What is Your Heart Reflecting?

In Proverbs 27:19 it states:

As water reflects the face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.

When I read that it got me thinking, what am I reflecting?  Am I reflecting confidence, steadfastness, peace, self-control?  If I have faith and trust in the Lord that is firm and unshakable, as it should be, for He is worthy of that faith and trust, then I would automatically exude confidence and steadfastness.  But do I?  Would I be likely to hear my Lord say, “Oh, you or little faith.”  More often than I care to admit I think I would.

If I rest in the shadow of His wings would I not naturally have peace in my life?  But is that what I do or do I fret and worry and try to do things on my own strength rather than rest in His strength.

If I allow myself to be controlled by the Fruit of the Spirit and develop that in my life would I not reflect self-control?  Yet do I yield to the Spirit on a daily basis or even hourly basis?  No not always, not even usually if I’m honest with myself.

Lord, I want to reflect confidence that comes from You so that others may learn that precious gift.  I want to be steadfast in my faith, firm and unshakable, help me to reflect this so that others will be attracted to the best You have to offer.  Lastly, Father I want to reflect a trust in You that will bring others to a saving knowledge of You.  And if You will, may I also reflect wisdom and discernment, so that people will be drawn to the words of my mouth because they come from You.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

God Trusts You, Do You Trust God?

God trusts you, do you trust God?

I’ve been a Christian for a long time and there have been times that have felt like a dry spell, times of refreshment, desert times, and honeymoon times, but through it all God has taught me one constant, that no matter how it feels He is always there and all I need to do is trust Him through whatever time I’m going through.  Just as Mother Teresa has said there are times when, “I just wish He didn’t trust me so much!”  But none the less God is faithful and He knows what is best despite our lack of faith and trust.

He will pray to God, and God will delight in him.  That man will behold His face with a shout of joy.  –  Job 33:26

Now if ever there was a man who was familiar with difficulties it was Job but look at the promise God gives him for his faithfulness to God.  God delights in our prayers, there is an awesome thought.  That alone should get me on my knees more often.  And if that weren’t enough we will behold His face one day the later seems to me like a well duh moment, of course we’ll shout for joy!  What we’ve been imagining for all so long we will no longer have to imagine, we will actually be in the presence of our God. Hurrah! Hallelujah! And Amen!!

But on the way to getting to that place God calls us to grow in Christ.  To become more and more like Him each day.

My journey has me on the discovery of past to overcome and move on in the here and now.  I praise God that things that where once just suspicions are now actual memories and I no longer doubt myself but am doing the work I need to do to move on from here.  It isn’t always fun, work rarely is, but it is necessary and freeing.   For that I am so grateful to God.  I’m making progress that I’ve never been able to make before and a heavy weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

You have begun to live a new life, in which you are being made new ad are becoming like the One who made you.  –  Colossians 3:10

As you go through the journey that God has in store for you to bring you to the perfect place that He has in mind for you, may I give you some advise to surrender to the Masters hands?  He knows the pattern of the cloth that He is weaving you into.  While you see the underside with all it’s dark threads of depression or deep red threads of pain, there are other threads you are less aware of that when it is finished in the Master Weaver’s hands will make a cloth so beautiful as you could never imagine.  Trust the Master and allow Him entrance into all the areas of your life.

“For I know the plans that I have for you, ” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”  –  Jeremiah 29:11

You see God promises that His plans are for our good.  So you can trust Him.

I have been through the dry spells and the desert times when you feel like you are all alone in what you are going through.  I have cried out to God, “Where are You?” “Don’t You see me?” “Don’t You care?” You want to know a secret? I have even cried out, “I don’t want to die right now cause I don’t want to  see You!  I hate You!  How could you let them institutionalize me!  He won!  If You came down here in the form of a man I would beat You!”  I might have well cried it out it was what was on my heart at the time and God already knew it.  I’m sure the nurses in the psych ward thought I was in the right place.  I misunderstood and thought I’d been institutionalized when it was just another in many psych ward visits.  You see my ex had gotten an attorney to see if he and my mother-in-law could institutionalize me, thus the rant when I thought I was.  But God as always was faithful and saw me through. Another lesson in trust.

