword: Attempted. I’ve read books, gone to conferences, taken online classes, etc. on how to monetize a blog to the point that it was weird that Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven wasn’t making more than a couple of dollars every few months. Now, in my heart I knew it was because God never intended for there to be a profit, but we didn’t want a profit. We just wanted to cover the costs of the blog itself, so I thought what we were doing was okay.

Now, I am not saying that ministry blogs should not be monetizing. I am saying that for whatever reason, that was not what God wanted here.

One day God’s voice came across loud and clear that monetization would have to stop. It was only a few minutes after that a very kind and generous person unexpectedly committed themselves to covering our yearly blog costs. Thank you, Jesus and person who I shall keep anonymous! THANK YOU!

This means no more ads. No more affiliate links. No more of me stressing over if I sound like a late night infomercial pitchman because it does not come to me naturally. YAY for you, YAY for me!

We will still continue to have giveaways and such, but it will be like it always has been: Either donated by the company or compiled by myself and/or other contributors of Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven. Which brings us to…

We took a day trip to New Jersey for a few short hours one day, where I was able to snap this zoomed in shot of the Freedom Tower. No photograph or video I have seen does it justice.

We took a day trip to New Jersey for a few short hours one day, where I was able to snap this zoomed in shot of the Freedom Tower in New York City. No photograph or video I have ever seen does it justice.

What’s Coming

We have so much going on behind the scenes at the moment that I feel like my head is spinning just trying to think of a way to tell you all without giving too much away.

We definitely intend to continue the pregnancy series that we started at the beginning of the summer. Next week we will be participating in the #IAmYourVoice campaign, a way to bring awareness and help refugees in Iraq and Syria, where Christians are being persecuted. This week brings the day of encouragement, and you know Emily always has something fun for that. Since we missed our Blogiversary in August, we will soon be giving away a certain movie about Christian Moms that is rather popular… 😉 I will be posting every Friday as a co-host of A Look At The Book‘s “A Group Look”  linky. (I was supposed to begin a month ago, but the sweet ladies that also host/co-host there have been so understanding of our trip continually being extended.) The list goes on and on…

So be sure to follow us in one way or another so that you don’t miss out on anything. Email, RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc etc etc… And remember, we are always available to pray with/for you, so never hesitate to ask.

God bless!

ByDanielle

In Memory Of Nana Lou: A Process Of Grief

In March my Nana was called home. She lived a glorious God filled life. I know where she is, and I know I will see her again. The following is mostly how I felt & what my emotions were.

 

Nana Lou

 

Today I heard the doxology.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Praise Him all creatures here below! Praise Him above all ye heavenly hosts! Praise Father, Son & Holy Ghost!! Amen!

The doxology was one of the first “Christian” things I learned. It holds a special place in my heart. I want to praise God for everything good & bad.

Today my Nana died. For awhile I was angry at God. I didn’t get home in time to be with her, to say goodbye, to tell her I love her. It took us 22 hours to get home. I thought a lot in those 22 hours. I cried a lot in those 22 hours. I praised God a lot in those 22 hours. The phone was put on the speaker and I said my final words to Nana. I told her how much I love her, how much I would miss her. How much B,M,S & E love her & will miss her. I told her to hug Jesus for me when she got to Heaven & hug my Gren (grandfather) I told her how sorry I was I didn’t make it home. I remember just telling her how much I love her, how sorry I was & I would see her in Heaven.

The days have been long, but they have also been encouraging. I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with family & remembering Nana. It’s been difficult. I get overwhelmed & cry easily. I am selfish. I live 22 hours away from all of my family. I miss living near my family. I should have been here to help care for Nana. I should have been there when she died. I should have been there for my dad & sisters…. I should have….

Monday is Nana’s wake. Tons of people will come through offer condolences & cry, laugh & tell stories.

Tuesday is her funeral. I will cry. I will think how unfair it is. I will know she is in Heaven, with Jesus. I will rejoice & praise God knowing she is not in pain, she is with her Savior.

