RESILIENCE IN PUSHING THROUGH YOUR FEARS

This is the final week of January 2023 on the Blog.

All month long we have been talking about RESILIENCE!

This week brings me to my most difficult challenge in being RESILIENT.

FEAR!

What are you afraid of?

Does the fear of heights paralyze you?

Does the fear of spiders or snakes make you cringe and run the other way?

Does the fear of speaking in public make you feel like you’re the one in your underwear?

While I wouldn’t jump at the chance to walk across a suspension bridge between two tall mountain peaks, heights is not a great fear I have.

And even though I do not love snakes, I have squashed many a spider in my days for my son who is very much fearful of them. 

And while I do get butterflies in my stomach and can’t eat before I speak in public, when God gives me a word to say, He has given me the ability to speak it!

But I do have a fear I struggle with. It has been a struggle for me since I was a very young child! I always thought that I would outgrow it. I have taken it to God over and over and over again, yet it still remains a very real fear for me.

I am afraid of the dark and I hate being alone!

There, I said it. It is not easy for me to admit this fear! Much of the time I am shamed with it by the fact that it is more commonly a fear children have. But for me, it is a very real fear!

Rick Warren says,

“The revealing of feelings is the beginning of healing.”

This week as I was facing writing my final blog on RESILIENCE, I was challenged to face my greatest fear.

I don’t know about you, but it never fails for me that when I am on a mountaintop experience with God, I soon come plummeting back down to the valley!

I was blessed two weeks ago to be able to not only visit all of my children and grandchildren, but to also attend a wonderful women’s conference with my daughter and my best friend! It doesn’t get better than that, right?

But that very night, as I called my husband back home to share what a wonderful experience the conference had been, he gently broke the news to me that I would soon have to stay alone by myself overnight at home.

When I use the term, “break it to me,“ I mean, break it to me gently. He knows my fear full well! He knows that I have struggled with it and have tried and tried to over come it. He was going to be gone at a pastors prayer conference, and I would have to stay overnight at home alone!

My first response was to frantically figure out any way I could get out of spending the night alone.

Could I make a trip back to Southern California? There must be a very good reason! Was there someone, anyone who could stay overnight with me? 

Was there anywhere I could go?

I panicked. Which is the first human response to fear! 

Basically, I did everything I could to run away from it.

But then something happened! God called me to run toward it not away from it.

He spoke very quietly and gently, but clearly, 

“You will not be alone, I will be with you!”

My testimony the next morning is that I stayed in it, I was calm and remained alone with God in a big two-story house with a lot of windows. My praise and glory to God that next morning was that THE FEAR DID NOT OVERTAKE ME!

My God was right there with me! I did not sleep well, it was at two hour intervals, and at 3:30 it took me quite a bit longer to fall back to sleep. But I was calm and I was at peace and my fear did not overtake me! I stayed in it with my God. I was not alone, He was right there with me.

I was tired and I was weary from it, but I felt RESILIENT!

TRUTH BOMB

RESILIENCE COMES WHEN WE PUSH THROUGH OUR FEARS!

The scripture God gave me and always sustains me me through my fears with is,

God is LIGHT, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”    I John 1:5

I would have loved for God to have worked a miracle in my life and caused me to fall into a deep, deep sleep and wake up the next morning with the sun shining feeling fully refreshed. After all, I serve a God of miracles!

But, I also serve a God who loves me so very much that he wants me to be resilient!

There is no TESTimony, without a TEST. It is through the testing that we become RESILIENT!

Am I looking forward to the next time that I have to be alone? No! But I do know that my God will be right there with me!

And whatever fear you have to face, God will be right there with you too!

Speak Truth Love

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE!

I read the most incredible Bible verse today! You would think it was one I had never read before. It spoke to me with such clarity and truth! It felt like God was jumping off of the page and giving me a big warm and fuzzy hug!

Actually, I think He was!

It wasn’t the kind of hug where I felt His warmth cover me from head to toe and melt my body into His loving arms.

