I’m Just Not Feeling It and That’s Okay

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. -Psalm 40:1-3

 

My mentor told me that from ages 38-52 years old, many go through a life change. I imagine this change to be amazing, a chance to become what God created me to be in this life. However, it doesn’t feel that way. It hurts — a lot.  

 

There are many things I used to enjoy that I don’t anymore. There are relationships I have had with friends that have ended. Many of my interests aren’t interesting to me anymore. Right now, I do not know what I want or like, and that frightens me. I usually love writing; except recently, I haven’t had a desire for it. It scares me because this is what I want to do. In the past few months, I wanted to give up. It feels like a midlife crisis of some sort. But one thing I know is that God is faithful, and there is a reason for all this change.

 

Sometimes I wonder, “where are you, Lord?” Even King David, in the book of Psalms, wondered where the Lord was in his times of grief and despair. David was faithful, though. Me, not so much. When I am in the midst of change, it is hard to see the outcome. The enemy comes and distracts me from what I should be doing to get there. 

 

I feel pressure to perform and to pan every second of my life.  But, I cannot know until I try and even possibly fail. Failure isn’t always a waste of time. It can also be the opposite of regret.

 

If you feel like giving up, please do not! Doubt and worry are the enemy’s tools for stopping us from attaining God’s purpose for us.  I want things done quickly and easily. But God does not ever do anything in a hurry. He moves in His timing. May you take shelter in the mighty arms of our God.

 

Lesson Learned: Change is inevitable and necessary. Allow God to work it out.

 

Prayer:

‘Dear Heavenly Father, help me in my times of need. Give me endurance and energy to make it through tough times. Thank you for your protection. May your will be done. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Sabotaging the Outcome Before I Even Start

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” Matthew 14:30-32

The activity of swimming is one of my least favorite things. I had ear infections, after many visits to the pool. My swimming abilities were sub-par. I don’t like swimming. In college, I had to face my fears whether I wanted to or not.

My major in college was Kinesiology, the study of human movement. There was a requirement of taking six different sports classes, one of them being aquatics. I talked to the administrator for my major and asked if I could get around that particular requirement. They said, “if you want to graduate, you must take the class.” Thankfully my best friend, who is like a fish in the water, offered to take it with me and be my support.

The first day of the class came, and I was nervous. The students were waiting out by the pool. An older man drives up in a yellow Corvette, gets out of the car shirtless in swim trunks with a cigar hanging out of his mouth. The man walks up to our group and asks, “beginning swim? I’m Flip, your coach.” First, we took care of the paperwork of people adding the class and straightening out schedule questions. Then he said, “we will start tomorrow, class dismissed.”

Now, I was upset because I was all worked up for and had to put on a bathing suit for nothing. I walked over to Flip and said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think you can teach me how to swim, I am horrible at it, and I hate being in the water.” Flip, took his cigar out of his mouth leaned in and said in a calming voice, “can you give me a chance, my dear? I will not let anything happen to you. But if it doesn’t work out, we will go from there, okay?” And the next day, I did.

Flip had us in the shallow pool, and we got used to the water. We did simple exercises. Then he asked us to all get out and walk over to the Olympic size pool, that was about 16 feet deep. He told us to get into the pool and hold on to the side, slowly let go, and then we will dip below the water, and come back up with our heads above the water, without needing to tread water. And it worked. I couldn’t believe it.

After class, he asked, if I will be okay and I said yes, I would. He told the students to buy some goggles and flippers for the hands to skim across the water. By the end of that same week, I was swimming laps in the Olympic pool. I come to find out; Flip was the coach for Olympic Gold Medalist swimmers Gary Hall Jr. and Amanda Beard. My friend says, “oh my, only you would tell an Olympic Swim Coach, he can’t teach you how to swim.” Yes, I would!

There were two lessons I learned from this experience. Attitude is everything. It was so helpful to have a coach, who listened and acknowledged my fears, but encourage me that I could do it. Flip knew I couldn’t handle hearing, “oh suck it up, you big crybaby!” And how many times, are we faced with something difficult in our lives and we cry out to God, “I can’t do this! Why do I have to be in this situation?” We will have to endure some growing pain and hard times. But God is able; we are capable through Him. God wants us to be victorious! If we aren’t victorious in a particular situation, God had something better meant for us.

