Category Archives: overcoming circumstances

There IS a Reason

We’ve had so much rain for so long the ground is saturated.  Yesterday when we went to our favourite park one of the bridges we usually cross was under water.  The roads I drive on every day were beginning to have standing water on them and I was anxious to get home where it was safe.

Last night around bedtime, which was about the time the rain stopped, a roaring wind began to blow that was so strong it scared my dog and cat.  I drifted off to sleep to the sound of my wind chimes dancing in the powerful wind.

This morning it was noticeably cooler and I noticed while taking my son to work a lot of the water I had seen yesterday was no longer there.  When we walked we were able to cross the now dry bridge that was impassable yesterday.  That scary wind through the night that I thought was bad and frightening had cleared all of our paths today.

That’s a word from our Father! Bad, scary stuff sometimes comes our way and things look washed out and impossible. We worry, fear and hopefully pray for God to remove them, make them better or rectify them.  Soon after in most cases, we find the “bad thing” was actually the blessing because THROUGH what stopped us in our tracks yesterday cleared the way for us today.

We can trust Him.  He allows what he does in our lives for many things, but I’m thinking the most important purpose is to get us to a place where we come to know Him more intimately, rely on and trust in Him more than we did before. It’s all good, my friend!

Psalm 9:10 (NASB):  And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O LORD have not forsaken those who seek You.

Romans 8:28!!!!  (ALL things)

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What Did You PickUp?

Monday I was all excited because I was going to meet a friend and we were going to one of my favourite places in this area.  So I get ready, go outside to put something in the car to find a flat tire!  UGH! Someone had told me about a place very close to me that plugs tires so I inflated the tire as best I could and go to that place.  I knew this tire had a slow leak but whenever I took it somewhere we could never find the leak.  This business I took it to provided extra effort after I told him it often loses air.  He jacked the car up, took the tire off and began to search every inch of the tire.  Turns out I had picked up a tiny nail.

Two things came to my mind.  First, we “pick up” stuff knowing we’ve got it and don’t think it’s much until we see the results of the recurrent problem.  We pick up heartaches, anger, bad eating habits, bad habits in general and think a little bit of this and that won’t hurt us – until we end up sick or in some kind of predicament we can’t get out of.  If we had just dealt with it when we first were exposed, maybe we wouldn’t be in the present situation.

Sometimes we don’t know we’ve picked up anything.  I had no idea I had a nail in my tire, I just knew there was a problem with that tire. At the first sign of trouble I didn’t pursue the problem, I just treated the symptom – I needed air so I put air in it.  I was thinking it happens, the changes in the weather, etc., just normal tire stuff.

Life gets us that way doesn’t it! We think ‘no big deal, I can handle this; it’ll go away…’ then BOOM we find ourselves facing a big ole mess.  What have you picked up? What has attached itself to you that’s causing a leak in your spiritual life?

What have you picked up?  Let’s make an effort to pray about and deal with what we know we have and pray for God to expose those things we don’t know we have.  Presenting ourselves to Him to expose what needs to be dealt with is always a great idea.

Psalm 139:23-24:  “Search me, O God, and know my heart.  Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” (NASB)

Hit Reset!

Hit Reset

I was working this morning and somehow lost the job I was typing on.  Usually it’s seen in my pool but it disappeared.  First I panicked, thinking it had gone to the client without being completed.  With no supervisors on to remedy the problem, I decided to take a chance, log out and log back in to see if I could get it back. Sweating bullets, I did just that and after the reset, there was my lost job. I could have just continued on and most likely the job would have come to someone else to type but I didn’t know for sure whether or not it had gone to the client and I would have been concerned the rest of the day!  I would have been torn up over something I could do absolutely nothing about.

We spend so much time worrying and wondering if things are going to turn out okay and what’s going to happen if it doesn’t.  Very often the things we can do nothing about are what keeps us stuck! I was on my way there and decided to take a chance and hit a reset button.

That’s a good idea today.  Are you stressed, worried and/or fearful about something you have very little control over?  Hit the reset button.  Close your eyes and breathe.  Pray.  Pick up your Bible and ask God to point you to something in His Word that will help you take a minute to start all over.  Hopefully before we’re all wound up in a tizz over something we can do nothing about, we’ll remember to do that.

 

Matthew 11:28:  Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.”

FROM It!

So yesterday the car acted up and did something really weird (those of you who know what I’ve been through…I see you laughing, or perhaps holding your breath…). Because of my history with vehicles I was absolutely terrified to drive this morning. Screaming on the inside, I forced myself to take my son to work.  So far everything’s good. Anyway praying every mile & being grateful for every mile, it started to rain. The sky was the most unusual color as the sun was coming out and I was taking it all in, and thankful for the distraction from my anxiety! I looked up and there was a huge cloud. As the sun continued to rise this big cloud didn’t dissipate. I looked up again and all of a sudden there was a rainbow coming straight out of the cloud.

