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Little Irritations? Or Reasons to Rejoice?

Picture it. Saturday. A lovely rainy Saturday. Perfect excuse to stay in my apartment and read (or binge watch a show). But there was a break in the weather so I hopped on the bus and went to the grocery store. So adult-like and responsible of me, don’t you think?

I get my groceries, and get in line. I put all the cold stuff together so it would be easier for the cashier to pack. Then I hand the cashier my reusable bags and my cooler bag for the cold and frozen items. She threw most everything in the freezer bag except the cold stuff. I could have been annoyed. But I just shook my head, told her to have a good day, exited the store, and repacked my bags.

Then I walk the block to the bus stop.  The sky goes dark, and as I am talking to the nice man next to me an accident happens right in front of us. No one was hurt thankfully, but the one driver is irate! So I start to call the police to let them know there’s an accident, since the people involved are just screaming at each other, and blocking traffic.

As I am dialing…the wind kicks up and the sky opens, drenching me and my groceries instantly. I’m now soaked to the skin talking to a police dispatcher who wants me to give her licence plates that I cannot really see from my vantage point, but I do my best to answer her questions, and get off the phone.

Then I just started laughing at the ridiculousness of my day right at that moment. I ended up getting the two other soaked people at the bus stop to laugh too. What else are you gonna do? Be mad at the rain? That’s pretty much a waste of time.

It’s gonna rain, friends. Fact of life. 

About 5 minutes later the bus arrives. So I board the bus, and it dawns on me that I forgot to buy a lime. Crap! I’m making cilantro lime rice and a mexican type chicken in the crock pot. I need a lime.

Lesson: Look at your list BEFORE leaving the store. Reason to be thankful: I can feel the rain. I am physically able to carry my groceries. My eggs didn’t break. I got $10 in free groceries. 

So I go home. Dry off. Change. Put the groceries away. And start preparing to make the chicken and rice. Promptly spill diced tomatoes on the rug I just washed last week. Awesome. Throw that back in the washer.

Then I walk to the closest grocery store on the next rain break, to buy a lime. Get on the bus to go home because the sky looked a tad menacing yet again. But because of a 5K on my street, down from my apartment, the bus has been diverted.  So I walk nearly as far as I would have from the grocery store. But it didn’t rain on me! So I’ll take it as a win.

When I cut the lime in half, I found another reason to be thankful! A very juicy lime!! I got so much juice from this one little lime that I had enough for both the rice and the chicken. 😀 

So I make the rice. And promptly spill some on the floor.  

Lesson: Sweeping fresh rice is not easy. Had to wash the floor. Reasons to be thankful: I only lost a handful of rice in the spill. My floor is now clean, as is my rug. I can see the rice to be able to clean it up. I have an apartment with a nice kitchen, and pots, pans, and utensils to cook with. I have a washer in my apartment to wash the rug. I am physically able to walk home, and to clean my floor. I have food to cook. It started pouring again shortly after I entered my apartment, so I am also grateful I made it home dry! 

Point to ponder while you wander…

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Wonderful Wednesday…Water

One of my favorite things to do is lay on the water. In order to float like that..you need to relax and let the water hold you up. I do this in the ocean, lakes and in pools. Last week I freaked the life guard out because I was so still laying there. It’s how I relax…sorry life guard!

When I do this I think about Holy Spirit and I am thankful.

Many times in the Word water represents the Holy Spirit.  Seem confusing to you? Well how about this….water fills all open vessels, nourishes dry places, washes what needs cleaning, and is needed to mold clay.

Plants need three things to grow and flourish; sunlight, to be planted in good nutient rich soil, and water.  Children of God need Jesus, need to be planted in a good Bible based church and need the Holy Spirit.  

Holy Spirit fills us, equips us, comforts us, teaches us, leads us and helps us grow. Holy Spirit helps us pray when we don’t know what or how to pray. 

Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to do all He did on earth. They partnered together.

He also inspired those writing the books we now know as the Bible.

Don’t discount Him because you don’t understand Him.  Seek Him out.  You won’t be sorry…you’ll be powerful and you’ll be changed for the better.
Point to ponder while you wander…”And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:26-28

Deep Thought Thursday: The Next Generation

I’ve been thinking about the generations behind me lately. A lot actually. And whether or not I am doing my part in teaching them and guiding them. We all have a part to play in the lives of those around us.

Today I was thinking about the generation of Israelites leaving Egypt. About how many amazing miracles this generation experienced leaving Egypt. And yet they grumbled and complained and failed to believe God. 

Hebrews 11:6 tells us to please God you must do 2 things: Believe God Exists and Believe that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

This generation believed in God, but they didnt believe God. My theory is because they had never actually believed they were free. They still had a slave mentality. 

Meaning they never dealt with the trauma and issues that resulted from being slaves, therefore, didn’t have the capacity to believe. In other words, they had broken places and wounds that they didn’t bring to God. Joshua and Caleb were the only two that could see from God’s perspective, despite having been enslaved. So healing and true freedom were available to all, but only two received it. 

As a result of not dealing with their issues the entire generation, save Josh and Caleb, died with unfulfilled lives.

Heartbreaking. 

The next generation were either small children in Egypt or were born in the desert. They believed in God and believed God (the majority at least) and were able to take possession of the Promised Land.

But this generation also failed.  

They did not properly teach their children the ways of the Lord. And as the years passed, and additional generations were born, they wrote off what they did hear as “old stories.” They didn’t know that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. They didn’t understand their covenant rights and responsibilities.

That generation didn’t live according to the guidelines God gave them that would make them stand out and be successful over the people around them. Instead they wanted to be like the people around them. This desire got them into trouble. See the book of Judges to see the cycle repeating itself.

All of this because a generation failed to teach their children and their children’s children that God is the Great I Am and He will do what He said He would do.

I have realized that I am guilty of the same things as both generations.  I know God is good. I’ve seen it and experienced it first hand! And yet, I too struggle to believe in the goodness of God. 

It is a battle every day for me to keep believing and walking towards what God has for me. It was easier for me to believe my future would be great when I was younger…since there was sooo much future ahead of me. 

But at 42, the enemy keeps whispering in my ear that I missed my chances. That I am too old now. Saying, “who are you to believe such audacious beliefs about my own future. You aren’t any different from the rest of the ordinary people. A cog in the machine.” 

I know those are lies. But on the harder days they seem easier to believe then to agree with this: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, ” Ephesians 3:20 NIV

But I cannot give up. If I give up that teaches those behind me to give up and stop trusting God. So even when for myself I don’t want to keep fighting and moving forward, I do it for the kids in my life. 

I am not a parent. But I am an Aunt. I am a big sister. I am a spiritual mother. And in that vein, I will not quit. I know God is faithful. I know God is good. So I will continue even when the enemy’s lies seem more believable than God’s promises.

The promises God has given me are very close to my heart, very personal. So I tend not to talk about my relationship with the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit internal because it’s not a light and breezy conversation for me. It’s real. And it’s deep. And that makes it difficult to bring up when you’re playing mini golf or grabbing lunch.

I want to see the people in my life to start where I end and go further than me. To believe even bigger for themselves. Partnering with Jesus on things even bigger than my audacious imagination can conceive. 

But I feel like I am failing the next generation by not teaching them about Jesus and telling them about what God had done. I love these kids more than my own life, but when it comes to really telling them what matters, I stumble and falter. 

I don’t know how to teach them. I don’t know how to explain all that I know about the goodness of God or the incredible miracles He’s done in my life. 

BUT!

But I am a writer. So I write here on this blog. I sent texts of encouragement. And I do my best to live according to Kingdom Principles. I do this not out of guilt or fear but because I owe Jesus my life. And so I will share real stuff here.

At 17, I threw away my virtue and what I knew to be true because I wanted so much to be loved and have a partner for life. It took me several years of counseling with ministers and spending much time in the Presence of God so He could heal the damage I did to myself.  That’s not easy to bring up in random conversation is it?
It isn’t easy to tell people that it took Jesus years to get me to understand that if I didn’t forgive myself, He couldn’t heal me. Forgiving myself for being self-destructive was easier than forgiving myself for hurting other people.

Guilt, like fear is a bully! Guilt is an eater of your soul. If not dealt with it will eventually devour your soul and begin chowing down on your body.

Guilt often leads to self-hatred. And self-hatred, my friends, leads you to believing that God’s promises aren’t for you. To believing that you don’t deserve anything good. It causes you to settle. And if not dealt with can eventually cause auto-immune diseases.

The disease my self-hatred caused was ulcerative colitis. Auto-immune diseases according to the doctors tend to run in families but otherwise do not have a cause.

Sorry Doc! But they do have a cause! And it’s not stress. It is Guilt. Unforgiveness. Bitterness. Self-hatred. You want to read about this from an actual doctor, check out Be in Health.

Auto-immune is your body attacking itself. Ulcerative colitis is painful. I was on IV nutrition. I had 2 surgeries, 20+ days in the hospital, and eventually my colon removed.

But what happened while I was going through the painful hell of UC, was that I sat still. I was in the hospital by myself, quiet. And Jesus used this time to reach out to me again. He didn’t make me ill, but He used me being ill to reach out to me.

He had never stopped pursuing me or loving me despite me flipping Him off in college and telling Him I didn’t need or want His bullshit rules. Yes…I literally flipped Him off. 

I’m telling you people the love of God is a mysterious and powerful force to love me and pursue me through rebellion and into a hospital bed.

