GARBAGE DAY

GARBAGE DAY

Tuesday is garbage day at our house.

Every Monday evening the garbage can gets wheeled down to the curb and every Tuesday a big truck with a mechanical arm drives by and uses its scary robot appendage to pick the can up and shake it violently over the open bin above.

It drives away with all the rotten food leftovers, chicken parts from last night’s dinner, un-recyclable plastics and other random disposables so it doesn’t hang around and stink up our garage.

Tuesday evening, one of us (usually my husband) will drag the can back up the driveway and return it to its spot, tucked neatly away in the open  garage. 

Today I woke up feeling like that garbage can. For a little over a year my husband and I have followed a Ketogenic way of eating (low carb, high fat). The first six months we were very strict and did not waiver from the foods we were supposed to eat. During the next six months, we would occasionally have a meal that didn’t quite fit the macros if we were traveling. 

The past couple of weeks we have blown the diet out of the water. Last night, we sunk the battleship with dinner out and ice cream for dessert. 

I woke up at 4 am with stomach pain and just an overall feeling of yuck. 

The Keto diet has been life giving. It has made many health issues I was having before disappear. When I’ve had too many carbs or processed foods, symptoms start reappearing until I’m back on a full Keto diet. 

Being on the Keto diet, I have never felt better. I can tell my body has healed from the inside. When I do have a meal that causes me to feel off, it amazes me that for years I lived feeling that way. 

By tomorrow I’ll be back to normal and feeling good again. 

Early this morning, laying wide awake and having carb regret, I used the time to talk to God. 

He reminded me of what the Word does for us spiritually and what feeding ourselves “garbage” can do to us spiritually. 

There are so many things in this world that bombard us daily in the form of advertising. Everywhere we look – television, social media, other people’s conversations – we are inundated with ungodly thoughts and ideas. We are like a garbage can that needs to be emptied at least once a week or we will stink. 

Why let it even sit there for a week though? We have access to the Word and it instructs us to renew our minds. 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2 KJV

We spend more time on social media than we do in the Word. We have the opportunity to read the Word daily, but do we? 

Many of us will make sure to get our exercise in every morning or every evening to keep our physical bodies in good shape and working properly but do we give that much attention to our spiritual life?  

What are we renewing our mind with? The Word or the world? 

God reminded me this morning that spiritually we can feel yucky when we are feeding ourselves with the wrong spiritual food. 

What have you been feeding on and what have you thrown away? Is it time to empty the garbage can? 

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are Gods.

1 Corinthians 6:19‭-‬20 KJV

 

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SWALLOWED IN VICTORY

SWALLOWED IN VICTORY

One week ago today, July 7, 2017, we lost my husband’s sister to a tragic car accident involving an 18-wheeler. He received the call from his dad about noon and my husband immediately called me.

Shock.

Unbelief.

She was 43 years young. She was in her prime. She had dreams.

From what we understand, it was instant. No pain, no suffering.

Saturday we went and spent a few hours with his dad and step-mom at their house. Sunday we went to church. Monday we spent at the funeral home for visitation and again on Tuesday before the funeral that afternoon. Wednesday we were back at church and yesterday we spent the day together and enjoyed it with a walk, a movie and a visit to the used book store. Today my husband is back at work and so am I, at home writing.

I’m not one to say nice things about people once they are gone unless they were true while they were living. My sister-in-law had so much love to give. From the moment I met her she treated me like family. She truly was one who never met a stranger. She didn’t care where you had been or what you had done, she looked past those things. She loved her family. She wasn’t perfect, neither am I and neither are you, but she loved with all she had.

Every death we experience in this life, brings us closer to our own. It makes us stop and ponder our own mortality. It puts things into perspective, even if for a short while before we go back to living like it’s never going to happen to us.

But it will. It will happen. Each of us will pass from this life.

It doesn’t matter if a death is expected or unexpected, they each leave their mark and they each hurt in their own way.

The death of a child, a parent, a grandparent, a sibling, a distant relative, a friend…they are all different.

I’ve lost all of my grandparents, a brother, uncles and aunts, cousins, my dad, and now a sister-in-law.

The one that affected me the most was my dad. It completely changed who I am. It left a hole in my heart that was unbearable. A hole so deep that it went straight through. I thought it would be there forever. That is partially true. That hole is still there but it’s filled with God’s love. I picture it like a knot in a tree…you can see the mark and you know something happened there but it’s filled in now. It just looks a little different.