 

Cold day at the beach

 

On Easter we didn’t go to church to celebrate the joyous resurrection of our Savior Jesus. We went to the ocean and talked about Nana. It was cold and windy. I don’t really remember exactly how cold it was, looking at the pictures I see how cold really we were. Nana has always known where she would go when she died. I believe God gave me (us) this time together to cry, live, understand each other just a little more.

As sad as I am, I also rejoice.

Flash forward a week….

Nana’s wake was beautiful. 200 people came to offer condolences and morn with us. I grew closer to my aunt & understand my Dad a little more. Watching my children mourn was very difficult. Emma was very emotional. Sophia was emotionally shut off. Melissa, my oldest daughter, took on a mom role for her younger sisters. I was taking care of my dad & aunt. I also have a son, Brian, he is 25 & he is lost.

I don’t remember a whole lot about her funeral, here are a few memories I will cherish…Before Nana’s funeral we prayed as a family. My Dad, who does not believe, led us in prayer. It was such a beautiful moment that my family shared. My Dad, my Aunt, my children, & sister stood in a circle holding hands & praying. Funny, I don’t remember the words he said, but they were Godly.

 

Me and my dad

 

Once we got to the church and the men in our family carried Nana’s casket into the church & we walked her down the aisle, the church organist started playing “How great thou art”. My Sophia finally cried. She held onto my arm and we walked, tears freely flowing. We sat down and the priest spoke of Nana, told stories, remembered how if anyone needed prayer Nana was the one to ask, she prayed faithfully everyday. Then came time to read the prayers of the faithful. That was my job. I can hear the priest saying Lou’s oldest granddaughter, Danielle. I can see myself walking up to the pulpit. I feel myself taking that deep breath and looking at the paper I am supposed to read. I look down and I see that whoever typed the prayers out has written the wrong name on the paper & all I can think is please don’t say the wrong name!! I take a deep breath, all that comes out is my tears & my grief. I cry through the first prayer. I paused for what seemed like hours, which in fact was only maybe 30 seconds and I hear footsteps. I look up & Sophia is standing by my side holding my hand. I continue reading the prayers, crying & at that point, where Sophia is holding my hand & I am crying & reading. I no longer care that I’m sobbing while reading. I would not have been able to get through reading if Sophia hadn’t been there holding my hand. We walk back hand in hand tears in our eyes. It was a beautiful bonding moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.

 

Sophia and me holding her hand

 

My Dad walked up to the pulpit to speak about his Mom. I remember him talking about growing up and Nana always cooking. I remember him talking about Nana’s last night on this earth. Nana was partially in a coma at this point and one of my aunts or my step mom made her a drink, a highball, they put some of it on a sponge and she opened her eyes and smiled and said yum. My Dad talked of how much love nana had for everyone and then he too broke down, he came back to his seat.

 

Dad, Aunt, and Nana

 

After the funeral there was a meal, after the meal we went back to my Aunt’s home & talked more. There are so many more things that happened in those 2 weeks we were home. I am comforted in knowing that someday I will see my Nana again & we will be with Jesus next time.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Grace & Peace to you!
Danielle

ByEmily

Mess!

mess- a.) a disordered, untidy, offensive, or unpleasant state or condition b.) one that is disordered, untidy, offensive, or unpleasant usually because of blundering, laxity, or misconduct

A few weeks ago, a sweet man in our church who used to detail vehicles offered to bless my husband and I by cleaning our car. Now let me just remind you that I have 4 and 5 year old girls. My car was a mess! Do any of you moms know what it’s like to have yogurt (yes, yogurt!) smeared on your car window? Well, I do! :/ I know, I know, I’m the only one with messy children.

This brother from church returned our car and he did an amazing job! It looked brand new! Keep in mind, it has only been a few weeks, and I have 4 and 5 year old girls. Today we’re riding through town and I say, “Girls, I’m very upset with the way my car is looking right now. Bro. Willie just cleaned it and did such a good job. It makes me sad that it’s looking like this.” They had dumped puzzle pieces in the seat, left trash in the floor, had toys that needed to be brought in, etc. I went on to explain to them that when we got home, they were going to have to straighten the car up again.

Adah, my precious 4 year old, replies to my gentle ranting with, “Sorry, Charlie. I don’t know why we’re so messy.”

My first instinct was to just simply shake my head. I mean, how else do you respond to that?? But that’s when I realized, life is all about making messes. As humans, we make one mess right after the other, a never ending cycle. The messes we make, however, are not what matters. What matters is how we handle those messes. Do we let them pile up, higher and higher, with rotten stenches seeping out? Or do we do the best we can to clean the mess up and get it out of the way?

 

Sorry, Charlie!!!

 

 

I finally replied, “Sorry, Charlie, but we can’t help making messes in life. That’s why you’re so messy. And sorry, Charlie, but you have to clean those messes up. You can’t just leave them there.”

When we stopped, I got out and helped them clean up the trash, gather the toys and get rid of the mess. I originally intended, to hand them the trash bag and make them do it themselves, but then I decided to show mercy and help. That’s just what our loving heavenly Father does for His children. He understands that we were born into flesh and that making messes is human nature. And just like I, as a mother, expected my girls to clean up their messes, God expects us to straighten up our lives. Even better? If we sincerely turn to Him for help, He’ll show us grace and mercy, too.

ByAngie

Little Boxes

Today we have a guest post by my dear friend, Sandra Moffatt. Now residing in Hawaii, she is a wife, mother, grandmother, minister, author, and friend among many other things. Today she posted this status on Facebook. I was actually just about to message her to ask if I could share it with all of you that read our blog when she sent me a request to do just that.  For more information on her book, Stick and Stones, please visit Amazon.com.

 

KEEP THAT BOX!

Ever LIVED in Hawaii?!

Photo Credit: Billy Alexander

Photo Credit: Billy Alexander

Oh, I know many TRAVEL to our islands for a GREAT getaway! For the locals though…. we SHIP WHEN WE SHOP!  We buy a LOT online and ship to Hawaii or the Mainland. Anything with a “dot com is our friend here! 🙂

So, this morning I am looking at empty boxes. My first thought!?

DO NOT THROW THAT BOX AWAY!

What can I ship in that box!?

In other words, what some deem as throwaway we see as GREATLY VALUED!

Funny how our children at Christmas would sometimes PLAY with THE BOX their gift came in almost as much as the gift!

So…

ONE LIFE, LIKE THE BOXES piled in my entry this morning, may “seem” EMPTY. May “seem” USED UP. Yet, look again…

ONE LIFE …

YOUR LIFE…

is overflowing with GREAT VALUE!

Just like the box in my entry this morning… There are SO many ways we will miss the BEAUTY from the “little boxes” that… “would have been” in Newtown, Connecticut!

May we never look at a person again without realizing the PRICELESS VALUE of ONE SINGLE LIFE!

LIFE… It’s a lot like the box in my entry.

DON’T THROW THAT BOX AWAY!

Written in honored memory of those who lost their lives in Newtown, Connecticut. Heaven has gladly received “each package” safely! Thank You, Lord!

ByAngie

Can It Wait?

13 Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.15 Instead you ought to say, If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.

James 4:13-15

Within the last few weeks I’ve known quite a few people who have had loved ones pass away. Time slipped away so quickly. Some were old aged, but some were not. At the same time, I’ve had a few close friends that have been diagnosed with serious conditions.

All of this is brought many things to light for me. For one: Death knows no age. I’ve known this for years, but it seems every few years something happens to remind me that no one is exempt. As James said, life is but a vapor and we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Second: What are my priorities and what am I putting first?

