Live the Golden Rule. Do unto others, and all that jazz.
Remember who's really in control. Here's a hint. It's not you.
Don't believe the hype. Ever.
There is always someone better or worse off than you.
The world owes you nothing. The world was here first.
Attitudes really are contagious.
Do the best you can with what you have.
Teach your children that they are not the center of the universe.
Never speak (or e-mail) out of anger.
Be willing to try (almost) anything.
Don't ask any questions unless you're really prepared to hear the answers.
Know when to say nothing.
And of course, my favorite....
At least it's not totally boring anymore!
On another note (pun completely intended), I'm also beginning to learn the piano part for Chris Tomlin's "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)". Our fabulous worship leader casually mentioned that she'd really like to use it for services. As it is totally one of my favorite worship songs EVAH, I'm SO excited! :)
Finally, did you ever think that maybe, somehow, your pastor has a little spy in your head? As in, his sermons are talking DIRECTLY to you? Yeah, me too. More on that when I can fashion my thoughts into some sort of coherent ramblings.
Hope you're all enjoying summer.
On the plus side, I've installed Firefox.
I'm starting to see the light, but I still hear that voice a lot.
The Devil is counting on my weakness, both emotional and spiritual, to be the conduit for his evil little voice, the one that will instill the worm of doubt into my faith.
God knows my weakness, both emotional and spiritual, and uses my childlike desire to be loved and cared for, by opening His arms and saying "I will crush that worm of doubt. Bring your cares to me. I will give you rest."
The Devil takes my negative self-talk and compounds it, agreeing with that negativity.
God takes my negative self-talk and says, "No child of mine will use that kind of language, especially about one of my most precious creations."
The Devil knows my fears of inadequacy and says, "Yes, you are right. You will never be a good mom, wife, sister or daughter. Give up now. Get off the roller coaster."
God knows my fears of inadequacy and says, "There will always be people whose skills are stronger or weaker than yours. Celebrate your differences, don't compare. Know that life is a roller coaster ride, with its ups and downs, and sometimes, it's hard to keep your lunch down. But know this, too. I will keep you safe. Turn to me when you're happy or sad, up or down, and I'll be there for you."
Lord of all that is holy, bless the voice in my head. Make it echo Your words. Words of strength and compassion, not just for others, but for ourselves. Help us to remember that by allowing you, inviting you, to take control of our lives, we have more freedom than we could ever imagine.
Only in You.
It has to do with the fact that I've been trying (without great success, I confess), to make some healthier choices in my life. I decided it's high time to really WORK on being a blessing and living my life in praise and gratitude to God for His marvelous gifts. Unfortunately, I've been doing a lot more thinking than working.
Sometimes, as a dear friend of mine told me, one's own head can be a dangerous neighborhood.
Anyway, I have to hash out the idea in my head more before I can put it on paper (or in cyberspace for that matter).
I apologize for my random ramblings, but things are a little nutty in my world.
So today I INTENTIONALLY got up at 5 am. It was wonderful. A girl could get used to the peace and quiet.
As in, once I was awakened (by the two-year-old legs kicking me, and the two-year-old voice saying "Mommy, I poo!"), I could NOT get back to sleep.
Now, I know there are people who WILLINGLY arise at this hour, but I? Am not one of them.
I know that one of the reasons I wasn't able to drift back into dreamland was my worrisome head. Yet another reason for me to empty it each night and give over everything to He who manages the worries of the world.
We had a New Life for Haiti banquet planning meeting last night. This is a near-and-dear-to-my-heart kind of cause, supported by our church. It is heartening to know that we really are making a difference in this little river valley in Haiti. I know that my problems and challenges, as crazy as they might be, are nothing compared to the daily challenges faced by most Haitians.
And yet, they have something that I don't.
Their hope is not waning. Their faith is strong. They believe that the God who puts fresh water "within their reach" (1.5 hours down a mountain, and 1.5 hours back up) is the same God who will deliver them from malnutrition and abject poverty.
Dear God, Father of those who struggle, please strengthen my faith. Help me to believe, really believe, that "you never let go, through the calm and through the storm." Help me, Lord, to believe without seeing, that You, and only You, will lead me out of the darkness of my mind and into the joyous light of your presence.
Out of the darkness. Into the light of Him.
On my other blog, I have the "Live Well" snippets. Today's reads "With God all things are possible. Maybe it's time to rely on His strength."
My KLOVE "Encouraging Word" for today was "Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God's presence." (Ephesians 3:12, NLT)
The song that came up first on my YouTube Playlist? "God Is In Control" by Twila Paris.
Okay, so maybe this is the spiritual equivalent of grabbing me by the shoulders and shaking me hard?
Actually, I might prefer that right now. Because the desire to simply run away is overwhelming. You see, I've been struggling with a situation now for a year. A situation that affects me directly, but is not a result of my own actions. A situation over which I have no control. A situation that, for now, has no visible resolution in sight.
It has been suggested to me that my "ups and downs" over the past year may be the result of God trying to accomplish something in me. I don't doubt that. It may be a "spiritual shaking" of sorts. As in "Hello! Wake up! You don't have to worry about everything here. In fact, I'm in control right now, so just leave the outcome up to me."
Apparently, though, I'm kind of stubborn.
I know I'm not deserving of His grace, and yet, there it is, covering me. I know my faith is small right now, and yet He says that it doesn't matter if it's as small as a mustard seed; it is large enough.
