When It’s Time for Action Or Restoration

This is a balance that Jesus had well under control. He worked hard in His ministry and He took time away from everyone to be with the Father for restoration and communion.

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This is something that I struggle with frequently. I want to do more than I’m physically capable or even emotionally capable of doing and I don’t take enough time out for restoration and communion with my Heavenly Father.  Or for that matter just restoration of emotions let alone the soul without feeling guilty about it.

Who am I that I think I can do do do without time for restoration of mind, body and soul?

We live in a society where we are valued by what we do. The first question people  will ask you is, “So what do you do for a living?” When they are trying to get to know you. God forbid you are disabled like me and don’t hold down a job because the conversation comes to a crashing halt.

I buy into the need to be doing something as much as the next person and for me with my bi-polar disorder and my own pride to be honest nothing is ever good enough or grandiose enough to please me as contributing to society.

Why can’t it be good enough for me to share the joy of my little dog Tessa with those God brings in my path to brighten their day?

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Why do I think the only action worthy of value is making her into a therapy dog, when my illness makes it impossible to commit to an organization? God knows my heart and Tessa’s abilities and training He can make a way. But you see that doesn’t sound as impressive to people when they ask what you do. So I struggle with expectations I put on myself and I feel society puts on me.

These are just the small things that I struggle with and I can’t imagine those of you that hold down a job, raise a family, vulunteer at your church are going through when it comes to the struggle for action or restoration. We live in a fast paced society and we all need to take a lesson from Jesus who would steal away from the disciples for restoration with the Father in prayer. A time of connection. To refuel Himself for the next great battle ahead. If He who was perfect took time for restoration who are we to think that we can do anything less.

Slow down and take some time with your Lord He will refresh you mind, body and soul. I’m talking as much to myself as I am to you. We can’t do this world on our own. He loves us so much, He’s’ just waiting for us to come to Him.

So let’s stop reading now and take time out of our busy day and come to Him in pray, worship, Bible study whatever the Holy Spirit leads you and restore ourselves with Him. I promise it’ll make the rest of your day.

“God’s Not Dead And Neither Is Joy”

It’s been nearly eight months since my last blog, this is why I elude to the fact that I’m not dead.  As my readers may know I struggle with bi-polar disorder and the last year has been a difficult one.  When in the throws of depression my creative juices are nonexistent so blogging becomes nearly impossible.  I apologize for my long absence.   But on to what this blog is all about encouragement.

We’ve been having a number of earthquakes in Southern California recently and I must say us Southern Californians react differently.  That’s to say that not all of us react the same when faced with a strong earthquake.

The first guakes hit Brea, La Habra and Fullerton on Friday March 28th.  There was a 3.6 earlier but by 9 something at night while my dog Tessa and I were haviing a late dinner the 5.1 hit and shook hard.  Stoping Tessa from finishing her dinner and upseting her enough with all the very many after shocks that she didn’t go back to eating until 2:30 a.m.  The guakes had stopped for about two hours by then.

My friend was in bed when the earthqauke hit while my reaction was to keep eating dinner and my dogs was to stop, hers was to feel alone and shout out “Lord don’t forget me!  Don’t leave me here!”

The following day my friend Julie and I decided to go see “God’s Not Dead”.  [Now I must admit that all these earthquakes had me unnerved and feeling very compassionate towards my poor dog, what if one hit while I was gone how would she be?]  We went to the 1:00 showing got in our seats and snuggled down to enjoy the show.

The movie was fantastic!  I highly recommend it.  As we were enthralled by the movie the earth began to shake violently.  Julie and I immediately grabbed each others hand and held it until the quake was over.  Then the most amazing thing happened where the two of us a moment earlier were experiencing fear subsided by companionship, came joy at the shouting out in the theater “Praise You Jesus!”  Yes there in the middle of the theater was a time of rememberance of who was really in control.  As the movie was telling us and the earth was showing us God is not dead.  He is very alive.

