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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Old Things New

I am amazed at how I can look a scripture a million times and even memorize it. Then one day, I wake up and that same old scripture becomes something BRAND NEW. During my dads illness and eventual passing we had a theme scripture that we meditated on throughout the entire event and then even after he passed we used this same scripture to comfort us day after day.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I have worn this piece of scripture as a badge for the last 13 years of my life. This scripture badge was worn to remind myself that no matter what happens in my life and in the lives of those around me that I love and care about; that God has a plan of hope for my future. So when we had to face illness, and the death of my dad, even though it hurt more deeply than anything else I had experienced, there was still a peace there. This peace was able to be present in my life because of the glint of hope for my future. This peace came because I wore this scripture as a badge of hope for my future. I pulled it out every time I started to feel sorry for myself for losing my dad. I held on to it tightly every time I was faced with turmoil in my life after he passed. I ran my hearts fingers over it every time I felt like I was in a place in my life that was dark, cold, lonely and hopeless. This scripture and I have been through many wars of life together and it has become my comrade in the heat of each war that we have faced together.

Today however, I have seen this same old comrade of a friend scripture in a new best friend way. Let me share my new friend with you.

"This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”" Jeremiah 29: 10-14

You see my old comrade introduced me to some new friends. He brought along other verses with him. Verses 10, 12, 13 and 14. Boy, do these new friends pack on a whole new meaning for me today. For a long time (13 years to be exact), I have been in a land far from home. A foreign country. A country of captivity, bondage, hurt and hopelessness. You see, even though I clung onto verse 11, I still felt hopeless in my life. Even though verse 11 was in the trenches with me... I was still in the trenches period! I was trapped in the trenches, or shall I say the ditch! The pit! The cave! It was a dark, gloomy and scary time for me. I knew my day would come that the war would end and I could come out of the trench, and go home. It took many yesterday's to get to today. Now, I can finally say those yesterday's are over and I am finally going home. The war has ceased and it is a brand new day. I am going back to the place I call home. Home to me is a place of safety and refuge. A place of hope and newness. I am getting there. My faithful friend is going with me along with my new friends, and God Himself is leading me. I am so thankful that God has taken something old that I have grown to love and lean on (a simple scripture), and turned it into something new. Isn't it just like Him to make all things new? Even His own words of truth. Rejoice today! Yesterday is gone but not forgotten. Today is a brand new day to wear a whole new badge. I will wear both badges with honor. With the hope that I do and will have a prosperous future ahead of me now that I am going home.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

God Lavisihes His Love on Us

Today I learned something new. Yes, I have always known that God is love. That God loves me. But today I learned something new about His love that I just was not seeing all of these years of loving and serving Him. For a very long time I thought that my family had a generational curse on it. That everyone died to early, sickness was rampant and just getting by financially was the norm. I never thought in a million years that God in His great love for me wanted to lavish me with His love and provision. But I was proved wrong today in scripture.

"You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments." Exodus 20: 5-6

So I learned something today. I learned that God loves me and will bless my life for a thousand generations. The curse that I thought loomed over me was a lie. His truth set me free today to believe for blessing and the lavishness generosity of His love.

Be blessed today my friends even in the face of adversity, because His love outweighs it all.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Life Changes in an Instant

It is amazing how life can change in an instant. I came home today after a long day of work and BOOM my dogs started fighting again today. Out of no where. I was all alone taking them for a walk and they just began to attack each other. As I picked my smaller 15 pound dog up to protect from my 40 pound dog, I was bit bad. I know you are not suppose to get in the way of fighting dogs, but it was a mommy thing. I tried to separate them. I held my little dog, and led my bigger dog by the leash all of the way home. Once inside I immediately separated the dogs and nursed my wounds. Ouch did they hurt. One puncture wound was a bit deeper then the others and took a while for me to stop the bleeding. It was frightening. I have to start all over with the dogs again. I don't know what triggers them to fight. We were just on a walk. That is usually our happy time. They had not fought for a week. I am at a lose for words. Please pray for me. This is difficult for me. I am not sure what to do??? Anyone have any suggestions?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Something Old, Something New.

