Find a Penny Pick it Up…

All day long you’ll have good luck.

Do you remember this little superstition from childhood? Maybe it has carried over into our adulthood? Maybe we need to take a moment to reflect and ask ourselves if we are still putting our stock in these old wives’ tales or an all-powerful God?

We can choose every day to put our trust in a loving God who can bring us joy through any circumstance. We can face any trial that comes our way through the day.

The definition of the word luck, according to the dictionary, is a success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than one’s own actions. But if you search for the word luck in the Bible, you won’t find it.

We don’t need luck- we need Jesus. We need to let our actions reflect our love for Him and trust Him with our day. We’ll have much better odds than by taking a chance on a penny.

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3

Brazen!

In case you didn’t get or see my email this morning…I am posting the same message as my blog. Thank you for being a friend!

Bold without shame. This word has served me well this year. As I reflect on the year, I realize God gave me this word for a good reason. I have had to overcome many fears, doubt and worry about what others would think of me, to enter into a place of peace, trust and joy as He blessed me to share my story with others in such a way that shines the light on Christ and what He did for me.

I heard this saying a few years ago and it stuck out to me. “Not to impress you, but to press upon you” That is my goal every time I write a message, post my blog, stand before a group of people and share my ugly past as a way to glorify God for where I am today.  Don’t look to me, look to the Masterful Creator of all things.

Is the enemy spoon feeding you lies? Don’t digest it. Spit it out. I would encourage you to let God’s word sink deep down into your heart. Let this be the year you believe in a greater purpose for your life. If God can use someone has broken as me, He can use you too.

God uses my weaknesses and gives me the strength to be obedient to what He is calling me to do. Nothing is impossible with God. We can rely on Him and trust Him with the outcome. It is easy to say, ‘I can’t’ but we aren’t to live that kind of life when it is God calling us out to do His work By ourselves we can’t but with Him we can make the next step putting our faith in the One who is asking us to.

I hope you will ask God what word He wants you to focus on in the upcoming year, pray about it and focus on it in the light of His redeeming love. Take the next step on the journey to Christ and live a life of adventure with Him by your side. You won’t regret it. Put the enemy behind you and boldly go where Christ is leading.

John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. John 1:8

A Dog’s Purpose

Even when others don’t know what we are going through, a dog is always there to comfort us. They listen and seem to understand when no one else does. They are known for their faithfulness, loyalty, obedience and are anxious to serve.

In the grand design of things, I believe God must have created dogs for human companionship and they seem to show up in our lives when we need them most. We can mask our feelings to others, but not to our dogs. They sense when something is wrong and offer a loving nudge with the nose and are always willing to snuggle, well almost always.

When my son was going through a rough period in his life, he decided to get a dog to keep him company. It wasn’t long that I started to notice how much the dog resembled the same behaviors as my son. Either he got the perfect dog – personality wise or the dog adapted to her owner.

As he has grown, and his anxieties improved- likewise she has come out of a lot of her own nervousness. Granted when they moved in with me and I started sharing caretaking duties, she began to adapt to my personality at least partially.

All I know is that she came into his life when he needed her most. They have been good for each other. She is so smart, loving and gentle with everyone. What a sweetheart and delight to have around.

Likewise, my sister adopted a little dog at a time in her life when they were both looking for their way in a sense. Abundance, “Bundy” for short, was full of energy and a free spirit at heart. She did not want to be restrained to any limitations- not even the 140-acre farm in which she had free range, most of the time. She would still get a wild hair and take off up the road to ‘visit’ the neighbors or maybe just see the world. Could be that she just went to say she went because she could. People often reported seeing her in the road, on her hind legs, begging with her little front paws in the air. What a sight. She was one adorable little doggie.

At this time, my sister travelled regularly, (like a free spirit) and had a sense of freedom that she hadn’t experienced in a while. When she would go on trips, if I wasn’t tagging along, I would keep Bundy for her at my house in the suburbs. I walked her on a leash and kept her in the house with me.

