Why am I?

A few weeks ago we started the “Not a Fan” book by Kyle Idleman for our Life Group class on Sunday nights. Usually we have a Life Group at 5 pm and then an evening service at 6 pm. Well as usual, during the winter and every few years, church attendance drops on Sunday nights. So we decided to try something different this time around and combined the two services. Also my father-n-law, a.k.a. the pastor, had surgery recently. You see how this worked right?
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The book is good. It hits on some hard questions. Questions we as complacent North American Christians don’t want to think about and probably haven’t even considered until digging into this book. The main question or theme is, “Are you a fan or a follower of Jesus Christ?” Throughout, the book helps you understand the difference and to determine where you are in your walk. I’ll admit I have my fan moments and days, then conviction sets in and I remember and am reminded why I’m a follower. Those truths that have rooted me in my faith of who Jesus is to me are what makes me a follower. They are unique to each person, because each person is different. There stories are unique unto themselves.

I love at the end of each chapter there are personal stories titled “not a fan”. They are from people who are followers of Christ, telling why they became that way and still are. Last night we finished up Chapter 4 and our class leader, who also loves these stories, ended with a question, “Why are you a follower? If you were asked to write one of these, what would it say, just a thought.”

So, why am I a follower?

The minute he asked that my immediate answer, in my mind of course, was “Because He has never left me!” As loud as the day is long. He has never left me! The little girl inside me, 6 years old, freckle faced and brown hair stood up and yelled at the top of her lungs, “He has never left me, everyone leaves me, they all leave, even if they said they loved me and would never leave, it doesn’t matter they did anyway. They walked out the door and left, they died, they ran away, they didn’t want me, they didn’t care and they left! He has never left me! He doesn’t care if I say the wrong thing or break something or if I cry too much. He doesn’t care if I don’t love him the most all the time. He doesn’t care if I don’t put him first all the time, He doesn’t even care if I scream and yell at Him because the people who left me have broken my heart, He has still never left me!” Yeah that little girl right there is why I am a follower.

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So many people throughout my life have left. When I say left, I feel like I need to clarify. I mean walked out of my life, in some form or fashion, whether it was physical, mental or emotional (yes you can be in the same room with a child and still that child can feel alone), having nothing to do with me as a child and then later on as a teen. My life as an adult, I have made some decisions, too, of my own to leave people I love due to their life choices and the negative effects it had on me and my immediate family.  Even those closest to my heart, dearest to my heart, had their own personal selfish desires and would not or could not put me first, and in the end they left me.

My Papa passed away 6 years ago, he could not stay with me, he to had to leave. Yes I will see him again, but it still hurts and that pain of being left is strong with this one. Even now in our church, since I have been a member for a good 10 years, I find it hard to become attached to new members. I feel horrible sometimes because I don’t want to come off as cold, and I do pray that God heals my heart. People these days, who claim to be Christians and followers of Christ have no problem doing what I call “church hopping”. Which is going from one church to another because they don’t agree or they got their feelings hurt or they didn’t like the music, what was preached cause it felt like it was directed at them. Yeah that is a heart problem not a church problem. This means you have a problem loving other people and you really don’t understand the Word of God. I can’t get close to these people, they will leave. Sorry, soap box rant over now. Back on subject

Jesus has never left me. He has never left that little girl. Even though there are times when He is not first in my life, and times when, yes I totally forget about Him because I am so caught up in the world, yet He is still with me. Those moments of shear agony when my heart renders a cry of pain that no words can describe and no one is around to hear, He hears me. He holds me and He comforts me. He always has. So when I look back on my life and even forward because it will happen when my children leave for college and get married, though that will be a happier time of leaving, He will still be with me. More loved ones will pass away and friends will leave for their on personal reasons and selfish desires because, well other peoples’ worlds don’t revolve around me, (I do understand that, I am not that selfish) He will still be with me, even in death and new life. That is the best part, right there. I hope you caught that.

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(Something I will miss! Legos, Yes Legos! This is Baby Dinosaur who was found during a shake down before entering daycare one morning! He was confiscated from Jedi Skywalker’s pockets and jailed in Mommy’s purse until bail could be posted after school.)

I can’t express to you how much it means to that little freckle faced, brown haired girl, with tear filled eyes, staring at a door, out a window or sitting on her bed alone and knowing that He has never left her and He never will!

My name is Holly Walker, and I am not a fan.

I encourage you to grab a copy of this book. It will make you think about things you might not have considered before. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you have a great day. May His Son shine on you and yours!

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand

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You’re thankful for who?!

Most people when you ask them what they are thankful for they will say, “I am thankful for my family!” Little children will name off a list of toys and toss mommy and daddy in there. Most Christians will start off with being thankful for the saving grace of Jesus Christ and the list goes on from there.

