Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Carob Tree Mentality

In the book 'The Circle Maker', Mark Batterson speaks of the life of a carob tree, stating that we must have a carob tree mentality when praying, praying long and praying hard.  

I did a bit of research on the carob tree, as I was intrigued by this.  The carob tree takes years to start bearing fruit, as early as 6 years, but it can bear fruit for up to 80-100 years. Although irrigation does help its production, it can thrive in dry areas.  

In a world of instant gratification, we are not accustomed to bearing these times of drought in our lives.  We pray 'pop-up' prayers wanting them to be answered as soon as we finish praying. We pray, and then expect a "presto" answer as toast popping out of a toaster.  

The truth is, "As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given" (Daniel 9:23), however, you may not see the answer for quite some time, maybe not even for years and years.  The ability to withstand these periods of drought is the same as having a carob tree mentality.  We must not give up. We must continue praying - praying without ceasing. We must persevere through our longings.  When we shortcut our longing, this becomes a lust, because we seek that instant gratification rather than holding out for that which we are longing. 

'Praying' is an important part of seeking that which we most desperately long for:  Jesus.    Praying long and praying hard is the answer for, in due season, we will see the fruit of our prayers.  We will see a harvest, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).  If you are restless, frustrated, disappointed, weary, unhappy, dissatisfied, or WHATEVER... just PRAY.  Pray long, and pray hard.  

I have a dear friend who once told me that I was my own worst enemy, making me realize I was looking at only the negative and not trying to be a part of the better picture.  Prayer can do this for us. Even if we don't see an answer at this moment, prayer gives us hope that the answer is coming.  

Keep praying, without ceasing. Do not give up.  We may get to a point where we are at the end of the rope and think, "I have nothing left BUT prayer."  Well, let me tell you, dear friend... Prayer is EVERYTHING.  

Prayer is not the last resort but rather the beginning of hope.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Praying Mantis and a Parking Sign

Don't give up. 

Be persistent in prayer; pray without ceasing! 

"...praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" (Eph. 6:28). 

Pray through and never give up.

 I feel God reminded me of this through His little creature, the praying mantis, who has been following me over the last couple of weeks. 

I've been struggling with faith and trust in God in the form of 'worry' over the last few weeks/months.  I am usually pretty good about letting go and letting God do His thing, but there are 2 main areas that have given me anxiety recently.  One, of which, the praying mantis more than spelled it out for me!

There is a 'thing' I've been wanting to happen for a long time now...for several years. I have wanted it so badly that it has become an area of frustration in my life.  I have felt, for so long now, that this thing, or project (for lack of a better word), has been needed and would open doors that have not yet been explored or even thought about.  The process has begun, but the good ol' devil is trying to hinder it any way possible!  For reasons out of our control, we are at a stand still - at least for such a time as this.  This hurts my heart, as I was so extremely excited that it was finally coming to fruition, or at least, the beginning stages of the project were starting to unfold.  

When the process came to a standstill, my heart just ached and frustration set in again.  No one is at fault in this delay....it just is what it is. God has allowed this, for such a time as this, so I know He has plans underway that far exceed my expectations!

It's like building a house....once the process gets started, you are sooooo excited that it is finally happening!  Then....you run into snags over and over and over again ... sometimes you feel overwhelmed, and then frustration and discouragement set in and you think it will never happen.  

Another area of anxiety is my boys' future.  It seems the older they get, the more I worry.  Right now I worry about their chosing the right profession, choosing the right college, so on and so forth....the list goes on and on and on.

My heart has just been in a holding place....a place of worry and anxiety...
Until now.

Look at this.....

Where did this praying mantis land??  Right smack dab in the middle of a Handicapped Parking sign! 

No, I didn't 'get it' right away.  It took several visits from this praying mantis for me to finally realize that I could glean a spiritual lesson from God's little creature!


He started out in the parking lot, but as I was going about my business, I realized he kept moving closer and closer to my office.  Here, you can see him on the column that is located under the awning right outside my office window.  

He then decided he liked it so much he'd just hang out around that area.


Here he is on a bed of flowers close to the front door.

And here, my last sighting of him (in hopes there will be more), he is seen right in front of the front office window, just peeking in!  

