Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Why Groundhog's Day Made Me Cry. . .


Don't save treasures for yourselves here on earth. Moths and rust will destroy treasures here on earth. And thieves can break into your house and steal the things you have. So save your treasure in heaven. The treasures in heaven cannot be destroyed by moths or rust. And thieves cannot break in and steal that treasure. Your heart will be where your treasure is. Matthew 6:19-21

This verse gets directly to the point. . . do not store up and save treasures on earth. I think this verse has become lost in our society. So many people are in the rat race to make money to buy more stuff. They are in pursuit of being better than the next person. Their days are consumed with activities that revolve around their jobs or income producing activities. Why?

Everyone is looking for what will make their life happier here on earth. Money seems to be most people's answer to happiness. They will be happier when they can have that new car or that new house. . . or that lifestyle that matches their friends. If they do not have that lifestyle, then they may not be respected or maybe they will no longer feel accepted into their peer group. Is that what true friendship and happiness really looks like? 


The verse goes on to tell us that the treasures can be destroyed here on earth. We begin to place value on what we have here on earth and place our worth in comparison to what assets we have or what we want people to think we have. People work so hard to earn money and spend countless hours working to put money in their bank account so they can pay the bills each month or the credit cards . . . what are we paying for? Are we paying for our future on earth or our future in heaven? 


It's hard not to get caught up in the treasure hunt with social media flashing the perfect people and lives in front us of all the time. . . are those "friends" really living those lives they portray on social media? I'm living this rat race with you all. . . I have been there and still there having to balance a budget each month. But I have had my eyes opened to what is left behind when loved ones move on to their eternal home with Jesus. 


I have cleaned out apartments, closets, garages, and houses over the past five years. My loved ones did not take their "treasures" with them when they were called to heaven. Through the years of shuffling "treasures" around and organizing and having garage sales, I have come to realize it is not the "treasures" of material things that I treasure the most from the family members that are no longer here on earth. . . it's the lessons they taught me to make me a better person, it is the moments that we had together that helped me become the person I am, it is the love that they showed me, and the time we spent together. 


Grief is a funny thing. . . it is the smallest moments that you did not even know that mattered that sneak up on you at the most unexpected time. Groundhog's Day. . . who would think that would be a day that I would do an ugly cry because my mom was not here? But my mom was an elementary teacher for thirty three years and taught about the significance of Groundhog's Day in the curriculum. My mom was aware of the importance of providing children with experiences and knowledge. My mom wanted us to have experiences, and she wanted her grandchildren to have the same. 


When my mom passed away in November 2013, it was a sudden unexpected death and has been hard at times. Yes, the holidays were hard, but I geared up and prepared myself for those days. But who would have thought that I needed to prepare for Groundhog's Day? Well, the first Groundhog's Day  arrived after losing my mom, and we all got up and got ready for our  normal school day. . . kids at school, and I was tending to my mom duties at the time and Daniel at work . . . then it hit me so hard. . . I had sent my kids off to school without any knowledge of it being Groundhog's Day. I lost it. . . I mean I completely lost it and had a long ugly cry. . . mom fail moment for me and missing my mom so much at that moment! This was a treasure my mom had left behind, and I did not know it was even a treasure until she was not here anymore. 


See. . . my mom would call the night before and remind me to discuss Groundhog's Day with my boys. She did not want them to go off to school without knowing what day it was or without knowing what the Groundhog saw. She wanted her grandchildren to be able to discuss the current event of the day. Well, the first Groundhog's Day without my mom was the first real moment that I realized the legacy she had left behind. She left behind ways to provide for others and the importance of investing in others. . . my mom stored up her treasures in her family, and we hold on to those treasures daily. . . they have not been destroyed and they have not been lost. . . they are heavenly reminders and whispers I hear all the time . . . they are my mom's treasures she stored up for heaven. . .  and they are in our hearts. 


What are you storing up on earth? Can your treasures be destroyed or will you take them with you to heaven where you can place them in your loved one's heart when they need it the most? What will your family treasure the most when you are in heaven? 


1 Timothy 6:17-19Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 

God calls us to love on one another and to invest our time in others while on earth. He does not want us to put our hope on earthly wealth or riches of earthly materials and accomplishments. God wants us to go out and bring people to Him and give them hope through Him.