November will be here before we know it and Facebook will be loaded with the “what I am thankful for” ever day for a month, from who knows how many people. Almost everyone one who does this names the wonderful blessings in their lives, the people they love and who love them back, the vacation they got to take this year or the one coming up. You get the gist. It’s always positive stuff. No one ever says I’m thankful because my husband had to go to the hospital this year, or my sister got shot this year, or that I have a humongous wart on the bottom of my foot that makes me limp. Nope, not gonna hear that from people. At least not social media people.

I refer back to Sunday School a lot these days. This is where it really starts! The building blocks, or Legos of a Christians understanding of the Bible. But you can’t just go to Sunday School and expect to gain expert knowledge of Scripture. You have to do some studying of you own, and pray for understanding. Lately though in Sunday School we have been in Luke, we have made it to Chapter 9. In a week or so we’ll get to Chapter 10. Jesus is going to start his journey to Jerusalem. So I decided to stop, go back and do a recap.

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Listening this morning about when Jesus called the twelve, all the names were read, the last of course being “Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.” (Luke 6:16) Then my brain, lovely creature that it is, had multiple thoughts at one time. Which I am sharing with you now.

Jesus chose Judas, I believe knowing what he would do. Jesus knew why He(Jesus) was here, He came here for a purpose. He knew who Judas was in his(Judas’) heart, all the time. He still chose him to be apart of his ministry, to be in charge of the money, to be close by his side.

Yet when we as Christians read about Judas we sit back and think how could he, why did he? If we were that close we might have done what Peter did but we would never have done what Judas did!! We think so low of Judas, not realize where we would be with out his part in all of this.

I’m sure if he had not done what he had done someone else would, but that is speculation and we aren’t going there. My point in all of this is, yes I am truly thankful for My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and everything he has done for me, and continues to do for me, on a daily basis, but have I ever thought to be thankful for Judas.

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I spoke earlier about a husband in the hospital, a sister being shot and a wart on a foot. These are all bad things that have happened to myself or someone I know. I have watch though as Jesus has taken the messes we have gotten ourselves into picked us up, brushed us off and not only were we and our family better off after the fact but our relationships are growing in a better direction.

It is hard to see the big picture when we can only see straight ahead. Good thing Jesus is in heaven and can see the whole thing. It is awesome for us to be thankful for the things in our lives. But when it all starts hitting the fan and splattering on the walls, remember that the clean up crew is going to be thankful, because that’s job security for them. When the garbage is piled up and you’ve taken it out, the trash pick up guys are thankful as well.

Our perspective on things and how we think about them needs to change I believe. November is approaching fast, so when those thankful list start popping up take time to truly be thankful for the things that made a difference in you life this year, not just the things that made you happy. Be thankful for the those people that you might not like and who test your patience on a daily basis, because they have made you a better person.

Thank you for reading, may His Son shine on you and yours.

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Returning Home

Been reading a devotion taken from Kyle Idleman’s book AHA (Awakening, Honesty, Action). Today was the last day of it. It talked about the prodigal son throughout and how he went through those stage. How all three were required. A three ingredient recipe in which if one ingredient is left out, the whole thing is a bust.

This last devo brought out something completely different. It talked about the good son. It said that the bad son was lost in his badness or something like that, but the good son was lost in his goodness. He was doing everything right. All the right actions, working in his father’s field and house, but he had no awakening or action towards his father’s love. Yet he was there in His house the whole time “working”.

I was recently called a “Miss High and Mighty”. I took offense to this. I still take offense to this. I don’t like being put on a pedestal. It’s kind of like a turtle on a fence post, you know a person put it there and it doesn’t belong and it will fall off eventually! The reason being, it’s not what God intended for it.

Turtles are slow creatures, slow to speak, slow to act, slow to react. As much as I try to be like the turtle I’m not there yet. As Mandisa says, “He’s still working on me!”

Turtles are low to the ground creatures. That being said, I consider myself a servant. I’m not the best servant and I can get a little dictatorship sometimes with my directions, Jesus will then spiritually pop me in the mouth and I return to my turtle mentality. Thats how it is suppose to be. That’s how I like it. I am a behind the scenes person. I’m a director not an actor. So I guess sometimes I do get the older brother syndrome, I’ll need to reflect on this more.

Back to the son’s, the good son brought me back to myself though. I am in my Father’s house. I get to work and minister for my Father. So am I lost in my goodness? That “Miss High and Might” comment has been nagging at me ever since. Conviction of the heart not a bad thing, so I’ve heard.

