December 8, 2018

When Your Spiritual Equilibrium is Out of Balance... a Five Minute Friday post.

***
Hey there, sweet readers!  

I know this is December and the Christmas season
and this is the time of year where this little corner
is normally full of festive thoughts and good cheer.
However, I see the word prompt and I know
the chances of this post getting around
to Christmas Joy is slim... 
but Truth can always be found here... 
as well as honesty! So, here we go!

This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer
and free write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: BALANCE


{GO!}

We were talking in our home group just the other night...
it was after spending an hour in prayer together,
where we simply speak out
whatever God puts on our hearts
and others come alongside in agreement
and lift our arms and hearts and heads.  

Oh, how we need each other!


We are a small band of brothers and sisters
with kindred hearts and we all have found ourselves
this year in some sort of an In-Between season...
a bit unsettled, and feeling a tad unsteady!

We shared how we seem to be
missing the Thrill of Hope... 
We are most definitely all
feeling the Weary World... 
yet we're still waiting for
the Rejoicing to begin! 

















But isn't that Advent?
  It's the waiting... the hoping... 

And even though we know He came... 
even though we know He is still here now... 
we feel a bit out of balance and we are
longing for a bit of Wonder & Joy!

December 5, 2018

When You Need a Visual...

  and for Wonder and Joy to Abound!



***
I hope this holiday season has arrived for you with plenty of wonder and joy.

Maybe, for you, this really IS the most wonderful time of the year... or maybe Bah Humbug (rather than Merry Christmas!) is what is on repeat in your head.

Or maybe... just maybe... this season is slowly unfolding and you haven't (yet!) felt the presence of Peace or Goodwill! Perhaps Wonder and Joy haven't shown up and shown off, but I assure you --much like Advents' message... they are coming! 

Sometimes we just need to look for them... 
to seek them out... to ask the Lord to
open our eyes to see them!

Wonder and Joy... 
They tend to go hand in hand.

December 1, 2018

In Oceans Deep My Faith Will Stand... A Five Minute Friday post.

***
Hello there, sweet readers!

Can you even believe that today is the beginning of December? DECEMBER, people? 

I don't know about you, but I'm not so sure I'm ready for all that tends to come at us during this month! That may be because I am still 'grounded' awaiting surgeries in January, and we will not be doing many of our 'normal' December things this year because of that.  (Some of this makes me happy... and some of it, not so much!)

Anyway, December is here whether we are ready or not! So let's welcome it and kick it off together... This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free write for five minutes flat on the one word prompt: DEEP


{GO!}

I see the word and immediately hear
the lyrics to one of my favorite songs... 
"You call me out upon the waters The great unknown where feet may fail And there I find You in the mystery In oceans deep, My faith will stand..."


"My faith will stand..."

I sing it over and over... 
Sometimes as a statement or declaration.
Other times, as a plea and a prayer!

Because through the last few years, --you guys!!!--
I have felt the 'Oceans Deep' part, for sure!

He has called us out upon the waters... He has!
We talk about it all the time
--how He calls us to be water walkers
and how we believe... 

November 21, 2018

The Difference of One Little Word - a Five Minute Friday post.


***
Happy Thanksgiving, sweet readers!



It's been quiet around here, I know.  Between taking a little break after All the Days in a row of writing posts in October, and battling some eye issues yet again that limit my screen time, I have gotten a bit quiet.  However, it's Thanksgiving and you KNOW this is my favorite holiday and I've missed Y'all. 

So... here we go... a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free write for five minutes flat on the one word prompt: ONE

{GO!}

All I can think of when I see the word is how easy it is for us to lose focus and to forget... to exchange one little word that skews our perspective and affects our attitude!

We can let the Heavy and the Hard press against us and knock us off center --but never off-course.  

We can accidentally listen to lies that feel more like truth than to the Truth that feels so far away and impossible... 
But God... remember?

But God...

So as Thanksgiving approaches and right after it, all the crazy chaos that has somehow become Christmas, I remind myself to count blessings, one by one. 

To slow time, as Ann said, and to count gifts listing them off as I close my eyes and open my heart to all the ways He is Present and Thick all around me!


He is Present and Thick
all around you too, sweet friend!
I promise it is true
--whether it feels true or not!

November 9, 2018

When You Need a Break from all the Heavy Burdens... A Five Minute Friday post.


***
When You Need a Break
from all the Heavy Burdens... 
You head for the sea! 
(Well, if you are like us, anyway!)

This is a Five Minute Friday post, which simply means I set a timer and free write for five minutes flat on the one word prompt: BURDEN



{GO!}

As I am tapping these words out, I am ever so thankful that I don't really need my eyes to see where the keys are... I've been at this long enough to be able to type with my eyes closed - which is basically what I am doing right now.

I haven't been super quiet about this long(er than we thought, hoped for, or desired) In Between season and I've hinted at some of the Heavy and Hard that we have endured over the last few years.  

My natural bent towards counting gifts and focusing on the blessings... on the positive and not the negative... on the abundance and not the lack... can make it seem like our life is charmed (it is) and that everything goes our way (it doesn't... but we trust that somehow it goes HIS way and we know He tells us again and again that His ways are higher and better anyway, right?)

But you guys... 

This is a hard season packed full with heavy burdens and if we are not careful, we can forget that those --well, those are not ours to carry!


October 31, 2018

DAY THIRTY ONE of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


***
The Wrap-Up & Release...
I can't believe we made it! 

I hate to tell you this... but
now is when the hard work truly begins.  



Now, the call is to take what we have been learning here,
and be intentional in putting it into practice out there!  

Sidenote: You know that after all of these words, for all these days in a row... Imma take a little break for a few days! However, I wanted to let you know that I'm oh so honored that you have joined me on this journey toward Becoming a (King* or) Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt! (*I see you male readers!)

It's counter-cultural... and it doesn't come naturally to us, I know! But if the world is going to know us by our Love... man, you guys, ...we've got to get better at majoring on the positives and what we DO have in common, rather than pointing out the negatives and focusing on all the ways we are different!

I will never tell you this will be easy. 

It is always a choice... and not one that our fleshly heart
pushes us towards. But the more we choose it... 

October 30, 2018

DAY THIRTY of 31 Days of Becoming Queen... Links & Inspiration


***
Links & Inspiration... 

Yesterday on the blog, I posted a ton of ideas and tips on how to be kind... We separated it out in categories, but really... a lot of it should easily overlap!

Ermergherd... Berks!!! Yes, today we are talking BOOKS, people! (Well, books, and a few blog posts and songs) because, of course!  

Y'all know I love books and I have quite the collection so this, as I stated for yesterdays' post, this is in no way an exhaustive list, and I would love your input in the comments below if I left off an obvious Must Read when it comes to learning how to put this series into action in our real, actual lives! 

So... here goes! But I am counting on you, sweet readers, to add to this list! 

October 29, 2018

TWENTY NINE of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


***
Tips on Being Kind...


I know?!  It doesn't seem like we should need this, right?

I mean... Kindness is always a good idea and it seems like we should have a running list of ideas on how to show kindness to family and friends and strangers alike! 

We have been talking all month long on how to become queens and kings of giving the benefit of the doubt and a huge part of this journey is simply remembering to be kind.  Some of the best ways have already been covered here! However, I thought maybe I could get us started on some fun ideas and then, my hope is, you can add to the list in the comments below!

Kindness simply means: 
"the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate."
See? This should be easy... Being friendly, generous, and considerate should be a no-brainer! 

It's the following through and actually DOING it that can be slow to start! 

October 28, 2018

DAY TWENTY EIGHT of 31 Days of Becoming Queen...


***

Sunday: Our Sacred Gathering to Pray!

By now, you know how this works! 



I hope you are enjoying these times of prayer together!  

October 27, 2018

DAY TWENTY SEVEN of 31 Days of Becoming Queen... Scriptures & Pictures

***

Happy Saturday, Sweet Readers...

We made it to another weekend and I hope you are enjoying our time together as much as I am! 

These Saturday posts have been intentionally written to slow you down and give you the opportunity to ponder on a scripture and a quote and to drink in some beauty!

Hunters of Grace... Finders of Beauty...

October 25, 2018

DAY TWENTY SIX of 31 Days of Becoming Queen... a Five Minute Friday post.

***

This is Day Twenty Six of the #Write31Days series, 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt. Let's see where this goes! 

This is a Five Minute Friday post, which simply means I set a timer and free write for five minutes flat on the one word prompt: MOMENT



{GO}

This week we have dealt with some of the heavier and harder aspects of Becoming Queens (and Kings) of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt... topics like Forgiveness, Making Amends, and Letting Go... all necessary parts to work through if we are going to Be Kind and be less offended.

As we reflected back over these issues, it's quite possible that there were Moments that rose up to the surface! Snapshots frozen in time and somehow they seem to carry with them all the pain and sadness and a sense of loss in some sort of amplified way! But they're not real.

Like a mirage that is not really there, with the passing of time and the offering of the benefit of the doubt, those old wounds should no longer be bothersome. They may still be there... but they are no longer gaping open or bleeding out.  

They are scarred over... faded... healed. You can see them and remember the whole reason why they are there but you don't have to relive the pain of the moment every time you look down!

DAY TWENTY FIVE of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


***
Letting Go...

We wrapped up yesterdays' post on Making Amends saying that sometimes, after forgiveness and after attempting to repair the brokenness of a relationship or situation, we are called to simply let it go!  

This can be regarding a person or simply an offense...
and if we are doing it right, letting go of the offense should be the easier choice!

I mean, right?

We've all been in the flesh and it felt easier to just write off the person rather than the problem! But if we're letting Love lead us and if we're putting into practice all that we have covered so far (like not jumping to conclusions, not making up stories or ascribing intent, not being unwilling to listen and hear...) then we are acting on the high value that God puts on relationships.

The best solution is to release the Hurt,
not the Human... 


But there are times when you have done all you can do and in order for you to move on
--you have to let go!

October 24, 2018

DAY TWENTY FOUR of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt



***
The Follow Through of
Making Amends!

This week we have already covered big topics like the importance of forgiveness and also the need for healing prayer (for ourselves and for those who have hurt us.) 

Today, I want to touch on the idea of making amends but I want to be clear from the very beginning: this is not always required or even advised.  

While our God is a God of relationships and He wants us to live in Community and unity... while He does graft us into the family, He doesn't always insist on us making amends with broken relationships --especially if they have included unhealthy boundaries or abuse.

Of course --the verse that I immediately think of is found in Romans 12:18 and reads:




"If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." (NASB)
In The Passion Translation, it says to "Do your best to live as everybody's friend." and in The Message, it reads, "If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody."

Sometimes we are called to work at repairing that relationship after forgiveness has begun its work, and the ministry of making amends must begin. 

Sometimes, however, I don't have it in me! 

Now, God can help me to do it... to tap in to His peace and His love and I can do it. But there are also times that God gives us peace after we have done the forgiving (because, as we discussed in an earlier post --that is required!) and He frees us to let go and move on without making amends!

October 23, 2018

DAY TWENTY THREE of 31 Days of Becoming Queen...


***

Yesterday we dug into the importance of Forgiveness and how it is so vital for our own healing and health! (...for our own forgiven-ness, even!) 

My hesitation in writing the post yesterday was, more than anything, I didn't want to make it seem like I'm saying Forgiveness is easy. 

It's a choice... yes. It's not a feeling... 
but it stirs up ALL THE FEELS, am I right?  
It's not easy! 

It's one of the hardest things He tells us to do,
yet doesn't give us any wiggle room in not doing it!

We know that unforgiveness can quickly turn into bitterness and resentment... and that can make us sick --literally physically and/or emotionally. 

It weighs on us and can seemingly re-wound us over and over and holding on to it does us NO FAVORS!!! Even if/when we know/remember this, it's still no easy task to forgive when we've been wronged.

Enter the need for the power of Healing Prayer!

Because... he doesn't give us a choice NOT to do it!

October 22, 2018

DAY TWENTY TWO of 31 Days of Becoming Queen...


***
Forgiveness is VITAL, my friends!



VITAL...

But... but...!?

I know... honestly... I do! I get it! 

This is one of the hardest things we are ever asked to do!  
But here's the deal: We actually aren't asked to do this... we are clearly told, right?

As in, "if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father withholds forgiveness from you.” (Matt 6:15) and Jesus' answer, "Not seven times, but seventy times seven." to Peters' question about forgiving seven times. (--Sidenote: you just know chances are good that he had already forgiven someone 'seven times' and he wanted to just cut them out!)

Forgiveness is a big deal... 
  It's a bigger deal for 'us' 
    than it is for 'them'
      --we've learned this, right?

October 21, 2018

DAY TWENTY ONE of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


***

Sunday: Our Sacred Gathering to Pray!

By now, you know how this works! 



I record a prayer... we pray it together... and we take a few moments to lean in and listen at the end to hear what God is speaking to our hearts!  

October 20, 2018

31 Days of Becoming Queen... DAY TWENTY

***

Hey there, Saturday...

You know we love you! You're so flirty and fun... and draped in scarves and cozy sweaters and offering up yummy Fall flavors... well, just know: You had us at Hello! 

Fall reminds us of CHANGE everywhere we look... and this series is all about a Change I believe is desperately needed! But we won't go in depth or go on and on today... because,
it's the weekend, Y'all!

October 18, 2018

DAY NINETEEN of 31 Days of Becoming Queen... a Five Minute Friday post.

***

This is Day Nineteen of the #Write31Days series, 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt.  It's Friday, so you know the drill! 

This is a Five Minute Friday post, which simply means I set a timer and free write for five minutes flat on the one word prompt of WHO

{GO}

So, deciding ahead of time to attempt to make these Five Minute Friday word prompts work in with the series is always a bit tricky! It usually works out fine... or at least I can tweak it a bit and make it work in there... but this? 

This time... it is perfect!
Because --Who?  
Isn't that the question?


We are on Day 19 of 31 Days of talking about Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt and you guys... I don't know about you, but for me:

"Who?" is such a timely question!  

I see the prompt and I get a brilliant idea...

31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt... DAY EIGHTEEN


***

GRACE...
  (It's free... and it's not just for us! It's for 'them', too!)



Yesterday we dug into the importance of learning to give grace to ourselves! This is vital... 

But we can't stop there.  

We can't give in and receive the gift of grace from God, knowing full well that we don't deserve it and we didn't earn it... and not also realize that He extends that grace out farther, stretching out to even those whom we may think it shouldn't reach!

October 17, 2018

DAY SEVENTEEN of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


***

Don't Forget GRACE...

I was out walking with a friend the other day and we were discussing the importance and desperate need of giving Grace... we were talking current events and headlines and real life, small-town drama, and we were noting how little it seems people are willing to give Grace anymore... outward or inward!

It's then that I made a statement just off the top of my head but I felt the weight of His heart all over it:

You MUST learn to give Grace to yourself first, before you are truly able to give it away to others!
 You guys? This may be the mystery that helps solve at least some of our problems! 

Now when I say Grace, I don't mean excuses or lack of consequences or not having to take responsibility. But when we talk about Being Kind and Focusing on the Positive and all that we have covered so far --it includes giving it to ourselves. 

Sometimes our harshest critic is the sound of our own thoughts about ourselves. We attempt to be kind to others but we forget to be gentle with our own hearts as well!

October 16, 2018

31 Days of Becoming Queen... DAY SIXTEEN


***
The Importance & Lost Art
of Going First...


Listen... I get it. I do. 

Throughout this series, I'm sure there has been a time or two that the Holy Spirit has snuck up on you and whispered some truth... corrected a thing or two... 

I'm only guessing this because He has done that with me, too!  And if you are like me, your inner four-year-old self may have risen up and said, "Yea, but..."


We all have excuses or reasons why we haven't given the benefit of the doubt or why we have jumped to conclusions or have been snarky or unkind... (Listen... for real... I'm fluent in sarcasm. This is a thing --and sometimes a problem.)

We can let our flesh boss us around and the division and frustration that rides the waves of injustice and (self)righteousness can cause us to get swept up in the storm of emotions and we accidentally forget our ever-lovin' minds!

And we forget that we are called to be kind...

October 15, 2018

DAY FIFTEEN of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


***

Oh, the Golden Rule...

Can you believe we are already halfway through the month (and this series) and we are just now getting to the old Golden Rule concept?

Well... we're not really, because we started out the first week talking like Mr. Rogers when we talked about Being Kind, Believing the Best, and Focusing on the Positive. Then last week we talked about not Jumping to Conclusions or Ascribing Intent, and we touched on Empathy, Sympathy, and Perspective, too. So really, all month long, the Golden Rule has been sneaking around the edges of all that we've covered so far!

I mean, we've heard about it since we were kids! Whether it was your parents telling it to you regarding sibling rivalries, or teachers or coaches talking about it with fellow students or teammates, it seemed this was constantly being repeated to us as children:




Do Unto Others As You'd Have Them Do Unto You...

Many of those familiar old sayings (like 'Cleanliness is next to godliness' for example) are not actually in the Bible, but the Golden Rule most definitely is.

This pretty much sums up the Sermon on the Mount, right?

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