It wasn’t the kind of hug that picked me up ever so gently, wrapped a warm blanket around me and sat me down in front of a warm fire! As much as I love that kind of hug.

No, it was a firm and solid hug that enveloped me in His Truth and Assurance and filled my tired soul with RESILIENCE!

The first verses I read were 14 and 15 from Psalm 91….

Because he(in this case SHE), has set his/her love upon Me (Me is capitalized here emphasizing it is God), therefore I will deliver him/her…He/She shall call upon me, and I will answer him/her; I will be with him/her in trouble; I will deliver him/her and honor him/her.

Psalm 91:14-15

I was always taught in literature to ask what the “therefore” is “there for?”

As I read the scripture this morning, I didn’t even need to ask what the “therefore” was “there for!”

I immediately felt God putting his arm around me, patting me on the back and encouraging me to continue being RESILIENT for His Name Sake, because He would answer me, be with me through my trouble, deliver me and honor me! Why, because I deserved it? Why, because of the great job I have done so far? Absolutely not! None of these reasons have anything at all to do with it! 

TRUTH BOMB

Only because I love God and have “set His love upon me,” will I have RESILIENCE!

It has nothing to do with me and EVERYTHING to do with Him!

I can not earn it, produce it or lose it.

I am RESILIENT in Christ Jesus my Lord because I LOVE Him! 

If you want to be more convinced of this Truth, read the entirety of Psalm 91.

It will wrap you in Truth like a waterproof jacket that protects and propels anything that comes against you from penetrating you and causing you harm. 

It will assure you of His love and care for you, His angels guarding and protecting you and His deliverance and honor of you.

It will increase and strengthen your RESILIENCE to stand strong!

Give your love wholly and completely to Him my friends! He will do the rest!

Speak Truth Love

HAVE YOU QUIT YET?

This is only the second week of January and I have seen posts all over social media making light of trying, but already giving up on those “infamous” New Year’s Resolutions!

You did not see a post form me… 

Not because I am succeeding at mine, but because I just flat out don’t make them! 

I have tried and failed so many times that I have learned a vital life lesson.

I am weak and so very fallible!

One year I remember making a New Year’s Resolution to stick to a new diet!

The diet was called, ‘The Hard Boiled Egg and Hot Dog Diet.’  If you are around my age, you may be groaning with me as you read this, because you remember the popularity of it.

If you are younger than I am you are probably laughing at the title of the diet, let alone the thought of such a ridiculous diet plan! 

RIDICULOUS is the right word! You were supposed to eat nothing but hard boiled eggs the first day, then nothing but hotdogs the second day, and then you switched back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth. No denying you would lose weight considering you would be eating nothing else but hard boiled eggs and hot dogs, and then you would get so sick of them you ended up eating nothing at all. Great way to lose weight, but not a good way to sustain weight loss or be healthy!

Needless to say…oh I failed miserably! I literally got so sick on the hard boiled eggs day one, that I never even made it to Day Two! My ultimate New Year’s Eve Resolution Fail!

*Side Note: I did not eat hard boiled eggs for years and years after that. To this day I still much prefer scrambled or poached!

That New Year’s Resolution was an EPIC fail. However, I have had resolution fails over and over and over again. They all stem from the same problem….. ME.

I am weak and I fail!

I need an unfailing God to make me strong and RESILIENT!

Without Him I am weak. With Him I am strong.

Resilience is created when God takes a painful, difficult circumstance, not only heals it, but makes us stronger than we were before it!

Isaiah the prophet puts it like this;

The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths fall faint and become weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

One of my favorite Bible Commentaries puts it this way;

“God never suffers setbacks, and He helps those who do!”

I love the accurate and succinct way that that sentence puts it. Such Truth spoken short and sweet!

WE FAIL, WE ARE WEAK, WE FACE TRIALS, TRIBULATIONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES THAT ARE NOT JUST OR FAIR!

However, if we give them to God, truly release them completely and give them to God, then He takes our painful circumstances, heals us and makes us stronger than ever! 