Lesson Learned: Let your faith lead you through the difficult times and God will help you figure it out in some way.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for not trusting you. Help me to see where you are in difficult times. May the Holy Spirit give me wisdom and knowledge. May my attitude change and learn to build on those positive experiences. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

There is a Unique Purpose for Each of Us

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

 

Patience is a difficult concept.  We know good things come to those who wait.  Yet we live in a world that demands things instantly.

 

Despite my own efforts, I don’t feel like I haven’t found my ultimate calling.  My efforts aren’t growing as fast as I would like and I get discouraged.  My doubts seem to be what grow instead and I wonder, where is my breakthrough?  Where are you God?  One Friday evening, I was driving to pick up my daughter at a birthday party.  This drive would change my life forever.  

 

I was approaching a very busy intersection and I had the green light.  My phone was mounted its holder near the dashboard.  I glanced down because I heard a notification. This glance was no more than 2 seconds.  All of a sudden I felt my car slam on its brakes.  I looked up to see bright lights and a car moving across the front of my car.  They went so fast through the intersection that my car shook.  That driver went through on a solid red light.

 

There was no collision. I drove out of the intersection and slowed down to about 20 miles below the speed limit. If my car was any father into the intersection or if I was in a different lane, I would have died.  As I realized what had happened, I shook and cried.  My life was saved.

 

I said, “Father God, I will never ever doubt that you have a plan for my life, because you saved me.”  My car does not have automatic braking, I didn’t brake when I saw the car.  God slowed my car down.

 

Many of us believers have a bad habit of wanting to know the exact plan God has for our lives.  We want to plan out every aspect of our lives.  There are reasons God hasn’t revealed every detail.  We have to grow, mature finish things and be content exactly where we are at.

 

There is a saying, “Bloom where you are planted.”  Wherever I am, I will do our best and for God’s glory, even though it may not be my true calling.  I will be thankful for everyday I wake up.

 

Lesson Learned: Be thankful for everyday we wake up and lovingly await God to reveal His purpose for us.

 

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for everyday you have promised me.  Give me peace and endurance during those times of waiting.  I wait in great expectation for all you have promised me.  Let there be a hedge of protection around myself and my loved ones.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Let’s Stop Beating Ourselves Up

“Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by hand.” Proverbs 37:24

In life there are past situations that we mull over and wonder, “what were we thinking?” We ruminate and examine other outcomes. These thoughts negatively change the way we view ourselves. For some reason, we will rehash these thoughts even though it can’t help what has already passed.

A friend of mine told a group of us about a mistake he made. I could feel the pain and shame he felt from it. However, it was easily fixable and something that would not cause a lifetime of pain. He just felt it was one of those mistakes that could have been avoided. We have all been there.

His story reminded me of a car accident I had about 10 years ago. I was in a parking lot where there was a Costco and PetsMart. Costco was not open yet, so the parking lot was virtually empty. I parked on an end spot which was next to a cart return.

After I got my items at the pet supply store, I got in the car and drove forward since no one was parked in front of me. Then there was this sound that occurred that I will never forget. I did not realize how close I was to the cart return and I scraped the entire length of my truck. There was a man standing watching me do this to my truck. His has a pained look on his face. As I got out of the truck, he said, “I don’t think you want to see the damage.”

I took my car to the auto body shop to get an estimate. The adjuster asked me what happened. I started to tell him and began crying. He walked over and saw it and went , “oooooh!” The expression on his face described exactly how I felt. I kept telling him, how stupid I felt. He said, “this is the first time I have heard or seen this and it won’t be the last. Please forgive yourself. It is okay, we will fix it.”

It took me awhile to forgive myself but I ultimately did. I realized we all have had a “facepalm” moment. Mulling over them shakes our confidence and causes us to be doubtful about our abilities. As embarrassing and annoying as these mistakes are, it should not define us.

Lessons Learned: Facepalm moments are inevitable. Learn from those mistakes and try not to mull over them. And avoid parking next to the cart return.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, let us learn from our mistakes and not rehash them. Forgive us and heal us from our shame. Let us be able to laugh it off. May our identity be in Christ instead of by our mistakes. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Mid-Life Transition

“The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” Proverbs 20:29

It has been 6 months since I turned 40 years old. Some days, I can feel the pain of it, both physically and mentally. There is a growing level of disappointment about my life that feels suffocating and tiresome.  Honestly, it is a terrible way to live.

