Just a glimpse of me...

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Do you ever feel STUCK? In 2000, I began looking for answers to some tough questions in my life. I'd searched high & low and finally conceded to search the promises found in the Bible. Those promises have sustained & guided me through the loss of a parent, the struggle with anxiety & depression, the loss of a valued relationship and so much more! I've found joy amid the pain. And, I want to share it with you!

30 October 2009

Child of Weakness

My byline is "Talking to myself; Letting you listen"  Well, this blog is definitely me talking to myself with a prayer attached that God will use it, as He chooses.

This morning a friend posted their Facebook status as:
I hear the Savior say, "Thy strength indeed is small. Child of weakness, watch and pray. Find in Me thine all in all."
The line is from the song "Jesus Paid it All" lyrics written in 1865 by Elvina Hall. 

I immediately thought, that's me -- a child of weakness! Those words caught my attention. My biggest struggle is what I consider to be a "fallen condition" that came into the world as a result of the fall of mankind... you know, when Adam & Eve put their faith in Satan by eating of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. I believe God created ALL good things. And, I believe that bad things in our world such as starvation, oppression, pain & suffering, depression, and more are NOT OF GOD. I believe that they came into the world when man walked away from the perfect relationship God desired when He created life. I also believe that God will bring good out of the bad in life, if we allow Him.

I struggle more with depression these days than temptation to do those things that we all consider to be sinful. And yet, it often prevents me from feeling as though I am living an abundant life. I have a wonderful relationship with God. I have a great fellowship with my local church family. I have a wonderful Christian accountability partner with whom I meet weekly. I spend time reading God's Word - the Bible. 

Although hampered by my depression, through it I have been able to related to people that I might not have otherwise. I have more quiet time with God since often I can't get myself out & about. I'm not really sad... more overwhelmed by simple day-to-day life. I have to "cry to God" on some days just to get the energy to do anything.

And so for my thoughts on the phrases in that song which caught my attention... 

Thy strength, indeed, is small - Yep, that's how I feel most days -- not much strength. I feel really strong in some areas & very weak in others. I'm constantly reminding myself of Philippians 4:13 - "I can do all things through Christ (with the help of Christ) who gives me the strength I need." So, I guess I don't need to worry so much about my own strength and rely upon the strength that God gives.

Child of weakness - no shame in that for me. If each of us is honest, we all admit to areas of weakness. Only when we set our expectations too high and apart from God's plan, do we have to feel strong at all times. Our strength comes from God & is made perfect in our weakness, as said in II Corinthians 12:9-10.

Watch & pray - I can do that. Watching is only looking actively for something. And, praying is merely an open dialogue with God -- a conversation. I can look around me in my world & see God at work. I can acknowledge His presence in a beautiful sunrise. I can hear Him in the rain in the night or in the sound of the surf. I can see Him in the faces of children singing on the platform for their parents on a Sunday morning. I can audibly say something to Him during the day and also lift the thoughts of my heart to Him silently. Hebrews 4:16 says... "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." A great prayer found in Psalm 25:4-5 is, "Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you."

Find in Me, thine all in all - with the help of Christ, I can & will do that. Matthew 6:31-33 reminds me that He is all I need. He's my provider & He wants the best for me. His plans for me are for hope, peace & a future, as told in Jeremiah 29:11. He enables me to accomplish more than I could even imagine was possible, as promised in Ephesians 3:20. I see that often as He helps me meet goals even on my toughest days. I Timothy 6:17 reminds me, “... their trust should be in the living God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.” And I truly believe in the promise of Philippians 4:19, “My God shall supply ALL your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

So today, I encourage myself (and anyone else who reads this) to trust in God for anything that comes up in life. The Psalmist in Psalm 42:15 cries out “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God.” I will put my hope in my God and be encouraged by Romans 15:13:
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
God Bless all of us - for each of us is a CHILD OF WEAKNESS :)
To check out any scripture references or look up certain words you remember from scriptures, on your laptop or PC a great site is http://www.blueletterbible.org and on your mobile device a great one is http://www.bible.com 
Linking with Ann Voskamp - A Holy Experience today... 

29 October 2009

Let THAT Person Figure It Out!!

Over & over in my life, it's been confirmed to me that I cannot "grow in the Lord" without some disciplined time on my own in the Word & with the Lord. I can't rely solely upon listening to great sermons or reading good books written by awesome Christians. I must beware of getting my spiritual convictions from "other people". "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." Colossians 2:8. We need to get to know GOD personally in order to understand His guidance in our lives. We have to listen to Him on our own - not just in church on Sundays or through radio/television/online messages. Nestled within the next scripture passage is on of my favorite phrases, "work out your own salvation with fear & trembling" (aka work out your own understanding of God with deep reverence for God). As the scripture promises, God will work in us & show us what to do. Philippians 2:12-13 "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for [His] good pleasure."

