Ordinary People

An ordinary people… that’s what I am.

*WARNING: transparent post ahead*

Todd and I were talking this morning, about many things … well, about everything, really. It is one of my most favorite things to do… to just sit in the stillness of the morning and spend time with one another discussing life.

One of the things that has been on my mind lately is my little side hustle with Young Living. To be honest, I truly don’t like referring to it as ‘my side hustle’ because it has become a lifestyle for me. Actually, it’s not even a lifestyle but rather a large part of my life. I have incorporated this wellness lifestyle into my life journey so much so that it is just the ‘norm’ for me and my hubby.

Having said that, one of the thoughts that has plagued me recently is that there are so many ‘oilers’ I’m connect to or follow that are doing so well building their businesses, and it just seems effortless for them. (‘Seems’ being the key word.) Many are already well-known bloggers or influencers who already have such a large following that it appears to be so easy for them to reach so many people and be able to touch and educate a vast group about the benefits of these natural, 100% pure products. That is truly wonderful, seriously, because I feel that as many people as possible SHOULD be informed about these God-given remedies.

However, this is an area of discouragement for me because I can’t reach that many people. I feel like I am stuck in my own little IG community with an open door that leads to nowhere.

I am one person.

I don’t have a vast following.

I am not an influencer, per say.

I am a blogger (part-time) but I am not successful, per say.

Do you know what ‘per say’ means?

It means ‘by itself.’

I am not these things I mentioned above, per say, but with God, I am. Todd reminded me of that this morning.

When I mentioned my discouragement, he immediately responded without hesitation, “God used ordinary people to be His disciples and do great things.”

*drop the mic 🎤

Let’s face it… these successful bloggers and influencers that I speak of are most likely those ordinary people whom Todd spoke of that God is using for His glory!!

How quickly I have forgotten why I wear my mustard seed bracelet 24/7… I never take it off! (Purchased from Marianne at Gracefully Wrapped.) My ‘faith as a mustard seed’ should not be compartmentalized and practiced only in certain areas but it should consume every area of concern in my life.

No… I am not all these things, but with God, I am.

I am what HE calls me to be for such a time as this.

I absolutely CANNOT take my eyes off of Him for one minute, because when I do, I make it all about me.

It’s not about me but rather about the God I serve.

I am not… but I know ‘I Am.’

Thank you, Todd, for that reminder.

Go out today and be ordinary, but allow yourself to be open to God and do great things for His glory.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

A Little Bit of Mustard Goes A Long Way

I pxfgvqatjsfvipybkfrzwas reminded this morning that a little bit of mustard goes a long way.  Just a Lil dab ‘il do ya!  Now, I love mustard, A LOT, and I can use quite a bit on a hot dog or a burger and never miss a beat — it’s soooo good! But have you ever just put mustard on your food of choice and it ends up getting everywhere unnoticed?!?

 

Our staff prepared lunch for our church members one day this week – burgers and hot dogs – and as I was eating mine, it seemed like the mustard just multiplied like the bread and the fish!!  I mean….it was oozing out the side of my sandwich, was all over my fingers – on both hands, mind you – was on the palms of my hands, it covered my napkin – front and back – and STILL had the promise of landing in places I wouldn’t find until later that day!  I love mustard, but puh-lease!! Somehow it always seems to find a way to multiply!

Yes…mustard does seem to multiply, but I’m not actually talking about the kind you spread on your food.

Mustard seedAs much as this is the case for yellow mustard, so is the case for the simple mustard seed.  I wasn’t just blowing smoke when I said I was reminded this morning that a little mustard goes a long way.

 

My Bible reading this morning took me back to the lunch this week and reinforced the promise that a little mustard (seed) goes a long way.

IMG_4157-03-11-18-10-10This is just one of the Bibles I use during my quiet time, and it has been my favorite for years. You may not can tell, but the Bible cover is basically what is holding it together. It is the New Century Version with devotions by Max Lucado.