It was time for my yearly wedding ring inspection at the jeweler. They inspect and clean the ring back to its original luster. I love my ring, it isn’t too big or too small. It has a vintage look and I still receive compliments on it after 14+ years. Some of my husband’s family couldn’t believe he bought me that ring because it wasn’t on clearance somewhere. His sister saw the ring and said, “Hey, come look at what my cheap-skate brother bought his girlfriend! Welcome to the family!”

I gave the ring to the sales person and she went back to inspect and clean the ring.  She came back and said, “have you considered upgrading your ring?” I stood there with my mouth open in disbelief. She said, I deserved a bigger ring because we are nearing our 15 year anniversary. I told her, that I love my ring and it has true sentimental value, plus I wouldn’t want to have someone Kim Kardashian my finger to steal it. Now, she was in disbelief, as I thanked her and walked out of the store.

As ridiculous as that situation seemed, it planted a bad seed of discontent in my mind. While I didn’t want a new ring, I thought maybe my husband may want to upgrade and get a new wife. I felt this way because I know of two women that are separating from their husbands. One wanted to, because she felt she could do better while the other one was blind-sided by her husband’s decision to separate. Other people I know are discontent in careers they have been working hard in for 20+ years. They say, there just has to be something better but simpler.

One Sunday morning, I was driving my family to church. I felt this overwhelming sadness hit me. As the tears streamed down my face, I silently prayed, “Lord, what is going on with me?” The response I felt was, “I feel like I am having a mid-life crisis.” I giggled on the inside and thought, “am I going to buy a Ferrari next?” But I realized that I am feeling the same thing that many are feeling in their lives. The commonality of a lot of these struggling people are we are all in our 40’s, assessing our lives, wondering-what next?

Ironically, that same Sunday, our pastor began a series on the book of Daniel. He told a story about his own insecurities when he started off as a pastor. The pastor prayed about the insecurities and God told him, “just be you, be who I created you to be, no one else.” That sermon took a hold of my heart.

After the pity party at church, I gave my friend a call. She is able to listen and give a Godly assessment. I told her what I was experiencing, mentioning the mid-life crisis. She told me, “I don’t believe that this is a mid-life crisis, more like a mid-life transition.” My friend was right. God can create a change in our hearts to be who He intended us to be.

Living life in this world pulls us in many different directions. We believe we have to: make a certain amount of money, marry someone aesthetically pleasing, live in a nice zip code, own lots of things, give our children a life with endless activities. To attain these things, we believe we have to work overtime, supply our kids with material things, instead of attention. I admit, I was lured into thinking that I needed the $200 French face cream to combat the wrinkles that are forming. Yet, life can be much simpler. We can take a step back and communicate this to our loved ones. More than likely, they are feeling it too.

Lesson Learned: I won’t lament over the idea that life is over.  I will access them and ask God, what is it that you are trying to show me?

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for living my life in the world. Show me what you created me to be. Give me the confidence to pursue your will instead of mine. Thank you for supplying all of my needs. Create a grateful heart, not one of discontent. Convict me of those times, when I am envious of others. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

We Have a Friend in Jesus

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  Proverbs 18:24

In this age of Social Media, the more likes and views you get, the more important you appear.  Facebook friends, Twitter and Instagram followers, etc.  means the higher your value.  I look at my Facebook friends and the number seems high.  Yet, I could probably count on one hand the number of friends I really have in my life.

A friend of mine went on Facebook and vented about her bad day.  She was completely left out of a work function.  Everyone was included except her.  She is one of the most giving people and always goes above and beyond for a party or project.  As she knows, one isn’t invited to everything, but this was a blatant attempt to make her feel bad by a troublemaker in her office.  One could feel her sadness and rejection.  I am sure her self-worth took a hit that day.  It would have for me too.