We can take the opportunity when things are out of our control to be fearful or to rest in the hands of God.  Yes someone with skin on is comforting but they can let you down through no fault of their own.  But God will never let us down.  He is always on our side and always faithful.  It is His nature and He can’t go against His nature.

So next time life takes a turn in a direction unexpected or life shakes you up turn to the One who is steadfast and never changing.  That just may be God’s way of getting your attention so that you will turn to Him for the guidance and the solace you need.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude Day 25 – Loving God’s Mercy

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Today I’m grateful for the glory of God’s mercy.  You see I also struggle with my weight.  I’m going to Weight Watchers and have days when I do program better than other days, but I must confess I still do not like the way I look over 44 pounds lighter than when I began.  That’s because I have about 100 more to shed.  I’m fully aware that this is vanity on my part but I grieve the face and body I once looked at that was so much thinner than this present form before me.

My boyfriend says I’m beautiful and that it grieves him that I feel ugly, mostly because he sees the hurt that causes me.  In that he reminds me of my heavenly Father and this quote I got from a devotional:

But no matter how far off the path or how long we are on it, God is patient with us and loves us as a dearly beloved chid – part of His family (Romans 8:16-17; Galatians 4:7).

This reminds me of a touching story shared by my friend Karen Ehman, who lost over one hundred pounds in the first stage of her journey toward health.  Her friend, Tammy, saw a “before” picture and was encouraging Karen enthusiastically when Karen’s young son, Spencer, walked in.  Tammy said, “Wow, Spencer, can you believe that was your mom?  She’s lost so much weight.  Doesn’t she look great?”  In  confusion, he looked back and forth between the photo and Karen and said, “Hmmm, they both look like Mama to me!”.

Out of the mouth of babes.

We are loved as God’s special girls!  No matter where you are in your struggle with healthy eating.  God looks at you and says, “She still looks like my precious  daughter to me!”  He loves you just the way you are.  But God loves you too much to leave stuck in defeat.  You were made for so much more.  You were made for victory.

This comes from, “Made to Crave Devotional: 60 Days to Craving God, Not Food” by Lysa Terkeurst.

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It’s so good to be reminded that God’s mercy extend into any area of our life that we may be struggling with.  Struggle with food?  God loves you and in His love He’s unwilling to leave you stuck where you are.  Alcohol?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Workaholic?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Shopaholic?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Gambler?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Sexaholic?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Have I made my point yet?  It doesn’t matter what you are struggling with even if it is a chemical imbalance in the brain, or diabetes whatever your struggle God loves you and wants you to live at your full potential.  Now the last two there is only so much that can be done and then it’s learning to live with it.  But both can be helped with healthy eating and exercise.

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God in His mercy doesn’t allow us to be stuck where we are in bondage to anything.  He wants us to live victoriously.  He promises an abundant life and that starts by allowing God to work in our lives and help us out of the muck and mire of our struggles.

Won’t you join me in surrendering our struggles to God and His almighty power.  With Him all things are possible including standing clean on firm ground.  Wouldn’t you prefer that to the muck and mire of the pit that your struggles currently have you in?  I know I would and that is why I cry out; “Abba!  Father!  Rush to my aide and pull me from the pit and set my feet on firm ground and cleanse me from my sins.”

Let me clarify something before I get angry comments in no way am I inferring that bi-polar disorder or any other chemical imbalance of the brain or diabetes are sins.  But if you know that eating healthy and exercise (and I’m talking to myself as well here because I’ve been blessed with both) will help symptoms and we don’t do it, aren’t we sinning?  Missing the mark?  Missing the best for our bodies?  Just something to think about.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 17

Today I’m grateful for the wonderful relationship that I’m in.  I may have been grateful for this in the past but what I’m most grateful about it is that he is willing to walk with me through my Bi-polar disorder.

