Be Alert and of Sober Mind

Note: All of this is written with the respect of prayer for those who are suffering firsthand with sickness or loss of a loved one due to Coronavirus. My hope is that this is all quickly resolved to alleviate the added stress that has impacted many.

With amusement parks shut down due to Covid-19 I’ve been thinking who needs Disneyland anyway when there’s a wave of roller coaster emotions right in my own home!?

After I hit publish on last week’s post I was bound and determined to keep my positive upbeat vibe going that I was feeling, but Satan came in quick like a wrecking ball…man I get tired of him. I’ve intended to enjoy this downtime, making the most of it by spending time creating memories of healthy bonding with my family.

A far cry from reality…

Since that last post I’ve dealt with lots of unexpected..a mess of canceling travel plans through Expedia, transitioning my grandma from her home into a nursing home, and trying to figure out and set up my kids new elearning school schedule…holy moly that last challenge has brought full assurance that I am absolutely not tech savvy at all! Surprised I can even maintain this blog!

Overall I have the choice to keep a positive attitude regardless, but sometimes I get overwhelmed with change and forget to take my stress to the Lord immediately. On the other hand I neglect to remain aware that Satan is always on the prowl, even when (actually especially when) I’m at my highest points.

The other day I was thinking how in the world did my household dramatically go from happy, silly, and dancing like no one was watching last week (see last post with video) to whining, bickering, and a lack of mercy and grace with one another in a matter of one day…??

With perfect timing the words “he prowls around…looking for someone to devour” quickly swept in over my thoughts so I pulled out my trusty and faithful “Thought-navigator” and turned to 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” This was exactly what I needed reminded of — to consciously stay alert of Satan’s scheme-filled tactics 24-7.

I couldn’t just cut that idea off right there, I had to read the entire context of the passage.

The words surrounding 1 Peter 5:8 are so encouraging and applicable to what we’re all dealing with that I’m super excited to share them with you:

1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. -1 Peter 5:1-11

Breaking apart these 2000 year old verses a bit, we can pair them up to how they fit (even nowadays) with the Christian life, our current situation in the world, and also right in our homes.

…If we read through again thinking of Christian parents/leaders etc. as the elders or shepherds caring and setting a good example for our flock (family) its motivational. We can also give attention to verse five that our younger “sheep” should be compliant and submissive to those modeling a healthy Christian example. Combining these directions there should be this beautiful understanding of the hopeful unity that is intended within Christian brothers and sisters.

Further more in verses six and seven we’re called to humble ourselves and to cast our cares on Him above. Meanwhile verses eight and nine tell us to be alert and of sober mind because the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, meaning we need to expect that Satan’s on a mission to wreak havoc among us no matter our attitude’s condition — good or bad.

The powerful words in verse ten follow up by assuring us that after we’ve suffered a little while, God will restore us and make us strong, firm and steadfast. The realization is that the suffering we face (of any sort) may be lifelong, but the beauty is that our hope is held in Heaven’s eternity, never in earth’s heartaches and disappointments.

With my church doors closed on Sunday mornings these days, it boldly and thoughtfully reiterates the fact that the church truly consist of a body of believers in Christ and can absolutely happen without a structural facility. Church exists through people — not a huge fancy building, not a small one, not a building at all. We, as Christians, are the church. My family is part of the church. Satan’s desire is to come within our emotional boundaries to tear us up and blindside us at anytime, but if we remain expectant of his attempts, we can stand solid and grounded on God’s desires. We, as shepherds, must set an example of positive leadership to our flock and trust in the Chief Shepherd’s promise that we’ll one day be restored.

Stay healthy and hopeful y’all!❤️

The One Thing We Need…

This is gonna be a short and simple post and I’m not sure I’ll post again for a while.

I think so much has become overcomplicated and overwhelming lately in America and all over that I honestly just desire some basic, surefooted instructions…anyone else?

As I sat down this morning to do my Bible study I thought about how I had a choice to make. I could choose to whine around for the umpteenth day in a row and be irritated with the circumstances of our world given the mess of the Coronavirus or I could focus on God’s faithfulness and change my perspective to a positive one. In that moment the words ‘He will renew your strength’ came to mind…I flipped my Bible open to Isaiah 40:31 which says, ‘but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’

The basic and direct instruction in that verse tells us to hope. When any kind of trouble, irritation, or unsureness comes we can simply make the choice to hope in the Lord. It doesn’t mean we’ll see the circumstances change, but suddenly our perspective shifts to one of peace…and hope, capable of renewing our strength.

I’m not sure the purpose of this ordeal, which has quite literally impacted our entire nation and caused me to be selfishly annoyed with the changes—but I do believe everything truly happens for a reason.

It saddens me for those across our world who have become ill and those who’ve lost family or friends. What gets to me even more though is that many people are dealing with this without any hope at all. They’re living through this thing with fear as their subconscious motivation, no faith in God, and therefore zero hope.

I’ve had group text-messages with friends sending me memes over the past week—some of which are hilarious and may or may not be blog appropriate…but the one I received yesterday is the one that continues to reel through my thoughts:

I read those words and can’t help but think how true and accurate they surely must be…

May we as Christians join together in spirit, heart, and like-mindedness to pray for our country—praying globally as well…that hope might be sought through Him above…Amen.

It’s Okay to Admit When We’re Not Okay

I’ve been kind of a mess lately.

I’ve had corrupt thoughts when I should’ve taken them captive to make them obedient to Him.

I’ve been impatient when I should’ve just prayed.

Spoken words I shouldn’t have while praises were never considered.

Even now this isn’t how I’d love to start off a post but reality and truth must trump comfort if thriving-hope is sought.

I’ve felt lost, confused, and hopeless—empty, reckless, and careless.

Someone recently suggested that it seems I’m overwhelming myself with too much busyness. Ya that could be.

I haven’t been able to navigate through my heart to limit my emotions and concerns.

I humbly share this with you though because in the midst of my crummy attitude I’ve continued to read from God’s word—studying scripture, and reading daily devotions regardless.

And here’s the verse that continually sweeps across my thoughts:

‘So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’ —Isaiah 55:11

Interestingly this is the same verse I go to when I have hope for an unbeliever who attends a church service or a youth kiddo who seems to care more about impressing the opposite gender rather than listening to the youth pastor’s Bible lesson. This is like my go to “prayer” verse, filled with hope in the way that it basically says ‘God’s word goes out…and even though we think “someone” may not be catching it, we’re reassured that His word, indeed, is accomplishing purpose in that person’s life, some how, some way, and at some point.’ …No different than a seed planted in soil needs a bit of water…we water and water waiting for some sign of life to pop through the dark colored soil and just when we think nothing is going to happen one day it finally does—and that little seed grows into a beautiful, remarkable sight.

I love that. And I’m okay with the fact that I’m kind of that person right now…I may feel a bit far from God right now but I truly believe in the power of those words and I know that even though my attitude has been ugly lately, those words from Isaiah 55:11 are as much for me as they are for someone who doesn’t even believe, yet happens to come across God’s message.

It’s not fun to write stuff like this; there are times when I’ve had people comment on my blog thanking me for some truth they picked up along the way…beautiful…but that’s praise and credit for Jesus, really I’m learning right along with everyone else as I share my words—after all this blog was written for His purpose and glory.

I’ll figure out my mess, it’ll settle, and this too shall pass…because of my hope in Christ.

I think if we’re honest we all have times of frustration, disappointment, and negative alterations to our feelings but we’re also guilty of shying away from sharing. Sometimes that’s pride standing at the forefront of a mound of buried trials. The sweetness of sharing, however, is that we see how alike we are even though our struggles look different…and the risk of not sharing is that we miss opportunities to build relationships. When we share with one another we find that we’re not alone. God made us for relationship with others and with Him. (Genesis 2:18, John 3:16)

It’s good, and healthy even, to be willing to echo the words of David in Psalm 139:23-24, ‘Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’

May we all be bold enough to claim that verse into a prayer over our lives—in light that we may grow into something magnificent…for His purpose.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” —Isaiah 1:18

Keeping the Christmas Spirit Going

It seems like once the New Year arrives people have often times moved beyond the Christmas spirit or season and are now fixated on new beginnings, keeping trendy resolutions, and sometimes creating outlandish goals for the upcoming year.

It’s almost as if the New Year pours in and Christmas is drowned out, right?

I’m seriously as guilty as they come with quickly moving on to my New Year resolutions.

In fact, a few weeks ago my husband commented that he wanted to start running to help get in shape. But then nothing came of it. Oddly enough some of our good friends contacted us the other day asking if we’d like to participate in a half marathon happening at the beginning of May. With the idea of motivation to spur us along in our new goal of running this year, we reluctantly committed…so now we’re signed up to compete in this half marathon that we’re absolutely (equally) unprepared for and clueless about.😂 Continue reading “Keeping the Christmas Spirit Going”

Patience Required

I was introduced to someone this past year and as necessary have needed to maintain communication and a relationship (with this person) due to responsibility.

This relationship has absolutely tore me to pieces as we haven’t connected too well.

There have been times I feel like I’m walking on egg shells—not knowing if the next thing I say is going to offend or build positive character…wondering if my quirky demeanor was understood or rejected…if the quietness of this person is caused by something I’ve done or if it’s just a normal characteristic of theirs. Continue reading “Patience Required”

Quiet Time Necessity

Sometimes when I substitute teach, my job assignment stretches beyond the classroom.

Recently I ended up in the school’s lunchroom to supervise bubbly elementary students. An extended squirming hand raised high let’s the adults know when attention is needed—usually indicating milk cartons are being stubborn and extra help is needed in opening them, maybe a kiddo wants permission to pass on their veggies, or he or she is ready to dump their tray once they’ve finished eating.

While I helped a few weeks ago, a hand went up and I walked over.

A little girl, probably second grade, looked up at me with sad eyes and I knew we weren’t dealing with regular lunch issues. I knelt down beside her and asked what was wrong. With tears welled in the corners of her eyes she spoke through pouty lips, “I want to sit alone right now.”

“Well why? What’s going on?” I asked with concern. Continue reading “Quiet Time Necessity”

A She Shed in the Making part 1

In my last post I announced Nathan is building a she shed for me…I also wrote (by accident) that it was for our ten year anniversary. My husband quickly informed me after reading my post that it should’ve said fifteen year anniversary, not ten. Oops! And then he also reminded me of the wonderful gift he surprised me with for our ten year anniversary…

Nate and I were newlyweds and I can remember the first time I ever spotted a Yorkie, I thought “I need to get me one of those!!!” I BEGGED Nathan for nearly ten years…now we have a sweet and tiny, seizure-filled, five year old Eli who literally falls over at the drop of a feather with fright! Goodness I just love him! He’s so darn cute!! Nate calls him a genetic mutation but I know he actually thinks the world of him!😉

So now for the fifteen year gift…my husband said to me a few months ago he wanted to build me a she shed as an anniversary present. My exact words: “a sh-what?!” I had no clue about these little gems and as he began to describe the possibilities a “she shed” offers I jumped right on the trendy bandwagon.

Just Pinterest or google she shed if you don’t know, and your search will render all sorts of overwhelming results. It’s creative, weird, and exciting all at the same time! I kinda feel like I’m getting my very own ‘mom’s little playhouse’.

We discussed size, material preference, location, and everything else in between.

I’m always amazed at what my husband is capable of doing outside of his oil field work so I cheer him on enthusiastically. Men need that, and in a marriage conference Nathan and I recently attended I learned that a majority of men would rather hear the words “thank you and good job!” over “I love you!” They often identify their worth in this way. I’ve done both for years but this helped me be even more mindful of how important it is to encourage and to be sure to not take for granted the good things he does for our family and especially with this sweet she shed gesture he’s working on.

The number one question I’ve been asked by family and friends, “what are you going to do with your she shed?” And to be honest this was a concern of mine from the get go. I’m not great at accepting gifts but when I saw how excited Nate was to make this for me I was determined to graciously accept it but also wanted to be sure I would use it, it wouldn’t go to waste, and it would serve a purpose. Continue reading “A She Shed in the Making part 1”