Three Things to Remember During Times of Change!

isaiah 43-19

 

There are a whole lot of “new things” going on around here!

My oldest son, Chase, is graduating from high school and heading off to college! We just received word that my little boy has been given a full academic scholarship to Florida Southern to study Biology! His Dad and I were jumping around like little  kids when we found out the news last week!

After months, really a year of waiting, my husband Mark  is being offered a new job of management. He is awaiting a contract in the mail for this new position in the sales industry-

( please God let that contract come soon!)

I just received OFFICIAL notice that I have been signed as an author with MacGregor Literary Agency! I am a little embarrased  to say I kissed the computer screen when I saw my name on their website!  A lifetime dream  is coming true as God opens this new door of opportunity.

“New things” come with challenges!

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Before all these wonderful new things,  challenges and added tensions mounted!  Huge waves of emotion accompany a senior year of high school, along with the stress of SAT scores, interviews and the college decision process- There is insecurity not knowing exactly what these changes will mean for our family-

Is my baby boy really leaving the nest for good?

Mark has been faced with really difficult work related situations. I have watched as his confidence and self-esteem were battered with criticism and discouragement. The process of looking for another job was a major test of our faith.

Does a new job really give us security in the future?

Last summer, I followed a God-sized calling to write a story about the Freeride 836 fundraiser we completed and the losses that our family suffered. This process felt like falling off a cliff as I was stepping out of my comfort zone. At my first writer’s conference, I skipped out on a session where others could read my manuscript because I was terrified! I spent countless hours alone, in my home, writing to a computer screen.

Secretly I questioned, do I have what it takes to be a writer at 45 years old?

What about you ?

Are you experiencing the waves of emotion before the “new things” about to happen in your life?

Could it be that some of the hard times you face right now are preparing your heart for a new blessing in your future?

Emotions run high and low in times of change, but I am discovering these are the signs that God is, indeed, doing something new! Change can usher in waves of uncertainty, but God has three wonderful words of security for us .

Remember to  :

1.) SEE CHRIST :

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( See, I am doing a new thing! )

God is omniscient, knowing all things well in advance. He can see our lives from beginning to the end.  For most of us, we see a “new thing” when the job contract is signed or the scholarship is in hand-  This verse is alluding to the coming of Christ. His work on the cross would set people free from the slavery of sin. It was the work of Christ that would change the state of our hearts to bring us into right relationship with God for all eternity.  The ” new things” always begin with the work of Christ to change our hearts. His work overcomes stress with the peace of knowing He is in control of the future. He overcomes worry and doubt with the promises of His protection regardless of our occupation. He, Jesus, has the power to open unexpected doors of opportunity for ministry regardless of our fear and insecurity.

a repurposed heart

God is well aware of the things he wants to bring into our lives and it is His work that will be accomplished in us.

Philippians 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.( NLT)

2.) PERCEIVE:   ( Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? )

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I have heard it said that perception is reality!

As believers, we must constantly perceive challenges and hard times as the the signs of a divine work in progress.

I was just talking to a friend of mine on the phone this am. She is a foster mother to a child she has been raising for almost two years. She has invested in countess hours of love, time, private schooling, and therapy for this little boy. This boy, however, is now entering the teen years(  adolescence and horrible-mones)  She faces so many new challenges with this emerging teen. She is determined to love him, but it aint easy!  We talk each morning about the battles they face and I hear the weary sound of her voice pouring her whole heart into this kid, only to get what seems like attitudes and kickback  at every turn. It’s easy to forget all the ways she has seen positive changes that have come as a result of her efforts. So, I love to remind her of the eternal gift she is investing into every hour of this boy’s life. Daily investments are not easy to see when they are not rewarded with smiles and thank yous! But in the big picture of life, I can’t help but see my precious friend raising a man who will one day called her “blessed” for all she has given him.

Especially in the struggles that produce change, I believe God is whispering to us each morning, “Do you not perceive that your struggles are part of my new thing I am doing? ”

Do you need to hear the loving reminders of your God today?

Do you desire to  hear his voice asking you to perceive blessings in the midst of the messy moments of life?

3.) RECEIVE:

( I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland)

The path we need to travel and the provisions for the journey all come from God. Just like the way God led his people through the wilderness, he will lead us through our changes and challenges. How do we receive His provisions?

Through prayer we can ask God to help us receive His provision.

Matthew 7:11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.( NLT)

Through faith, believe that Christ alone can bring you refreshment to your spirit  –

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:38

Through Surrender to the authority of Christ’s rule over our hearts

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.Colossians 3:15

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I heard Beth Moore describe the authority of Christ’s peace in our lives like an attempt to stay under a protective umbrella. Whatever is not covered by the unbrella is getting messed up! Tonight, as I am going to bed, I am examining a few areas of my life that still need to be brought under the protection of Christ’s peace.

I am so grateful for the God that loves me enough to protect my heart with His peace during three new things!

Is there any other way you feel God has helped you navigate a “new thing ” in your life?

What is a major area that you would like to see changing in your future?

I would love to hear your heart or any comments you would like to add to this post-

Thank you so much for reading!:)

 

Is your confidence wilted?

Wilted

 

I stared through tears at the flowers on my coffee table in the room where I go to meet God each morning…The weeks events were hard and not what I expected. The flowers seemed to represent my wilted confidence and my drooping hope for the future. As my head drooped too, I muttered a prayer,” God, I feel so sad- just like these drooping flowers”

Of all things, I am leading a women’s conference this week and I was feeling ill-equipted to lead anyone at the moment.”Wilted Flower Woman” can’t lead anyone at the moment, including herself!

Ministry is hard like that on people who are getting ready to share what is in their heart. It seems like the week before each talk or presentation I am faced with difficult situations that seem to rattle my self-confidence and stir up feelings of self-doubt and fear. “

As I was about to enter into another difficult conversation and confront a painful relationship,( gulp)My tendency is stuff my negative emotions inside because I am afraid of confrontation!  My door bell rang. Who in the world is coming over now? Unsuspectedly, I looked at my front door step and found a fresh bouquet of flowers. Shocked, It took my mind a minute to understand what was going on? Flowers? It is March, not Valentines Day, so it couldn’t be from my husband? I reached for the flowers as I saw the delivery person scampering quickly into their car. Suddenly, I realized the delivery person looked quite familiar….yes, I know this girl…..

She jumped out of her car and laughed, ” You answered the door so quickly and I couldn’t run fast enough.”

“She” was a precious friend who drove over  to give me flowers with a card that told me how much God loves me, not even knowing about my drooping roses in my prayer room.

I gave her the biggest hug and ran back in the house feeling refreshed. My sadness turned into joy as I realized the truth of my wilted flower prayer:

If the God of the universe has the power to hear me tell Him I feel like a wilted flower and send a friend to bring me fresh ones, then He is able to help me work through my painful relationships.

This display of His power wrapped my heart in the renewal of my confidence that it is God’s work alive and active in me and not my own! It is His faithfulness in me that will speak to women at the conference.

He can refresh my communication skills to give me words of love and not condemnation

He can take away the fear that makes me want to run from difficult conversations

He can send me people to love me even when I feel unloved

He can make a message come alive with His spirit even when I feel like a mess!

Maybe you need some fresh flowers today to remind you that your God can and will be with you to perk up your joy?

I am sending you a picture of the ones my friend gave me, so I can be the friend to you that says,

Philippians 1:6(GNT)

And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus.

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Prayer Practice for Parenting: Using verses in a prayer as if spoken by God to your heart.

I found a letter I wrote myself during my grief counseling.  I was hurting over the ways I watched my children struggle through this painful situation. 

As their mom, I was afraid of all the ways I was failing them with the pain of my own grief.  They were too young to understand that their mom was almost paralyzed by the hurt.

My counselor told me to write the verses of comfort into a letter to myself, as if God was speaking directly to me-

The statements were based on scriptures but put in first person form-

This practice helped me personalize many of the promises of scripture in a deeply meaningful way.

Maybe you need a little parenting pick me up from the Lord?

Parenting in this day and age is a daunting task. Without Christ, it can be an near to impossible mission to raise children to walk with God in a really challenging world. I was just reading these words spoken by Jesus to his disciples,

Mathew 19:26- Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Is there an impossible situation you are wrestling in your child’s life? Are you secretly worried that a weakness in you will damage or limit God’s work in your child’s life?

I am so grateful for this reminder from the heart of Christ himself that my impossible parenting task is possible to God. As I focus on God’s power and not my own, my heart can rest in the security of God’s work in the lives of my children.I pray you will hear the words of your Father in heaven spoken to you today.

Here is an example of my prayer that I wrote.

Maybe you can take the same challenge and write verses in prayer form as if spoken to you by God?

Dear One-

Why are you so downcast and discouraged? It is I who formed and made your child in the secret places of your being. My heart for you today is to rest. Come to me with all that you hold onto, your fears, your doubts and I will give you the rest you are longing to find. I will carry your load for you. Will you stop fretting and trying to do my job in your child’s life? Only I have the power to create change by the work of my Holy Spirit. Take Heart. Do not be afraid or discouraged. I am doing a new thing. You may not see it with your eyes, or hear it with your ears. Your mind can not understand what I have planned for you but it is a wonderful plan to prosper  you and to bring you hope. My blessings are generational as I bless to the thousandth generation.

Rest today knowing your child’s future is in my hands.

 

 

Reclaim Joy when you want to quit! Part 2

Don’t Quit! Part 2

Here is a fun way to reclaim some motivation through a simple picture on your phone. 

Repurposing Activity: grab your cell phone during any point of the day and take a picture of something God is trying to show you to encourage you about the future. Is it a gorgeous moment in nature, the face of a child or a symbol that only your heart understands? Look at that picture as a view of his heart to encourage you daily. When you are tempted to feel fear or discouragement, use that picture and remind yourself of the truth. You might even want to post it to facebook or pintrest with your thoughts to encourage someone else!

Ask God to give you a view of success in the future and not the mess-ups of today.

Here is the picture I use to remind myself that God will help me each step of the way. Even when I make a few slip-ups!

Psalms 37:23-24

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him. Though he stumbles, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

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The next morning, after I was feeling really discouraged, I woke up early to walk in our field behind the house. This was the view I was given by the one who raises the sun each morning. I was filled with joy as I grabbed my phone and captured the fog lifting over the glory of creation. My fears, my inadequacies, my confusion are like the fog that disappears with the rising of the Son . The light of Christ exposes my desire to quit and gives me hope for His power in my future. I am called for His purpose, not my plans. As I open my heart to His calling for my family and His provision for my time, I can do everything He calls me to do.

So, what did I do?

I ran back home and began to clean the kitchen with a smile on my face and a bottle of Clorox in my hands!

All day, when negative feelings would hit my heart, I took out my phone and looked at the beauty of this picture. Each time, God was whispering to my heart, don’t quit! I posted it to my facebook and another person commented that they really needed that encouragement too.

GOD will repurpose our fear with confidence as long as we

Don’t quit!