TRAVEL JOURNAL, Week 8

How many times as a child did I hear the story of Jesus calming the storm?

Too many to keep count! I loved all of the Bible stories that my grandma would tell us.

I loved curling up with a warm, fuzzy blanket at the foot of the bed and listening to my mom read us Bible stories out of the ‘Big Book of Bible Stories!’

I felt stronger as a young girl as I listened as David, a small shepherd boy and the youngest of his brothers, picked up 5 small stones and killed the GIANT!

I felt adventurous as I listened as Jonah sat in the belly of the whale and then spoke God’s truth to the people of Nineveh!

I felt royal as I listened as Esther became the Queen and spoke boldly for her people!

I felt loved as I listened to Jesus call the children to Himself and sit and spend time with them!

But there was always one story that made me feel CONTENT!

I felt CONTENT as I listened to the story of Jesus calming the waves and the storm!

Each time I would listen closely as the disciples were on the boat with Jesus, the storm struck suddenly, and they were afraid! They ran to wake Jesus up and He calmed the storm!

Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with His disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke Him up, shouting, “Lord, SAVE US!” We’re going to drown!”  Matthew 8:23-25

They were with Jesus, yet they were frightened and scared!

Have you ever been in a physical storm on the sea or by the sea?

I found myself in one at the beginning of this month!  We were visiting friends in Newport Beach for the first week of July. They have a home only a block away from the sands leading to the sea. We had taken a sunset walk on July 3rd, and witnessed the waves crashing hard on the shore and the spray from the waves rising tens of feet into the sky!  As we continued walking down the boardwalk we heard screams and saw people running with their cameras in hand to snap photos of the water rushing up hundreds of yards and covering the sand! It was quite a sight to see, but nothing we were afraid of.

9D7E6A12-1963-431A-AA2C-D312F587217D

We got home just before dark and had dinner on the outdoor patio. We lit the fire in the fire pit to roast s’mores and noticed the line of cars forming on the street in front of the house. The cars were not moving! They had no where to go! The water of the sea had not stopped rising and the waves had not stopped crashing!  Before we knew it much of Balboa and Newport were flooded!

It was an erie feeling as we sat and watched streets flooded, shops full of water and sand covering miles of property. That night as we went to bed we saw reports of boats smashed, people rescued out of the rising water and cars stuck in parking lots and filling up with water.

I lived in Southern California for 30 years and never saw this type of a storm!

I did sleep that night as I realized that God was in control and I was not. There was nothing I could do to calm the storm, only He could!  I prayed for the safety of everyone and found CONTENTMENT in knowing Jesus was with me and He was no stranger to storms!

Jesus responded, ‘WHY ARE YOU AFRAID? YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH!’ Then He got up and rebuked the wind and the waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.
Matthew 8:26

As I layed my head down that night in Newport with the waves crashing around outside, I remembered those words of CONTENTMENT just as I had as a small child listening to them…

Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the waves and there was GREAT CALM!

I needed GREAT CALM that night and I need it now! As we face yet another “Shut down,” and our efforts to re-open are slowed, I need a “GREAT CALM” that only Jesus can give!

CONTENTMENT in the midst of this COVID Storm we are in, may seem near impossible!

But Friends, JESUS WANTS TO BE IN OUR BOAT! When He is, HE WILL CALM THE STORM! The circumstances around us may swirl and cause quite a mess, but Jesus will bring CALM and CONTENTMENT in our souls!

I realized laying there that night that the words of God’s Truth shared with me as a young child had brought CONTENTMENT, and those same words of TRUTH brought CONTENTMENT that night and each night and day that Jesus is in my boat!

He takes my life’s circumstances and “SUDDENLY THERE IS A GREAT CALM!”

He will do the same for you! Let Him climb in the boat of your life and He will calm every storm and bring CONTENTMENT!

TRUTH BOMB

322C3D8E-2AEA-4D96-80B8-17A789756E43

WHEN JESUS IS IN THE BOAT OF OUR LIVES HE WILL CALM EVERY STORM!