Today I had a good day. I did not have a great day, or a perfect day. But, I did have a good day. I went to work and did all that was required of me. I came home, walked the dogs, waited for the kids to come home and made them a treat when they did. I listened to them tell me about their days as they ate their treats and I realized something. My life is good. My life is really good. I don't know why I complain or get upset sometimes with my crazy, busy life? I can't imagine what I have to complain about? I have a good life. So today I will rejoice in the fact that I can recognize things are good. I will try to hold on to this lesson today and keep it safely tucked away in the pocket of my heart so that I can easily pull it out when I have a bad day. So that I can remember life is good. I am okay, and I have a lot to be thankful for today.

"For the Scriptures say, "If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies." 1 Peter 3:10

Sunday, September 12, 2010

In the Thick of It

Sometimes life is just hard to navigate through. I just started the workbook series of my Thin Within journey and already I have fallen. I ate all day yesterday out of 0-5. I ate all day period. I was stressing about a recent heated discussion I had gotten into with my husband. Without getting into detail about that heated discussion lets just say, it got very ugly! I ran to food for comfort, which surprised me. I thought I had gotten past all of that. But, to my surprise I had not. I ate, and ate, and ate some more! It was disgusting really. But, I learned a lot about myself. I have not arrived. I am not even close to arriving and God has a lot of work to do in me before I will ever arrive. I do not want to keep running to food when I get into the thick of it in my life. I want to run to God. Crawl if I have to. I want to sit at His feet and cry, scream and yell instead of run to food and stuff my sorry face. Isn't this what it is all about though? We run, we fall and then we get back up again. Hopefully in the process of it all we learn a new trick or two along the way. I know that sometimes when we stumble and fall we get hurt and scraped up a bit. We may even brake a few bones. But, I heard that when we brake our bones the bone actually gets stronger after it heals. So we only get stronger when life gets thick, we fall, get hurt, then get back up again. It is never to late to start over. So today I will wait for 0 to eat. I will start over. I will get back up today stronger, and I will start over. Thank God for His unconditional love and help. Thank you God for your newness every morning. You are my strength when I am weak.

"Even if he has a fall he will not be without help: for the hand of the Lord is supporting him." Psalm 37:24

Thursday, September 9, 2010

All Work No Play

Sometimes we just have to work. Work is a part of life. Every one's life. Nothing in this world is free. I wish money grew on trees and things were free, but money is not grown it is earned and the things that we need cost money! I wish I had more time to write on my blog and sit and read all of the blogs I loved and followed. But, lately I am lucky I have time to go to the bathroom. Today I have the day off so I can write. But, yesterday I was too busy working to write. That is just how it is. One of my husband's favorite sayings is; "It is what it is." Well, it is what it is and right now my life is all work and no play. I know in the past I have gotten stressed out from this and when I am stressed out I run to food. That however, is in the past. I no longer run to food when I am stressed. I have learned to run to God. I have learned that I will no longer be a victim of stress. I will no longer allow stress to distress me. I will instead run in the victory that God has given me. I will remember where I came from. My wounds of the past are in the past. But, the scar of the wound is a reminder for me to remember that God has protected me in the fierce battles of the past wars I have fought in. I am not maimed by those scars anymore. I am no longer fixated on those scars, and I will no longer allow those scars to make me feel disfigured. I have been set free. I have been made new. Yes, the scars are still there. They are still visible, and I can tell you what each scar represents. I can tell you how each scar was inflicted upon me, how much it hurt when it happened and how long it took to recover from the wound. Now, I can also tell you that it does get better. You do heal. You do recover. You do have victory in the end. Yes the battle may be fierce. Yes the battle may be long. Yes the work may be hard. Yes sometimes there is no play time. But all wars end. All work ends. There is a time in every day that you get to go home. There is a time where the work of our hands is estableshed, blessed and we are rewarded for our hard work. Until then; work, fight, and run to the battle. It will only make you stronger. NO RETREAT!

