Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 343, 344- His Temple

Day 343, 344, sickness. Interesting how sickness sneaks up on a person; one minute I am fine and the next I am not. It started with a slight irritating headache, which at first I thought was just from stress, but  from the mild headache I became weak and drained. Then, my right lower side started to ache, coupled with an achy tummy; then fatigue.

I have been drained, exhausted, and achy with a hovering headache all of which are not my cup of tea. Mom’s I am sure can relate when I say, “I  just do not have time to be sick,” nor do I have the luxury of being able to stay in bed and be taken care of, like what is needed to expedite the recovery.

Nope, not us we have to forge-on through all the aches, pains, discomfort and sickness. 

Yes, I am whining in hopes to alleviate the pity party I am throwing for myself, which in time will pass also
.
The flip side to my being sick, (not that being sick is a positive) nonetheless, if I am sick I will look for the positive. During the last two-days, I have been shifting the way I think, feel, and believe in regards to my health. As I have mentioned in previous post I have struggled with reoccurring illnesses and bouts of health issues that has caused me to be in bed for days, weeks, and even months at a time.  As a result these last couple of days, although not as severe as some of the past episodes I have had, has caused me to really look at my physical lifestyle. 

In being honest with  myself I cannot say I have been a model figure to look to in gaining wisdom of how to care for our bodies (temples) God has given us; however, I am willing to step out in effort to change that. 

I have complained about my weight, my pant size, my health, and my physical well-being for as long as I can remember. Thus, when being honest with myself and evaluating why I am I find myself sick so often, I must simply assume the responsibility for not taking the absolute best care of myself as I know I can and or should have. 

No one can change my weight, my health, being tired, physically un-fit, or eat for me the way I should properly be eating. All of these things are within my reach I just have to want to grab onto “Health” physical, emotional, and spiritual with the desire to "WANT" to change. 

God shares with us that we are to care for ourselves in all areas of our life this including our bodies. He shares with us in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that, “[Our] bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in [us], whom [we] have received from God? [We] are not [our] own.” the scripture continues and reads, “[We] were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with [our] bodies” (NIV, 2011)

What kind of honor does God see from me when he looks at the temple that he has given me? Does he see reverence for the sacrificial love he has given and shown me, or does he see a person who has taken for granted and has become lackadaisical in her actions of caring for her body/temple? 

To be honest he would see a woman who has taken for granted the temple she has been given and in fact has become lazy in her actions in caring for herself.

Therefore, “…I [will] discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” 1 Corinthians 9:27 (ESV). I will keep my spiritual life renewed in his word and I will honor God with the temple I have been given both spiritual and physical. I will walk each day holding reverence for the body he has given me taking care and responsibility for what is not mine, but his.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 345- Hospitality

Day 345, I was utterly exhausted. I found myself migrating towards my bedroom, several times this day and all times before 3PM. I finally surrendered to the exhaustion laying down in my bed, I nestled in, closed my eyes and let out a deep sigh. Finally, I did not care what had to be done or what the rest of the World wanted from me, I was in bed and I was going to get some rest. Ah, Sleep.

Not 5-minutes after I closed my eyes my phone rang; I ignored it … Then it rang again, so I picked it up to see if I could read the number on the caller ID  and what I read instead was “Unlisted,” so, OK back to closing my eyes. THEN, my phone alerted showing I had received a voicemail … so I checked it.  

I had forgot that just a week ago I had made plans with family members to get together the coming Saturday, and well, today was Saturday.  

The message stated, “Hey, we are on our way over.” 

My response,”Ugh!”

I was so tired, had not showered, cleaned my house, or bought groceries. How was I going to do all the things that needed done before they arrived in 30-minutes. How could I have forgot…?

Then I started to think about the last time I had seen my expected company, it had been some time. The last time that they came to visit was on their way out of town to attend our Aunts funeral. Not only did I feel selfish and silly for my initial response, I also felt horrible and ashamed.

I may not have showered, cleaned my house, or been prepared, however, not all that mattered. “ALL THAT,” was unimportant when I thought about what really was important … and that was/is my family and friends. 

Reflecting for a moment on what God shares with us about opening our homes and lives to others was a nice splash of cold water on the spirit-

1 Peter 4:9 (NIV, 2011)

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
I may not have been grumbling aloud, BUT before God spoke to me, I sure was grumbling internally.