The devotion finished by saying they were both prodigals. One who had been in a foreign land and one who had been at home the whole time. Both had lost touch with the Father who loved them dearly and wanted His children back!

Rethinking…a daily challenge

Life is never what we plan. I don’t know about for boys, but for girls we spend a lot of our afternoons daydreaming about what our life is going to be like when we grow up. We imagine what our husbands are going to be like, we plan our wedding, we plan what our children are going to look like, what we’re going to name our children, where we’re going to live, we even design on houses. According to what decade we grew up in our wardrobe can be quite immaculate as well. As most of us who are now adults can attest, none of what we planned came true.

If it did, it’s because we try to do it our way and make it come true the way we wanted it and it ended up going the way of a ruptured duck. Kind of like trying to shove a Buick in a dog house. Something’s going to explode and someone’s going to get hurt. Some of us as kids just knew we would be living by our best friend the rest of our lives, and now they live in state away and we only see them once every decade. For others we knew that they would stay married forever because they were high school sweethearts and they are both now on their second marriage.
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Our problem is we think we have it all figured out. We think we see all the details. We think we know what everyone wants. We think we know where everyone should be. We need to correct our way of thinking. Because we are not in control of anything. It took me a long time to figure this out. If you’ve read anything I’ve posted before you know I went to counseling. It’s called Celebrate Recovery. Something that we learn there is that we are not in control. God is in control. Yes we have self control, but we struggle with that and we need help with it. Addiction for example, and not just in big areas of alcohol and drugs but video games and tablets, small things like that. Addiction is rampant and self-control is almost non-existent where those things are concerned. So even though we have self control, we don’t exercise it and we still need help with it. So in the end God really is in control. We have to rely on him for all of our strength. Once I realized that, and that I myself also could not control and manipulate other people or their lives, things got a lot easier. I realize that God himself had a better plan for all of us. I needed to see Him and see where he was leading us. Not where I was leading, which was off a short cliff. 

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Most people don’t realize that they are relying on the person next to them for their strength, confidence, wisdom, encouragement, discernment and even love when in reality the first place we should go for all of that is God. The strain we put on those close to us for those needs can become a heavy burden at times. When you are expecting things out of your loved ones that only the Creator can provide not many relationships can survive it. You may think it sounds mean and if you do then you need to dive into the word a little more because you haven’t grasped the concept yet, but your spouse can’t provide you with all the love you need, nor any other human. Even a group of people fall short of the amount and right kind of love a person needs. You can’t love the people around you till you have the love of Jesus in you heart.

We are selfish by nature. Born selfish little babies, we have to be taught how to love and respect others. To fully love someone the right way we have to be loved the right way first. We have to know and trust that unconditional, never ending, never failing love.

I’ve had a lot of people that I love and trust in my life leave me. I felt abandoned and alone. I’m not talking as an adult I’m talking as a child, at least it started as a child it kept happening as an adult. It has been less frequent in recent years. Growing up someone was always leaving me for one reason or another. Eventually that pain was just an open wound that never healed. It still breaks open and bleeds and I cry. I found looking back through ever thing that Jesus was there every step of the way protecting me. I see stories now of what some little girls go through and I realize how much worse my life could have been, just how much I was protected from.

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He never left me. He has never left me. He is still with me. Y’all I ain’t perfect! Those who know me personally know, I can tear up an anvil with a rubber mallet. Yet He’s right there to set another anvil in front of me to say “Try again Holly.” Needless to say I’ve been through a few anvils.

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Are you willing to give Him control though? That was the hardest question I had to answer. My biggest fear was that he was going to send me to some Godforsaken country. He didn’t. I married a preacher’s son, who then became the music leader and is now a deacon. Along that path, I got into children’s and women’s ministries. So not quite a foreign country but definitely has the occasional wildling. I love it. Turns out leadership is something I have a knack for. I still get scared at times. While I still do my best to lean on Him for understanding and direction which is not easy with a high dose of ADHD in my system, I make mistakes and people look to me for direction and advice. So if I’m not seeking His Kingdom first, if I’m not in the word, if I am distracted by the everyday hustle and bustle it can go all wrong. I’m still me, and some days I find it hard to believe I’m not that 16 year old snot nose brat driving a beat up mercury around a one red light town with nothing better to do but burn gas in between daylight hours. Yet here I am, and when that thought hits home, I’m amazed every time at how far He has brought me.

It’s not just that but my marriage and family, willingness to turn over those decisions about finances and all the small things. I like being in control, not a very submissive girl here so this was a challenge. I had to realize I can’t see the big picture. Literally. When you get a new book, sometimes there is a map on the inside cover and you can see the whole story there. The characters in the book travel on that map. They can’t see through the forest, they aren’t sure how many leagues it is to the sea. I’ll let you figure out the rest of that analogy.

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Going on what I know from the past and everything Jesus has done for us. The crap shoots He has gotten us out of, that were of our own making, why would I not continue to trust Him in every detail of our lives. It’s not easy I won’t lie. I struggled with it every day. I was created this way, I was created to be a strong leader, I’ve learn that as long as I continue to seek Him first then we can stay on the same page, and I won’t get so distracted by what this world says I should be doing.

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Thank you for reading, may His Son shine on you and bless you and yours!

Promises Kept

The top photo of us in red was taken at his mom’s, around the 4 year mark when we were having issues. Only a few people knew, that I know of. What follows is personal and dear to my heart.

I needed counseling. That was all there was to it. I didn’t know it. I didn’t think I needed it. I honestly wasn’t going for me. To be fair, we needed counseling. After 4 years our marriage had hit not a bump in the road, but chasm. I was willing to go to get him to go because I believed that he was the problem. Not saying that I was the problem. I am saying that we both had issues we though pre-marriage counseling dealt with, apparently did not.

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(Pre-wedding, we were out shopping for tuxedos for our groomsmen.)

So I took the first step and approach our person at church who heads up that department and asked what we had to do to get us, mainly him into counseling. She had herself, another lady and a gentlemen, just recently complete a counseling program that would be perfect for us. You see, to facilitate the program you have to complete it first. That began our first step into a year-long process of Celebrate Recovery.

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www.celebraterecovery.com

 

No I have no idea what he talked about in counseling because the men’s classes are separate from the women and everything is strictly confidential. I can sit here and tell you about my personal issues that I dealt with and put to rest. Honestly because of Celebrate Recovery I can talk about my issues freely now. I can discuss things that happen to me as a child, that haunted me and dogged me, openly without regret. These were things that I had carried with me thinking they were my fault, when in reality I was a child/teen. I had no control over the things happening to me or the adults in my life. Being able to let those things go and put them to rest lifted a weight off my shoulders and allowed me to take on my true task in life. That which was loving my husband without preconceived notions, loving my children without exceptions and serving in my church with out running myself ragged because I was over compensating for all the years as a kid I missed out!

I was fighting with my past daily, using past experience to determine how I went about daily task and took on new challenges. I was not brought up in a Godly home, nor a stable home for that matter. FYI you can be raised in a stable home and it not be Godly. I wasn’t raise in either. So it was mortal chaos and Hell all at the same time. I expected reactions out of my husband and while expecting those reactions, he was reading my emotions and going off into left field because he could not understand why I was acting how I was acting. I had been programmed and brainwashed to expect certain things out of certain people in my life. This just pushed us further and further apart. Celebrate Recovery showed me that the way I was raised did not determine the rest of my life. My upbringing did not determine how I was going to conduct myself within my marriage.

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(Our 9th first date anniversary, he recreated the date, took me to the same Chick-fil-a and movie theater. Thank goodness the same movie wasn’t playing. The first one was so bad we walked out on it and drove home slow. Following that trip though we now ride with the windows up in Gainesville. He was doing he cool country boy thing with his arm hanging out the window and a rogue palm tree attack him on a back street just past the theaters. I didn’t know a person could become so irate at a palm tree.)

I did have some good examples growing up. I did have a few good loving people in my life. As I got older and got to know people this group grew. These are people I have grown on to look up to and respect. Some have passed on now, but I still look back on the time I spent with them and the wisdom they passed to me. I realize now, how valuable it is, just the example they set with their life. People who show/ed me exceptions, that rare jewels are less rare if you pay closer attention to the people around you. The funny thing is these are all older ladies and a few gentlemen. By older I mean older than me by 30-50 years. Some are widowed, some were not at the time I met them first. I got to see them interact with their husbands and families. I still get to see some of them interact. FYI my husband will celebrate 11 years this coming June. These ladies though they don’t hold back when it comes to showing affections or generosity. They don’t waver in their faith through the hard times. They don’t waver in their faithfulness to their husbands, even if their husband has passed away 30+ prior. The men are the same, but in a different way. They are courteous, respectful, honorable everything I want my boys to be when they grow up.

About 6ish years ago my marriage was headed for the toilet. The thing is I made a vow. I don’t make those lightly. My husband made a vow and he is a man of his word, one of the reasons I married him. Our marriage was broken to a point, yes. It was not however unfix-able. We were still breathing, and we both still loved each other very much, we both still wanted to make a life with each other. Frankly we are tougher than most people, or at least that is the way we think of ourselves and our marriage.

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(Doing his superhero thing and having lunch with the boys!)

I think that is the way everyone should think about their marriage. Theirs is the toughest out there. It might get broken, put a cast on it. It might get bruised, there is an oil for that. It might get shattered, put some super glue on it. It might be just falling apart, patch it up with some duck tape till you get to the ER(CR). Eventually though you’ll have it patched up, repainted, polished, the dents buffeted out, maybe not in that order, but looking like something new. You won’t be your old selves. You will be something new. Because you will have whether a storm of catastrophic damage and survived, and you will be stronger for it.

In this case there’s a saying that hold so true it is not even funny. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I think Needtobreathe “Hard Love” is a prefect translation of this sentiment. Follow that up with Casting Crowns “Broken Together”.

My heart goes out to those whose marriages are in jeopardy. It is never easy to confront those you love or battle the baggage from the past that it threatening what matters now. But know that the battle is worth it, because it does matter, and it is so worth it.

Just as a FYI update, we still have our days when we fight and disagree and sometimes we might go a day or two when we are not happy with each other. We eventually work it out. Make up sex is still the best. I love him now more than I ever thought I could. You might not think it to look at him, but to me he is the sexiest man alive. I don’t want, and could not be tempted by anything else.

I hope you each find a love like mine. May His Son shine on you!!

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(Our 11th Proposal anniversary Beauty and the Beast happen to be appearing that weekend. He surprised me with tickets to the movie, the dress you see here, in my size, no I did not try it on before hand, it was on the bed when I got home from town that morning after a few errands, dinner at a really nice restaurant, a hotel in the same town, his parents to babysit, a photo shoot schedule just prior to leaving for the dinner and show. We also had a couple of friends join us. It was a great night! I even had some little girls and some adults that wanted to take a picture with “Belle”. Another FYI, this has been my favorite movie since I was a little girl. It’s not his favorite movie, he’s not really a fan, but because it is mine, he went all out!)

Rough Start

This morning I had a rough start. On holiday to see family. Not on my normal routine. My sugar is wanting to give me a fit. My head is spinning, think I’m ovulating which if you are a female of any kind this comes with a whole bag of side effects. I was hoping to have a regular morning with no issues personally anyway, just hanging out and enjoying family. Instead I end up dealing with myself try to figure out what my mental and physical problems are. Then I realize what I did wrong.

Its 11:30 and I have yet to have a conversation with Jesus. I’m so caught up in getting the boys straightened out and making sure everything is all good and trying to figure out what my problem is, I missed my most important engagement this morning and it has thrown my whole day off.

I’m behind on one of my Christmas devotions so I’m going to share a couple of versus because I honestly was just floundering around. That focus and purpose was missing.

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If you think your quiet time isnt important, your are gravely mistaken. It can change your world. Moments in prayer, refocusing my day, gainig perspective on my weakness, realizing that I’m ok and it’s not the end or worst day ever, yeah makes a big difference in how the rest of my day/holiday will go.

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I have a post I’m working on about how a lot of people seem to think I rely on my husband to keep me going or that I lean on him or that he’s my rock. Well he is my husband, but he isn’t what sustains me through the roughest, toughest, times. I not such a horrible person as to put that responsibility on him. He’s a man’s man by every definition but he is still a human being. My rock and foundation is Jesus, I go there first. I am weak, feeble and frail in my humanity as is every human. The man of the house included, so that weight of holding me up and keeping me together when nothing else can falls on the creator of the universe. If he can hold our existence in balance surely my personal ecosystem is no big. So I leave you with the last verse.

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Cold Days, Warm Memories

As the days grow colder, my heart grows heavy, as the memories are harder to contain. They bust forward in my mind in a flash of light, they consume every space available. The detail depicted is ever so bright. I remember the smile, the laugh. Those calloused hands as they taught me things no one else cared enough to teach me. The love and the patience that was passed to me through those hands, still resides in my heart. The lessons and knowledge I gained at the very large feet of him who knew no end to a day, still teaches me every day. Never raising his voice, never raising his hand to me in anger. Ours ways a relationship like no other and one that I miss everyday. My heart aches as the days get shorter and the nights get longer. With the year coming to a close, my mind cranks out these memories more frequently. The pain and love coming back, opening up old hurts anew. Reminding me of a time when I was the center of someone’s world, or thought I was. Then as the pain fades and I get back to today, remembering where I am and what I am doing. I say thank you to the One who matters,  because my love is safe and I’ll see those hands and that smile again, I can here that laugh again. As it settles, that peace that surpass all understanding quiets my heart, my tears dry, and I go on with my day.

