Beauty for Ashes

 

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             “God makes all everything beautiful in his time.”  ( Ecclesiastics 3:11)

The Bible tells us that God wants to take our struggles and make something beautiful from them. His plans are good for us even in the mist of a storm.  Jeremiah 29:11  tells us “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

If 2016 brought you disappointment, sorrow, or discouragement, this post is for you. None of us are immune to pain. It is part of His plan. But the beautiful part is that he:

Consoles those who mourn in Zion,

to give them beauty for ashes,

The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

That they may be called trees of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

( Isaiah 61:3)

Have you made a New Year’s Resolution? I have and its based on this verse. May God bring beauty from the ashes in my life. I’m trusting this verse to bring me the joy, peace, and love that I desire in 2017.

Why do we go through the fire?

Psalm 84:6 tells us that As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools.”  

Those of us that go through times of mourning and weeping we make a well, so the next person has water to drink from. Their pain is not as hurtful. We are able to encourage, help ,and love on those that are mourning.

If you haven’t thought of a word or phrase to define your journey into 2017 join me in this phrase based on God’s promises!

beauty-for-ashes

 

Linking up with: Coffee for your heart 

Back to the Future

Date and Time Machine remix

~This year marks the 30th anniversary of the movie Back to the Future!

I don’t know why but the future and the past are often on our minds more than the present. It seems that we often think about the past and our regrets, or we dream about a better future. But living in the moment–that is hard. Whether we are making plans for the holidays, or scrap-booking pictures from yesterday, our daily lives often get lost in simple mundane activities that seem to take up all of our time. This may be why the movie Back to the Future was so popular when it was first released in 1985 and is just as popular today. It explores the subject of the past and the future and how the two coincide.

The recent reviewing in theaters of Back to the Future II on October 21,2015 marked the time that Marty and Doc Brown went into the future.  According to the movie’s  predictions, we are supposed to have incredible inventions such as the hover-board, flying cars, hands-free video games, and fingerprint identification which allows clearance through doors by scanning finger tips. Some of these predictions were correct.  For example, Microsoft’s Kinect allows hands-free gaming, and fingerprint scanning is now widely used by theme parks.  Even our phones are starting to use bio-metric identification for security.

Back-To-The-Future-November-1955-Hill-Valley-Telegraph-Newspaper-7

Today marks the time that Marty McFly traveled back in time, November 5, 1855. 

The instantaneous time travel was not planned but was a result of his friend Doc Brown’s ingenious invention mixed with poor decision-making.  Doc lives his life in a way that takes chances in order to accomplish the extraordinary.  His message is remarkable, “If you set you mind to something you can accomplish anything.”  Doc is the ultimate example of this statement. The time machine was his most extraordinary and risky invention, but on the quest to invent such an extraordinary machine, he never stopped to ask himself if he should.

You see, it is great to have dreams and to have vision but if it doesn’t align with God’s plan then we shouldn’t continue with it. Sometimes it might seem hard to know what God’s plan is; however,  we can always refer to the word of God to give us the big picture. Prayer, fellowship, and discernment help us to determine our smaller steps.

A verse that often helps with decisions is from Micah 6:8:

“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?”

micah 6

Proverbs 16:9 tells us that God is directing our path:

“A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”

The lesson we learn from Doc Brown is this: Even if we can accomplish something we need to ask the question if we should accomplish it. In Back to the Future Marty McFly finds himself flying through time because he is trying to escape a group of angry Libyan terrorists who are seeking revenge for Doc Browns theft of their plutonium. When the doctor sees them coming he knows that they are not there to negotiate but to murder him for deceiving them. The words he said to his friend Marty where this: Oh, my God, they found me, I don’t know how, but they found me. Run for it Marty.”

 So often, when we give into a bad decisions, we forget that we are not only taking a chance that we can get hurt, we are risking the well-being and happiness of those that we care about. Because our sin affects others. Doc Brown, in this moment in time, pays a heavy price for his sin with his life. And although Marty escapes in a time machine, he has a long way to go before he can secure his own life and safety back in 1985. It seems this invention has only created heartache.

But wait… they do manage to fix things, right? As far as Hollywood is concerned, on a date with destiny (the time lightning strikes the clock tower), Marty and Doc Brown do a remarkable job of not only returning Marty to the future ad warning Doc about the terrorists, but also helping his father.  And lets not forget about Mayor Goldie Wilson.  The movie illustrates this can all be fixed…

But outside of Hollywood deception and death are not so easy to reverse. You see the bible tells us that even if we are able to deceive others we can not deceive God because we can’t escape his presence. It’s important to realize that our sin will always be found out. Even we believe we can get away with sin amongst or friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers, the sin or poor action will not escape the eyes of God.

Psalms 139: 7-10 :

 “ Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.”

Although, Doc Brown was smart enough to create a time machine out of a DeLorean he is not cleaver enough to cheat sin. You see, although it was a great idea to create a time machine, Doc was so focused on whether or not he could, he never stopped to wonder if he should.

I think this scenario happens more often than we realize. Do we believe that the ends justify the means. If you can do something amazing but in the process you would need to break one of God’s laws would you still do it?

My answer is a resounding, “No.”

I believe that any task that includes lying, cheating, stealing, or any other sin is not part of God’s plan and isn’t worth the risk. However, if I follow God’s law I will live a life under the watch of my Father’s eyes. It’s important to know and believe that miracles still happen. God is the ultimate creator. We are his design. As we submit to his will we will live a life that is exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ever ask or think. If you are facing a hard decision today, might I suggest that you trust Him. His plan is always better than anything we can ever ask or think.

In Back to the Future III, Doc Brown does offer us all good advice. Our futures haven’t been written yet.  He says that,”your future is whatever you make of it, so make it a good one.” Although this eccentric scientist has gotten some things wrong, he has also gotten some things right. Our futures are ultimately in God’s hands, but in order to be in the center of his plan we need to seek him with our heart, mind, and soul.