It was also at a time in my life where I was finding my own way and enjoyed her company. I guess you could say she had two foster moms. I was trying to redefine who I was as a person and believe I was allowed this time with her for a reason. She showed me there is a different way other than following another person and being controlled by them. She was certainly not doing either one of those.

As my sister began traveling more frequently and I was settling into my new life, we had the conversation about me taking her full time. I know she didn’t like the leash and the confinement of the suburbs as much as the farm where she had freedom to roam, but I hoped she would adapt and enjoy my company as much as I enjoyed hers.

Before we could make the transition, this little individualist made her way back up the hill to the road and was hit by a car. My first thought was that if I had taken her, she wouldn’t have been hit, but in my heart, I know she was doing exactly what she wanted to do. She had served her purpose for more than one person in her short life- and no telling how many others before us.

I am grateful for the time I had with Bundy and for the lessons she taught me. I know in my heart when and if I personally need another furry companion in my life, God will provide it at just the right time.

For now, I enjoy the long walks I share with my son and grand-dog, Alley.

Tears

I cried all morning, but wasn’t sure why. I took them to God in my quiet time of rest, seeking answers, finding peace again but still uncertain why I was crying. My heart just felt extra tender today.

Then as I finished I saw an alert on my phone telling me that my credit card had just been used in London to purchase train tickets. I was immediately able to block my card just before two other attempts, so there was only one charge that got through.

I was instructed to call my bank immediately, so I did. I hung up with a new sense of gratefulness for the quick response of my bank and being told I would not be responsible for the charge. In tears again, but I knew why this time, for God’s protection. So I thought it only fitting to post this poem God put on my heart a few weeks ago about how God can even redeem our tears. I hope you enjoy it. If you can relate, leave a comment, I would like to hear your experience of God’s beautiful redemption in your life.

A past filled with broken dreams

Hidden behind a mask of lies

A girl so naïve she thought she was loved

Her only tears filled with fear

By the grace of God she escaped his grasp

With a jaded view and a shattered heart

Her tears redeemed by scars and love

You may see her cry but she’s not sad

If she could save her tears and bottle them up

Dose by dose she would prescribe them to the world

Derived from gratefulness hot streaks overflow

Down her cheeks in overwhelming joy

Words don’t measure up

But God knows her heart’s desire

To share her gratefulness with the world

She shares her story in hopes of change

To show others Christ’s love for a broken girl

Who’s tears were redeemed

Morning by Morning

Looking at my phone to determine the weather isn’t always accurate. I realized this recently when I checked my phone and saw that it said it was 57 degrees only to find a different story when I headed out the door to a chilly 30 something.

On another day, it was not supposed to rain, at all, according to my phone. But when I got outside, the pavement was wet, and a drizzling mist was falling from the sky. This didn’t deter me from running but I thought in that moment that we can’t always predict what the weather will be until we are in it. We can be prepared for it and head back in to change or add layers as needed when presented with the day. In other words, we can take the appropriate action based on the situation as it is presented.

I believe the same goes for taking each day as it comes to us and knowing God will equip us with what we need to handle any situation that arises. If we are listening, and ready to respond with courage, trusting and being obedient, we don’t have to worry about being where God wants us. He will lead us to the mission He has for us when His timing is right.

We sometimes want to rush the process or go out on our own to figure out how to get the end results we want now instead of waiting. But we can trust God and know that waiting on Him is part of the plan most of the time and His timing is perfect. He may still be preparing part of the mission or people we will need to help us on our journey.

We just need to be prepared and ready to move when He presents us with the opportunity, without fear of missing it. We can rest assured He is always working and is preparing the way before us.

We can be prepared by having faith in the One who created us and chose us for the mission. Sometimes our days don’t go as planned but we can trust in God’s plan and enjoy the journey. Every day is an adventure when we are open to His opportunities. Sometimes we just need a new perspective instead of getting upset about the changes each day brings.  