On December 19, 2013 the man who I thought was invincible and would never leave me, passed away. Because of my faith in Jesus and the fact that before my Papa passed away he assured me that he knew Jesus and had accepted Him, I have that faith and belief that I will see him again. I don’t believe myself or my sister would have been able to survive his passing otherwise. I know that for most families December is a time of celebration, and for the most part it is for us. We have that peace. We also have an ache though, as anyone does who has lost a loved one, and for those who have lost loved ones close to Christmas, a time when families should be coming together, the pain can be even greater and harder to bear.

My heart goes out to those who are spending their first holiday season without a treasured loved one. My prayers are for peace and perserverance. May your memories comfort you in the cold and warm your heart for a brighter future.

May His Son shine on you this Christmas and keep you and yours safe and warm!

 

 

 

Into the Wilderness

Tomorrow is Turkey Day! Woot Woot! Most of us are going to be leaving the belts at home, if we are traveling to see family, choosing to wear our tights, for their forgiving nature, and forgoing the diets we have subjected ourselves to for the last month in preparation for this coming event!!  A lot of my social media friends have been doing the “Daily Thankful Post” for November, each day they post about something different that they are thankful for. At our November Women On Mission meeting we talked about different ways to list things to be thankful for. If you are having a hard time of coming up with things,  for example just start with the ABC’s, A is for Acute, my husband is thankful for my Acute sense of smell, I’m his “go to” for checking leftovers, to see if they are good enough to eat!!

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Most people find that they have so much to be thankful for. It really is a form of counting your blessings. “Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God has done!” You know you sang that. Seriously, it is something that should be done regularly. We forget a lot of times about the small things that God has done for us. We become complacent in our everyday lives and in today’s fast pace world we just want the next big thing, because nothing is ever good enough. We are not content with what we have.

I seen a video this morning and shared it. It that explained how today’s relationships and marriages are failing because social media has made fairy tales seem like they should be a reality. So, people are expecting something that does not exist, and when the real thing shows up and requires them to actually put in some effort and work they throw it away as fast as they can and go looking for what the world has told them they should have. That was a side note, but important, be thankful for where you are whether single or married. Grow where you are, if you want different, pray for God’s will which is always perfect and for the best!

That being said, I have been trying to find my way, and here lately it seems that every devotion or study that I do has to do with God’s love and his people. Imagine that. By the way,  that’s what the Bible is about, how much God loves us. Specifically though, what I have discovered is where He meets us, or you could say guess “shows up”. This intrigued me, so I hope you follow along.

Abraham was not a city dwelling man for the most part. He did occasional stay in one, for example his time in Egypt, but that didn’t last long. As you read about his life though and the different times that he spoke with God it was always in the dessert or wilderness.

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Later we see Jacob on his return home to meet Esau, he sends everyone ahead and is left alone for the night. In the wilderness, by himself he wrestled with God. Don’t know about ya’ll but I have had plenty of late night arguments with Jesus, I never win.

Moses met God in the wilderness as well. All by his lonesome. That still gives me pause. Not sure how I would react if I was alone and came across a burning bush, that talked no less. He would later lead the Israelites back to that same wilderness and it would take two generations for them to finally trust that God would deliver them to the land flowing with milk and honey. Praying it doesn’t take me that long to trust him to follow through on his promises. I’m hoping I can learn from their mistakes. Food for that right there.

Persia, was a different kind of wilderness though. Persia was a land without God. When Jerusalem was sacked and the people taken captive, it was a new kind of wilderness. This was a land barren of anything familiar and yet it was teeming with people, idols and distractions. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah(AKA Shadrach Meshach and Abednego) had their challenges but they were not afraid. Their faith in God was strong and was proven in everything that they did. God was faithful to them and He met them in their “dessert time”. He didn’t show up when they were taking care of business, or when things were just fine. He showed up when He was needed and at just the right time. If you notice though He didn’t remove Daniel from the den. The coolest part I think, pun intended, He joined the other three in the fire. He didn’t remove them from the fire.

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Reading back through Genesis, He never removed the Israelites from the desert, He join them there and lead them out. He didn’t just “POOF” and BAM here you go. He could have, make no mistake about it, but he didn’t. Taking all that in to consideration, the fact that He never changes, that He is a Just God, and then reading in Corinthians 13 all the things that Love is, while you are at it, if you go over to 1 John 4, you will find that God is Love, not that Love is God, but that God is Love and you will not find it once, but twice in the same chapter, the wilderness is painted in a different light. (Sorry for the run on sentence if Mrs. Wisdahl or Mrs. Gresham see this they may hunt me down!)