I went to church for the first time in years during this time, and a part of myself woke up during worship. I missed worship and church. 

When I came back to God, I expected punishment and wrath for disobedience. 

But that’s not how God’s love works. 

This is how God’s love works; “So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.” 1 John 4:17-19 NLT

What I received was forgiveness, like the prodigal son. The Father was overjoyed to see me. And as I sought Him, He made it clear to me that performance and stellar behavior is not what pleased Him (see Hebrews 11:6). Seeing me get free of self-hatred and self-destructive habits. He wanted to heal me. 

When I was praying, desperate for an answer, He spoke to me audibly. God, Himself, spoke to me.

Now I know that we can all hear the voice of the Shepherd. He speaks through the Word and through angels and etc.

But for me right then…God loved me enough to speak to me directly and answer my prayer audibly during worship. It changed everything for me.

I started taking classes about healing. Then I went to counseling. I was so desperate and hungry for change and healing that I was in the church every single time the doors were open. Worship services. Sermons. Classes. Intercessory prayer. Group counseling. Counseling. I did this for about five years.

Today I am a very different person. I still am working on things with Jesus. But from a place of wholeness not brokenness. 

But how do I take all that I’ve learned and experienced and boil it down to bite sized child appropriate pieces to share with my kiddos? This I don’t know. Maybe that is why the 2nd generation failed in teaching their kids, they didn’t know how.

I continually pray and ask God to help me plant seeds. And to send people who know Him into their lives. And I seek to live a life that inspires them to seek God and to really live! Because teaching the next generation about who God is and who they are in God prepares them to change this world for the better. And is so vital. And we all have a part to play.

Where are you in the journey to the promised land? Are you the 1st generation? The one who needs healing? 

Receive God’s love. Receive God’s healing. You cannot give what you do not have. You cannot help your kids or anyone else if you don’t first take care of you!

Are you the 2nd Generation? Are you struggling like me to to teach the next generation? 

Ask God to show you how to reach tjem each kiddo is unique. God made them. He knows them even better than we do. Then pray for them. Declare God’s promises and blessings over them. Live your life as an example. Plant seeds. Water seeds. Listen to them and watch for opportunities to teach Kingdom Principles and share God’s love. 

Point to ponder while you wander…”After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.” 1 Corinthians 3:5-8

Waxing Poetic

Waxing poetic? What does that even mean?

I think of it as glossing over the negative and speaking of a topic as if it were 100% beautiful. Kinda like how high school glory days get better and better as you age. Kinda like someone telling tall tales or  b.s.ing a great story that’s short on facts and high in entertainment value.

The definition I found was this…to speak in an increasingly enthusiastic and poetic manner. It can imply enthusiasm or refer to flowery writing or speech.

Why am I talking about waxing poetic today? No idea…just randomly drifted through my brain and I like the way it sounds.  🌞 ha ha

On another random note..I dreamt about my junior high school friends last night. It was a very enjoyable dream until it was invaded by a high school boyfriend. It was strange because I knew he didn’t belong there. He really didn’t. He went to a rival school.

Anyway he kept smiling at me. It was weird.

So when I woke up I prayed for the people in the dream. Including the ex-boyfriend.

Truthful Tuesday…One Nation

We are all one race…human. All made in the image and likeness of God. You want to know how to fix our nation? 

1. Pray for her. Pray for our leaders. Pray for unity for our people. You don’t have to like someone to pray for them. #prayforyourenemies #prayforourleaders

2. Be kind to one another. Accept that not everyone looks, feels, or thinks the same as you do. You don’t have to agree with someone to be kind. #loveiskind #loveyourneighborasyourself

And 3. Stop complaining. Start listening. Stop saying us and them. #2ears1mouth #onenationunderGod

Point to ponder while you wander… “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Motivational Monday…Ansel Adams

“I hope that my work will encourage self expression in others & stimulate the search for beauty & creative excitement in the great world around us.” Ansel Adams

Who was Ansel Adams? Ansel Adams was a photographer mainly known for B&W landscapes, and for his love of Yosemite National Park. 

I love how his B&W shots force you to see past the colors to see the textures and patterns. He inspires me to walk in the woods with my camera. Not to copy him. But to look for the views and details that speak to me.

Here are a few shots of Ansel’s. I do not own the copyright to these photos. All are copyright of Ansel Adams. If you’d like to have prints of them, please purchase them. Don’t steal art! ❤

Moonrise over Hernandez…I love this one necause he said it was one of those right place right time photos. Not every one may love this image…but it totally speaks to me.

Rose and Driftwood…I love all the different lined in this one. The texture in the rose

Clearing Winter Storm at Yosemite…

Point to ponder while you wander…”Well done, Ansel.  You have inspired me.”  -Jill @Jillbeingstill.com