flashthoughts

SEARCH ENGINEYou may be wondering why I am asking such a silly question. It actually came out of my quiet time with my Father this morning. Let me explain…….

I was sitting here, having my quiet time with the Father, and I found myself on the subject of prayer. I had seen many prayer requests on Facebook yesterday and was asking for His will to be done in each situation.

Then, I began thanking Him for giving me the gift of prayer. Let me just share straight from my prayer journal. “Thank You for giving me the gift of prayer. A way to not only talk TO You; but, a way to talk WITH You. In fact, I think sometimes my prayers should be more about LISTENING to You and for You and the only way for me to be able to do that is to get back in Your Word so I will know what and when You are speaking to me.” It was at that moment when He began to speak.

Jeremiah 33:3 came to my mind. It says (in the NIV), “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” He ‘gave’ that verse to me and my husband a few years back as we were praying about something and He just seems to keep it in front of us a lot! However, this morning when He brought it to my mind, He showed me something He has never shown me before. Yes, I have read it in this version many times; but, today is the first time He spoke to me about one word in this passage – UNSEARCHABLE. He made that word stand out.

Here’s what I felt Him speak to my Spirit about that word. In this day of “Googling” everything for answers, ONLY HE can give me – and you – the truly important answers! Even as I am typing this to share, He has reminded me of something I have said in the past, when talking with someone about the answer to something. . .”Hey, just Google it. Google knows everything.” OUCH! Yes, I said it in jest and we laughed about it; but, maybe I should have followed it up with something like, “But, seriously. I’ll pray with you about it and we’ll see what God says”.

Yes, I’ve said “Google is a wonderful thing” before and, YES, it most definitely is a wonderful tool we can use. However, when it comes to the important things that our Father wants us to know, HE is the only search engine that we will be able to conduct our search on and come up with the correct answers. Sometimes His answer isn’t always what we want it to be – that’s when we have to remember His Word to us in Isaiah 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.”

So, for ‘earthly’ answers, please continue using the Google search engine. However, when it comes to matters of true importance in life, remember to use the GOD search engine. You may not always get the answer you want; but, then again, sometimes even Google doesn’t give you the answer you want. Am I right??? I can promise you this: the answer you get from God will ALWAYS be because HIS PLAN is ALWAYS the BEST PLAN for you 😊

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DISCONNECTEDOn August 26th, my husband and I attended a church about 35 miles from where we live. The next day this was part of a post I made on Facebook, “It’s so exciting and it feels wonderful to be “connected” again. I truly didn’t even realize how ‘DISconnected’ I had been feeling until Sunday! It’s gonna be great being in a life group again!” I had actually shared that – about realizing I had been feeling ‘disconnected’ – the night before, with some of the ladies from this church. I had no idea God was about to take me on a “journey” of the word, Disconnected!
Today, the message was about “Living Disconnected” because of how we all tend to be on our phones with social media, etc. or binge-watching Netflix or whatever. But I felt God speaking to me on a whole different level about this word, disconnected, again.I feel that I’m disconnected at this season of my life not because of electronics but because God moved us.
Some days, like today, things happen – like the message – that make me too aware of how disconnected I feel. I don’t even want to get still to take a nap, because it allows my mind to go where I don’t want it to go. No, I’m not upset about our move. I love our new house. I love being close to my daughter and her family. I especially love that my husband is serving in the prison he has wanted to serve in ever since he went into prison ministry. Please understand that my feeling disconnected has absolutely nothing to do with my husband. I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful, Godly husband who, every day, gives me a teeny, tiny glimpse of just how much God loves me!
I honestly believe God moved us when He did because He knew that, as hard as it is being here, it would be even harder being back there. He knew I wouldn’t be able to handle having to drive by Mom’s house every day, knowing I couldn’t stop and talk to her.
I can remember in my past, sometimes thinking, “I wish I could just run to the store real quick and not run into anyone I know”. Now, I wish I COULD run into someone I know. I don’t know ANYONE, so I never have to worry about that. Now it only serves as a reminder that I am a stranger in a strange land and, even as I typed that, God spoke to my Spirit – that is how I SHOULD feel no matter where I live in this world. He doesn’t want me to get comfortable in a place I don’t belong. This world is not my home, I’m just passing through! Older people (like me – LOL) will remember that song. Maybe I was getting too comfortable where I was and that’s why He had to move me. I mean, I know He has certainly been moving me way out of ALL my comfort zones over the last few years; but, this is the BIGGEST move He’s made yet, in my life. I am farther away from my family and friends than I have ever been before!
I know He has great things ahead for me; but, I’m not even gonna lie – some days it just HURTS to feel so isolated and alone and this is one of those days. It’s made worse because I can’t even pick up the phone to call Mom and talk it out with her the way I used to when I was having a rough day. I honestly believe she was my absolute best friend in the world for the last 26 years or so!
I know God has a purpose and a plan in all this. I just need to seek Him more so He can share with me, in His time, that purpose and plan. I still love Him. I still trust Him completely. I will continue to seek His face. On days like today, I will allow the tears to fall so they can cleanse whatever it is that needs cleansing and, tomorrow, if God chooses to wake me, I will take forward steps and keep moving and seeking Him!
“and He gives Kathryn the power to live, to move and to be who she is. ‘She is His child’.” Acts 17:28 CEV

ALONE - 2I was a single Mom for MANY years, so trust me when I say I understand where some people are coming from, especially women, when they talk about being “bound and determined” to “make it on their own”. These words were actually spoken to me recently and, as I thought about them, I felt God speaking to my Spirit. I am here to share it.

Making it “on your own” means you are paying your own bills and taking care of your family without any outside help. That’s all well and good and admirable; but, can I be honest and share this with you?

The truth of the matter is this: God never intended for any one of us to walk this road alone and “do it on our own”. I’m not talking about not being able to pay your bills, now – I’m talking about we are designed to do life TOGETHER, walk this journey of life WITH each other.

Now, I’m not a ‘water’ person. I don’t know how to swim, so I really don’t care for the beach or ocean or pool or whatever. That’s why I find it rather amusing that God put this example in my Spirit. I guess that’s how I also know it was definitely Him, because it certainly wouldn’t be MY first thought – LOL

Think about it: If you were in the middle of the deep water, drowning and someone came by in a boat to rescue you, would you seriously tell them, “No, you go on without me. I’m bound and determined to make it to the shore on my own.”? I certainly hope you wouldn’t!!! Then don’t turn down the Lord when He sends friends along your path to walk this journey WITH you – no matter what that might look like!

It might be someone offering to keep your kids while you and your spouse (or just you, if you’re a single parent) have an enjoyable day or evening. It might be someone offering you a ride to the grocery store or doctor’s office or church or anywhere else – REALIZE that, if they offer, it’s because God moved on their heart and asked them to do it. Those are the kinds of things I’m talking about. Don’t allow the enemy – or yourself – to use PRIDE to get in the way of a blessing God wants to send your way. Remember this, you may not feel you ‘deserve’ or want the help; but, if God has moved on someone’s heart to make the offer, don’t you think He also has a blessing in store for them for being OBEDIENT and listening? When you refuse to let others bless you, you could be interfering with not only your blessing; but, theirs, as well.

I just read this in an article and it goes along with exactly what I was trying to say here: “God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” (Genesis 1:27). Ever wonder who God was talking to? God, by nature, is Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God’s very nature is relational. And since we were created in his image, we were made to be in relationships!

In other words, we were made to DO LIFE TOGETHER 😊

One last thought – I mean, let’s be totally honest, even those who “think” they are ‘doing it on their own’, aren’t! Why? Because not one of us can even get up in the morning unless God sees fit to give us another breath. Without Him, I can do NOTHING; WITH Him, I can do ANYTHING – you know it’s true!

This was originally written and posted by me on May 7, 2018 on Mom’s Caring Bridge site. I am copying and posting it here so it will be easy for me to find in the future.
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MOM AND DAD - MINE2Our Mom started dancing on streets of gold last night, sometime between 6:50 and 6:55. She knew we were all there, except for two military grandsons, and, I believe, she knew we were all going to be okay 🙂 One of those grandsons, she got to see and talk to via Facebook messenger video call on Saturday and the other one will be able to make it here later today.

