flashthoughts

Posts Tagged ‘life

FACEBOOK GROUP COVER - IN CHALLENGESThere are no presents under our tree;
However, HIS PRESENCE fills our home.
Our lives are full of the gifts
He’s been giving us all year long.

I jotted down that little poem in a note app on my phone Christmas morning. I thought maybe there would be more to go with it. I’ve been praying about it since then and, as I sat down this morning to see if I was supposed to elaborate on it, I felt it was complete. I mean, it really does say it all.

For some who may not truly understand, though, I will try to explain just a tiny bit here in this post.

My heart was FULL on Christmas Day just remembering how God has blessed us throughout this past year. There were a lot of changes in our lives – happy changes, sad changes, just changes in general.

In January – wait, let me back up to last December 1st, because that is when Mom got her lung cancer diagnosis. Okay – then, in January, Frank was approved to go in Bullock Correctional Facility as the Assistant Chaplain.

February 20th – God sold our house in Atmore and let us know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, we were moving to Union Springs EARLIER rather than LATER. (We had been thinking we would move in the summer – AFTER I finished my commitment to my HIPPY job)

March 10th – We moved to a rental house in Union Springs – totally provided by God because, when our house sold in February, we had no idea where we were going to stay! I would leave on Sundays and go back to Atmore to stay with Mom at her house through Thursday each week, until my job with HIPPY ended May 11th.

March 17th – He showed us the house that would become our home – even though we had no idea how He was going to do it. He did – and it became officially our home May 11th!

May 6th – Mom was promoted to Heaven.

June 14th – Jessica found out her Dad had passed away, probably the night before, suddenly and very unexpected!

August 13th – MYA MARIE KITTS was born and Frank got to be in the delivery room! She has brought so much joy and love into all our lives these last 4½ months!

Soooooooo – you can see why my heart was so full on Christmas Day and why I mostly spent the day simply reflecting on all the wonderful gifts God has given us throughout the year. Like the peace He gave when He called Mom home – it happened pretty much just as she had always said she’d like for it to happen. Sure there are days I miss her really bad; but, I know where she is and that I’ll get to see her again, so I refuse to allow myself to get caught up in the sadness. I allow myself a good cry now and then, when it hits, but I do not allow it to linger on and on. Mom wouldn’t want me to do that.

It hurt watching my baby girl go through losing her Dad only a month after losing the only Granny she ever really knew. But, again, I am glad she also has the Peace our Father gives and I know she is doing okay. She is as great a mother as I always knew she would be, by the way! She is so wonderful with Mya – it just thrills my heart to watch her with her own baby girl!

I believe the gifts of PEACE in our losses and NEW LIFE in our family have probably been two of the most cherished gifts He has given us this year and my heart is, indeed, full!

Now, let’s enjoy the last few days of 2018 and see what wondrous things He will do in 2019!

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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!

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:

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 🙂

When I left work Tuesday afternoon I was fighting back tears – trying not to give in to the attack that I felt sure the enemy was making on me. I got in my car and noticed there was a bug on my windshield (outside) directly in my field of vision. I thought, “Well, you won’t be there long,” and started on my way. I was too busy trying to figure out why I was being attacked and trying to ‘rationalize’ the attack in my head – you know, ‘Ok. I get it. I understand what’s going on. This is what happened and I’m NOT gonna let it get to me. I am NOT going to cry.’

I got through town and was on the 25 minute stretch headed home. Even though I had let a few tears fall as I was getting through town and heading out, I had it under control now. I was gonna be just fine. Yeah, right! As soon as I thought that, the floodgates opened! LOL I was not just crying – I was sobbing! “Oh poor me! Why does the enemy have to attack me like this? It’s just not fair! I’ve been trying SO hard to do better! Lord, don’t You see? You KNOW I’ve been doing much better and really improved – a LOT! Right? So, why do I feel so awful because I messed up again? Is it because I’m in Celebrate Recovery and trying my best to learn how to deal with all this ‘junk’ from the past? Is it because I finally NAMED my fear and so now it’s being thrown at me from ALL directions? If so, then I don’t know if I want to continue! This is too hard! It hurts too much! Maybe I should just give up!” (All of this while sobbing, uncontrollably)

At this point, I noticed the bug was STILL hanging on to my windshield and it was as if the Lord spoke into my spirit, “See how that bug is hanging on for dear life to your windshield? I want you to hang on to ME like that. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. I’m here for you and I will see you through this. But this is going to be a process and you will HAVE to be willing to hang on to Me just like that bug is hanging on to your windshield. I’ve got you. I’m not gonna let you go.”

WOW! Okay, Father. I’m hanging on but I’m gonna need Your  help. Some days, like today, I feel like the enemy is snatching me away and that I just can’t hold on any longer. But as long as You have me in Your hand, I know I’ll be okay. You will continue to give me strength and help me hold on.

Then about ten minutes away from my house, I was watching the bug and still being amazed at how it was hanging on and then………..it let go! It got THAT close to being home and it let go! It was as if something just snatched it right off the windshield. Again, I felt the Lord whispering to my spirit, “See? Don’t be like that bug. Don’t be SO close to getting ‘home’ with dealing with this fear only to let go and give up and be consumed by it again. Don’t let go. I’ve got you and I’M not letting go of you so don’t you let go of Me either.”

I’m not gonna let go, Father. I want to keep clinging to You! I WANT to learn how to deal with this and still be a shining light for You, whether this ‘thorn’ is ever removed from me or not. Thank You, Father, for reminding me that YOU are with me and that You won’t leave me. As long as I hold on to You, I will make it through this. And thank You for leading me straight to these verses when I got home:

My sheep listen to My voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are One. ~ John 10:27-30 (emphasis mine because that is the part that really grabbed me)

So, no matter how hard the enemy may want and try to “snatch” me (or you) from the Father, he can NOT do it! As long as I (or you) hold on, He will not let go of us. CORRECTION: Even IF you or I DO let go of Him, from time to time, HE WILL NEVER LET GO OF US!!!!

What about you? Has there ever been a time when you just felt like letting go and giving up? Would you leave a comment and share what inspired you to keep going and keep holding on? I’d love to hear it.

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