I’ve been in my own wilderness for a long time. A wilderness of my own making. My problem is that I haven’t been willing to just stay there. I’ve been trying to get out. Not realizing the blessings, lessons, and mercy that can be found there. Allowing my pride and the world to tell me I need more that the quiet, the peace that can be found here. That I  need to be moving, going, doing, seeing and saying. When in reality, “Be Still and Know That I AM God” is really where my direction should be.

This Thanksgiving I am truly thankful for my wilderness and the growing up that I have done here. I had a few minutes to myself this morning (because I have awesome in-laws who kept my kids last night, whom I am also thankful for) and realized just how far I have come in the last 10 years. Even though it is a dessert where I am, my wilderness has produced more fruit in me than I thought possible, due to no fault of my own. The realization is that while in the wilderness there is nothing and no one but you and Him, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”

Later on if He chooses to lead me out of this wilderness, I hope I can remember how to get back, if for no other reason than to help keep me grounded and focused on Him!

Happy Thanksgiving from this SONflower and her 4 men. I hope you all have a great holiday and may The Son shine on you, in you and from you, so that you light up the world around you!!

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The Buddy System

Good Morning Everyone,

As I was in the middle of the morning rush this morning, I witnessed the buddy system in action. You know that thing you are taught as a kid. Find your partner in the group hold hands and don’t let go, that way no one gets lost. Usually it was on a field trip with a school class or church group. If there was one kid left out no one wanted to pair up with, that poor sap got the teacher as their buddy, cause that was the highlight of the trip right. For kids this system worked well for field trips, if we started lagging one of us would notice and catch us up.  The reason for the system was safety though, correct. Now a days I think we have more chaperones and less time for the buddy system to even be used for kids, but for some of us who remember using it, it still applies to different areas of our lives, as referenced above. Curious?

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(I know Police is spelled in Bosnian, but the picture was what I was going for. Two brothers in uniform facing the unknown.)

Everyone has a phone these days, and I mean everyone. If you don’t you are born yesterday(no joke) or off grid. Even in prison where they aren’t suppose to have them, they get snuck in. So everything gets recorded. People with cell phones and opinions who get stopped for a traffic violation have been one of the biggest entertainments to hit Facebook. Of course everyone has an opinion whether or not they, themselves are guilty or how the stop should have gone and this and that. A lot of time the main issue is why do so many cops have to stop for one vehicle? Why did he have to call for back up?

Great questions! Back to my morning drive as I was pulling in to my work which is right next to a school zone, on the third day of school, two LEOs had someone stopped. My first question “Is this person nuts?” My second question as any normal civilian is thinking “Why two?” Well duh, my first question answered by second question. Those smart LEOs had already figured that out and were not going over there without a buddy. Makes sense right, what kind of idiot speeds through a school zone with 3 cop cars and a state trooper sitting right there. Buddy up time. Same goes in any situation. These guys are not mind readers they don’t know you from Adam’s house cat, and they sure enough don’t know what you have in your car. Their goal is to keep us safe while we are on the road, while making sure we follow the rules, and also make it home to their loved ones at the end of the day. If that requires having two or three extra buddies for back up as a safety measure then so be it.

Now some of you are thinking “Oh yeah more of them to gang up on me!” Ok if you have that mentality going into an encounter with a LEO, I’m still backing the LEO. Before you even know anything about them or their integrity as an officer you are already judging them.” Well they judged me!” Pretty sure they just stopped you because you were breaking the law. They didn’t have to judge anything. They are doing their jobs. Which we as hard working Americans pay them to do. If you don’t want them to have to do their job, don’t break the law.

That part was free as Gdaddy says.

Now back to another instance of where the buddy system that was ingrained in us as kids is utilized in our adult lives. There’s a couple actually. One we have been hitting on lately in Sunday School is an accountability partner, or best friend. When I say “best friend”, you are thinking of that person you share funny stuff with on Facebook or complain to about your spouse. An accountability partner is way more in the way of a best friend than the high school definition of best friend, than all of you are thinking.

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This is a person who is going to call you on your crap. You see your best friend from high school is too nice for that. They aren’t going to tell you, that you are messing up because they don’t want to make you mad or upset you, thinking that they might loose your friendship and then be alone. A bit selfish if you ask me. An AP on the other hand isn’t out for their on self interest. Their job is what their name states, to hold you accountable. You start doing stupid stuff, they are going to talk to you about it, not just sit idly by and watch you tear you life apart. You can return the favor to this person as well, it’s a two way street.