He will always be there for me, I know that now.  My moments of doubt still come but they last far shorter than they used to instead of weeks or months they may last days or moments on a good day.  Then I remember all my Father has brought me through and I laugh to myself that I even questioned for a second that He wouldn’t have this covered too.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Turning it Over To God

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Let go and let God”, but it isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  Well at least not for me.  I don’t know about you but I find myself putting things at the foot of the cross and then moments, hours or days later picking them up again and holding on to them for dear life.

Recently God has been dealing with me on this part of my walk with Him.  When I take things back from Him I’m showing a lack of trust on my part.  I’m in effect telling God, “I’m sorry but, I don’t think that You are capable of taking care of these problems.  I think I’ll just keep them to myself and try and deal with them on my own.”  Did you hear that?  It’s more than a matter of trust it’s a matter of pride. Who do I think that I am that I can do a better job on any part of any of my problems?  This is definitely an area of sin in my life and the sooner I can rid myself of this pride and humble myself and turn things back over to God’s care the better off I’ll be.

I can see how the forbidden fruit might have looked so attractive to Eve and Adam.  Once I give something to God, it is His, it is not mine to take back.  That makes me an Indian giver.  If you want to think in childlike terms.  If you want to think in adult terms, if it now belongs to God, it makes me a thief.  Not a very pleasant thought, but true all the same.

The enemy would like us to make light of this “indiscretion”, but try as he might he can’t change the fact that sin is sin.  God is merciful with us and gracious, but that doesn’t mean we take advantage.

I have been struggling with turning some things over to God and some I’ve turned over and left there others I’ve returned to steal back and others I’m to scarred to even turn over in the first place.  It’s not that I’m afraid that He’ll make me become a missionary and go to some awful far off place.  That may be preferable to what I’m truly afraid of.  I’m afraid of opening pandora’s box of my past and dealing with the things that my mind has so conveniently forgotten.  I’m afraid that He’ll push me past my ability to cope.  I’m afraid that if I open this area of my life to Him completely that I may just completely fall apart.

So instead of trusting in His love and wisdom and perfect will for my life and compassion and long suffering.  I eat to stuff the feelings I fear to deal with, and to stuff the memories I don’t want to remember.  While I in all my futility attempt to hide from Him, God waits for me to come to Him to ease my burden.  I know this with my head but the journey to my heart is taking much longer than I would hope.

The spirit is willing to be obedient but the flesh is so weak, so fearful, so proud.  Lord, I ask You to help me with my weak, fearful and prideful flesh and any brother or sister out there that are struggling the same way or similar to me.  I know that You want all of us not just part of us, so this prayer is in Your will.  So with confidence we come before you and thank You in advance for answering this prayer.  Amen!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Trusting God

I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.  Psalms 40:1

This comes from the first devotional I read today.

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  John 6:38

This was the second devotional, talking about how Jesus had a Potter/clay relationship with the Father.  As the Son of God he had to trust God’s will and carry it out.

Behold, God, my salvation!  I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and song; yes, He has become my salvation.  Isaiah 12:2

This was my third devotional, talking about how when you follow Jesus, God will lead you in what you should do and that you needn’t worry but can have confidence or trust in His guidance.

It would seem that God is trying to get a point across to me today.  I don’t know what all He has in store for me but I do know that a medication that helps with my General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is not here today.  Due to things beyond my control the pharmacy was unable to get the renewal prescription from the doctor yet and I’m without it.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked God to take this away from me and put this at the foot of the cross, but it seems today God especially wants me to trust Him through the anxiety.  I say this because it’s past my first dosage for the day and I can feel the anxiety starting to rage.  There is no emotional reason for it.  Actually for a Bi-polar as far as depression or mania I feel remarkably stable.  Not so with the anxiety.  I feel as though I could run a marathon and it wouldn’t begin to touch the surface of anxiety going through my body right now.

I know that exercise helps and since I have a bum knee I won’t be doing any running but I will be doing some walking.  Actually probably a great deal of walking.

Trusting God that He will help me through this is my only other recourse.  I do trust that He will get me through the day.  As Psalms 40:1 says, “He inclined to me and heard my cry”.  I know that He hears my cry and He cares for me and will help me with this.