Several things crossed my mind, the first of which was to remember all the promises in the Bible, especially the ones pertaining to God‘s presence. He’s trustworthy. We can trust him. He will never leave us. He will never scold us because of our fear because he knows our humanness and all that encompasses. He doesn’t make fun, He doesn’t roll His eyes and he doesn’t withdraw like most people do when we’re needy or too much for them to handle and actually if we cry out to Him, our humanness draws Him even closer!

The other thing that so touched my heart was the fact that this was the biggest cloud in the sky. FROM the biggest cloud came the most beautiful thing – the rainbow.  God reminded me once again in the tests and trials in our lives, even the biggest ones, the things that cause us the most pain can produce something absolutely beautiful. I’m so grateful to God He showed me that this morning. I needed to be reminded. I need to stay thankful. I need to stay dependent on Him, His strength and His provision in my weakest most frightening moments.  Most importantly I need to keep looking to him and for him in every situation this life brings.

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Don’t Go Back!

I’m writing my very first novel.  I’ve written short stories and devotionals and this is my first attempt at such a big project.  Every time I open the document, I go back to the beginning and critique it to the point where my allotted time to write is more times than not consumed by this process.  Over and over and over again, I start at the beginning and find that I’m frustrated and disappointed when I’ve not made any progress.  I can’t seem to get anywhere!

Oh that’s a word for our lives isn’t it?  I see that same pattern in my life and in my walk with the Lord.  I keep going back to painful, regretful spots and “pick the scab”.  The Lord does His part and keeps His promise.  I see & feel where He’s touched that area of my life and forgiven me and helped me move past it…but I keep opening the wound.  I keep going back to that place which makes me feel like I’ve not progressed or gotten over it.

Stop going back! Stop it! When you find yourself remembering that initial pain, hurt, shame or loss, remind yourself you’ve already lived through it; why put yourself back in that spot?  Remember how sweet God was to give you just what you needed to move on and not be stuck in that place.  When familiar, painful memories of what it felt like when it was happening invade you, intentionally stop yourself and say, “God’s allowed me to live through that once, I don’t need to survive it again”.  Yes, remember all He’s brought you through.  NO don’t relive the agony again.  You don’t have to.  You’re here, not there.  That was yesterday; this is today.  See the difference?

We have to be intentional in our lives.  Yes, things happened that were excruciating but we have to sometimes forcefully remember, it’s not that way now.  We’re past it.  Let’s stay past it.  Let’s don’t go back.  Let’s move forward.

This morning I opened the novel document and wouldn’t allow myself to look back.  Not today.  Today I’m making progress.  What about you?

Philippians 3:13, 14 NASB:  “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

The Tears of God

Raindrops.  Not unusual on an Alabama May morning on any other day; on this day under the conditions of a late spring drought however, it was unusual.

I had just taken my precious cockapoo of 16 years, Sadie, to be put to sleep.  After she had been misdiagnosed for years and discovering she had cancer, she had taken a turn for the worst a week ago and was now to the point that she couldn’t walk and wouldn’t eat. She was still drinking and wagging her tail at Matt, my son. Other than that, she wasn’t the same Sadie she had been not so long ago. I didn’t want to take her to the vet; that experience always unnerved her. I wanted her to die peacefully at home with those she loved around her.  I begged God to take her in her sleep but to my dismay, that didn’t happen.

I couldn’t help but question why He would have me take on the daunting, heartbreaking task of having her put to sleep.  After all, He knows my heart.  He knows how hard this would be for me.  Still there I was, on the way.  I wasn’t happy about it but more to the point, my heart was sick with grief.

On that morning, we prepared to take our last journey together. I gave her a peppermint stick to lick on.  Most of her teeth were long since gone so there was no danger of her biting down on it.  She licked and licked enjoying one of her favorite treats.  I don’t even know what made me think of it. It had been a while since I had given her one.  It pleased me as I watched her remember and enjoy that familiar sweet taste.  Her eyes seemed to brighten just a bit.  Maybe, I thought, I was giving her back a tiny taste of the pleasure she had always given me.

Sadie was like my child.  She and Matt had grown up together.  I don’t think I could have loved her more. She loved to ride in the car.  In her younger days her head would have been out the window with ears flopping in the wind.  Not today though.  Too weak at this point to even sit up, she sought my hand and placed her head there.