Matthew 6:33 

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

 

Linking up with: Coffee for my Heart ,Women with Intention Wednesdays, Whole Hearted Home, Word Filled Wednesdays, Tell His Story, Three Word Wednesday, the RaRaLinkup, A Little R& R    Grace and TruthFaith Filled Fridays, Women Living Well, and The Weekend Brew.

What Every Woman Should Know

Everywoman roses

 

Everywoman should know how to cry, laugh, and listen

Crying is beautiful, listening is a way to be there for another person,

and laughing is the best remedy for any aliment

Everywoman should know that timing is everything,

You may not be ready for your husband or your husband

may not be ready for you, so you should be patient

There is no perfect husband so don’t wait too long

It is better to have loved, and even lost, then never to have loved at all.

Everywoman should know that a house is not their foundation

it is the people in the house that matters the most, you can lose your

home and replace it, but if you lose your husband, daughter, or

faith your foundation will be shaken

Everywoman should know that everything that happens is for a

purpose, and every struggle makes us stronger, it’s an opportunity to

become better, but if you are not careful about your perspective you

can become bitter, so always choose to see struggles as an

opportunity to grow

Everywoman should know that happy people are kind, and unhappy

individuals are capable of hurting others due to the fact that they

are hurting inside, when others criticize you it is more about them,

then it is so much about you, so take it with a grain of salt

Everywoman should know that money cannot buy happiness, being

true to yourself and your values will always bring a return that is

immeasurable

Everywoman should know that friends are as priceless as gold,

cherish your friends, they are also like

wine they get better as each year continues

Everywoman should know that popularity will fade with time, but a

true friend will last a lifetime, don’t neglect your true friends

Everywoman should know everyone makes mistakes and no one is

perfect, so we should always forgive and forget, when we have been

hurt deeply forgiveness may take time, but time does heal all

wounds

Everywoman should know that the grass is not always greener on the

other side of the fence, although there may be some woman that

have it better, there is always someone who has it worse, so be

thankful for what you have, and count your blessings every day

Everywoman should know that mistakes are as never bas as the way

we make them to be, ask yourself this question the next time you

make a mistake in the grand scheme of things does it really matter?

Everywoman should know that balance is the key to peace, never feel

like you have to do the most, never do the least, but try to be

somewhere in the middle

Everywoman should know that people will never remember what you

said, but they will always remember how you made them feel when

you said it, so speak the truth in love

Everywoman should know that ignorance is bliss, try to make

yourself ignorant sometimes so you can enjoy life, don’t worry about

everything, allow others to help you, and remember to only take one

day at a time, and rest at least one day out of the week

Everywoman should know that it is better to take risks then to live

with regret, if you have an opportunity to fulfill a dream you may

not have that opportunity tomorrow, so see every moment as a gift

and take an opportunity when you have the chance, once an

opportunity is gone…it’s gone

     Linking up with: The Weekend Brew , Testimony Tuesday, and Coffee for Your heart.

 

I lift my eyes up to the mountains

I lift my eyes5

 Summer is a time for resting, rejuvenating, and rejoicing!

Children are out of school. Families and friends come together in fellowship. Many of us take a vacation. Summer is special to me. As a teacher, I am able to rest, restore, and rebuild my spirit after a whirlwind of hard work throughout the year. Once the school-year ends, rest and rejuvenation begins.

One of my favorite ways to rejuvenate is to go camping. I love the mountains. I love spending time in the great outdoors, sleeping in tents, roasting marshmallows for s’mores over a warming campfire, telling ghost stories as the fire dies. This summer, my family and I found a spot right next to small creek.  Nothing beats listening to the bubbling water of a creek near the campsite as I sit and relax, enjoying the crisp, clean air.

It doesn’t matter where your special place is as long as you get there and rest, relax and rejuvenate.

         Psalm 121:1-8

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
  My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

  He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
  indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

  The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

Psalm 121, was especially on my mind as I spent time in those wonderful majestic mountains. This Psalm reminds me of when I was in high school. I was on the swim team, and I would have to be at the pool by dawn. It wasn’t always easy because the water was cold in the mornings. But when I swam the backstroke on those misty mornings, I would look up into the gorgeous sky and sing, quietly in my head, a song inspired from this Psalm. It strengthened my mind as I mediated continually on these verses.

Many years have passed since then, but I still meet Him in the morning. Nowadays, with a warm cup of coffee in my hand. I read a chapter in the bible and pray for safety, discernment, and help throughout the day. In my youth I knew where my help came from. Today I still do. My help comes from higher than the mountains. God dwells on high and He  is able to abundantly meet our needs. He does exceedingly more than we could ever ask or think  (Ephesians 3:20). feet from slipping  Do you remember the story where Peter was walking on water?

He was able to walk onto the water but when we took his eyes of Jesus he began to sink (Matthew 14:22-33). I know right? This lesson is something we all need to learn from. We need to keep are eyes on “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)

He is the one that can help us. He is the one that created each of us. He knows every hair on our head, and he holds each tear that we shed in a bottle (Psalms 56:8). He is full of compassion and rich in love.

God is intricately involved in our lives. So much so that he promises that our feet will not slip if he does not permit it. His grace is unending. We are watched and cared for and God sees us as the apple of His eye. We shouldn’t seize to look up and recognize that our help comes from the Lord above.

The Lord watches over you

Yahweh watches over us. We shouldn’t fear the wind, rain, or sun because God promises to protect us, “the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.”  If it is not His will for us, it will not be permitted in our lives. When we do go through seasons of sorrow — when we feel faint of spirit– it is only for our good.

Psalms 30:5  tells us “weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.”

We don’t always know the end results but God does: “For all things work together for good for those that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) river treesv4 As I walk this road called life, I can breathe freely knowing that whatever path I may take God watches over me. He is an ever-present help in times of trouble. His promises are undeniable. His aim is to keep us from harm. What a peace we have in Jesus. What rest we can enter into the dwelling place of the Lord most high knowing that we are safe now and forever more.

Psalms 91:1-2 tells us,

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord,

“He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

What is even more astounding than his protection is that he wants us to experience life abundantly (John 10:10).  God’s desire is more than just provision, He wants us to “soar on wings of eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint.” Eagle Soaring

   Isaiah 40:28-31

 Do you not know?  Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary  and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

 Wow. I am reminded by just how much God loves me. He wants nothing but the best for me. I can hope in him because he wants to restore me. His plans are for me to be stronger, wiser, and be renewed. There is no higher name than Jesus. We are told in the book of Philippians 2:10-11, “that ever tongue will confess and every knee will bow.”

If you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, might you say a prayer to invite him into your life? Jesus says, he stands at the door and knocks and he will enter into your heart and life when you invite him in (Revelations 3:20). There is no better place to be than in the presences and protection of Jesus. If you would like to invite him into your life, this is a simple prayer you can pray..

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I know that I am a sinner saved by grace. Please forgive me of my sin and enter into my life. I receive everything you have for me. I offer up my life to you. Please help me to live for you and to turn from my sin. 

 Amen.

If you sincerely asked God to come into your life, then you have begun your personal relationship with Him. He has come into your heart and will guide you through the Holy Spirit that now dwells inside of you. I would suggest getting involved in a Bible-based church. Your new journey in Christ will allow you to learn His will for you. Aside from fellowship with other believers, it is important to pray and read your bible daily. Below are a few verses that show God’s promises to you:

” That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” 

(Romans 10:9)

 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

(John 3:16)  

As we continue to find rest this summer, may we remember to look up and know for certain where our help comes from.

Linking up with: Testimony Tuesday, RaRa Linkup, Tuesday Talk, Coffee for Your Heart, and The Weekend Brew.

    

The Hollywood Homeless

Hollywood1

I had never been to Hollywood Blvd. before, but I thought I knew what to expect on my first visit. Images from films, stories from friends and family–I knew that the streets were lined with stars with famous actors, musicians, and  directors. I knew about the “Chinese Theater” that has the handprints of celebrities in the cement out in front. To me, Hollywood Blvd. seems to be where the heart of LA lies. It is the attraction of this walk of fame that brings us to its streets filled with shops and movie theaters so grand they host Hollywood premiers.

But, what surprised me, as I was looking excitedly at the names of the various stars, were the people who lived on Hollywood Blvd: The Hollywood homeless.  There were numerous homeless people  on the very sidewalks that we use to honor the legacy of our film, television, and radio”stars.”

Hollywood Homeless Star

Walking up and down Hollywood Blvd and seeing the names of the stars next to a homeless person on the street brought me to a place of humility.

Was I part of the problem? Why do I look to honor the “stars” anyway? Why should they receive more of my attention than any of the homeless–much less the store owners and workers, restaurant workers etc. on that very same street? As I continued down Hollywood’s walk of fame my eyes were drawn to  familiar actors, directors, and singers. But I also noticed the stars that were empty (waiting to have a name inscribed) and I couldn’t help but think that the homeless men and women living on that street deserved their name on the sidewalk. Perhaps, more so than the actors and actresses. After all, they are the ones that live on Hollywood Blvd. Why not honor each of them? Not with just a name in a star, but love, compassion, shelter, and understanding. With all the wealth in Hollywood, why wasn’t there an effective charity that impacts these streets?  

What do we mean by “star”? A star shines brightly in the night. It’s magnifying  light contrasts with dark night.  Stars are put on pedestals–they are considered to be higher than the “Average Joe “. But where do their talents for singing, acting, directing, come from?

Do they not come from God?

Shouldn’t the credit be given to Him?

So often the Maker of Man is left out of the equations. And what is God’s perspective on Hollywood’s walk of fame?

I’m not sure myself…however, I don’t think that we are to place one another above each other. The  Bible,  in contrast to making a name for ourselves, encourages unity by humility. Philippians 2:3 reads:

 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Romans tells us that” all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” ( Romans 3:23) Thus, no one is greater except the name of Jesus.

The homeless that live on Hollywood Blvd. are made in God’s image and are of equal value in God’s eyes to the ones we honor with their names in stars on the street. I hope that when we  visit the walk of fame that we would not  ignore those that need our help that live on those very streets. They need our help and support. Many of these people had dreams of stardom themselves.  Dreams that brought them to Hollywood only to leave them broken and empty-handed. Even though they didn’t succeed in Hollywood, they are of no less of importance in God’s eyes. Because in God’s eyes we are all the same.

In God’s eyes we are all the same. We were made in his image and we are all his children. 

Linking up with:  A Wise Woman Builds Her Home , Faith Filled Friday , Grace & Truth , The Weekend Brew , and Coffee for Your Heart.

A Single Act of Kindness

Kindness

What does it cost to be kind?

In a world full of hurt sometimes it may feel as though we can’t make a difference.

But we can!

Love suffers long and is kind…

kindness2

 

The love and generosity from our heart is an unending resource that we can tap into every day. As we are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit we can be a sweet smelling aroma as we interact with one another in a world that is without hope apart from God.

What does it cost to be kind? Of course, the answer is nothing. In a fast paced world  filled with busy schedules–including phone calls, emails, twitter accounts, and texts–have we forgotten the importance  of kindness amongest strangers?

Do we ignore the people around us at the grocery store, laundry mat, and even, dare I say, bible study? Do we do this because we are glued to our cell phones, tablets and other technology?

Life is not about rushing from one task to the next. But it is about enjoying the people and places we are at in at the moment.

How can we unwrap God’s gift of the present if we are worried about tomorrow or we are stuck in the past.

light of the world

Life is so much sweeter when we choice to open our eyes and interact with one another. Jesus said:

“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 14:6 )

Every day we have a choice to wear a smile on our face and to be a light that shines. Whether that means asking someone about their day and truly meaning it or helping a homeless man or woman on the street. However small or big the act of kindness may be it is always seen in God’s eyes.

God says, “We are the light of the world. ” (Matthew 5: 14)  God is calling us to be his ambassadors for good. Sometimes we might not even know what that could mean.But in every way I know that it does mean to choose to be kind.

In the mist of the darkness if our words could be used to help someone who is faint of heart or is losing hope, we have done a beautiful deed unto the Lord.

Beauty lies in many shapes and forms. For example, we perceive beauty through all of our senses, like feeling the sun on our face, hearing the rippling water in a clear creek, and smelling the pleasant aroma of flowers. Yet, what is just as beautiful as God’s natural creations surrounding us, are you and I.

We were made for community. We were never  meant to travel alone through valleys and mountaintops–highs and lows. In the cities that we live, and the places that we go, we were made to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

People, were what mattered to God, and that is what should matter to us too. He invested his time in people not material items but eternal matters. Because our relationships are not jut meant for this lifetime but for eternity.

Jesus had compassion  for people. He was not only interested in the spiritual well-being of others, but their physical and emotional needs too.

In the gospel of Matthew, God performs a miracle by feeding 5,000 people. It also says that he was “moved with compassion”  (Matthew 14:14). I think we all have the power to perform a miracle. Jesus shows us that by taking five loaves of bread and two fish, from a small  boy, and making something more. Jesus thanked God for this small amount of food and then a miracle accord. There baskets were overflowing with food. The bible tells us that after everyone ate,  twelve baskets of food were left over.

Ephesians 3:20 tells us, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”  Just like the miracle of feeding 5,000 people from a small amount of fish and bread, God can do great things in, and through, us if we place our faith in him.

Don’t ever doubt that you might be the miracle that someone needs today.

We should open our heart and mind to the opportunities that God might have prepared for us to show a simple act of kindness.

We may not be able to feed 5,000 people but we can feed one.

We may not be able to lend an ear to all our friends and family, but we can listen with patience and understanding sometimes.

We may not be a newscaster on television speaking to an audience of millions, but we can make a difference even if its to an audience of one.

Pity is defined in Webster’s dictionary as:  A strong feeling of sadness or sympathy for someone or something.

Empathy  is defined  in Webster’s dictionary: As the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions.

Do you see the difference? When we pity someone we may know just enough about their situation or plight to feel sadness, but it doesn’t necessary move us to action– but  the word empathy  does.

We all feel pity in some degree watching the news, a neighbor, a friend, a co-worker, or family member. But it is not enough. We need to get involved. Empathy  is sharing another person’s experience when we are up close and personal, instead of standing at a distance.

When we have empathy we understand  another person’s situation. And this often prompts us to make a difference on their behalf by acting in a positive manner. You never know where someone has been until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Don’t just assume they are just fine. Speak life into their heart and  mind by being their  friend even if it only for a moment.

The bible says in 2 Chronicles 16:9:

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him that the Lord looks to and fro looking for someone that he can use on his behalf.”

So often we think of sin as an act that we commit against God or another, which is absolutely true. However, we don’t discuss enough the sin of omission. That means when we fail to do what we know we should– this is a sin as well. Simply put, if we see someone going through hard times and we can do something to help and we don’t, we are sinning.

It’s a lot to think about. It’s enough to make me remember that I was made for a purpose–to love and serve others. God  want to use us!  He wants us to take part in good works because when we bless others we are blessed too. He wants us to experience love through helping others. And allowing us the opportunity to be the miracle in another person’s life.

My plan is to try  not to pass up the opportunity to be kind, because I  just don’t know the impact I might have on someone’s life. And, I believe that I might even be the miracle that someone has been praying and waiting for.

Whoever says that they don’t have the power to change the world…has never tried. We can with one kind act at a time.

Do you have the power to change the world? Sure you do. Even if you make a difference in one person’s life you have made the world a better place for both you and I.

The Gift of Friendship

“All Our Memories are God’s Most Precious Gifts of a Life Lived but Once.”

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tear-jerking, action packed movie with cars that parachute out of an airplane and a finale that gives homage to Paul Walker.

With Fast and Furious 6 leaving Dominic Torretto, Letty Ortiz, Brain O’ Connor and the rest of the team with a clean record, it’s hard to believe that they could be back in serious danger again. But, what would a Fast and Furious film be without all of the explosive excitement of that signature, seat of your pants car crashing, street fighting, and street racing style that these films are known for.

Early in the story, Brian O’ Connor is seen driving his son to daycare in a minivan and living a quiet life in a suburban neighborhood (white picket fence and all). Everything seems to be comfortable and sweet until the battle is brought to his own front door when a package arrives with a bomb inside and explodes on his doorstep. Without question he and his friends know they are being hunted…

Thus, the decision is made, after attending a funeral for their brother and friend, Han, to find and defeat this common enemy, Shaw.

Is it worth this dangerous masquerade, where injury, harm, or even death my be immanent? This group of friends seems to think so, each knowing it could only be a matter of time before each one of them would be hunted and killed.

All united for the same goal to protect the ones they love: Family.

Webster’s dictionary defines family as: A group of people who are related to each other.

This movie illustrates a different scenario. A group of independent individuals that chose to come together to love and protect each other out of the genuine care and concern for one another.

Let’s be real for a moment. Can’t family–our relatives–be hard to get along with?

My answer to this question is a resounding: Yes! What do you think?

I know that I have struggled with the dilemma of wanting to be loved by family members only to be disappointed. Families can be dysfunctional–meaning they are unable to operate together.

There are  number of reasons this could be true. One reason families members can be combative is sometimes personalities do not go together. Also, jealously is all too common for siblings, and instead of songs like “togetherness” from the well known family movie The Parent Trap — sibling rivalry breaks out. Parents can become overwhelmed sometimes working two jobs. Divorce may break a family apart. Or more darker demons such as drugs, alcohol, and abuse may be causing friction.

What does that leave us to with when are family isn’t supportive do to any of those reasons or something else?

What is so unique and true to life is the relationship that Dominic Torretto, Brian O’ Conner, Letty Ortiz and the rest of the crew have is that they are not related by blood, but they treat each other as family. In the movie Fast and Furious 7, each of the members were capable of taking care of themselves. Their skills of racing cars, and strength in street fighting shines through. But they new they were stronger as a team. And that together they were going to have a lot more fun, too.

May I suggest, just as this close group of friends in the movie found a family through a strong bond of friendship, that, if our own family is lacking a healthy support system, you consider those around you as potential friends that may become like family, too.

Our heavenly father has placed certain people in our lives to fill the roles that perhaps a family member cannot. The people that God has placed around us can be just the gift we have needed, but we just haven’t unwrap the paper to see the beauty that lies inside.

Friendship

The gift of friendship brings so much happiness  to our lives as our joys are doubled and our sorrows are cut in half.  We never know who could be a friend that adds such depth and happiness to our life. There are so many wonderful people surrounding us each and everyday. Isn’t it worth meeting and getting to know others by saying more then a simple hello and goodbye?

Proverbs 24:18: 

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly,

But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

When we open are hearts to others we may just find that they were the family you were missing this whole time. And while you are waiting for a friend or close group of friends to have fun with and to share each others joys and burdens. May I encourage you by saying that  our hope is in Jesus because He tells us “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18)  And this friend he speaks of is none other than himself.

If I have Jesus as my friend, and everyone else has chosen to betray me, I would still be fulfilled and I would still rejoice.  Because sometimes just one true friend is all you really need.   And if you have been waiting for a support system whether from friends or family  and Jesus is that one true friend– for however long a time that may be– than you are blessed to have the Maker of the Universe be your friend!

As Christians we are also members of a group or “Body of Christ. I have meet some of my closet friends in church and often have felt that these friends have supported me in good times and bad. It is not good to be alone we can become isolated and open to attack from others because there isn’t anyone near that has our back.

Ecclesiastes 4:10:

“Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,”

Although we may not be fighting a battle quite like the one we see in the movie Fast in the Furious Seven. We are fighting a spiritual battle, the bible tells us that “Satan walks around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.”  ( 1 Peter 5:8) We may not always see this battle, but there is a spiritual dimension and a battle against good and evil.

Ephesians 6: 12  says,” 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.”

Knowing this as a family of Christ we need to stick together. Walking with Christ daily and allowing our unique gift and talents to bind together as one. Bill Welch described  the body of Christ “like a tapestry of different colors and different gifts.  If somehow we let God move, He can take all the different colors and blend them together to make something outrageously beautiful and helpful to sharpen. So He can cut through the darkness …” (1 Corinthians 12).

We all  face dark times and if we have no one to turn to it is disheartening. But if we continue to surround ourselves with good friends and Christian believers then as a unit or body of Christ we can overcome.

Friendship is a precious gift that cannot be bought in a store. Is there anyone that you can be a better friend to today or is there anyone you may need to reach out to  get to know? I know I need to make an effort daily to better get to know my co-workers and people I may meet. Although I may think I don’t have the time to talk and chat, things always seem to work out for the good, and in the end I don’t regret it because the return is immeasurable.

John 15:13:

 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” 

Linking up with: WholeHearted HomeTell His Story, Women with Intention Wednesday, Coffee for Your Heart, Testimony Tuesday, and Word Filled Wednesday.

Life is a great Balancing Act

Balance 4

Balance

When life is filled with so many options, responsibilities, and expectations, how do we find balance in today’s fast paced world ?

 One of my first jobs was working in a restaurant as a waitress. The very first things I had to learn to do was how  to  balance a tray with food and drinks on top. I was wobbly  at first. Through all the busy nights and crowded alleys it was quite a talent to continue to balance that serving tray and make sure it would not fall. And, yes, a few times it did drop. 😦

Although I am not a waitress, I often still feel as though I am balancing a serving tray in my hands consisting of work, home chores, God, family, friends, fun, nutrition, and exercise.

And at times it feels at any a moment everything can come falling down off that tray.

 One insult, change in plans, illness, can cause me to shift into a state that looks just like a pile of dishes and drinks that have just crashed to the floor. That is too much weight to carry…

Knowing that I was never meant to feel so weighted down in life…I find rest in this verse.

 Matthew 11:29 says: Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  

I wrote about my life being in the “Waiting Place” a few months ago. And thank goodness I can say that life has speed up in the right direction. I’m so grateful that everything unraveled for the good in my predicament. Now, a few months later, I feel a bit overwhelmed and rushed for time and it can even be hard to prioritize. Reflecting once again on the ever so popular book,  ” Oh The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss. The words that resonated the most were:

 “Life’s a Great Balancing Act”  ~ Dr. Seuss

Balance

A heard a wonderful story from a friend describing how we can keep our priorities in order. The story was surprisingly simple but powerful. It involved a jar, rocks, pebbles, sand, and water. Today, I am still gleaning from the wisdom of this story.  As I’m working on my to-do list, I am still trying to find a time and place for everything to fit.

A high school science teacher wanted to demonstrate a concept to his students. He takes a large-mouth jar and places several large rocks in it. He then asks the class, “Is it full?

“Unanimously, the class reply, “Yes!”

The teacher then takes a bucket of gravel and pours it into the jar. The small rocks settle into the spaces between the big rocks.

He then asks the class, “Is it full?”Seek first the kingdom of God

This time there are some students holding back, but most reply, “Yes!”

The teacher then produces a large can of sand and proceeds to pour it into the jar. The sand fills up the spaces between

the gravel.

For the third time, the teacher asks, “Is it full?

“Now most of the students are wary of answering, but many reply, “Yes!”

Then the teacher brings out a pitcher of water and pours it into the jar. The water saturates the sand.

At this point the teacher asks the class, “What is the point of this demonstration?” 

One bright young student raises his hand and then responds, “No matter how full one’s schedule is in life, he can

always squeeze in more things!”

“No,” replies the teacher, “The point is that unless you first place the big rocks into the jar, you are never going to get them in. The big rocks are the important things in your life …your family, your friends, your personal growth. If you fill your life with small things, as demonstrated by the gravel, the sand, and the water…you will never have the time for the important things.

So, what are the “Big Rocks” in your life? Spending time with your children, your parents or your spouse? Taking the seminar or class to get the information and perspective you need to succeed? Making the time to set goals, plan or evaluate your progress? When you are hassled because there is no time, remember the story about the Big Rocks and the Jar!

~Author Unknown

As I continue this year with new possibilities. I am going to think about this lesson that this wise teacher gave to his students, and continue to  hold myself accountable to the “Big Rocks.” First, what are my priorities and why? And then watch how everything else falls around and inside those priorities. With the most important rock being God, I am reflective of this well-known verse…

“Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.” ( Matthew 6:33)

The bible tells us in James: ” that are life is like a vapor.” ( James 4:14)  We have a finite or limited amount of time to complete the good work that God has already prepared for us. It can become easy to become distracted from the will of God with the “cares of this world.” I know I watch too much TV and fall short in so many different areas as well. Hebrews 12:1-2 encourages us to : “… lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..”

 “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

(I Corinthians 13:13)

You can’t take it with you–Your stuff !

moneyandhappiness2

So often we chase after an allusive monetary value that we think will bring us happiness. A higher salary translates into the possibility that we can: Buy a new boat, new clothes and accessories, go on fabulous vacations, or perhaps remodel our home from top to bottom. The list could go on and on…you can fill in the blank with whatever you choose.

The truth is that all the riches in the world can’t buy us joy, peace, patience,  goodness, and love. A new thing can bring excitement, and a little bit of happiness, but those previous attributes are what makes life fully satisfying.

Money does not buy happiness, but being true to yourself and your values will always bring a return that is immeasurable.

confessions_of_a_shopaholic 1

http://quotetoremember.blogspot.com/2014/01/ confessions-of-shopaholic-2009.html

Recently,  I watched the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic.  It is a relatable and comical movie. The vivacious character Rebecca Bloomwood played by, Isla Fisher, has a problem with shopping.  And buying on credit– which your probably guessed by the title of the movie. Her debt becomes a rather nagging problem with an intense debt collector who is expecting Rebecca to pay a surmountable amount of money accumulated by her excessive use of credit cards.

Her character is easy to sympathize with… Let’s face it, we all like to shop, and while shopping, we acquire stuff, and sometimes far to much stuff. At the time, we convince ourselves that we must have it. Similar to Rebecca, I have gotten my fair amount of calls from debt collectors and it doesn’t feel good. It is hard to live within your means when every store window, store ad, and commercial is telling you: Yes, you should buy this.

Buying what we need and what we want in proper moderation is hard! My husband and I are currently in the process  of paying as much as we can to eliminate credit card debt. And to not buy things that we don’t need.

Its understandable and relatable that the character of Rebecca Bloomwood wants to feel good about herself and clothes and new accessories will do that momentarily. But the problem is– as Rebecca finds out– to keep this expensive habit she has to lie to her employee, her debt collector,  her friends, and her family.

But the biggest lie she had to tell  was to herself. She believed that she needed these clothes and accessories to make her happy. All it brought was problems, loss of relationships and emotional despair (due to the debt). She lied to herself about what the true definition of happiness is. So often we do this as well…

Money does not buy you happiness. And stuff does not by you happiness either. When Rebecca Bloomwood tries to explain why she shops she has an unsettling response.

Because when I shop the world gets better. The world is better. And then it’s not anymore. And I need to do it again.” (Rebecca Bloomwood, Confessions of a Shopaholic http://quotetoremember.blogspot.com/2014/01/ confessions-of-shopaholic-2009.html .)

Rebecca, finally does resolve her credit debt. With so many high fashion clothes and accessories, she decides to have a sale with her clothes as the merchandise. With help from her family and friends, the sale is a success and she is set free from the bondage of her credit card debt because with her sales money she is finally able to pay off the debt.

The bible tells us  that we are to,

… lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,   looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God  (Hebrews 12 1-2).

We need to let go of every sin, or bondage, if we want to live in the freedom of Christ. We are not equipped to or asked to suffer the way Jesus did on this earth, but we each have our own cross to bear. And that struggle may be an addiction of some sorts, and not necessarily with shopping. It could be drugs and alcohol ,pornography, unhealthy eating habits( you can be addicted to food). Whatever the sin is, it can trap or ensnares us and we need Jesus to help us break free. Our time on earth is finite, so lets run our race well. This includes me too… I have several addictions that I need to break free of myself.

Rebecca Bloomwood is such a relatable character because we all struggle with letting go of the items or possessions that we have acquired.

The things that we acquire in life are nice but they do not define us. They may feel as though they  are an extension of our emotions, character and hopes and dreams. But this is not true it is just an allusion. It is just stuff. And these items have an  expiration date…at some point they will become out of fashion, broken, torn, unworn, and unwanted or unneeded. The things in life will always decay grow old damaged and worn. Just as we grow old these things we own die too, but….

 

richestmoments

 The richest moments in life may come when we are poor in income but strong in wisdom, friendship, and love.

The bible says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter into heaven” (Matthew 19:24).

The conversation was that the rich man asked what was required of him to enter into heaven. And Jesus wanted him to sell what he had and use the money to help the poor. The rich man walked away sad because he could not do this.

Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.  You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. ”But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich (Luke 18:22-24).

Those that do inherited riches and wealth in this lifetime have a hard path to navigate. Because sin so easily ensnares us and we live in a world that is infatuated with images to make us believe we need more stuff. This story is so sad but true. We see it daily.  The rich man was unable to let go of his earthly wealth to gain true wealth and happiness and eternal life in God’s kingdom.

He was unable to look beyond the here and now because God was offering him treasures in heaven. And how often do we do the same. Our perception remains limited to the here and now and we forget where our treasure should lie.treasuresinheavenorg

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.   For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6-19-20).

More important than buying clothes and accessories, electronic devices, trinkets, and gadgets –which are all earthly treasures– the bible tells us that we should lay up treasures in heaven where moths and rust can’t destroy them. But the good deeds that we do for our family and friends will last for eternity. These types of treasures have value of immeasurable worth because these acts of kindness carry on into eternity. In other words they will last forever.

treasuresonearth

The problem with laying up treasures on earth is that they will never really satisfy. And so often the things we buy today becomes tomorrow’s junk. If it’s clothes it gets worn, torn, and eventually may end up as a rag to dust with. Or the stuff that we buy may end up in a pile of junk in our garage.

God has been laying on my heart the importance of storing up treasures in heaven and not worrying about the stuff that I have acquired, because, quite frankly, we can’t take it with us. The things that we acquire in life are nice but they do not define us. As I have been working on going through items in my kitchen, bedroom, and living room etc. I have been finding that I have so many things that I no longer use or need. And  when I packed it all up and gave it to goodwill, I was not only helping someone else, but also myself.  Because it is not good to have too much clutter in your house.  By having less, I feel I am more blessed. Because now I have less clutter and less mess. And peace of mind knowing that I am trying to give to others the things that I don’t use.

The bible tells us “It is better to give than receive”  (Acts 21).

We all have a moral compass and doing the right thing even when it is not in your best interest will bring you happiness as it builds character. In fact, often selflessness, the opposite of materialism, is what makes us happy.  I am always blessed when I am able to do for others. First, I have to take care of myself, my house, my family. But in times when God has been generous to me and I am able to give to others–I feel a very special glow of happiness.

selflessness2

Furthermore, Luke 14-12-14  states:

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.

This verse is a reminder to not just do good to my family, friends, and co-workers who are able to recipicate. But to help the poor and those who are disabled and unable to repay because that is the will of God. Jesus tells us that that even if we give a glass of cold water to another in His name, that we will be rewarded.

And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward  ( Matthew 10:42).

All the money in the world can not compare to a life knowing the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. How do we know Him? We can spend time in his word and spend time in prayer throughout the day.  I need his grace to help my perception each and everyday. Knowing that my life is but a vapor (James 4:14).  I will try to fix my eyes more on “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

We all know that we can’t take anything with us when we die.  Our stuff will be left behind. And when we die our bodies will remain,  but our spirit will be risen and we will be given new bodies in heaven.  However, our relationships with one another will remain. And the good deeds we have done will have eternal value. My prayer is that God would continue to mold and shape me, as He is the potter and I am the clay, so that I can reflect his Son more each and everyday (Jeremiah 18:6).

 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.  And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:12- 13) .

While on this earth we will not have the perception to see clearly. We don’t always realize what is important and what is not. But when we get to heaven we will see clearly. And what will be the most important attribute to have in heaven is love. “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). It is our entryway into heaven. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever would believe should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). 

 

Linking up with Holley Gerth’s Coffee for your heart

Holley-Gerth-Button-250x250

Learning to Dance in the Rain…

Learning to dance in the rain.

 When I graduated from my credential program, I was ecstatic to say the least. It was a hard year and a financial strain because I was student teaching. During this time, I was  learning so much but not yet receiving a paycheck.  My husband and I lived in a small apartment and we owned one car. So getting to classes was hard although I was blessed to be in a program with a group of women that were amazing. Together, we helped one another through this program. One  friend in the program gave me rides everyday. As each of us had a difficulty that came up, we all pitched in to help.

At the end of the program, when all our final projects and reports were done, we  had a celebration party. Nothing too fancy, but memorable and heartfelt. It was Spring and the sun shined brightly with enough warmth to make even the Grinch smile from cheek to cheek. The excitement of new opportunities was in the air… as well as the smell of fresh flowers that were beginning to bloom. I remember shades of color, like pink, orange,and blue.

We met in a home which made the atmosphere cozy, comfortable, and sweet.  There were muffins and pastries and a nice chicken dinner. We ate and talked about everything we had been through. We were all in agreement that we benefited so much from being a tight-knit group. We had done it together. And enjoyed the feeling of knowing that this journey had finally come to an end. Some of us had already signed teaching contracts for the Fall and some of us were still in the process. But the hardest part was done.

We did it!  We were finally credentialed teachers!

At the end of the celebration, our supervising professor read us a book. I had never heard this book before, but I did know the author– Dr. Seuss. I had read “Green Eggs and Ham” as a kid along with several other classics like “The Cat in the Hat,” ” One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” and the infamous,  “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”  The funny stories, bright beautiful illustrations and interesting characters kept me entertained for hours– and still do.

But this book held a title I had never heard before, “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” At first I thought this was a showcase of another wonderful children’s book that we could read to our kids.But this wasn’t the case. The beginning words of the book, “Congratulations today is your day you are off to new places far and away” spoke volumes to me because I was going to be starting a new journey.

The Places You'll Go !

As the book continued with its inspiring words I knew it wasn’t just a showpiece–it was intended for us. These next words, “You’re on your own. And you know what you know” where especially meaningful. We would all be going in our own directions. And although we were more than prepared to begin this new journey, it is always hard to leave the comfort of friends that you have had the support of for sometime.

Oh, the Places You'll Go ! By: Dr. Seuss

Just as there are many pages and chapters in a book, there are many chapters in our lives that are made out of the choices that we make. We can choose are own life’s path, our careers, friends, places we see and things that we do.  Our passions, the people and places in which we choose to spend our time–make up the many pages and chapters of our storybook.  We are the authors to our life’s story.

As our Professor–mentor and friend–continued to  read each page, she showed us the illustrations as well. I felt my heart skip a beat or two, and  by the end I felt tears fall down on my cheeks.  I was taken by surprise, I never would have thought a simple book by Dr. Seuss could make me have such an emotional reaction, but it did. And it was a sweet occasion. They were tears of joy. And aside from shedding some tears, I laughed a few times too.

It was very clear this book was intended for us–a perfect graduation day book filled with wisdom, motivation, and truth. Although predominantly a children’s author, the wisdom and well intended verses tell a tale of life’s highs and lows.  Whatever our background, and whatever our journey, it is never so simple as a one straight path . We all have ups and downs. Seasons of blessings and times of great despair; and of course there are times that fall in-between there. We experience sadness and loneliness too.

