Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sidewalks


I grew up in the country with dirt roads, so I haven’t had a lot of experience with walking in the city.  I took my son for a walk in his stroller the other day and had assumed that there was a sidewalk along the road to where I was headed.  I learned that not all areas have sidewalks.  Then I learned that some sidewalks are actually on the other side of the road... go figure.

During the span of time when I wasn’t looking at the other side of the road, I was walking with my stroller in the bike lane, thinking that I would never do this again and would always map out my walk along sidewalks in the future.  If I had been walking alone, it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but it was rather disconcerting making the trek with my baby.  Thank the Lord He directed my attention to the other side of the road.  I can be astoundingly oblivious at times.

I often travel through life in that same way.  God has a sidewalk for me, but I’m not paying attention.  I take the shortest distance to my destination and don’t realize until later that I didn’t ask God, and that my way really isn’t best.  Yet, patiently, He redirects my attention, and lavishes His grace upon my sinful heart.

I thank God that He has made sidewalks for His children - both figurative and literal.  Are we listening to Him and looking for them?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tables


I have a beautiful cherrywood dining table complete with eight chairs that God graciously gave us for only $250 (instead of $1000) when we were married.  I have loved it since I got it, but there’s just one problem... it’s never cleared off!  That’s right, my husband and I get home and put everything on its beautiful wood-grain surface.  When we’ve recently entertained multiple guests, we leave the leaves in and get to spread all of our stuff instead of piling it.

I know I'm not the only woman who can be driven crazy by this sort of thing.  I want a clean, relaxing atmosphere in my home.  Not to mention the shame of covering that gorgeous coloring!  However, I am also a proponent for using what you have.  

There are always at least two spots cleared so that we can sit and eat at the table, so it isn’t as though it’s completely unmanageable.  It also provides an organizing and holding surface for me, so that I can get to the organizational things later, when I have a little time to devote to it.  So while it may not be the prettiest picture as you walk into our house, it is certainly a practical tool.

For this, I am thankful.  I am also thankful that God has brought my mindset around to be able to see the big picture, and to have a little wisdom in choosing my battles.  God is so gracious!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cookiedough


I don’t know about you, but my family has a tradition of making cookiedough just to eat the dough.  I tell you it is wonderful stuff - why would you ever cook it again?  Of course, I love doughs and batters uncooked in general.  Pancake batter, brownie batter, cornbread batter, pie dough, biscuit dough... you know, the good stuff.  Cookiedough, however, is my favorite.

In the years that I have been making it, I have put it to many uses:  potlucks, comfort food, a little something sweet, fun “cooking” with friends, birthday dessert, and a few others.  I am thankful for cookiedough and the versatility that God gave it.  Traditions like that are just fun, and it’s a great conversation piece with friends!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekly Impressions - Selfishness and Pride


A friend of mine said recently said that “Marriage teaches you that you’re selfish.  Parenthood teaches you that you’re narcissistic.”  This is so true.

One of my greatest battles with selfishness is fought over expectations.  If I have no expectations for my time, then I often have no problem tending to my son while he’s being fussy.  However, if I am expecting to get something done, I can get frustrated rather quickly.

In most things, (assuming I’m not being really selfish) I can backpedal as soon as I realize that my expectations are the issue.  Few things are truly more important than caring for my son.  Even if my expectations aren’t met, when I compare that with a Big Picture Check, I can refocus on what is important and reprioritize my time.  However, when my expectations are in regard to my needs - for instance, to eat, or sleep, or go to the bathroom, or something that I think I need - it’s a bit more difficult.

At that point, it is imperative that I talk to God about what needs to happen.  Perhaps the need is legitimate and immediate.  I may be able to ask for help (something that I often forget to do), or perhaps it’s time to put James somewhere he won’t hurt himself while I care for myself.  Or, perhaps the need isn’t as big as I’m making it, and I am sinning against God by putting myself first, instead of Him by serving His purpose.  Perhaps I am being called upon to sacrifice my needs for the moment to carry out God’s care for another.