As I picked it up to read out of Matthew this morning, I found Matthew 17:20 underlined with a name and a date written beside it.

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This took me back to February 2007 when we were praying for a dear lady who was every bit on the brink of death, but the faith of those who steadily prayed for her on this tough journey was enough for God to let us know that He still had plans for her on this earth! Praise God, she is alive and well today and a daily walking testimony of His healing!

Jesus began this verse in Matthew by saying “Your faith is too small,” but in verse 17 above it, he says “You people have no faith…how long must I be patient with you?”

Did you get that? —>>  “...NO faith…”

He then continues in verse 20 by saying that “if your faith is as big as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. All things will be possible for you.”

I’m no theologian, but my take on this scripture that claims ‘your faith is too small’ means ‘you have no faith at all’!  If all it takes is the faith of a mustard seed, as small as it is, then having too little faith means we don’t have any faith at all.

Why don’t we trust God more?

I’m guilty as charged.

There are many things in which I’ve been trusting God for a while now, and there will continue to be those things that only He can make come to fruition. After all, it is Him who is in ultimate control, but I confess that my faith waivers at times. When things don’t happen soon enough, I tend to let my flesh take over and fail to be “… joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” as we are commanded to do in Romans 12:12.  Allowing your flesh to take over is dangerous, for then you are not working in God’s power but your own…and you have no power.  This can only end up one way:  disastrous.

About a year ago, I purchased a couple of items from Marianne at ‘Gracefully Wrapped‘, a site that I happened upon around that time on Instagram.  I made the purchase, a mustard seed necklace, for a friend who found out that there were multiple complications with her unborn child.  I bought it for her as a reminder that we would be praying for her child and her family during this difficult season of life.  I am a visual person, so I bought that to serve as a visual reminder to give her a bit of hope every time she looked at it.  I am happy to say that a year later, this little miracle is at home and doing well.  She still has to be under 24/7 medical care, but the fact that she is home with her family is nothing short of a miracle!  And, might I add, she is the most precious, adorable little miracle … with a face that brightens any room and a smile like a cup of sunshine!  We are praising God for what He has done in her life and the testimony she is speaking on a daily basis without even saying a word!

While I was making the purchase for my friend, I decided that I could always use a visual reminder for myself as well.  My item of choice was this mustard seed bracelet.

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I wanted something that I could see every moment of the day…not just when I put it around my neck.  I know the item itself has no powers at all, of course, but mine has served as a daily reminder of that little piece of faith that is required to please God, for ‘without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). I use this bracelet DAILY as this specific reminder and have found it very useful in grounding me for the moment and bringing me back to God’s promise that all things are possible with Him.

I never take this bracelet off.  I even shower with it on, but I don’t suggest that for everyone! (haha)  I do put coconut oil on it afterward to help keep it conditioned, but I keep anticipating the day it will fall off my arm! Hopefully, Marianne will have plenty in stock for me to replace it!  I love Marianne’s products so much, I’d like to put in a little plug for her Gracefully Wrapped Etsy shop.  It isn’t just her products I love so much, I love what she stands for and her sweet, gentle spirit, and you can see that in every piece she makes.

So, with the help of Marianne and her mustard seed bracelet, I am reminded every day that I must have faith in God for those things which I petition in prayer daily.

Whether it be yellow mustard or a mustard seed … it doesn’t take much.

A little mustard goes a long way.

Do you find your faith waivers when it seems like an answer isn’t in the near future?

For what are you trusting God in your life today?