Unlike my sweet Tessa my dog who has “Separation Anxiety”.  Every since the first day I got her from the shelter I’ve been trying to get her to trust me that when I leave I’ll come back.  Yet, every time I come home from somewhere be it 5 seconds or 5 hours she acts like she thought I’d never get back.  Love her as I do her trust level is very low.  She knows I’ll feed her so she at least trusts me for that.  She also knows I’ll love her, so she can trust me for that.

I wonder how God sees my trust level?  I know and trust in His love.  I know in my head and trust in my heart that He will provide my needs.  But like my puppy when I haven’t heard from Him for a while, do I question if He’s there?  To be honest maybe yes sometimes.  My head want’s that proof and maybe if I were really honest maybe my heart becomes insecure.

For now I can say with assurance He is here during my struggling time.  My time of need.  When my heart cries out, “Help me Father, I am hurting and I need You.”

Oh, how good it is to have Him to be able to go to.  Today would be a dark day indeed without Him.  Thank you Lord for your trust worthiness.  You are truly an awesome God.  Without you I would be lost.

How is your trust level? Be honest with yourself and with your Lord, He knows already anyway.

A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

God’s Lessons In Humility

I have a trainer that spent an hour with me today in the pool, trying to get me to learn how to kick properly, breath without drinking the pool, and the right way to use my arms.  At the end of the hour I understood what I was doing wrong but felt no closer to getting it right than when I began.  It was truly a lesson in humility.

My trainer had every opportunity to get frustrated with me, even angry, but she didn’t. She was patient and kind and showed me again what it was that I was doing opposed to what it was that she was trying to get me to do.  It got me thinking, isn’t that like our Heavenly Father?  Just because we don’t get it right the first or third time, He doesn’t give up on us but mercifully guides us in the way He wants us to go.

He is the true source of all the power, unlike the trainer who can lead you but leaves it up to you to get it in the end.  God fills us with His power and asks us to rely on and trust Him to get us through things.

“[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” – Philippians 2:13

I have struggled with my weight all my life. Either I thought I was too fat when I was not or when the doctors told me I could no longer purge but if I had to binge to handle what I was going through emotionally go ahead and binge.  That permission got me up to 350 pounds with God’s help, Weight Watchers, and exercise I’m down to 241.  I still have a long way to go to reach my goal of a healthy body weight.  I don’t know what that is but I know what I want it to look like toned in every area of my body.

My biggest struggle is when the depression comes.  You see I’m bi-polar and when I’m in a manic phase my eating is not a problem, neither is my exercise, other than not overdoing it.  When depression comes, however, eating becomes a problem one of two things happen. 1. I don’t want to eat.  2. All I want to eat is candy or other junk.  This is where the passage above has hit me between the eyes.

When I’m in depression one of the things that I do is to not spend time with God.  To be honest I veg out in front of the TV.  But I’m realizing one for my weight loss and as a diabetic I need to rely on God to get me through the bad times.  I need to cry out to Him like a hurt child cries out to her daddy for comfort, compassion strength and protection.  I know if I’ll only humble myself I’ll be blessed with God’s presence in my life and His love engulfing me.

I need to stop trying to dig myself out of the pit of depression.  It is a useless effort on my part.  I haven’t the tools.  Yes I can spend time with friends and get out of the house and get some sun, and journal.  All tools that have been suggested to me and to an extent can help some but they aren’t the ultimate answer.  That answer is found when I humbly turn to the Father, seeking His help and guidance.  Learning to trust Him in all things and stand in that trust.

I love the acronym for FROG. Fully Rely OGod. That is what I need to be doing in good times  and bad times, Fully Relying On God. 

If you struggle with bi-polar or depression or are going through a period in your life when the world just seems dark, let me encourage you that letting go of what has you down and not trying to do it all on your own, will ease your burden.  What will make it bearable is to give it to God.  Ask for His power to do whatever it is you can not do on your own. The peace that comes from turning it over to Him is amazing and such a blessing.  Please don’t miss out on it.