Then I read-

and is well known for her good [DEEDS], such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

Now, in context this scripture references widows, which I am not; however the reason I believe I was drawn to it is because of the importance of hospitality and the DEEDS God speaks of throughout his word. (My interpretation only)

From what I was gathering through his words made me feel ashamed for my behavior even if it was internal. I believe how we think, act, and behave when we are not seen physically or spiritually show our hearts and character. 

I continued to read-

Titus 1:6-8 (NIV, 2011)

An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined”

There is some food-for-thought… 

Upon reflection of my attitude about opening my home to family or friends, I would have to say I have not been very hospitable. It is not that I do not enjoy visiting with them; it has always been that I never felt what I had to offer was good enough or clean enough. I always thought I had to be “Perfect” and everything had to be “Perfect.” This is not what I have learned through reading what God shares with us about hospitality. God does not care if the floors are cleaned, or the dishes are done, he does not care if we had showered, or are in our pajamas, or even if we cook a four-course meal, or serve hot dogs. All Gods wants us to do is to come together in love out of love in fellowship one with another.

Therefore, I work on correcting my attitude in the area of appearances and status and focus on being hospitable, even if it is the neighborhood kids looking to hang out, or relatives wanting to visit. Through our actions of opening our home, we are presented with the opportunity to show love and in showing love; we share God, because God is love. 

Also, let us not forget the hospitality God wants us to share with strangers-

Hebrews 13:2 (NIV, 2011)

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it”

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 346- Perseverance


Day 346, I was delighted to find out that my internet service was down and that I would not be able to post daily, nor complete my school assignments. 

Obviously, I am being a little facetious in my wording; however, after an hour and a half of speaking with several different representatives within this particular company I was told a work order had to be placed and my internet should be back online by Monday. Monday was just a couple of days away so,  I started to feel a little better about the situation. 

I have to admit even though some resolution was in place I was still upset as I had only just began this journey with the daily posts and school had just commenced. 

Thus, finding myself faced with an obstacle...

I am sure I am the only person in the World who has ever come to a roadblock in the path of life… right, NAH!

I began to think and the first thought that came to my mind was one instilled in my mind by my mom. She used to tell me, “When you surrender to God, or pray for a particular attribute such as patience, [or in my case perseverance] be aware that things will look as if they are going backwards before they appear to go  forward. You just have to persevere.” 

This certainly appeared to be a prime example as to what she had mentioned. 

Things looked as if they were going backwards, or more to the point had come to a halting stop as the momentum of the posts and schoolwork just ceased. I have to admit it probably would have been easy just to stop all together; however, I was not looking for easy I was looking to preserver. 

This made me turn to the scriptures and see what God wanted me to learn during this time…

First,

James 1:2-4 (NIV, 2011)

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

 

I just love this scripture, to be complete, not lacking anything- I cannot even imagine, however if God said it, then it is so…

Then,

Galatians 6:9 (NIV, 2011)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NIV, 2011)

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”

The result of not giving up … “God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” Enough said.

Therefore, no matter how easy it would be to give up I will not. I will walk through each day knowing I have a purpose. I will not let obstacles take me down or cease the work God is doing in me, through me, and for others … “And [I will]  know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, [and whom] have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28 (NIV, 2011)

Amen!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Re: Update on Update ;)

The internet is still down; however, they are working on it. I only have a short window of opportunity to share what is going on, so looks like Thursday/Friday should be back up, which is better than Monday 31st like they told me yesterday, so GOD is GOOD!

 

Perfect lesson for this journey ... patience :)

 

Love is patient love is kind ;) A great time to reflect on this scripture.

 

 



Monday, January 24, 2011

Re: Update

I have lost my Internet until Tuesday; this is the reason for no daily postings. All days post will be added when my internet is restored. Thank you for being patient with me. :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 347- Be “Still”


Day 347, made me think about being still, still from the day-to-day rigmarole of the daily bustle. I remember there was a time when I needed to hear noise, regardless of what the noise. The noise could be as subtle as feet shuffling around the house, or as thunderous as music screeching. I just needed some sign to let me know I was not alone. 

This behavior went on for several years, quite possibly even longer. The reason for the necessary noise was due to not wanting to be alone. I went through a time in my life where I was always sick. I spent years and thousands of dollars on medical bills in hopes to figure out what was causing me so much pain. Doctor after Doctor would poke, prod, examine, and prescribe all kinds of medications or fixes for the minor illness they would find; however, it was not until I was 33-34-years-old that they finally fixed the problem. 

