Monthly Archives: December 2012

New Years Eve 2012 AHA Moments (Also Known As “God” Moments)

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I had an amazing few days recently. As this title suggests, I had some “AHA moments” this week. I have had the opportunity to dig a little deeper and seek the heart of God on many topics and areas of my life. I would like to share the personal aspects and thought processes I’ve gone through recently.

One such moment was with regards to serving / volunteering. I had an amusing reaction when I was sent a request to volunteer at church this past week. It wasn’t a bad response, as much as a “really!?” response. My thoughts went along a negative reasoning path. Meaning – I have just been missing out on worshipping lately…and sometimes just feel disconnected in a way.

I should also mention that I’d been having a pretty “not so fun” sort of time surrounding Christmas. To say depressed wouldn’t explain it fully. I had much on my mind, and then the things going on at home – it just wasn’t a good time. There were actually some pretty uncertain thoughts going on in my head. So, I saw the request to serve after having served a couple weeks in a row and at first I was worried. I was concerned that if I didn’t just have time to sit worship Him, that I might somehow drift or disconnect even more.

It was what happened next that rocked my world. Really, as plain as day – I was just mumbling – talking to God and it was as if I heard Him say “Is my arm to short? Do you not believe that I am able to take care of you? You’re my child – and when you serve in any capacity that allows others to come to know me – I can and will take care of you – physically and mentally.” In that moment, He helped me realize that what I tell others every day is true: He IS God, and He IS in control. It was as if He was asking if I even believed my own words.

It was also impressed on my heart to check my attitude – and that many things in life are a direct result of my own choices – mentally, in this case. Yes, there are evidently some chemical imbalances at work as well…but all in all, many things are within my ability to affect the outcome of. For instance, many many times in the past two days or so have popped up challenging my sanity. I have asked God to help me have His heart – to react to people and situations as He would. My children, and my husband alike – that I could have a soft heart, and make conscious decisions to do the right thing – even when it’s not fair, even when it may hurt, and even when I just plain don’t want to. If I aim to resemble and be the hands and feet of Jesus, life won’t always be this virtual bed of roses. However, in the midst of it all, He is – and always will remain – faithful…100% of the time.

I also had some more “aha moments” so to speak. Mostly, with relation to my health – mentally yes, but mostly physically in this case. Much of what’s going on in my body is out of my control. For those things, I put them in God’s hands. He knows exactly how to deal with me. For the things within my control, I have to act. Action is a requirement. To accept the status quo as a way of life, to just not care – that doesn’t end up working out in the end. I cannot eat whatever I want, and expect to look how I’d like. Conversely, I cannot refrain from exercise and expect my body to magically conform to my desires. When something pops up that irritates or hurts me with people I care about, it is my choice to harbor bitterness, or to forgive. Forgiving, however, sets me free – not just them. When I feel a bad mood approaching, or negative thoughts, etc – it is my choice to give them to God, or to try to battle on my own. I also have the ability to CHOOSE to think positively instead of dwelling on the negatives. If my house is a disaster (and I won’t lie – it is) – I can either choose to tackle it, even if that means starting with baby steps. I can do what I know to do, and allow that to make a difference. I can choose to be the wife and mom that God has called me to be…or, I can be self centered, and choose a selfish life of the status quo. I have to be the adult, and not allow things to just fly because I’m too lazy to deal with them. My children need guidance and direction, consequences to actions – and especially, consistency. Again, not going to end well if I’m content with the status quo.

It’s ultimately been a very deep and soul-searching sort of few days in my life. In so doing, I’ve also decided to get real with God, and with myself. I’ve chosen to make much different choices, to take proactive steps instead of sitting by, idle, expecting things to change on their own. And, I have to say, much of this was sparked by a conversation we had last week with someone unafraid to speak the truth, but in love. It made sense, and God touched my heart. It made me realize that I live much of my life for myself. Yes, I care and act on behalf of my friends and family, but I allow my own personal struggles and drama get in the way of doing the things I know need to be done. I’ve also made some changes with what I eat, and how active I am. Again, I can only affect the things within my power to do so – but I CAN affect those things. God gives us free will, but again, it is that free will that will either set us free and help us grow, or smother us and keep us trapped.