This is the battle that often seems so grey and cloudy, but, in truth, is as clear as a sin issue.  God is teaching me how to recognize these moments so that I can repent and see the truth of the matter.  When I confront my sin with the truth, and I call upon God for His help, it is much easier to change my attitude to one of humility.

I pray that God continues to reveal my selfishness to me.  This can be a painful process, though a good one.  This is why I also pray that I remember to live in His Grace, lest I fall prey to my pride in thinking that I should be good enough to have this down by now.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hills


I have always lived in an area where there are hills.  I love looking out over the landscape at the top of a tall hill and seeing all of the furrows and folds of the surrounding landscape.  It reminds me of the way that loose fabric falls over a form.  There are so many different kinds of hills, too.  It makes for a significant amount of variety in the landscape.

Hills also create a small sense of adventure for me.  I just want to explore them.  To search out what lies in their nooks and crannies, and to find what’s hidden in the valleys between.  I am thankful for hills, for the sense of wonder and excitement that God incites within me through them.

The hills also remind me of the vastness of God.  He knows every plant on their banks, every speck of dust, every molecule that makes their form the shape He wants it to be.  God’s landscape paintings are three-dimensional and interactive.  Yet they still have beautiful two-dimensional silhouettes and scenes.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Overcoming Fear


I have many fears.  In some cases, I have hesitancy or uncertainty, but I am realizing that these are born out of fear more often than a healthy respect.  One thing that God has taught me not to be uncertain in, is my voice.  This came through much practice, and the realization that I learn more, learn it faster, and do it better if I purposefully avoid uncertainty as I sing.  An often-heard choir adage is “if you’re going to make a mistake, make it loud.”  (This is, of course, in reference to when you’re learning and practicing a song.)

I mentioned the amount of practice, but really, it is God who gives me the ability to not be uncertain in that area, because I know that singing is one of the gifts He gave me to share.  I know for a fact that it is one of my appointments by Him.  With each practice session, performance, and personal praise session with Him, He impressed that knowledge into my mind, and then into my heart, and finally into my very being.  Through His relationship with me, He has given me a glimpse of a part of the purpose He has for me on this earth.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that singing is one of my purposes for being here.

That certainty - that truth, if you will - is why I can overcome any fear of mine that would keep me from singing.  By His power and the knowledge that He has given me, I can have the courage not to worry about this or that mistake, or this or that lack of polish.  Each practice or performance is a chance to learn a little more and to hone my skill a little more.  That isn’t to say that I don’t try to do my best, but I don’t stress about it.  In the end, God will receive all of the praise, and that’s all that matters.

I would love to overcome the rest of my fears this way, but God hasn’t gotten me there yet.  I am still uncertain about a myriad other things in my life, but I am seeking God.  He will pick up my slack and slowly feed it back to me as He strengthens me and teaches me how to lean upon His power rather than my own.  I look forward to our future relationship, and to learning more about how He can overcome all of my fears.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Texting


I love texting.  It’s a better way to leave a message for someone, and if they can get back to you right then, all the better!  A call has a couple of expectations with it:  you at least need to ask how they’re doing, and perhaps to carry on a mini-conversation.  

It isn’t that I don’t want to know how the person is.  The problem comes when I’m strapped for time and I just need to remember to ask them a question.  I can’t do that in a call - especially if the person is a talker.  Texting, however, allows me to carry on the conversation that the talker wants to have - it just takes longer because it will be during the spare moments I actually have to devote to that person.  Or, if I find the time later on, I can call, but they will either have texted me the answer to my question, or will tell me during the call.

It’s also great for those moments when I’m wondering how my friends are doing after their bedtime.  I always seem to be wondering how they are late at night.  I can just shoot them a text.  This allows them to respond at their leisure (usually first thing in the morning when I’m asleep) - and then I don’t forget to ask.

God has taught me that staying connected is important.  I’m not very good at it, but I am working on that.  I am thankful for texting because it is a tool that God has given me to do one of the things that He has asked of me:  to stay connected.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Aleve


As a person with fibromyalgia, I have my good days, my low tolerance days, and my bad days.  On days when my pain tolerance is low, I am thankful for Aleve.  It doesn’t make the pain go away, but it usually takes the edge off, which is just what I need.  

Aleve is certainly not my end-all answer, but it is a useful aid.  I’m not particularly partial to medication, and I use it as rarely as possible, but God didn’t give us science and all of these herbs for nothing.

When I’m suffering on a low tolerance day, I am having trouble finding the strength to keep fighting.  It is during these times that I cry out to God for His mercy.  My God sustains me, and sometimes He uses medication to help.  Medication and science have their uses and are wondrous things - but take heed lest ye worship the creation, and not the Creator.  When I focus on the creation, I misplace my hope and trust, and am sure to be disappointed.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Balance


After bearing my son, it was about nine months before I was able to walk with the same gait as I had before pregnancy.  This was due in part to gaining a significant amount of weight, but the primary issue was balance.  

I used to dance in high school, and got to the point where I could pretty consistently pull off a double-pirouette (and was once proud of myself for completing a triple).  This is actually nothing to brag about, but it does show that I had decent balance.

It has now been two weeks shy of a year since my son’s birth.  I was told that pregnancy would throw off my balance, but not for up to a year afterward!  Be forewarned new mamas!  Them little babies is tricksy!

Dancing isn’t my foremost talent, but I do possess it to a degree.  I was beginning to fear that I had lost the fluidity and grace in my dance.  Today, I started dancing in the dining room to entertain my son, and realized that it felt like it used to instead of a little awkward.  It feels so good and I am so thankful to have it back!  It is an expression of God when we can skillfully use the talents He has given us.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekly Impressions - Who (or what) is First?

My instructions given My people in the past,
I also impart to you.
My words are not wasted, nor My aim circumvented
By the wits that you possess.

I am omniscient, unchanging, and true;
I direct your paths.
Who are you to claim the wisest design
In the limits of your human mind?

Come to know Me and My righteous ways;
I long to welcome you.

What thoughts occupy your mind in a day?
These are the focus of your heart.
Upon what ideas do you meditate?
Am I your one true God?

What relationship have I with you 
If you hardly think of Me?
Do you give Me the time, do you listen to Me?
Then I am unfamiliar.

If I am your God, I am above all else -
All aspects of your life point to Me.
What have you raised higher than Me?
What idol has stolen My place?

Change the object of your meditations;
Focus your life upon Me.
Ponder my teachings throughout the day,
And yearn for them in your heart.

Seek after Me in everything;
I am waiting for you.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Comfy Couches


If you have a comfy couch in your home, you’ll find that you will accumulate quite a few memories associated with it.  Especially if you have a little imagination.  

I loved making forts and tunnels out of the cushions when I was young.  I only had three cushions, so I usually suspended the cushions between the coffee table and the couch, perhaps with a door on each side.  I was pretty stoked when, later on, we got a couch and a loveseat.  I hadn’t played with the cushions for some time, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity.  (I asked Mom’s permission, of course.)

When I was a little older, it was more of what we did while on the couch - like rough-housing with my brother or watching television with my dad.  We had a few sleepovers when I forewent my bed in favor of staying in the living room with my friends - I usually let them have the couch.  I would wake up early with my brother and sister to watch Saturday cartoons, or stay up late playing video games.  When I was sick, I would lie on the couch and watch movies.  At my own home (I have a comfy loveseat), my friend and I played pirates with my niece and pretended that the couch was a ship.  There are a myriad memories that I associate with comfy couches.

I am thankful for them because they lend themselves to spending time with family and making memories on and around them.  It’s a natural place to congregate and spend time.  (It helps that time and touch are my two love languages.)  I see comfy couches as one of the tools that God created for interpersonal connection - especially among family and friends.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Headphones


I generally stay up a little later at night than the rest of my family.  I also relax better if I have music.  Sometimes, it’s nice to create the music and play on my keyboard.  Other times, it’s nicer to listen.  Either way, these activities would ordinarily wake the others in my household (and the keyboard has the potential to wake the neighbors).  Thus, I am thankful for headphones, so that I don’t disturb others while I’m winding down for the day.  

Headphones also have a tendency to create an atmosphere of closeness for me, which makes my room seem homier and more comfortable.  This also makes me more aware of God’s presence.  It is much easier for me to forget God’s presence when I am with others.  I often find that, when I am left to myself in some capacity, the fact that I am alone points out the stark contrast that God is there with me.  I am never alone.

So, though I enjoy headphones for their ability to reproduce the music I love, I also find natural comfort from them in the reminder of the presence of my Savior.  What things remind you of God’s presence?  Are you intentional about remembering His presence?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Catch-up Time


You know those rare times when the deluge of incoming tasks trickles off, or even dwindles to nothing?  I love those times.  No interruptions (or very few).  Time to think and get organized.  It creates the perfect opportunity to catch up.  I’m not quite sure what it is about getting everything done, or being on top of things that is so satisfying, but it is.  I am so thankful that God orchestrates those times into our lives.

It’s just another outpouring of His love in the way that He cares for us.  Sometimes the times don’t come because He is trying to tell us that it’s time to delegate.  Not always, but that can be His answer to our prayers - assuming we’re asking.  I have a tendency to forget to even ask.  Have you continued to ask the Lord to help you in all things?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Poetry

Equations of words woven in verse,
Rhythm and timing to form the dance
Of visions passing through your mind’s eye
To tickle your fancy and emotion.

The silver pen flashes upon the page
Forming lines and meter in stanza.
Who is to say where the path will lead
But the Author of language and rhyme?

All things are for Him and through Him and to Him,
And by Him all things were made.
How can my soul write of such things
Without His mention in reverence?

It was His creativity that formed the art -
His plan that put it to action,
His power that gave it wings to fly
From thought to page to heart.

So pen your expressions, thoughts, and ideas;
His children will ideally reflect.
For He is alive within your marrow -
A part of your very being.

Rejoice in His gift, this Giver of all,
Lift high His name and His statutes.
I thank Him for this medium
To bring Him His glory and praise.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Alarm Clocks


I’m not a morning person.  I’m a night owl.  I would far rather stay up late to accomplish something than to get up early.  This is why alarm clocks are my friends.  It’s a bit of a love-hate relationship, but it’s pretty much the only way that I can get up in the morning.

It’s a bit of an arrangement the alarm clock and I have with one another.  I set one for a half hour before I actually have to get up.  It goes off and I snooze it.  It doesn’t bother me for the allotted nine minutes (the iPhone default).  It alerts me again, I snooze it, it alerts me again, I snooze it.  Now twenty-seven minutes have passed during which I have slowly made my way out of the land of sleep toward the world of the awakened.  Three minutes later, a different alarm with a different tone goes off.  Now I have to get up.

The Lord knows my strengths and weaknesses, and that getting up in the morning is a task that I tackle with difficulty.  In His wisdom, He has created certain things in which we are to practice discipline.  Getting up in the morning is definitely a discipline.  So I have a choice.  I can tackle it in my own strength and be grouchy, or I can see His discipline as a display of His love for me.  Getting up in the morning is a part of my relationship with Christ - including my dance with the alarm clock.  

