Monthly Archives: December 2015

When Your “One Word” Challenges You

Depend

How is it possible that another year has passed? I can’t even remember where December went and am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that it is New Year’s Eve tonight. I haven’t written a lot in the past few months but felt like I needed to pen my thoughts on my “one word” for 2015.

I wish I could wrap it up in a pretty red bow and tell you that I finally picked a word for the year and mastered it in my life.

Unfortunately, I find myself at that place once again where I feel like my hopes for what my word was going to be are instead a reflection of my failures of not following through.

I read back through my post last January and remember the challenge I was placing before me. Depend on God in everything. Look to Him as my source of comfort and hope. Could I place my dependence on Him in every aspect of my life?

The answer, quite frankly, is no.

Could I….yes.

Did I? No.

The reality is that I am a Type A person to the core. I like things my way, I want to manage my circumstances and the outcome. I don’t like the unknown. And I certainly don’t like making mistakes or being wrong.

So while I found myself at the beginning of 2015 in a place where I was eager to give up that control and depend on God instead, somewhere along the way…and I am guessing rather quickly, I decided that I could speed things up and manage my life (and others) well enough on my own.

Can’t you just see my head growing with ego and pride!?

And don’t you sometimes wonder what God must be thinking when we put ourselves in places like this? I imagine He laughs a little and then steps back, like we do with our own kids when they are trying to exert some independence and thinks…go ahead, give it a try and I will be right here when you are ready for my guidance again…

He was always there with me, but for the majority of 2015 I worked pretty hard at trying to keep my life all under control on my own. The difference this year from years past is that when things went wrong I didn’t blame God. It has never been that He wasn’t there to guide me…I just stopped asking for His help.

So while I find myself at a place I hoped I wouldn’t be, I am trying to see this as a challenge instead of a failure.

You see, I am a work in progress.

And in many areas of my life I can be a slow learner. Thankfully I have a God that is patient and long suffering. I am not perfect (while I so desperately wish I were) and I am very slowly seeing the benefits of letting go of the things I can’t control and trusting God through it all.

I don’t have full dependence on God mastered at the end of 2015 and I am beginning to believe that this will be something I will continue to work on for the rest of my life.

Today I am ok with that.

Friends as we watch the final hours of this year tick away can we try and focus on the small steps forward instead of the seemingly big failures? Let’s start the new year grateful for the challenges of the past and hold onto hope in our continued growth in the future.

It has been a blessing to walk this past year with you – Happy New Year!

Do Not Be Afraid – An (in)Courage Guest Post

Incourage Mary post

It was the final day of our time in Florida and for some reason I woke up extra early with one thought in my mind…that I needed to check and see when the next opening was to submit a guest post over at one of my favorite sites – incourage.

Upon checking I discovered that the deadline was that very day. I started reflecting on the early days of Mary, her discovery that she was pregnant and her response. And that morning in the dark of my room I wrote words that surprisingly have encouraged me today.

I struggle with fear, I want things to be perfect and problems or changes in the plan cause me panic. I think there are many of us that can relate to that fear…

And Mary? What about her?

As I read the text in Luke again I saw a response that gave me great hope.

I would love if you would head on over here at incourage to read more about Mary and why we shouldn’t be afraid.

In moments of uncertainty, let’s shed the chains of fear and walk forward with a song of praise. (<====Click to Tweet)

__________________________________________________

If you are just hearing about incourage for the first time you should really spend some time seeing all they have to offer to encourage women! And so you don’t miss a single post you should sign up here to receive free daily encouragement from the writers of (in)courage, right in your inbox!

I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas and it is my prayer that we can enter into 2016 filled with excitement and anticipation at all God will do through us and with us!

Flocked in His Grace

Flocked tree

We had our first big snow recently. Heavy, wet snow fell over the course of 2 days. 2 days that Dominic was out of town and my oldest away at college. Yes I cried and whined having to shovel twice in 2 days and still hurt from the after effects. (Old age stinks) 😉

In an effort to embrace this expected season change and colder weather I tried to focus on the positives….most of which included how beautiful the trees look after a heavy snow. The entire block was white and the once brown, dead looking trees, looked vibrant again.

Yesterday I was driving out of town and while some of the snow has melted, most of the trees were still covered. They glistened in the sun and it was a beautiful sight.

And for some reason I had a flash back to a memory long forgotten.

For years as a child, my parents would take us to get a real Christmas tree at a local nursery. Long before trees were available at every Sam’s Club, Home Depot and Costco, there was one special place we would go each year to get our tree.

The smell inside the nursery was heavenly. The front shop was filled with handmade wreaths and trees decorated with ornaments you could purchase…and then there was a special place in the back corner.

If we were lucky there would be a tree in the contained area that had just been flocked that we could see.

For those that don’t know what flocking is, they use a substance that is white and spray it all over the tree, it makes it look like it was snowed upon. Flocked trees were probably double the price of a regular tree.

I knew they weren’t in our budget, but I always thought they were interesting. It felt like those trees were reserved for the elite, the “special” and just knowing that made them desirable to me.

As I was driving yesterday I realized that the trees outside looked like they had been flocked. Covered full in white, so beautiful….and it was a reminder for me.

I have been walking through the past few months feeling like the brown, dead tree.

I know that I am a sinner, we all are I get it…but there are times that the weight of the person that I am is too much. I get stuck in old habits and patterns of behavior that have long been unacceptable, but I tidy up just enough so that I don’t have to deal with the underlying issue.

I place so much emphasis on how things look on the outside that I have ignored the inside, heart issues, for way too long.

Becoming aware, even slightly of the work that now needs to be done, feels overwhelming and I (as is my nature) want to give up.

Sometimes redemption seems impossible, and grace – real, life changing grace, feels out of reach.

And then I get a simple reminder in the picture of some flocked trees that I too am covered by God’s grace.

Isaiah 1:18 says Come now, let us reason together, says the Lordthough your sins are like scarlet,  they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

Jesus paid for my sins. How quickly I forget that. I get wrapped up in my own emotions and feelings about my present state and forget that the Son of God bore the weight of MY sins when he hung on that cross.

He did it for me.

And as a result, in the eyes of God, I am white as snow.

Now this doesn’t give me free reign to go and continue to allow sin to wage a war inside of me. There are things I can and need to do with God to work towards freedom.

One of the first things is changing my perspective.

I have believed that I was like that dead tree and couldn’t ever see myself as the beautiful flocked tree.

I could only see the sinner, forgetting what grace looks like. I get stuck in the hopeless and don’t know how to move forward.

My eyes need to be fixated on that vision of grace. I need to embrace it for my own life and then be as generous with it for others as God has been with me.

It is a start, and for me at the end of this year….I guess it is the place that I need to be.

Maybe you have been struggling with something too, feeling like that ugly, dead tree for so long that you have forgotten grace is available for you. Friend I am grasping at these truths with all that I have and want you to know that you aren’t alone.

You are beautiful and loved and flocked by His grace.

Photo Credit: JusDaFax

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...