Blessings to you today,

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One Had Everything, One Had Nothing

“Being kind to the poor is like lending to the Lord;
He will reward you for what you have done” (Proverbs 19:17-NCV).
Todd is leading a Bible study every Wednesday night called Counter Culture by David Platt.
Counter Culture
Last week’s session was on wealth and how we should be content with what we have all the while being willing to give/share even more of what we have to those around us who need it.
We’re all familiar with Philippians 4:13 that says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, right? Well, have you read the verses that precede it? We take this scripture mentioned above and use it for whatever situation where strength, or the like, is desired (#guiltyascharged). However, the scriptures preceding it puts it into perspective for us.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).
—>”… in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content ….”
– drawing strength from the Lord.
Let that sink in.
Observation:
Keep the highest standards for God in your thoughts and actions, keep your mind on Christ, and gain contentment. “To live is Christ, to die is gain” Philippians 1:21.
May we practice dying to self and sharing our wealth (whether it be money, food, time, etc.) with those around us who are in need; and may we be more aware of the needs of others and less self-aware as we do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
*I leave you with a story that pretty much sums this up. PLEASE take the time to read it. Todd used it in class Wednesday night,  The original post came from Anthony Eaves and was reposted by a friend of ours. ↓ ↓ ↓
—-
One had everything and one had nothing.
I spent most of yesterday in Little Rock. I had dropped a load off at my company and was waiting for the time to take another one to Oklahoma. Earlier I had gone to the truck stop in my pick-up truck to get a sandwich. That is where I met a young lady sitting on the sidewalk by the door. She was asking people if they were heading towards Hope, Arkansas.
Most people ignored her and some walked way around her. Others just said no and kept going. I stopped and talked to her. She was in her late twenties and, to most people, she looked horrible. Her skin was almost like plastic and scaled. She wore a bandanna on her bald head and she had no eyebrows. I think she was a little surprised that I stopped and said hello.
She asked if I was going towards Hope and I told her no I’m a truck driver and I’m just here to get a sandwich before I go to Oklahoma. Oh, she said. Well, I’m from Hope. I’m just here in Little Rock for my chemo. I had breast cancer and both breasts removed. I have a disease called scleroderma which is why my skin looks this way. I told her yes I’m familiar with scleroderma; my wife has it. I told her. “You seem to be in a tight situation, kid. Do you have any family in Hope that can come to get you?” “No” she replied. “We just have the one vehicle and my husband told me on the phone that it’s broke down again. He won’t be able to get me ’til tomorrow. The doctors know our situation, so they gave me this so I don’t have to come to Little Rock as often.”
She raised her sleeve to show me a device attached to her that will pump chemo into her at home. “Well, do you have any money on you? “I asked. “No,” she said. “But Jesus will provide.”  I slipped her a twenty I had on me and said “Well, now you do. Get yourself something to eat while you wait.”
She reached into her little bag and pulled out her Bible.
“Thank you, sir, for the money; I am hungry. Can I pray for you?”
“Sure,” I told her as I knelt down.
She opened her Bible to read a small scripture. Then she prayed for me. When she said amen I looked to my right and there was an older woman who was dressed quite well down on her knees next to us with her hands folded as if she had been praying also.
“I’m sorry,” she said “but I’ve been waiting out here for my husband. He’s using the restroom and getting us some coffee. I couldn’t help but overhear y’alls conversation. Miss, we are heading home to Texarkana and Hope is on the way. If you’d like, my husband and I could give you a ride?”
“That would be wonderful!” she said as she turned to me and said, “See, Jesus always provides a way for us if we just believe.”
The lady asked her husband if he would go in with the young lady to get her a hamburger. I went in and got my sandwich and my coffee. As I came out the man was helping the young lady into the back seat. His wife came up to me and said: “Sir, I just wanted to thank you.”
“For what,” I asked, as I hadn’t done anything for her.  As she looked behind her at the young lady in the back of her car she said, “For restoring the faith in God of a woman with breast cancer.  I think she’s had faith in God for a long time, the lady with that little Bible of hers.”
She turned and looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “I’m not talking about her. I’m talking about me. That’s why my husband and I are here in Little Rock. We just came from my doctor. You know,” she said, “on the surface, I look like I have everything, and she looks like she has nothing. But before I knelt down and prayed with y’all, her, with her faith, had everything that actually mattered…and I had nothing. Y’alls conversation and prayer reminded me where I came from and how I was raised. And looking at her I now have hope.”
helping the poor
So one had nothing, one had everything.
After that day, we all walked away with something.

