Tuesday, April 16, 2013

BUT GOD!!!

"Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2

In the perfect way He does, God has been bringing this scripture to my attention since the beginning of this new year. And even more so recently. Apparently I wasn't listening very well though! So yesterday He spoke ever-so clearly to my heart and soul, showing me that I must begin somewhere, and this is where it should be ~ to offer my body as a living sacrifice. Ok Lord ~ I will do that!!!!! Yeah!! Ummm, wait ~ backup a few steps, HOW exactly does one offer their body as a living sacrifice? What does that even mean? I'm all about it God and will obey your command, but I have no idea how to go about doing what you've commanded. Here is where I would normally let the word or truth fade away, excusing my disobedience by saying how can I do something I have no idea how to do? At least the old me would have responded this way. But after many years of wrestling with my old self, which is still a daily battle and no easier I must say, I've come to cherish two simple words whose meaning is able to breath life and love and hope and faith. Two simple little words, which when put together...believed...and spoken from your heart...will absolutely change your life!

BUT GOD!!!! Let me say it again in case you missed it, BUT GOD!!!! My dear friends, if you never hear or read another word I speak, listen to these two words, and speak them together, over your life, over your soul, over your families, over every circumstance. But GOD!!!!! Let it soak in and marinate ~ penetrating your nagging thoughts of worry and consternation at the ways of this world, working it's way down into your heart. Consider the implications for a moment. We are broke and can't pay our bills ~ BUT GOD!!!! Our home is not big enough ~ BUT GOD!!!! My friends and family are against me ~ BUT GOD!!! The world is falling around me ~ BUT GOD!!!!!!!!

Start speaking these powerful words over every problem, every thought run astray from His truth, every little thing that takes your focus away from God, and He will show you His power and His absolute love for you. He will show up, this I guarantee.

And show up He has. In the midst of my internal monologue yesterday that went something like, (devil):"you don't even know what it means to be a living sacrifice!", ME: "BUT GOD!!!", He showed up. He always does. And do you know what He said? He said, "Let me show you!" And since that moment yesterday afternoon, a whole whopping 18 hours ago, He has presented three speakers, four scriptures ~ each repeated at least twice through different ways, and meaning for it all ~ explaining how one becomes a living sacrifice for God. Think He's trying to get my attention??? I would have to say heck yeah!!!

So how, you might be asking. Just as I asked...yesterday! How does one who inhabits this earth, who lives among society and their many rules and attempts to conform us to their ways, how do we offer ourselves as living sacrifices??? How Lord??? How do we overcome the busyness that has become the norm, the chaos that ensues to instill fear, the media who exists to distract us from the truth ~ your truth? How do we draw our focus from the ways of this world, and focus on you Lord, offering our lives as a tool to be used by the master Creator? HOW???

Ugggh, I am tired just thinking of all the craziness that swirls around us every minute of every day. Both parents or single parents working full time, children being left to their own devices. Constantly fueling our thoughts with television, facebook, twitter, texting... everything but Him! We are so distracted! And trust me, I fully include myself in this categorizing or stereotyping ~ whatever word you prefer to use to convey the idea that we are all EXHAUSTED, Over-consuming, and living in ways that JUST DON'T WORK!!! We are watching the same video 10 times of the bombs going off in Boston yesterday ~ which only serves to divert our hearts and minds from Him. It's evil. And it is sad. And we should see it, because we can't shield ourselves from everything going on in this world. BUT...BUT GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

He says we are to offer our lives as sacrifices, holy and pleasing to the Lord ~ this means we are to honor and OBEY Him! Know His Word ~ read it daily ~ hide it in your heart so you will not depart from Him! Then do as His word says. Having dug deeply into the Bible this year, actually clinging to it as the life line it is ~ I have come to see the absolute truth and wisdom available to each and every one of us just by knowing His Word. His truths start in our minds as we consume the words on the page, rolling around until they eventually seep into our souls, reawakening us to what we've always known in our spirits, but turned away from and forgot. I digress, so let me say it clearly ~ READ THE BIBLE and OBEY!!! This is the way to become a living sacrifice, turning your life into what pleases and honors God!

THEN, and I will wrap this up soon ~ I promise! THEN, once we begin to know & choose His ways over our own, we are to let Him transform our lives by the renewing of our minds! Begin to choose God ~ speaking to Him, trusting Him, loving and glorifying Him, and His ways are guaranteed to work out the old in you, revealing His wisdom and love within you. It's already there my loves! God lives within you, therefore you already have everything you will ever need to live as Godly, loving people while here on earth. You don't have to go to Church or believe the religious crazies to know Him ~ you simply have to ask Him to reveal Himself to you and help you ~ and He will do the rest!

WOW ~ OK!!! I so didn't intend to touch on all of those different areas, but that's how He works, and His truth always prevails. So I will leave you with this today my precious souls ~ You are loved by God, and therefore it is our duty to turn away from the distractions and darkness, and reveal that love to others by staying in close relationship with Him and allowing Him to have His way with your lives! We are all glorious masterpieces ~ created for a purpose, by the very source of all life ~ but living as slaves to the ways of this world and sin and darkness. See the good, be the good, and remember, no matter what ~ BUT GOD!!!!!!! Much love until next time!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A New Perspective

So, January and February haven't been the most stellar months of my existence. In fact ~ they were down right painful. BUT! There has to be a but, or it all would have been for naught. But, God's light and goodness always has a way of offering a new perspective, even in the midst of loss and difficulty. Especially in the midst of loss and difficulty. If I were not rooted so firmly in Him, I would have been washed away by the tide of death and brokenness. So thank you Lord, for your grace and your light, which can break through every darkness, bringing us back to your love. May I always re-cognize your ways and love for me:

156. An hour long conversation with a man I once thought to be lost.

157. Hearing the words, "I love you Mommy", and knowing they are meant with everything she is.

158. Love texting with my husband ~ reconnecting after life tried to separate.

159. Saying the words "I am in love with you" to my husband, and truly knowing their meaning for the first time.

160. Tucking my little man into bed, with his beloved stuffed animals and comfy blanket.

161. The realization that my daughter is getting ready to hit a tough age, and having the ability to prepare for this time, knowing God will lead us through.

162. The words, "I forgive you" being spoken when they needed to be heard most.

163. Celebrating the life of a woman I knew every day of my life, but coming to truly see her character and life, in her death.

164. Family reuniting in their souls, knowing this is the way it must be.

165. Being honest with my friends, my husband and myself.

166. The excitement of planning vacation time with my family.

167. Knowing that the 4 of us can get through anything, as long as we have each other.

168. Seeing my daughter be loved by family she's never known.

169. The wisdom to know when the devil is on the prowl, and the courage to withstand the temptation.

170. Being rewarded with the desires of my heart, for standing strong in the face of the enemy.

171. A beautifully delicate iris ~ broken but not lost.

172. Looking back and seeing growth.

173. Inspiration that motivates my soul and helps me reach for more.

174. Just the right words.

175. His glory in ALL things.

176. Knowing I'll never be the same, and thanking Him for it!

177. A very natural and strong sexual longing for my husband.

178. Family that stands up next to you when you need them most.

179. Finding forgiveness for words such as incompetent.

180. Knowing goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, regardless.

181. The word regardless.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Gotta Catch Up

I may be a little behind in counting my blessings here on this blog, but the list has gone on in my mind and heart. So here it is:

125. Watching little boys play tackle football.

126. Being thankful for my beautiful body, even though it may not measure up in society's eyes.

127. Kind words about a woman I didn't know to be kind.

128. Knowing that being intentional with my time and thoughts has powerful effects on others in exactly the ways they need.

129. A thirst for you Lord.

130. Knowing only You can quench that thirst.

131. Better choices.

132. Renewed inspiration and zeal to truly live this life.

133. Reading this book and feeling complete hope and trust in you Lord.

134. Knowing that You have plans to prosper me.

135. Knowing You are good and Your love for me overflows.

136. Watching my husband sleep and praying over him for peace and love and strength.

137. Walking through our home, praying Your promises over each room.

138. Waking early and knowing I need to spend time with You before beginning my day.

139. Weeping in Church, letting it all wash away.

140. Laughing deeply at a daughter whose sense of humor is glorious!

141. Looking at my son and seeing You Lord.

142. Knowing that goodness and mercy follow me day after day, and wanting for nothing.

143. Seeing evil but being able to discern it for just that.

144. Deleting numbers that don't belong.

145. Putting onto paper all of our glorious plans for the Year to Come.

146. Small steps toward a big future.

147. A sickness that cleansed my body.

148. Being awoken with roses and cards ~ love in the physical form :)

149. Making time to rest and regroup.

150. The desire to soar like an eagle, who uses the storm to lift them higher and higher.

151. Coming through some heavy storms and knowing You better.

152. Not taking the absolute beauty of music for granted.

153. Calling my husband a big hunk and giggling the entire time.

154. Friends we can help.

155. A husband who is quick to help others.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

More Prayer

Hi All ~ I know I've been asking for prayer a lot lately, but I'll tell you ~ it's been one heck of a start to the New Year. For those of you who don't know, I lost both my grandmother and my father-in-law within the past two weeks. My Uncle, who has been through so much, is finally on the road to recovery and doing much better. But now my Aunt, different side of the family, is failing. Her kidney's have shut down and they have her on dialysis, and will be transferring her to Johns Hopkins today from Chester County. I can't tell you how much faith I have in the Lord and His ways, even through all of this. Actually, because of all of this. I have seen many, many prayers answered recently!

So that is why I am reaching out to you now, to ask you to join me once again in prayer and lift up my Aunt to the Lord ~ that he would heal her completely and use this time to bring her to Him whom she is missing ~ our Lord and Savior. That she would know You for the first time. Show her your love Lord and keep her in your care, restoring her body and heart to perfect wholeness. I trust these things to be done in your Holy, Holy name. We thank you and praise you Lord. AMEN!!!!!

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. Love abounds and overflows!!!!!

1 Peter 1: 3-9 Praise God for a Living Hope

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

" For I know the plans that I have for you." Declares the Lord, "plans for you to welfare and not for calamity and to give you a future with Hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, February 6, 2012

I continue to give thanks, even in the midst of grief and loss.

I'm still sifting through the events of this past week. Grasping for peace and praying for understanding. In the past 10 days I watched my Grandmother take her last breath and buried my Father-in-Law, all the while trying to keep it together through these life-changing moments. I'm not quite sure how to keep moving forward when all I want to do is stop and breath. Shouldn't everything stop...realizing these moments for what they are...momentous and worthy of recognition? Two people I love are no longer here on Earth with me, and while I am trying not to be selfish, I have to say my heart aches a bit. Taking a second and looking back, I see a whirlwind of loss and beauty all mixed together. Because here's the truth ~ I know both of my loved-ones are now in the arms of my beloved Savior. He holds them close, opening their eyes to the glorious grace that they did not see here on Earth. Their bodies are healed and restored, and it is with comprehension of the ways of this world that they now watch over us. As my daughter puts it, they are now our angels.

But I miss them here, right now, thinking of their ways and wanting more than anything to see them, hold them, hug and kiss them. As I type this, though, I have to think no...what I wish was that I had cherished them more while they were still here. It's not that I want their return ~ I wouldn't wish them back to this earth for anything. What I do wish though is that I had spent more time seeing them, holding them, hugging and kissing them. I always chalked up my lack of time with them to say there will be more time. They understand. They know I love them. I just don't have the time right now. We are so busy!

I've been wanting to slow down lately. To truly cherish moments and time with those I love. Well, these past two weeks have truly shown me how completely necessary this is. We aren't here to simply rush through life. Barely getting through each day to simply move on to the next with the same lack-luster approach as the day before. We are here to enjoy life, living it to the fullest, abundantly and overflowing. Part of that, actually the biggest part of that I believe, after spending time with our Creator, is to be intentional in loving others. He calls us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And loving others means spending time with them ~ our most precious commodity given freely as an expression of love. Being present, being real, being love. These are what is important. Truly. It is my biggest regret in the past two weeks, knowing I could have been more intentional in loving these precious beings who are no longer here for me to love. So the next best thing I can come up with is to be more intentional in loving those who are here. Beginning with my husband and children. I can love them more, giving freely my time and attention. I won't lose another person and feel this regret. So I will use that for my good and be intentional.

I will also remember the love I shared with both my grandmother and my father-in-law while they were still here. I was able to spend time with both of them within the last month, and I know in their hearts they knew I loved them. That is not a question. Watching my grandmother take her last breath and leave this earth in peace is a moment I will cherish forever. Having the Military Officer hand the American Flag to my husband, and thank him, on behalf of the President and the US Military, for his Father's service, as Amazing Grace plays on the bagpipes somewhere in the distance ~ another moment I will hold dear in my heart, forever. Their lives both reminding me of the importance of living life well and to the fullest ~ that's priceless!

I will also give thanks, for in the midst of grief and loss, there is always grace:

113. My daughter's tears, finally shed and released.

114. Standing next to my husband, knowing he needs me, and being capable of loving him.

115. My son's eyes looking up at me, needing reassurance that we're ok, because only then is he ok.

116. Love expressed for a life who knew all about love.

117. Peace that passes understanding.

118. God's perfect timing in all things.

119. Watching my husband cry and thanking God for him.

120. Arriving home safely after a day that exhausted.

121. Time to breath.

122. Knowing that my grandmother is ecstatic and free from pain.

123. Amazing Grace played on the bagpipe.

124. Friends and family who are there and comfort.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Still Counting...

Time has been very limited recently. Well, actually time has continued on in it's usual fashion ~ as it always does. It's life that has me feeling very limited lately. Lots of balls in the air, too many falling to the ground. Leaving me feeling very scattered and off balance. And I know when I get to this place, it is best to stop and regroup ~ eliminating some balls, while picking others up off the ground and dusting them off, placing them back in their proper order. The best way I have found to get back to balanced is to remember what my priorities are and see where they have been falling in the scope of my life. Most important is where is my time with God and my family. They are what keeps me centered. And I love that. I haven't always been able to say that. I was always looking to myself or outsiders for approval and validation. How different life is with God at the center, right where He belongs. Just thinking of His love for me calms my soul and restores my motivation to push on. Knowing I am loved by the One who created me releases everyone else in my life from having to validate my existence. And that allows me to love others freely. I've said all of this before, but it's in the remembering that I come back to the center of where I belong. Which is also why I am counting my blessings ~ remembering and recognizing the ways He loves me.

101. Looking at my 8 year-old Birthday Boy and remembering the day he came into this world, knowing how his love has changed me and others.

102. Holding my 94 year-old Grandmother's hands and looking into her eyes, willing that she pass peacefully into the arms of her Creator.

103. Playing Spit & Shit with that same Grandmother, and letting her win ;)

104. Taking a Narrative of the Bible Class that is helping me go deeper into His Word.

105. A thirst and understanding for His Word.

106. Realizing that I need to be kinder to my daughter. It is only through Him and recognition that we truly change.

107. Being surrounded by family on a snowy day.

108. Children who love each other because they were created to do so.

109. Abundance that allows us to help others.

110. A greater joy from giving than receiving.

111. Knowing in my soul that I need to re-focus.

112. Knowing my soul.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday, Monday!

I can't lie ~ I am not a huge fan of Mondays. Who is? But I do try to see every day as a new day, full of God's grace and goodness. This is the day He has made ~ so I will be glad and rejoice in it ~ even if it is a Monday! It just so happens, though, that this Monday follows a very long and draining weekend. So that's why I am here. Because I need to give praise to my Lord for His goodness and faithfulness, in every trial we face. In the midst of chaos swirling, His gracious and loving hands hold us together, covering us with a true peace that passes understanding. I have seen enough darkness, sadness, grief, anger, disbelief, and mistrust over the past few days and weeks to know without question all of the light the Lord has placed in my heart and soul. Because amidst all of the turmoil, I have had peace. I know my Lord is for me, and He will work all things together for my good. I know it in my soul. Without question. How stinking cool is that? It's amazing really. When just a few years ago, one of the problems surrounding me would have forced me over the edge. But enter grace and I can be in the middle of many problems, and still stand strong, knowing I am covered by His love.

On a side note - please excuse the lack of details, but I want the focus to be on what the Lord is capable of, not the issues themselves. Because really, isn't every obstacle the same? In that it offers the opportunity to to rely on God and watch all that He is capable of. So today, these are the continued blessings I am recognizing:

91. Hearing my uncle's voice, talking to his grandson for the first time since undergoing heart surgery.

92. Hearing my grandmother call me monkey, and knowing it's my term of affection for my own children.

93. The caring and tender ways of hospice nurses.

94. A celebration of 20 years of marriage, shared by loved ones.

95. Knowing, without doubt, that God is good.

96. Having a husband who supports me.

97. My cousin sitting in Church with me, slowly learning His ways and opening her heart to Him.

98. Children who love each other unconditionally and give hugs exactly when they're needed most.

99. Being able to stand still in the current of life.

100. Learning to love life and all of its beautiful messes.