Speak Truth Love

Travel Journal, Week 7

If we are to find true CONTENTMENT we must HUMBLE ourselves, PRAY, SEEK GOD’S FACE(turn to Him),and TURN AWAY FROM OUR WICKED WAYS!

Then, FREEDOM WILL RING!

We just celebrated the birthday of our nation. A baby nation in comparison to the world nations. A nation that was formed as one nation under God!

We have been blessed to celebrate this holiday for the past three years with our best friends! They have generously and humbly opened up their home to us on Newport Beach. We walk, swim, play in the sand, body surf, boogie board, ride bikes, play games, cook together and eat together! Best of all we refresh and renew our bodies, minds and spirits! It is truly a gift from God to our family!

One of our favorite memories of our times together in Newport is the way they celebrate the Fourth of July! We have participated in the neighborhood parade and decorated our bikes and scooters and walked together celebrating our country’s birthday! We picnic in the park and end the day on the sand looking out at the ocean as magnificent fireworks burst into the open sky above!

This year we were unsure if we would be allowed by our state to even travel!

We prayed and were excited as things began to “open up!”  We packed our cars and made the trip from Northern California to Southern California. We arrived to find out that the parade and the festivities have been canceled but we would still be able to celebrate as friends and family! We spent two days at the beach before the state closed the beaches. On the evening of July 3rd, at sunset, as we walked along the boardwalk of the beach we witnessed the highest surge of surf we have ever seen! As we neared the end of our walk, the surf had risen so high that it was coming up and covering all of the sand beach area and nearing the homes that are beachfront properties.

It was truly a sight to see and nothing we had ever experienced in our years living in Southern California.

We returned home, made dinner and sat outside around the fire pit eating together.

The street began to get crowded with cars and we heard sirens all around us! The surf was continuing to rise and it was washing through and flooding the streets!

This would lead to a Fourth of July celebration like we’ve never experienced before!

The beaches were closed, the streets were flooded, covid was back on the rise, places of worship were told they couldn’t sing, and racial tension was still at an all-time high!

Where was God in all of this?

Asking His people to look to Him!

This experience led me to lean into God like never before! To look to Him and remember that He is my help, our help!

When we are celebrating our FREEDOM on a day our Nation sets aside to celebrate our FREEDOM and our FREEDOM seems to be wavering as much as the American flag flying overhead, where does our help come from?

The answer is and always will be the same…

My help comes from The Lord, who made heaven and earth.”  Psalm 121:2

And it is echoed further in Psalm…

Our help is from The Lord, who made heaven and earth.”  Psalm 124:8

Again and again as God’s people are doing their best to live this life He has given them,  they face trial after trial just as we are! 

The answer was and still is the same…

OUR HELP COMES FROM THE LORD!

No matter if it is help on a personal level we need or help as a Nation…OUR HELP COMES FROM THE LORD!

He is the maker of heaven and earth!

He is the Creator and the author of Life! 

He is the only One in whom true FREEDOM is found!

78C6A72B-7AFE-43EE-92CF-07B493DA211E

TRUTH BOMB

5C71699D-712B-4D7B-8BDC-8139CE640270

FREEDOM IS FOUND IN HUMILITY: When God’s people humble themselves and pray He will heal their land.

Nothing feels like or looks quite the same right now. The sense of loss and change can leave us feeling helpless and that can lead to hopelessness!

But we are never without help and never without hope!

GOD IS OUR HELP! He is still on the throne and He is never caught off guard!

Speak Truth Love

TRAVEL JOURNAL, Week 6

Saying Goodbye is hard!

My husband likes to say that no one likes change but a wet baby! I think he’s right! Most of us like waking up in the morning and knowing the way things are. We check our weather apps to make sure we anticipate the kind of day we’re heading into. We check our calendars the night before and schedule our day accordingly. If an unanticipated need or call arises we simply can’t fit it in. After all, we’ve already planned our day! And if at the conclusion of our day, things did not go “as planned“ then we chalk it up to a “Bad Day!”