After seeing him a couple of times, my mind went back to my first sighting of him on the Handicapped Parking sign; and THAT'S when it hit me....  sometimes we handicap ourselves by our own 'stinkin' thinkin' and thwart those areas of prosperity that God has in store for us, basically, because we do not have faith, or we have lost faith.

After stopping and thinking about this praying mantis, I said to myself, "you stupid girl....cast all your cares (anxieties) upon the Lord, for He cares for you!" (1 Peter 5:7)  
"You have been praying to Him, but you haven't CAST your anxieties upon Him!"

There are 7 different definitions of the verb 'cast' in the Webster's dictionary, all of which use a form of the verb 'throw' to define it.  So, in essence, to cast your care upon the Lord means to throw it in His direction as if to send off/away or to get rid of.

Rather than worry about this project, and rather than worry about my boys' future, I need to throw those worries to God, let HIM handle it in HIS own timing and in HIS own way, rather than getting anxious and frustrated if I don't see the future clearly or if something doesn't happen in MY time frame.  I must TRUST in His plans, for HIS plans are far better than I could ever ask or imagine!

Yes, I do have my quiet time every day.  Yes, I am in communion with God on a daily basis...every day all through the day and sometimes through the night.  However, I have gotten caught up in my own desires rather than focusing on the desires of HIS heart, and this has allowed worry to creep in slowly, but oh, so surely!  

I looked up the facts on the praying mantis and his defensive tactics:  The praying mantis will either flee from danger if necessary, or he will confront his enemy by putting up his dukes and fighting like a boxer. 

The fact that the praying mantis will stand his ground by putting up his front legs and fighting has reminded me that I may not see a quick answer to my prayers, but I must stand my ground by being persistent in prayer and never giving up until I see the answer, whatever it may be.  I must flee from the devil - from the worry - by putting on the whole armor of God - DAILY.  

God is a patient God. 
God is a faithful God.
God is a loving God.

I must be patient.
I must persevere! 

"...though he will not rise and give to him..., yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs" (Luke 11:5-8). 

Just keep asking in prayer.  "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

And, whenever you see a praying mantis, remember....it's time to keep praying!!
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4).

Monday, July 4, 2016

Oh, What A Friend

My grandmother, Ms Oleta Clementine Frazier (pictured above with my granddad, Kirk Morror Frazier) loved this hymn, and it has become one of my favorites over the years for two reasons:  1) It reminds me of her, and 2) It is so true.  

🎼 What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; Take it to the Lord in prayer. 🎼
I had the privilege of having my grandmother around for 7 years of my life.  She died at age 67 (if my memory is correct) of colon cancer.  

There are three things that come to my mind about my grandmother whenever I think of her: 
#1) I don't think I ever remember a time she wasn't struggling with her health due to the cancer.
#2) She was one the most selfless, loving, attentive and gentle people I know, and I can still remember her sweet, gentle smile (on her face AND in her eyes) and the feel of her loving arms around me. (AND her great mercy and grace whenever my brother & I lost her good spoons while playing in the dirt behind her house after promising we wouldn't!)
#3) She could make even a bowl of oatmeal taste like a gourmet dish! 

She endured a lot of pain due to her cancer, but the most important thing I remember about my grandmother was that she had the greatest faith in and love for God.  She would sing this hymn, and others, at the top of her lungs in her living room, and my siblings and I could hear her through the screen door across the road from our yard.  At the time, we were very young and we laughed at times when we heard her singing, but all the while my heart was warmed inside and filled with so much love for her.  I remember having a feeling of safety and security listening to her singing. 

Little did I know what a legacy she was passing down: her faith.  It has passed down from generation to generation and my desire is to keep the legacy alive by continuing to pass it down with each future generation. 

What a friend I had in my grandmother, and what a friend WE have in Jesus.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" (Romans 12:12).

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

You Are My Sunshine

♫  "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine; you make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away."  ♫

This is what Todd sang to me as he proposed to me 25+ years ago, and 24 years ago, on June 20, 1992, we vowed that only death would ever make us part.

The gray hairs on his head today, and the gray hairs (that are masked by the shade of the month) on my head, prove that we want to grow old together.

