First, excuse the lack of images. Had to transfer all of my stuff to an external hard drive, and now... no images that are easily accessible. Have to hurry off, so I cannot add right now... Bear with me, PLEASE... :-)
"So often we dwell on the things that seem impossible rather than on the things that are possible. So often we are depressed by what remains to be done and forget to be thankful for all that has been done." ~Marian Wright Edelman
This week has not been easy. Challenges have mounted a bit stronger than normal (again), and I have not felt strong to battle against them. I have been dealing with feelings of abandonment, restlessness, melancholy, and bitterness regarding various situations, and an enormous sense of being overwhelmed. They are not pretty words to attach to one's life. They add weight and stress and cloud our perspective, MY perspective.
But in these last two days, I have had some lovely little refreshing moments to reflect, and I feel as if, at least in this moment, I am able to climb and trudge better than I have been. What relief!
This morning a friend dropped a cake by my door. Unexpected, very appreciated, God's reminder to my heart that I am not forgotten. Remember, "God works in myserious ways". I do believe He impressed on this dear friend's heart to do so, and He knew the exact and perfect timing to have her deliver it to me. While I have been battling for a postive attitude and to be grateful in all circumstances (not FOR), He had her preparing a cake. Huh. Wow, Lord. You are a wonder.
When I have felt that I was on my last straw, hanging by a thread, ready to just be lost in foggy-mindedness, He knew I hit my limit, and "provided a way out". He promised He would, you know. I am always surprised, but then, I wonder why I am always SO surprised that He keeps His promises. I should know better.
"No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. But God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you are able to bear, but with the temptation, will provide a way of escape." 1 Corinthians 10:13 (I heard a sermon once that stated that in this verse "temptations" could also be "trials")
Life is not perfect- it never is. I do my best to be as positive as I can be, to live "in the light", but there are moments, like now, when I have to be honest in my struggling and tell you... I need prayer. Darkeness threatens, and I then deal with doubt, fear, and the desire to just give up and give in. Life on both sides of the ocean, in both my family and my husband's, is not easy, includes lots of moments to hurt, grieve, weep, and begrudge. But... God is calling me, and us, to surrender it all to Him. ALL OF IT!! Not 10%, 50%, or 99.9%!! ALL of it.
In these days there HAVE been some good things,too!
A beautiful, little niece was born, and I pondered over the new, fresh life that God has brought to my brother and his family. I pondered the blank slate laying before her little life. There will be mistakes, hard times, so many things to learn, and lots of moments to be angry, cry, or laugh up a storm. But, there will also be this available to her: complete forgiveness possible because of Jesus' sacrifice of dying on the cross, the possiblity for a heart "white as snow" when she repents, and help because Jesus went to heaven but sent the Holy Spirit to help and teach us. That is so much!
And it all comes from our loving, heavenly Abba (Father) Papa!!! In the Gospel of James it says, "Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above."
This morning I learned about the death of friend of the family. While we are sad about his passing; we are relieved and overjoyed to know that all of the struggles of his life, his perseverance in loving God with all he had and all he could, have brought the sought-for result... to leave this world walking into the arms of Jesus.
And, then, I found these quotes which reminded me of some important things as well.
"Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses." ~Alphonse Karr
These statuses (is that correct?) on Facebook were just what I needed to be reminded of, and I hope they encourage you as well...
"Stop recycling your thoughts - the ones that have tormented your mind longer than you can remember; ones that you have no idea of its origin. In so doing you might find clarity of direction. You are the only one who can stop the cycle."~ Portals of Wisdom 2010 - jmgoodson
so thankful for the Word that it's alive and active!
"While we read the Word, it's message saturates our hearts, whether we are conscious of what is happening or not. The Word with all its mysterious power touches our lives and gives us it's power. Author unknown
But God has shown us these things through the Spirit.
The Spirit searches out all things, even the deep secrets of God. (1 Corinthians 2:10 NCV)
Jesus put a library of wisdom into four words ‘Fear not, only believe’ (Mark 5,36). Worry is fear. ‘Fear has torment’ the Bible says. God doesn’t want you tormented. Nothing can happen that you and God can’t handle together. The proper way with worries is to bring them to God in prayer. ‘Casting all your care upon Him... for He cares for you’. Peter the apostle said that and he had cares enough, exiled because of enemies, persecuted and destined to die a martyr. Yet he said ‘we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory’. That’s the secret. REINHARD BONNKE
from Everybody needs Jesus
Moses gave three commands as he faced the sea impasse; all seemed lost as the enemy breathed down their necks carrying the threat of death! “Fear not” for God is on your side; “stand still,” for you cannot win this battle in your own strength; “see the salvation of the Lord,” for you are His child. It is important that we "stand" still before we “go" forward. Unless we are standing by faith, we can never walk by faith. Moses obeyed God and God opened the sea! He will make a way where there seems to be no way! Go forward!! - Marc
"Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny."
There are moments of loneliness, moments of fear, moments of restlessness, moments of tears... And YOU, God, see it all. You love me through it all. How? I don't know. But, even on the cross You KNEW!!! These days are no suprise to You, and You are always there to lift me up, hold my hand, remind me of beauty or better days. You are my Best Friend, Jesus! Thank You!!
I ache for that heavenly realm, but it is not time. I have a mission, a purpose yet to fulfill. I am to live intentionally, making the most of each moment, loving strong, forgiving stronger. Helping, caring, hoping, smiling... even in impatience, restlessness, and wearyness, Lord, may You be blessed. Give me strength for every moment of my days, and fill my heart with grace to keep going in hope, faith, and love.
The Lord has been faithful in reminding me... it isn't all about me. His ways are bigger than my ways. His ways are perfect and are most always to get me growing and better. I am so grateful for the Lord's constancy. Without Him, I would be lost. Hallellujah!!
I just HAVE to say how grateful I am that I can call on the name of Jesus anytime, anyplace, as often as I need to... He is my Best Friend, faithful Counselor, and Abba Papa... Thank You, Jesus!
So, while we prepare to for our Thanksgiving celebration, I would like to publicly thank God for my husband, Anthony, my kids- A, G, L, M, and D; for this home He has completely and miraculously help us work through to have; for faithful friends and Jesus-family; for talents that somehow seem to draw us closer to the original Creator, for pets that remind us what it truly means to be loved unconditionally, for creation and all of the wonders that speak of God character and beauty; for phone calls, emails, and letters that reach across miles and oceans with the message of a hug; for the ability to see, hear, read, write, smell, touch, taste, speak, learn, and wonder!!! There is SO much for which to be thankful! The list is literally endless, and we could spend a lifetime and still not think of all of the complete-for-our-whole-life list of thank you's.
I am grateful for this: that God's mercy endures forever and His goodness into all eternity!
With that, here is a quote that my PA pastor's wife shared on Facebook. It is just right for how I feel.
"Thank You, dear God, For all You have given me, For all you have taken away from me, For all You have left me." -Author Unknown
Rejoice in the Lord, in the power of His might, that He is alive and working!!!! And, that He truly DOES love us so much!! For His countless blessings to us! And all that He does to put a smile on our faces!!! Think about it... Delve deep... Think HARD!!! Remember, and praise the Giver of all good things!!!