Groundhog's Day was not about grieving my mom and crying because my mom was not here anymore. . . it was about realizing the heavenly treasures my mom had stored up in all of us. Of course, she enjoyed her heavenly materials . . . she loved her antiques and a home that she could fill with family, but she did not put her worth and hope in these earthly things. She loved Jesus, and she loved investing her love into her students and family.

Groundhog's Day to me is a reminder that we leave our legacy by loving on others and letting them see Jesus through us and not the importance of storing up earthly possessions.

While we are discussing Groundhog's Day, this Louisiana girl would appreciate it if the groundhog would not see his shadow. . . bring on spring time and forget this winter cold!

Bring on new life!

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

                                             

Friday, January 26, 2018

4 Steps to Rest and Restoration

Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. Pslam 6:2

We do not deserve God’s mercy, but He gives it to us over and over. At some point in time we all go through struggles and find ourselves in difficult situations, and we often try to take matters into our own hands. Living on earth apart from God can be exhausting and wear us down physically and mentally . . . we become faint.

For many years, I tried to go ahead of God and figure life out and have it all planned. I wasted a lot of time and energy. I would worry and stress about the next day or the outcome of a situation. I would absolutely wear myself out. It is not healthy to live life worrying about outcomes.

I am a planner and like to make lists. It’s good to be organized and have a game plan, but I was forgetting to ask God if my plan coincided with His plan. Over the years I have claimed the verses Jeremiah 29:11-14, and I have learned the importance of using these verses as my game plan for Living Abundantly and Choosing Joy (John 10:10) over the chaos and confusion that the enemy wants us to have.
For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile. Jeremiah 29:11-14

I originally memorized and held Jeremiah 29:11 close to my heart. Then I began hearing God asking me if I had prayed about the plan and was I seeking Him in all my situations . . . I read further into the chapter to Jeremiah 29:12-13.

Through these verses, I realized God had more for me than just trusting He had the plan. . . He wanted to hear from in pray, and He wanted me to go on a journey to find Him. As I began praying and seeking God, I found Him in situations and all around me. He had been there, but now I was noticing Him and how He was working in my personal life and in the life of others. God tells us that we will find Him if we pray and seek Him.

Then Jeremiah 29:14 is one of hope. . . He will restore our situation and will bring us out of exile. . . be open to your restoration because He may restore you and place you somewhere you did expect. Trust is part of the process. . . you have to believe that His Plan is THE PERFECT PLAN for your life. Your prayers may be answered according to His plan not yours.
“I will be found by you” declares the Lord, “and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,” declares the Lord, “‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile” Jeremiah 29:14
Have you been wanting to get back to something? Are you feeling lost in a relationship, struggling with your career or education, having a hard time balancing your budget, or feeling hopeless in the battle to get healthier? Are you waiting for restoration and healing? How would it feel to come out of your pit and stop wandering lost in the wilderness?
Here are the steps Jeremiah 29:11-14 instructs us to do to find rest and restoration:
  1. TRUST that God has the perfect plan for your life.
  2. PRAY . . . just get in conversation with God. Tell Him you trust Him and want to find Him in your situation, in your day.
  3. SEEK . . . read God’s Word and open up your heart and mind to what He wants you to hear and see in this moment, not in the days to come. Do not get before God! Let God lead the way and show you how to walk down the dark path. God has the flashlight to see ahead. YOU WILL FIND HIM . . . He might come in the form of peace, strength, revelation, guidance, friendship, discernment, joy, forgiveness, reconciliation, provision . . . just look for Him and you will know it is Him.
  4. BE STILL. . . God’s timing is not ours. If we TRUST, PRAY, and SEEK, we will be brought out of exile. . . just be still and wait for God to make His move in His own perfect timing. This is when we begin to get impatient and go before God. Do not get in the way. . . let God do his thing!!!
These outcomes could be relationship, jobs, finances, or sickness. . . whatever is on your heart today, give it over to God so he can give you energy and healing to the soul. Let Him bring you out of exile. . . Let God take you from the pit to the castle. . . Let God show you the path out of the dark lonely wilderness. . . He is waiting for you to hand over the situation and find refuge in Him.
.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. Psalm 62:5


Today’s Journal and Reflection: What are you trying to figure out today? What are you trying to get back to? Are you giving it to God or trying to go before Him? How can you find refuge in God today and let your mind and body rest and heal?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Journaling . . . A Journey and Reflection of God’s Love, Mercy, and Grace

Journaling . . . A Journey and Reflection of God’s Love, Mercy, and Grace

“The Lord gave me this answer, ‘Write down clearly…what I reveal to you…’” Habakkuk 2:2           
My high school Sunday School teacher encouraged my small class of high school senior girls to begin journaling. She brought her journals to show us and explained how it witnessed to her from time to time and how it enhanced her life. Her journals were a reflection of God’s grace and mercy on her personal journey of life. It was documented memories of her growing relationship with God and provided a deeper understanding of herself and of God’s ways. 
Of course, I admired and looked up to my Sunday school teacher and wanted a life that she possessed . . . I was a high school senior looking up to a young mom and wife who seemed to have it all together. 
So I went out and bought a journal to begin my own journaling . . . little did I know that I would continue journaling 30 years later. Oh the person I was and the person I have become . . . it has definitely been a journey, a journey with God. I can see evidence of how He has changed my life to a life that I didn't know I could have . . . a life that I'm surprised I wanted. Thank goodness for God’s grace and mercy because I am definitely a work in progress. 
The journey has not been the easiest at times. In fact, it's a journey of struggle of knowing who I was and who I wanted to be. A documentation of my naive selfishness and ignorance. A journey of God changing my path and leading me to a life closer and more dependent on Him. Reflection of God getting me through grief and illness. Reflection of Praises for God’s grace and mercy in my life. Documentation of scripture that was vital to my journey during certain times of failures, struggles, healing, courage, weakness, and victories. Evidence that God walked with me and heard my prayers even if the answers were not what I wanted, but what I needed. . Journaling has provided me an eye opening story of a life that I am thankful I didn't have to do alone. . . a reflection of how much God loves me . . . and you! 
Here are a few reasons I believe journaling is important to a Christian: 
To keep a record of your life’s journey. . . 
Journaling allows us to recall the events of our lives that were important and influential in our journeys and help develop who we are. As Mark Batterson in his devotional Circle Maker states, “The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory”. A journal will last a longer than our memories! 
To have visible account of God’s blessings in your life . . . 
Journaling allows us to see how God has worked in our lives. We often pray and forget to give God the glory.  Through the documentation of prayers, concerns, loses, victories, and events in our lives, God’s grace, mercy, and blessings can be seen. The words we write can witness to us and to others about the way God works in our lives. 
To serve as a reminder that it is a  journey and not a  destination . . .
Journaling can serve as a mirror: it reflects back and reminds us of our losses and victories, our helpless cryouts to God, and our praises of when we saw God working, even though we know He is always by our sides working for us. We can also see our growth from the journey . . . how we have developed personally from our ups and downs: the times we were comfortable and uncomfortable, the people we were with, and how we reacted in certain situations. We can use our documented journey as clues to where God is leading us as servants and what spiritual gifts we used in a certain situation or ministry opportunity. It can even be an avenue to reveal our spiritual gifts. 
To aid in prayer and meditation. . . 
Journaling allows us to slow our life down and really concentrate and meditate on scripture. In our busy distracting society, writing in a journal can be a focused way of reflecting on God's Word and allowing Him to speak to us. Be still and know that He is God. Writing down our thoughts can organize our thoughts and eliminate confusion. Our enemy loves to distract and confuse our lives . .  .Our God is an organized God that does not like chaos. 
Come back down the mountain to help others out of the valley . . . 
When we document our journeys of  climbing out of the valley or pit, we are able to remember the mindset we had at the time. This will allow us to be sensitive to those hurting and struggling. It enables us to have mercy and grace for the broken-hearted. It will lead us to meet them in the valley to guide them up the mountain we already conquered. We will be able to reflect back on scripture, resources, people, and situations that helped us during our struggles. 

Journaling can give the body of Christ hope in a dark situation. 

“Write these things down for the future so that people who are not yet born will praise the Lord.” Psalm 102:18 


This article was featured on #destinationinspiration

                    

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Motion Changes Emotions




The winter months can be tough . . . I know they always have been for me.

It gets darker earlier. It's cold! The beautiful life of the outdoors is looking dead and droopy 😢

I do not do cold!!! And I am not a winter kind of girl. Give me all the other seasons!!! 

But this season is only temporary, so I find ways to bring joy into my winter days. 