This man has loved me unconditionally, tells me I am beautiful at my worst, is the best spiritual leader of our home, loves God with everything he has, wears his knees out in prayer and makes me want to be a better person. He does what is right even when it is not easy, and I have learned so much from him. His character is unmatchable. I love him deeply, can you tell?

Happy 24th Anniversary to my hot Toddy!  I want to live life with you 104+ more years!

"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).  

Saturday, June 11, 2016


I am a better communicator in writing than I am an oral communicator. What is in my head and heart rarely comes out of my mouth the way my heart intends. For this reason, more times than I choose to admit, I tend to stuff back words or tears...I tend to be more of a thinker and an observer rather than open myself up to vulnerability by speaking my thoughts. I get it honestly, I think, for my dad is a thinker and is a man of few words. The only difference is that my dad usually speaks with lots of wisdom, while I still have a long way to go! 
I am very guarded with my feelings and thoughts. I usually tend to be drawn to people who speak their mind and do not have a hard time showing who they really are -- good or bad. It is probably because I wish I were moreso that way.
I am of the belief that "silence may be misinterpreted, but it will never be misquoted." My silence has been misinterpreted many times, but I would rather keep silent than take the risk of misrepresenting myself or hurting someone's feelings. There have been times that I have had to speak truth in others' lives that have literally turned out just plain awful. However, there IS a time to keep silent, and there IS a time to speak. 
I pray that I can learn God's desire for those times I should keep silent and those times I should speak. Hearing others speak of how their 'struggle is real' helps to know that others share some of the same feelings you do, and this gives a level of comfort in the midst of your own struggles. There is strength in numbers! 
If everyone portrays themselves as perfect people with no 'hiccups' in life, then one could wear one's self out by trying to 'keep up' with this unrealistic view. I pray that, while I am under constant construction, I learn how to 'come undone' with other women in order to not only be able to help them in their struggle but to also help myself.
This blog was very fitting for me today: WOMEN OF GOD: PLEASE COME UNDONE -

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

It Really Is That Simple

♫ "Stir in me a love that's deep,
a love that's wide, a love that's sweet;
and help me Lord to never keep it to myself.

I wanna stay close to You.
It's really that simple,
I wanna stay close to You my whole life long."  ♫

It really IS that simple,
and that is my desire.


It Is Well

We must always remember....There is no new thing under the sun.

God is, and will always be, in control.

Everything He allows is for our growth and for His glory.

Looking upward, we can remember this.  Looking any other direction, we lose sight of this fact.

In those not so sunny moments that God allows, whatever they look like, I just pray that I carry myself with grace and in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, standing fast in one Spirit...with one purpose of bringing glory to Christ.

Through it all, my eyes are on You, and it is well...


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Trust Without Borders

It's been a while since I've put my ponders to pen, and a lot more thoughts have been swarming around in my head since my last post.  I've penned a total of 5 posts in the year 2015, a year that has proven to bring about major life changes in my family.  It's just part of the natural ebb and flow which the tides of life bring about.

The biggest change in our immediate family has been our first born, Grant, graduated high school in May.

About six months have passed, and many adjustments have been made.

#1)  College life is an adjustment in itself, with the biggest adjustment being made by the graduate; but it is an adjustment, also, for the whole family.  College life is a whole new world, so to speak, and we are adjusting to living in and around this new world.  Life as he knew it, and as we knew it, no longer exists.

Friends fly off to their new nests as they attend their respective colleges in different states, never to flock together in their group of 'peeps' as they had so grown accustomed to over the last 2-3 years.

So what do you do when the people you have known over the last 12 years, sometimes 18 years (for those who experienced daycare together) are no longer a part of your life?  You start wondering where you belong.  The autonomy of adulthood is sometimes not so appealing, but it is oh so essential for learning to live and survive in this world. 

One thing is for certain: this new-found independence challenges one to grow up, develop wings, and fly!  I am proud to say that Grant is doing a great job adjusting to his new wings!  I would say he is soaring!

#2)  Realizing that your child has now become the young man you've prayed he would become is bittersweet and humbling.  I am confident that he will have many successes.  I am confident he will make mistakes, but I am also confident that he will learn from them and will thrive!

I have lived (hopefully, at least) half my life and I STILL make mistakes!  When you stop making mistakes, you stop learning.

