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Seeking Sonshine

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

Month

April 2016

The Kingdom of Uncertainty

Warning: Painful Truths Ahead. Proceed With Caution!

I am a professional What-ifer. If only it paid well to analyze a situation, try to imagine every possible problem and then proceed to craft a plan for each scenario. (so pretty much a mother and/or wife. Or worse…both!) However, sometimes it is the thing that you never saw coming that changes your whole perspective on everything. I finally realized that I had an intense fear of the unknown, and it was hindering my ability to learn how to trust God fully. (Or at least more than I was in that moment!) I had to make a decision. Was I going to accept that I am not able to fix or control everything? Can I live with the fact that someday it will come together in a way that I will really like? I thought I was flexible…until the one day I noticed that I was not


It was time to cut the crap and figure out how to be a better Christian or give it up. Because disappointment and fear is a horrible place to dwell for even a moment. 

It is so easy to run with my emotions when I feel justified in something. What did I believe and why did I believe it? What am I willing to cling to at my core? Was it God? Or was it what I knew I could produce from my hands and out of my perceived control over an issue. No one can believe enough to believe for us. It is our cross to bear if we choose to.

Corrie ten Boom’s quote that is posted above is one of those passages that you hear and strikes you directly in the heart and you know it has special meaning for you, personally. If the unknown is causing me to react out of fear and desperation, it was clear that I needed something known to hold onto. When my world is shaken without my consent. When prayers go unanswered. When nothing seems fair and you are exhausted from the experience itself. I need a fortress. A shelter of peace in a Kingdom of Uncertainty. A beautiful church to find soul sanctuary. To find rest. 

The sea of strife is filled with trouble. Waves of anger and fear crash against a sandy foundation that keeps moving in hopes of not being destroyed by the intensity and span of the pressure from the waves. 

How Firm a Foundation Hymn

1 How firm a foundation you saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent Word!

What more can he say than to you he has said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

2 “Fear not, I am with you, O be not dismayed, for I am your God, and will still give you aid;

I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

3 “When through the deep waters I call you to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow, for I will be with you in trouble to bless, and sanctify to you your deepest distress.

4 “When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie, my grace all-sufficient shall be your supply; the flame shall not hurt you; I only design your dross to consume and your gold to refine.

5 “The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose I will not, I will not desert to its foes; that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no, never, no never forsake!”

Source: Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #427
http://www.hymnary.org/text/how_firm_a_foundation_ye_saints_of


The Israelite army had a similar showdown with the fear of the unknown during a time when they faced the actual giant of fear. And his name was Goliath. Goliath was more than a bully. He was an accuser of the brethren. For 40 days, Goliath made a special appearance twice a day to the Israelites; and talked so much trash, he would make the modern day NBA players look like Bible College Teammates. 

He laughed at their fear and relished in their cowardness. He had a way of captivating his audience with his mere presence. I am sure he wouldn’t have needed any technological advances to be heard. But David, the man after God’s own heart, was the only believer who was willing to put his money where his mouth was. He had a big time trust in who God said he was and took a MASSIVE step of faith when he bent down and grabbed the first smooth stone from the cool waters. Why was it so massive? Because it was the moment that he surrendered his fears on the altar of the Almighty One and agreed. 


Agreement is powerful. It strengthens, fortifies, relieves, transforms and creates relationships. Powerful memories (or “core memories,” like Disney’s hit Inside Out portrayed) are made with things like these processes mentioned above. It brings us closer and gives us our own memories to fall back on and evidence that we can never forget who has been guiding us all along. Even when it didn’t make sense, or turned out like we’d secretly hoped for. Do we believe God when He tells us in His Word that He will work anything out for His Good? It is a place I had to hang out and figure out my answer to that question. My husband always tells me an examined faith is a much deeper level of faith. Seekers do this. They long to discover something hidden, special and just for them. But they have to choose whether they can believe without seeing first. The first step is the hardest in Seeking Sonshine. 😄 But the last step will solidify that God really does have a plan. Just because some of the box is covered doesn’t mean we are missing anything. We just can’t see how the puzzle is going to work within itself to produce a picture worth printing on a puzzle. But Someone knows it is totally worth it!  😄❤️😇🌹

Photo Credits:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjrv6ygsKvMAhXINiYKHZ3MDckQjhwIBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fstartingoverworkshops.com%2F2014%2F04%2F10%2Ftrusting-god-in-the-unknown%2F&psig=AFQjCNETdGFq9VbN6R53a1RAJmsae0lMeQ&ust=1461728257664975&rct=j

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjNx9r5savMAhXK4CYKHZTDAp8QjhwIBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gwensmith.net%2Ftrusting-god-with-your-tomorrows%2F&psig=AFQjCNETdGFq9VbN6R53a1RAJmsae0lMeQ&ust=1461728257664975&rct=j

http://www.businessinsider.com/malcolm-gladwell-goliath-was-the-underdog-not-david-2014-6

Why Mentorship Matters

There have been people who have spoken into my life and shared valuable wisdom that he or she possessed to me:  A naive girl trying to find her way in life. Whether it was a teacher, a boss, or a chance encounter; I believe with all my heart that they were each messengers from Heaven.