Subsequently, I lived in chronic pain for countless years. I think I spent more time feeling poorly than I did feeling well. During this time of ill health, more times than not I thought I would depart this life, and more times than not (during that time-span) I wished I could have. I was left feeling worn out, completely helpless, and I thought I was going crazy. Doctor after Doctor told me they could not figure out what was causing my ill health. I came to such a point of desperation I even prepared goodbye letters for my loved ones. At the time, I was married and I remember asking my husband to wake me before he would leave for work; the reason I was afraid, I would not wake up. The last thing I wanted was for my children not to be able to wake up their mother.

Yes, I was in bad physical and emotional-state. Thus, the sound of noise allowed me to know I was still living.

Thankfully, now today I have been pain free for over 5-years. It only took two surgeries, prayer, and faith to arrive at this place. Amen! 

Since, my healing and recovering I have become very fond of my time alone and my times of silence. I know the Bible shares with us there are many reasons and times in our life where we just need to be “Still.” So many times, we busy ourselves with the burdens of the world just to have our efforts return to us void.  

This is why God shares with us to be patient and wait upon him as read in the following scripture-

Psalm 37:7 (Amplified Bible)

Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.”


I used to think when I read the scripture that God wanted me literally to be still. Now, I know yes, there are moments when I need to be physically still; however, he has  also shared with me it is not only a physical stillness it is also an emotional and mental stillness. Therefore, in times of silence, I need to remember to turn off the noise inside my head and just listen; listen to what God has for me. 

I cannot speak for others, nor will I; however, for me I think the internal noise is louder than the external noise most times.

Therefore, as I go about my day and may not have the ability physically to be still, I will mediate on the following scriptures to silence the internal noise. Thus, allowing my mind to be still and wait upon the Lord, rather it is for instruction, guidance, communication, or just allowing God to tell me, he loves me. I for one would rather hear Gods voice than the sound of my own.

Exodus 14:14 (NIV, ©2010)

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Psalm 46:10 (NIV, ©2010)

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 348- Stagnation


Day 348, today as I sat with a friend I was reminded of how important it is to keep growing. However, growing is not what I was doing the last few months of 2010. The last couple of months of 2010, as I now look back I can see I became stagnant. Just like water that has become trapped between rocks, it stops flowing. 

This was me…

Why do we just stop? 

Why does our water cease flowing? 

I tried to find the point when this happened and still as of yet cannot pinpoint a particular time or instance that stands out as the time of my stagnation. As a result, this leaves me to believe that it was a very subtle, silent progression and before I was even aware, I became stagnate. 

Stagnate defined is simply to fail to develop, make progress, or make necessary changes. 

Therefore, as I sat there and listened to my friend, I realized that every day since the very first night I began this journey I have been progressing. God has been chipping away at the rocks that held me captive. With each chip, I can now see God is creating something new within me. The rocks that once kept me trapped are being formed by Gods hands and what God is forming will be anew. 

2 Corinthians 3:16-20 (Amplified Bible)

"But whenever a person turns [in repentance] to the Lord, the veil is stripped off and taken away. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom) 18And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit."


Big Daddy Weave - Every Time I Breathe (Video)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 349- Balance

Day 349, made me think about balance … I am sure the thoughts had something to do with school starting again. The spring session for me began January 17th, and the courses I am currently enrolled in are far from easy. Statistics and Research Methods are not my favorite area of study; however, necessary for my major. 

Thereupon, adding more to my already full plate leaves me feeling like I am balancing on a "Tight Rope" and with one wrong shift I will go tumbling down. Balancing my personal, spiritual, emotional, family, work, and academic life- to say it is a challenge, would be an understatement. 

I know at times I (feel) I can take on the world, but let me just share when I fall short I am not the easiest person to be around. Imagine high stress, full plate, last minute things to-do in an effort to meet a scheduled deadline… Ha, yea, not a pretty picture. As a result, balance for me is a pretty high priority and I must admit I at times tend to tip the scales in the wrong direction. 

Aside from myself paying the consequences contributed to the off-balance lifestyle, my loved ones also feel the metaphorical “Pains.” Honestly, in the past when I would fly into a panicked frenzy I could not recognize myself. 

After all would calm down I remember looking in the mirror and asking myself, “Who is this person?” Truly ashamed of my behavior, which was caused by my own doing and yet, anyone within a mile radius of me had to suffer… hm, not a very good example to model. 