There is an “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy was feeling forgotten by her husband and friends.  It was her birthday and no one seemed to remember.  It turns out they were planning a surprise birthday party.  She was so distraught that she went walking for hours.  Lucy ended up in a park and a group of people, called “Friends of the Friendless”  came marching through, literally marching band and all.  They asked her why she was sad and decided to make her their friend because their goal was to make sure no one felt lonely.  She marches down to her husband’s night club, where the party was planned, to show him her new group of friends.  And as “I Love Lucy” episodes happily end, she sees the surprise party and forgives all.

I wish there was a group like “Friends of the Friendless” to appear for us when we get hurt or rejected.  Sometimes, we feel like the only ones in the world that aren’t included.  However, we really do have a friend in Jesus.  Honestly, though it sounds ridiculous since we can’t see Him.  But we need to invite His presence to be with us at times of loneliness.   In turn, He will provide a person in our lives to comfort us.  They usually say just what we need to hear.

That friend, who was jilted by her co-worker, had a flooding of comments to that post.  Some people told her how much they love her, others warmly threatened this jerk.  The enemy wants us to feel isolated and rejected.  We end up feeling so lonely, we retreat in our misery and find it hard to come out of it.  Thankfully despite her vulnerability, she reached out and let people know she was hurt.

Lesson Learned:  When we are hurt by people, may we seek comfort in the loving arms of the Lord.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, in times of rejection, help me to find your love and peace.  May the arrows of affliction reflect off of me.  Thank you for creating me uniquely.  Surround me with people who are my true friends and family and remind me how loved I am always.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

My Hope was Dimmed

“…as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:18

The past couple of months, I have been feeling very drained. Our country , the world for that matter, are on edge. A lot of things that affected me and my family, felt like they were being assaulted or taken away. The unknown was strangling my thoughts.

On Sunday mornings, there are two things I hope to accomplish, going to church and the week’s grocery shopping. I try to go to the grocery store when they open.   There is a cashier named Christian, is always kind and social. One morning, I was especially tired. I felt like I could fall asleep standing up. He noticed.

As I passed through his line, he asked about me and my family. I told him truthfully on why I wasn’t feeling so great. He said he felt the same way. He said, “you hit the nail on the head, people feel terrible because there is no hope.” After I was done, I loaded the groceries and sat in my car. Tears filled my eyes because I know of a greater hope, a living hope in Jesus. Yet, I put my faith in a disturbed government and my financial status be my security. I looked at all the possibility of bad and current bad stuff rule my emotions.

Everyday is a fight to keep our hope alive in Jesus. Too much distracts us in our lives that tries to take its place. No matter the period of time, the state of the government, our current status in our lives…hope must remain alive in Jesus. I have seen people who have nothing and live in basic conditions seem much happier, than those who seem to have everything. One must allow God to reign in our lives and then we will remain hopeful.

Lesson Learned: May we allow the love and steadfast hope of the Living God reign in our lives.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you are the same, yesterday, today and forever. Your hope is alive and for us. Forgive me for putting my hope into things that are of the world. Holy Spirit remind us to keep our thoughts on what is true, noble and pure. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Reset to Zero

“See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:19

 

A fresh start…this should seem and feel wonderful but it is scary.  For newborn babies, we relish at this beautiful start to a new life.  As adults, we feel good with doses of shame and fear.  The thought of starting over is a huge deal, but necessary for one’s life to get better.

 

A friend of mine was talking about the sale of her husband’s condominium.  He had that before they were married.  They currently rent a place closer to the school our kids attend.  She was hoping they could buy instead of rent, with the money they make from the sale of the old condominium.  But before, my friend and her husband were married, someone took advantage of his business and he lost it when the economy went bad.  He has been paying for it ever since.

 

The condominium just sold and any equity from the property would be going to pay off the loans and all the realtor fees.  There is nothing left over for them to put towards a new home.  Obviously, they were both sad about the news.  I said, “I understand that disappointment, but you have reset to zero.  You have no debt any more and he has a great job with benefits now.  Things will turn around from here.”  She agreed.  She said, “as scary as it is to start over now, we are in better shape than lots of people with so much debt.  We will be smart about every decision.”  That is a relief.

 

Today is Easter Sunday.  This is a perfect time, for those who do not know the majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ to have a chance to reset their lives. How great it would be to experience the Risen King and start their lives all over again by knowing the Lord.  Even knowing the Lord for over 30 years, I have had to reset my life over.  The Lord wants us to be forgiven and have a relationship with him.

 

May you encounter God’s love, forgiveness and presence.
Lesson Learned:  The best day is when Jesus gave me the chance to reset and start my relationship with Him.

Meditating on What The Lord has Already Done

Blog Post #91 Meditating on What the Lord Has Already Done

“Let your roots grow down into Him. And let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught. And you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7

There are many times the Lord has carried me through tough situations and brought me to the other side of it. In the throws of life’s battles, it is difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel. I forget all the good He has done in my life. It seems that I have a “what have you done for me lately” attitude towards God.

My friend shared with us, some of the troubles she and her family have been dealing with in the last year. I had no idea this was happening. It was horrible and she is so anxious and stressed that she can barely move some days or want to get out of bed. She is a lovely woman who give a lot of herself to others but she is suffering in this trial.

We all wanted to encourage and pray over her. One friend looked at me and said,
“I believe the Lord, wants you to say something.”

“Uhhhh, get back to me,” was my nervous reply.

I began to ask the Holy Spirit, to please give me a word for this dear friend of mine. Thankfully within a couple of minutes, I had a word from the Lord, for her.

I told her,
“The Lord wants you to remember all times He brought you through the difficult and traumatic events. He wants you to remember these things, to comfort you while you go through this trial and that He will take care of you and your family.”

In the midst of hard times, I forget He has already conquered the world. Instead, I try to do things on my strength, not letting God do it for me. It is a burden hard to bare.

Sometimes when people have asked me for encouragement and comfort, I end up hearing a word from the Lord for them, it applies to me as well.  How efficient is the Lord?

Lesson Learned: Remember all He has done, especially in the difficult times.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all of the times you have carried me and brought me through to the other side. Help us remember all you have done. Protect us during these difficult times and give us wisdom. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Anxiety is like a Bad Boyfriend

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me great joy.”  Psalm 94:19

 

Recently, I made a decision in my life that was difficult.  I decided to break up a relationship that I was in for a very long time.  I broke up with anxiety because anxiety is like a bad boyfriend.

 

One morning, soon after waking up, I began to think over the things I needed to do for the day.  It was going to be a busy one.  Usually when it is busy, I begin to think up different scenarios and how I would plan for them.   It is exhausting and something that I know serves no good purpose.  As I was mulling over my thoughts, I said out loud, “I’m done with you anxiety, I’m breaking up with you because you are like a bad boyfriend.”  (I am so glad I was alone when I said that!)

 

Anxiety is like a bad boyfriend because:

  • it makes you feel horrible about yourself
  • it makes you afraid to do things-large or small
  • when you try to take a step of bravery-it makes you doubt yourself and brings you back to that dark place
  • Even though you feel bad, anxiety is somehow comfortable and you want to feel like something you know

 

For the longest time, I didn’t know any other way to cope with difficulties than to be anxious and worry.  So, through a lot of prayer, being prayed for, meditation, words of knowledge and different therapies-God has shown me, I don’t need to waste one more day being anxious because I have already lived that way for years and it has not given me any joy.

 

Days will come that are more stressful and harrowing than others.  But I know it is possible to respond to these situations without harming my body (by way of panic attacks or muscle spasms-soreness) or having bad thoughts that bring me no help.

 

People watch how self-proclaiming Christians act and talk.  I remember a coworker, who wanted to become an esthetician had asked me if she could practice by giving me a facial.  I gladly excepted.  She was a non-practicing Catholic siding more with the New Age philosophies.  We were talking and I was starting to get anxious about a situation.  She said, “I thought you were a Christian?  Aren’t you supposed to have faith and trust in Jesus?   You certainly don’t sound or act like one.”  OUCH…I hate to admit it, especially in her non-loving way, but she was right. I was not being a good example of being a follower of Jesus.  That was in 2003…better late than never.

 

My hope is that someday, anyone who has suffered from anxiety, will break up with it.  However you get there, just get there.  I do recommend Jesus though.

 

Lesson Learned:  I’m leaving room in my life for joy and hope.  There is no place for anxiety anymore.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for showing me how anxiety is a lie from the pit of hell.  I ask for protection from fear over my thoughts and my soul.  Renew my mind and give me strength to endure any trial.  Remind me, Father God how you have carried me through trials already in my life and you make good on all of your promises.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”