All things in life are a part of His relationship with His children.  Talk to Him about it.  That ability is part of the gift that Jesus imparted to us.  So I am thankful that God gave us alarm clocks to aid us in our relationship with Him.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Weekly Impressions - Friends


Proverbs 13:20
“He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

The friends you surround yourself with really matter.  You’re in trouble if they don’t help to build you up in Christ.  I didn’t realize how much this truly mattered until I found a couple of friends who also enjoyed playing video games AND still kept a Christ-like attitude when we were doing poorly.  It really does make all the difference in the world, and helps to point out where my focus lies.

I am eight years younger than my brother and six years younger than my sister.  My sister didn’t play games with me very much, but my brother enjoyed it.  Being eight years older, however, he had a tendency to beat me - A LOT.  It was very discouraging until I realized that winning wasn’t the point.  The point was to play and have fun spending time with my older brother.  That didn’t mean that I stopped trying to win - which meant that I learned a lot fairly quickly - but it did mean that I wasn’t sacrificing my sanity, happiness, and (most importantly) my relationship with my brother.   

However, it is a very rare thing in the video gaming world to find someone with that same philosophy.  Winning is everything, and you’re wasting your time if you don’t win.  (Of course, that’s not just the video gaming world, but that’s where I personally encounter it.)  I struggled for a very long time playing with this crowd, because many are sore losers as a result, and they end up tying their worth into winning.  They don’t think so, and it doesn’t appear that way at first, but as I explored why I was having a hard time with it, I realized that it was a worth issue.  

It took a couple of Christian friends with an entirely different attitude for me to realize just how much I had fallen in with that philosophy, even though I was aware of it.  You really do become more like those you hang out with.  (Sometimes I seem not to take the Bible seriously enough.  It isn’t like I wasn’t warned.)  I am incredibly thankful for the friends God has given me to ensure that I keep my focus on Him.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Green


I am thankful for the color green.  It’s my favorite color.  I’m not sure if I love green because I love lush green landscape, or if I love lush green landscape because I love green.  I think they rather go hand in hand.

They say that green is a relaxing color (except when it isn’t... you know, puke green).  I would have to agree.  When I look at one of those landscapes (especially if there’s water involved) I find myself drawing a deep breath and smiling.  God created such beauty!

So here’s to God’s creativity and wisdom!  I am glad that He created such a color.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Internet

In today’s day and age, most things use the internet.  We use it to watch TV, play games, seek answers, video chat, talk on the phone (VOIP), listen to music, order items, sell items, and express ourselves, just to name a few.  Our computers use it; our clocks use it; our smartphones use it; our printers use it; and some of our appliances use it, too.  It is a dynamic and adaptable tool with endless possibilities.

So when it doesn’t work... you notice.  As the old adage goes, “You never know how much you like something until you don’t have it anymore.”  Our family gathered around the Roku in eager anticipation of watching an episode of “Castle” and a few minutes in, the video began to stutter.  

We can handle this - pause it to buffer!  No such luck.  Hmmm... speed test:  .44 Mbs.  Well that’s not good.

Our internet has fairly consistently been this low around 9:15pm.  Admittedly, most people are on using their internet about that time, which does slow our speed down, but it seems a bit extreme.  It isn’t as though this is some major issue - to have internet at all is a luxury - but we have been missing our internet.

Which is why I find myself remembering that adage and smiling.  I am thankful for the internet.  I am glad that God made it possible, and that we can use it to further His purposes.  We can stay connected with family when they have to be away; we can spread news and share joy with it; we can spread the news about prayer and needs that arise quickly; we can find out about nonprofits and help fund them; again... the possibilities are endless!  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bolsters

I like bolster pillows.  I use mine every night before I go to sleep to make it comfortable to sit up in my bed as I read or write.  I have musculoskeletal issues, so it can be pretty important to ensure that I have proper support.  I don’t know that a bolster is necessarily the “proper” support, but it’s certainly more comfortable than an ordinary pillow.

You could say that it’s one of the ways that God props me up... quite literally.  I can just imagine the bolster’s arms being His loving arms around me.  I plan on keeping that reminder handy:  that I am always to lean upon God.  In a way, I do it without realizing it anyway; it is by God’s will and grace that I am able to do anything at all.

And so, I am thankful for God faithfully propping me up every night with a bolster pillow.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wisdom

Proverbs 9:10
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Wisdom is a rather nebulous thing. Many things can be said of it, but you can’t really pin it down in a few sentences.  That’s fitting, since wisdom itself seems to morph to the occasion.  The true key and force behind wisdom, however, is God.  That much is clearly and definitely definable.

I was struggling this morning in frustration with the way that my husband was handling our tasks for the day.  His heart is true, but sometimes we don’t seem to communicate very well.  The same issue came up about three times this morning, and it wasn’t until the third time that I finally asked for God’s help with my own frustration.

I can see now all of the other things I also should have talked to God about to help me refocus on Him.  However, there was only one thing I was really talking to Him about and asking Him for, and that was for the ability to refocus my selfish heart onto helping my husband.  

I am so glad that the Lord helped me to recognize the issue for what it was, and I count that as wisdom.  As I said, there is a lot more that I need to learn; each new piece of wisdom opens my eyes to how much more wisdom there is to gain.  I am thankful, though, for the wisdom that I have received from His friendship and love.

We, His children, are truly blessed.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Glasses

Deuteronomy 32:3
“For I proclaim the name of the Lord;
Ascribe greatness to our God!”

My vision isn’t terrible, but it’s just bad enough to make it difficult to read signs on the road until they’re too close to do me much good.  It’s surprising how difficult it can make it to recognize who a person is, too.  I often recognize people by the way they walk before I recognize their features.  This is one of the reasons that I am thankful that God made light so that it could be refracted through a lens.

Glasses can also become an expression of a person’s personality.  My first pair of glasses were pretty plain and simple - I didn’t want them to look dorky, but I didn’t really see a need for a sense of style.  My second pair found me having taken notice of others’ glasses simply because I was now one who also wore them.  I liked the attitude they could add, and thus got a pair with just a touch of sass.  The possibilities God has given us to accessorize are infinite.  I love and enjoy seeing the resulting variety.

The way that God has orchestrated every detail of our world (like how light refracts, or the ability to accessorize) sends my mind into a static “does not compute” mode.  It is truly amazing when you begin to think of all of the things that we take for granted - and He specifically made it that way and constantly maintains it.  How great is our God?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weekly Impressions - The Giver


Dear Lord,

I love this journey that you’ve set me on to write about one thing that I’m thankful for each day.  It has helped me to be purposeful about meditating on You more often, and You have shown me many things each day through those meditations.  Thank you for setting me on this journey.  I praise the Giver of all good things.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen

One of the things that God has shown me fairly recently, is something that I had said toward the beginning.  I had said that I was searching for God in the things around me.  I didn’t realize the wisdom of that until later.  In finding something to be thankful for each day, it is easy to begin focusing on the thing... I have to be careful that I am worshiping the Giver and not the gift.

Someone mentioned this in an offhand phrase that wasn’t necessarily pointed at me, but the Holy Spirit snatched it and held it up in front of my heart.  I had recently been struggling with how to show God in the thankful things that I was posting, and He was telling me the reason why it is so important to not just look at the gift.  He is the one worthy of all our praise.  He gives us many gifts, but it is Him we worship for those gifts.

If you look up the word “worship” in the dictionary, it talks about feelings of reverence.  This is all well and good, but our worship toward the Lord is more about ascribing worth.  This is not a feeling.  This is a choice.  The Lord is worthy of all our praise, whether we feel like reverencing Him or not.  Gifts are not worthy of worship.  I pray that God helps me to keep the correct focus, to worship the Giver.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Knitting

I find knitting fun, fulfilling, and therapeutic.  It allows me to do something with my hands while I sit, whether resting between chores or waiting at the doctor’s office.  This makes me feel productive.