I add some vitamin D into my diet. I take a supplement of Vitamin D, but I also eat pastured pork, which I get from a local farm because pastured pork is full of vitamin D (especially the pork fat). I have never liked the fat on meat because of the toughness, but this pastured pork fat is tender and juicy with health benefits. 

I also make sure I have my body in motion, especially during these winter months. 

When you are in motion it will change your emotions! 💥🎉💫

And exercise increases the effectiveness of ketones! 💥 I live a ketogenic lifestyle which is a low carb high fat diet . . . basically I'm flipping the food pyramid. I lost 20 pounds with this lifestyle change and it's part of my breast cancer survivorship health plan. If you would like to find out more about the Keto lifestyle you can visit my Live Abundantly with Pam website and visit the Keto Fuel Zone link. 



I also find some inspiration to read to keep my mindset positive and inspired. 

I personally choose to read a devotional that keeps me grounded in God's Word. Right now I am also working in a goal setting workbook that has me filled with excitement for 2018! 

"Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent" Marilyn vos Savant

Life is just so hard sometimes and you feel completely defeated. It seems unfair and that you are constantly fighting some kind of battle. Most of the time it's probably a spiritual battle because the devil wants you on his side. But the battle has already been won!!! God chose you to be on His side . . . and He has already claimed victory for you and me!!! God wants us to live abundantly and allow Him to go before us and fight those exhausting battles. Take rest in the Lord and choose joy!!! 

I choose to accept the gift of abundance and joy, and I am unashamed! 

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" John 10:10


This shirt is part of the Live Abundantly Collection by Pam

Be encouraged my friends. . . Our struggles are only temporary. . . live abundantly and do not worry about tomorrow . . . God is already in our tomorrow and will take care of that day . . . live for today and enjoy it - even if you are near a pit . . . show God you trust His protection! 

#unashamed #liveabundantly #choosejoy #dreambigpraybig #liveabundantly #choosejoy #dreambigpraybig #healthyfats #motionforpositiveemotions


Instant Pot "Hard Boiled" Eggs

Ok so I've been experimenting with the Instant Pot and trying to figure out ways to eat healthy and stay eating keto when the busy baseball season hits. 
Since my breast cancer journey began, I have been getting farm fresh eggs and meat for the nutrients and benefits they provide. I buy my eggs in bulk and love finding recipes that incorporate these healthy little perfections. 
I also love fried eggs in healthy fats to give me energy while eating low carb . . . real butter, coconut oil, or ghee (this one has Pink Himalayan salt in it). I like to cut up hard boiled eggs and put them on my salad. Deviled eggs and egg salad are a couple of my quick lunches or snacks. 
Since I got my Instant Pot, having "hard boiled" eggs on hand has been super easy and convenient. 
We have had fun with PEELING the eggs. . . they are so easy to peel that I can do it one handed!!! Check out this video of my son and I peeling the Instant Pot eggs. . . I think I am a little too excited about this . . .

INSTANT POT HARD BOILED EGGS

There are two ways to cook "hard boiled" eggs in the Instant Pot. . . but here are the essentials for both ways:

  • Eggs (as many as you like to fill the bottom of the pot rack)
  • 1 cup COLD water
  • Instant Pot electric pressure cooker– Instant Pot styles vary -  I have this one 
  • Bowl of COLD water for after cooking
Pour the 1 cup of COLD water into the pot and place the eggs in the rack that came with your pot. 


*If you have lost the rack, I've seen where "Potheads" (if you are an Instant Pot user, you are considered a "Pothead") have used silicon pads at the bottom. Some have suggested using crumbled up foil at the bottom, but there is controversy over the safety of aluminum poisoning - do your research and make a choice on aluminum. I would love to know what you find in your research - please leave the info in the comments of this blog post. 
Close the lid, set for 5 minutes at the Manual setting.
It will take the cooker approximately 5 minutes to build to pressure and then 5 minutes to cook. I let the pressure naturally reduce for an additional 5 minutes after the cooking cycle completed, and then did a quick pressure release. That’s around 15 minutes, total.
Place the hot eggs into cool water to halt the cooking process. *I'm using range free farm fresh eggs, so store bought eggs may vary in cooking time. If you use store bought, please put the cooking time in the comments so I know the best cooking time . . . you never know when I might run out of my regular eggs and need to run to the grocery store. 


OR

Use the "Egg" setting. This is the easiest to me and the quickest! 





