Friday, July 25, 2014

Five Minute Friday - I will Finish


Five Minute Friday

Joining the Five Minute Friday folks with Lisa Jo Baker for 5 minutes of beautiful, unedited, raw writing. Take some time and come join us. We need your story. You need your story. 
He needs your story. 

Today's word is...

Finish.

Mommy needs to finish this paper and then we’ll read a book.

As soon as I’m finished with the dishes…

Once I finish this call…

Once I’m finished with work…

After I finish this last trip report…

Let me finish this last email…

I have to finish this laundry and then we’ll go…

Can I please just finish this?

I will finish so I can start. 


I will finish so I can start being the wife He wants me to be.



I will finish so I can start being the mother He wants me to be.

I will finish so I can start being the daughter of Christ I need to be.

I will finish with the things that don’t matter so that I can start doing the things that do matter.


Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
 Ecclesiastes 7:8

Friday, July 11, 2014

I Belong to Him


Five Minute Friday
Joining the Five Minute Friday folks with Lisa Jo Baker for 5 minutes of unedited, raw writing. Take some time and come join us. We need your story. You need your story. He needs your story.

Today's word is...

Belong.


When I was a teenager I remember how desperately I wanted to belong.  I wanted to feel like I fit in and was accepted by the "in crowd". There were three basic groups – the jocks, the popular kids, and the “others”.  I remember trying so very hard to belong to one of the first two groups.  I played soccer and I was a cheerleader.  I didn't really like either one of those.  I only participated in them in order to belong to something.  I even begged my parents to buy me expensive clothes and the latest gadgets in an effort to fit in with the popular kids.  In the end, I can’t really say that I ever fulfilled my desire to belong in high school.

When I chose a college, I chose one that was far away from home.  I wanted to get far away from the groups of people that never made me feel like I belonged.  Once I got there, the "belong" process was about the same.  I experimented with different groups of people – mostly sororities.  I still wanted so badly to feel like I belonged.  After 1 year, several terrible choices, and not being selected for any of the sororities, I left college to move back home and attend a state school.  I never fulfilled my desire to belong in college.

About two years after I graduated high school, I set aside the college initiative and joined the Army.  Surely, I would fulfill my desire to belong as a member of an organization that was rich with history and tradition, fighting for our countries freedoms.  The Army, after all, is the ultimate melting pot of our melting pot country. Here, I found bits of my desire fulfilled – but never for very long.  Just when I felt like I belonged, new people would come, and my current leaders, peers, and friends would leave to their next assignment.  Then I was stuck trying to fit in… all over again.  I can’t say that anyone or anything made me feel like I didn't belong.  The experience just never quenched that longing desire. 

Then I found Jesus.  He gave me hope.  He gave me perspective.  He made me realize that no one thing and no one person can fulfill my desire to belong.  He made me realize that I was wasting an awful lot of energy on things that simply did not matter.  I was chasing after something that will never be fulfilled until I enter His kingdom.  He made me realize that the easiest way to fit in and belong is to be who I am – who he created me to be - and long for only Him.  

Now, my only real desire is to fit in with Him.  There is nothing I need to do to be accepted by Him, because I already have been.  I don’t need to be anything I am not, because He loves me just the way I am.  Whenever I feel like I don’t belong, I need only to close my eyes and pray and He will be remind that I DO belong to something.

I belong to Him.


If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
John 15:19 (NIV)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

10 Things I Have a Love/Hate Relationship With

1)  Waking up early
2)  The Disney movie Frozen
3)  Chocolate
4)  Cleaning my house
5)  Doing laundry
6)  Running
7)  Sharing my raw feelings
8)  Being in the military
9)  Honolulu traffic
10) Writing

What do you have a love/hate relationship with?

The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
Galatians 5:17 (NLT)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Releasing that one thing

Joining the Five Minute Friday folks with Lisa Jo Baker for 5 minutes of unedited, raw writing.  Today's word is...
 
Release.
 
Such a difficult concept to grasp. Why can't it be as easy as it sounds? Releasing that one thing...
 
Maybe for you that one thing is-
 
worrying about his future
controlling the kids behavior
anxiety about the presentation
anger at his revealed secret
envy of her good fortune
hate for his poor choice
disappointment in yourself
guilt for that last purchase
the mistake he made
the mistake you made
the lego you just stepped on...again
the inability to release
 
"Just let it go," they all say.
"Stop letting it hold you back."
"Release it to Him".
It's just not that easy.

"Yes it is," they argue.
I know it is. The bible tells me so.

I believe in Him. Don't I?
I trust Him.  Don't I?
But, I still struggle.  I still can't let it go.
If I really believed and I really trusted,  shouldn't I be able to just...
release it?
 
I am not alone.  He knew I would struggle with releasing my one thing. He forged ahead, struggling for me. He is by my side as I muddle my way through. He applauds my mini-victories- when I do  release it, even if it's for only a moment.
 
Every moment focused on him is a moment of release, and those moments count.  He released His spirit in hopes that I would release that one thing. He knew I would forsake Him by not releasing it. He forgives me, so I need to forgive me.
 
When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit. John 19:30 NLT

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Today I fell apart…. and Jesus picked me back up

Do you ever feel like things are piling up in life?  Like you’re a waitress at a busy restaurant and you have too many plates on your tray.  Then, all of a sudden, the kitchen adds one more plate for table 7.  Then, the whole thing comes toppling down.  I’ve heard of people experiencing this occasionally in life.  They get entirely too much on their tray of life and eventually, something has to give.  I tend to experience this on a weekly or monthly basis.

On Monday evening, I had a complete meltdown…

In the middle of Honolulu H1 westbound traffic at 5pm…

Going 7mph…

This is fairly typical for my Mondays.  I wake up ready to take on the world.  By mid-morning, I discover how much I need to accomplish and I become overwhelmed.  By mid-afternoon, I’m scrambling to plan out how I am ever going to accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished.  It’s not until I’m sitting in Honolulu traffic that the conditions are just right for me to fall apart.  Sometimes the melt-down comes in the form of anger and frustration, sometimes an overwhelming sense of hopelessness followed by an evening of being curled up in bed having my own little pity party. 

As I was sitting in traffic, these were my thoughts-

Can these cars be moving any slower?  Why can’t anyone in this state drive in the rain? I have a paper due at 7pm and it’s already 510pm – how am I going to get it done?  It’s already a week late and she won’t accept it after tonight.  How am I going to pay those 3 unexpected bills?  I can’t believe Dave had to fill up the Expedition again already – should have never bought that gas guzzler.  When is God going to answer my prayers about how to help my Dad?  Has He already answered and I missed it.
  
And then it happened. 

The tears started streaming uncontrollably.  I called a friend and told her I was overwhelmed.

She said these words to me –

“Breathe, Michelle, breath.  It will be okay; say a little prayer, turn on the music and worship Him.  Use this time that you are stuck in traffic to sing His praises…”

So I turned up my worship music. 

And I said a little prayer.

And I cried.  And cried. And cried.

Then I was home. 

That night, I got down on my knees by my bed and thanked Jesus for everything He had given to me.  I thanked Him for helping me finish my paper and for being patient with me.  I asked that He continue to teach me lessons and to forgive my ungratefulness and anger in the wake of the storms.  

Before I want to bed, these were the thoughts that came to mind-

I am victorious.  In the wake of troubled seas and torrential storms I need only to stand in victory because He will guide me through every turbulence in life.  I don’t need the wisdom to get through.  I don’t even need a map.  I need only to trust that He will see me safely through.  Keep my eyes focused on HIM, not on the circumstances and when I feel my gaze drifting away, fight the urge.  Today I broke down in tears in the car on the way home from work.  I fell apart.  And then He picked me back up and I was okay again.  I learned today that it’s okay to fall apart, because He is always there to pick me back up.  Tonight ,as I get ready to go to sleep, I feel victorious.  Nothing has changed except that I feel peace.

Will I continue to put entirely to much on my tray?  Probably yes

Will I fall apart again?  Absolutely yes

Will Jesus be there to pick me back up?  Yes... And I will feel peaceful again.

My devotional Tuesday morning was based on Isaiah 26:3 and Corinthians 4:18- a devotional I could have used Monday morning.  Well played, God.  Well played.

 “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!”
Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
2 Corinthians 4:18 (NLT)

Monday, April 28, 2014

2014 - I Resolve NOT to have resolutions

Back in January 2012, I posted an entry titled “2012 - I Resolve to Document... and stick to my resolutions”. I found myself laughing after I read that post. Now it’s April 2014, and I have posted a whopping 21 times since that post. That’s not even an average of once per month since then. Resolutions are made to be broken, aren't they?

That January 2012 post was a reminder that some of our best intentions do not pan out quite the way we envisioned. I think we all create goals with a clear picture in mind of what the end result will be. We typically determine our starting point, decide what exactly it is we want to accomplish, and then we work out a plan – in our mind, on paper, in our smartphone apps – for how we are going to achieve our goal. But, how often do we consider God’s plans for us when we create goals?

I've always considered myself an achiever.

Not an underachiever.

Not an overachiever.

Simply, an achiever.

In general, if I set out to accomplish something I was about 50/50 in my accomplishments. The hundreds of times I failed, I would often blame my plan for the failure. And sometimes I would equate my failed plan, to myself being a failure.

If I only had…

I should have…

Maybe if I didn't…

The list goes on and on.

This applies to every failed goal – from the failure of my first marriage, to my failure to leave the house by 5:00 am so as to miss the Honolulu rush hour traffic.

Now I choose to believe that my "failures" don't represent my inability to achieve a goal, but rather simply represent the difference in my plan for me and God’s plan for me. My goals may not have coincided with whatever God had in mind for my life at that time. In instances where subsequent tries resulted in successful accomplishment of a goal, I believe God was teaching me valuable lessons in hard work, dedication, and most importantly patience. 


So my friend, I challenge you with this – when you fail to achieve a goal, after giving it your all, rather than dwell on the failure, consider God’s plan for you. Your “failure” may be His way of diverting you back onto the path He has planned for you.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NLT)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Writing Prompt: My Week in a Playlist

My week so far described by a playlist:

Hungry Like the Wolf - by Duran Duran


Fighter - by Christina Aguilera

Move Along -  by All American Rejects


Dare you to Move - by Switchfoot


Closer - by Bethel Music featuring Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger


Welcome to my dysfunctional brain :)


What song describes your week so far?