Our last example of the buddy system is our spouse. The person who at the end of the day makes all the bad stuff disappear with a hug and a listening ear. One thing I have come to realize about this particular relationship is that there should always be three buds. You, them and Jesus, but in the opposite order. This relationship does not require anyone else. If you have a communication malfunction, it stays within the three of you. I have watch as countless marriages have been ripped apart, because one or both spouses took their problems outside of their marriage to solve them. This allows for outside opinions to cloud your judgement on a situation, that those outsiders don’t know all sides to the story. This allows for doubt, conjecture and biased opinions to form about you spouse. KISS it people, “Keep it simple stupid”, as in 1, 2, 3, Jesus, them and you. That is all it takes.

JC and I don’t always agree, in fact we disagree on a lot of things, and we argue and fight. That being said, the issues stay between us. The only way people know me and him are having disagreement, well apparently my face is a dead ringer for my emotions. It may take some time for me to articulate exactly what I want to say with out it coming out of my mouth wrong, but we always get it figured out. I am not always right and neither is he. That’s how a relationship works, its a give and take. Most of us forget about that one small word though, GIVE. As I have said before, we are selfish people, I am among the most selfish, so I have to work at that “Giving” side of the relationship a bit more than some.

(This was right after a skating trip, where his head had come in contact with the hard floor and we took a trip to the ER cause I’m a worry wart, and he knew it would make me happy even though he didn’t want to go!)

The buddy system is to some, a relic best left in elementary school. For the rest of us, it is something that was unknowingly ingrained in us as kids, and we us it to this day. Buddies are important and necessary for us to continue staying safe, keeping our integrity, and growing in our marriage. Make sure you got your buddies back, and that they don’t get lost or left. And the next time you get pulled over, remember that officer has a family that wants him to come home, as does every family who sacrifices a loved one to a life in uniform.

 

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Thanks for reading! Make sure you hit the Like button, if you liked it, and don’t forget to share, someone may need reminding of the buddies system!

Ya’ll have a great week!

It’s messy ladies!

My last post was a “Song for the broken”, something that for the most part speaks to each of us in some way or another at some point in our lives. I wonder though how many of us feel like because we live in a mess that we are wrong or we are not living. Please don’t take that statement the wrong way, let me explain.

If you have ever watched the show “Hoarders”, you need therapy and that is not the kind of mess I am talking about. If your mess is tearing apart other peoples lives and up heaving marriages and ending the foundation of families then no that is not the kind of mess I’m referring too.

Most days I think I’ll never survive. I wake up tired. I’m 31, that shouldn’t happen. Half the time I forget half the stuff I’m suppose to be doing, I have at least 15 alarms on my phone for various things. A calendar on said phone, color coded and loaded with more activities and bill due dates than one sane person can keep up with. There is also my notebook, my handy dandy notebook, you know you said that in the blues clues sing song voice, which is also packed full of passwords that I can’t remember for websites I had to register for, for what ever reason, along with confirmation numbers from bill’s paid over the phone, contact numbers for those bills, along with the rest of my brain I decided not to put in my phone. The reason being, because I’m weird that way!

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I have a job I love and my Monday morning as weird as it sounds I can’t wait to get to work, even though it’s a Monday, by Friday I’m ready for the weekend. While at work though, holy smokes at the responsibilities a job entails on top of everything else I already do as a me, that’s not counting my work stuff. I haven’t even hit my wife, mom and church responsibilities.

Half the time I have my oldest son who thinks he has to remind me that he has to have this for that, or that for this. I’m like “Dude I’m known as “Mom” I got this! I know what I’m doing!” He has faith in me I know, I just think he sees what I do and feels the need to help, he’s an awesome kid like that!

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All of this is going on though. This is a snippet of my life, a small glance in to how it all goes or doesn’t. A lot of times it gets messy, because I’m not perfect, I cant keep it all straight, I can’t make every school function, doctor’s appointment, or church function. I forget to sign papers or send money to school or call in a prescription. I forget to give my kid his antibiotics and we have to extend how long we give it or go back and get another round. I get lost in time playing with my kids and forget to cook supper. Yeah I’m that mom. Thank the Lord for a husband who knows how to cook and loves Legos.

It’s a great big mess yall! I would not, could not survive with out the mercy and grace of Jesus. I don’t know how many times I’ve just been driving along, turned a corner or had someone pull out in front of me and realized the only reason I was still alive was cause Jesus loves me. I can’t see through my mess, it’s gnarly knot at a time. Guess what though, He is right there beside me, holding the flashlight telling me which rope to pull and push, my decision is to listen or not. I could just stay right there, in the dark, turn off that light and sit there.

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Or open my ears, let my hands be guided, my eyes be opened and have some help with my mess. Just so yall know, I make a

decision daily to accept the light, the guidance, the sight I wouldn’t otherwise have. I refuse to let my mess get overwhelming and unmanageable. To me it’s the only way.

Give Him the flashlight, and get working on your mess, you’ll feel a whole lot better.

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