If we are being totally honest with ourselves we have to admit that at the core of our being we don’t like change!

So what happens to us when we have to say goodbye?

When someone we love moves away and change is inevitable!

In our search to find contentment this cannot only rock our boat, it can capsize it!

Is contentment even possible when life throws hard changes our way?

The answer is yes!

Contentment may not come easily, but it is available to us when our trust is in the Lord!

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1

Did you catch that? It’s not an option when we follow Jesus to have our hearts be troubled! There is a period after the first statement in this verse,

“DO NOT LET YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED.”

Period. Do NOT let your hearts be troubled!

It is a direct statement from God to us.

When we trust in Him our hearts are to be at peace, and at rest. We are not to live in a troubled state. The Bible goes on to say, as those who have no hope. We know where our hope comes from! Our hope comes from the Lord not in our circumstances and not in our world where things are changing on the daily!

But God does not leave us hanging! Right after this statement is the answer on how to not let our hearts be troubled…

“TRUST IN GOD; TRUST ALSO IN ME!”

When you put your TRUST in God first, then

Entrust you’re loved ones to God, you find CONTENTMENT!

There is no candy coating it, when we have to say goodbye to those we love, it hurts! It also brings CHANGE that is uninvited and very disruptive!

Not only is our schedule disrupted, but when our loved ones are no longer near us, our hearts are disrupted!

I can say with a pure heart that a mother’s heart finds true contentment when she entrusts her children’s hearts to God!

He is TRUSTWORTHY!

Knowing your loved ones belong to God eases the goodbye and brings true contentment to your soul!

So in this season as we say “goodbye“ to our son, daughter-in-law and precious granddaughter, we are content in knowing they are in God’s hands and there is no better place to be!

TRUTH BOMB

26828F58-A608-4229-AD00-CBEEED629735

TRUSTING IN GOD, EASES THE PAIN OF GOODBYE!

Trusting in God with all of our hello’s and Goodbye’s brings true contentment and is the only path to travel down!

Mark that down in your Travel Journal!

Trust in God, and believe me, you will find contentment!

Speak Truth Love

Travel Journal, Week 5

On the road to contentment, it is often necessary to get directions! 

Have you ever taken a trip, planned a trip, or found yourself debating on whether to take a trip or not?  And then realized, you had no directions!

You have thought about, dreamt of, and even seen pictures of this destination, yet never looked up or mapped out the directions.

Now assuming you are not a 19 year old reading this, deciding to backpack through Europe with nothing but your backpack, I would imagine the directions and mapping out a course would be vital! It is no different when we chart a course for contentment.

Jesus charted the course for the most important assignment of his life on earth: He had just three years to impact the world with the truth of the gospel message! The very first thing He did was was to put in place the direction for the next three years His vital ministry would take.

He chose His disciples! 

It was the biggest and most important decision He would make.

We read the process He took in finding his direction:

One day soon afterward, Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak, he called together all of his disciples (aka followers) and chose twelve of them to be apostles.” 

Luke 6:12-13

There were five distinct steps Jesus took in finding direction:

1. He got direction by seeking God the Father in prayer. The first place we must go to find contentment is at the feet of our Father in Heaven, through prayer.

2. He dug out relevant information. He asked himself, “Who are these men? What knowledge, gifts and talents do they have in certain areas to carry out the mission? Who is most likely to have a willing spirit and obey me?

 We need to dig out information regarding our current circumstances, and find relevance in the Truth, regardless of what is swirling around us.

3. He was deliberate. He chose twelve out of all his disciples/followers, and reflected on the pros and cons of each person.

We need to be deliberate, and spend enough time reflecting and examining pros and cons as we move forward.

4. Jesus made a decision. Jesus chose the twelve and moved forward with assurance and confidence in His decision.

We must put our decisions into motion. Delaying too long causes discontent anxiety, and eventually more worry.

