Monthly Archives: November 2014

Hope for Every Season

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The holiday season, full of expectancy and packed to the the brim with activities, can be a difficult time for those of us who are waiting on God to unite us with our forever families. During the year we wait with expectancy, sometimes quietly, but the waiting can become more challenging with Thanksgiving and Christmas upon us. We long to wake up to a house filled with family, laughter, and a readiness for adventure. If you’re in the waiting, this longing can make the pumpkin pie taste a little bittersweet. What does one do when they are waiting for what they are hoping for during yet another holiday season? Where is God in those moments of our holidays? God reminded me that His hand, His presence, is with us in every moment.

This Thanksgiving God has poured out His overwhelming love, friendship, and a sense of family over me. I prepared to open my home and give hospitality to others, yet I received far greater hospitality than I anticipated. God was in the great hospitality of a friend who made sure I had all that I needed while I was sick, and took care of Thanksgiving dinner prep without a single complaint. God showed up in the blessed gifts of a thoughtful friend who baked and delivered delicious treats for us. God showed up in the laughter, joy, and good counsel of dear friends around the table on Thanksgiving. I looked for Jesus in my week, and I found His love every day.

There is no doubt that God is found in the faces and actions of our loved ones, and I am so grateful for the amazing tribe (friend-family) with which God has blessed me. But after the pumpkin pie is consumed, and the guests return home, there is an even greater message that God wants us to know.

Today I hear God whisper that He is my hope for every season; He is my hope for everyday <===Click to Tweet. As I wait for my forever family, I am reminded that Jesus IS my forever family. Yes, I am believing for the promise of a family, but one day, my children will grow up and begin their own families and holiday traditions. God is the only one who will never leave my side – my One True Love, my Constant Companion. Whether we are in the waiting or reaping the harvest of the promises, we must hold onto Jesus and make Him the center of it all. Instead of holding so tightly to the hope that God has promised us, let us grab the hand of our God – who is our greatest Hope <===Click to Tweet. And I am thankful that I can have this Hope today and every day for the rest of my life.

Dear friend, wherever you are on the journey, I pray that you will allow Jesus to be the center of your heart and your Greatest Hope. Allow God to fill you up with all joy and peace that can only come from Him this holiday season. I pray that you will allow Him to be the constant, loving Companion that He so longs to be in your life – whether you are surrounded by many or by few, and especially if you feel alone. Lean into Him during the joyful and the difficult moments of the holiday season, and listen for His whispers of “I love you.” He is with you.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 NIV.

Photo Credit Compfight

A Heart of Flesh

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Photo Credit Unknown

Photo Credit Unknown

I used to joke with a friend that I wished I was like Mr. Spock. You know, Mr. Spock from Star Trek.

During emotionally turbulent times in my life, I often wish I didn’t have to feel any emotion I might deem “negative”. In the past Sometimes I believe that emotions are wholly overrated and something I want to distance myself from as much as possible. From where I sat, Spock’s life looked like one of freedom. Freedom from over-thinking the simplest of decisions, freedom from waking up in the mornings overwhelmed with fear and dread without knowing why, freedom from guilt, shame, condemnation, and lies of the enemy. Only a mind of logic and truth. Who would choose to feel pain and sadness if they had a choice? I knew that this was a good decision – to feel nothing. And every woman knows that once she makes a good decision, it is essential to share it with a friend.

So one day I shared these thoughts with a friend, and she gently rebuked me that I was not Spock, and that my feelings had a purpose and a reason, which is exactly what I wanted to hear  was true. As much as I wanted to pretend, I would never be emotionless. But that realization didn’t solve the problem. Allowing myself to feel any emotion always seems to go hand in hand with a lack of control, and let’s just say I’m on the end of the spectrum that prefers to be closer to “in control.” And by that, let’s just say I like to smother it, y’all. With gravy. There is something so all-encompassing about sadness that it seems, if we allow ourselves to feel it, it will swallow us whole, never to be found again. Living in fear of being swallowed up whole from the inside, I chose to control by not allowing myself to really feel pain – or joy. Feeling sad? It’s okay to cry, but tell everyone you’re “fine.” Listen to happy music, dance and smile. Watch a funny movie. Fake it ’til you make it. Feeling happy? Great. Enjoy it girl. But keep your eyes on the ceiling and watch for the other shoe that is about to drop. The really horrible thing that is about to happen is coming – because let’s face it – it’s not likely that I will be happy for long. Can you relate? If you can’t, then let me just tell you. This is an exhausting way to live. And this is not the life that Christ has called us to.

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. – John 10:10 (ESV).

For the next twelve days, I am reading “In Everything Give Thanks,” a devotional created by She Reads Truth. Today I was reminded that Jesus experienced emotions too. In Isaiah 53:3 Jesus is described as “a man of sorrows.” I thought that was pretty powerful – that Jesus at some point identified with sorrow. I was thankful for this Word – a reminder that my Savior walked the earth, dwelt among us, and He knows what it’s like to feel sorrow and to sit with it but not allow it to consume Him or distract Him from His purpose. God is showing me that He created me, and that means He created my emotions too. God is teaching me that to live fully is to experience life, to experience the full spectrum of emotions that He placed within me. To live fully alive is to be open through all of the good and bad situations as they come. This can be a tough pill to swallow on the hard days. Those are the days I pray for God to shrink my emotions down to size, and put them in place where He created them to be. Sounds crazy, but it definitely helps. God is slowly but surely teaching me how to put my trust in Him and not in how I feel. Our feelings and emotions, if we put trust in them, will toss us like waves on the sea. Christ is our only constant, our only anchor in these turbulent waters called life. When I surrender my emotions and take captive my thoughts to Jesus, only then will I have peace.

