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Seeking Sonshine

"Not all who wander are lost" – J.R.R. Tolkien

Month

January 2016

Fun World(s) of Feelings! 

I am just going to be honest and say that I really hate it when my feelings get hurt. Not because of the actual hurt feelings, although those are not particularly pleasant. No, I am talking about the reaction my body has to my feelings being hurt. You may know the one. My nose starts to run and gets all red and my eyes’ temperature begins to rise to about 120 degrees or so. Then, these embarrassingly HUGE, crocodile tears start to fall out of nowhere and hopefully there is nothing made of paper nearby because that’s long gone. Ugh!!! I hate it. I try to talk myself out of it for a good long while and then there comes the threshold that is crossed where you know you’d better find a private place because you are about to embarrass yourself. At least, this is my experience. But what if there’s more behind this than just some tissues and ruined mascara? What is the point?

  
This is the point that I can’t stop the invisible from impacting the realm of the visible. The real world. The place where people can see you and judge you and hurt you. See, I think that’s the way the enemy wants us to view the world when we are in a vulnerable state. Because then we will be defensive. We will choose to guard our feelings so no one will know what is really going on. Are there positives to this? Sure, some. But when we feel something to an absolute extreme, usually at the expense of another; maybe that should be a warning sign to us. Hmmmm. Maybe there’s more here than what meets what we can actually see with our human eyes and feel with our human hearts. It could be an attack with the purpose of destroying our hearts of compassion and love for others like Christ. 

  
http://pastorwoogy.com/2015/08/03/spiritual-warfare-and-our-feelings/

We’ve got to reimagine our minds to look like a battlefield, like Joyce Meyer wrote about so well. And we will need to suit up in some armor that Paul talks about in Ephesians. We must wear our armor and imagine our minds as a place where we must diligently go and not wander aimlessly because if we aren’t careful, there is this lion…

  
https://thespiritualbattlefield.wordpress.com/the-enemy

He wants us to disconnect from others and God. This way, we are easily swayed and believe the lies he wants to feed us. But he’s already defeated. So let’s take back our feelings and our relationships he tried to destroy. Because we do need those in our lives. I heard something in my Bible Study (Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer) that really stuck with me. “Feelings don’t have intellect.” Such a simple statement, but it had a profound impact on me by the very nature of it. I had never considered it before, yet how many times had I made decisions based only on my feelings? (Scariness.) Something to consider and ponder . ❤️😄😇

Personal Note from Nicky:

I believed a lie for a long time that cost me many years of growing and learning from Christian study and fellowship with others. There is so much to glean from other people who are living this life and fighting similar battles just like us. I am in a Bible Study for the first time in my life and I absolutely love it. We finally chose our church home that we had been struggling to find a home for over six years. I am in a program that holds me accountable to getting up at five in the morning and devoting one hour to Him five  days a week. I am NOT a morning person and I have failed, but, I can’t stop doing it. This is not bragging. Please, please understand. I tried to do this Christian life on my own thinking thatChristian communities   wouldn’t want someone like me. I believed a lie for a really long time and I see now what I could have been experiencing all these years. Please don’t make the same mistake I did. Connect where you can. Get support from people who will pray for you and encourage you. Send me a message or comment and we can start a group right here on this blog! We can do something together and pray for each other. Because sometimes we need some help and some encouragement and prayers on our behalf. ❤️❤️
Photo Credits:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjD_eTp_NHKAhUG9mMKHbGCDRcQjB0IBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpastorwoogy.com%2Fcategory%2Fspiritual-warfare%2F&psig=AFQjCNEOM08qqPyfAdCCeGJ_WsnHbmI8MA&ust=1454258246124844&rct=j

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjWpaLFgdLKAhVL-GMKHbliA4MQjB0IBQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.com%2Fvmmarty%2Flove%2F&psig=AFQjCNFyXq5rOnBmIqJiArhM92qGKcRKUw&ust=1454259576110333&rct=j

When You Thought You Had Grown

Have you ever thought that you had finally dealt with an issue, only to be proven very wrong one day? Well, I do. I wasn’t even aware that I felt a certain way about something until I was faced with it head on. Oh, I had an opinion on it alright, and I realized quickly that I had work yet to do on my attitude about it. And no clue about what or how to do it except the same old routine… So, God, apparently I am not over this. I could sure use some help. He had to be sick of hearing this by now. I was sick of saying it.