Our Mom knew she was loved by many. The enemy, most likely, thought this cancer would take a lot of things away from her; but, what it actually did, was show her just how many people loved and cared about her. She was continually amazed at the number of people who came by to see her or called to check on her or let her know by posting or messaging her on Facebook, just to see how she was doing. Our Mom touched many lives, some of which she never knew about, this side of heaven. But, she knows now!

Our Mom was granted her request of not wanting to be a “burden” to any of her children. Admittedly, SHE seemed to think she was being a bit of a burden during her doctor appointments and treatments after her diagnosis; however, I assure you (as we all did her), she most definitely was not. Through it all, she was able to continue to get around her house, even though it would take all her breath sometimes, until just a week or so ago. Then, she was mostly in her recliner, but would still get up to use the bathroom. When I (Kathryn) had to leave this past Thursday to go back home, she was still talking and joking and Alice (my sister) said she was the same Friday. Even on Saturday, she was able to talk on Facebook messenger. Late Saturday night, I believe, is when everything began to change. So, in reality, the time she could not respond to us, was extremely short! That is why I say she was granted her request. Because, while none of us (her children), would have thought of her as a burden, SHE would have felt she was.

Our Mom was truly a beautiful lady, from the inside out, and I’m glad God chose to let her see a “glimpse” of just how special others thought she was before He welcomed her home.

We all know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the second she took her last breath here, the next second she was dancing on streets of gold with her Savior and with our Daddy. How can we be sad about that? We can’t and we aren’t. Does that mean we haven’t shed tears? Heavens no – it just means the tears are because we are missing her already! But, we have this assurance: we WILL see her again one day – IF we have accepted Christ as our own, personal Savior, too.

We will be going in a few hours to make the arrangements for the CELEBRATION of Mom’s life and we will let everyone know those arrangements as soon as we do. HOWEVER, we need to let everyone know this up front – Mom said she didn’t want her funeral to be a sad occasion. She wants lots of praising, rejoicing, the Word of God given AND an altar call for anyone present that may want to give or recommit their life to Jesus! So, don’t come expecting sad and dreary – come ready to CELEBRATE!!!

BRAVE CHOICESOne year ending, a new year beginning. How will I end the old year? How will I start the new year? I could choose to be sad or angry about some things that happened in the year ending or I could choose, instead, to focus on the good and be happy and joyful. I could choose to let sadness or anger carry over to the new year or I could choose to let the happy and joyful carry over instead. Life really is about choices and not just yearly choices. How we look back on our YEAR, I believe, is mostly determined by the choices we make DAILY throughout the year.

You see, every day I am faced with choices to make and so are you, whether you accept the responsibility or not. Admittedly, some choices are because of things I have no control over. Sometimes things happen I certainly didn’t ask for – like sickness or someone else’s behavior or losing a loved one – the fact remains, it is my choice how I deal with what is thrown my way.

Do I always make the correct choice? I’m human, of course not. One thing I have noticed, though, is that since I have asked Jesus to help me recognize when I’m feeling “some kind of way” by my own choice, He has made it easier for me to correct my choice.

This past year, my husband and I made an effort to recognize and write down at least one blessing every day. I’m happy to report that we did it! Sometimes, if a day was really long and we were extra tired, it didn’t get written down in our “Blessing Jar” book until the next morning; but, I’m happy to report, we have an entry for every day of 2017!

I’m also happy to report, as I look back on the listed blessings, the ones at the beginning of the year are pretty much all I remember about those days. We chose to focus on our blessings, so the blessings are what we remember! It was a daily, intentional CHOICE!

Obviously, more recent daily blessings are still ‘tinged’ with things I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen to be going through and, yet, it is still my choice how to handle these things. Also, as more days go by, some of those things I can remember now, I won’t remember later – I will only remember the blessings listed.

As most of you know, on December 1st, my Mom was given the diagnosis of cancer and on December 26th (my daughter’s birthday) she was told it is Stage 4 and not curable, but, possibly, treatable. I could choose to be sad about this ‘report’ or I could choose to continue to put my trust in God for her complete healing. I could choose to look at 2018 and think, “this could be the year I lose my Mom” or I could choose to look at 2018 and say, “This could be the year God stuns the medical field once again by totally and completely healing my Mom!” I choose to focus on the miracle coming Mom’s way!

