The Definition of Me

As you get to know the real me you might be surprised. We had a game at the Minister’s Wives Retreat. Let me explain how it worked. We had a list of several things that we had to find someone else in the room that had done that particular thing, and sign their name by it. The list ranged from anything from riding a horse to milking a cow or finding someone who has less than twenty pair of shoes which is very hard by the way especially in a group of women. As I was meeting all the different ladies, I realized the things that they had done or had not done did define them.
When I was 19 years old, my mother went to be with Jesus. Although this has reshaped my family unit, and the women I have become, this does not define me. I am a wife and a mother to two wonderful boys. They are a part of who I am, yet this does not define me. Another big event in my life came about when I was in a bad car accident 2 years ago. I broke one of my ankles and dislocated my other ankle. My life as I knew it had changed. I now deal with chronic every day. Again, The events that I have struggled through in my life does not define me.  My shirt size does not even define me. Am I making changes in my life and adopting a new healthy lifestyle? Yes, but all of this does not define who I am.
We all have bad circumstances and good circumstances that occur in our lives. Many of the things that happen are with in the realm of what we can control. However, A major portion of events and circumstances in our lives fall in the category of what we cannot control. Yet, these events do not define us.

Our definition needs to be set in one thing and one thing only,  our identity in Christ. You may like I have done in the past is spend more time focusing on what who I am and what I have done, rather than focusing on whose I am. I am God’s child! I am a daughter of the King! I have been forgiven those I did not deserve any compassion. When we come to Christ in humbleness and accept His gift of forgiveness when are forgiven and made over in the likeness of Christ. It is not about me! It is all about Jesus. Satan will try to come to you and discourage you with negative thoughts saying that you are unworthy and that you are defined by what you do and the women you are becoming. It is time to cast aside negative and discouragement, and let Christ cover you with the robe of His righteousness. Remember when God looks at me and you, He sees you with the filter of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. He paid for your sin and mine. Because I have accepted this gift He so freely offers, I have a new definition of me. It is a definition to build a life upon. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.”

‘Tis The Canning Season

The Canning and Freezing Season had arrived. It began week before last. It never ceases to amaze how quickly you have to jump in the middle of this, or you will miss the bountiful harvest. Long farms in Bainbridge, where we get all our veggies and produce, opens the day after Mother’s Day. It’s when our work begins. I put up ten gallons of squash because hubby is such a fan, and green beans and new potatoes have been coming from our sweet neighbors. Our corn has been ordered (20 dozen), and we will get it on Monday. Our Family is crazy about sweet corn! :)  During the summer months, if I don’t can and freeze my veggies, I will be sorry during the winter months. That’s the way it is with the harvest; you have to be waiting on it so as soon as it is ready you reap. Hubby and the Boys help me so much during this time! I could not do it all without them. I am glad that they like to enjoy all the bounty during the winter months. It gives us all something wonderful to look forward to.

Amazingly enough, The same principle applies in God’s Kingdom. You work and wait patiently for the harvest. When it is time to reap, you have to be ready or you might miss what God has for you to accomplish.  “But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.” ~ Mark 4:29-32

I can not sit idly by, and wait for the veggies to hop into the freezer. I have to process each one by working, praying, and gathering. With each process, small steps are taken. If you miss a step the end result will not be what is best. The aspects of sowing and reaping often apply to someone coming to the Lord in Salvation, and this is certainly true. However, the principles of sowing and reaping can also apply to our ministry. I need to be constantly working with the help of the Holy Spirit to reach others, and help them to grow and mature. In our Sunday School classes, the children in our neighborhoods, friends we meet shopping at Wal-mart, or any other ministry we are passionate about. I may see the results right away, but most often I have to wait for the harvest, continuing to work daily to cultivate the area where God has placed me. Then again, You and I may never know till we get to Heaven the impact we made on another’s life by encouraging and uplifting them, or being that voice of reason when others may fail them. Reaping is sweet, yet working in God’s Kingdom can bring you the greatest joy. We may shed tears over these dear ones, but joy will come.

Let us be busy sowing where God has placed us, and leave the result of the harvest up to Him. His Harvest will be a bountiful one!

Bitten By The Clutter Bug

Ok, I am here to admit it. I think my house has gotten the better of me. It’s time for things to go. So it begins. I have decided to take charge, and de-clutter my house again. Clutter seems to exist everywhere I look. I love to live by the philosophy: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” However, I must say that putting it into practice of late has been a struggle. My sweet friend is having a yard sale in two weeks, and she encouraged me to join in the fun with her. I heartily agreed. So I have found the perfect opportunity to rid the house of the clutter I have accumulated.

I must say that I thrive in a yard sale environment. I love them. If I see a yard sale sign, I will stop if it is at all possible. My husband may think that I have extra sensitive radar where yard sales are concerned, and He would be right. My problem, however, is that I often purchase things because they are a good deal, or I think I can repurpose them in some way. Often I will take stuff home that I don’t need (if that is even possible :) ), and my clutter is increased. I must be very careful to choose only things that I can truly use to make my household run smoother, or to make my home a more comfortable place to be.

In my spiritual walk, I often pass by mounds of clutter that I have let accumulate in my heart. These things are not necessarily bad things, but they shift my focus from the things that need to take priority in my life. We all take on the extra little things. These things can accumulate until there is so much to do that it overwhelms us. We find ourselves focusing more on doing things rather than being who God wants us to be. The Bible relates to burdens several times. One that comes to mind is Matthew 11:

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

How often do we take on burdens that were not meant for us to bear. This is the clutter that I am referring to. God has specific tasks for each individual to perform. This is part of ministering in His Kingdom. Do we have so much clutter built up around us that we can’t see clearly the ministry to which He has called us? Are we overwhelmed with stuff, when we should be overwhelmed with God and His goodness?

It’s time to squash the clutter bug, and begin again fresh! Let’s remove the things in our lives that are causing us to falter in our walk, and renew our commitment to serve the Lord more faithfully. If anyone can help us remove the piles of clutter, God can. He can help us to see what our focus needs to be on, and carry out His kingdom work with a renewed heart.

God bless you in your journey!

The Power to Perform

I wish I had the gift of mastering one area of difficulty in my life, and then smoothly moving on to the next area that needs work without having to go back to said area again. The problem is that I do go back. You may call it the essence of my humanity, or you may call it a character flaw. I call it crazy. I try so hard to do everything I need to do every day. I have to do lists in my head, and most days I struggle with balancing what I know I need to do with what I want to do. Maybe by chance, I am not alone in this. The struggle to accomplish the base things on most days overwhelms me. Then I try to throw the areas that I need to change within the inner me on top of all this, I come close to losing my mind. As I was pondering all these crazy mixed up thoughts, I am reminded of Paul, and in Romans 7 penned these words:

18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19  For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

I know I’m not the only one who has conflicting emotions, and these thoughts on the human condition. I want so desperately to do what is right, but the struggle is great. I know that I am not perfect, but often that is my ideal when it should be the farthest thing from my mind. I feel I am constantly performing like a tightrope walker.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to go to the circus, and see the tightrope walkers in action. It was amazing to me the balance that they were able to keep as they moved back and forth so high above the ground. I read later that the reason they are able to keep their balance is extreme concentration, and keeping their eye on a fixed point on the platform. They would begin with a rope just a couple of feet off the ground. The more experience they gained the higher the rope was moved up. The one point on the platform never changed. The jumps and even through the flips they preformed they did not waver in their focus. These arielists have the gift of balance. One thing I noticed is they did not panic when they appeared to be leaning over to far. They readjusted their focus, and remained calm. When I find I am struggling to keep balance, more often than not I have shifted my focus away from my focal point, Jesus Christ. The crowd may distract me, or I look at the location of my feet instead of at my focal point with my feet firmly planted on the rope. I need that daily steadying of the Holy Spirit, and the calming presence He provides. When I feel I am leaning to far over, I need to keep my focus on my Lord and His Word, remain calm, and let God give my feet a secure place to land.

Though the world may be watching us (and they are watching). We need to remember that we are performing for an audience of one, the Lord. Don’t feel the pressure to perform everything perfectly. Let us rely on God alone for our balance in a shaky world. Pleasing the Lord and solely focusing on Him should be our only concern.

Blessings to you!

Second Fiddle

Leonard Bernstein was once asked which instrument was the most difficult to play. He thought for a moment and said, “The second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play second fiddle with enthusiasm–that’s a problem.
If we have no one to play second fiddle, we have no harmony.”

We have a wonderful opportunity to be the harmony in this life we have been given. In the “Me First” society we live in today, we can be the one who sets the tone in our homes, our churches and in our places of employment. When you put someone else ahead of your own desires and feelings, other people will notice and some may even ask “why”. You will then have the opportunity to tell them the difference that Christ has made in your life.

Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, the world is watching you. They notice how you handle yourself in situations and how you react to adversity. They will also notice when you put someone else’s needs before your own.

Jesus continually through his public ministry put others needs first. He ate with publicans and sinners because he knew they had questions he could answer. He washed the disciples feet to show to them and us what being a servant really means. When Jesus was on the hillside teaching, He was sensitive to the needs of the people who were hungry, and preformed a miracle feeding 5,000 plus. He is a beautiful example of humility and sacrifice.

We need to willingly follow the example he set before us. If it was that important to the Lord, we can be assured that he would want us to live that way too. Living a life of service produces beautiful music that will touch the heart of God.

Let’s play the harmony with the notes of our life.

Only Pray…

As I have ventured over to Facebook over the last few days, I have been overwhelmed at the amount of friends who have been through so much in the last few weeks. Illness, grief, and struggles have been at the forefront of every post. My heart is deeply touched by each post, because each post represents a dear friend or family member. I feel compelled to do something. I want to do something big for them so they will feel loved, and not so alone in the trial they are facing. I thought to myself, “Right now, I can only pray for them.” Then I was hit with conviction, praying is the first and best thing that I can do for them.

How many times do we underestimated the power of prayer. We can bring the name of someone right into the throne room of Heaven, and petition the One who formed the whole world into existence by merely speaking the words. When I speak a friend’s name before Our Heavenly Father, I am giving them access to the greatest source of power and strength they could ever hope to experience. Jesus can be there with them through the season of health issues they are facing each moment. Jesus knows the depths of grief they face in the loss of a loved one. Jesus knows the ultimate sorrow of being hurt and rejected by those He loved so desperately. The power of a single prayer can do so much more and go so much further than we could ever dream. In Jeremiah 33:3, we read, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Our prayers for others go far past the mere request. It ministers to the individual, and meets their needs in a way that only God can minister to them.

I do want to say, however, that we must not use prayer to give us an excuse not meet a need of others. If God tells us to do something to help someone, we should always be willing to go and to do. We should also make sure that before we go; we surround the situation with prayer so we will do exactly what God has for us to do. With the Holy Spirit to guide us, we can met another’s needs in a way that will bring honor and glory to God.

Sweet Friends, remember that we have no effectiveness or power apart from God. We do have access to the greatest power source the world has ever known, the power of prayer. May we faithfully pray for others remembering that prayer is always the best and first response.

 

I’m Back… I think!

The Last two years of my life have been ones of constant change. I would think I was finally getting my life back on an even keel when another event would propel me into a new area of upheaval. Though all of these things I am so glad that I serve a God that does not change. He lovingly picks up the pieces when I feel my world is falling apart again, and reminds me that I am his child, and He is working all things for my good. My faith has been strengthened because He does have the world in His very capable hands.

My little blog here has felt the effects of this time in my life. I wanted so badly to keep up with everything, but when certain things had to be let go for sanity sake unfortunately this was the area that was forsaken. I do not want to make a lot of promises about how I will post every day or week because I don’t want to make a promise and not follow through. So for all my sweet readers, I will say that I am going to try my best to post more often. Yes, I know I have said this before, but I really feel like I can stay that now with more certainty than before. As we all know, life is constantly changing. It takes a flexible gal to keep up sometimes. Some of my very best days have been blogging, and sharing with the new friends I have met here. I have always loved writing, and I feel like I have been missing an opportunity to be all that God wants me to be. Lately, He has let the creative juices flow, and revealed some ways to reach beyond myself to others. So with God’s constant help, I will press on.

With life in constant change, I have learned that you really can’t do it all. As I have been talking with some dear friends, they too have been overwhelmed by daily life, and are prioritizing their lives to make room for the things that really matter. My boys and I quote a TV personality’s line to each other when we are starting to “freak out” and need to refocus, “I am going to tell you one word ‘letitgo’.” You may reply that’s 3 words, but it’s not the way we say it. :) Sometimes only one word can put things back into perspective. It’s kind of silly, but it does seem to help. There are always things that can be let go. We need to follow God’s leading to know what those things are, but He will guide us if we seek Him. Just remember you don’t have to handle everything yourself. God’s shoulders are wide, and His arms are strong to carry your burdens, and if push comes to shove, He can carry you too.

Hang in there, dear friends. Life will change, and most often when you least expect it. In these times, Hold on to the rock of your Salvation, your Healer, your Guide, your Friend that sticks closer than a brother, your deliever, Jesus! He is all you need.

Blessings to you!!!