Add your eggs and 1 cup of cold water to the Instant Pot, lock the lid, and position the steam release valve to "sealed." Press the "Egg" button on the Instant Pot. It will pressure cook the pot for five minutes on normal - it will take a few minutes for the pressure to build up before the timer begins. This will result in hard-boiled eggs. If you want soft-boiled eggs or your eggs are store bought use the "+-" button to reduce or increase the cook time. 
Once the cook time is over, quickly flip the steam release valve to "venting" and allow the steam to escape. Be careful and do not have your hand near the valve when it begins releasing. Once the pressure is at normal, carefully remove the lid.

I hope you have an EGGcellent time peeling your eggs!!! 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Instant Pot Creamy Cheesy Chicken and Bacon


I am really loving my Instant Pot and the convenience it has provided for me as a busy mom and wife!!! I am a mom of three active boys and constantly on the go making it hard to prepare healthy meals. However, with my Instant Pot, I am cooking meals that are taking less than an hour. This recipe took about 40 minutes! 

This Instant Pot is making me look like Super Mom in the kitchen! 

I'm meal planning to make sure I have all the ingredients and ready to go each day. Here is a free Printable that I use for my meal planning. This is a way I can have all the meals and the grocery list together when I head out to the store. I also write down all the activities for the week to consider when I plan a certain meal and the timeframe for cooking. 

Here is the recipe for Instant Pot Creamy Cheesy Chicken and Bacon

Ingredients:
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (depending on how many people you are serving)
2 tablespoons butter
½ tsp poultry seasoning
½ tsp rosemary
⅛ tsp thyme
1 tsp garlic
Sea Salt to season
¾ cup chicken broth
6 pieces of bacon
⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
2 oz cream cheese
¾ tsp xanthum gum
1 cup cheese, freshly grated
3 pieces of bacon, crumbled
salt/pepper to taste

Instructions:

Turn electric pressure cooker to saute and cook 6 pieces of bacon until crispy.





Remove ½ of the bacon.

Add chicken and the butter, seasoning, and chicken broth to the Instant Pot.



Lock lid and set to manual high pressure for 11 minutes.


Once the cycle is complete, allow a Natural Pressure Release for 6 minutes then quick release. 

Carefully open Instant Pot after the pin drops.
Using 2 forks, shred chicken.

Turn Instant Pot to Saute and add heavy whipping cream and cream cheese.

Stir well to combine.

Sprinkle ¾ tsp Xanthan Gum on top and allow to simmer for a few minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.

Turn Instant Pot off.

Sprinkle cheese and bacon on top and allow a few minutes for the cheese to melt.

I ate mine over rices cauliflower to cut back on carbs. My boys ate it over oraganic gluten free angel hair pasta. 




Keto SNOW Ice Cream




Well, we actually got powdery snow in Louisiana!!!







This is a rare sight for us! I am not a winter kind of girl, but I think the snow blanket over the outdoors is absolutely beautiful. 

AND a great opportunity to make Keto Snow Ice Cream!!! 



I'm going to list the ingredients, but you are going to need to play with the amounts of sweetener and cream for your desired taste and texture. If it gets too runny, add snow. If it's not sweet enough for you, add more sweetener. 

8 cups of clean snow (I actually used an 8 cup Pyrex piled high)
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 cup of heavy whipping cream 
4 tsp Truvia (add more or less as you like) 



I made extra to put in the freezer to carry our rare snow day into another day! 

Happy Snow Day from Louisiana! 

Monday, January 15, 2018

"Wendy's" Instant Pot Chili




We are settling in for winter weather. We have not had snow like this in 7 years. When The Weather Channel shows up in your town the night the snow is predicted, you know it's a big deal. 

We usually just get ice and a big dangerous mess here in Louisiana. I can not wait to enjoy real snow with my boys! We have gotten our hopes up many many times, but I'm feeling confident since The Weather Channel is in our city and saying we are in the bullseye. 

So with snow and freezing temperatures on the horizon, I decided to change up my menu planning and go ahead and cook my “Wendy’s” Instant Pot Chili. . . especially when my dad calls as I'm leaving the grocery store and says he is in the mood for chili. 

Isn't that how it usually goes when you meal plan. At least I have all the ingredients, I will just push today’s planned meal to the day I had chili originally planned for.  

Here is my Menu Planning Printable if you would like to get organized. I'm always looking for ideas to better my Printables. Please let me know in the comments if you have any ideas. 