The Complete Serenity Prayer

This has been a blessing to me, more than I can express. I’ve said it so many times I have it memorized. It has gotten me through some of my darkest days and it is my fervent hope that it is an encouragement to you.

“Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity

to accept the things I can not change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,

enjoying one moment at a time;

accepting hardship as the pathway to peace;

taking, as Jesus did this sinful world as it is,

not as I would have it;

trusting that You will make

all things right if I surrender to your will;

so that I may be reasonably happy in this life

and supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.”

By Reinhold Niebuhr

Is It All Bad Or Is It Good In Disguise

When the car breaks down or we lose a job or a relationship ends we look at those things as bad. The problem with that is that we are looking at them through our eyes. In our way of thinking. God tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Let’s chew on that verse for a bit. It is not only telling us that we do not think or behave like God, but that we are no where close to His ways or thoughts. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways…”, that’s quite a comparison. Mankind has no idea how high the heavens are. They appear to expand forever one universe and galaxy after another. This is how different God’s ways and thoughts are from ours, so different that our minds can’t even comprehend the vastness of them.

But He does promise to give us wisdom if we ask, so that we might understand what He chooses to reveal to us.

In God’s economy a broken down car when you don’t have the money to fix it may be an opportunity to grow in trusting God. He may surprise you with unexpected funds at just the right time or the blessing of someone to fix it out of the kindness of their heart.

In God’s economy everything works together for good. It may not come right away or in your timing but that would be your way not God’s way. Even though He may tarry He is never late.

The lost job, as unsettling as that is is an opportunity for a better job or the start of a new career or as it was with my father an opportunity to retire early even if that wasn’t his choice. Though it was not my father’s choice to retire early with health problems or mine to leave the work force and become disabled long before I was 40, God took care of my dad and continues to take care of me. It has been a walk of faith and trusting God. What I thought at first was a crisis has freed me to be a blessing to others in whatever way God shows me.

If it is a relationship that is ending believe me when I say I feel your pain. Twenty Two years ago when I was going through my divorce I thought my life was over and the world was coming to an end. I had gone from my father’s house to living with my husband. What did I know about being single? How would I ever survive? Because of my stubbornness it took me a long time to get to the point of being okay alone and learning how to rely on and trust God for my needs. He met those needs in a myriad of ways, sometimes through people, sometimes I had to truly cling to Him alone. Looking back the pain and suffering that came from the end of that relationship has matured me into the woman of God I am today. Stable in my relationship with my LORD and whole as an individual that has something to offer another individual should God choose.

So you see what seemed horrible, unthinkable, and beyond my abilities to cope turned out to be the very tool God used to draw me closer to Him and to mature me, to grow my faith and trust and reliance on Him and for that I am eternally grateful.

Would I have chosen the divorce? Never! Am I grateful for what God brought out of that situation? Yes, yes a thousand times yes!

I have even seen God use death for good. When my dad died at his celebration of life the gospel was shared and that next Sunday three new people where going to that church. One of them being my dad’s wife my stepmom whom I always called mom. She did not only start going to church but the Holy Spirit lit a fire in her soul. She would invite us kids to join her or more honestly highly encourage lovingly to come with her. It did my heart well after praying for so long for her.

I honestly don’t know anything no matter how painful it is that God can’t use it for good.

Precious ones if you are in the midst of a painful time please don’t misunderstand me and think that I take your pain lightly or flippantly. Finding the good in things varies, with my divorce I was a broken woman for a very long time. When my dad and stepmom died they had both been sick for a long time and in a great deal of pain, so I was comforted by the thought that they were no longer in pain and rejoicing with Jesus. Don’t get me wrong I have my days when I miss one or both of them terribly. Its then that I talk to God and talk to them as if they can hear me from heaven. I know God hears me and that gives me comfort and talking to my parents gives me comfort also.

When things start going wrong ask God to be able to see His ways and understand His thoughts. Then ask Him to help you to trust Him to get you through it. You’ll be a much healthier and happier person if you do. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed sprit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) You see if you have a cheerful heart it’s good  medicine, thus it stands to reason that you will be healthier. As one who fights depression I can attest to the fact that “a crushed spirit dries up the bones”. It feels like you’re withering away.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart