Tag Archives: Control

Choosing Joy

1 Jan

As we look forward to what comes next, we have to also know that what comes next isn’t always what we wish for, desire, or plan for.

I personally have family that is facing end of life. T is the bravest, strongest person I know. She is so inspiring to so many.  I have a close friend doing everything her little body can to rid her body of cancer. She is so strong and brave as well. Determined. These are not the things we plan for or wish for but they are as much a part of our life as the good.

Having had to face my own misunderstanding that life is always supposed to feel good; It isn’t and it doesn’t. The truth is, living gets really hard at times and sometimes we suffer deeply. Sometimes people do unkind things, sometimes people get sick, sometimes we are left out, sometimes relationships are really hard. … but God, but love.

Through all of the ups and downs, there is love. At the core of everything, love is there and love is truly all there really is. Some people may not treat us well or be kind to us and some may never love us, but there are those that do.  Hold on to those people.

Some people may be cruel, selfish, mean spirited. We may not want to love some people but do it, do just that! When we come from a place of love, regardless of other’s, we grow in peace and joy. We steady our hearts and minds. It isn’t determined by them, it is your heart that chooses to love no matter what.

Let go of control. We may make plans and we may think we drive this life, but at the end of the day, we really can’t control anything, and especially any one. We can only choose for ourselves how we react and respond to what we will never control.

As a woman seeking and thirsting for the truest lover of my soul, what I have learned most is this… God remains the same through all of it. When I stop comparing how I think it should be, or what I planned, to the way it really is, I can climb into the peace of knowing that through it all, He has it all worked out for my good. When we surrender to His omnipotent plans and power, then suffering last’s only a little while.

At the end of the day, we only have this very minute, to choose what we think on. To choose what we focus on. To choose if we cherish or complain.  We can choose to let go of our peace over things we can’t control, or we can gain peace by embracing what is good and steady in the face of turbulence.  We can love through the worst of times… because one day we will wish we had done more of that. I promise you that.

2019 will have it’s own wonder and it’s own trials… but today, I am centered on His Sovereignty.  Peace settles so well on my heart, knowing that through it all, He is there, working it all out for my good and for His glory.

Today… my cup overflows. This moment I choose joy.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 

choose this day whom you will serve Joshua 24:14-15

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Why Faith?

18 Sep

I don’t for one second believe in Karma or in the universe’s ability to sling back to me what I put out there. Why, oh why, would I want to go back to the idea that we get what we deserve? Worse, the lie that we ultimately have control over what happens to us.

Stand in front of a tornado and tell me you can control the path it takes. If it hits your home, did you put something out in the universe that drew that tornado to you? Watch your child die from disease. You would gladly change places, if you could, but you cannot control these things. Tell me that this beautiful child is dying because of something they did wrong. That you or they deserve it, if you believe in Karma.

We are built to worship something. There has to be something we can turn to, beyond the worldly possessions and heartaches. We can try to fill that void with relationships, alcohol, drugs, sex, work, money, popularity… Or is life simply about learning to let go of the illusion we have control and learn to leap into the vast and amazing life of Faith… to lean in to something bigger than ourselves?

The message I learned growing up in the Catholic Church is that constant repentance was called for, but ultimately, you would never really be good enough to achieve Heaven. Pergatory, yes, but not heaven. So if we get what we deserve, (Karma) you can get to heaven by being a good person. How good do you have to be to get in and how bad do you have to be to not get in?

Where does the line of Grace begin, where does Mercy start? If God is perfect (Good) and Satan is Evil (Bad) where is the line between the two? And who has the authority to decide that?

Divorce for me was a catalyst for intense change within myself. I had to want to die, to actually find Him. I had to go through so much loss to lose myself to Him. To give up the idea that I had the ability to steer my life and keep myself afloat. I didn’t…including my sin.

We will all go through suffering; Intense pain and suffering. We will lose loved ones and we will face illness in one way or another. People will let you down and you will screw up. We will have trials beyond our ability to control.

Did you do that to yourself? Maybe instead, it is the realization that it is all bigger than us. It is far more difficult to surrender to God than to simply say.. Karma is a bitch. Surrendering and saying “God..Walk me through this journey of pain, I trust you; Teach me, mold me,make me the instrument of Your love, Your light for this dark world. ”

Surrender: v. without object to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield.
n.the act or an instance of surrendering.

The key to faith is surrender,not being perfect;not being good, not being without sin. I reached out to Jesus and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior as a young woman. I was saved! I had that kernel of knowledge. That HE was who He said He was. He brought me through all the ups and downs of life without demanding attention. But.. there comes a time when He will shake things up. His timing.

The truth is, I operated from a “good people get what they deserve, bad people get what they deserve” perspective. Sadly, we all have our flaws. So, again… who decides that line, what is good enough?

Jesus had plans for my journey. I was a woman that had things under control. I raised 6 kids. I was strong! He came in and like Job, allowed my life to turn upside down. My world spun out of control. I was scared and lost. It was more than I could bear. And there He was! Just like that. A presence that was felt so near. I could literally feel Him;Intensely.

Suddenly, I was surrounded by strong, loving, Christian women. He made me new. I didn’t repent of all my sins. He removed them from me, He is still removing them or showing them to me. I learn more and more, every day. My idols are shown to me in new ways. He teaches me. I needed Him then and I need Him now. I could not have done that.

When I surrendered, I knew that I had reached the end of hope, the end of my ability to make my life work. I was a good person, I still am. I am also a sinner. I am a person that needs Christ. I can’t be perfect. I can’t do right all day, every day. My thoughts betray me. I am so aware of my need for Christ because I cannot be good enough on my own, to earn all that Heaven holds for me. His Grace and Mercy are absolutes in my life, the cornerstone for who I am and how I walk this world. I have to trust His promises that I am saved or I have no hope. He doesn’t lie.

My journey with Christ is what I know. I know who HE has been with me, for me, near me, beside me, in me. I am not capable to make the changes in my heart that He has made. He dwells there and because I accepted that He loved me enough to die for my sins, the bridge between my sin and God has been placed. I am grateful, reverently aware of Him and my heart overflows with abundant love.

It is not about my sin, because of Grace. It is about Jesus. But God, because I absolutely can’t on my own.

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

I Need a Holy Night

14 Dec

The greatest lessons in my life have come from struggle and trying times. The greatest gifts from loss and pain. It has taken me a lifetime to understand this.

I can look back and see how poverty, the family dynamic and having a father with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s helped create the person I am today, good and bad. Lessons learned in childhood bring us our reactions and coping skills for struggle and pain, it is only when we revisit those lessons as an adult that we can heal. As children, we do not have wisdom in which we can learn and grow from our experiences. We haven’t lived long enough to gain the wisdom that is necessary. The deeper the hurts, the stronger the resilience and thus, the longer the journey to heal can be.

Poverty and loss really shaped my independence, my controlling nature and my need for security. I became very self sufficient. I thought that material things didn’t matter to me, but I lied to myself, they did. I had a vision of comfort in my head that included a home, decorated to be comforting and warm; Food cooking and a family around the table. That was security. That was peace and comfort. I created a comfortable picture, yet it fell apart anyways, leaving me stunned.

I remember a Christmas of my childhood that was very meager. My poor mom was so sad for what she couldn’t provide us. What we did have was God, shelter, family and love, but that wasn’t the focus. We were living in a place and time of material giving for Christmas. What was lost, in the desire to gain gifts, was the Greatest Gift of all. Jesus had lost the focus as our provider, our hope and our joy. He is the Father to the fatherless. We were fatherless. We had each other, but it was too much to process. I lost both my parents in one disease, dad to the illness, mom had to work. The burdens of adulthood fell on little shoulders, much too early. Abandonment was not something I was equipped to feel, to process.  It created a real lack of trust in my heart and relationships with men that were just as ill equipped to build a life as I was. Money, yes, relationship, no. When you live waiting for the other shoe to drop, you would think you are prepared for when it actually does. I wasn’t. When you live in fear, you don’t know God and you don’t trust. When people leave us as children, we somehow wrap our value up in that. As if we had something to do with the leaving. Children are so vulnerable. Divorce, abuse, death, illness, emotional abandonment.. these change our children.

In the process of walking in my faith, of gaining a relationship with Him, learning to gain my security in Him, learning to trust Him; I have grown to see myself in His eyes. He created me to be this person. I see the gifts He has blessed me with, my ability to bring people together, to build, to create. I have a genuine love for women, and I am learning to have a Christ like love for men. God has put incredible men, Godly men, loving men, respectful, committed men in my path. He put His loving light in my heart and when I am connected with Him, plugged in, people respond to that light.

Christmas is about the people I am around and the light that shines in all of us. Christmas is about the kids, but maybe for Christmas the best thing we can do is love them, spend time becoming whole and plugged in to the Father. Maybe the best gift we can give our children is to reconnect with God and also their other parent. Heal the wounds that make kids think they are a little less lovable. Spend time with a child that is vulnerable. Breathe life into their wounded souls.
Finding Christ in Christmas doesn’t mean you can’t love Santa and enjoy the fun of this time of year (actually I find it a great way to share the love of Christ).

Christ came down for us, to save us. He carries us, as adults we need that, imagine the need in our children. I know, I need the Holy Night, the quiet night. Spending time in quiet, reading the story of Jesus in Luke or Matthew, renews me, moves me. Maybe it would do the same for you. Maybe let that bring you back to the Holy Night and the gift that was offered to you. Maybe,let that change you.

Matthew 5:3-5 (MSG)
3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

Luke 12:7 (NIV)
7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (MSG)
6-7 So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

Revelation 21:4 (NIV)
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

John 15:2-6(NIV)
2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Hebrews 12:6
New International Version (NIV)
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.

2 Corinthians 8:9
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich
Proverbs 28:6
6 Better the poor whose walk is blameless
than the rich whose ways are perverse.

Luke 12:32-34(NIV)
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Isaiah 65:17-25
17 “See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
 nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
 and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more