Encourage Yourself

Weary?

Feel overtaken or overwhelmed? Discouraged?

Don’t know where to go from here?

There is nothing that gives me more encouragement than reading the comforting words of Scripture. This is usually the very first place I turn to when I feel any kind of way, but especially when I feel my situation, my world or my emotions are starting to spin out of control or when I don’t know my next step.

One of the many beauties of the Word is that you can go back to it time and time again …and again and again … and It never changes. What held true back then still holds true today.

People and situations change, but the promises of God remain true and always will. People and changing situations may disappoint, but standing on the promises of Christ my King is what keeps me grounded.

So, my friend, when you are feeling a certain type of way, whatever it may be, encourage yourself in the Lord.

“And David was greatly distressed… but David encouraged himself in the Lord” (1 Samuel 30:6).

So We Rage

During my quiet time today, I read a good word in relation to the disappointment you might face with your world leaders. It was geared towards world leaders, but it is a good word for ANY disappointment we might face in any arena of our life. The following is an adaptation from this devo with words extracted straight from the reading mixed with my own gleanings:
“WE HAVE MISPLACED OUR FAITH. Buried beneath the panic we feel due to the state of our ‘world/church/job/life’ is systemic disappointment. This makes us feel weak and pathetic, so instead of owning our disappointment – in our country, in our world leaders, in our church, in our jobs, in one another, and God help us, in ourselves – WE RAGE. Mad feels better than sad. It’s painful to long, in the words of Hebrews 11:16, for a better country and embrace the hard, cold fact that we are strangers and exiles on earth (Hebrews 11:13).
Grieve, mourn, and weep,” James 4:9-10 says. “Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into despair. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you.
But who wants to do any of that? SO WE RAGE.
We have become like the world “…..having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:2-5 ESV)
Yesterday’s America (world,church, job, life, etc.) in all its honor and shame, is in ashes, but, rather than exercise the faith and obedience and earnest prayer to see God raise some beauty from the heap, some gold from the fire, we keep trying to glue ashes back together. And they won’t stick. Yesterday’s America has become an idol to us. It has no more breath in it and the thing about idolaters is that, sooner or later, they become like their idols. (Psalm 135:18)
God could do something new but we’ve lost our hope.
We want back what we’ve seen instead of believing Him for what we haven’t.
Don’t run. Don’t give up. Stop trying to glue back together those ashes yourself.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
When we run on desperation, we are driving drunk on rage, swerving all over the road, fenders dangling and headlights shattered from out collisions with one another. Any means to our end.
Our witness to the world has become the crimson-faced hysterical screams of armageddon after Jesus said “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
We are so void of vision that all we can see is a big fat “T” in the road ahead.
It is right or left.
There is no other way.
Poor, poor God. He’s down to His last two options.
And poor, poor us for having such a poor, poor God.
WE ARE CALLED TO BE PEOPLE OF FAITH IN A GOD WHO NEVER NEEDED A MAN-PAVED ROAD TO GET ANYWHERE. A dead end means nothing to a God of resurrection.
This is what the Lord says – “he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters (Isaiah 43:16) can also make a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).
Psalm 146:3-9 – New Living Translation (NLT)
3 Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
there is no help for you there.
4 When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
and all their plans die with them.
5 But joyful are those who have the God of Israel[a] as their helper,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He made heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them.
He keeps every promise forever.
7 He gives justice to the oppressed
and food to the hungry.
The Lord frees the prisoners.
8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.
The Lord loves the godly.
9 The Lord protects the foreigners among us.
He cares for the orphans and widows,
but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.

In November, we cast our votes. But if we cast our confidence in our candidates (in ANY man), woe be unto us.
Unbelief is not just the absence of faith as it if leaves a vacuum.  It is the substantive presence of spiritual infidelity.  *It will not be the scandals of our candidates (or any man) that slacked the jaws of angels.  It will be the unbelief of the church.

Remember what I accomplished in antiquity!  Truly I am God.  I have no peer; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9).

We are meant to look back to what God has done in the past so our faith is set aflame for what He can do in our future.  The gospel didn’t come to us in seats of government.  It came to us in a stable reeking to high heaven with cow manure.  God didn’t plant the Savior of the world in the womb of a governor’s wife.  He planted the Christ in the womb of a peasant-girl in the middle of nowhere.  The same one who’d get to bear the reputation that she’d done something naughty and gotten herself pregnant.

Jesus never once sat on a throne here. The closest He got was the back of a donkey.  God did not blaze a trail with the gospel galloping on a horse through the halls of government.  He did it through sandals flapping on the grass.  Through the mouths of ordinary, law-abiding citizens.

It is the world’s way to associate power with people at the top, but the power of the gospel is at the bottom.  In God’s hierarchy, the way up is down.  The kings and queens of Planet Earth still have to bow low for power from the loft.

We cast our pleas prayerfully.  Carefully.  We plead for wisdom. The church of Jesus Christ doesn’t rise or fall on the backs of men.  We have our God.  He has His people.  We don’t even have to fully agree with one another to be a colossal force for the gospel.  All we have to do is agree with God that nothing is too difficult for Him and that no amount of mortal elbow grease can back His throne into a corner.

God cannot be overruled.

And it is He alone – I cannot say this loudly enough –  it is He alone who truly loves the world.
To think we care more than He does is remarkably prideful.

The responsibility lies not on anyone else.  Responsibility begins with us.  We are only as powerless as our passivity.  We still have knees to drop in contrition and desperate need for intervention.  Paul didn’t tell the government to overcome evil with good. He told US to.

We are convinced that those in ‘power’ have the power to gag God while 2 Timothy 2:9 says the word of God cannot be chained.  Difficult days are ahead.  We cannot endure them faithlessly.  Opposition is inevitable in any arena.  But at some point we’ve got to quit looking to leaders to fight for our faith. FAITH WE HAVEN’T FOUGHT FOR IS FAITH WE DON’T POSSESS.

‘At the top’ is not the only way we effect change.  We seek it.  We fight for it.  But, if we don’t get it, it has never been God’s only means to a change.

God can turn Pennsylvania Avenue into the road to Damascus, for crying out loud.  He can soften the hardest heart.  Transform the vilest offender.  Thank God no sin is too great for the power of the cross.  Oh for grace to trust Him more.

We need our faith back.
Without it we cannot stand.
Without it we cannot please God. (Heb. 11:16)
Without it we can’t grasp joy.
He still counts our faith as righteousness. (Romans 4:23-24)
We live by faith.  We love by faith.  —  Not by sight.

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. …”  (Hebrews 11:1-3)

It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.” (Hebrews 11:17-19)


My goal for 2017, my New Year’s resolution if you will, is to remember to RELINQUISH every thing to God in total surrender.  Every. Little. Thing.  
Today’s quiet time revelation was a great reminder of that surrendering which I promised God I would work on throughout the new year and years to come.

God foresaw this day and scheduled our births and our deaths within it.
Keep praying for change.
Keep the faith.
Run valiantly by faith drenched with hope because this race, dear friend, ends well.