I can only pray that God use it to touch others, and help them come to know Him in a more real way – to also know they aren’t alone, etc. Something just happened, that light went on in my head, and some sort of switch flipped…and I see things in very much a different light.

If you find yourself relating to any of these areas of life, please know – you are not alone in your thoughts or struggles. Never give up hope – look to God as your source….knowing that He will not let you down. He created you, and He knows exactly how to take care of you, and every situation you might face.

My Thoughts On Christmas Eve

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This morning, I was on Facebook and, where you can update you status, it asked what was on my mind. As My response, I said the following:

What’s on my mind, Facebook? Well, since you asked…on my mind are many things.

I’m quietly remembering that today would have been my grandmother’s birthday. Even though she went to Heaven over a decade ago, I still miss her very much and cherish all the moments and time we did have together.

I’m also thinking about the other side of the family. I’m thinking about my grandmother, as she is celebrating several “firsts” without my granddaddy (her husband of 67 years) by her side. This is the first Christmas he won’t be there. I miss him also very much. Praying God’s loving arms hold and comfort her (and all who are missing him) today and always.

Today I’m also thinking about my friend Andrea who said goodbye to her precious Jonathan at this time last year. I’m praying for her entire family as they remember his short but beautifully meaningful life. May God’s arms of comfort surround them always.

More than all this, though, I’m thinking of another little baby – who would grow to be a Savior – the one who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords…the one the Christmas season is all about -Jesus…thinking of Him and His crazy, undying love for each and every one of us – no strings attached. Just love.

So, with that, I want to wish you all a very blessed Christmas, and a happy New Year. May 2013 be a year of blessing, and may each and every one of you see God’s hand in your life in a very real way.

If you are hurting or struggling this season, please know two things -you are not alone, and I’d be happy to talk, listen, and ultimately to pray for you. Feel free to post in comments, or to message me directly. Smile, friends – you are loved.

As I mentioned, this season can be an amazing and joyful time of the year. However, for many, it can be heartbreaking. On this Christmas Eve, the above are some of the thoughts that are in my head with specifics to this day. In the midst of any heartache, any situation or any turmoil – one thing remains constant…the little baby who grew be the King of Kings, the Lord of lords, and the Savior of all mankind. He is the constant. His love permeates each and every heartbreaking situation you or I may remember or find ourselves facing. Look to Him, knowing you are not alone.

I would like to extend the same thoughts I did earlier on Facebook. If you are celebrating, hurting, joyful or sad – I’d love to talk, listen and hear your story. If you are celebrating and want to share, awesome. If you are mourning and missing someone, not awesome – but, in either scenario, I’d love the opportunity to laugh or cry with you, but more than that – to pray for you. You, my friend, are loved.

With God As My GPS

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Last night, I had an enjoyable night out with a group of very special friends. It was an evening of some great food and priceless fellowship. (It’s different when you have no kids present, and to sit and talk with just adults…clearly, I need to get out more!)

After our dinner concluded, we all said our goodbyes. As I went to my car, I sat there momentarily – just trying to get my phone to work (the battery had died at the beginning of dinner) or my GPS to function. Neither was working well.  I find that I should mention that this was a place I’d never been before, and I was not familiar with the area – at all. So, I get my phone temporarily charging long enough to enable maps and get directions. It told me to go north on the street I was on. Great. Head north, then my phone dies again, this time – the charger not even pretending to be going to work.

Thinking I know where I’m going, I go on what became a pretty frustrating (but also amusing) quest just to find the highway again.  I’m glad I wasn’t familiar with the area, or I might have been more concerned to be traveling alone, lost at night.  But, whether you believe in them or not, God’s angels were all around. As I watched police swarming to a blocked up from where I was, I didn’t feel like sticking around to figure out what drama was unfolding.  So, I decided it was time to depart. (This wasn’t the first time I’d pulled over, realizing that I was lost and didn’t need to keep going in random directions…so I’d stop, in hopes of convincing my phone to charge.)

