flashthoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration

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:

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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!

christmas-every-day-i-wishAfter reading my devotions this morning, as I do every morning, I began to write in my prayer journal. I say it has turned into more of my “thanksgiving journal” than my prayer journal because, most days, I’m simply thanking Him for various things. Lately, most of my actual prayers are not written – for a few different reasons. This morning, however, turned out to be a little different. Oh, it started out the same – my usual “Good morning Father! Thank You for waking me this morning” then I wrote the words “Christmas Eve” and, after that, I really didn’t even know what I was writing until I finished and read back over it. I felt I should share it and I hope it will touch at least one person’s heart and/or life. I am going to simply share exactly what is written in my journal:

Christmas Eve – the day before we celebrate the day of Your earthly birth – when You chose to put aside Your glory and Your Heavenly home to come and dwell among us AS one of us! My mind is hard-pressed to even BEGIN to comprehend the depth of Your love for ME! There are no words and, even if there were, I don’t know that I would be able to get them down on paper. I feel so inadequate and extremely unqualified to even try – so I pray and I ask You to help me live my life in a way that portrays and conveys what there are no words for – a love with no explanation – a love that can not be explained – a love that only You can give! I want my life to be a life that points others to You and honors You in a way no words can and a life that brings glory to Your Name! Without You, I am nothing and worth nothing; but, WITH YOU, I am unstoppable!

Help me to share the TRUE gift of Christmas every minute of my life – every second You give me breath; for I can not even take a breath without You filling my lungs with air! Help me to remember every day I have is a rare and precious gift FROM You and how I choose to use it is my gift TO You. I want to always be able to give You a lovely gift at the end of every day and, without Your help, even that isn’t possible.

My heart is truly overflowing this morning as I look back over this past year and remember all the wonderful “gifts” You have given me:

  • time spent with family & friends
  • growing love from & for my husband
  • a daughter making her way back to You
  • FREEDOM from my fears

and so many more! With You in my life, I truly can have Christmas every day, as can anyone else!

Thank You for all You have spoken to my heart this morning and, for all I have asked this morning, I ask it in the Precious, Holy Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth! I love You 🙂

Do you ever have trouble wondering if you’re hearing from God or am I the only one that struggles in that department? It’s times like that when I am forced to realize that I don’t spend the time in His Word that I should. If I did, maybe I wouldn’t question so much if it’s truly Him I’m hearing from but that’s a post for another day, right?

I recently went through this battle again – trying to figure out if I was hearing from Him or being absolutely crazy – but I handled things differently this time. Instead of telling anyone else what was going on, I kept it between Him and me. I decided prayer was my best way to go. I asked Him to show me, with no uncertainty, that it was absolutely HIM and I knew there were ways He could do this. I prayed and then I waited and listened and He made Himself so clear. I wish I had written down from the beginning all the things that transpired but I didn’t. On June 12 I did, however, go back and write down the things that really stood out from the beginning until that day and, after that, I wrote down each day the things that happened. Since I can’t figure out how to condense it down, I will just share from my journal for this particular journey.

THESE ENTRIES ARE MADE JUNE 12 – REMEMBERED THE BEST I CAN

Friday, May 4, 2012

I attended my first ever 31 Party with Jessica and Cassie in Auburn. It was there that I learned Thirty One is based on Proverbs 31. I never knew that. It was at that party I began to feel ‘hmmm…maybe I should have one of these parties’ but IMMEDIATELY dismissed the idea. Why? Because I had said I would not have any more ‘parties’ like that because no one would show up. The last party I tried to host was for a friend who was trying to get started in Premier Jewelry – NO ONE showed up except for my Mom. That ‘party’ consisted of me, my daughter, my Mom and the friend I had tried to help. What a disappointment – not to mention that it REALLY fueled my feelings of insecurity and rejection!

Week of May 7, 2012

I don’t really remember what day or how we even got on the subject (other than the Lord bringing it about, which I didn’t realize at the time) but my co-worker had been looking for something online and the next thing I knew I was telling her about Thirty One and all the neat things they have. She was looking at the website and made the comment there were lots of nice things that would make great Christmas gifts. Before I knew it, I was saying, “So, if I have a party, would you come or like to order something?” WHAAAAAAT??? I really just said that???? WHOA!!! {Guess I should have started getting suspicious right then but I was still clueless about what was coming – lol}

So, I sent a text to the only person I knew that was a Thirty One Consultant, Janalyn, and told her I’d like to have a party. It took us a while to be able to get together to pick a date but we finally did and settled on June 15.

Week of June 4, 2012

Sometime during this week – I’m thinking maybe around Thursday or Friday – another thought started nagging me at the back of my head. I had started looking through the catalog to make my ‘wish list’ and I really started getting excited about all the neat things I was seeing. Even though this thought went fleeting through my head, I sure didn’t let it linger or dwell on it – I just kept looking through the catalog.

 Saturday, June 9, 2012

I was looking through the catalog again to finish up my wish list, passing time until it was time for Mom and I to head to Daphne. As I was looking through the catalog again, that silly, nagging thought returned. I tried to immediately dismiss it again but it would not go away this time. I found myself giving in to it and sending Janalyn a text to see when I could meet with her so I could talk to her about it. I had quite a few questions because of this thought that had “attacked” (lol) me out of nowhere.

We were able to get together the next afternoon and she took a lot of time and answered all the questions I could think to ask and even shared some things that I had not thought about.

THE FOLLOWING ENTRIES ARE BEING MADE IN “REAL TIME”

 Tuesday, June 12, 2012

 After talking with Janalyn and getting the answers to my questions, I still felt I had a lot of praying to do. I have tried too many things “on my own” before and I only want to do this if I can truly feel from Him that it is something He wants me to pursue.

Every time I think about becoming a Thirty One Consultant, I get excited about helping people get organized and I start thinking, “I could do this”. Then all the ‘doubting Thomas’ questions come in to my head. This morning I was going through that same cycle again but when the questions started coming in my mind and I started doubting again, I suddenly felt as if ‘someone’ (hmmmm….wonder Who? LOL) was saying to me, “Who do you think is feeding you the doubt?” That’s when I suddenly felt peace again about doing this.

Later that morning I saw this post from one of my friends on Facebook: “For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. Prov 3:26. May we have God-confidence, not self-confidence” {Or as Renee Swope calls it – Godfidence!}

I took that as reassurance that I was definitely hearing from Him and I KNOW He is going to use this as a tool to help me further overcome my battle with insecurity.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Today’s Daily Promise is another reassurance that I am taking the step He wants me to take. This is what it said:

Matthew 17:19-20 WEB

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately, and said, “Why weren’t we able to cast it out?”
20 He said to them, “Because of your unbelief. For most certainly I tell you,
if you have faith as a grain of 
mustard seed, you will tell this mountain,
‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

 Promise #164: Nothing will be impossible for those who have even a little faith.

In this promise, Jesus tells us that even if our faith is as tiny as a mustard seed, we are able to tell a mountain to be thrown into the sea. Since I haven’t seen many mountains hurled into the sea lately, I often wonder what Jesus meant when He said these words to His disciples.

Of course we all have many figurative mountains in our lives that we face on a daily basis. Perhaps it isn’t the literal mountains around us that need moving, but these figurative ones? Maybe one day we will see literal mountains cast into the oceans, but in the meantime, what are the mountains in your life where you need a miracle? I love the fact that Jesus encourages us that we don’t need much faith at all to make a big impact.

From what I understand, a mustard seed is a very small seed, yet Jesus says even if our faith is that small, nothing will be impossible to us. Maybe it is time to start exercising the faith that you have? Start speaking to the mountains in your life with a childlike simplicity, just believing that they have to go away in Jesus name. Who knows what may start to happen?

 When I think of this promise, I am reminded of the man who came to Jesus to ask Him to deliver his son and Jesus asked him… “Do you believe?”. The man responded “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!” Jesus didn’t rebuke the man for this response but healed his son instantly.

 God understands our frailty, yet He continues to encourage us to simply have faith and watch what happens. Today I am going to speak to the mountains in my life, how about you?

 My “mountain” is insecurity – automatically assuming people don’t want me around or that I’m ‘not good enough’ – but I know these are lies from the enemy and I am choosing to fight hard to ‘move that mountain’ with my faith.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I will not apologize for not believing in ‘coincidence’. I believe God shows us things at the very time we need to see them and I believe He will use all different sources – be it a daily devotional, an inspirational email, a friend’s facebook post or a tweet on twitter or any other number of things – to give us answers to our prayers or to reassure us once we feel that we have received His answer, whether it is yes, no or maybe. That is why I had to chuckle just a bit when I opened my You Version Bible Reading for the day. The title? “Don’t Wait to Obey God”

There is a refreshing immediacy to Joseph’s relationship with God. When God said it, Joseph did it.

 If you believe God loves you and you want to live a life of obedience in response to His love, then this is how you should respond: When God says it, then do it.

 I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of great men and women of faith from around the world. They’re all different from each other, but they all have one thing in common. When they sense God saying to do something, they don’t hesitate. They step out and do it.

 First John 5:3 says, “This is love for God, to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.” (NIV) I was talking recently with Tom Holladay, my brother-in-law, about why, when God asks you to do something, it sometimes feels like a burden. What’s wrong?

 We decided it’s often because of procrastination. When we don’t act right away, it becomes harder to do the longer we wait. But when we do what God says, freedom comes into our lives.

 What is God calling you to do? Is it a phone call you need to make? An action you need to take? Whatever it is, write it down right now, tell God you’re willing to do it and ask Him to give you the strength you need to make it happen.

So – I ‘sort of’ have this one licked already – I have already started writing it down and I HAVE been asking Him to give me not only the strength but the COURAGE I need to make it happen. And I know that He will.

Another thing I want to share is, I also felt He was saying to me, “Say nothing to anyone until the night of the party and make the announcement then.” That was REALLY hard for me because I REALLY wanted to talk to my Mom about it and I also wanted to tell a very close friend and my daughter – but I didn’t. Oh, I came close to letting it slip a couple of times, but I was able to realize what I was about to do and reminded myself that I couldn’t. Let me just tell you how the enemy tried to get me to “spill the beans” before I was supposed to: A co-worker was looking through the catalog today and asked me, “Is this something you’re selling now?” It was REALLY hard not to say anything BUT I knew exactly where that question came from – he was a little TOO obvious with that one so I simply replied, “No” which was an honest answer because I had not signed up to be a consultant – YET 😉

Friday, June 15, 2012

WOW! I was beginning to wonder if this day would EVER get here and then I thought 6:30 would NEVER come! Thankfully, I was fairly busy all day getting the house ready and food prepared. I had received 15 “yes” responses from my invitations and 7 “maybe” responses but I was still wondering if anyone would actually show up. Then it started – I started receiving texts saying “I really was planning to come but…” or “I’m not gonna be able to make it after all” and you KNOW what the enemy started doing. Started putting thoughts in my head of how no one would actually show up and I was TOTALLY missing God on this one and why did I even think for a minute I should do this. But I IMMEDIATELY dismissed these thoughts because I knew of some that were coming for sure and I REFUSED to let the enemy camp in my thoughts. The time of the party finally arrived and can you guess what happened? That’s right – you got it – the living room was SO full that if one more person had shown up, I know we would have fit them in, but I sure don’t know where or how! LOL There were a total of 15 people here, including Janalyn and myself.

There you have it –  my journey to becoming a Thirty One Consultant. Now I am excited about beginning the journey as a consultant. Whether God has me here for a long time or a short time, I know this is where He has me right now and I can’t wait to get started. There is one other thing that happened allowing me to know for sure that God is the One that called me to this and it wasn’t just a ‘fleeting’ idea that went through my head, but I am not at liberty to share what it was at this time. I will share it when I have permission from the other person that it involves. Just trust me that it was the one final piece of information to assure me once and for all that this is definitely a “God” thing 🙂

I will keep you all updated about how the journey goes and I would also love to hear from you about your journeys. Any mountains you want to speak to or that you’ve spoken to in the past? Would you share? Maybe you can only share that you are currently on a journey and would like prayer – that’s okay, too. Share only that request for prayer. I’m sure that others would join me in praying for God to show you His direction, even though you can’t share the specifics. I look forward to hearing from y’all.


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