Photo Credit Unknown

Photo Credit Unknown

I am learning that by trying to keep control, I take control from God. By closing my hands and my heart to feeling sad emotions, I also shut the door on experiencing the emotions that bring joy. If I shut the door to feeling hurt, I shut the door to feeling God’s overwhelming and amazing love for me! It has been a long lesson in the making, but I am finally beginning to grasp it. Because God is removing my stony, stubborn heart and replacing it with a heart of flesh, my desire to be Spirit-led, consumed only by Him, grows stronger every day. By putting my trust in God, I find the freedom for that which I was so desperately seeking. By putting my trust in God, I know that I need not fear the future. Indeed, I can laugh at the days to come. And that’s even better than being Spock.

 

Papa God, I thank you that you gave us emotions to help us experience and navigate in the world. I pray that we surrender our emotions to you and take captive our thoughts and submit them to you. When our emotions loom larger than life and seem as if they will swallow us whole, I pray we will look to you. Shrink our emotions back down to size and put them in the place where you created them to be. Thank you for healing and restoring us, and for giving us hearts of flesh that feel. Thank you that with You, we can look expectantly to the future. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25 (NLT).

Photo Credit Holley Gerth

Photo Credit Holley Gerth

Today I am linking up with Holley Gerth

I Hope You Dance

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Enjoy

Photo Credit Holley Gerth

I was a Daddy’s girl, through and through.

I enjoyed spending time with my dad when I was growing up. I loved having conversations with him where he lectured me taught me things and shared his perspective on the world with me. He had a great smile, uproarious laughter, a huge heart, and he loved to tell stories. My dad would watch old, black and white movies and westerns – basically anything on TMC or AMC, and I would grab a seat on the couch and watch with him. Spending that time with him was priceless. He would tell me about the actors, actresses and behind the scenes info while we watched them together. I was fascinated. He is one of the reasons I love old movies and movie commentaries that describe what happened during filming. How else would I know that the main characters of Love Is A Many Splendored Thing hated each other?! But boy did they pull off the romance on screen! Knowing those little details that my dad shared made the experience of watching the movie that much more fun.

The summer before my ninth grade year I was set to go off to my first away summer program. I remember going shopping for the trip with my mom and dad, and seeing tons of journals in the store. My dad encouraged my to write down everything that happened that summer, so I could look back in later years and remember all the exciting things I had done. Little did I know that writing would become a major outlet for me during my high school years, and I haven’t put my pen down since.

When I graduated from high school and went off to college, I would look forward to movie nights with my dad when I was home. Until then, he would call me periodically while I was away at school, asking the standard questions of how I was doing in my classes, was I making any friends, if I was having fun. He encouraged me to keep up with my painting and journaling. He would ask me if I danced, if I knew how to dance. I thought it was a kind of funny question to ask at first. Later I realized that at the heart of his questions, he wanted to know if I was enjoying my life. He always wanted nothing more than for me to be happy, to dance, to enjoy my life to the fullest. My father’s heart wanted adventure for me! <=== Click to tweet. It is just like Holley Gerth said, by enjoying my life it brought joy to my father.

Today marks the two year anniversary of my father’s passing. In reflecting on my relationship with my dad lately, I realize that so much of my earthly dad’s heart for me reflects my Heavenly Father’s heart for me. Before my dad passed away, he was the only person I acknowledged as father. I saw God as a cold and distant God who punished us for not living a right life. I couldn’t imagine having a personal, intimate relationship with Him, much less calling Him Father, it felt so…uncharacteristic of God. Little did I know how wrong I was.

Over the past two years, I have become keenly aware of an even greater love than the love my earthly father had for me. In the pain of grieving the loss of my dad, my Heavenly Father began to pursue me full time. He put people in my path to remind me that He was in control. Over the past year, He has sent people to my inner circle to remind me how much He loves me, and that He delights in me, and how I make Him smile. My view of God began to shift and change. He sends me love letters that remind me that God sees me, and He cares about every detail of my life. No longer do I see Him as an unloving, unapproachable God, but I see Him as my Papa who promises to draw near to me if I draw near to Him (James 4:8). Slowly, surely I am learning to dance with Him and let Him lavish His love upon me. Spending time with God, just like with my earthly father, is priceless time well spent.

Now I know that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me beyond measure – greater than anyone on this earth has or could ever love me. I am his daughter, a crown of beauty in His hand, a royal diadem (Isaiah 62:3). I am chosen. I am cherished. I am validated. I am loved. I am His. <=== Click to tweet. And day by day I am learning that my Heavenly Father also has a plan for my life that involves great adventure! Sometimes more adventure that I am not sure I am ready for LOL! He wants me to enjoy every minute of this fun-filled life that He has planned for me! When God shares the details with me, when He whispers to me and reminds me that He’s got me, it makes it easier to live out the calling He has on my life. Now mind you, I may still shake in my boots, but at the end of the day, I know that He has me and He is never letting me go. I hope I make my daddy smile in Heaven, and I hope to bring a smile to Heavenly Father’s lips as I live my life for Him.

I am a Daddy’s Girl, through and through.