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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fears and Blessings

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27 KJV

This is one of my favorite scriptures. I am constantly reminded of God’s word and His beautiful promises of comfort. I am learning life is an array of changes. We never know what’s around the next corner. Sometimes we are unaware of the challenges awaiting us. They can seem so big and significant compared to us. They can burden us down and trouble our hearts. But there’s always a positive side. When we take them to the Lord and lay them at His feet, they’re no problem at all.

This past weekend, God set me up some stones. He took me to places I had never been before and truly never dreamed I could go. And through it all, He held me so secure in His arms and showed me another depth and degree of His amazing love.  

When God moves it doesn’t matter the size of the storm or the difficulty of the challenge. He can take the smallest vessel He has and make it great. He can calm the storm and make us look good to others.

He blessed me to travel to West Virginia for a few days. In case you have forgotten or not read any of my previous posts, I have travel phobia or something which terrifies me to travel. It takes lots of prayers and faith for me to get into a car and go any distance. It’s an irrational and unexplainable fear that comes over me. I don’t understand it, but I know God has the power to help me overcome it. And that’s exactly what happened. He calmed my fears and spoke peace to my soul. He blessed me to not only travel, but to travel without fear. He gave me a little glimpse of the angels all around me.

The first item on my agenda for the weekend was a book signing at Coffee, Beans and Books. It was wonderful. If I lived in West Virginia, Melanie and I would be best friends. The coffee was amazing and the atmosphere was so relaxing. I sipped my coffee and wanted so badly to write.

The next item on the agenda was speaking at a Women’s Conference. Yeah, I was a guest speaker. Did I mention I have a great fear of public speaking and lots of eyes on me at one time make me extremely nervous? Well, it does. I wanted to decline the offer. Then I wanted to cancel. My heart was troubled and I was so afraid. I couldn’t sleep or eat and I was seriously stressed out.

Then the thought came to me: What if I could say something to help someone else? Why wouldn’t I do it? There is a desire inside my heart to tell anyone who will listen about my wonderful God. This would be like multi-tasking. I could tell several people at one time. So I took a leap of faith (because of all the prayers prayed for me)—realizing and knowing God had it all under control.

Let me just say, He blessed me! He calmed the storm raging inside me and blessed me to tell how wonderful He is to me. And He showed me that nothing is impossible through and by Him.

The next day, my publisher hosted a luncheon for their authors. I had the privilege of meeting other authors and learning from them. I received lots of wonderful information and new ideas. The camaraderie was so wonderful—it felt like a family gathering. While I was there, I learned my book Underneath the Scars received a 5-star review.

And I learned we can allow our fears to hold us back and dictate out life. However, if we look to God, we can overcome them all through Him. We all need to strive to be the person God wants us to be regardless of the challenges. Some people will love us, while others may hate us, but what truly matters is what God thinks of us. I want my Lord to be satisfied with me. I want Him to be able to use me for His honor and His glory. He’s the One deserving of all the praise.

It’s a fearful thing to stand before God and His wonderful people. However, we never stand alone. God doesn’t give us things to do for Him and then leave us alone to do them. I have learned all He expects from me is my obedience and the faith that He can and will take care of me. He knows how small I am and that I can’t do anything without Him. He also knows that if I take one tiny step in faith, He will pick me up and carry me the rest of the way.
And when He moves the fear is gone and only beautiful blessings remain.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Prayer Works

Sometimes I get so caught up in this world that I forget to talk to God. When everything is going great in my life, I very seldom take the time to thank Him. I rush around as if I have so many important things to do, as if talking to God were not the most beautiful and important thing I could possibly do all day.

Do you ever think about prayer? It is one of the greatest blessings of life. Whatever our problem or heartache, we can take it to our almighty God. We can tell him of our troubles and ask His guidance. We can tell on our enemy and gain strength. We can move mountains, if we pray and believe.

So why don’t we? Why do we use prayer as a last resort? Why do we try everything else first, and when all that fails call upon God?