I may have the rudest, meanest, most hateful neighbors (I don’t – LOL) that, in my “humanness”, I could convince myself it is easier to just not like them and treat them the same way they treat me – or I could make the choice to show them love every chance I get and, whether they ever change or not, know that I did all I could to show them Jesus through my actions and words to them.

I can choose to let stress overtake me and blame it on a demanding spouse, children, job or any number of other things. Truth be told – it is my choice to either allow or deny stress in my life. Think about it? Where do you think stress REALLY comes from? The enemy!

Is it easy to make some of these choices? When I first became aware, it most definitely was not easy! However, as I said earlier, since becoming aware and asking God to help me in this area, it has gotten easier over the years. Easier in the sense that I recognize much quicker now when I am making the ‘wrong’ choice. What is the right choice and what is the wrong choice? You can answer that by how you are feeling, sometimes even physically. For instance, if you are feeling stressed, ask yourself why and most likely you will realize it’s because you are choosing to be stressed and allowing other things control in your life that have no business being in control. Give that control back to the Lord and let Him take care of it. He will 😊

Sometimes, in fact, I would even venture to say MOST times, the right choice is the hard choice, at first. We like to feel we have control of everything, when, in reality, probably the only thing we have control of is our choices. Does that make sense?

CHOICES – A word I’ve used quite a bit over the last few years and, yet, He gave it to me in a whole new light a few days ago. I knew it was to be my one word for 2018; however, I couldn’t seem to make myself sit down and capture all the thoughts swirling around in my head.

Then, yesterday, I saw a friend’s post on Facebook asking, “What’s your 2018 WORD?”. So, I commented my word was CHOICES and began reading some of the other comments. In doing so, I saw where my friend had posted a link to a site (Dayspring) and said, “If you don’t have a word, I would be interested to see what you get here”. I decided to click the link and just see what it would give me as my “word”. The word it gave me? BRAVE

2018 - MY WORD

I immediately realized it fit perfectly with the word I already knew I had been given, so my word for 2018 is not only CHOICES – it is BRAVE CHOICES!

So, those hard choices I was talking about a couple paragraphs ago? They are hard; but, they are the BRAVE CHOICES!

I am going into 2018 the same way I have gone in to the last few ‘new years’ – taking it one day at a time. After all, we aren’t promised our next breath, so why try to think of all that could happen over the next 365 days? Let’s just take this one day at a time and, daily, let’s make the BRAVE CHOICES! I’m in. Are you?

P.S. If you don’t have a word for 2018 (or if you do) and would like to see what word you are given, click here to go to the link I mentioned earlier:

BANDAIDYou know when you have a bandaid somewhere on your body, how “they” always say, “Yank it off fast and it won’t hurt”? If so, then you discovered, after the first time you tried it, “THEY” LIED!!! However, even knowing that, we still try it every time, right? I know I do.

Maybe I have been applying that same ‘logic’ to the recent events in my life. My Mom was recently given some news that no one likes to receive. I have been so busy with work and helping get Mom to different doctor appointments that I have been thinking, “Just say it really fast, keep moving and it won’t hurt” – truth is, though, I was lying to myself. It still hurts – BAD – but I haven’t really had time to just sit down, slow my mind and truly process what is happening to/in my Mom. So, now is the time to say it slowly; to get my thoughts sorted out and think about the road my Mom has found herself on.

My (pause) Mom (pause) Has (pause) Cancer (pause) Lung Cancer (pause) – There, I said it s-l-o-w and I’m still trying to let it soak into my brain, my entire being, actually.

I find it amazing how incredibly deep simple words can hurt. I have a friend who, a few weeks back, asked for prayer for her own Mom and said she couldn’t even say the word because it was too surreal and hurt too bad. I remember thinking, “Bless her heart. I can imagine.” Let me tell you right now, NO! I could not imagine!!! I had absolutely no idea!!! God is teaching me a lot just through that simple statement. We – maybe I should just say I – am so quick to think I can possibly imagine the awful way some situations can make others feel. This has definitely taught me to NEVER think I could, in a million years, imagine someone else’s pain! I did not have a clue how my friend felt, until I found myself trying to utter the exact same words – My Mom has cancer.