…morning by morning He awakens me and opens my understanding to His will. Isaiah 50:4

Healthy Decision Making

Now that it is getting colder again, I had to remind myself how many layers I really need as I head out the door for an early morning run.

The first cold snap and I put on way too many. I overdressed due to the initial shock of the temperatures as I had been accustomed to the warmer mornings. But from experience I knew I would warm up quickly when I got moving and be too hot. I allowed my feelings in the moment decide for me and influence my decision instead of going off experience and knowledge of the truth.

That is so easy to do in other situations of our lives as well. We take how we are feeling the moment and make a rash decision rather than looking into our past experiences to pull out a well-thought out decision.

We sometimes block out all awareness of Christ and go through life to the beat of our own song. That is when we miss a lot of blessings. Bitterness destroys lives, marriages and relationships.

Regret and resentment from bad choices can weigh on us and we start to allow it to define us and our self-worth takes a nose dive off the deep end. We sink like a rock. That’s where Jesus comes in and throws us a life-line.

I am learning to hit pause on my decision making until I have consulted God. I have found Him to be a helpful and necessary consultant. This practice has saved me from many bad decisions or ones that are made from feelings, in the moment, rather than being based on His truth and knowledge from lessons learned. If we look to Him before charging out on our own it can save us from some major catastrophes in our life.

Leaning to hit pause before I speak is also something I have had to learn over time. It has kept me from blurting out something I would regret later. A simple, silent prayer or whisper, “Help me Holy Spirit” helps me hold my tongue in certain situations and respond appropriately.

There are still times that I mess up, make mistakes and don’t know how to be honest and direct in my communications. Usually because I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. God is still working on me. He gives me insight on how to respond the next time and courage to be honest and properly communicate what I mean.

Honesty is always the best policy. That doesn’t mean I have to be mean or rude. It simply means I can say what I mean in a kind, gentle way. I need to be direct in my communications, so others are clear about my stance. Not being clear has gotten me in trouble in the past. Not being able to say no is something I dealt with that I don’t want to continue. Being firm is sometimes necessary in certain situations. Boundaries are healthy and necessary.

Decisions themselves have always been a struggle in my life. It was always easier to just allow others to make them for me and not stand up for myself. (This is how I became a co-dependent, people-pleaser) I grew up in a family that didn’t communicate what they were really thinking.  Trying to decide where to eat became a major decision every time and resulted in us not being able to make any of the important decisions in our lives. That carried over into adulthood for most of my life. But God, is showing me how to make healthy choices and decisions that have changed my life and ultimately lead me to Christ.

He saved me from my bad choices and tells me that is not who I am. When our self-worth is found in Christ alone we can get our head out of the water and see the light again.

The only one I need to please is God. That makes all my decisions clearer by asking what God wants for me, based on His truth and the knowledge He gives me.

Trust the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.” Proverbs 3:5-7

An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship. Proverbs 24:26

Love Thy Neighbor

Early in the mornings as most of you know I can be found circling my block. Running is my jam. It gives me the energy to get through my day and I use the time to pray, process and be thankful.

Sometimes I see a family waiting for the wheels bus to pick up a couple of people, on the other side of the block. One of which is in a wheelchair. I think she is new to the household as I don’t remember seeing her until recently. My neighbor is a caregiver for the mentally challenged. What a sweet blessing.

This girl was very friendly and speaks to me each time I pass by. The first couple of times were a simple, “Hi.”  The third time was, “Hi again!” Always in high spirits. This particular morning the bus must have been running late as she was still there on my fourth round, when I heard, “I love you!”

Wow, how sweet is that?! She barely knows me, yet she loves me. Isn’t this how we are all supposed to be? I believe that is what God meant when he instructed us to love our neighbor. We should all be so kind with unconditional love of our neighbor. Even when we don’t know them. (And sometimes even more if we do.)

God knows everything about us, yet He loves us anyway. What a miraculous blessing to have a good Father who sees us through the lens of love with unmeasurable grace. Let’s share that kind of love and grace with others, especially our neighbors.

Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39