Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The truth about stress

I had an epiphany tonight.  While it has been obvious that I have been stressed out lately.  I have not been able to get over my funk.   I have been sitting on feelings of crying and feeling lost, wallowing in my sad little pity party.  Only I can honestly say I have nothing to feel sorry over.  The truth is, I am struggling with the unknown.  I am struggling with change.  I am in a place where I feel I have no control.

Then I read this:

"Remember: Satan loves to make us focus on the little that’s wrong so we miss the big picture of all that’s right."
                                                                                                                                                       ~Lysa TerKeurst
I have great opportunities in front of me, and I am going to miss the fun and excitement if I don't get over it.  I realized, that my biggest problem is me.  Here I am, in the way again.   I am thinking of me and it is backward, doubtful, and critical.  When I get wrapped up thinking of me, I often find myself in a sad state.  I can see all the bad stuff.  My insecurities and mistakes find their way to the front of the line, and I am missing the picture of all that is right.  I am stuck in the land of  would've, could've, and should'ves.  I don't like that place.
We have been reading in the Book of Ecclesiastes in Sunday School.  So far, it can be described as a meaningless chasing of the wind.  Solomon the author of the book talks about all the things he did to find happiness, meaning, and joy in life.  In the first few chapters he describes all the things he did in search of these things, but in all his toil he found it was meaningless.  What I have discerned from this part of God's word is this; when you are doing something for your own interests and gain, the feelings of joy and happiness are fleeting.  However, when you are serving God via serving others,  when life is not about just you, then there is meaning and real joy.
I only mention this, because here I have been stuck in this stressed out mess, thinking only how I feel and what I have to do.  I could go on for hours with more I's and me's.  The point is, I need to think about something bigger.  I need to stop looking at just me, I need to stop chasing the wind.  If I am going to get out of my stress rut, I need to get focused on the bigger picture. 
What is the bigger picture you ask?  Well, for me it is my family.  That old saying "if mama ain't happy then nobody is happy," well, it is totally true!  I need to focus on how I can comfort my daughter who has totally picked up on my edgy attitude.  I need to ease her transitions, and not focus on mine.  I need to give more of myself to the people who give themselves to me.  I need to focus on what God has laid on my heart.  God has told me, I am in a season of trust.  He is asking me to trust Him for all the good things that I can not see happening because I am not able to imagine them as reality.  While good changes are coming, He is saying let me work it out.  He continues to whisper trust me, while I am stuck in my corner listening to the little wrongs.  I have taken those little wrongs and made them into mountains, that I have predetermined I can not climb.  ( At this point I will just add that fat people, can't breath in the mountains!)
This is a battle of FAITH. The point is not to climb alone, but to include and rely on God for what I can not control nor do on my own.  I have to decide, trust God on faith alone, or listen to the condemnation in my head.  As a Christian, I try to walk by the truth of God's word.  Here is what I've got:
  1. "There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1
  2. "For we were not given a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and self discipline." 2Timothy 1:7
  3. "Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you." 1Peter 5:7
  4. "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praise worthy think about such things."  Phillipians 4:8
Using these scriptures as truth, I need to set my mindset as follows: 
  • God does not condemn me.
  • Fear is not of God.
  •  I must continue to tell him what matters to me, because I matter to him.
  • Stop thinking negatively and start thinking about God and HIS truth, all that is good, noble, lovely, and most of all PRAISE WORTHY!
I am on a journey with God, and this season is a hard one.  Trusting and letting go of my perceived control, are not easy.   I am going to do my best to take my new adjusted mindset accept the good and just enjoy the ride.
This IS my mindset, now let me hear yours!

A journey to Baptism

I have to share this sweet story with y'all.  This past weekend my daughter was Baptized.  It was a very special moment for our family. 

It was last summer that she asked my husband and I to pray with her, so that she could take Jesus in her heart.  We prayed that simple prayer with her.  She then proceeded a year long discussion about being Baptized.  As her parents we were not sure what to do, it was our belief that she was too young to get Baptized. 

The Holy Spirit had other plans.  He continued to stir her heart.  She continued to talk about it, and she continued to ask questions and insist on being Baptized.  She attends a private Christian school, and during a chapel, she accepted the altar call.  She took that opportunity to tell the Administrator that she wanted to get Baptized.  Because I work at the school, the Administrator then asked to speak to me.  The Administrator reminded me, that Jesus said," let the Children come to me," and to consider her child like faith, and not to be a hindrance.  In the end, my husband and I decided we would move forward.

In our church, she had to attend a Children's new Christian class before she could proceed with Baptism.  My husband volunteered to be her partner in the class.  He attended every class with her.  On a side note, this was a really cool and really special thing, and I am so honored to be married to a man who is committed to his daughter this way.  They told me about the class, and they had a wonderful time.  My husband was amazed at how much she already knew.  She just amazed us.

By her lead, we let her pick the date of her Baptism.  She decided, she would wait until the weekend after her 6th birthday, that just happened to be Father's Day weekend.  Father's day has come and gone, and she is now Baptized.  She practiced her testimony all week.  She stood under the lights and in front of the congregation and exhibited 1 John 4:18:
           Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear.

 She struggled a little reading it, but she made it through with such courage.  I imagine that Jesus and the heavens rejoiced as she made her proclamation that ,"Jesus Christ is Lord."

The love of the Lord then materialized.  I have never been in a church that "LOVES OUT" the way our church does.  The members of the body reached out to our little family.  We had so many encourage our daughter and congratulate her.  There were hugs and well wishes all day long.  The Lord poured out his love on my daughter through the Holy Spirit, and he took it a step further by giving us a real life out pouring of love.

This was a proud moment for our family.  This is a moment that I will remember forever.  I have  a deep love for my daughter, one that drives me to make decisions based on what is best for her first.  This love that I have for her, my only child, is the same type of love that God has for each of His children.

God desires each of us to know this great love.  He desires all of us to have the comfort and safety of parents who adore us.  I know that there are many who don't have this kind of family.  There are many who feel alone, scared, and wonder what love feels like.  The truth is, in the absence of a family filled with love, there is a heavenly father who longs to show you great love.  While you may wish for it to be different, I challenge you to let him show you great love through the body of His church.  He will meet your needs, when you ALLOW him in and let him be in control.

Take a journey with him, and in the meantime take this encouragement:

 "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."   Ephesians 3: 17b-19
This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

***Just a note to say I wrote this back in June.