Only God could know how to send people across my path to find kinship with, a connection to, and close friendship. And all of these people came into my life either during a personal storm, right before or right after. So you know, anytime. 😄 Because we are always one phone call or text away from a crisis. But we have the choice to choose how we will handle it. Because we serve and love a God who is always grooming us, so we can evolve to the better people He called us to be. 

Because of this, I believe He sends some of His best messengers to guide us along the well beaten path of storms and valleys in our lives. The amazing part about our God is that He will let us play any part we want in life. If we choose to become a person who opens his or her heart to the Lord and asks to be used for His glory; He will use us to play major leading roles in people’s lives. All it takes is a desire to recognize, hear and respond to the voice of Jesus. Our Shepherd.

  
The people who have mentored me have changed my life for the better. I am better because of people who have shown me a better way to exist in many different ways. They gave me a shot when I didn’t ask for or deserve it. They saw something in me and knew they could help me in a way I may not have realized I needed it. I am so grateful to those who invested in me. My parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, sister, husband, children, friends, teachers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and leaders in the organizations I have belonged or currently belong to. I will never be able to express my gratitude and appreciation for you. I hope that someday in Heaven, we can kick back, drink coffee in our mansions and make new memories forever. Thank you. ❤️

For giving me hope when I had none. For seeing me as the woman I hope to become. For listening and caring about me. For trying to help me fix my problems and for teaching me how to deal with things the right way. For your wisdom, love, leadership and example, thank you. You made a difference in my life. You change people’s lives and destinies. What else could be higher in the world we live in? You are more interested in legacies and leaving the world a better place because you existed. Wow!!!! You are the diamonds and riches and priceless beyond measure. 

More importantly, you set an example. You lead with your actions and speak from your heart. You inspire me to rise higher, dream bigger, and go further than I ever would on my own. You took the time to give me teachable moments. (Madam State Regent Denslow. ❤️) You make me a better person in all of my roles: daughter, wife, mother, parent, teacher, leader, employee, executive board member, friend, relative, and possibly the most important, servant and volunteer. 

It was you that taught me to see beyond myself and care more about others. It matters what we do and don’t do in this life. Investing in others is a great way to find true fulfillment of a calling or desire. It is when we care about others and value them above ourselves that we feel nearest to God, in my opinion. I think it is because we are most Christlike when we forgive and love others with a genuine heart. That is freedom, friends! That’s why His yoke is easy and burden is light. We are only here for a short time in the grand scheme of things. We can choose to spend it weighed down with meaningless yokes in the face of eternity (or even 1,000 years from now); or we can make the very most of our experience here on Earth and invest in the only thing we can take with us to eternity. People.

You taught me to go out of my way for people and let them know how much I appreciate and love them. You showed me how donating my gifts and talents to a cause really can make a difference and helped me believe that I can make a difference. You gave me hope. There is no greater gift. Thank you. ❤️😇

  
Photo Credits:

https://wayj4.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/jesus-shepherd-christian-parenting/

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwi6ytGL8JPMAhWE5yYKHZyVD4MQjhwIBQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.com%2Fpin%2F18014467235996659%2F&psig=AFQjCNFwWEeU0cTFt54Oirazb1ve5WKpBA&ust=1460920758091770&rct=j

An Open Letter to my Daughter

My Punkin Bear (she’s gonna LOVE me for this someday),

You’re five years old right now and not that crazy about listening to me for a very long time. 🙂 But, there is much I would like to tell you and someday you will be able to read it. This is a letter to your future self. 

If I could give you one secret that I have personally discovered that makes this life much more pleasant. There are a million wishes and gifts I wish to bestow upon you, but if I had to sum them up it would be two words. 

Be generous.

  

With everything. Your time. Your patience. Your money. Your heart. Your love. Your forgiveness. Your gifts and talents, and your life. Be generous with everything you have to offer this world for a time such as this. The calling is great. And scary. 

When it comes to the unknown, better to err on the side of generosity. If you go out of your way for people, you will find the road you are now on is not so broad and crowded like before. 

  

  

It’s not about us. It’s about Who is in us. The sooner you figure this out, the better your life will be.

  
Choosing a life verse for you is too hard, so I narrowed it down as best I could. 

“So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice. I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.”

‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭3:9-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.com/111/1ki.3.9-10,12.niv

Seek discernment. Desire wisdom along with information. Educate yourself with truth and try to separate truth from feeling. (This may be difficult at times and pretty sure that is my bad, so sorry about that one!) Don’t write people off. Learn from my mistakes, please. God can use and change anybody, and none of us are too far from grace if we can ask for it.

Share your faith. Live it out. Make mistakes. Learn from them. Try not to repeat them. Heal and help others in the same areas you have struggled with. Seek constantly. Find answers to questions you formulate. Be part of a movement that means something to you. Let yourself change. Care about others’ welfare. Help people out when they need it most. This takes listening and caring to other people. Develop empathy and cherish it. You will be able to connect with people like you would never believe, and it makes anything seem possible. Find something that destresses you that is healthy. Take care of yourself, attend appointments and remember to do your best. 

Try Everything just like our favorite song at the moment. And always sing it LOUD! Bam What? (Little Liv & Maddie humor there)

And always wear clean underwear. 

Love,  

The lucky girl who got to be Emmy’s Mom ❤️
Photo Credits:

http://www.theunitive.com/choose-generosity/

http://quotesgram.com/henry-thoreau-quotes-path/

10 Prayers For Your Daughter

Am I Allowed to Feel Angry at God?

Sometimes things happen that shatter our world completely. Like glass, pieces of our heart, soul, and our very lives we have been living come to a halt. Like someone dropped a piece of glass from over his or her head, and let it go about six feet or so. Suddenly, fragments of former perfect looking pieces that came together to provide a function are now mangled forever and cracked in places that were not visible before the crash occurred. 

  
It is not fun when it is a glass, vase, plate or something of sentimental value. What about when the piece of glass represents our souls, hearts and minds? 

When we are overwhelmed and defeated. Nothing we can do makes a difference so I start to replay things I could have done better and if I had, would it have changed one of the most commonly feared outcome..would they have lived? Would they still have left? Would something I could have done made a difference? Would it have mattered, or did we never have real control of a spiritual outcome with our human nature?

This is the point of no return. (Phantom of the Opera for ya) You can choose if the God you perceive working in your life is a believable God or a betraying God. 

It’s something every person will have to choose for himself or herself. No one can make it for us, have enough faith to cover us, or be able to pray it over us enough. God will always be God because He is Sovereign.  There is really nothing us humans can change about that. So we have to choose how we let it go from here. It’s personal.

  

Someone got angry with God. His name was Job. Job had a pretty great thing going and then all of a sudden, the devil strikes a deal in heaven and BAM! All hell begins to breaks loose. Finally, he had HAD it. 

“Does it please you [God] to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the schemes of the wicked?” Job 10:3

“Surely, O God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household.” Job 16:7

“He [God] throws me into the mud, and I am reduced to dust and ashes. I cry out to you, O God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.” Job 30:19-20

“Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defence – let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing.” Job 31:35

“As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made me taste bitterness of soul…” Job 27:1

“…then know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me. Though I cry, ‘I’ve been wronged!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice.” Job 19:6-7

Most people could see that he was getting punked in Bible Times and even his wife says Curse God. But, he couldn’t. Because his God was the beginning and the end for Job. Job was the most righteous man on Earth. And he certainly proved that he deserved the title, but shows us how we can follow in his footsteps ourselves. 

“Job can be seen as a metaphor of the suffering believer. How Job reacts to God’s test says something about how we should react to trials. The book asks us to consider our faith. Would we continue to trust God, to love God with all our heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37-38) — even while suffering for reasons we don’t understand?” – 

https://www.gci.org/bible/job/trial

What is our answer? We consider our faith. After the first round of testing Believer Round 1, Job gets boils (cannot be fun) and everything he hears is pretty much horrible news after more horrible news. He had to have been numb by this point. But yet, look at his response. 

“After these terrible tragedies strike Job, he tears his robe and shaves his head. He falls to the ground in worship, saying, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” The author of the book of Job is careful to point out, “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” –

https://www.gci.org/bible/job/trial

He chose to praise God. When there is not an ounce of yourself that feels like it. Because your life depends on it. Praise and prayer change things. Permanently. Especially when it’s impossible. We must ask Him to give us faith when we don’t have enough. It’s a promise He gave us. And all we need is the size of a mustard seed to move mountains.

  

Article Credits:

Get angry at God: Job did

Photo Credits:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwi6y5KG2oDMAhUHgYMKHbAjCYwQjhwIBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ucreative.com%2Ffreebies%2F12-high-resolution-shattered-glass-photoshop-brushes%2F&psig=AFQjCNHIhzJQ4o4u1Sk_5b0krzQGOTWErw&ust=1460261997796445&rct=j

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwiIsZz23IDMAhXGlYMKHXWRC5EQjhwIBQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.com%2Fpin%2F558587160002217415%2F&psig=AFQjCNHD4c0_fnJI-tEcyw4w4ADkSsOmqQ&ust=1460262605486766&rct=j

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwiAxsPk44DMAhVlnIMKHYIyCscQjhwIBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fchristianitymalaysia.com%2Fwp%2Fworship-accord-ministry-1-a-m%2F&psig=AFQjCNGZ6ybOUKiO6RsfV6N0V5eiK3CfpA&ust=1460264596300049&rct=j

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