Carob Tree Mentality

In the book ‘The Circle Maker’, Mark Batterson speaks of the life of a carob tree, stating that we must have a carob tree mentality when praying, praying long and praying hard.  
I did a bit of research on the carob tree, as I was intrigued by this.  The carob tree takes years to start bearing fruit, as early as 6 years, but it can bear fruit for up to 80-100 years. Although irrigation does help its production, it can thrive in dry areas.  
In a world of instant gratification, we are not accustomed to bearing these times of drought in our lives.  We pray ‘pop-up’ prayers wanting them to be answered as soon as we finish praying. We pray, and then expect a “presto” answer as toast popping out of a toaster.  
The truth is, “As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given” (Daniel 9:23), however, you may not see the answer for quite some time, maybe not even for years and years.  The ability to withstand these periods of drought is the same as having a carob tree mentality.  We must not give up. We must continue praying – praying without ceasing. We must persevere through our longings.  When we shortcut our longing, this becomes a lust, because we seek that instant gratification rather than holding out for that which we are longing. 
‘Praying’ is an important part of seeking that which we most desperately long for:  Jesus.    Praying long and praying hard is the answer for, in due season, we will see the fruit of our prayers.  We will see a harvest, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).  If you are restless, frustrated, disappointed, weary, unhappy, dissatisfied, or WHATEVER… just PRAY.  Pray long, and pray hard.  
I have a dear friend who once told me that I was my own worst enemy, making me realize I was looking at only the negative and not trying to be a part of the better picture.  Prayer can do this for us. Even if we don’t see an answer at this moment, prayer gives us hope that the answer is coming.  
Keep praying, without ceasing. Do not give up.  We may get to a point where we are at the end of the rope and think, “I have nothing left BUT prayer.”  Well, let me tell you, dear friend… Prayer is EVERYTHING.  
Prayer is not the last resort but rather the beginning of hope.

The Praying Mantis and a Parking Sign


Don’t give up. 

Be persistent in prayer; pray without ceasing! 

“…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:28). 

Pray through and never give up.

 I feel God reminded me of this through His little creature, the praying mantis, who has been following me over the last couple of weeks. 

I’ve been struggling with faith and trust in God in the form of ‘worry’ over the last few weeks/months.  I am usually pretty good about letting go and letting God do His thing, but there are 2 main areas that have given me anxiety recently.  One, of which, the praying mantis more than spelled it out for me!

There is a ‘thing’ I’ve been wanting to happen for a long time now…for several years. I have wanted it so badly that it has become an area of frustration in my life.  I have felt, for so long now, that this thing, or project (for lack of a better word), has been needed and would open doors that have not yet been explored or even thought about.  The process has begun, but the good ol’ devil is trying to hinder it any way possible!  For reasons out of our control, we are at a stand still – at least for such a time as this.  This hurts my heart, as I was so extremely excited that it was finally coming to fruition, or at least, the beginning stages of the project were starting to unfold.  

When the process came to a standstill, my heart just ached and frustration set in again.  No one is at fault in this delay….it just is what it is. God has allowed this, for such a time as this, so I know He has plans underway that far exceed my expectations!

It’s like building a house….once the process gets started, you are sooooo excited that it is finally happening!  Then….you run into snags over and over and over again … sometimes you feel overwhelmed, and then frustration and discouragement set in and you think it will never happen.  

Another area of anxiety is my boys’ future.  It seems the older they get, the more I worry.  Right now I worry about their chosing the right profession, choosing the right college, so on and so forth….the list goes on and on and on.

My heart has just been in a holding place….a place of worry and anxiety…
Until now.

Look at this…..


Where did this praying mantis land??  Right smack dab in the middle of a Handicapped Parking sign! 

No, I didn’t ‘get it’ right away.  It took several visits from this praying mantis for me to finally realize that I could glean a spiritual lesson from God’s little creature!

  


He started out in the parking lot, but as I was going about my business, I realized he kept moving closer and closer to my office.  Here, you can see him on the column that is located under the awning right outside my office window.  

He then decided he liked it so much he’d just hang out around that area.

  

Here he is on a bed of flowers close to the front door.



And here, my last sighting of him (in hopes there will be more), he is seen right in front of the front office window, just peeking in!  

After seeing him a couple of times, my mind went back to my first sighting of him on the Handicapped Parking sign; and THAT’S when it hit me….  sometimes we handicap ourselves by our own ‘stinkin’ thinkin’ and thwart those areas of prosperity that God has in store for us, basically, because we do not have faith, or we have lost faith.