I realize, in trying to write about this, that my thoughts are scattered and all over the place. I started to apologize for that; but, decided I shouldn’t have to. The point of this writing is for ME to try to settle all these weird, unexplainable feelings going on inside me; therefore, I should feel free to simply write as it comes to me. Maybe I’ll try to go back and re-read this before I actually post it and TRY to put it in some kind of “order” and maybe I won’t. I mean, after all, nothing about this is in “order”! My Mom is 81 years old and has ALWAYS been in great health! I mean, sure, she would get the occasional cold or flu; but, basically still in great health! Cancer isn’t supposed to happen to MY MOM!!! Right, Lori? I know you know what I’m talking about! To be honest, cancer isn’t supposed to happen to ANYONE!!! So many people get mad at God when an illness, like cancer or anything else life-threatening, attacks someone they love – or them, for that matter – when the truth is God had nothing to do with it. WE (HUMANS) are the ones that are responsible. WE are the ones that sinned. From the first sin of Adam and Eve right up to my sin of today – SIN is what brought all the disease and sickness into the world. GOD, IN HIS GRACE, HELPS US THROUGH IT!!! Why do some get healed on this side of heaven and others get healed on the other side? I don’t know. I’m not God. It’s not for me to decide or to know. I only need to know that I can trust God to do what He knows is best and I will ALWAYS trust that!

Okay, so I have no idea where that last paragraph came from or why it is in this post. Apparently, someone needed to hear it or the Holy Spirit wouldn’t have poured those words through my mind and into my fingers as they typed.

It truly is a hard thing to see my Mom have to go through what she is going through: having such a hard time breathing that it makes her weak. So weak that, for a couple of days, she didn’t even feel strong enough to change out of her night clothes. She was using all her energy just to try to breathe! The tumor in her lung is pressing down on her bronchial tube to the point that the bronchial tube is almost completely closed – meaning, she is, basically, breathing with one lung! At all her doctor’s appointments, she was asked if she had oxygen and, each time, we told them no; but nothing seemed to get done about it. Until her appointment with her oncologist. True, we were a bit aggravated at not being seen until almost 2 hours past her appointment time; but, when he DID see her, he not only asked about the oxygen, when he found out she didn’t have any, he made sure it was ordered and in the process of being on the way to her before we left! She got her oxygen the very next afternoon and I believe it has really made a difference. I went by to check in with her the day after she had gotten it and she was already looking like she felt better. In fact, she said she had already done more that morning than she had in a while!

So, yes, it’s, possibly, going to be a long road to great health again and it will be hard to watch; but, watch it I will and will be right by her side, as much as is possible for me to be there, because I do have faith in God and I do believe He allowed her to get what she thought was a bad sinus infection so she would go on to the doctor so this could be caught as early as it was.

Through it all, something a friend said a few months back, has really stuck with me and I definitely agree with it. When he found out he had esophageal cancer, he said, “People call cancer the ‘big C’; but, I say it’s the LITTLE c because CHRIST is the BIG C”. Now, I may not have gotten that quote exactly right, but I DID get the important thing right – cancer is the little c and CHRIST is the BIG C and the little c MUST answer to HIM! Right, Bob?

I also know it was no accident that the Lord had me start studying in James last month. I simply read a few scriptures – sometimes only one – each morning and study on what they mean. This morning, I read James 5:14-15. I will share here exactly what I shared in my journal:

James 5:14-15 (my version)

 Is anyone sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them, anointing them with oil in the Name of the Lord. Their (the elders) faith prayer will heal the sick and the Lord will make them well and will forgive those who have sinned.

 Notes from my Life Application Bible: While verse 13 was referring to any kind of suffering – not necessarily physical illness – verse 14 IS referring to anyone who is physically ill. People in the church (Christians) are NOT (or should not) be alone. We should be able to count on others for support and prayer. The elders should be on call to respond to the illness of any member and the church should be sensitive to the needs of ALL its members.

The faith prayer is not referring to the faith of the sick person, rather, it is referring to the faith of the people praying! GOD HEALS, FAITH DOESN’T and ALL prayers are subject to God’s will; but, prayer IS part of God’s healing process.

