A Heart at Rest

My favorite scripture verse is “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) This verse helps me to calm my fears and anxieties that the constant ebb and flow of this life causes. In my journey, I have learned that the only one I can control is me. I make choices everyday. The most important choice that I have made is to say yes to God. However, I have had a rough week. Doubts have crept into the corners of my mind and stir a restlessness in my soul. My heart hurts and longs for a reprieve. My emotions are raw and tears have been known to flow freely and more frequently than the sound of laughter. What am I truly wrestling with? Old habit versus new creation. I don’t believe in mere coincidence anymore and I definitely know that God’s timing is perfect so I find myself watching for Him. It is wonderful and messy all at once. The following are glimpses of real life scenarios from this week:

Sunday: I walk into the grocery store to buy a meal for my mom because she hasn’t been feeling well. The store does not have gravy ready so I have to wait. My heart is swelling with urgency and excitement because I listened to the whisper which led me to buy this meal. I turn and a woman is walking toward me and says, “Excuse me mam, do you have fifty cents?” Inside, I can feel turmoil. My wallet is in my hand and my immediate thought was no I don’t give money to people and I used my quarters with my children last time we were in the store buying little things from the machines. I immediately and without hesitation said, “no I don’t…sorry.” The woman walked off and I starred at her as she faded away. I felt sad. Did I miss an opportunity? I didn’t even look into my wallet for fifty cents. She didn’t say she needed quarters…she said fifty cents. Why didn’t I look to see if I had what she needed. It doesn’t matter what she needed it for.

I got home and put away the groceries. I sat down and on the television was a commercial saying “…and for fifty cents a day, you can help feed this hungry child…” Ok Lord, what is it about fifty cents today? It is such a small amount of money and yet it keeps surfacing. What is wrong with my attitude and heart here?

Tuesday: Envision the mad dash: leave from work and rush to pick up children, then make dinner and eat dinner hurriedly in order to get to the open house at children’s school, quickly go classroom to classroom in order to run to sporting store so we can buy soccer cleats for Wednesday’s practice, then race to the home of a family donating to our other various soccer needs. During soccer cleat purchase, husband has brilliant idea to go to the grocery store and buy a gift card in order to receive gas pumping perks. I was nominated to go. I walk through the store and grab a few items plus the gift card. Standing behind a woman at the checkout counter who has various baby items, I recognized the assortment to be that of a government funded cart. I internally bashed myself for any judging that was going to take place. I have this mental battle each time…call it jealousy because the times that my family has been down and out, the government did not rescue us. We got nothing. Call it jealousy because friends of mine chose to be stay at home moms and be on WIC while I worked my butt off in two jobs just to make ends meet and still come up short and I miss my kids. Call it shameful that I categorize all people the same even though I know not ALL people would drop their child off at a child care agency and go to Disney World without him even though they were most likely affording to go because of his SSI check. I get fed up with the systems. All this running through my mind while trying to look like I am patiently waiting for her to place each jar of baby food on the conveyor belt. Then, she turns to me and says, “Why don’t you go first? It will take me awhile.” Then, it hit me, I didn’t have my store card to get the credit for the gas pumping perks I was seeking. Inside my head, there were some mean things said about my husband because the rest of my key chain was in my car due to his not wanting to carry them all. I went to my car and back to the same register where I now had to wait for two other customers. I felt the dread of missing more than just the store card. Lost in thoughts…relentless…kicking myself thoughts.

Wednesday: Teaching challenge for the week was an unhappy and difficult parent (I am allowed to say this because I am a difficult parent sometimes too!). I told my assistant that we will “kill her with kindness” no matter what her attitude…it will not change us and I prayed for God to help me in my effort to make the classroom a friendly place even under pressure. He succeeded. She smiled. She talked nicely. It made me feel a little better like I do make a difference. Praises to God for answered prayer! (especially when I don’t feel I deserve it)

Today (Thursday): Radio show discussed complicated topic of predestination and I was already feeling vulnerable. Students were moody…I became moody. Got home to pleasant family but I was worn…tired. I tried to take a nap. Then, my best friend texted me that she needed me to pray for her. She is thinking about moving. Right now, she lives five minutes away. If she moves to where she is thinking, she will be over an hour away. My thoughts jumped to…no more Bible studies, no more seeing her and her family at church, no more ice cream runs after the kids go to bed, no more late night talks, NO MORE. I became sad because she has encouraged me so much in my walk with God. It feels like the end of the world. I keep saying…nothing is definite but what would I do without her. God placed her in my life with such a huge purpose. Now, He is taking her somewhere else (possibly). My heart just aches. I just cry and I recount all my other losses. Friends that I held dear and loved but I could not keep. Good things always end too soon. I started to have a pity party and I was honest with her about how I felt but I told her I would support her in whatever she decided to do. I told her that her anxiety and stress was not of God and that all she needed to do was cling to Jesus and He would guide her. All she needs to do is ask…to say His name over and over.

That is what I am going to do now. I am going to bed. I am going to be still. I am going to remind myself that I know that He is God and He is in control. I am going to take this week that was burdened with hurts and mistakes and hand it all over to my Savior and pray that He changes me…that I grow away from my perceptions and into His grace…accepting His plan. I am going to call on Jesus. I am going to cling to Him, confident that He will give me peace. He will give me rest. He quiets my heart. Oh, how faithful He is!

#FreshVision

I found myself lost in my thoughts today. It finally hit me that vision has to do with what I see and I see what I focus on. If I CHOOSE to focus on problems or circumstances that threaten me, then I will only see what I have right in front of me…the storm, the battle, the issue at hand. My vision will be blocked and I know that my attitude and my actions will be affected tremendously. Participating in the Bible study, “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God”, has helped me to ask God to give me His eyes…His perspective. My judgment is so clouded with my pride or my personal feelings. But to know Him means to wait for the higher road…the greater meaning. I remind myself often that God is bigger. I ask God to guide me and advise me. I cannot do anything apart from Him.

I have come to realize that asking is the key. God wants us to seek Him and by asking Him for His wisdom, we show that we have Him on our minds and in our hearts. He wants to be invited in. I remember that (two and half years ago) I was beyond frustrated. I couldn’t understand how I never heard God speak. In my mind, I prayed about important things and where was He? I became impatient and cried out to God. I told Him how I felt so lost and abandoned. I asked Him if He heard me. I begged Him to show me. I needed to see that He was real…to know that He was there with me. I will never forget the vision I received. The room was dark and the word TRUST appeared as if it were on fire. I became confused and challenged in my walk of faith. I had no idea what God wanted me to do with that word. Some of you may think it obvious but you see, I already thought I was trusting Him. In reality, I was doing it all without Him.

My life changed from that point on. God became my answer for everything. He led me to forgive some tough offenses in my life. He showed me that I am a new creation. He taught me to not buy into Satan’s lies but to listen for His truth. God encouraged me. He met me where I was and brought me peace and most importantly, He covered me with His grace. He has asked some tough things of my life…things that I struggle with daily like obedience, discernment, allowing Him to be my portion of everything I need, to be disciplined, be courageous and stay in the fight…

It has been worth every sleepless night, every tear shed, every moment of uncertainty…He has been there and proven Himself faithful. My vision changed by asking Him to show me. I am ever so grateful for my fresh start. I am so blessed to have found God to be patient with my slow progress. He has never given up on me and I know He never will. I will cling to Him and He holds me. May my eyes, ears, and hands be open to every opportunity that God has planned for me. I pray that for each of you.

Torn

 

 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33

There are days when I have such wonderful thoughts…then there are days like today. I feel torn. Already worn thin, my brain is processing in overdrive. The last thing I really want to hear about is the latest challenge from church, how my husband thinks we NEVER do anything as a family and it’s all my fault, how when my daughter (now seven) has her own children she will NEVER make them wear something that they don’t want to wear, how my three year old thinks my breath stinks when I wake up from a nap, how I am not living up to par as a daughter, how I am not getting my own way…the list goes on. I pick up my bruised ego. At the core of this “feeling torn” issue is really my reactions to all of the not-so-pleasant situations I have found myself in today. My flesh is battling the Spirit. I feel it. I know it. The question is: what am I going to do about it?

I feel like I need to spend time with God and pray over the things that I can control. My responses were less than stellar and I am not very proud of myself. I am ashamed to have misrepresented Christ in this way. I want to put others before what I feel. Oh, this gets me every time. I lay awake wondering what I could have and should have done or said differently. I get smacked with the reality that I cannot change it. The words have been said; the tone of voice was frustrated, impatient, and loud. The discussion did not have the greatest outcome.

This day isn’t even close to being the worst I have ever had and I am sure there is suffering to come. The Bible says so. The wear and tear on my heart and soul begin to mend in Jesus’ hand. I will choose to rejoice in the fact that Jesus has overcome. He holds me in good times and bad times. He loves me even when I don’t measure up. He fills me up with all that I need to try again tomorrow. This process of learning how to be in Him is helping me to be more like Him. I may never get it right but I pray that I will always keep trying. I may always make mistakes but I pray I never stop learning from them. I may stumble but I pray I allow Jesus to catch me. May I count my blessings more than the holes that have made me feel torn.