After stopping and thinking about this praying mantis, I said to myself, “you stupid girl….cast all your cares (anxieties) upon the Lord, for He cares for you!” (1 Peter 5:7)  
“You have been praying to Him, but you haven’t CAST your anxieties upon Him!”

There are 7 different definitions of the verb ‘cast’ in the Webster’s dictionary, all of which use a form of the verb ‘throw’ to define it.  So, in essence, to cast your care upon the Lord means to throw it in His direction as if to send off/away or to get rid of.

Rather than worry about this project, and rather than worry about my boys’ future, I need to throw those worries to God, let HIM handle it in HIS own timing and in HIS own way, rather than getting anxious and frustrated if I don’t see the future clearly or if something doesn’t happen in MY time frame.  I must TRUST in His plans, for HIS plans are far better than I could ever ask or imagine!
Yes, I do have my quiet time every day.  Yes, I am in communion with God on a daily basis…every day all through the day and sometimes through the night.  However, I have gotten caught up in my own desires rather than focusing on the desires of HIS heart, and this has allowed worry to creep in slowly, but oh, so surely!  

I looked up the facts on the praying mantis and his defensive tactics:  The praying mantis will either flee from danger if necessary, or he will confront his enemy by putting up his dukes and fighting like a boxer. 

The fact that the praying mantis will stand his ground by putting up his front legs and fighting has reminded me that I may not see a quick answer to my prayers, but I must stand my ground by being persistent in prayer and never giving up until I see the answer, whatever it may be.  I must flee from the devil – from the worry – by putting on the whole armor of God – DAILY.  

God is a patient God. 
God is a faithful God.
God is a loving God.

I must be patient.
I must persevere! 

“…though he will not rise and give to him…, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs” (Luke 11:5-8). 

Just keep asking in prayer.  “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

And, whenever you see a praying mantis, remember….it’s time to keep praying!!
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

Trust Without Borders

It’s been a while since I’ve put my ponders to pen, and a lot more thoughts have been swarming around in my head since my last post.  I’ve penned a total of 5 posts in the year 2015, a year that has proven to bring about major life changes in my family.  It’s just part of the natural ebb and flow which the tides of life bring about.

The biggest change in our immediate family has been our first born, Grant, graduated high school in May.

About six months have passed, and many adjustments have been made.

#1)  College life is an adjustment in itself, with the biggest adjustment being made by the graduate; but it is an adjustment, also, for the whole family.  College life is a whole new world, so to speak, and we are adjusting to living in and around this new world.  Life as he knew it, and as we knew it, no longer exists.

Friends fly off to their new nests as they attend their respective colleges in different states, never to flock together in their group of ‘peeps’ as they had so grown accustomed to over the last 2-3 years.
So what do you do when the people you have known over the last 12 years, sometimes 18 years (for those who experienced daycare together) are no longer a part of your life?  You start wondering where you belong.  The autonomy of adulthood is sometimes not so appealing, but it is oh so essential for learning to live and survive in this world. 

One thing is for certain: this new-found independence challenges one to grow up, develop wings, and fly!  I am proud to say that Grant is doing a great job adjusting to his new wings!  I would say he is soaring!

#2)  Realizing that your child has now become the young man you’ve prayed he would become is bittersweet and humbling.  I am confident that he will have many successes.  I am confident he will make mistakes, but I am also confident that he will learn from them and will thrive!

I have lived (hopefully, at least) half my life and I STILL make mistakes!  When you stop making mistakes, you stop learning.

As time has passed over these last few months,  ‘TRUST’ has been THE word for me.  I am learning that this little word encompasses not only a vast space in my world but also covers a multitude of areas.  

Todd & I, as parents, are learning how to trust this new world in which Grant is living with his new environment, new hopes & ideas, new circumstances and new guidelines (so to speak), which are different for him than they were in high school.  Giving him a little bit more rope, a/k/a freedom, in this new world tends to send me over the edge a bit at times….not because I don’t trust him, but because he is not the little boy I still sometimes want to imagine he is.