It's easy to want to let go, to slip off the rope, down into nothingness. That wouldn't require any interaction with others. It wouldn't require vulnerability on my part. It would allow me to remain "in control" (riiigght...) of the situation.
But God asks more. He says, "My grace is enough for you. Love one another. Support one another. Lean on one another." Or something like that. "Don't let go. I'm here to support you, but you have to ask for help. I gave you free will, so, I suppose, if you want to let go, you can. But know that I'm not leaving. I look for the lost. I love it when they find their way back."
Essentially, I can run away, but I can't hide. Because His grace is enough, and He will always find me.
Help me, please, Lord. Give me strength to share my burdens, so when my hands slip from the ropes (and they will), someone's else's hands will reach out to grab them. And we can find our strength, together.
My blogging friend June shared an absolutely wonderful quote on her blog today. If only we could all have this attitude!
"Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, 'Oh no. She's awake.'" (anonymous)
I'm also a bit of a control freak, so traditional journalling, with the idea that things don't have to be perfect, is incredibly difficult for me. I'm much more comfortable at a computer where I'm able to correct, rewrite, rearrange...well, you get the idea...at will, and quickly. I become more focused on the finished product than on the emotional/mental/spiritual healing that may come from recording my thoughts.
I found a beautiful quote on another blog early today. It gives a beautiful rationale as to why we should write.
Perfect or not, it is indeed important to capture the butterflies that somehow tug at our minds, hearts or spirits. It shouldn't matter that the grammar might not be precise (God forbid!) or the prose not quite as purple as we might like, but rather we should concentrate on opening our brains and letting the creativity spill forth in words.
Recently, I've come across many Christian bloggers who consider themselves "King James Only" when it comes to scripture translations. While I applaud them for their convictions, I don't necessarily agree with them. I've been very happy (in my limited scriptural knowledge) with my New International Version translation, and a couple of years ago, was introduced to "The Message". I think (again, with my limited knowledge) that it is important to consider several versions when really looking for the meaning that the writers intended to convey.
As far as speaking to my heart, here is Col. 3:15-17, as it appears in my "go-to" translation, the NIV:
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
And here it is in The Message:
"Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way."I love The Message, because it speaks in "normal" language, the language of the everyday. I can totally see Paul saying "Hey now, none of this going off and doing your own thing." I believe that the early followers of Christ were real people, living real lives, and I'd like to believe that they spoke to their peers in language that was easily understood, and pertinent to the day.
While others may not share my feelings about scripture, I just can't believe that Jesus and His followers were some high and mighty academics who spoke far above the heads of the crowd. My Jesus was real. The kind of man who flipped over tables in the temple and got angry. The kind who sometimes used less-than-perfect grammar to make his point known.
If only I could remember that next time it is suggested that I journal.
Kapra was funny and serious, entertaining and determined. She could make you laugh with her freakishly large mouth and fist routine--she could literally stick her entire fist in her mouth--and yet she would comfort you when you were down. She wasn't afraid to poke fun (at herself and others) and yet she was a devoted musician, dedicated to perfecting her French horn talents and skills.
Kapra chose a military life, and at the time of her death was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army. She served several tours of duty in Afghanistan and other middle east locations, with an Army band unit. She continued as a music educator in the Army, merging her passion for music and for people.
As I mentioned, hearing about her untimely death was quite a shock. Not just because she was only 38 years old, but also because it was a vivid reminder that we simply don't know when our time on earth will be done. God gives each of us a gift--life. He doesn't dictate how we should live that life, but rather leaves it up to each of us.
Since I became a Christian, this idea of life truly being a gift from God has really struck me. Have I really been using my life to the fullest, in ways that will glorify Him? Pertinent to my current situation especially, have I wasted time worrying about things that are out of my control? Why do I find it so difficult to "give it up to God"?
Having grown up Catholic, I feel very much that I'm a baby when it comes to scripture studies. Fortunately, I'm the type of person who, when faced with something new, tries to "read up" on the subject. Jeremiah 29:11-14 has been in my heart as of late:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."
It is a good reminder that God is in control, and we can rely on Him implicitly. He will take care of us so we can live to glorify Him, no matter how much time we have on earth.
Rest in peace, my dear friend Kapra. And may we all rest in Him.
Main Entry: en·thu·si·asm
Pronunciation: \in-ˈthü-zē-ˌa-zəm, en-, also -ˈthyü-\
Etymology: Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein to be inspired, irregular from entheos inspired, from en- + theos god
1 a: belief in special revelations of the Holy Spirit b: religious fanaticism
2 a: strong excitement of feeling : ardor
I daresay that most of the world embraces the second definition and doesn't even realize the origins of the word. I learned the definition from a dear friend and mentor many years ago, long before I truly began my journey with Christ. Since then, I embraced the word (and The Word), but only recently have decided to try and LIVE it.
I'm not a naive new Christian who believes that just because I accepted Christ, everything will be sunshine and roses. It's more of an "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it." sort of attitude. This doesn't mean, however, that I don't struggle.
One of my weaknesses is control. I'm sort of a control freak. Heck, I plan events for a living, and that's ALL about controlling details. God has been challenging me, like, SERIOUSLY challenging me over the last year. I'll probably go into the situation later, but for now, let's just leave it at that. I basically have absolutely NO control over the outcome of the situation, and in order to keep my very sanity, I really just need to trust that God will handle things in His time, and in His way.
This is difficult for me.
So I begin today anew. With a trust in God that all will work out in His time and His way.
Today my prayer will be for strength. For calm. For peace in my heart and in my soul. I pray that I will remember, today and always, to live in him.