My prayer:   Father, thank You for allowing me to be part of Your healing process by my prayers and my faith in You! Please help me where I am weak in this area and have the Holy Spirit “nudge” me to pray for someone the very minute they ask. Even if we are in the middle of a store, remind me to pray for them RIGHT THERE! Thank You for loving me so much that You are willing to include me in Your process and plan. I love You 😊

This post may not be for anyone but me – and I’m okay with that, because it has definitely helped me get some feelings sorted out. Thing is, it seems like every time I feel I’ve written something ‘just for me’, He still manages to use it to help someone else, too. So, that is why I continue to share. Love y’all!

KEEP BELIEVING

When you have a second child, does it mean you love the first child any less? Of course not!

Now, before anyone’s imagination starts running too wild, let me assure you all, I am most definitely not having a second child – not in the way you may be thinking anyway 😊 I have, however, been struggling with a decision for a few weeks now.

Most of you know I am a Thirty-One Independent Consultant and, if you read this blog, you know how I struggled with that decision. Well, the same way I felt the “pull” to Thirty-One, I have been feeling a pull to another company for quite a while now and I feel I got my definitive answer this past Sunday at church. Most of you also know I struggle with whether or not I’m hearing from God on some things. This is where I need to give a little bit of a “back story”. My husband and I listen to a few different messages from different pastors on Sunday mornings while getting ready for church. The past few Sunday mornings, the station has talked about a book on “Hearing the Voice of God” and I thought to myself, “I need to look that book up and order it to see if it would help me”. Now, back to this past Sunday morning. I heard that book advertised again and made a “mental” note to myself to check into it and see how much it cost.

Sunday, a week ago, Sara (our teacher) told us her daughter-in-law, Jocelyn, would be speaking to us the next Sunday (March 19th) in Sunday School and she would be speaking on the gift of hospitality. I was ready to hear about that because I don’t seem to have that gift – at all! LOL However, when she got up to speak, she told us she had been wrestling with the Holy Spirit because she felt the Holy Spirit was speaking to her to change her message and she was like “Oh no, I’ve got this. I’m speaking on hospitality. I know all about this and I’m good”. Until Saturday night. She said Saturday night she knew she had to change her message. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather when she said she was going to be speaking on “Hearing God’s Voice”! I wish I could share her entire message, but I can’t. I will share what is relevant to the new journey I am now on. As I said earlier, I had been struggling with this decision for a while and God, through Jocelyn, spoke clearly to me Sunday morning. A couple of things she brought out: 3 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice and 3 Mental Barriers to Hearing God’s Voice. One of the keys was Desire – I’m not waiting on God, He’s waiting on me! When He puts a desire in me, something that just won’t leave me alone, I have to choose to move forward in it and keep “carving”, keep digging it out to see what happens. One of the mental barriers was Fear. Being afraid of being disappointed or not being ‘successful’. BOOM! I KNEW I was the reason she had to change her message and I KNEW God was speaking directly to me, through her. Then, to reinforce His message to me, He spoke something else into my Spirit while I was resting after church. That is when I heard, “When you have a second child, does it mean you love the first child any less? Of course not!” He was assuring me it was okay and I can love BOTH my journeys equally!

I KNOW God set me FREE of all my fears last October; but, I was allowing fear of failure to “creep” back in a little. I am now shutting that door again and will continue to slam it shut every day, every second, if necessary, because I have been reminded I AM NO LONGER A SLAVE TO FEAR!

So, I started my new journey with Keep Collective yesterday by enrolling as a Designer and I can not wait to see where God is wanting to take me on this journey! He gave me a turtle as a representation of my journey with Thirty-One – He used (and is using) Thirty-One as a tool to bring me out of my shell – and now He is telling me to KEEP believing on my additional journey with Keep Collective!

I realize this may mean nothing to most of you reading this; but, I write these things mostly so I can look back later on and remember how and why I got started on these journeys and how God worked through others to help get me where I am. All I ever really want is to move along the path HE has set before me, giving HIM all the honor, praise and glory along the way, for I know, without HIM, I can do NOTHING! However, WITH HIM, I can do anything He calls me to do – and SO CAN YOU! DON’T BE A SLAVE TO FEAR – MOVE FORWARD WITH GOD!

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