We arrived at the vet’s office finding they had cleared all appointments so Sadie and I were the only ones there.  I carried her into the room and placed her on the table wrapped in her favorite blanket.  Again she sought my hand and placed her head there licking my hand. All I could think of to say was, “Thank you Sadie, for bringing so much into our lives.  We love you, Sadie.  Thank you God for bringing us this special doggy through whom you chose to bless us in so many ways.” I said those words over and over again.  I’m sure she sensed my sadness.  I tried so hard to maintain my sense of composure but tears were rolling down my face.

I thought of all the things she had been through with us:  the moves, the joy, the tears, the special times, the sorrowful times.  Faithful.  Constant. Loving.  Now she was gone.  Such a big part of our lives, had breathed her last.  For a few moments, I held her life…and death…in the palm of my hand. What an honor.

That’s how much I loved her.  I loved her enough to provide her a safe, special, loving home in which to live and I loved her enough to stay with her through her death.  I smiled through my tears because I knew that if the Lord had ordained it so, she would have done the same for me.

As I walked out of the office, I prayed that my legs would hold me steady and I could maintain my composure to get to the car. Incredible sadness and the sense of monumental loss enveloped me.  Safe in my car, I began to sob uncontrollably.  As I prepared to drive home I begged God to show Himself in a very personal, very real way and take hold of me and comfort me as I knew only He could.  My heart was absolutely breaking.

As I started the car to head back home, a huge raindrop hit the windshield and then another, another and another.  Odd, it hadn’t rained in almost three weeks as we’d been in a drought pattern for right at a month.  It was then that it dawned on me in my grief that God was crying with me.  In the intense moment of need He felt my pain and saw fit to respond with what I felt were compassionate tears of a Daddy who hurts with His child.  At one of the saddest times in my life, I never felt more loved and cared for than I did in that moment. I’ll never forget it.

Does God care?  Absolutely.  No matter the cause of the pain, He feels it too.  When His children hurt, He hurts.  If His children are suffering, He longs to comfort them, but He will only step in if invited.  Oh yes. He cares.  He comes.  He comforts and oh yes, He cries.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles…” 2nd Corinthians 2:1

NOTE:  This story is from my book, “The Last Mile Home, Ordinary Insights from an Extraordinary God” first published 2010

Just Breathe and Believe

Don’t worry, if you’re worried, that this present issue you’re dealing with will kill you.  It wasn’t designed for your demise.  It was designed to prepare you for your destiny. That’s both good and bad!

The enemy through which this circumstance, place you’re in, or person you’re dealing with desires to make you miserable (if you’re a believer).  He doesn’t want you dead for many reasons, the most important of which is the fact he knows where you’re going and he can’t use you anymore once you’re physically present with Christ.  He knows how salvation works; I think he witnessed it while in heaven with God.  No friend, he doesn’t want you graveyard dead; he wants you spiritually dead.

The enemy wants you alive so he can rejoice in watching you suffer!  He wants you to feel everything thrown at you.  He wants you to focus on your broken heart, your shattered dreams and the depression and sadness you feel. He wants you to stay completely focused on yourself and how hard life is.  He loves that.

The enemy wants you to be so afraid of past disappointments, failures and rejection that you don’t dare venture out of your self-imposed prison to believe God.  He wants you to believe your doubt and past experiences more than you dare believe God.  He wants you to constantly recall the times you ventured out in 100% nothing but faith and things didn’t go like you planned.  He wants you to remember how crushed you were when even the things you did for God weren’t easy, in fact they were extremely difficult.  He’s aware that the seed of doubt was planted back then and he does everything in his power to see to it your doubt grows every time you even think about stepping out in faith.  You remember every single pain and disappointment of that time.  Some will never, because of the pain and devastation, take a step…let alone a leap…of faith, ever again.  That place of doubt becomes the cemetery where their faith is buried.

If you’re reading this, you’re not dead.  You reached for a smidgen of encouragement – a “mustard seed” of faith.  God allowed what happened to you, to happen.  He has his reasons, some of which may never be understood so maybe it’s time to quit trying to understand and just simply trust.  You’re not dead.  You’re still here and if you’ll just lift your head up, pour your heart out and believe that all things – all things work to the good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose, then He can heal and restore you.  It may not be easy and it may take some time, but if you’ll believe and stay with it, He will do things for you, in you and through you that will strengthen your heart, heal your mind and way of thinking and touch your weary and wounded soul.

Sometimes it takes a lot of courage and strength to believe after you’ve been hit hard but what do you have to lose?  Come on out to the Light.  Darkness doesn’t become you at all.  If all things aren’t possible for those who believe, He wouldn’t have said it.  Come on.  Believe one more time, then another and another.  Don’t let the enemy rob you of one more second.  Just breathe and believe.