As time has passed over these last few months,  'TRUST' has been THE word for me.  I am learning that this little word encompasses not only a vast space in my world but also covers a multitude of areas.  

Todd & I, as parents, are learning how to trust this new world in which Grant is living with his new environment, new hopes & ideas, new circumstances and new guidelines (so to speak), which are different for him than they were in high school.  Giving him a little bit more rope, a/k/a freedom, in this new world tends to send me over the edge a bit at times....not because I don't trust him, but because he is not the little boy I still sometimes want to imagine he is.

Grant is learning how to trust that the path he is currently travelling is the one God is mapping out for him.  He is learning who to trust, how to trust, and what trust really means in this new world of his since he is looking through a totally different set of lenses than the ones he'd worn for so long.

As we enter yet another phase of our children's lives, we enter another phase of trust.

Every phase of trust is reduced to but one thing:  Trust in God.

With each new phase of life we encounter a deeper trust in God, and we experience a different level of trust in our children and in the decisions they make for their life.  That's just it....it's THEIR life, not ours.  We can help them, guide them and give them wisdom from our past sucesses and learned mistakes alike, but we cannot live their life for them.

We must trust in God's promise that if we "train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

We've had our time of discipleship with Grant.  I know it will continue as long as he seeks our guidance, but for the most part, WE are done being in control. (With some exceptions, Grant, if you read this! ☺)

It is time now for him to trust God as he seeks Him first and all of His righteousness, so that everything God has in store for him will come to fruition as he steps into this journey of manhood.

It is time, now, for us to trust God and His promises and put feet to our prayers as we trust in faith.

Through all of the ebbs and flows of  my life thus far, I see God's hand not only in my life but in the lives of my children.  For every disappointment, God has spoken to us, in one way or another:  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," ... "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)  --    And HIS plans are much better than any plan we could ever imagine.
I've seen it.
I've lived it.

In every situation, His promises have declared to us that His plans are not for harm but to give us a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

It's all about Trust.

For all of the ebbs and flows of life that come my way.....
May my trust be without borders!! (See video below.♫)

"Some trust in chariots and others in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." ~ Psalm 20:7
"O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you." ~ Psalm 84:12

Saturday, July 11, 2015


"Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land." (1 Kings 17:7)

If you look closely, you can see a shimmer of light in the center of this photo. This shimmer is the reflection of light off of a little creek, or brook, behind our hotel room where we are staying for my son's travel ball tournament. Last night it rained pretty hard and steady, and the brook's flow was roaring heavily as it brought debris and trash along with it in its path. Today, the sun is shining brightly and the brook's roar has mellowed into a faint trickle with its flood line decreased to almost nothing. Both scenarios are equally beautiful to watch. With no more rain, however, this brook will dry up completely. 

Are you experiencing a drought of sorts in your life right now - maybe financially, emotionally, spiritually, etc? Do you find yourself completely 'dry' with no rain in sight to nurture and water your soul? If not a drought, then maybe troubles or trials have found their way in your path. If you are living, trials are inevitable.

Wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 says "Wait for the Lord's help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord's help."

This is what Elijah did in 1 Kings 17. He waited on the Lord's command to 'go'. Elijah had no plan, other than to listen to the Lord's command. God's command for Elijah to leave the dried up brook and go to another land led Elijah to a woman who had nothing but one meal left for her and her son to eat. Elijah asked her to make him a loaf of bread to eat and a cup of water to drink. The lady refused, at first, for she knew the flour she had left would only feed her and her son one last time, and then they would prepare to die from hunger. Elijah requested she do so anyway and promised that her flour would never run out again. She made him the loaf of bread as he requested. Her jar of flour and jug of oil never ran out, just as the Lord promised through Elijah.

I am guilty of only seeing the 'one last meal left' with the dread of death awaiting me, so to speak, when that one last meal is gone. Through nature and in my quiet time this morning, God has reminded me that this 'dread' is nothing but lack of faith in God. 

We are a people who have to see to believe, where Faith, on the other hand, is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)

 "The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in you, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you." (Psalm 9:9-10).

So, you don't see the next step in front of you? Just wait on the Lord. Diligently seek His face, and wait for His guidance.