5. Jesus evaluated His decision, and stood firm. Jesus is truly God, and we are not. His decision would not require the evaluation and adjustment that our decisions will. We must evaluate our decisions, observing the consequences, and make the necessary adjustments to achieve contentment. It is often the second decision–for us, not Jesus–that is just as important as the first decision!

TRUTH BOMB

4B08741B-765F-4E4B-912C-042D5D731106

FOLLOWING GODS DIRECTION WILL ALWAYS BE THE RIGHT WAY TO GO!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”   Proverbs 3:5-6

Speak Truth Love

TRAVEL JOURNAL, Week 4

TODAY AS I SIT TO WRITE ABOUT CONTENTMENT, I FEEL ANYTHING BUT!

What felt like solid ground 4 months ago, feels now like sinking sand! What came easily like breathing, has been turned upside down and made difficult. What felt “known” has become unknown, and what felt secure has become unstable!

I find myself uttering the words to God…

“Why such struggle?  Why such unrest?”

As I strive to find contentment, I seem to feel less content than ever!

And the response comes right back to me in the form of my own question…

WHY?

WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO LOOK FOR CONTENTMENT IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES AROUND YOU? 

WHY DO YOU FAIL CONTINUOUSLY TO SEE THAT MY WILL IS PERFECTED IN STRUGGLE? 

My heart is convicted and my spirit is pierced!

And so my question turns to…

“How?”

How can I find contentment in the chaos and the calm?

How can I trust your will in the struggle, and be used by you in it to bring about your freedom?

The response is clear and sure…

FOLLOW NOT JUST MY WORDS BUT ALSO MY DIRECTION!

JESUS REPLIED, ‘YOU MUST LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, ALL YOUR SOUL, AND ALL YOUR MIND.  THIS IS THE FIRST AND GREATEST COMMANDMENT. A SECOND IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’”
MATTHEW 22:37-39

I am to love God with every part of my being! To read His word of Truth and to let it fill me with compassion and cause that compassion to move me into action!

My mind reads and focuses on God’s Word!  My spirit fills to overflowing with God’s compassion for all His people.  My heart moves to LOVE OTHERS, seeing no righs and wrongs, just differences!

Suddenly I feel CONTENT knowing that God had the plan all along!  I just need to do my part in it!

I learned this formula today and I believe it applies beautifully to this scripture…

LISTEN

LEARN

LEAD

If we are willing to LISTEN to hear the heart and pain of others we are expanding our minds.

If we are willing to LEARN what we do not know or understand we are exercising our spirits.

If we are willing to LEAD (MOVE) into action and do something in Jesus name we are displaying our hearts.

TRUTH BOMB

CC347EFE-E0EF-404B-9F88-FFF3B6956571

WHEN WE LOVE LEARN AND LEAD LIKE JESUS WE LIVE OUT THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT!

Jesus is the answer friends!  He always has been and He always will be!

LOVE ONE ANOTHER IN JESUS NAME!

I Love you!

XO

Speak Truth Love

TRAVEL JOURNAL, Week 3

The Road to Contentment…

It feels like a roller coaster!

Contentment can feel like a roller coaster, up and down, up and down, upside down and all around until your equilibrium is so thrown off that you feel like you are going to be sick!

What is the biggest, scariest roller coaster you have ever been on?

I’m talking about the ones that really mess you up!  Not the ones that send chills up your arms or put a thrill in your belly. I mean the ones that rip you apart inside as they soar high, crash low and spin from side to side and upside down!

That’s right, got the picture?  Stepping off that ride, rushing to the nearest bush and grabbing your stomach as you double over and let it fly!

It’s that feeling that you are no longer in control and your body has taken over. You are in pain, cramping up and heaving at your bodies whim!

I believe that many of us are experiencing this same feeling of sickness and loss of control during this current season of the Corona Pandemic and Racial Tension. 

We feel like things are simply ‘Out of Control!’ That our world has been shaken up so hard, turned upside down, side to side and up and down, that we feel sick and nauceous! We would almost feel relief if we could throw up!

WE NEED DIRECTION!

This week in our Travel Journals we need to record Godly Direction by which we can find contentment in the middle of the storm.