I don’t know. In my case, I believe it’s because prayer takes unyielding faith. In order for me to truly pray, I have to believe that God will answer my prayer—wholeheartedly. I have to remove my foolish thoughts and stop thinking about myself. I believe in order to really get to the place where I can pray takes time. It all comes down to accepting God’s will. And if we pray, those are the only prayers He hears anyway.

Even though I try to pray every day, all day long, I don’t always get through. Often times, I stand in my own way. I try to bargain with God or give Him ultimatums. I want my prayer answered immediately. I don’t want to wait. And I usually think I know what is best in these situations.

However, what I fail to see is the work that God does beyond my sight. He has certain ways He does things. He’s not like me at all. He is patient and longsuffering. He exhibits grace and mercy. He loves each child created and does what is best for them. Sometimes He allows us to go on the wrong path for quite a while. He continues to offer us warnings along the way and places to turn around. He gives us numerable opportunities to change directions and to get off the path of destruction. Nevertheless, He always gives us a choice. But we should also remember there are consequences with our choices.

For me it’s so hard to see someone I love on the wrong path. I hate watching them self destruct. I beg and plead for them to change. I pray and want God to help them—make them stop. There are times when it’s so overwhelming and I think I can’t bear it another minute. There are times when I pray and hope with everything inside me. I feel like it might swallow me up. And then I’m reminded of my God and His greatness.

He will come through right on time. He will do the things I can’t do. He will step in one day and answer my prayer. He will make it all look so easy because to Him it is. He wants me to turn my heartaches over to Him. He wants me to lay them at the feet of Jesus and never pick them up again. He wants me to have faith that He will take care of it all for me. He wants me to not be weary and keep my eyes on Him.

So I praise Him for the prayer He will surely answer one day. I know He can turn my heartaches into blessings and replace my tears of sorrow with tears of joy. In every situation, every single moment—God is so good!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Positive Thoughts, Faith, and Prayers

It’s so easy to be surrounded by a realm of negative thoughts.  To me they seem more natural and so much easier to believe. They are what we are accustomed to and always arrive first in every situation. They are the enemy and yet we treat them as trusted friend.

This week as I looked at my scheduled, I thought, there is no way I can do all of this. I have been given an impossible schedule and the crazy part is that I agreed to it. I hoped some of my events would be rescheduled or I could find a way to cancel them. The long list of reasons, why I couldn’t do them, rolled around in my mind. And then I made a decision—I decided to fight back.

We believe whatever we tell ourselves. We control our own mind. We have the power to be happy or miserable. Somewhere along the way, I had forgotten this. I decide my mood and how I will react to certain situations. I thought about pain and how pain medication works. I have read that the medicine doesn’t stop the pain. It does, however, convince your mind that the pain is gone. What if I could do that too?

So Monday, I experimented.

I got out of bed early and exercised before work. Every time a bad thought popped into my head I dismissed it and countered it with a positive one. I ate a healthy breakfast and smiled while I was getting ready for work. I assured myself there was no pain and that I felt wonderful. There were a few times when it got tough and in those times I prayed—believing wholeheartedly that God could and would help me. I worked the whole day without any medicine, heat or ice, or pain rubs. And God gave me another lesson in faith.

The content of our thoughts is a powerful thing. They can help us or destroy us. They can make us stronger or weaker. The good thing is we control them.

Through God I worked all week, drove to and from work, and even attended three separate events for my books. I signed books and moved to a new plateau.

Yesterday as I drove to my last event of the week, I was tired. I wanted to go home and go to bed. I felt as if my strength was gone and I had so many more tasks to do before the day ended. I fought the tears on the drive and tried to be positive. However, I felt defeat closing in on me.

When I arrived at the school it took all of my strength to smile and walk toward the building. As I walked up to the front door, there were beautiful signs on the door. They had taken the time to make three welcoming signs—just for me. I felt so special and blessed. Then when the kids handed me their precious letters, they made for me, God blessed me with an indescribable feeling. He knew exactly what I needed. He knew I had tried all week and pushed as far as I could. So He picked me up in His arms and carried me the rest of the way. During my visit, He gave me these amazing Godly moments. I can’t even describe them; they’re so much better felt than told.

And He reminded me that regardless of how hard the road gets for me, He will help me. He will carry me when my strength fails me. He will pick me up and set me a mile ahead of the enemy. However, He expects me to do the things I am able to do. He expects me to put forth an effort. He likes it when I step out in faith, knowing there is no natural way— believing He is the way.

It is during these times, when He proves His unconditional love to me and gives me so much more than I expected or even deserve. I love my special moments with God. He’s so good to me.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Not Right Now

There comes a point when we need to step back and evaluate our lives. Look at each aspect honestly, pray and make decisions. Life is a constant array of changes, however we are the ones who should decide the parts that need to be changed and the ones that are steadfast and unmovable.  

I hate this whole honesty with myself exploration. It hurts. I don’t like to look at my faults and failures, bounds and limits. I like to believe I can do anything my heart beckons me to do. However, my mind is a different realm of possibilities. It is stubborn and persevering, regardless of the ramifications and injuries along the way.

And that is my problem in a nut shell. I’m so bound and determined to do everything that sometimes I don’t see my actions are hurting me. Who cares what so and so can do! It’s about me and what I can do. I’m the only one who feels my pain—literally.

Anytime I start putting limits on me and using words like can’t, impossible, too hard, etc. it messes with my equilibrium and makes me shift my focus, causing me an assortment of self-doubt. And that makes me just want to give up on everything.

However, there has to be a common place in the middle.
I want to be a good mommy, wife, daughter, sister, friend, author, employee, solider for my Lord, etc. I don’t want to disappoint anyone, so I push until there’s nothing left to give.

At the end of the day, my body aches and my mind races toward the possibilities of just giving up. I know I have to make changes in my life. If I continue on the path I’m on, I will end up injured an unable to do anything.

That’s where the prayer comes in. I need to decide with each task if it is truly important or something that is insignificant.  I need to remind myself once again that it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to not go to some events. It’s okay to ask for help. I’m the one stressing me out. I’m so tired of thinking that I cannot admit when things hurt me or are hard for me to do. I still struggle with the notion that people will see me as disabled if I admit I have hardships. But you know what? I’m nothing, anyway. My lord is my strength. He is everything and He already knows all about me.

Yesterday, He wouldn’t allow me to write my blog entry and I tried. He had something to show me. I was the one who decided it needed to be written and posted on Thursday. That was never the timetable He gave me. So often I stress about things, when all I need to do is pray about them. God doesn’t put His foot on us and push us into the ground. He lifts us up! He knows when my strength ends and His begins. Most of all, He knows my heart. He knows the things I desire to do. He also knows that sometimes people take advantage of me and expect more than I’m able to give.

I think we should all look at everything we do and understand why we do each task. We need to put each task in categories by their importance. We need to stop and ask ourselves who we are doing it for anyway and why are we doing it. What will happen if we don’t do it? We need to be honest with ourselves and our justifications.

I don’t tell myself I can’t do these things or they are not important. I just remind myself—not right now. Perhaps one day if it’s the Lord’s will, I will be able to do more. If not, there’s a reason why. And that’s good enough for me.

It’s hard to smile when you’re in pain
See the sunshine through the rain
Hide the recesses of doubt etched in your heart
Keep moving when you feel like falling apart

One of these days I will be okay
And I will never again have to say
I can do it, just not right now
I know I can, I’m just not sure how
I’ll keep trying until I find my way
Don’t let me be defeated God, I pray

Help me fight
With all my might
Renew my strength
Restore my faith
Help me keep my eyes on you
The One who helps me make it through
Each and every day
Help me Lord, I pray!

Happy Dr. Seuss Day!!
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. ~Dr. Seuss

Author shares message through Zippy the zebra