"Wait for the Lord's help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord's help." (Psalm 27:14)

God will make a way where there seems to be no way. Just wait on the Lord.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Enjoying A Simple Life (A Life Blessed): Love Wins

Enjoying A Simple Life (A Life Blessed): Love Wins

Love Wins

The Supreme Court ruling on June 26, 2015 regarding marriage has changed history as we know it...not only for marriage, but possibly for other things that once were not tolerated throughout history. This one ruling, in my opinion, will be the catalyst sparking a plethura of other debates and changes in our government and in our country, and they are quite possibly more near in the future than we think.

My heart mourns.


There is no new thing under the sun. What's happening today in our world has happened before; just read Genesis 19 and Judges 19. 

Romans 12 says "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." 

We must continue daily in The Word, living out the Christian life all the while spreading the Gospel as we meet people where they are in their daily walk. 

Mark 12:30-31 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."

There is no room for hate in spreading truth. 
Jesus said "forgive them for they know not what they do." 
The same applies today. 

Love DOES win - God's love.
Spread the Gospel.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Writing on the Wall

I saw these words on a wall in a Sunday School class at the youth Super Bowl party Sunday night, and they jumped right out at me and made me ponder. 

These words are truth, amen?

We must remember...everyone has a story which is made up of a past, whether good or bad, or both. 

The Bible proves we ALL fall short of the glory of God. 

May I always encourage others in love, and may I always help be a positive part of someone's story.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Empty Spaces

One of my new favorite 'soaking' songs that ;ve stumbled upon.  It is one of the songs on my playlist that I  listen to during my quiet time.

May any empty space in my heart open its doors to God and allow Him to make His home inside my heart in every way.

"Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens.  That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Without Borders

Today's thought comes right off the heels of my reading a blog I started following fairly recently (scottishinvasion.blogspot.com).   The writer tells of his and his wife's journey through adoption over the course of the last year or so with many highlights and many more disappointments - but a victorious ending!  One of the blogger's entries resonated with me, for it met me and my family where we are in so many ways.  Here is a summary of the portion from the particular post that impacted me:

II Chronicles 12:14 - "... he did evil because he did not
determine in his heart to seek the Lord."

Most of the time, the enemy probably doesn't bother you because you are already evil.   Do you feel like you're being attacked by the enemy in your life?
Then you're probably of no danger to him in trying to
thwart the spread of God's Kingdom.

I feel it can go both ways...sometimes God allows attacks to draw us closer to Him due to our stagnant spiritual life. Other times we may be attacked because we ARE a threat to the enemy in his attempts to thwart the spread of God's Kingdom.

As believers, for all of the attacks that make it our way, we should consider it pure joy!  

God's word says, in Matthew 5, that it rains on the just as well as the unjust:

44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, 
do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; 
for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, 
and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? 
Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 
47 And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do more than others? 
Do not even the tax collectors[d] do so? 
48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

If you think about it, we are attacked mostly in those areas in which we are most passionate.  I feel God allows those things that we are most passionate about to be used #1) because He wants to remind us there should be no other gods or idols before Him, and #2) our passions are where we spend most of our time and energy, so it makes sense a battle would take place in these areas. Sometimes, even our Godly passions can take precedence over our passion for God Himself.

When believers are in battle, we are not fighting for ourselves or against anyONE, because we are in the Lord's army; and "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12.)  When you feel someone is attacking you, just remember...We are not fighting people, for they are just the tools the enemy uses to distract us.  We are fighting the enemy;  but we are not alone.

We fight for HIM!  He is fighting for us and with us and is using these battles to help us grow spiritually stronger.  So...."consider it pure joy, my brethren, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:2-4)  It is hard to be patient, and it is even harder to practice self-control while we wait, but we must remain pure and right and honorable in all of our words and actions as we wage the war.  It will be a glorious victory if we do!

God is not just good, He is awesome!  He has been reminding me that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood..." and also of the importance of prayer over the last several months.  Prayers in my quiet time will often trigger the remembrance of a song that has touched my soul in one aspect or another.  Lately the song that replays over and over in my head (and on my computer throughout the day as I work) is "Oceans" by Hillsong United.  It exemplifies where I want to be in my spiritual walk.  

I want to trust God without borders and to have my faith grow stronger daily in the Lord as I seek to mature in Christ.  

This will not happen if I do not 'determine in my heart to seek the Lord.' 

When You said, Seek My face,”

My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Psalm 27:8

                                                                                     'Oceans' by Hillsong

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, 
and all these things will be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Truth Is ... I'm Tired

(This song has been on replay ever since the day my worship leader introduced it to me.  It definitely has met me where I am, and I can't get enough of it! Take a moment to listen. You won't regret it.

Truth is . . . I'm tired. Have you ever been there?  You may be there now.  If not, chances are you will most likely be there at some point in your life. Truthfully speaking ... I am there, in more ways than one.  This post may be a bit uncomfortably transparent, but it is what it is... the truth.
While I am the happiest I have ever been in my life... I have an unbelievable husband who is my best friend and never fails to show me how much he loves me; I have two teenage boys of whom I am very proud because of the fine young men they are growing up to be; my family is healthy; but most of all and most importantly, my God is a good God and has blessed me and my family beyond measure.  Yet, I am tired.
Mentally tired.
Physically tired.
I am all tapped out.  I am full so full of joy but, at the same time, tired of almost everything; so much so that I can't fake it anymore.  I'm just tapped out.  Out of fuel.  I seem to be just pushing myself to even go through the motions.
How does one get to this point?  I can't tell you for sure;  I only have a guess.  My guess is that the rush of this fast-paced life can catch up with you, hold on, and drag you by the heels.
It's easy to just want to 'be' more and more every day, and to rest.  I want to be able to spend more quality time with my husband, drink up these last few years with my boys before they head off to college, nurture my family and home the way they need to be nurtured, take care of my health the way it needs to be cared for, and rest. Did I say rest?  Yes...rest! 
I want so much to be one of those women who 'has it all together' with an organized life, a healthy life, the perfect wife & mother, the perfect daughter/sister, the perfect employee, the perfect friend, and the perfect person all the way around.  I'm just not.  As a matter of fact, I find myself not measuring up to what I need to be at all in ANY of these areas.  You know, the 'jack of all trades but a master at none'  kind of scenario. 
For this reason, over the last year, I have started reprioritizing things in my life one by one. This has left me saddened in some areas of my life, with a sense of guilt in others, and in others a relief.   I realized there just had to be a change.  Women, especially, need to come to the realization that every single thing cannot be at the top of the priority list.  There must be a balance, and the balancing scales constantly move up and down as each wave, or phase, of life rushes in and out.  When there is a shift in priority, it doesn't mean that those things that are shifted down on the list cannot be shifted back up to the top again at some point, but for such a time as it is, these things are where they need to be in order to be able to function properly.
What do you do when you find your head spinning and you find yourself in this place of tiredness and exhaustion and you are all tapped out?   Draw near to God. - 'Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.' (James 4:8) -   'Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you.'  (Matt. 6:33)   And pray.  Pray, pray, pray.  In ALL things pray. God asks us to 'Come to Me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.' (Matthew 11:28) This is where my heart is right now - seeking the King and praying, praying, praying, and resting in His presence.  
I have been in a season of introspection over the last several months, which has brought me to the realization that I had gotten away, slowly, from making God my first priority in all things.  Scripture says "Seek first."  It doesn't say to seek God after your plans are made and request a blessing over your own plans/agenda.  We need to seek God and pray that He makes our desires the same as His - then all these things will be added - we will be blessed.  It doesn't mean life will be easy, but we will have peace in the midst of the storm if we allow Him to take the lead.

When reprioritizing things in one's life, there will be those who will not understand, but that is okay.  This is what a sweet, sweet mentoring lady told me just the other day.  She said "others will not understand, but that's okay.  God knows your heart, and that is all that matters."  Wow.  God knew exactly what I needed that day, and He used that sweet, Godly, God-fearing pillar to reassure me and show me a piece of His glory.  Such simple and few words but powerful ones for me on that day.  God is so good.  He is better to me than I deserve, and I am so very thankful.

♪ Truth is . . . I'm tired . . . So take me to the King.  I don't have much to bring. Take me to the throne; leave me there alone to gaze upon His glory, and sing to Him, I will.  Just take me to the King. ♫
Have you ever felt this way?  I would love to hear from you!  Post a comment, or email me @ danaholden87@gmail.com.  Give me your thoughts and, as iron sharpens iron, maybe we can encourage one another.
All for Him,

Monday, March 3, 2014

Life or Death

What one positive thing has a parent, friend, teacher, coach or mentor said to you when you were young?  Do you still remember it vividly?
What one negative thing do you remember a parent, friend, teacher, coach or mentor saying to you when you were young?  How did this comment affect you then? Does it still affect you today?
Personally, one of my most vivid memories is that of my 5th grade teacher and his picking on me playfully as he made a derogatory statement about some shoes I was wearing, or so I thought was a derogatory statement.  They were new shoes - high heels (of sorts) -  and one of my best friends had a pair just like them.  I was so very proud of them!  This was my first day to wear them, and I chose to wear a dress to school just so I could wear my new shoes (a maroon colored dress with cream colored lace, no doubt).  The shoes looked something like this...


but they had more of a wedge and they were brown leather (pleather).  They were also more open toed than this picture shows....more of a criss-cross pattern.  I can't imagine why I couldn't find a picture of an exact replica of those shoes!  I know...beautiful, right?!  One of my best friends owned a pair just like them, so they MUST have been 'all that'! 

You may be wondering what the teacher said that crushed me so.  I will tell you.  He said, "What are you wearing those clod hoppers for!?"  Well...not anything to go home crying to mom about, but that's exactly how I felt at that moment.  Who knows what was going on inside my head at that time to make me feel so crushed?  I don't know, but his words definitely made an impact that wasn't so positive, so much so that I still remember it to this day.  He didn't mean anything by it.  I realized this as I began to grow up.  However, for some reason, it humiliated me and made me feel 'less than', and it stuck with me my whole life.

Unfortunately, we tend to hold on to the negative experiences rather than the positive, and as we hold on to them, they shape our world by adding to the next experience and the next and the next. 

The book of James addresses how badly the tongue can bite and how hard it is to tame.  James 3:1-12 says this about the tongue:

My brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all make many mistakes. If people never said anything wrong, they would be perfect and able to control their entire selves, too. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can control their whole bodies. 4 Also a ship is very big, and it is pushed by strong winds. But a very small rudder controls that big ship, making it go wherever the pilot wants. 5 It is the same with the tongue. It is a small part of the body, but it brags about great things.
A big forest fire can be started with only a little flame. 6 And the tongue is like a fire. It is a whole world of evil among the parts of our bodies. The tongue spreads its evil through the whole body. The tongue is set on fire by hell, and it starts a fire that influences all of life. 7 People can tame every kind of wild animal, bird, reptile, and fish, and they have tamed them, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is wild and evil and full of deadly poison. 9 We use our tongues to praise our Lord and Father, but then we curse people, whom God made like himself. 10 Praises and curses come from the same mouth! My brothers and sisters, this should not happen. 11 Do good and bad water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree make olives, or can a grapevine make figs? No! And a well full of salty water cannot give good water.
Words can bite so badly that they can speak death.  Nothing has been more clear to me than this with the number of teen suicides recently that has struck our small town and surrounding areas, one of which happened the day after my husband and I watched the movie 'Cyberbully' together.  I have been burdened ever since watching that movie knowing that, in this day & age of technology, it is much easier for people to bully as they hide behind the screen of a laptop, phone or ipod rather than having the courage to say something face to face.  I think ALL schools should show this movie in their school system and help children realize that their words matter, whether they are typed or spoken.
The concept of how our words impact others does not stop with bullying, but it covers a realm of categories....gossip, 'constructive' criticism, 'picking' or playing, to name a few.   I confess....I have been guilty of not tasting my words before I shared them with others, and I am not proud of this fact.
It is important for us all to remember that we never know what is going on with a person on the inside, so words can cut to the core or they can soothe the soul.  Words speak life, or they speak death.  Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.  If they are not sweet to taste, then do not share them with others.
Just T.H.I.N.K. before you speak.  Ask yourself, "These words I am about to speak, 
     Are they TRUE?
     Are they HELPFUL?
     Are they NECESSARY?
     Are they KIND?
I pray that I am always aware of the words that I speak, and may I always speak life into others.
When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you. - Ephesians 4:29
More than anything today, I am preaching to myself.

A Life Blessed

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