"From now on, don't let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus." Galatians 6:17

"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us--yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:17

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back to Work I Go

My life of leisure is over. Summer was a wonderful time for me. A time of renewal and freedom. Literally! Now reality has sunk in. I am back at work. Back to the grind. I am okay with that. For the first time in like forever I am okay with working again. I was always resentful towards my husband for not making enough money to support us, and leaving me no option but to have a full time job to help with financial obligations. When we were first married it was a joy to work. I was full time teacher in a Christian School. I was able to teach ABC's and Jesus. It was wonderful. When I became pregnant for my first son Christian 16 years ago, I decided I couldn't take leaving him, so I resigned from my teaching position. But, my husband said I needed to continue to make money, so I began a babysitting business in our beautiful home. I watched 2 other kids along with my son. It was a nice time. But, very hectic and busy. I can remember the parents of the two boys I babysat getting upset with me if I had to take a day off or schedule vacations. I felt trapped in my own home sometimes. Then I had a second son and well, things just got really hard. But, I had no choice but to go thorough the storm of babysitting and taking care of my new baby. We needed the money. During these years I began to get more and more resentful towards my husband. I didn't even know that I was feeling this way. It just kinda happened. Little by little the feelings of resentfulness festered into feelings of hate. I hated my husband for making me work when all I really wanted was to be a stay at home mom with my own 2 kids and no other kids in sight. The joy of being a teacher left me completely and I was just a baby sitter now. Not a really happy one, but one who just went through the motions of doing the job right. I was a good babysitter don't get me wrong. I went above and beyond most days, because I do love kids. But in my heart I was just not really happy with my life. I had this burning inside me that I was made for more than what I was doing. My poor husband was the target of my frustration of not living my dream life. I didn't do it deliberately, or intentional, but I did shut him out of my heart for a very long time. I wrote him off as being someone who could never fulfill my hearts desire. I learned something this summer. I learned through Thin Within that no one can fulfill our hearts desire ever! Only God can fill the God shaped hole that we try to fill with other people or things. It's like putting a round peg in a square hole when we try to put people and our jobs in place of what only God can fill. I learned that life can be difficult and hard sometimes. There are seasons in our lives when we feel like we are in a dark storm, and other season's in our lives when the storm finally lifts and we find a colorful rainbow after the storm. That is where I am now. I have released the resentfulness I had for my husband all of those years for making me work when I didn't want to, and I have felt so free in doing so. I can finally look out over my life and see the rainbow instead of the clouds. That is why it is okay that I am back at work. I am fine with working to help meet the needs of my family now. Because I am being fulfilled by God in my heart and I am not looking for my husband to fill something he was not meant to fill. I am looking to the one who is, can and was meant to fill me. Jesus! My Savior, friend and the one who brings rainbows after a storm.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Day After your Birthday

OK so today is the day after my Birthday. I did not wake up to a bunch of singing family members or presents today, like I did yesterday. Today I woke up to a busy schedule, 3 loads of laundry, barking dogs wanting to be walked and 3 grumpy men (my 2 sons and husband). Welcome to the day after my birthday. The day where I started back at work. Sat in a uncomfortable chair for 3 hours during a welcome back to school workshop. Shuffled the kids and dog around all day so that I could sit in that uncomfortable chair at the welcome back meeting. And then, rushed to get home to finish up the laundry I started at 5 am. Ugh! My life can be hectic. Especially now that I am back to work. But, I can honestly say that I am thankful to God for the hectic life that He has blessed me with. There are some people who are not returning to work this year because of all the budget cuts in New York State to School districts. Thank God, I got to back to work today. There are some people who have been out of work for several months and can no longer receive unemployment. I am thankful today that I have a job and can pay my bills. Even though I am only a 10 month a year employee and have to budget over the summer months when I do not get paid, I still have 10 months of a steady income. I am so grateful to God for that. Yes, my life can be a little hectic, but I have peace even when things get a little crazy. I have joy even though I do have everything I want due to being on a budget. Because I know that with God I have everything I need. He fills me completely, till I overflow and He is more than enough for me. So yes, I am back to my everyday humdrum life that sometimes can be a grind. But, I wouldn't trade my life for anything. I am so thankful that God gave me all that I have. The cup I once saw as empty, I now see as overflowing. All because of His great love and amazing grace.

"...and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." I Timothy 1:14