I have shared openly and honestly with you that Hope and Encouragement are my jam!They are my natural go to!  CONTENTMENT to me is the “C” Word!

This comes to me quite naturally. I was raised by a very strong Dad who had a very strong work ethic and passed that down to my sisters and I. One of my responsibilities growing up was to feed the horses in the evening. I was raised in the city, but was blessed to live on an acre and 1/4 of property zoned for all kinds of animals, including horses. One night when my dad returned home for work we all sat down at the table to eat dinner. My dad looked at me and asked if I had fed the horses. My eyes got huge as I replied that I had not yet fed them. I jumped up out of my chair to run and feed them when my dad called me back and told me to sit down. He said that he heard them neighing as he pulled in the driveway and he fed them. He then told me that I would not eat dinner with the family that night so that I could understand how they felt when they did not get fed. He reminded me that unlike myself, they could not go get their own food when they were hungry!

Now, before you report my Dad for child abuse, I need to let you know that I did not starve, I had eaten plenty that day, and I did learn a very valuable lesson! I learned that when I did not put the work in it was not only I that suffered! I guarantee you, I never forgot to feed the horses again!

Is it any surprise that my favorite verse in the Bible is Philippians 4:13?

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I was raised with that ‘All American Value’ to “pull yourself up by your own boot straps” and get it done!

Problem is, life does not always work out that way!

WE can find ourselves in a world that is not practicing the “Love One Another” commandment from the Bible. We can find ourselves in a job loss that was not our fault! We can find ourselves in a relationship that does not seem to heal no matter how hard we try!

Truth is, we can be practicing Philippians 4:13 to the greatest of our ability and our world can remain a Roller Coaster Ride!

That is why God always includes the verses before and after one another to accomplish the entire meaning.

A great Hero of the Faith, The Apostle Paul, just two verses before writes, “I can do all things…”, writes the direction we must follow to achieve true contentment in Christ!

I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty,  with plenty or little.”  

Philippians 4:11-12

The problem was MY HEART, MY MINDSET and MY DIRECTION!

I was reading Philippians 4:13 with that “Can Do” spirit. In actuality it was the entire reason for CONTENTMENT!

If Paul can say it from a prison cell, I can say it from right here…

Regardless of my circumstances, regardless of my full or empty stomach, regardless of my financial situation, regardless of my employment status, regardless of my positive or negative relationships, and regardless of the state of the world around me,

I can do all things (and be content), through Christ who gives me strength!

TRUTH BOMB

C83FD47F-D86E-4534-B854-984A826BE1BD

God is our direction no matter what we or the world around us is going through!

Let’s log that in our travel journals!

God is our direction no matter what we or the world around us is going through! We can learn to be content in any and all circumstances when we trust in the strength of Christ in us!

Speak Truth Love

Travel Journal, Week 2

Have you ever been traveling and found yourself completely off the road you thought you were following?

No GPS guidance to direct you.

No map.

Nobody to ask directions.

You knew your way when you started out in the morning, and by noon you were completely lost. Maybe even teetering on hopeless.

You feel that as sure as your destination was in the morning, now you feel lost, confused, and even scared.

I set out on this journey to contentment with you two weeks ago. My path was clear. Sure, it would take commitment and perseverance, but the trail markers were laid out before me.

This week, I have felt that my trail markers have been knocked over, that my confidence has been shaken, and that the society I knew and trusted has been rocked to its core.

There is no way that we can live through the events our nation is currently facing and not feel pushed off our path. Our hearts are broken and our stability is shook, when we see racial injustice and people treated inhumanely.

I found myself laying in a heap on the side of the road, with my head in my hands, crying out to God and saying, “I thought your children had gotten past this. I thought we were better than this.”

How can human beings treat other human beings made in God’s image as less than themselves?

As I picked myself up off the ground with skinned knees and a few bloody scratches, I tried to find my way back onto the path.  However, I felt knocked back off my path again as the decision came down that the “opening” of our churches and businesses was so full of restrictions that it didn’t seem like an opening at all. Our national leading Dr’s, our state leaders, and our county leaders, are all saying something different and contradictory. “Let’s get back to work!”  “No! Let’s keep shelter in place!”  There is dissension and disunity everywhere we look.
How could I possibly find my way back to the right path that leads me to true contentment?

I have to remind myself of some important Truths:

All lives matter to us because each person matters to God.


We are all created equal in His image.

We live in in a fallen world where social injustice is prevalent.

WE live with the Truth, and the Truth is that we are the light and the hope of the world.

We need to be vocal in calling out injustice based on hate.

We need to stand together as one in Christ, red, yellow, black, brown and white.

Everyone matters to God, and every person matters to us!

Jesus is the hope of the world. He reminded us,

In this world, you will have tribulation. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  

John 16:33

We are more than overcomers through Him who loves us!

Sometimes finding contentment is trusting in the Truth I know, even if I can’t see it in the world around me.

So we keep our eyes, not on what I seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, But what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18.

As troubles come and we are knocked off our path, the Truth of God and His word is the only true map we should follow.  No matter how dark it may seem, following God’s word is the only light that can direct our path.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Psalm 199:105.  

  Truth Bomb

46458B2C-76A1-43E7-B74E-2E18A2E05E26

We shine God’s hope and light to the world when we treat each other as equals!

Speak Truth Love

TRAVEL JOURNAL TO CONTENTMENT: Week 1

‘On the Road Again!’
These may be the lyrics to a well known country western song, but they also perfectly fit my “on again,”  “off again,” relationship with CONTENTMENT!

Do you feel me?  I’m flying high one day, feeling successful and confident. The next day I feel bucked off the horse and thrown into prickly berry bushes!

Anyone else? Or is it just me?

This journey we are on to live a life Christ-centered and Christ-driven needs a road map and a travel journal.

Good News, we have the road map, God’s Word, The Bible!  God lovingly wrote a love letter to each and every one of us and in it are all the directions we need to live a Christ-centered life.

The not bad, but not so good news is, we have to write our own Travel Journal to navigate our part in the journey. When we do, we can live Christ-driven lives with clear direction. This is the surest way for us to find CONTENTMENT!

Week 1 of my Travel Journal is: 

#1 GOD WILL BE FAITHFUL TO  COMPLETE IT!

I started my week out determined to do my part and put the effort into finding contentment. I woke up earlier and began each morning with physical exercise and Bible reading.

As day 2 arrived I felt my body a bit more tired than the day before, and my legs slightly heavier to pick up as I ran, but my spirit was determined!

By day 3 I felt that old message of discouragement ring in my ears…

You start out strong but eventually you will fail!

I sensed that pang inside me that wanted to quit! Sure, it would be easier. I could start again next week. Truth is, next week never seems to come. The same pattern of beginning well, “flying high,” and eventually getting “bucked off the horse” and quitting seemed to take over and win the day!

I had made a commitment to find contentment and I knew I had to do my part even when it hurt!

I finished exercising and ran to God’s Word! “Help,” I cried! “I need you to show me you don’t give up on me, so I won’t give up on you!”

In the same book of Philippians, only at the beginning of the book, there it was!

Being confident of this, that HE who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it(or to carry it on to the day of completion), until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

It was right there in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, God is in this with me!  I do my part and HE is ALWAYS FAITHFUL to do HIS!

Day 4 arrived and I got up and asked God to help me do my part because I knew HE would do HIS!  My feet hit the pavement with a greater determination that morning.

I knew then that I already had the ROAD MAP, God’s Word, I had used it!  But what I needed was a TRAVEL JOURNAL, a place to record my direction, purpose, and to do my part to live a life Christ-driven and CONTENTED!

So, I began writing my ‘TRAVEL JOURNAL TO CONTENTMENT.’ 

Week One directs me to keep doing my part knowing God will complete what I begin in His name!

TRUTH BOMB

6734278D-8309-45D8-87A4-8B7A35C50ABA

GOD WILL BE FAITHFUL TO COMPLETE THE PLANS THAT HONOR HIS NAME!

If you feel encouraged to take this journey with me or start your own, I hope you will use both God’s Road Map for you, and a Travel Journal!

HAPPY TRAVELS MY FRIEND, UNTIL NEXT WEEK!

Speak Truth Love

The Chase for Contentment

Friends, God has asked me to write something today that is difficult, painful, embarrassing and humbling. For a myriad of reasons, far too many to write, I have used excuse after excuse, reason upon reason and rationalization on top of rationalization to explain this issue in my life away!

We all have our own issues, and that’s not a slam on anyone. That is called human nature! My issues are not your issues and your issues are not my issues. That is why I hesitate to even write about this. But truth is, God is telling me to! It would be so much easier for me to continue to keep it to myself! True, it won’t come as a total shock to those of you who know me or those of you that have read my blog posts. It is not some thing uncommon to most human beings! It may not be an issue you wrestle with like I do, but it still stands as an irritant to most everybody.

The difference is, the many times I’ve talked about it and shared about it, I have communicated it as a desire, and God has shown me it’s more than that!

I wrote last week about contentment. I shared that I see it as something practically unattainable for me! But after that post, God took me to the mats! That’s right, you heard me, the wrestling mats! The place where God calls my name and gets my attention in anyway He can! The place where I have to wrestle with Him over an issue that is not getting through to my heart! Oh, my head understands it perfectly fine! I know that God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made and I know it’s true! I know that through Jesus Christ I have eternal life and I will be forever with God, and that’s true! I know that I’m a daughter of the King and that makes me a princess. I am cherished, adored, protected and loved! And because I know that and live that out, God wants me to be the best I can be for Him! In taking me to the mats He was telling me that there’s an issue that is in my head but has not gotten to my heart! And it’s the issue of contentment with my health, weight, age and physical appearance!

OUCH, that hurt to say!

I have read, spoke on and taught Philippians 4:11-12, more times then I can count! If you have ever received an email from me, or visited my home , you know that Philippians 4:13 is my favorite verse!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13

I do my very best to live by it and frustrate many people along the way! But as I was on the mats with God this week He wouldn’t let me get to my favorite verse until I dealt with the two verses that come before it!

For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether living in plenty or in want.

Philippians 4:11-12

I know this passage well! I graduated from Bible college! I’ve studied the apostle Paul! He’s one of my heroes of the Faith after all!

I know he was in prison when he wrote these words! I know that he was bound in chains and didn’t know if he would wake up to see another day on this earth! I get it, I told God! No matter what my circumstances are, I am to be “CONTENT” in where you have me!

It got worse! I started to plead my case! God, I said, I have lived in plenty and in poverty. I have felt love and abandonment! I have moved far from home and left everything familiar to me. I have raised babies on the mission field and felt supported and alone! I have experienced friendships that are faithful and those that are disloyal. I have experienced the indescribable joy of giving birth to two babies and the pain of losing one to miscarriage.  

I have trusted You when you told me to go even though I didn’t know where I would end up and I have been blessed by You providing a home for me and having my family near. I have been healed by You and trusted You to bring me out of a coma and I have known good health most of my life. I have given You my life and declared it is not my own! Yet still I struggle with contentment.

I found myself exhausted and sweating after wrestling on the mats and pleading my case.

I fell to my knees and then to my face in silence.

Then, in the quiet and with a still small voice God whispered,

“Yes, but true contentment my daughter, you do not know. Stop looking for it with your head and find it with your heart!“

I discovered that contentment is not just dealing with our circumstances well and trusting them to God’s care. True contentment asks us to put effort in as well!

TRUTH BOMB

54A96498-F87F-46C9-95FB-834F1D0A83D9

Contentment calls for me to do my part as well as depend on God to do His!

Paul found himself in prison but instead of sitting there and praying quietly to God trusting that his circumstances would turn out…he shared the gospel! I can’t even imagine the physical pain he must’ve been in, but instead of sitting quietly and enduring it, he chose to share the truth and the good news of Jesus Christ with anyone and everyone who would listen!

We may not like where we are, but we do know that God’s in control! And trusting Him in that and enduring whatever circumstance we find ourselves in is demonstrating faith!

CONTENTMENT is taking that circumstance and doing something with it! Paul sat in a prison cell, chained to a wall and not only trusted in his God and had faith, but he found true contentment by sharing his faith with others!

Back to my issue…

This is my heart’s cry to God…

I know it’s going to take a drastic change for me to do some things for my mental and physical health!

Ultimately, mostly for my spiritual health! I know You have been working on me about contentment… And I’m ridiculously discontent! I know it’s me and not my circumstances.

My life could not be more blessed with my marriage, my children and their spouses and my grandchildren-I have truly the greatest blessings in the whole wide world! I need to fix myself! I have many excuses and valid reasons for not, but the bottom line is I am self-indulging! True, it fills my loneliness and my insecurities that I face being in ministry and being in the “spotlight.” These words are really hard for me to say, and I feel like they’re pouring out as a full confession as I’m writing them to you! But I want to be honest and I don’t want to shy away from it anymore! It’s going to take some hard work. I know what the Scriptures say is that it takes hard work to accomplish Gods purposes! I’m going to stop making excuses and I’m going to stop being so sad about the way I look and about getting old. I can do something about it to be the very best I can be, even at 60! And beyond for that matter! I’m going to ask for your prayers and I’m going to gut it out with you God!

Now, I can say my favorite verse…

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13

I know You will be faithful to me, you always are! I just need to be faithful to You and put the work in!

I give all the glory to You, God for what I know You can and will accomplish in and through me! On my own I am too weak and I can’t do it!But with Your power, there is nothing I can’t do!

So here goes! The results are not what’s important, the effort and work God’s calling me to put in to being truly content in Him, is!

Speak Truth Love

Contentment In The Midst Of COVID

Contentment has never been one of my favorite words.

By definition, contentment means ‘satisfaction and ease of mind.’ In actuality, it is a state of being. I don’t believe there has ever been a time that I have been described as “easy going.” I love purpose, vision, achievement, and all around productivity! To arrive at a state of contentment, where your mind feels at ease is something I can only accomplish through God’s divine intervention.

I have found nothing better to bring contentment in my life, then giving thanks! And nothing better to give me a heart of thankfulness then reading God’s Word! God tells us in the book of Isaiah that we will find His perfect peace when we focus our minds on Him.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  Isaiah 26:3

Trusting in God is the answer to contentment! When we find ourselves in such difficult seasons, as the one we’re in right now during the COVID pandemic, our only hope for contentment is to trust in Him!

God does not leave us hanging in His call for us to trust Him. He has sent us a love letter, His Word! In God’s love letter to us, we are told to give thanks to Him…why? For He is good!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.”   Psalm 107:1

I don’t know about you, but when I want to make a point, or emphasize something, I repeat it over and over again. I am trusting that giving thanks to God because He is good, is what He desires from me because He repeats it over and over again in His love letter to me. 1 Chronicles 16:34, Psalm 118:1, Psalm 118:29, Psalm 136:1, Psalm 106:1, Psalm 92:1, and on, and on, and on through both the Old and New Testaments more times than I can record here for us, that we are to give thanks to the Lord because He is good to us forever and always!

So in a time where discontentment too easily replaces contentment, and our mind tends to go to all of the things that are wrong, let’s practice giving thanks!

We just had Mother’s Day, and I was reminded of many reasons to be thankful for being a woman. Today I am thankful that because I am a woman, I can be a Wife, a Mom, a Grandma and a Girlfriend.

Now you go!

Name some things that you are thankful for along with me, as we keep our minds focused on God because He is good, and watch Him keep us in perfect peace and contentment in the midst of COVID!

TRUTH BOMB

2FDF5D2B-9EFC-4492-BF13-5A5A05497BF7

Contentment becomes contagious when we give thanks!

Speak Truth Love