Lately I’ve been TOO busy. My pastor noticed this before I did. She asked me one evening, “Do you ever say no?” “No” I replied, and we giggled. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing things for others and helping them. I am in no way complaining nor will I stop doing this. But sometimes, I need to just stop and focus on my family. I realized this a few weeks ago after my two year old son came running up to me with his arms out for me to hold him. “Just a second chubby cherub. Mommy is really busy.” Suddenly, like a slap in the face, a still small voice inside of me said “Busy doing what?” Hmm… Nothing is as important to me as my children. What could I possibly be doing that is keeping me too busy? Then the second slap to the other side of my metaphorical face “I’m doing this to God, too.” Ouch.

When life is over, will I be remembered for the fact that I made aprons? No. If I actually got my house to look perfect and kept it that way, will I feel achieved in Heaven? Not at all. When it’s all said and done, all that matters is that I served an almighty God and raised children with integrity who knew without a doubt their mother loved them and would drop anything for them in their time of need.

I’m not saying that any of us should let our homes go, stop doing things for others, sit back and let life fall apart just to snuggle with the kids a little longer. But by all means, stop and smell the roses! Enjoy those babies while they’re young! Play a board game with the older kids. Make your husband’s favorite meal just because. Plan a date night beyond his expectations and show him you love him. And if today’s to do list doesn’t get done, don’t sweat it. Trust me, it’ll be there tomorrow.

A special thank you to my dear friend, Rena, for her inspiration in writing this post.

ByKaren

Oh Heart, Where Art Thou?

In life, we are faced with many decisions. Some are very hard. Others are simple.  In the time of the hard decisions, we usually find ourselves in turmoil. Restlessness, stress, confusion, and unsurity of yourself.

We are supposed to go to Christ in all things and not depend upon our own heart or mind; for our hearts can be desperately wicked. When you make the right decision with God, you feel total peace about it. When you have made the wrong decision, you feel the weight and the pressure from not following God’s divine leading.

So if you find yourself in the midst of life changing choices, let God take the lead and do not lean on the understanding of your own heart.  Things will go A LOT better.

ByAngie

Change? Again?

Ever feel like God has plucked you up from where you were and put you in a completely different place? Somewhere unfamiliar, exciting, scary, and wonderful?

That’s my life. Right now.

Every aspect of my life has changed in the last few months. I’m a completely different person. My priorities are different than the were. My dreams have changed.

Everything. Has. Changed.

I am not at all who I was. (All good things, don’t worry!)

Months ago I stated that I felt as though I was expecting. And here it is, the birth of the new life God has for me. But what’s next? And can I handle all of this?

I know he’s not done, so I’m hoping he gives me a little confidence in all of this. Right now, I’m a wee bit overwhelmed. Mostly with excitement, but overwhelmed none the less.

A new season has come, and another has gone. One thing I do know: God has it all under control and knows what he is doing. So I just need to shut up, listen, and do what he says.

Trust, what a concept, huh?

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 NKJV

ByDiania

Jars Of Dreams

Ever have a dream you know you will never live? A dream just placed in a jar with all the other dreams that are unreachable? I’m not talking about something you may want in life, but know it’s unattainable… Most dreams are that way anyway. But one so close. So real. That’s the dream I’m speaking of.

What stands in our way of making that dream come to life? Is it fear, failure, or just plain negligence on our part for not reaching out hard enough to make that dream come true? Your dream could just be a place or someone you want and know is impossible to have. You still know deep down inside it’s never going to be. There’s a hidden pain that stays with that dream that only you and God knows. And next to it is sorrow for him having to tell you it’s untouchable. If this was just a dream from sleeping you could just wake yourself up, shake it off, go on with life, and face reality again.

Someone asked recently:

“What has God done for you lately?”

God has done a lot for me, so I feel selfish knowing I have dreams that will never be attained. But to lie and say I don’t want those dreams would be lying to my heart and to God.

And lately? I have beat myself up enough, so deep inside, in my heart anyway. I’m going to be honest with him and myself. If nothing is hidden from him then how can I expect him not to know my every thought and dream?

Who knows? Maybe someday God will line everything up and make those dreams reachable. Until then, I will keep them between him and myself, hidden right here in my heart. Untouchable by anyone else. It’s like our own little secret, between the two of us.

Love,

Originally written by Diania on June 23, 2010