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Seeking Sonshine

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

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August 2016

Heavenly Shades of Grey

I met Amanda at SheSpeaks 2016. Her writing is so beautiful and from the heart. ❤️ Love this!

Miss Amanda K

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

“Are you wearing THAT?!”

My mom grimaced as she took in the image of my not so modest hemline.

“Isn’t it cute?!”

I ignored her and redirected her focus to the beautiful blue and purple floral design adorning my body.

“Yes, I love the flowers but there’s just not much to it honey”.

She was right. It was mid-August and I used the southern summer heat as an excuse to wear a romper that was a couple flowers too short.

Even though I knew this particular outfit wasn’t something a Christian woman should strut around town in, there were other times when the answer didn’t seem so clear. Modesty is a matter of opinion after all. Why wasn’t there a sidebar to the Ten Commandments that said “Thou shalt not wear rompers…

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Happily Ever After – Part 3 of 3

“Happily Ever After” were three of my most favorite words growing up. Back then, it meant that everything worked out in the end and everyone was happy! ❤️ The story that was being told was over, and this was closure for us kids. Somehow, this Disney ending worked its way into my brain as an achievable goal at some point in time. It began to set itself up as a standard for me to achieve or a destination to arrive upon. Our enemy loves to distort our lives with pictures from his deadly arsenal of comparison. 


Comparing with others is an absolute guarantee for failure. Someone who understood the importance of comparing with a “God Lens” instead of a worldly one makes all the difference in the world. 

I love this particularly great article that features Gideon in detail. 

http://blessedtransgressions.org/trusting-god-when-it-seems-illogical/
It really spoke to me where I am at right now. 

“…fear doesn’t make you a weak leader, but it’s what you do in spite of fear that makes you a great leader!” – Debbie Kitterman

It is hard to step out into the unknown. So many voices of doubt and fear. If only getting rid of fear was a one time forever deal, am I right? It is a myriad of choice after choice trying to hear God’s footsteps and follow in the right direction. Every step we can. (I am pretty sure He accounts for us running back the other direction sometimes!) 

It’s all about our heart. Not our feelings. Not our emotions. Not even logic, sometimes. God defies all human expectations. We have to accept that to some degree and stop trying to treat Him like a genie who grants wishes or a punching bag when we need one. (I am definitely including myself in the “we” referenced above. 😄)

Gideon sought the Lord prior to battle. Not as a last resort that all you have left is prayer… When you look at what you have to conquer and you forget Who is in you to help out, it makes any task seem impossible. Overwhelming. Unachievable. But, when we remember who is in us, we realize we only need 300 soldiers with God instead of 32,000.

“Gideon begins his leadership with religious reform in his own household by destroying idols worshipped by his own family and the local community. A brave act at the time, requiring the cover of darkness. The most memorable part of Gideon’s story is his “putting out the fleece,” seeking validation of God’s direction prior to proceeding into battle. Once Gideon is assured, God pares his army down from 32,000 to a mere 300. God again gives Gideon confidence by allowing him to overhear a conversation expressing fear in the Midianite camp. The attack ensues with a victory for God through Gideon’s leadership. Gideon leads many more successful battles, freeing Israel from the nomad invasion. The Israelites desire to give Gideon and his family a royal appointment over the nation. Gideon refuses saying, “the Lord will rule over you” (Judges 8:23). Now if the story had ended here, Gideon would go down in history as a flawless leader. However, truth prevails in God’s Word and the rest of Gideon’s story is less praiseworthy.

Here are the business lessons I take away from this story:
Ordinary people can do extraordinary things when we follow God’s lead.

We need to enter the battlefield with a pure heart.

God gives us assurance and encouragement when we need and ask for them.

Power corrupts.

Our legacy is not dependent on battles won today, but rather living life with integrity and going the distance with God.” – Jim Mullaney

http://atworkonpurpose.org/gideon-a-man-of-complexity/

Sometimes, actually doing the tasks and being obedient is so much easier than we told ourselves it would be when we put it off over and over. (Not speaking from experience or anything…😉)


It’s time. Let’s do this. Let’s step out into our calling with JOY and a heart of gratitude for giving us the gift of another day to make a difference where we are. ❤️
Photo Credits:

The Dangers of Comparison | Four Tips to Overcome the Trap

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwj9yoLgvMfOAhXJeCYKHZHcAcsQjhwIBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.christianquotes.info%2Fimages%2Fjack-hyles-quote-gods-calling-for-us%2F&psig=AFQjCNEzAYP6A5UcjbOzthAfh_OOc2aPDA&ust=1471489410410927&rct=j

The Plot Twists – Part 2 of 3

There is something comforting about knowing that great heroes of faith dealt with some pretty epic plot twists of their own. We, the reader, know these stories from beginning to the end. Sometimes, we forget or neglect that the individuals living the story out in real time are not privy to the end of the story. Their decisions were not based on the outcome. They  don’t know about the twists in their life that are yet to be unfolded. 

We, on the other hand,  base their choices on knowing the end result. The people living it only had the information in their own here and now for them to rely on. When the whale swallowed Jonah, I’ll bet he never saw himself sitting in a dark, smelly, unheard of place one day. I’ll bet Job never forgot the last kiss he gave his daughter before she died. I’ll bet Mary and Martha felt enormous grief as all their hope slipped away just like Lazarus’ fingers had just done from their grasp. He was gone. They mourned that Jesus had not shown up in time. 
But what does God do if He knows we are going to choose something that is not the way He imagined? Pretty sure He already knows and based on Him seeing the main plot line in my life, works it for His good.  He knew I would fail my test. He knows that I will soon pass it when I choose to retake it. (Hopefully it will only take one more time.) Problem. Disappointment. Failure. Not Enough. Did not pass.


These moments come now and will continue to come in the future, sometimes unexpectedly. How we react and recover are up to us.

First, we must ask for discernment to discover what we are experiencing this for: Is it something I brought on myself (consequence of choices), is it unfair and unreasonable? What is the determined root cause of this problem? 

Sometimes we require these moments because we need to listen, comprehend and apply what God is trying to tell us. He has to reach us at a level that will change us forever if we choose to let ourselves be used to change the world. 

Sometimes, it may be because we are on the  wrong  path and we need to turn around and make an exit. 

Sometimes, it is to build patience, obedience, perseverance and authenticity in our own each individual faith journey. This should be out goal:

2 Timothy 4:7 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

7 I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.

We must be diligent in prayer and praise. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Hard to make that verse personal to you when you only operate in the realm of your comfort zone. Why would you need Jesus if you got this, man? 

We must discern if the difficulties we encounter are worth the calling or the investment. Because they could be a sign that we are about to make big mistakes, or they could be spiritual opposition attacks on your calling. Here is a sample checklist to run through for your consideration)

1. What kind of problem am I experiencing? Can I identify the source? (Consequences of choices I made, deserved, undeserved, the motivation behind this problem is bigger than me) Or, is it a spiritual attack on someone’s calling?

2. Have I done something or opened a door to become vulnerable to anything unholy or unacceptable? 

3. What lessons are God implementing in my life through the plot twists that appear? 

4. Do I truly believe He can do this? Really? Do you?

Pray. Ask for whatever you need in His Father’s Name. (He already knows you need it, anyways.) Lord, is this mountain climbable for me? Are You going to move it, or should I go around it? What is your plan and what is my role? 

Then, we wait until we get our answers. We may not ever get them. (Positivity, right!) Seek wisdom out. Be wise. Don’t let a good mistake get away without learning something valuable. 
Define your opposition and recognize the strategy. 


Photo Credits:

http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/you-did-not-pass-your-test/

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwizsJb5sL3OAhVCSiYKHS1vAMEQjhwIBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.toughchurchplanting.com%2Fjust-finish%2F&psig=AFQjCNErFD2vLRcDSuIweZO6195CJ5LfnQ&ust=1471142919798514&rct=j

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2F2.bp.blogspot.com%2F-xiSoFIaDdm4%2FUktv_em9deI%2FAAAAAAAAJak%2FpikDUaF5ZlU%2Fs1600%2FKnow%2BYour%2BEnemy.png&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwomenarise1.blogspot.com%2F2013%2F10%2Fknow-your-enemy.html&docid=nYDkOjoHQUYD-M&tbnid=N9Yy_3Qj-DuIMM%3A&w=600&h=530&hl=en-us&client=safari&bih=559&biw=375&ved=0ahUKEwi6oJntuL3OAhVDKyYKHf-TBk0QMwhUKBUwFQ&iact=mrc&uact=8

 

For Such A Time As This – Part 1 of 3

Esther is pretty awesome. I have always admired her story and her bravery. She lived in a time when her predecessor, Queen Vashti, was made to be an example of women who do not respect their husbands because she did not come when her husband wanted her to. She, in turn, was banished. Banished! 

Esther had a lot more that was considered “wrong for a woman” than Vashti. Maybe Vashti was having a bad hair day. King Xerxes wanted to show her off and maybe she had a mani/pedi scheduled and no one interrupts her “me” time, perhaps. Or maybe she was asleep or it could have been really humid. Maybe she forgot to take her makeup off so she may have looked truly terrifying with smeared eyeliner and bed head when he wanted to “show off her beauty.” Whatever it was, it earned her a one way ticket to splitsville and the First Bachelor begins. 

Esther’s parents had passed away when she was young, and her Uncle Mordecai took her in as his own daughter. She was very beautiful. (I picture her as resembling  Vivien Leigh or Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly blend of beauty) This was a woman who had felt loss and knew danger. I imagine she felt much gratitude to Mordecai, but also was scared he was signing her death warrant. The same man who saved her life when her parents died was the same one asking her to give it up for her people years later. Talk about fear of the unknown… 


There is more to beauty than lines on a face or numbers on a scale. There really is. It is hard to accept myself, some days. But, Esther had outward beauty enhanced by an inward glow that demanded attention. And eventually received attention from King Xerxes, himself.

How can we attain a beauty like Esther? The outward illumination of a well fed soul inside is evidence of Christ like Beauty in someone’s life. 

http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/a-different-beautiful/

I love this story that a Mom shares about her daughter. Courtney and Breanna’s story is a heart wrenching one, painted with grace. http://www.courtneywestlake.com/our-story/

They both have an Esther like based on Christ like Beauty. Let’s define this as follows: Perseverance, aided by the choices made thoughtfully in prayer and words written in Scripture, will remind us daily (and/or several times a day!) how beautiful we are in and through Christ. 


Will we answer the call when it is our turn to step up? 

This is the choice we have to make before anything can happen. What do we truly believe? Is it worth my life? These are questions that demand our attention. We must wrestle with our faith and finally get to and then stay in a place where God is perfecting and refining our faith instead of handing it out to us over and over again because we are all out. 

What is our answer?

Part 1 of 3

Photo Credits:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=web&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwiv-4_90LbOAhWBPCYKHSoOBZ0QjhwIBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fbreakingmatzo.com%2Fphilosophy%2Festher-moses-finding-true-self-palace%2F&psig=AFQjCNEQuUWf3wNCShwXFR2-ZHjCH3TPCw&ust=1470911077995181

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwijqp3C0rbOAhUGMGMKHZETAEcQjhwIBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fslideplayer.com%2Fslide%2F4303924%2F&psig=AFQjCNFxMi4ykLlRBvAuZ2eOFJTW3GxEiA&ust=1470911476134691&rct=j

Choosing the Birthright

My life has taken multiple directions the past few years. Most recently, it has turned in an amazing career path change as a teacher. I have been in training for the past few days and have had to examine some hard truths about myself that have I been long overdue with dealing with. (Who knows what I am saying?)

I need to plan. And be able to follow a plan. Stick something through and finish strong. Hmmm. Let’s just say, for example, that if issues I am struggling with and putting off were classified as items in a refrigerator; then these areas I just described would be the take-out you forgot about that you don’t want to talk about because that would mean accepting that this situation is something you might identify with. I know I am capable of doing more than I can imagine with Christ in me. So why have I waited so long to confront and resolve these issues? Well, they’re hard and I am a person of habits. Also, I fight laziness and procrastination with things that don’t sound fun sometimes. I am sooooo not perfect or even close. (Sorry if you expected more from this blogger, lol!)  

Planning and executing are not this Sanguine’s best traits when I am not walking in the Spirit. (Which obviously I am not doing since I am experiencing some rebellion coming from somewhere. Like my waistline.) Obviously, I am not blind to the many benefits it would have on my life. And I can tell you why I have not been successful in this area. I fight procrastination and perfectionism a lot. It is not fun. Sometimes, it’s like I sabotage myself for failure before I even start. 

So what do you do when the struggle is real? Take the Spirit to your struggle. Make sure you also fight the right spirit responsible for your struggle.



I posted a couple of videos from one of my favorite pastors, Pastor Steven Furtick from Elevation Church in North Carolina and the world via Internet, on the Seeking Sonshine Blog’s Facebook page (https://m.facebook.com/seekingsonshine) this past week.

I shared these for two reasons. 

1.) The first one I posted conveyed the message, “Talk TO Your problem. Christ is in you. You are enough.” – Steven Furtick

Because sometimes we need to be reminded of the power we have access to. This includes the power to help make lasting changes, successfully.

2.) “The same struggle that you’re taking as a sign that you’re going to be destroyed is actually a sign that you’re going to be delivered. Because if the devil could have destroyed you, he would have by now. The fact that you’re still struggling is a sign that you’re going to make it (see Philippians 1:28).” – Steven Furtick

We must pray and seek God as to who our real enemy is behind lasting change when it feels too far beyond reach. We have all heard the Bible Verse that with God, anything is possible. But has it been a personal statement confirmed for us by God, Himself? In other words, have we ever had a time when we HAD to rely on God to come through, and He did? And what if we feel He hasn’t come through for us in the past? We need to get this right. We need to pray and seek perspective on our situations and figure them out with God’s help. The struggle and uncomfortableness is worth it. It is so easy to make a kid do something when we know the outcome is worth the struggle. But we often miss it in our own lives. 

Let’s ask for help to conquer these major and minor struggles in our lives. I will need a way to help me with self discipline and willpower control. You know, things I have lived with for only 29 years now…. #yeahright #twentieslonggone

Part Three… Coming soon. ❤️
Photo Credits:

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/should-never-fear-keep-from-starting-over

https://www.pinterest.com/brooklyn000/a-daughter-of-the-king/

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/you-are-enough/

The Weight War

*This is a get real viewpoint on a major struggle for me. If you struggle with something similar or can relate to any of these messages, insert your own problem, issue or situation in and imagine the story your way. 😄

I am terrible at nutrition. Let’s just get that out of the way, first. I still want to eat like I did when I was 17 and I got kids to raise, ya’ll. They are getting too old and too smart to miss out on my poor diet choices, anymore. My daughter will straight up say a prayer for me if I order or drink a soda. She knows that it is terrible for me, and my mom has convinced her to drop everything and lift her Mama up in prayer because she has a seemingly incurable sweet tooth. Great example, I am not. I loathe the reaction my body has to being lazy. It is like it is out for display all the time for all the world to see. And condemn. And judge. Because that’s what  I hear is happening in my head and those are the things I believe. 

Why? I know who and where my problems are with and located. Sometimes I attack with tenacity and fortitude. Other times, I feel weak. I am vulnerable in the area of external beauty determining internal worth. Many attacks have great success because of my weakness in this area. I cannot seem to muster up enough of what I need to matter in order to tip the scales. (Pun intended)

 

http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-warfare/21447-6-defenses-to-help-you-immediately-win-in-spiritual-warfare

We know in this world, we will know trouble because of Jesus’ words in John 16:33. We know Jesus has overcome. But what does that actually look like? What is the root cause of this current predicament?  Hard Truth. I am pretty sure I am an emotional eater. Have I really replaced comfort with Jesus for my grandma’s tried and true spaghetti recipe? Surely not. I tell myself it is about family and traditions and less about calories and more nutritional substitutes. Except… It’s not. 

When my comfort comes in the form of something I produce from my own hands that requires no elements of trust in hands proven to be greater than my own; then it is a cheap substitute. A/K/A Idol alert. Something I can see and feel immediately but has serious drawbacks long term. And still, I choose my own results over God’s. I am just like the Israelites that we all now want to slap upside the head, but in my heart, I know I am no better. Modern day Israelite. Tied to my own standards that I cannot attain as the model for my biased opinion of others concerning me. Hmmmm. Sounds like something I get really mad at my husband when I have deemed he has done this to me. Maybe it is more than my own self I am frustrated with…

http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/27005-glean-from-these-bible-stories-to-achieve-better-weight-loss-results

So I am actually more of an Esau. Just who I want my Bible Twin to be….not. He definitely had his priorities out of whack. But how many times have I traded my bowl of stew for my birthright? Answer: Every time I listen to the enemy’s lies about who I am. I just hand it over time and time again like it’s nothing. And become stagnant about my own condition. Yikes. Time for a plan. 


Birthright over Bowel.

There is a sticky statement for you. 😄

The journey continues tomorrow…❤️

Please feel free to comment, follow, like, and share to whomever you think might be able to benefit from community, fellowship and encouragement against life’s spiritual battles. ❤️

Photo Credits:

New Fresh Tips For Winning The Weight Loss War

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&q=losing%20weight%20as%20a%20spiritual%20battle&ved=0ahUKEwi94Ym4xaLOAhUB4yYKHYDwB94QjhwIBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fquoteaddicts.com%2F887760&psig=AFQjCNGGZUjSVkorMwbkR2Atmd6rf5g8gQ&ust=1470220779389930&rct=j

http://www.ibelieve.com/faith/don-t-trade-your-blessings-for-a-bowl-let-god-fill-you-up.html

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