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So you can understand why this is such a big deal let me share a little of my history with you.  I was married once a long time ago and my husband never asked questions regarding my disorder, or did much of anything to try and understand me.  He did however bring a lawyer to a hospital I was at, under the guise of a “friend of the family, helping my ex make some decisions”.  I thought that he was a psychiatrist or therapist so I answered all his questions to be of help to my ex.  I thought this would help our relationship and he would better understand me.  I was way off base.  His plan was to see if I could be institutionalized.  He ran from my disorder and wanted nothing to do with me, so the marriage eventually ended in divorce, since I wasn’t fixable.

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That pain, hurt, betrayal hit me hard.  I thought that I was permanent damaged goods that no one in there right mind would want to have anything to do with me.  So I resigned myself to being single the rest of my life and believed it was preferred as Paul mentions I believe in Corinthians.

God saw things differently He decided to bring healing to that area of my life in the form of the most amazing man from my past.  I had cherished his friendship always but something caused us to loose track of each other.  I now believe it was God’s providence.  We had the basis of a wonderful friendship but it wasn’t the right timing for more.  While we were apart I kept praying that God would bring a man like him into my life.  I missed getting the male perspective on things.  Twenty years I prayed hoping God would one day answer my prayer and He is so good.  He didn’t give me a man like him He gave me the original.

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He has always been compassionate, man of God, Godly leader in the relationship whatever form that took, a gentleman, knows me well, but now I’ve noticed that he really pays attention to me and has insight to me.  He also works very hard to understand my disorder and assures me that he isn’t going anywhere.  Those two things alone make me so grateful for this relationship that I’m nearly bursting with joy.  He also warns me that there will be times when he gets frustrated with the Bi-polar disorder in not being able to understand it.  That’s comforting to me in two ways; 1) I don’t have to worry that it’s me personally that’s got him frustrated and 2) It’s a human thing, I get frustrated with this disorder as well.

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Waiting 22 years after my divorce to find the perfect man for me was well worth the wait and all the work that had to be done in preparation for it.  If you find yourself newly single can I give you some advice and words of encouragement.  Don’t rush into anything.  Give yourself a chance to heal.  Give God time to work.  And always hold out for God’s best for you, you’ll never regret it.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 12

Today I’m grateful for my Lord and how gracious He is to me.

The more we’re grateful for the more things come to mind to be grateful for.

“My mom taught me years ago that Thanksgiving is about remembering to focus on good things, even in the presence of bad things.  Recent experience has shown me how remembering those bad things can actually bring divine goodness and mercy into sharper focus.  In the context of being lost, being found is more wondrous.  In the context of being persecuted, finding acceptance is more precious.  In the context of being sick, being healed is more miraculous.”

I’m grateful to God for all that He has allowed me to go through!  A bad marriage so that I may appreciate and recognize a wonderful relationship.  Being in a wheelchair so that I can appreciate being out of the wheelchair.  Being Bi-polar with it’s ups and it’s downs so that I might rejoice in the beauty of a normal day.  Not everyone knows that gift.  Maybe you know it for other reasons of things that you suffer through to enjoy a day of peace and rest from it.  I’m grateful for my parents divorce so I could see my dad and stepmom’s marriage and love for one another.  What a gift that was to me!  I thank God for being homeless, so I appreciate all the shelters He’s provided me and my lovely apartment now.  I thank God for both my dad and stepmom’s lives, what an example they set.  I thank God their in heaven out of all the pain they were in at the end of their lives. It has taught me to cherish the living while they are still here.  I’m grateful for the abuse in my life, now being treated lovingly like a lady is all the sweeter.  I thank God that He saved me from myself, life is now so precious to me.  How could I have ever been so determined to end it?  Praise You Father for rescuing me from that mentality!

A Prayer

“Dear God, how thankful I am for your gracious rescue!  Help me to remember, every moment of every day and night, to live in a way that shows my gratitude and thanksgiving to you.  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

By Lisa Harper  November 22nd  entry “Growing Deep Roots of Gratitude”  from “Daily Gifts of Grace: Devotions for Each Day of Your Year”

Both the above quote and prayer are from the same place.

I know this is after Thanksgiving but is it ever too late to thank God for all He’s done for us?  I think this is a good daily exercise.  Let me know what your thankful for.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 9

Today I’m grateful for gratitude!  I find the longer I do this the more I find to be grateful for.  The more I find to be grateful for the happier person I am.

I think that if I practiced this for the rest of my life as a daily act of worship, my whole life would change radically.  Now I’m not saying that I will no longer strugglewith Bi-polar disorder or even GAD (General Anxiety Disorder), since these are chemical mishaps in my brain.  What I am saying is that I could very well live a much happier and if not happy, grateful life if I decided to make this a daily practice even on my bad days.

That’s the challenge being consistent and doing it no matter how I feel.  Looking at what to be grateful for will at the least help to regulate my chemicals some in my mind.  The challenge is when you’re not feeling well choosing gratitude in the face of depression.

As the picture above says choosing my thoughts and choosing gratitude to be the forefront could make a radical difference in the way I live my life and the attitude that I have.  Not just around myself and other people but my attitude towards God and all that He has done and is capable of doing.

I truly think that an attitude of gratitude would stretch my faith and isn’t that always a good thing?  May I encourage you to try it with me?   Let’s not just make this a 30 day deal.  Let’s practice this in our lives as an act of worship on a daily basis.  Then let us see where it takes us.  Please comment back to me and let me know the journey God takes you on.  I promise to keep you posted past November on the journey God takes me on and in thatway we can be of an encouragement to one another.  Isn’t that what the body of Christ is all about anyway?

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Help! I’m Bi-polar!

I struggle with Bi-polar disorder and the past two plus weeks I’ve been struggling with severe depression.  When this happens it is easy to believe God has deserted you.  Now I am fully aware that that is not Biblically sound doctrine.  It’s just when your deep in the pit of despair it’s easy to go by feelings rather than faith of the truth of God’s Word.  But this is what God’s Word has to say on the matter:

What a blessed promise.  When I’m isolating in my apartment, I’m never truly alone.  God is with me.  He promises this and He is faithful, He never breaks His Word.

When I keep the discipline of staying in His Word I find these jewels that help me to hold on one more day in hopes of the depression leaving soon and life looking full of possibilities for the future.

I love this version of this particular verse because instead of translating the word to prosper which most people equate with money, something God has never seen fit to lavish upon me, it translates it as peace and that I’d much prefer.

There is another verse that I have found helpful in changing the thoughts that don’t help with the depression that I am fighting.

Filling my mind with positive thoughts rather than negative thoughts literally changed my life that and the decision that suicide was no longer an option.  But there is more than just the positive thoughts Philippians 4:9 goes on to say, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.”  Now that’s a wonderful promise! But notice the promise comes with action on our part.

For any of you that are struggling with Bi-polar disorder please don’t get me wrong in no way am I saying that it is easy to deal with.  I struggle with wanting to isolate, sleep my life away, gorge myself into oblivion so I don’t have to feel and I have even done less healthy things in an attempt to cope. What I am saying is it is a fight we mustn’t stop, and in that fight use any tool available to you.  Take your meds religiously.  See your doctors and therapists regularly and be open and honest with them.  Make sure you have a support network.  If you don’t work occupy yourself so you have a set schedule. Get plenty of rest and have a consistent bedtime.  Eat healthy even when you don’t want to.  Get exercise and get 20 minutes of morning sun.  All of these will help you live a better life.

Joy – Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

God is Good!!!

Been on vacation where there was no internet reception so that is why I’ve been so silent.  When I got back I went to a Women of Faith conference that was wonderful!!  It was totally anointed by God and I learned so much.

Didn’t sleep much Friday night so excited about what I learned at the conference.  From Ken Davis: “God is the author of JOY!!” [me-who am I to stifle God’s JOY? I’ve done it far too long and been far to serious for my own good.] “Perfection is not a requirement.” [me-reason for my seriousness is I thought I had to be perfect.  What a relief! I hope and pray I get it this time.  God has been working with me on this.] “No matter the circumstances God is good ALL the time.” [me- God’s not good just some of the time, or in good circumstances WHATEVER the circumstances are God is GOOD! That means when we don’t understand what He’s doing, when are hearts are breaking, when our spirits feel crushed and dry – God is still GOOD! For me personally that means whether I’m balanced, on a manic high or suicidal God is still GOOD!  The circumstances may have changed but He has NOT CHANGED!!!! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Amen.]

This has gotten me thinking, if God is the author of joy and I’m His creation and His child shouldn’t I be radiating that joy at all times?  I no longer need to worry about being perfect Ken Davis has explained that that is not a requirement, so no need for me to fret anymore.  I can be my imperfect self and joyful that God loves me in my imperfection.

And isn’t even more freeing to know that God is good no matter what the circumstances are?  We are free to joyfully praise Him for His goodness.  Better yet trust Him for what He is doing in our lives and no matter how painful let the author of JOY give us the JOY that only He can give to see us through those circumstances.  That not only gives us JOY but PEACE.  Wouldn’t you like some of that in your daily life?  It’s there for the taking all we need to do is seek Him.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

How Do You Look At The Details Of Your Life?

I love this from Beth Moore in her, “Breaking Free: Day by Day” devotional, this was found on 8/29:

We have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.  –   2 Corinthians 4:7

Here is my personal check list of Scriptures and evaluations that I seek to apply to my life on a regular basis.

  • Is my most important consideration in every undertaking whether or not God could be glorified? (1 Cor. 10:31)
  • Do I desire God’s glory or my own? (John 8:50,54)
  • In my service to others, is my sincere hope that they will somehow see God in me? (1 Pet. 4:10-11)
  • When I am going through hardships, do I turn to God and try to cooperate with Him so He can use them for my good and for His glory? (1 Pet. 4:12-13).

These really got me thinking about the motives behind what I do on a daily basis.  Do I follow the four bullet points that Beth talks about or am I more concerned about myself.  To be honest I’d say it is not as good as I would like it to be.

I want to be used by God not just sit on the sidelines and watch while others have all the fun.  I want others to see God in me.  As a matter of fact that is what I want them to be consumed by God when they look at me.

I want my hardships to be used for my good and for His glory.  That is one of my ultimate goals.  It is my ultimate work goal.  I want to encourage people as much as possible that no matter what it is that they have gone through, our God is greater and He will bring you through to the other side and you will be the better for it.

If I had known nearly 25 years ago what I know now: 1. I never would have believed it possible.  2. It would have saved me a ton of misery if I could have wrapped my mind around it.  Nearly 25 years ago I had made my first of too many to count attempts at suicide.  Now I know that that is not an option for me.  I have better coping skills with the illnesses of Bi-polar and General Anxiety Disorder.  Unless I’m sick I keep my appointments with my doctors and am very strict with myself about taking meds.  I’m getting better about keeping to a stringent sleep schedule, although at times I fail.

Whatever your Achilles heel is, it is my strong belief that you too can live a victorious life, are you going through a ugly divorce?  Allow God to teach you and bring you through.  There are always lessons to be learned no matter what it is that we are going through.  Dealing with issues of abuse?  God can help you there too.  He can help to show you that you’re not the one to blame and that in due time with healing forgiveness can be given for your benefit but that takes time so don’t feel bad if you’re not ready yet.  Going through a loss.  God is the Great Comforter and He longs to comfort you in a way that no human can be.  Once He has comforted you, you will have a more intimate relationship with Him than ever before.

The list could go on and on but it is my fervent hope that you get the idea and whatever you are dealing with the Holy Spirit has already brought it to mind and how He would like to be there for you if you would just trust Him and release yourself to Him.  He is called the Comforter for a reason.  Allow Him to do what He is here to do.

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!