I asked for God’s help. I jokingly (but was serious) told God that if my phone nor GPS were going to work, I needed Him to be my GPS. It was with that, that I felt the strong urge to pull out of where I was parked and leave my current location.  Not only was I supposed to leave, but as I began, I knew I had to do a u-turn just then.  So, I did exactly that. As I did, there were more emergency personnel showing up. I just wonder what has out was going on. But, not curious enough to stick around, I left. With God as my GPS, I felt at peace. I relied on Him, and fairly quickly after that, I found my way, as if is never gotten off track.  I’d already wasted enough time going too far in the wrong direction. I thanked God for keeping me safe, and for leading the way. Our God is faithful -in the big and little things alike.

Just as this situation unfolded and made my evening somewhat unpredictable, this entire experience draws many parallels to life.  How many times have we set out on whatever journey we’re on, heading down the street we believe to be correct, only to find that, in reality, we’re lost – beyond what we can hope to get out of one our own?  As you (collective “you” as I include myself in this) travel down this path, you look around and realize that you’re in unfamiliar (and potentially dangerous) territory.  For you, this “path” might be following a particular dream, goal, job opportunity, etc. – Just sure that you, in your own strength, are capable of getting to your final destination.  Whatever the case may be, you may find that things aren’t turning out as you envision. Sometimes we have very different visions than those that God has for us.  What’s sad is that you could save yourself tears, time and confusion if you’d learn that God is there, forever willing to help. He is faithful in the small and large things alike. He gives us free will though. We can choose to either listen to his directives, or go on about life in our own strength. If, however, we humble ourselves and ask for His direction – to get us back on the proper track – He is, and will remain faithful.

I hope you’ll read the little story of my eventful evening and maybe laugh a little.  More than that, though, I pray you’ll heed my little life lesson. I hope you’ll take away from it how very loved you are, and how much God cares about even the small details of your life. It’s up to you to invite Him in -to be a part of the path you’re on, and to be a part of your life in general.  When He leads, He will not ever steer you wrong.

Have peace today – knowing that it’s never too late to call out to God. He’s listening.

Returning To Life As Normal After Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

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I know many of you will read that title and wonder if I’m crazy – wondering just how life can ever be “normal” again. In many ways, even in other communities across these United States, life won’t ever be the same. However, there has to be moving forward. Moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting. Moving forward doesn’t mean not acknowledging a tragedy many would rather not even think about. Moving on doesn’t even mean that we continue on with life as if this never happens. Instead, moving on means trying to keep the pain and emotions present while working to remain resolved to make a difference in how America remains vigilant and does all we can – as a nation, and as individuals – to ensure our safety.

Truth be told, my heart continues to break with the community of Newtown, Connecticut. As I continue to follow different news reports, see stories / victim accounts, and even coverage of the funerals, the tears come, and my heart breaks. I find this tragedy one hard to read or talk about, and tears inevitably show up. The thing that gets to me isn’t just the accounts of the shooting itself, but of the love. The love of those teachers, staff and the principal who put their lives on the line – some even making that ultimate sacrifice for “their” children. Clearly, they love the children they were charged with each day. In spite of clearly imminent danger of death, they still acted on benefit of the children. Every time I read a synopsis of the events, I just imagine what it must have been like. Those teachers acted on instinct and training. They knew how to handle the situation to the best of their ability, and they did not hesitate. As such, many more lives were spared. From the janitor running through the halls with warnings, to the teachers protecting their children to the staff / principal who went beyond their call to duty, I am grateful.

The tragedy showed an evil side of humanity. It showed a broken person, with much anger. None of us have any idea the personal demons he was struggling with. I honestly don’t even want to think about it. There’s one side of me that wishes we could just know why. But, truth be told, I don’t think there is a plausible why here.

On the opposite side of the coin, the tragedy didn’t ONLY show the evil side of humanity. It also renewed faith in humanity at the same time. I’m not a teacher, and I never have been. I am grateful to have never been put in the position the heroes of that day were put in. However, if I ever was, I pray I’d react the same way. In the face of danger, I hope I’d react with courage, and would keep others safe in the midst of an unfolding tragedy.

No matter which side of the scenario you find yourself focusing on – the evil that exists in the world, or faith that humankind is full of good as well, I urge you to take a step back and just know that it’s okay to not be okay with this. No one should be okay. It’s okay to also move forward. Again, moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting. It means remembering that it happened, not letting evil win, and moving forward with hope for brighter days ahead.

One final thought – please continue to pray for the community in and around Newtown, Connecticut as they begin picking up the pieces and moving forward. As hard as it seems, I urge you to continue lifting up prayers on behalf of the shooter’s family. I cannot imagine their heartbreak – at losing a brother, son, relative, grandson, etc., but also living knowing what he did just prior to losing him. Continue, also, to pray for the hearts and minds of people all across the nation (and even the world) — that God’s hand of healing continues to bring peace and strength in places currently hurting – even broken. May God gather up all the pieces and put them back together in ways that only He can.

Personal Reflection and Prayer For America – Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

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Yesterday’s tragedy is very much still on the hearts of many people across America and the world…mine included. My heart breaks with the people of Newtown, CT. However, it also breaks with the rest of our nation. These were precious children and loving adults – precious lives cut short. So many people have asked why. A question to which there is no answer. Many people comment that it simply isn’t fair – and it’s not. It’s not okay, and it never should be. As I commented yesterday – I don’t want to be living the day that this sort of thing is commonplace, and when it becomes “just another day” in our lives. We SHOULD be outraged. We should hurt with those who are hurting. We should allow ourselves to be heartbroken with those who are grieving. And we are. Let’s continue to pray for the people in the community of Newtown, Ct – as well as those who are grieving alongside them. Let’s continue to show support and prayer for Newtown, CT – the victims and their families, the teachers and their students who witnessed this tragedy, the first responders and emergency personnel that are processing what they saw, and a nation that desperately needs it. Lives were forever changed, and will not ever be the same.

The personal reflection I am doing, however, tells another kind of story. Yes, we ARE outraged. However, I’d like to pose a question I’ve been asking myself. Where are all these prayer and emotions the other 364 days of the year? It shouldn’t take a tragedy of this magnitude to get us on our knees in prayer for this nation we call home. Along those lines, it should also not take a tragedy like this to make us give our kids hugs, to love on them just that much more. Yesterday, I said several times that (as I was holding one child and waiting for the others to get home from school) I couldn’t wait for them to get home so I could grab them up, hug them, hold them and just love on them. That’s something I should be doing every day. They need to know my love and how much I care about them, regardless of what is going on in the nation. Tragedy or no tragedy, my love for them remains.

My prayer for this nation is that we wake up. We should learn to love our families, our neighbors and yes – that stranger walking down the street. God calls us to love one another. He doesn’t say to love when it’s convenient, and he doesn’t say to love after an emergency happens. He has created us as community people. We need to link arms, and create a resolve that’s unable to be broken. Yes, our hearts SHOULD break when these kind of things happen. But, we should band together in unity during “life as normal” as well. America, Where is our passion? Don’t allow the passion you felt yesterday, and the heartbreak you feel today to disappear as the days go on. Allow God to soften your heart, and to keep it from hardening as life happens around us. Pray for your friends. Pray for your neighbors. Even pray for those you don’t feel worthy of prayer. Pray for the victims in CT, and especially pray for this nation.

May we, as a nation and through the world, never lose hope – and always know love!!!

Praying For Connecticut Shooting

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As there are more details, I will update this post. Right now, I’d like to make this post – lifting up the families of all those involved in an elementary school shooting this morning in Connecticut. Reading and watching news sources all over the country, there have so far been 27 confirmed dead, 18 20 of which are reported to be children. This is being noted as the worst school shooting in the history of our Nation. May God be with us.

I sit here in tears – with my heart breaking for all involved. Having children this age, I simply cannot imagine. All I want to do right now is grab them up, hug them, hold them and continue to pray. I’d like to ask you to join with me in prayer for this community, and all the nation that grieves with them.

As I browse any number of social media networks, there are numerous – too many to count – mentions of this shooting, accounts of the events unfolding, and broken hearts that accompany them. To see the love and compassion poured out from complete strangers all across the country. These lives have been touched and will never again be the same. May they see love from others, and may they know they are not alone during these dark hours.

My heart, thoughts and prayers are with all concerned – their community and also all those grieving alongside them as the healing process begins. May the God of all creation, with arms that hold the entire universe hold them today. I’m praying for their strength and comfort moving forward. Will you join me?

I’m editing this to add that I’d also like to urge you all to pray for the parents and family of the shooter(s) as well. It’s certainly not the same, but their pain is and will be real – and their lives, also, forever changed.

I’m editing this once again to add that evidently the shooter shot and killed his father, and his mother was a teacher at this school. From the reports I’m hearing, his mother was amongst the casualties inside the school. It’s being reported that this individual set out to take away the things his mother loved most…her family and her (school) kids. My heart breaks for anyone that broken hearted themselves. I simply cannot imagine. Standing in prayer with all concerned.

Now being edited to include the report that it’s been confirmed that at least 20 of the 27 deaths are children. Any life lost is precious. Somehow, as a parent, I cannot fathom losing a child…especially like this.

My final thought on this for now. Earlier today, I posted this on a friends Facebook wall – in response to an on-air broadcast I’d heard:

My heart breaks with these people during this dark hour in their lives. I just don’t get it – and I think that’s okay…cause I don’t want to be living the day when this becomes something we just come to understand – when it becomes just another day. May our hearts always grieve with those who are hurting.

Trusting God Right Where You Are

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I wanted to share something that I thought you’d appreciate. Lately has been pretty difficult for me. No question there. However, I’m learning so many things — one is to be grateful for today. With that said, I am. Today was the first day in a while that I can honestly say that I’ve had a really good day. As such, I’m remembering to thank God for just giving me today – and especially being grateful for it being a really good day.

There is something beautiful in surrender – and trusting God in the midst of a storm. This situation is clearly beyond my control. Period. However, my new answer when people have been asking how I am is that “I’m doing okay…I don’t actually fear a diagnosis..and I serve a God larger than life…and I KNOW that he knows exactly how to take care of me.” Which is usually then followed by a “but of course I want to know…and I’m tired of not knowing, etc.” And, when I say people – I don’t limit my “God” replies to just church people or other Christians. It has become a unique opportunity to share His love with whoever, wherever…medical staff, friends, family, etc. I can tell you this. It has prompted some pretty interesting conversations.

I have been praying for God’s heart for people. To love them as He loves them…and to have a level of boldness to take His love into this community and beyond it. The thing I’m coming to realize is I’ve always been a voice of hope and “you’re not alone” etc to other people…but rarely have I ever allowed or reached out and asked others to be that same thing for me — as if I’m somehow not worthy of the same things I firmly believe for others….but I am. And so are you.

Along the lines of living life — I’ve also come to realize that life is just too short to be skin deep in our relationships. No matter what the situation, there is always capacity to love God, love people, and to make a difference. I was recently thinking about life and death. God forbid, if I were to die tomorrow – I would hope to be remembered by how I lived, and thus how I LOVED.

No matter the situation, no matter the storm, KNOW that God’s got this. His hands are holding you, and in Him you are safe. Reach out. You ARE worth it! Always remember that when times are dark, and you have trouble seeing the sun glistening through the rain, the storm is temporary. No matter how dark it looks now, there is a promise of brighter times ahead. Live life intentionally! Love God, love people, and make a difference!!