Ingredients
1 tbsp lard, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, or ghee
2 tsp minced garlic
2 lbs ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
6 stalks celery, chopped
1 package Chili Seasoning
1 cup water
1 15 oz can Ranch Style Beans
1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 15 oz can RoTel Original
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Set your Instant Pot to Saute and add your oil and minced garlic to the pot. I love that you can sauté right in the instant pot. I believe it cuts down on clean up because I only have to clean up the instant pot without the addition of other pans. 

I began by using lard to brown my grass-fed ground beef and sauté my vegetables. I use lard where I can to get the health benefits from it, especially vitamin D in the winter months. 



Once the pot is hot and oil is simmering, add ground beef.

Once browned, add chopped onion, bell pepper and celery to the beef.


Cook until onion is starting to become translucent, then add Chili Seasoning.

Turn the Instant Pot "off" of Saute.

Mix well and add water.



Scrape up any browned bits that have adhered to the bottom of the pot.

Add Ranch Style and kidney beans to the pot and stir.

Then add Rotel, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce ON TOP. Do not stir in. In order to avoid a "burn" warning, it is best to leave the tomato ingredients on top of the other ingredients – if they are stirred in, they’ll sink to the bottom and could scorch.

Then add your Instant Pot lid, make sure vent is set to seal and set your IP to 10 minutes on manual or 10 minutes of high pressure.



Once time is up, let your Instant Pot release naturally.

Once released, open your Instant Pot, stir and enjoy your chili!

Serve with grated cheese. 



Happy eating!!! And now we wait to see if we actually get snow! 

A Facebook Live of my Instant Pot Natual Release because I love watching it 😂 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Remain Stable and Fixed in the Secret Place. . .




Remain Stable and Fixed in the Secret Place. . .

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty” Psalm 91:1

Our God is not about chaos and stress in our lives. He is a God that will enter into our stressful circumstances. He longs to be there to provide us relief, comfort, and joy. Only God can bring stability out of the messes of our life. He loves for us to call on Him, especially when we cannot take it anymore. He is strong and mighty to save, and He’s longing to occupy our daily circumstances and pull us out of the pit.

Psalm 40:2 “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire: He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand”

Whatever is going on in our lives at this moment is only temporary. However, when we are in those messy moments, it can seem as if they are lasting an eternity. Life gets messy! On this side of heaven it is pretty much guaranteed to be hard at times. And to me it seems that the closer I get to God, the harder it can be. It is as if I have put myself in a bulls-eye when I’m doing things right. . . a “devil’s bulls-eye”. The devil does not like it when we are close to God or encouraging and loving on others. He is going to try and trip us up on this journey of life.

Do you find that just when life gets going in the right direction something or someone sneaks in and tries to steal your joy? What do you do when this happens? Do you fight back and take charge?

Many years ago, my husband was not being treated fairly, and I came up with all sorts of ideas to get back at the person trying to hurt my husband and his career. However, my husband would tell me to calm down and let it work itself out. What??? How could I just sit back and do nothing? It was lies and slander and completely unfair and false speech. . . something must be done. . . oh the immature thoughts that were twirling in my head at the time. Thank goodness for my husband that could keep me on the right path. I learned a lot from my husband during that difficult time. BUT I also learned a lot from my Heavenly Father during that time.

God taught me to sit back and let him fight the battle. Ultimately God wanted me to get out of His way so He could make the situation right. I didn’t see the justice I was looking for, in fact, it got worse and was a completely unfair situation that my husband did not deserve. 

Sometimes we have to wait on God’s timing. Or we just have to trust that God is leading us somewhere else. None of the situation seemed fair and it felt as if God forgot us and did not hear our prayers; however, recently and almost a decade later, we have seen some of the reasons that God did not pull my husband out of that pit in our time frame. I believe part of God’s plan was for us to learn to trust God’s timing and to direct us to His current position. Thank goodness we did not get in the way and think we knew more than God.  
 
What God wants us to do is step out of the way and let Him work. Our job is to pray and truly hand the situation and relationship over to God. We need to remember that our timing is not God’s timing. 

As our Heavenly Father, He wants to provide us with comfort and rescue us from the pit! He understands our stress and how the events of daily living can leave us depleted. If we will turn to Him and allow Him, He will fight our battles, restore our joy, and shepherd us into healthy relationships.
 
Dear Lord, I pray that you take over the stresses and worries of our day and give us the strength and self-control to step out of your way. It can be hard to be still because we are so use to fighting on our own, but I know you are waiting for us to dwell in your shadows. Teach us oh Lord. Teach us to be still and trust Your Way!

Written to encourage others and to share on Literacy Musing Monday 
Literacy Musing Monday 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

When the Cell Phone Dies


When the Cell Phone Dies. . . 

“All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy" Pslam 22:26

Do you have those days where you are just going through the motions and at times you do not know how you even drove to work because it was so routine? I have definitely had those days and have gotten stuck into the routine of life. That is when I know I have stopped truly seeking God.

After I get in the complacency of the days, the drudgery begins adding up and begins taking me to the edge of the pit. This is also what happens when I do not stay diligent with my quiet time and prayer life. 

On the contrary, when I keep God at the forefront of my mind, I see God in everything around me. God tells us in Jeremiah 29:12-13 that when we pray we will hear Him, and when we seek Him, we will find Him. I have found this to be so true. When I put God in the middle of my day, I begin to see the trees and the beauty on the path to work or to my son’s school. I love when I see that red bird fly across the street right before I get to that place in the road. 

There is a certain road on the way home from my son’s school. It has a row of houses along each side of the road. They are beautiful homes that are all different and stunning in their own way. . . these are not your cookie cutter homes that just have different paint colors. . .they are truly all different shapes and sizes. I love looking at each one and imaging what they look like inside. Well, one day my middle schooler’s phone was dead and he didn’t have his head down like a normal ride home from school. He was looking ahead and actually looked up towards the sky. He made the comment that he had never noticed the trees hanging over the street and how big they were. My twelve year old was impressed with these big old trees that formed a canopy over the road. It is one of my favorite streets to drive on, however, to my twelve year old it was just another street to get home. . . until the day when his phone died. But he saw the beauty when he decided to seek and experience the world around him. 

I think we all get this way sometimes. We miss the beauty all around us because we have our heads down in the routine of the day or the worries of tomorrow. If we seek God’s wisdom and strength for the moment we are in, I believe we will truly want to praise our Mighty Wonderful Counselor because of the joy He surrounds us with in our everyday lives. 

My breast cancer journey could have been a horrible experience, but I know that God loves me so much and wants to use me just like He wants to use every one of us. So after the initial shock of the “C” word becoming a part of my vocabulary, I decided to get out of my pity party and deep fear, and seek God and my purpose for the suffering. I found blessings that I would have missed if I wasn’t seeking Him. I found people that were on a journey like me and provided comfort and friendship during a unknown time. I found medical caregivers that were so gentle and supportive. God put people in my path that allowed me to see Him. When I lifted my head and looked forward, I was able to see the beauty God had placed on my path. 

2017 was my cancer year, but it was also one of my most joyful years. I experienced God’s grace and mercy on that journey. I not only experienced it, but I understood it on a deeply more intimate level. If I wasn't seeking God, I would not have been able to praise Him during my cancer journey. I truly believe I would have missed the blessings and filled my days with fear instead of everlasting joy. I did have to keep my head up and my eyes open so I would not shut off the blessings and the joy. 

I’m finished with surgeries and treatment now, but the follow up visits have started, and I can feel the fear of the unknown trying to set back in. However, I know the peace and joy that comes from seeking God, and I want to find Him in this next part of this survivorship journey. So I will remember Psalm 22:26 and hold it close to my heart to remind myself to look ahead at the beauty He has created for us to enjoy and rejoice in. 

When you choose to seek God, you choose joy. When you seek God, you will have an overwhelming emotional urge to praise Him because of the everlasting joy you experience. 

Are your days just a routine? What do you enjoy viewing on your daily path? Do you need to change up how you get places? 

I want to encourage you to let your phone go dead like my twelve year old son’s phone did and seek something new; “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” Jeremiah 29:13

Dear Lord, 
Open my eyes to the beauty you have put into my routine day. Let me see the small things that I have missed all these years. Let me raise my head and my heart to your blessings. I choose you, and I choose your everlasting joy. I will praise you and lift your name high because I know who you are and what you have done for me. I pray for those that have not lifted their head up and have not found you. I pray that the beauty will enter their lives so they are able to praise you with everlasting joy.