As she continued to read  the words, she came to the point in this true to life magical tale, that  describes the times in our life where we will shine.. The words of wisdom were well versed ….

Oh, the Places You'll Go! Dr. Seuss

At  the story progressed,  I felt hopeful that these words would be true. That I would find success and “soar to high heights.” I felt excited and a bit nervous  because we were all taking off on a new flight towards achieving our dreams. Soon we would be in a classroom filled with kids to teach. And we did want to succeed.

Flash forward several years–  and yes– I have achieved some success. We have bought a house. I obtained  a fulfilling teaching  career. I have been on vacations a time or two. We have enjoyed the peace and serenity that life can bring through contentment and self-actualization. However, just as the next lines in the book describes, “Hang-ups and Bang-ups can happen to you.” I have experienced life’s inevitable failures too.

Oh the Places Youll Go, Left  in a lurch Oh the Places You'll Go Hang ups and Bang ups Dr. Seuss

Life never offers us a guarantee that we will have smooth sailing along the way.  We will all win and lose at times. And experiences both success and failure. And unfortunately for me for this period of time, I have had some bad luck. These verses describe my life to a “T.” The funny thing is I had no idea that anything bad was headed my way. As I get older, I realize that this is just the way life is, a car accident can happen in a moments notice, a sickness, a financial hardship, an end of a friendship or marriage.

Sometimes we are blindsided.

We never see it coming and we are not prepared to handle the situation. At first, we might do anything at all because–like this picture–we are just hanging there. As we watch from a distance everyone else’s  life carry on and begin to wonder,  “Why me,”  “How did this happen?” or “Why didn’t I see this coming?”  Then, so often we  blame ourselves and then we may even blame others.

But the bible tells us in Matthew 5:45  that “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”  Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised  when things begin to go wrong because they happen to everyone. In fact in 1 Peter 4: 12-14 , we are told

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 1but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

This verse speaks volumes to me because we are told not only will we have trials but we should rejoice and be exceedingly glad.

There are many stories in the Bible that show that God allows evil to rain on even though he considers righteous. Job is an example of a righteous man that endured hardship beyond imagine. He lost his wealth, children, and even his health . Furthermore, his friends who should have been be consoling him blamed him for his present misfortune. They said that God must be punishing him from some hidden sin. But this simple was not the case.   I think the saddest part of Job’s story to me is that his friends and wife betrayed him.

Unknown to Job and his friends there was a battle, or a bet, in the spiritual world that was out of the sight and mind of Job. Because he was so righteous he was the target of these maladies–which is exactly the opposite of what his friends assumed. God chose Job to go through a trial because he was God’s best. God bragged about Job and said “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1: 8 ).

Yet, Satan insisted that Job was only good to God because God had blessed him. So God allowed these awful inflictions on Job.  Job persevered and even though his wife cursed God for all that had happened, he did not; he remained faithful. In the end, Job was blessed with double the possessions, wealth, and family that he previously had before the affliction. What a marvelous story to teach us to be faithful no matter what the circumstances.  

I can learn from the story of Job. We don’t know why but we know who is in control.  Trails are hard but they are necessary and  bring value if you are faithful and true. And even when we fail we learn and grow stronger. It may not be in this lifetime but in eternity that the answer will be made known.

I’m not sure why I am going through hardship, but I do know that no matter how strong you are it still hurts. I’m grateful that during this time of trial I have a wonderful family and a few trustworthy friends that I can rely on.  And with their strength, love, and encouragement  when I am weak they help to pull me up.  God is also by my side through this trial.  One of my favorite verses is “If God is for me than who can be against me” (Romans 8:31). Knowing this truth I can continue to hope and pray and keep holding on…

As the wisdom from  Dr. Seuss’s graduation book continues ….

Oh the Places Youll Go Dr. Seuss Waiting Place

This verse “You can get so confused and you’ll start in a race,”  makes me laugh, because I have been running in circles and getting nowhere. I  have asked questions  where I am often met with adversity.  The results are the same there are no current answers. The situation is out of my control and  there is nothing in my power that I can do.

So after exhausting myself I too must surrender to this uncomfortable place… “The Waiting Place.”

Oh the Places You'll Go Dr. Seuss The Waiting Place Oh The Places You'll Go Dr. Seuss Waiting

The “Waiting Place” is exactly where I am right now. I have passed the point of knocking on doors that were never meant to open for me by calling others that are simply not prepared to give me a response.

This page in the storybook of my life is slowly turning into a chapter as the days increase, and I have yet to get the phone call, email, or snail mail that  I have been so longing to hear. Although I have no control over how quickly people are moving on the other side of that phone…

What I can do is pray and do my best not to worry. The Bible gives us advice when it comes to useless worry and unrest. Philippians 4:6-8 says

 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

It has taken me some time to do, but I have finally realized that this is what I must do–pray and trust God. Because I get it: The Waiting Place is exactly where God wants me to be at this time.

So now,  I am trusting God’s timing; and I know that He is never early or late but shows up at exactly the right time and place. And everything that is going on behind the scenes– although I may not know–God is in control.

And so,  I have been  trying  to stop fretting and checking my email twenty-five times a day. And instead I am keeping myself  busy.

Now, I have more time now to read the Bible each morning with an enjoyable cup of coffee when I get up. I can exercise by walking around our nearby park. There are plenty of unfinished projects to be done around my house. There are books I can read. And errands that need to be run. Instead of just simple meals I know have the time to make a few dinners that are a little more special. And  I have started to clean areas in my home I never knew needed cleaning because I was too busy to see. And  as I began to fill my new to-do list with this new time that has been divinely  given to me, I finally decide to change my outlook or mind to no longer see this as the  Waiting Place.

Because I am the author to the story of my life , and instead of just waiting, fretting, and pacing, and trying to push through doors that I cannot go through; I have decided to make a place…a comfortable place to make my own song to dance too because…

“Life isn’t about  waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” -author unknown