TRUTH BOMB

It is not the absence of the pain that makes us strong, it is in the releasing of it to God who heals us and makes us stronger than ever!

That’s RESILIENCE my friends.

God wants that for all of us!

Speak Truth Love

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Friends, I am going to start out my first blog of 2023 asking for forgiveness! You may have noticed last week, or you may have not noticed, depending on your week after Christmas climate, but I took a pause, actually a much needed re-set for my weary soul. I did not write my blog last week.

Some people book a flight to Hawaii or lay on a beach in the Bahamas.

Not me! My soul if refreshed, recharged and reset when I spend quality time with My People!

The ones who could care less what I look like in the morning, who ask nothing of me, but allow me to love them my way! The ones who don’t second guess my actions or motives, but always give me the benefit of the doubt. The Ones who love to move and have fun like I do, and eat healthy at every meal so we can indulge in baked goodies! The Ones who care when I am down and hurting and do everything in their power to bring me back up! The Ones who buy me the perfect gifts every time because they know me so well! The Ones who eat “healthy“ popcorn with me at night and laugh in all the same places as I do in the movies we watch together! They are the Ones who love me dearly and defend me fiercely all the time when we are together and when we are apart. They are My People, my husband, my children and my grandchildren. They are my gifts from God, my priceless treasures. I do not deserve them, but I thank God and praise Him for them!

When I am with them my heart and spirit is filled to overflowing! My soul is refreshed and re-set and best of all I am re-focused on God and His purposes! 

They do not coddle me, they love me hard, they hold me accountable and they accept me for who God has made me to be!

I am loved, accepted and challenged by each and every one of them! They are My people.

So, please forgive me for not writing a blog last week, but the week after every Christmas, is a week I treasure to restore from the past year, and get reset in my spirit for the year to come! It is not easy for My People, who are committed and busy, to carve out a week of time to spend together. But after Christmas is over, our family has an opportunity to sacrifice a week of time to spend together. I could truly not receive a greater gift!

Jesus had His people too. He got away with them when He needed to refresh, reset and recharge!

Then Jesus said, Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.”  Mark 6:31

Jesus took Peter, James and John and led them up a high mountain to be alone.”  Mark 9:2

TRUTH BOMB

RESILIENCE COMES WHEN WE RECHARGE WITH JESUS!

If Jesus needed times to refresh, restart and recharge, then who am I to think that I don’t?

Jesus loved all people and he lived and most importantly, died for all people! But He still had “His people,” those closest to Him, who allowed Him the refreshing that His spirit needed to keep going.

This has been a very hard lesson for me to learn! But one that I feel God has been impressing upon my heart for a very long time. I do not like to place limitations on my self. But the truth of it is… I have many limitations!

My favorite scripture says it all…

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

I have quoted this verse over and over for many years! It is become my mantra! But I misuse it when I think it is in my own strength that I keep going! It is only in the strength of Christ Jesus my Lord that I am able to accomplish anything at all.

I am strongest of all when I am relying on His strength!

This past year of 2022 was a rough one! God got my attention and caused me to pause during the last week of it, focus on Him, refresh and recharge with “My people”, and reset my focus for this new year of 2023!

I’m ready! I have asked Him to show me The focus he wants me to take in 2023! I believe He has given it to me.

RESILIENT IS MY WORD AND PUSHING FORWARD TRIUMPHANTLY WITH HIM AS MY STRENGTH IS MY FOCUS!

Will you join me starting next week on my BLOG for a series on resilience? I can’t wait!

I do not know what your year of 2022 was like. But I do know that God wants you to excel in resilience in 2023!

Let’s do it together!

Speak Truth Love 

HE IS WITH US!

It’s only five days until Christmas! 

Are you frazzled, tired, weary, or worse, do you feel alone?

The good news of Christmas is that you are never alone! We have IMMANUEL, God is with us!

What the prophet Isaiah predicted has come true!

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son. And they will call Him, IMMANUEL, God with us.”  Isaiah 7:14

What a mind blowing promise it was to the Jewish people and to all of us!

To the Jewish people God was someone who was over them. He spoke to them through prophets and on mountain tops. Now, through Jesus Christ, God’s Son, He wouldn’t just be above us, He would be WITH us!

He would identify with us on every level. He would feel hunger like we do, he would feel pleasure like we do and he would feel pain like we do. Yet, the miraculous would remain, He is God, and now He is WITH us!

We have a Savior who came at Christmas time as a baby in a manger, who by His life on earth and His teachings showed us the way back to God!

We are never alone. God loved us so much He came to this earth to show us the way to live with Him forever!

TRUTH BOMB

AT CHRISTMAS WE CELEBRATE JESUS BEING WITH US!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Speak Truth Love

ADVENT, Week 3

Today’s ADVENT focus is my favorite! Don’t get me wrong…they are all AMAZING and powerful. Each holds a very important and crucial aspect of the ADVENT of Jesus Christ.

None is more important than another as each carries out its own vital role in the anticipation of Jesus’ arrival.

But today we talk about a young woman who has her entire life in front of her. As a young Jewish woman her life is just beginning. She has been promised, engaged to a young Jewish man, Joseph. Her dreams of being chosen and desired have come true. She is full of anticipation of a life filled with hope and promise.

Suddenly, that life is abruptly interrupted!  

“Gabriel appeared to her, (Mary), and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” 

Mary is going about her everyday life, planning and dreaming of her wedding day. She falls asleep after a full day of preparations to be awakened by an angel!

In the book of Luke, chapter 1 verse 29, it tells us that she was, “CONFUSED and DISTURBED.”  

Now that is an understatement if I’ve ever heard one!

I can think of a few more words to describe being awakened by an angel in the middle of the night…scared, freaked out, stunned…just to name a few!

The angel speaks words of comfort to her next and explains his visit.

“Don’t be afraid, Mary, the angel told her, for you have found favor with God.

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name Him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of The Most High.  The Lord God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David. And He will reign over Israel forever; His Kingdom will never end.”  Luke 1:30-33

Does any of this sound familiar to you? 

A visit from an angel.

A proclamation.

A miracle that only God could bring about.

Our friend Zechariah from last week’s ADVENT blog was also visited by an angel.

There are similarities between both announcements. Both did indeed receive a visit from an angel of God and both were also startled (Now this point seems obvious to me, they were woken up in the middle of the night by a heavenly being, but it is a similarity nonetheless)! Both were commanded to “Not be afraid,” and both were told they would have a son.They both also knew that this would be humanly impossible. It could only be accomplished by God!

The similarities are hard to miss. But it is the difference that makes this ADVENT story my favorite!

When Zachariah is visited by the angel and told he would have a son he basically asks for proof.

When Mary is visited by an angel and told she would have a son she responds with FAITH,

“How will you do it?”  Luke 1:34

Mary believes and demonstrates her FAITH with a FAITH filled question!

She does not try to weasel her way out of it. She does not ask what this will cost her. She does not question the God she knows and loves, she simply asks, HOW?

This announcement would cost Mary every dream and plan she had made for her life.

The angel answers her and tells her that The Holy Spirit of God will come upon her and the power of The Most High God will overshadow her in Luke 1:35.

Mary’s response to the angels answer is one of the most profound statements of Faith;

“Mary responded, “I am The Lords’ servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”  Luke 1:38

TRUTH BOMB

MARY RESPONDED WITH FAITH INSTEAD OF FEAR!

The trajectory of her life is forever changed! Her future marriage and livelihood is in jeopardy. Her social standing and credibility are ruined! Yet her FAITH is strong and firm.

What is our RESPONSE to Christmas? When we know that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus Christ arriving on earth as God’s own Son to save us from our sins, how do we respond?

I pray that this year I will respond with greater Faith. I will cease to be overwhelmed and overcome by stresses, situations and sadnesses, and I will instead embrace the anticipation of Jesus coming and of His return!

Speak Truth Love

ADVENT, Week 2

Last week we defined ADVENT as the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.

We further defined the meaning of ADVENT as it applies to Christmas.

“The anticipation of Jesus’ birth at Christmas time and the preparation we do as Christ followers for His second coming.”

So, given all of these definitions, we know that the first part of what we are “anticipating,” is more of a preparation of our hearts to celebrate the amazing event that already occured over 2000 years ago.  However, the second part, Jesus’ return, we do not know the length of time before its’ occurrence.  This can make the anticipation difficult.

How do we wait when there is no end date?  How do we sustain our faith when time seems to be endless? How do we stay positive when the arrival feels out of reach?

We take our example from a righteous and blameless couple before God; Zechariah and Elizabeth. We encounter them up close and personal in Luke’s Gospel chapter 1, in the first 25 verses.

The scriptures tell us that this couple was “advanced in years,” and “had no child.” To be childless in ancient Judaism was seen as a sign of reproach or sin. This couple had endured many years of social shame and disappointment. To compound the struggle they were enduring, they also had been living with 400 years of silence from God!

For over 400 years, God had not spoken to His people through a prophet or any other way. Yet this couple served God faithfully while they anticipated God’s Savior for His people. What a beautiful example this couple lived!

So we ask, How do we wait when there is no end date? We live a life of righteous obedience to our God even as our years advance and our prayers have not yet come into completion! That’s how? Is it hard? You bet it is! But God gives us faithful examples to follow as we wait.

The amazing part of Zechariah and Elizabeth’s story is they were able to experience the long awaited anticipation of their lives. God spoke to Zechariah, ending His four hundred year silence, and told him that, even in their old age, he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son, and that son would grow up and be filled with The Holy Spirit.

“And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of The Most High, because you will prepare the way for The Lord.”  Luke 1:76

The long anticipation they had endured would come to a beautiful fulfillment. 

First through their son John, and then through God’s Son whom John would announce.

“You (John, my little son,) will tell His people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give LIGHT to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”  

Luke 1:77-79

TRUTH BOMB

ANTICIPATION CAN INCREASE OUR FAITH IF WE CONTINUE TO BE OBEDIENT TO GOD THROUGH IT!

What a wonderful way for God to break His silence and bring forth His Salvation plan for the world!

Let’s commit to be faithful to God as we anticipate His birth and second coming!

HE WILL HAVE THE LAST WORD!

Speak Truth Love

ADVENT

What is ADVENT? 

ADVENT is simply defined as “the arrival of a notable person, thing or event.”

The key word here is ARRIVAL. It implies that something or someone is coming…they or it will arrive. Thus begins the waiting! 

When, where, and how, seem to be the immediate questions we begin asking. The anticipation grows as the questions go unanswered. The anxiety rises as the unknown seems to grow bigger than the anticipation of the arrival.

The word ANTICIPATION itself can cause us to be anxious! Whether or not the “something“ being anticipated is good or bad, the waiting is hard!

The word ADVENT actually comes from the Latin word, Adventus, which means “coming.”  It’s coming but it is not here yet. There’s that waiting again!

So what is it that you are waiting for?

Is it the answer from the job you applied for? Is it the result from that test you took? Is it the end or resolution to that conflict you are in? 

I believe that no matter what we are waiting for, the ADVENT of Jesus arrival, both in His first coming as we wait for Christmas to come, and in His second coming as we wait for His return, can teach us vital lessons for living while we wait.

The meaning of ADVENT for Christmas is the anticipation of Jesus’ birth at Christmas time and the preparation we do as we wait for His Second Coming.

Thousands of years ago many looked to the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of the world. Prophets foretold His coming, but still they had to WAIT!

When we wait for something it is important that we look to what is being pointed to.

If we are waiting the affirmation of a job offer we must look to the qualifications we have in that field. If we are waiting for test results from a medical professional we must look to the integrity of the institution performing the work. If we are waiting for conflict resolution we must look to the effort of the parties involved.

If we are waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ then we must look to our Heavenly Father as He points to His Son!

I know waiting is hard. It takes diligence, patience and trust! Will you practice diligence, patience and trust with my this ADVENT season as we wait for the birth of God’s Son, Jesus?

God points us to Him through the gospels in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John! He gives us promises, faithfulness, responses, joy and love, but most of all HOPE!

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ The Lord.”  Luke 2:11

The wait is worth it! Jesus Christ has been born! Let’s celebrate and grow closer to Him as we anticipate His arrival!

TRUTH BOMB

ADVENT IS A CELEBRATION OF ANTICIPATION OF THE ARRIVAL OF JESUS CHRIST TO EARTH!

Speak Truth Love

Giving Thanks, Week 3

In two days we will celebrate nationally the day of Thanksgiving!

Most of us will gather together with family and friends and eat many of the same traditional foods. I do not know about you, but I do not serve cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy and pumpkin pie with whipped cream at my dinner table on most nights. But you better believe they will be on my Thanksgiving table! 

Why is it that I will spend more money than I normally do on a traditional meal, search high and low for the perfect Turkey, spend countless hours baking everyone’s favorite dessert, fret over setting the “perfect” table yet so quickly forget that it is all a representation of what should be a daily practice? A practice that should flow from my heart as easily as breathing flows from my lungs.

A day set aside to Give Thanks is wonderful! An opportunity to gather with family and friends great! And a reason to overindulge in delicious food is thrilling. It is all well and good as long as the meaning is not lost.

Giving Thanks, AKA THANKSGIVING, is a daily practice that God is deserving of and our lives can be transformed by!

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 

I Thessalonians 5:18

TRUTH BOMB 

IT IS GODS WILL THAT WE GIVE THANKS ON THANKSGIVING DAY AND EVERY DAY!

Speak Truth Love

GIVING THANKS, WEEK 2

As we get closer and closer to the day that we set aside each year(Wow, one whole day! That is SO Big of us! There is a whole blog series just on that, but for another time), it would seem that it should get easier and easier to GIVE THANKS!

But I am embarrassed to say, that for me, it feels harder and harder!

I have no idea what kind of a “SEASON” you are right now, or have been, going through in your life. For me, it has been one of the most difficult and long-lasting, seasons I have ever found myself in!  I have cried out, even screamed out, to God over and over to PLEASE bring it to an end. But to this day, He has not yet completed whatever it is I need to endure, so on it continues!

So, I start out this beautiful season of Fall and Thanksgiving with great hope and joy and before I know it, the heaviness that wears on me due to my circumstances, tries to kill and destroy it!  How do I fight it? Do I throw my hands up in the air and give into it, or do I lift up my head and look to the One who deserves all my Thanksgiving?

Why? Because in giving thanks to God, I am made whole, regardless of my circumstances!

TRUTH BOMB

THANKSGIVING MAKES US WHOLE!

One of the stories in the Bible that proves this point is the story of Jesus encountering the ten lepers. Jesus is with His disciples on their way to Jerusalem.  

By the way, Jesus knows what awaits Him in Jerusalem. He is on His way to His death and resurrection. Now talk about difficult circumstances!

Still Jesus has time for compassion and healing for those in need.

Now, on my worst day, and yours too for that matter, we are far better off than a leper. 

Ten lepers see Jesus and call out to Him, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!

When Jesus saw them He said, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”

They did and they were healed!

Great day, right!? You would think they would be jumping up and down!

But just like us, they can be so caught in their negative circumstances that they forget how to GIVE THANKS!

Only one of the ten lepers gave thanks! He actually did three things to thank God.

First, he praised God with a loud voice!

Second, he threw himself at Jesus’ feet showing that Jesus was Lord!

And, third, He thanked Jesus for His miraculous healing!  AKA, HE GAVE THANKS!

Jesus responded,

Arise and go: your faith has made you well.

You see friends, we do not give God thanks because everything in our lives is going well. We give thanks even when things are not going well because of our faith in the One who deserves all our thanks!

This week I pray that you will give God Thanks for who He is whether your circumstances are good or extremely difficult. Believing that God will take care of all our needs, Amen!

Speak Truth Love