It may not be the most efficient way to create a piece of clothing, or a blanket, etc., but I don’t have access to all of the tools required to make a modern piece of clothing.  Besides... I enjoy taking the scenic route sometimes!

I don’t like to make decisions, so I find it restful to follow a pattern.  For those times when I do feel creative, it’s easy to mess around and create a pattern.  It’s a simple art that has infinite possibilities.  (If you’re interested, I sell some of my work.  Click here to see a glimpse.  I consider it my “belts to the tradesmen.” - Proverbs 31:24b)

It has been awhile since I last knit, as I was rather busy with getting back into the groove of things with a child.  However, I have just been able to pick it up again, and find myself smiling just thinking about it.  I am thankful that God made something that satisfies both my desire for practicality and my desire for creativity.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Night Sky


I’m not sure what it is about the night sky with all the stars, planets, and the moon, but I’ve always loved gazing up at night.  Perhaps it is the contrast that draws my eye, but it remains a mystery to me as to what about it continues to hold my gaze.  There’s something comforting, almost familiar about them.

Perhaps it reminds me of how big God really is to create all of those tiny sparkling points that are really far larger than I can fully imagine.  A God who is big enough and has the power to do that is also “small” enough to have a personal relationship with me.  With a God like that advocating for me, how can I be afraid of anything but Him?  

I thank God for the night sky, and for the reminder of how big He is:  so big I can’t even fully comprehend it!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Walking


What do you do for exercise?  My body doesn’t take kindly to impact, so I enjoy swimming, bicycling, and walking.  For lack of a bike and a pool, I have begun walking.  I am blessed that there is a lake adjoined to a park within walking distance of my work, and it makes for an enjoyable circuit.

It seems that exercise helps me to sleep, but also gives me more overall energy, which means that I don’t need quite as much sleep.  I like this fact, because then I can accomplish more in my day - and perhaps have a bit of time for more of the fun things.  

I think that the fact that we need exercise is an aftereffect of the fact that God created us to work, (“Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” Genesis 2:15) which is why our overall health is better when we do exercise.  So I am thankful that God created a way for walking to be that exercise for those who can’t do as much.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

God's Promises

No matter what you’re struggling with right now, God has at least one promise to combat it.  Some struggles have numerous promises relating to them.  Fear and anxiety for example.  God says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6); and “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7); and “The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.” (Psalms 121:8).  There are many more that relate to fear and anxiety.

Are you struggling with pride?  “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Proverbs 16:18).  The word there for destruction refers to breaking, crushing, or fractures - it’s a picture of the harm you will do to yourself in your pride more than anything.  “Blessed are the poor in spirit [those who are not spiritually arrogant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:3)

Do you struggle with depression?  “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.”  (Psalm 30:5).  “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9).

Any temptation for any sin: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  (1 Corinthians 10:13).

God’s Word is rich with His promises and the tools to fight the good fight that He has given us.  I am so thankful that He has given us His promises, that we might grip them in our times of stumbling and doubt.  I encourage you, that when you are struggling with something, identify the struggle for what it is as quickly as you can, then find at least one of God’s promises that speaks to that struggle.  Arm yourself, my friend.  

I have shared a few of the verses that help me in my struggles.  If you feel led to share your findings, please do so below, so that we can encourage one another and learn from each other.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Weekends


Exodus 20:8
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

I am thankful for My Job, but I am also thankful for weekends.  They allow far more time and opportunity to get together with friends (and/or to get things done, if you so choose).  

God has given me a new balance in my life with this job and a new child.  I have come to need my three-day weekend in order to have enough time to spend with God, spend with my husband, tend to my child, spend with friends, and also to refresh.  It feels like a pretty crowded schedule, but I can’t imagine what it would be like without a weekend to do it in.  I am thankful that God commanded a day of rest, and I am thankful that we live in the concept of a weekend.