Grant is learning how to trust that the path he is currently travelling is the one God is mapping out for him.  He is learning who to trust, how to trust, and what trust really means in this new world of his since he is looking through a totally different set of lenses than the ones he’d worn for so long.

As we enter yet another phase of our children’s lives, we enter another phase of trust.

Every phase of trust is reduced to but one thing:  Trust in God.

With each new phase of life we encounter a deeper trust in God, and we experience a different level of trust in our children and in the decisions they make for their life.  That’s just it….it’s THEIR life, not ours.  We can help them, guide them and give them wisdom from our past sucesses and learned mistakes alike, but we cannot live their life for them.

We must trust in God’s promise that if we “train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

We’ve had our time of discipleship with Grant.  I know it will continue as long as he seeks our guidance, but for the most part, WE are done being in control. (With some exceptions, Grant, if you read this! ☺)

It is time now for him to trust God as he seeks Him first and all of His righteousness, so that everything God has in store for him will come to fruition as he steps into this journey of manhood.

It is time, now, for us to trust God and His promises and put feet to our prayers as we trust in faith.

Through all of the ebbs and flows of  my life thus far, I see God’s hand not only in my life but in the lives of my children.  For every disappointment, God has spoken to us, in one way or another:  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” … “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)  —    And HIS plans are much better than any plan we could ever imagine.
I’ve seen it.
I’ve lived it.

In every situation, His promises have declared to us that His plans are not for harm but to give us a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

It’s all about Trust.

For all of the ebbs and flows of life that come my way…..
May my trust be without borders!! (See video below.♫)

Some trust in chariots and others in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” ~ Psalm 20:7
“O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.” ~ Psalm 84:12

Wait!

“Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.” (1 Kings 17:7)



If you look closely, you can see a shimmer of light in the center of this photo. This shimmer is the reflection of light off of a little creek, or brook, behind our hotel room where we are staying for my son’s travel ball tournament. Last night it rained pretty hard and steady, and the brook’s flow was roaring heavily as it brought debris and trash along with it in its path. Today, the sun is shining brightly and the brook’s roar has mellowed into a faint trickle with its flood line decreased to almost nothing. Both scenarios are equally beautiful to watch. With no more rain, however, this brook will dry up completely. 
Are you experiencing a drought of sorts in your life right now – maybe financially, emotionally, spiritually, etc? Do you find yourself completely ‘dry’ with no rain in sight to nurture and water your soul? If not a drought, then maybe troubles or trials have found their way in your path. If you are living, trials are inevitable.
Wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 says “Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help.”

This is what Elijah did in 1 Kings 17. He waited on the Lord’s command to ‘go’. Elijah had no plan, other than to listen to the Lord’s command. God’s command for Elijah to leave the dried up brook and go to another land led Elijah to a woman who had nothing but one meal left for her and her son to eat. Elijah asked her to make him a loaf of bread to eat and a cup of water to drink. The lady refused, at first, for she knew the flour she had left would only feed her and her son one last time, and then they would prepare to die from hunger. Elijah requested she do so anyway and promised that her flour would never run out again. She made him the loaf of bread as he requested. Her jar of flour and jug of oil never ran out, just as the Lord promised through Elijah.
I am guilty of only seeing the ‘one last meal left’ with the dread of death awaiting me, so to speak, when that one last meal is gone. Through nature and in my quiet time this morning, God has reminded me that this ‘dread’ is nothing but lack of faith in God. 
We are a people who have to see to believe, where Faith, on the other hand, is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
 “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in you, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalm 9:9-10).
So, you don’t see the next step in front of you? Just wait on the Lord. Diligently seek His face, and wait for His guidance.

“Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help.” (Psalm 27:14)

God will make a way where there seems to be no way. Just wait on the Lord.