And then, He answered me. Put it down, before it ruins you. I felt those words speak deep into my heart. All I could do was say, okay. (I mean, what do you say at that point?!) And suddenly, it all made sense. Put the bitterness down, before resentment ruins your character. Put the food down that is not giving you life and nutrition that you need before it ruins your health. Put the phone, computer, job, and obsessions down before it costs you your precious time with your kids while you have it. Put it down, before it ruins you. Whatever it is. That’s where I need to start. What a great Jesus, to help when we ask Him. ❤️

I knew right away my attitude was poor. Okay, not immediately. But closer than it used to be. (Work in progress) I knew I had a choice to make: wallow in past circumstances or make the decision to think about something else. Something worth my time to focus on and not a trap to lead me down a dead end path. No, I am not there yet. But, I am okay with that. For once in my life, I am okay with that. 

  
Surrender is a scary word. People tend to associate it with loss. Loss of identity. Loss of choice. Loss of control. It is understandable that there is a lot of negative connotation to the thought of surrendering to something or someone else. Especially if that someone or something is invisible, we cannot understand the purpose of the circumstances we are facing and we are not told, and we are expected to have complete faith in the invisible everythings. It is difficult until it becomes tangible to you. Until you witness a miracle that you will never forget. Or you have an experience that changes your heart and your mind forever. Sometimes it something small. Other times it is a Pastor returning home from a country after years in a prison that seemed certain to claim his life. Miracles are all around us. You are one. I am one. Everyone is someone’s miracle. It would be pretty hard to resent a miracle…

  
Photo Credits:

The Awakening Season

I know there is a season for everything in due time. Party because of the Bible verse and also that song by The Byrds repeated it quite a bit as well. There are times when faith meets action, and the door of awakening and expectancy blows open. It’s amazing. Life changing, even. If you’re ready to receive it. You can experience something fascinating and it can have a forgettable response in the wrong season.

A time when I am not actively, diligently seeking. Or a time when I am cruising along on autopilot, and doing pretty good. Not really looking to rock any boats at the moment. Treading water. All I really know, but it works. It is what I am sticking to. No thanks, Jesus. We got it.

We don’t even realize the depth and gratitude of what we are passing on. Surely we don’t or we wouldn’t be so blinded, right? Part of that can be us. Part of it may be something more. When did we forget to iron lace our prayers with divine expectancy? When did we stop believing in our own words? Do we truly believe our prayers are going somewhere and to someone who can help us; but most importantly, do we believe He Will?

  

This blog post helps lay out praying with expectation in a simple, easy to understand and follow way. I came across it searching for clarification for myself on this topic. http://www.walkingbarefoot.com/writings/PWE.htm

We can choose how we respond or initiate contact or response with our Creator. We know He will pursue us. How will we react to this? What season are we in? 

  

This year, let’s respond with gratitude with faith and expectancy of what He will do. Even if He doesn’t. Because I love this concept from Shadrach, Messach, and Abindigo in the Old Testament. 

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:15-18).

We also know that God does not always guarantee that we will never suffer or experience death, but He does promise to be with us always. We should learn that in times of trial and persecution our attitude should reflect that of these three young men: “But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:18). Without question, these are some of the most courageous words ever spoken.

http://www.gotquestions.org/Shadrach-Meshach-Abednego.html

That is a prayer worth praying. 

#makeitcountin2016

Article that changed my prayer life: http://bronlea.com/2013/08/06/one-little-word-that-radically-changed-my-prayers/

Photo Credits:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjh0ovgsazKAhVH1GMKHVcYDasQjB0IBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fellowshipcrc.net%2F2014%2F09%2F22%2Fthe-next-great-awakening-prayer-gathering%2F&psig=AFQjCNHl_Oi8nVbuj_WFE5B1Rx-vDjQQfg&ust=1452966906340167&rct=j

http://www.firstcovers.com/user/796738/footprints+in+the+sand.html

No Offense

It is a hard thing to forgive offenses. It really is.  I wish it were easier for me and more in my nature. I think it is to a certain extent for some people, but the tolerance level for others can be considerably…shorter. Unfortunately, these people are sometimes (okay, often. Okay, mostly) the people we live with and/or closest to. Not always. People who have wronged us in the past and made us painfully aware that people are not always on our side. Those who do not believe in the same ideals or hold our same beliefs don’t always gain our trust so easily. Sometimes we are paranoid out of fear or protection. Protection from rejection. From pain. Because really, who wants that? 

  
Except that God never promised us a life that was free from pain. I seemed to find myself upset with Him when things would happen and I didn’t get it. I still don’t get it but I get this much. The more I try to understand the why behind every corner and obsess about where I am supposed to be going; the more I am going to miss what God is trying to show me in front of my face. I can choose where to look, but I can’t blame God for an outcome I can control. 

  
I was talking to my Mom tonight about experiencing the Bible, and she was explaining to me how God can show you themes throughout the Bible, even if you have read it at many different times throughout your life; and God can show you something new. God has shown me a recurring theme of forgiveness. Esau forgave Jacob after his deceit and trickery cost him his birthright.  Joseph forgave his brothers after they treated him with unspeakable cruelty and betrayal. David forgave Saul and showed mercy on his descendants because of his incredible heart of mercy that is a reflection of God’s heart. The father welcomed home his bedraggled and humiliated prodigal son who had nothing left but was treasured more than precious jewels. 

And Jesus said to, so that deserves some weight. There must be a good reason. We don’t usually make rules just to torture our children. (Even though they would most likely disagree) We do it because we know what is best for them and how to protect them from dangers they can’t predict or see themselves. That’s our job, or part of it. We must let offenses go and walk in forgiveness to keep our hearts healthy and our spirits joyful and open to experiencing joy and achieving peace.

Because who wouldn’t want that, really? 
The best book I have ever read on this hands down and changed my whole perspective on this was Bait of Satan, by John Bevere. I don’t make a dime off any of this, just sharing where I learned so much about this topic! 

https://www.google.com/search?q=bait+of+satan&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari

  
Photo Credits:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjagaCt-KXKAhUKymMKHfOEC6sQjB0IBQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbrianmickelson.wordpress.com%2F2013%2F12%2F31%2Foffended-at-church%2F&psig=AFQjCNFxDbNUEOzp6XZNIcMluuuOuTS9Aw&ust=1452745293738259&rct=j

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjagaCt-KXKAhUKymMKHfOEC6sQjB0IBQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbrianmickelson.wordpress.com%2F2013%2F12%2F31%2Foffended-at-church%2F&psig=AFQjCNFxDbNUEOzp6XZNIcMluuuOuTS9Aw&ust=1452745293738259&rct=j

The Shelf

Oh, the invisible, yet almost tangible, emotional shelf where we tend to put our problems that we want God to help us with. It should be a one way only shelf.  Like a laundry shoot! (Only would it go upward… these are the things I think about sometimes) I wish my shelf were like the doors at my doctor’s office and once I shut the door, they were gone forever. (Gross, sorry, but I do have a point) Unfortunately, I tend to open the door and pick these problems right back up (sometimes minutes after setting them down).  Because worrying over them does soo much more good, right? Yes, I know it doesn’t. Well, my head knows it doesn’t.  So why is my heart so stubborn?  Or, is it the other way around?  I don’t even know anymore.

jesus-king-or-consultant

I heard something recently that challenged my thinking.  Do I expect God to be more like a genie?  It sounded crazy at first, but then I delved deeper. I began to realize that I had, indeed, fallen into this trap.  I tended to call on God in the tough times more, begging for an intervention to my problem. I would pray more diligently during the times when I didn’t have an answer and desperately sought one.  I was more aware of my need for a Savior when I needed a rescue.  I would become frustrated when it didn’t happen almost immediately or the way I thought it needed to. Sometimes, God was so good that He would take care of the problem or situation.  Once that time had passed, my Israelite mentality seemed to take over almost automatically and put the lamp back on the shelf. I always worshiped and thanked God, but soon the light wasn’t quite there like it had been before. I began to feel stagnant in my walk again. I certainly didn’t want anymore of the bad things to happen! What in the world was I doing? If I were God and I wanted a relationship with me, I could certainly see what I would do to get my attention!  Good thing His ways are higher than mine.

Enough.  The enemy tried to convince me that I was the only one who felt this way and was alone.  But he was wrong.  Again. There was a whole tribe who shared this attitude.

whining

Ah, our favorite peeps, the Israelites. We read their stories now and think how ridiculous they must have been to doubt God when a freaking sea parted for them. Or how they got mana on the ground every morning for 40 years. Or how they got sick of waiting on Moses (a/k/a Charlton Heston in my mind) up on old Mount Sinai and decided to make a golden calf because they needed something tangible.  What?? Or how they wanted to go back into slavery because at least they knew what to expect rather than to trust God with their unknown future. Sounds really stupid… yea.  Really stupid. I mean, that’s completely foreign to me… except that it is a personal struggle of my own.  I have a fear of the unknown and a need to control it. Which makes NO sense at all.  Hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t judge them so harshly. (Except for the Red Sea thing, I mean come on!) A 150 mile, one month trip took 40 years because of their lack of faith. (And we thought Gilligan had it rough!)

In all sincerity, what a sobering thought. How easily and quickly the enemy can manipulate us and turn our faith into fear.  Our reassurances into questions.  The pit of our stomachs from secure into a melting pot of butterflies and churning waves of dread.  He loves to steal our peace and shove our previously placed cares in front of Jesus’s feet right back at us, snarling with laughter.  Let’s fight back by refusing to worry and taking these verses to heart:

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22), and “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7).

Contained within these two verses are several amazing truths: God will sustain us, He will never let us fall, and He cares for us. Taken one at a time, we see first that God declares both His ability and His willingness to be our strength and support—mentally, emotionally and spiritually. He is able (and best of all, willing!) to take everything that threatens to overwhelm us and use it for our benefit. He has promised to “work all things together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Even at times when we doubt Him, He is still working for our good and His glory. And He has also promised that He will allow no trial to be so great we cannot bear it and that He will provide a means of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). By this, He means that He will not let us fall, as He promised in Psalm 55:22.

http://www.gotquestions.org/turn-over-to-God.html

May we leave our cares where they truly belong today and find peace beyond all understanding from the One who truly cares for us.

images

Photo Credits:

https://honestaboutmyfaith.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/jesus-are-you-sure-thats-the-right-answer/

http://who-god-is.com/dont-be-a-whiner-and-complainer-like-the-israelites-were

3d Isolated Empty Shelf for Exhibit on Red Wallpaper Background

Memory Tree 2016

I decided I am leaving our tree up all year long in 2016. Yep. No, not because I’m lazy. (Although I have considered how nice it will be not to haul the thing back up the narrow attic stairs. Okay, my husband haul the thing back up the narrow attic stairs.😉) Because this Christmas was so significant to us this year, and it had nothing to do with any of the celebrations  or presents (although they were cherished and brighter this year). It had everything to do with the One whose birthday we were celebrating. Jesus. Our Healer.

  
I have been known to have an “Old Testament Israelite” mentality in the past. I was quick to forget the miracles and slow to remember in whom I should place my faith in. Mostly that it was not myself or others. Apparently, I need documentation so I can recall past events better. Well, this year I will have a tree to remind me. 

  
It’s not just a Christmas tree. It’s a Giving Thanks Memory Tree. All year. Each month, the kids and I plan to make ornaments about significant events, lessons, and or memories we made during those 30 plus days. December should bring a tree full of all kinds of unique ornaments that have meaning to each of us. But we won’t have to wait until December to be reminded of these things. We can look at them any day of the year. Because sometimes tangible reminders are good for this Sanguine. 😄

  
It’s a new year. New starts, do-overs, chances to try something different or keep on keeping on on a path that is working for you. New = Potential. And Potential = Hope. (Nicky Math) Hope is pretty important to us humans (especially parents and teachers). I will set goals this year and try to achieve them, but even if I don’t, my focus is that my faith continues to grow. I know that it will if I choose to walk down that “western” path. I heard a beautiful message this morning that inspired me. Here is the link:

http://www.life.church/watch/healed/
I must choose which path I will take. Do I really believe He is God and His Word is true? That was a decision I had to make for myself. I chooseto believe what He said in Jeremiah when He promised His plans for our lives are good. They are plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Plans for hope and a future. Pretty exciting and fitting for a new year. ❤️😄😇

Happy 2016.

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