So, set apart some time each day just to read his Word, the Bible, and listen to how HE wants to apply that in your life. Forsake not the fellowship with His body (the church) but, forsake not your personal one on ONE time with God each day.

(written 26 Oct 2009)

23 October 2009

7 Days... 7 Years...

Photo taken and post written 20 October 2009
I'm overwhelmed with a sense of God's presence today. The past 7 days have held much for me. I was able to get away with my husband for 3 days without kids and away from the house that needs a serious cleaning. 

Seven years ago today, October 20, 2002, I was at the side of my father for his heavenly homecoming. I'm thanking God for my dad's wholeness today & knowing that I will be with BOTH of my FATHERS for eternity. 

Today, I drove through Mounds State Park for the first time since my foot was broken in early August of this year. Last night I enjoyed a homemade meal with our entire family of four - which fills me with joy! God is so good to us. He's continually finding ways to bless us. Sometimes we don't notice all that is put in our paths by our loving Father. 

As James 1:17 says, "Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven's lights. Unlike man, He never changes or casts shifting shadows. " Every good & perfect things come from our Heavenly Father! WOW! So today, from God's Word, "May the Lord continually bless you with heaven’s blessings as well as with human joys." Psalm 128:5 (TLB paraphrase).

Bonus video: God is Here 

Lyrics by Lara Martin:
In your presence, there is fullness of life
And healing flowing, for body soul and mind
God of miracles, God of the impossible is here
God is here

God is here - Let the broken hearted rejoice (lift up your head)
God is here - Let the sick say I am well (all sufficient One)
God is here - Let the weak say I am strong (let the weak say I am strong!)
God is here - His wonders to perform In your presence, there is perfect peace

In the stillness, I behold your deity God of wonders,
God of power is here
God is here 
O His wonders, yes His wonders
His wonders to perform (Repeat)

15 October 2009

I Don't Want To Pick & Choose. Do You?

I'm a "PK"... a preacher's kid. My father pastored a small country church in Hickory, NC for the biggest part of my childhood. I remember him stressing that although our numbers were small our little church could make a difference in our community and in our world. He encouraged regular attendance & faithful support. 

I remember a specific time when we were heading out of town (probably for Anderson Campmeeting) that he challenged our people to "not forsake the fellowship" in his absence. A few wonderful saints had let him know that church just wasn't the same without him there. 

It makes me wonder why we choose to attend our church homes from Sunday to Sunday. Is it to be entertained? Is it to hear only one type of music or one type of speaker? Is it to go in anticipation of what God has in store - through his speaker of the day, through the music of that day, through those beside us??? 

Hebrews 10:24-25a says, "Think of ways to encourage each other to outbursts of love & good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together..."  

So Christians, let's not rob ourselves of a blessing or someone else of a blessing by picking & choosing when we will be an active part of the church family. In truth, it's GOD'S church family -- not just ours.

I want to be willing to do whatever is best for God's plan... even if it's not necessarily what I'd prefer.

Related to what we are going through at this season in our church (2013)...

09 October 2009

He Walks Before & Behind

photo by T. Getz
I've been going through some especially rough days lately.  If I focused on the problems & challenges we are facing, I could consume all my energy battling the "what if's."  At some point in our lives - if we truly walk with the Lord - we need to focus on His enduring love for us.  And, we need to see the daily hugs & smiles placed in our lives by a loving Father. We HOPE for great things ahead in spite of trials today! I love that regardless of what we're facing, we can still have JOY and HOPE in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

So, do NOT be discouraged or defeated by the circumstances that seem to be sticking right beside you. God envelopes you with His love, care, blessings, and more as promised when David speaks of God:

"You both precede and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head."
 Psalm 139:5

Shared with the Ann Voskamp 1000 Gifts Community on 10/08/12

02 October 2009

What EVER You Do...

photo courtesy T. Getz
(originally posted 10-02-09; re-published 07-23-15)
During a recent small group meeting, we were talking about how God gives us what we ask for in His name. We talked about how we each have to get down to what we consider the "bottom line" and ask ourselves what we want most though, before asking God for something.

The tough reply to that question (and my reply I've given to God in this "crazy, scary season" of life) is to desire to bring glory and honor to God -- whatever happens

I love this excerpt from the book, Practicing His Presence, by Charlie Riggs: