I’m positive that we all have a long list of things that we can’t do.
It’s tempting to focus on this list, especially when it affects us and our lives directly.
For example, sometimes I can’t walk down the stairs normally because my knee swells up. It’s a little bit tempting to throw myself a pity party or allow myself to become angry or discouraged by my limitation.
The reality is, my knee is in this state at this time and I must bear the consequences. It won’t do me much good to sit around and contemplate my limitations, oft becoming more and more discouraged.
It’s always healthier to focus on what we can do.
I can encourage people. Instead of sitting around focusing on being discouraged the Lord used me to encourage somebody. It went like this:
She needed a hug. It was painted into her expressions and the way her shoulders slumped. “Well, back to work I go”. Eeyore had taken over her body and a full-size donkey-of-a-woman stood in her place; on hind legs.
Give her a hug was the nudge that I felt from el Señor, Holy Spirit.
I hesitated and when she left the room I mentioned that I thought I should have hugged her to the other person in the room.
“Oh, yes! Definitely hug her!” was her response. So I decided to hug her when I left.
A few minutes later I walked upstairs and said “hey, I just wanted to give you a hug!”
Within a couple minutes she was crying and saying how encouraged she felt. I felt the presence of the Lord very strongly and we were both laughing and ministering to each other for over an hour.
I felt the joy of the Lord so strongly during that hour of fellowship. She thanked me for “being obedient to the Holy Spirit” and confessed that she had felt spiritually down and dark all weekend. By the time our conversation was over, her affect had changed completely. It was as though life had been breathed into her. That’s what encouragement is.
It’s so tempting to focus on ourselves constantly. Which, in my opinion, is pretty depressing. A better place to enlist my focus is on the Maker of all things. The Father of all, Creator of All, Ultimate Guide, Wise King and Lover of my soul. Wow. What a better thing to be focused on! I can’t think of anything better.
Adrian Rogers once said “to rejoice is a choice”. So choose joy. The best way to do this is to keep your eyes and ears open for the leading of Jesus. God doesn’t look for perfect people to carry out His work. In fact, there is no one perfect but God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. God has always used the fools to shame the wise.
So give Him the glory today!!!!!!!!!!!!
Like this post if it encouraged you! Leave a comment below saying how God used you when you didn’t feel fit to be used.
Good morning, midday or evening to whomever you are, wherever you are. I’m writing from a little cubicle-like 2-person booth at a Panera bread across from a well-educated world traveler. We’re both wearing glasses and have cups of hot coffee in front of us, and even went as far as to order the same breakfast. A bacon, scrambled egg, lettuce and tomato wrap. It’s Monday morning at 10:28am and we’re ready to carpe this diem!
What to do when I’m alongside this new friend of mine is always a mystery. A lottery of the will, really. Whatever she feels like doing in combination with what I feel like doing is what we do. To put that in simpler terms, if I think of something that I want to do, and happen to suggest it in just the right way to get her to agree to this plan, then we’ll do it. Presentation is everything. But if I present the activity in the wrong manner, she will have no interest or desire to join me.
For example. If I say “do you want to go to the movies?” she will promptly say “no”. However, if I say “Oh, wow!! There are actually quite a few decent movies playing right now!” Then her interest will be piqued and I can suggest a title or two and read the descriptions. At that point when her eyebrows are arching and her mouth turns into a slight frown as she contemplates the veracity of how cunning and appealing the descriptions really are, I lead with “I don’t know… do you wanna try it?”. Works every time.
When I want to go for a walk, I say “I’m going for a walk” and then proceed to start getting ready for said walk. She may automatically say “well I’m pissed and do not feel like going for a walk” or she may say nothing at all; but regardless of her response, after a moment or two, I invite her along for the walk with these words: “you’re welcome to come on the walk if you’d like! I’m just going around the block”. At which point she’ll say “oh, sure, I could use the exercise” and proceed to get ready for the walk herself.
Sometimes she just wants to be heard. Sometimes she just wants to go through all of the different thoughts in her head and then say “okay, so what’s the plan?” at which point I’ll respond differently, but usually in ways like this:
“To be honest, I have no plan! I’m just going to find some food at some point! And I have some things I can do. But if you want to do anything, just let me know! See, my friend here doesn’t want to feel like I’m taking care of her. She wants me to be a comrade. She probably would prefer if I were a coworker. She misses her company so much. She misses working so much. And business meetings. And lunch meetings. And setting up new contracts. And facilitating. She did it for 30+ years and had to stop two years go when the dementia set in.
She is stressed out. She’s in a new location and has a new occupation. She wants to be working but it was stripped away from her. The disease stripped her job away from her. Her purpose, as she understands it. Now she spends obscene amounts of time worrying about her company, her 3 different houses and condos, and she worries about why she isn’t in them. She becomes angry over her presence in her daughter’s house and refuses to accept it as her new reality.
All I can do is try to take care of her well. To do things that are good for her body, mind and soul. She loves walking, but won’t agree to it often. Yet when she’s out there doing it, she’s at peace. She loves observing people and engaging with them. She loves analyzing people and trying to understand them. She is very caring and compassionate and cares about justice.
We cannot begin to understand why some people get dementia, and we certainly can’t understand how to help people recover. The best way to treat a person with dementia is with patience and love. You can’t get mad at someone with dementia for asking the same question 100 times in an hour. Or for feeding their cat 4 times in 10 minutes. A sickness is a sickness. A disease is a disease.
So I do what I can. I treat her with respect and try to think of ways to take care of her as best as I can. So we go to Panera. And we do fun things that she enjoys. And we laugh. And I listen to her stories, over and over again. And I listen with interest. And respond with love. And we live one day at a time. One hour at a time. Just trying to savor the moments. Together. She is a person.
Treating people with dignity is the only way to go. No matter how different they are, how much older or younger. What color their skin is. Where they’ve been or where they’re trying to go. Whether they’re sick, disabled, homeless, an ex-gang member, a christian, an atheist, man, woman, child. We are to treat people with love. Dementia doesn’t change that.
The vehicle that dignity drives is love. Love and dignity and respect go together. These three things make life a much more vivid, colorful, warm experience.
Y’know, sometimes you just gotta write. So I’m coming atcha from Panera Braaads with my coffee and maybe, just maybe, a blueberry scone. And I’m sitting across from my twin who’s in her 80s and we both have dark-rimmed glasses and denim button down shirts on. It’s pretty awesome. Oh, yeah, and she has a blueberry pastry as well. A muffin, however. And we both have coffee.
And it’s a little quiet in here because we came at 10am instead of the normal 8:30. The reason being, we took a lovely walk this morning. And discussed women-owned businesses and the challenges that come with having one.
She talked about how men have a hard time reporting to women. That was in the nineties. I think it still happens somewhat today. And it definitely was way worse back in the day. I’m just glad that Jesus was always for fair treatment of women. He never degraded women. He only always elevated women. He taught and healed women. He first revealed Himself to a woman when he came out of the tomb. Galatians 3:28 says we are all equal. In Ephesians, husbands are supposed to “love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. Essentially, husbands are called to lay down their lives for their wives.
People haven’t actually studied the bible and don’t know God, yet assume so many things about God and the way He works and the way He loves. They assume God is a misogynist who wants to control, objectify and suppress women.
Yet God laid down His life for women. All women. While it’s true that not all people are saved, it IS God’s will for all people to be saved. All men, and all women.
Kind acts go a long, long way. This morning I was reminded of when some random people lent me and my BFF their $650 tent in the woods when we were backpacking the John Muir Trail in California in 2014. These two folks were observing our ginormous 8 pound, 8-person tent that the two of us were carting around in our already heavy backpacks and made a suggestion.
“Send your tent home and we’ll have our friend bring you guys a lighter tent when we meet up with him at the next food resupply in two days.”
We were so surprised and thankful for their offer! We agreed and borrowed their tent.
It weighed only 14 oz and was perfect for the two of us. Okay, maybe a leeeeeeeeetle cozy ;-P
But we were so thankful to Jeanine and Craig. Who does that?
My BFF and I concluded that people over 10k feet are generally pretty cool.
I told this story to a new friend and she told me that it sounds like there is a “brotherhood” among the trail family. I thought that was a perfect description. But moreso, we will never forget their kindness.
To think that a single act of kindness would be forever engrained into our memories is a beautiful, powerful thing. It’s been 7 years since they lent us that tent, and the memory is still as kind and wonderful as when it first occurred.
Deep-seated, selfless kindness is an act of love. Real love. With no hidden agenda. No strings attached. No tit for tat. And it is long lasting.
I want to remember this! And pay it forward.
What a sweet memory. That still lives in my mind <3
lol things definitely have not gone according to the plan. But there’s something very fun and freeing about living in the unknown. I have to admit, I enjoy not being in charge. Well, let’s put it this way, I enjoy God being in charge.
I enjoy and can rest in the Fact that God drives the car and I’m in the passenger seat. He carries my load. I don’t have to. He does give me a plate though; with the following items on the plate:
(I’m going to keep this very vague):
Take care of the people that I put on your path, daughter. And do enjoy them 🙂
It’s very simple, actually. Do what God has called you to do. Even when it’s hard. We all have desires of our hearts and we have aspirations etc. but we have to simply do what God has called us to do. Go where God has called us to go. Sometimes I wonder what it is that God would have me to do but it is so so soooo easy to find out what that is. This is how you do it:
Stop what I’m doing (or when I’ve just finished what I had been doing, stop for a moment) and:
Acknowledge God’s presence. Say “hello” and breathe, and thank God for this moment and this day, and:
Ask for His direction.
Ask for strength to complete whatever it is that I am called to do.
Sometimes this means giving up what I had originally planned. But what is means most of the time is that God enables me to do whatever it is that He puts on my heart to do. He is our Father, and He answers our prayers when we asks. Yes, this includes long-term prayers and big prayers, but it also means simple every day prayers that God answers to help us re-focus and be re-charged.
God’s plan is the only plan I want to follow. And He will continually lead us to follow His plan as we enter His presence, seek His face, listen to His voice and obey.
Lord, wow. Just, wow. I trust you. I trust you. I trust your promises. I believe you. I think I’m finally starting to actually believe your promises. Your promises that you actually do take care of me. That you actually do provide ALL that I need. ALL!!! Everything!!!!!!!!!Peace, rest, provision, fun, celebrations, joy, family, friends…. rest…. Life. Life to the full. Thank you Lord for sharing this full life with me <3 Te amo <3And thank you for helping me trust in Your plans and be willing to be flexible. I just LOVE how you surprise me with SO many good things each and every day. You know what I like and you know what I love and I trust you!!! With all my heart <3 And I am learning to choose to trust you each and every day. Thank you for your great and wonderful ongoing plan!
Is it you? I wondered expectantly. But no, it wasn’t you.
I continued doing what I know I was supposed to be doing, but it was difficult. I got up to bring something across the room and this time I thought I heard you.
Could it be you? I glanced over in the general direction of my cell phone but didn’t bother to check it. I didn’t want to be disappointed again. Not that my disappointment was overwhelming; in fact I believed I would hear from you. I will venture to say that I even knew in my heart that I most definitely would hear from you. But each time I checked my phone again and again, the doubt started to increase. Or at least that’s what my mind was trying to convince me of.
The battle between the mind and the heart is a tough one at times. And I guess doubt is rooted in the heart.
My mind trusts God. I trust Him with my mouth. But do I really trust Him with my heart if I’m ova hee-uh doubting left and right? It’s a constant battle of anxious thoughts (some small, some large) that I have to hit back out of my mind. Or better yet, beat them into the submission of the Truth.
It’s been 2.25 hours and I haven’t heard back from you.
I’m starting to go into that zone in my mind that has caution tape across the entrance. The Door of Doubt is a wide one. In fact, so it’s so easy to walk through that I find myself lost inside that room too often. The Door of Belief is a small door. I picture it as being very short, like suitable for a small child. And hard to see, easy to miss.
And yet, we must focus on that door. It’s hard to find, it’s hard to pass through, but what’s on the inside of that door is absolute paradise. This is why:
Because — and I know I shouldn’t start off a sentence with “because” — if I truly believe that God has me in His Perfect, Faithful hands… If I truly believe that God works all things together for my good… If I truly believe that He will never leave me or forsake me… then I’m in Paradise. There’s no such thing as a socialist utopia. But there is Heaven. There is a place where nothing is broken, and nothing is lacking. But Jesus said “let it be on earth as it is in Heaven.” Because — here I go again — Jesus died so that we could experience peace with God now.
Why can’t you just respond to my message; is that too much to ask?
Is it possible to have peace with God and be at unrest simultaneously? Or perhaps unrest is not what I’m experiencing right now. It’s more like OCD. I’m obsessively thinking about hearing from this person while not hearing from them at the same time. So now I will pray.
Lord. I should have spoken to you a long time ago about this. I asked you many times for the initiation of the conversation. That has come. I also asked you for the desired result. I do believe it will come, but I am uneasy while I wait. I want to start planning ahead in my mind. I want to hear from this person. I want the screen to flash yellow and the words to flash GREEN … a green light. Go-Time. I want to go. Lord, you know I do. So I wait. And while I wait, I ask. Lord, will you touch this person’s heart even now. Right now. 9:07pm. Lord, will you touch their heart and cause them to respond. Lord will you impress upon whoever else’s heart is necessary to tie up the loose strings. Will you, Lord, bring closure to this situation. Will you close the Door of Doubt, and open wide the Door of Belief, and gently guide me through it? Lord will you help me stop obsessing about the outcome. Will you redirect my thoughts away from my phone and the messages, and instead to focusing my thoughts elsewhere. Being in prayer with You perhaps. Or writing. So I wait. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I find myself starting to bargain with God. Making empty promises that we both know I won’t be able to keep. And then something happens that I really don’t like. I will be praying for someone, and then the enemy or my mind tells me something like “you’re just praying because you think that if you pray, God will notice you and pay attention to you and weigh whether or not He should give you the desires of your heart.” I hate that. Our sin doesn’t affect God’s love for us. That’s the most beautiful aspect of the gospel.
However, sin has consecuencias. We truly reap what we sow. And when we sow seeds for death, we reap death. If I go to the gym every day for 2 minutes I will not get the same results as if I went to the gym every day for an hour. Duh?! Duh. Same thing applies here: if I spend all my time thinking about something out of my control, I am planting or watering seeds of doubt, worry, anxiousness, etc.
Imagine spending that time praying. Singing. Reflecting on gratitude.
WAIT it’s you.
“It’s not going to work out after all.“
After waiting and checking and waiting and hoping, this answer was… less than satisfactory shall we say?
Alas. I can’t fight it. Because the Truth in the matter is this:
There was nothing I could have done or said differently to charter a different response. I thought and prayed over my responses. I didn’t act with haste. My mind tells me lies, like I should’ve acted hastily or said less or more, but I know that’s not true. And this is why:
God’s plans are unstoppable.
If He meant for me to be somewhere different than where I am, I would be there. I would simply be there.
Who can stand up against God? Nobody!
Who can thwart God’s plans? Not one.
No, that wasn’t the case. I simply was not meant to entertain with this person at this time. And in that Truth, I rest.
I rest knowing that God dictates my steps. He leads me down paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. He leads me besides still waters, and gives me rest. He provides shade for me in the heat of the day, and provides heat for me in the chilly air. He is my sword and my shield, my strong tower. In Him, I rest. Just to know Him and be known by Him is more than enough.
I know I will hear from you again. I won’t be surprised if you change your mind and reach out to me. It’s too late now… maybe next time. We’re all learning through this. We’re all deepening old patterns and forming new ones altogether. I thank God for you, and I know that you too would give him the credit if only you believed. I believe that one day you will.
Of where my next check is coming from. Because God says this (please read each of these 2-3 times!!!):
“Be anxious for nothing, but in every situation, through prayer and petition, in thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
He also says this:
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
“For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.” Psalm 94:14
I hope this has encouraged you. Let the Truth soak in. And join me in this prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you so much for your Truth. Thank you that you are my provider and have promised to always give me all that I need. Thank you for transitioning me from one day to the next, one task to the next. Thank you that your grace is sufficient for me. Your kingdom is all that I need, and I am already in it. Lord, thank you for joy, hope and excitement. Thank you that when we lift our requests up to you, they are heard. Thank you that when we ask for your peace, you give it to us. Thank you that it transcends our understanding. Thank you for being my Father and for loving me, your daughter. I rely on you for my well-being, health, sound mind, and to reach all of my goals. Thank you for teaching me to show up and do my part, and then coming in and doing what only you can do. Thank you for this divine, beautiful relationship. You’re so powerful and amazing. I can’t WAIT to see you move. Amen.
I think we’re all a little bit guilty of going through the motions and not doing what makes us feel alive. We get stuck in defeating behaviors and just try to make it through the days. Things can seem hopeless when we yearn for change and don’t see it. But God gave us a brain for a reason: to use and to discern and to conquer. To choose what we think about and take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.
The following list has been created to help you discover freedom in being who you really are and doing what you really want to do. (Down below will be the “Start” list!)
Here we go:
Stop doing these things:
Doing and saying things to please other people and gain affection, attention, approval, validation.
Agreeing with somebody when you actually disagree with what they’re saying or doing.
Encouraging somebody to do something that you believe is wrong.
Saying you’re going to do something and not doing anything towards doing it.
Letting negative thoughts take reign over your emotions.
Staying sedentary when you know it feels good to move.
Settling for less than you deserve.
Choosing hopelessness, despair, depression.
Feasting on anxiety, worry, doubt. You’re not God. You don’t know what the future holds.
Start doing these things:
Plan a trip to the beach. You can get a really fabulous Air B&B these days for less than $100/night. The cheapest I’ve ever stayed in one was at $18/night in Orlando, Florida. 😉
Get hungry and cook something new. (f you’re like me, the hunger part might not be that difficult) But find a great recipe and try it out with friends. And then feast on it 🙂
Be honest; always…
Stand up for yourself.
Look in the mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you are, and thank God for making you that way!
Accept the circumstances you’re in currently and work with what you have.
Look around the room and list off all of the things you’re grateful for. Here’s mine:
-blue light glasses
-opportunity to write
-opportunity to take pictures
-being able to read my bible today
-being able to pray today, and journal
-just got back from a great walk
-the quiet <3
-actually, the subtle city sounds
-knowing the truth about God’s provision. He will a l w a y s take care of me and give me all that I need
-my hair 😀
-being able to sing out loud and give thanks
SOoooo I could probably go on. There’s something about making a list of all the things I’m grateful for that makes me feel the weight of my blessing. I am extremely blessed and truly lack nothing. Nothing. I don’t need anything. Truly. Some aspects of my life are “up in the air” I guess, but that doesn’t bother me. “Worrying” is on the stop list. Stop worrying. God will take care of His children.
Do you know if you’re a child of God? Not all people are. Only those who confess and believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and is Lord of all. Do you want to have peace with God and be sure that you will always be provided for? Do you want to rest in the hands of Jesus forever?
I would love to walk you through what it means to put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be your Provider, Father, Friend, Brother and source of life and satisfaction. He gave me actual life and I would love to tell you how. Jump on my email list and I would love to talk to you personally about inheriting the peace of God 🙂