Therefore, in my walk and on this journey balance is vitally important in effort to reshape my past shameful behavior. I am just thankful I am shown sooner than later, where to start, how to correct this and with whose help…

I have learned through the many trials that the first place to turn to is not another person, contrarily to the initial impulse. The first place to turn is to God and his word. His word will carry us when we cannot walk, his word will be the light when we cannot see, his word will be the rescue from the distress; there is not a thing his word cannot do or overcome. We just have to open it, seek it …, and yes, read it. 

The following scripture is just one o the many I found helpful in this area-


Leviticus 19:35-36 (NIV, ©2010)

 35 “‘Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. 36 Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt.”

Upon reading this scripture, I began to understand how to incorporate balance in my daily life. The first step is honesty, honesty within myself and within my life. "What is most important in my life?" Then in the order of importance weigh each and every thing that fills the time within my day. Upon doing this let me just share there is more wasted time than I would care to admit. The “Stuff” that takes time from what truly matters and is of value should always fill those gaps of “Wasted” time. 

This does not mean every minute of every day has to be so full that there is no time to just be; it just means I need not allow myself to be a prisoner of my own demise by letting the scales of balance become tipped in void. 

The following scriptures will help me with this-

Proverbs 11:1 (NIV, ©2010)

 1 “The LORD detests dishonest scales,
   but accurate weights find favor with him.”

We too should detest dishonest scales in our lives. For, the dishonest scales will only cause distress in our lives and detest unto God.

Proverbs 20:23 (NIV, ©2010)

 23 The LORD detests differing weights,
   and dishonest scales do not please him.

Therefore, today I will seek Gods wisdom in order to find a healthy spiritual and physical balance. I will reflect daily on his word and allow him to balance the scales in my life.

Proverbs 16:11 (NIV, ©2010)

 11 Honest scales and balances belong to the LORD;
   all the weights in the bag are of his making. 

Thank you Father for making all things possible even when we pollute our life with things that do not matter. Thank you for the balance you give to my life.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 350- Opportunity and Regret

Day 350, a day of peace even though I had to wake up at 5:00 AM on my day off. My daughter had asked me if I would volunteer for a school event she was participating in and my initial thought was, but it is a Holiday… Thankfully, I did not say what I thought as I was thinking it. Instead... I said yes. 

 My daughter is a senior in high school with only a few more months remaining before she leaves home and heads off for college. Each day is a reminder of the small amount of opportunity I have left to participate in her life at this level.

As I was getting ready to head out my daughter ever so kindly rejected the idea of me riding to and from her school with her, due to her “Other plans”; therefore, at the last minute I asked my son if he would like to tag along with me. Thankfully, he is still young enough to “LIKE” hanging out with, “Mom.”

See, my daughter opted to continue attending the high school she had been, for the past three years, even after we moved. The drive to her school is at least 45-minutes. The roads are not straight well maintained roads; contrarily, the roads are back-country roads with lots of curves and little State maintenance. The country folks know what I am talking about. These types of roads are beautiful roads to drive on a nice spring day; however absolutely worrisome to drive in the middle of winter. Just having someone with me, helps ease my mind. 

Once in the car there was a sense of calmness that overcame me. I did not feel hurried in spite of the long drive; I did not feel tired in spite of not being a morning person; I did not resent going in spite of “My Holiday.” Instead, my mind started to reflect on my daughter and the past 17-years of her life…

Wasn’t she just in Kindergarten…?

I know we tell ourselves, “Enjoy them while we can, because they grow up so fast … and fast they do. I know I am guilty for not saturating myself in all the moments that were available to me and now I cannot go back to retrieve those moments. 

Then suddenly a montage of memories started to flood my mind- then regret. A landslide of “If only, ‘what if,’ and ‘I should have’” were circling my thoughts for what felt like forever, but in reality only a few minutes.

I am so glad in moments like these God is there to help us with all our rollercoaster of emotions. At that particular moment, it was regret. So, what does the Bible say about regret and how do we handle regret when we are faced with it. 

I found the following scriptures are powerful when the past tries to come back and oppress us with regret.

Philippians 3:13-15 (NIV, ©2010) reads-

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 

 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

Therefore, my heart may grieve for the loss of moments due to the choices that I had made, I can look to the future and strive for what is to come forgetting what is behind me. 

Thank you Father for taking every opportunity to always be there for me no matter how important or not the moment