His death affected me so greatly that I couldn’t attend my uncle’s funeral six months later and I couldn’t attend my grandmother’s funeral six months after that. I wasn’t ready.

I prayed every day for months that God fill the hole in my heart. He did and it took time. It wasn’t instant. I still pray that way when I’m more aware of it.

I learned a lot about God when I lost my dad. I think it was mostly because of how much I had to lean on the Word and who God was in my life, every moment of every day, because otherwise, I wouldn’t have made it.

Right now I hurt for her husband, her kids, her parents, her brothers and sisters, her family and her friends. The pain and loss doesn’t go away when the funeral ends. If anything, it’s more apparent when everyone else goes back to their regular, uninterrupted life, and yours is not the same. There is an empty place. There is a different atmosphere the person you loved used to fill. There are routines that are forever changed. There are realizations that come with time that you didn’t think about before. There are moments you don’t know what to do because you want them there so much. Even in all of this, you want people to stop looking at you with that look. You want things to be as normal as possible and realize that means a new normal. Life will never be the same as it was before.

I don’t know how people do it without God.

I wish there was a way to help people understand how good He is. How much He loves us. How much He comforts us. How much He sustains us. How much strength He provides for us.

I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to blaming God for bad things that happen in our lives, for the hurt we endure. When I lost my dad I had a heart to heart with God. In tears I told Him I was angry with Him and I wanted to blame Him for it all but that I was choosing to seek Him in all things instead. I wanted wisdom and understanding. I wanted to see His goodness in all of it. I didn’t want the enemy to win. I refused to let the enemy steal, kill and destroy anything else in my life.

There is no price I can put on the things I learned by seeking God during that time. It’s been over seven years now and I am still learning from it. I believe I will the rest of my life.

Each passing day and with each death experienced, I develop a deeper understanding of 1 Corinthians 15: 45-58 –

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

To know the Law, the Law of Moses, and understand that it pointed out the sins in people’s lives is a revelation in the Word. They weren’t just laws to live by – obeying these laws won’t get you into heaven – they were laws meant to shine a light on the sin in people’s lives and how much they needed God.

Adam was created flesh. His flesh sinned, his flesh died. We were created for a purpose. To love. When the flesh chose disobedience over love, God devised a plan – out of His love for us.

Satan thought he had won.

But God.

God made himself flesh, a living sacrifice. Jesus Christ. The Anointed One.

This is how we have victory over death. Death takes life away. Believing in Jesus gives us eternal life. It makes a way. It opens a door. It pulls us out of the grave and makes us walk in the reality of who God made us to be and what we are called to be: LOVE.

We will all perish one day. We will let go of this shell that houses our spirit and soul. The Word tells us the Law will not save us. The Word tells us that we have Christ living on the inside of us, that we were crucified with Him and that we have eternal life. There is hope once this flesh falls away. There is more once this flesh is no more. That is the victory. That is how satan loses. That is how his head is crushed under our feet – because God loved us enough to make a way. He didn’t let the story end when Adam sinned.

Don’t let your story end. Call on Him. Ask Him to give you wisdom and revelation in His Word. Take your victory. Refuse to be a victim of the enemy.

The verse that carried me through so many days when I wanted to give up and stop fighting the good fight of faith, was Jeremiah 33:3 –

Jeremiah 33:3 (KJV)

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

The words “great and mighty” don’t necessarily mean “good and happy”. They mean God will walk with you and talk to you and explain things to you, if you let Him.

I know where I’m going when I leave this body because I have victory over death.

Do you?

 

 

 

Top of the Mountain

Top of the Mountain

Yesterday, July 4th, my husband and I went hiking in Cloudland Canyon, GA. It’s been 5 or 6 years since we have been there and I’m not sure why since it’s right in our back yard and one of the prettiest places around here.

 

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According to his fitness tracker, by the time our day was finished, we had climbed the equivalent of almost 40 flights of stairs. It only counts the ascension, not the descension. If you have never been, there are a few different trails that lead down into the canyon to the bottom of waterfalls and a majority of the trails are man-made stairs.

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We have had heavy rains in the last week including yesterday morning so water was falling everywhere and it was beautiful. Best time to go.

We hiked the overlook trails and stood on the wooden fenced in cliffs overlooking the Tennessee Valley. Breathtaking. It looks and smells so much better from up there.

 

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I was thankful I took an extra pair of shoes because the ones I started out in provided me with a nice blister on the back of each heel. I need to invest in some lightweight summer hiking shoes.

We hiked down to Cherokee Falls to dip our toes in the rushing water, which felt nice on the puffy blisters as well. We watched a crayfish climb all over a submerged rock, hanging on for dear life as the water gushed over it.

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Cherokee Falls, Cloudland Canyon, GA

 

After we came back up from Cherokee Falls we decided to drive around the rest of the park to check out the disc golf course and fishing pond. We parked and started towards the fishing pond trail, unsure how far out the pond actually was.

There were no other people in this part of the park and it was eerily quiet on the path. My husband even commented how little wildlife was around. We heard some cicadas but that was it. Not a squirrel or bird in site. We also noticed that yet again, we were headed down meaning our walk back would be up.

When we reached the end of the trail that opened up into a large field, watch tower and the pond, it was serene. Dragonflies were zipping around and the uncut grass tickled my ankles.

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We decided it was time to call it a day and begin heading back home. By this time I could feel the burn in my calves and thighs from the canyon hike we had already accomplished. I was feeling good though because I hadn’t used my inhaler at all. I have mild asthma and I remember the last time we hiked the canyon, I was not in the shape I am now and I weighed 40 pounds more. It was horrible to say the least. I thought I would never catch my breath and that I would explode from exhaustion right there on the trail in front of everyone.

This time, the ascension was still a workout but not like it was before. I know my health has improved and I’m rebuking asthma one hike at a time. Another amazing feat for this hike was the fact that on Tuesday evening, earlier last week, I could barely walk. I had aggravated a bulged disc in my lower back and was not doing so well. Again, prayer and knowing the Word and what it says about healing, had me back on my feet by Friday.

On this last leg of the hike back to the car, as we were climbing the trail, the Holy Spirit began ministering to me about this season I’ve been in. If you have kept up with my blog, you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about. If not, I’ll quickly give an explanation.

I’m in a season that I’ve never been in before. I’m in a career transition that has required me to step out in great faith, partly by choice and partly by force. As I’m typing this, I realized it’s like hang gliding tandem. You want to hang glide but you can’t do it on your own the first time. You have to fly tandem. It’s in those moments of stepping off the concrete pad that even if you wanted to stop, you couldn’t because your trainer has built the momentum and is jumping whether you like it or not. We stopped on top of Lookout Mountain at the flight center on our way home yesterday to admire the view and just realized how it played into the lesson God was teaching me all day yesterday.

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Anyways, back to the last part of the hike. As we were heading back towards the car, my lungs were beginning to burn which usually happens right before I have to use my inhaler. I slowed my pace a bit and we took a couple of breaks so I could catch my breath and regulate my breathing. I had made it that far and I didn’t want to resort to the inhaler, I wanted to stand firm in my faith and on the Word.

At the beginning of this season, I was led to read the story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22). The focus this entire time has been his obedience in climbing the mountain. All along I knew this was a “mountain” I’ve been climbing but yesterday things just clicked. There have been some really good days these past few months but there have been some really rough ones as well. Days where my faith was slipping, like I did yesterday in the silty sand where the rain had created some slippery conditions. I didn’t fall though and I kept on hiking. Those rough days I slipped but I kept on hiking – kept on building my faith.

The hike down into the valley was pretty easy and going down there we knew we would have to come back up and it would be a little more difficult than descending. The view in the canyon was spectacular but so was the view from the top of the mountain.

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As we headed towards the car on that last little hill, I saw our car off in the distance and I thought about how close I am to having my heart’s desires. I can see it off in the distance. I’ve hiked down to the canyon of this season and I’ve been climbing back out for a while. There are times I’ve had to stop and catch my breath. There are parts that have been harder than others. There are times my footing has slipped but the goal has not changed and I have continuously pressed towards the mark.

The times I thought I had failed on this journey were not failure, they were just part of the hike. When we stood at the bottom of the canyon watching the water rush by, it was peaceful. When we stood on the overlook cliffs viewing the valley down below, it was peaceful. The hike in-between the two points, we learned. We learned where to put our feet to keep us safe. We learned about the rock formations because my husband is a Geologist and every hike is a science learning opportunity. We learned what shoes to wear and not to wear. We learned how much endurance we had. We learned how hard we could push ourselves. Most importantly, we learned how beautiful and important every step of the journey really is.

I don’t think  I would ever actually hang-glide but I’ve reached that jumping off point and God is my trainer. He’s my tandem partner. He’s pushing and I’m strapped in about to view it all from above.

Climbing the mountain takes time. It may even require a few breaks here and there. You will more than likely lose your footing in the slippery areas. Always remember though, it’s just as beautiful at the bottom as it is at the top and it’s up to you how much you learn along the way.

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Hebrews 13:5 (KJV)

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

 

 

WORKBOOK IN THE WORKS

WORKBOOK IN THE WORKS

I currently have three workbooks available through Amazon and am working on the next one. I thought it was going to be on 1 & 2 Corinthians but I’ve been re-directed to do this one on Galatians.

This first series are six-week studies. I believe once I do begin a workbook for books such as 1 & 2 Corinthians, the format may change some to accommodate the length of those books and the depth of the topics they cover.

 

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Sample page of current format. 

 

I haven’t been blogging as much lately as I have had a lot going on. I am in the middle of heavy edits on my manuscript for my first full book as well as writing a 365 day devotional. That doesn’t include the new workbook. All is coming together however in His perfect plan.

Check out the workbooks. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. Get blessed!

 

Beauty in the Wait

Beauty in the Wait

There is beauty in waiting on God. There are many lessons learned while waiting on God. There are many opportunities while waiting on God. The wait is a time of refreshment and renewal. The key to benefiting of all there is during a waiting period is to listen for His voice even when He is quiet.

Abraham took Isaac up the mountain in obedience. If you read the story in Genesis 22, you will see that God called on Abraham, gave him direction and Abraham followed the direction. It doesn’t say that while he was in the middle of his journey he questioned God or what he was instructed to do. We see his faith when Isaac asks him where is the lamb for the burnt offering. His answer was simple – God will provide.

Wouldn’t it be something if the story went a little different? If Abraham had stopped a mile into the journey and turned around, questioning and doubting what he was supposed to do? I see it as a scene from a spoof movie: Abraham, head down with pursed lips and a serious look on his face, one foot stomping in front of the other, coming to an immediate halt then pivoting on his toes to head back to their tent. A quarter-mile back he changes his mind again, another pivot and he’s headed back towards the mountain. What if his entire journey continued like this? Back and forth, back and forth. He would eventually reach the mountain but it would take quite a bit longer than if he had just made up his mind to begin with, which is how the story is actually told.

In scripture, he immediately obeyed and began to do something that I believe we overlook. He began to gather the necessary items he would need to accomplish what God told him to do without God telling him exactly what those items were.

He gathered the wood he would need for the burnt offering. He gathered his son, their donkey, a couple of traveling helpers. The knife. All the things needed to perform the burnt offering God instructed him to perform. He didn’t go shouting it out to everyone around either. He kept quiet.

We live in an era where everything is immediate. We also live in an era where God is unchanged. He is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow. We are fortunate enough to have the Bible and all of its information at our fingertips to learn from.

Reading the story of Abraham and Isaac again this morning, I realized something about God. He gives us instructions. With those instructions, we have choices. When we choose to obey, there is a time of preparation. A time of gathering.

God didn’t talk to Abraham while he was in the middle of traveling to the place he was told to go, at least the Word doesn’t mention it. God didn’t tell him specifically to chop wood and take two of his helpers, a donkey and a knife. These were things Abraham did in preparation for what God was about to do in his life.

I believe Abraham knew he wouldn’t actually have to kill his own son because of his answer to Isaac when Isaac asked where the lamb was. Abraham said God would provide his own lamb. If Abraham knew he wouldn’t have to follow through, why did he even start? Why did he even gather the items needed for a burnt offering? Why didn’t he just say, “Well, God, I know you aren’t going to have me kill my own son so I’m just going to hang out here at the tent and go on about my business. You know, the let’s not and say we did kind of situation?”

He didn’t spend time asking what if either. He didn’t ask – What if I get all the way up there and go through with it then God jumps out and says, “Haha! Just kidding. You weren’t supposed to do that!”

He trusted God had a greater purpose and that all would go as planned. He knew God wouldn’t have asked him to do something unless there was purpose behind it. So he exercised his faith and followed instructions.

I have spent the last two months on this journey myself. I’ve never been in this kind of situation before. I can’t speak about all of it yet but I can say this much. The company I worked for is closing down and began phasing out positions in January. I was the second to be let go in April. I knew it was coming so it wasn’t a surprise and I knew God had, and still has, a plan for my life and my husband’s life. The only instruction I received from God at the time was this: Read in the Word as much as you can and pray more than you ever have. Seek Me daily.

That doesn’t seem like a lot of instruction (especially when it’s something you already do) when you are facing no job, no income. Really? Can’t you tell me where I’m supposed to work next? Are you going to have ravens drop big bags of money out of the sky? Can’t you sit down with me and use little green army men to demonstrate every strategic move in my life so I can just go with it?

God has been quiet on this journey and it has driven me crazy. He’s never been this quiet in my life, especially during the times I’m seeking Him in prayer. Unlike Abraham, I have been the one during this season to pivot and turn back and pivot again. I’ve had to work through doubts and fears. It wasn’t all for waste though.

During this time I have learned many great lessons about who He is in my life. I have seen the strength of my faith and I have seen the weakness in my faith where Christ is made strong. He has built me up. Even though He has been quiet, He has not left me. My relationship with Christ and God and the Holy Spirit is deeper than it was before. I’ve seen Him, yet again, provide.

He has been training us and encouraging us for greater things, for the plan He has for our lives. We see the strings attached to each event that for all appearances, wouldn’t seem to work together for His good, but they do.

We have prayed all along, Lord, open the doors that need to be opened and keep closed the doors that need to stay closed according to Your plan for our lives. We both have a desire to serve Him and be a Christ-like example to those around us. I haven’t always succeeded at this and there are still a couple of conversations I need to have with some individuals and I trust God will provide those opportunities.

I told my husband during the days that this season has been the hardest, “I know in the end all will be amazing and there will be such a great testimony of God’s grace, mercy and favor in our lives which is why I can’t understand why I’m having days that are this hard to comprehend and trust. I know better.”

God didn’t want me to just draw closer to Him, He wanted me to see who I was in Christ. I’m a conqueror. I’m a warrior. I stand back up when I’m knocked down. I don’t give up. I trust God ultimately. I have put myself at His feet. I have removed some pride in my life that needed to be removed. I am more humbled than I was before. I don’t give up because He never gave up on me and He never will.

2 Chronicles 15:7 (KJV)

Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.

 

 

 

And for my next trick…

And for my next trick…

WARNING: This is going to be a lengthy post and I’m making it longer by telling you this. I’m not one for long blog posts but I see no way around it for this one. I’ll try to keep it interesting.

For the past year my husband and I have been on a ketogenic diet. I don’t like calling it a “diet” because it’s more of a way of life now. We changed what we eat and don’t plan on going back to the regular “healthy” way of eating, you know, what that food pyramid says you should eat? Pffft.

I had some health issues that caused weight gain and when diet and exercise were no longer doing what they should have done, I prayed and searched until I found something that worked. This past year I have lost 40 pounds. This works. Keto works. I won’t go into all the details about this journey in this post but you can read all about it here in my post, The Healing Powers of Bacon.

I share this to tell you about what has been going on the past few months. Losing weight means new clothes. Honestly, I still had a closet full of clothes that I had kept because I never gave up on the fact that I could lose weight, regardless of what the doctors said. I was a normal weight before and I could be again, that was my mind-set. Besides, all things are possible with God. I even bought a few pieces of clothing over the last few years that were too small because I refused to believe I would stay where I was at in life.

I’ll just be honest here. I HATE shopping. I am a woman and I HATE shopping. I can’t stand to look and look and go back and forth between the dressing room and the racks and back to the dressing rooms a million times to find a couple of things I’m satisfied with. I have NEVER liked shopping, ask my mom…it was the cause of many arguments between her and I. During the years I was dealing with the health and weight issues, I REALLY hated shopping.

I know this makes me sound like a horrible person, but I’m all for uniforms, in every aspect of life. It would bring me such peace and joy to open my closet and see nothing but the same uniform for each day of the week. I wouldn’t have to spend brain energy on deciding what to wear. I wouldn’t have to give a PFFFFFT about how I looked because we would all look the same. That is beautiful to me. No exerted energy on something I care nothing about. No wasted time in the dressing rooms. No gas spent driving to store after store to make sure I had shoes that complimented my outfit and accessories that popped! It stresses me out just to write about it. Blech. Kudos to you ladies and gents who love it and look fabulous all the time.

Here is something I hate about shopping, especially during the transition period while losing weight and having no idea what size you are going to need. This has happened to me more times than I will admit…

Grab an armful of clothes, head into the dressing room. Look around to make sure you see nothing suspicious like a hidden camera or something or somebody peeking over the top of the partition. Try the first shirt on, yuck. Try the second one on, yuck. Try the third one on and it’s a little snug on the arms. You pull it down further anyways thinking the rest will fit fine.

All of a sudden, there you are, in the dressing room, stuck like Houdini with amnesia…no way out.

That moment of panic as you struggle, holding back a scream for help and praying you don’t tear a giant hole in the armpit of the hell you are in. This is the moment where turning in circles seems to be the only option as if the minute amount of wind you will kick up in your pivot will miraculously free you.

A full 360 and you find yourself in the same position as you were before. Stuck. Helpless.

I’m laughing as I write this thinking back to my teenage years when my best friend and I were shopping (ha, I know) at the drugstore for some makeup. She had one of those handbaskets and tried putting it on like a backpack laughing and saying, “Look Misty, I’m a turtle! I’m a turtle!”

Then that moment of panic set in when she realized she was stuck as she had it halfway off, one arm jutting awkwardly above her head, the other somehow crossed in front of her. Talk about going to hell in a handbasket.

I laughed so hard I hit the floor with my knees. A middle-aged woman a few feet away began chuckling and couldn’t stop. She was trying to but she couldn’t. I can only imagine what she thought of the two sixteen-year-olds laughing hysterically in the middle of the store, one in tears from the laughter the other about to cry out of panic.

That moment of panic. That moment of being stuck. That moment of trying to go back or forward and neither is option. You can’t get out the same way you got in and you can’t get in the same way you got out.

That is where I have been the past few weeks.

Not just in a shirt but with EVERYTHING.

I’ve been in this weird transition where nothing is familiar, nothing fits right, nothing looks good and I just want to spin in a circle so fast that the remnants bust at the seams and fly off.

Here I sit. A full 287-page manuscript staring me in the face screaming, “Edit me already, would ya!?” It is my nemesis during this time. I have a resume to die for but showing nothing that I actually want to pursue. A resume that most people don’t achieve until they are ready to retire and I haven’t even hit 40 yet.

A resume shows what one has accomplished, it does not show hopes and dreams and goals. You know, those things that people think you are crazy for even believing you can do until you actually do it and then they say “Congratulations”…yeah, those things. When I reach the stage of my life where I employ people, I am not going to only request a resume but their first interview, will solely be them sitting in a plain room with a piece of paper and pencil with a question at the top that says, “What are your dreams, hopes and goals?”

This morning, as I struggled in my awkward position in current life, I came across a video a friend posted on social media of a Monarch caterpillar transitioning into the pupa stage. As I stood there, turtle-like, watching this caterpillar turn into a pupa, a soft shell-like covering where it was going to hang out for a while, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “You were a dragonfly. Now you are becoming a butterfly.”

And the tears started.

The peace washed over me.

The calm overtook me.

The smile came.

The joy bubbled up.

I watched this video of the caterpillar wiggle and thrash to get it’s “shirt” off that was too tight. Eventually it did. Once it was shed, it became still again (on the outside), peace settled over it as it waited to become the butterfly where once again it would wiggle and thrash, shedding another layer before opening its wings and taking flight.

EGG

The first stage of a butterfly is an egg. It is small and inside this egg is where a tiny caterpillar grows. They are typically found on the leaves of plants. Most importantly, the mother butterfly that laid the egg, laid it on a plant that it knows it will eat. Each type of caterpillar only eats certain plants so the mother butterfly must know which plant to lay the eggs on.

CATERPILLAR

Once the egg hatches, the caterpillar spends its days eating. That’s all it will do is eat. The plant where the egg was laid, becomes its food. It feeds on this source that protected it from the beginning. The caterpillar grows so fast during this phase that it will molt its skin several times because the skin doesn’t grow but their insides do and need room to keep growing. It wiggles and struggles and removing its exoskeleton each time. It has to reach a certain length and weight during this phase.

PUPA

Once it has fed enough and stored up energy as a caterpillar, reaching its ideal length and weight, it changes into a pupa. This is where it sheds its exoskeleton once last time and becomes this pod looking thing hanging from a plant/branch. During this time, it appears as if nothing is changing. It looks like it’s just hanging out there. This is where it most vulnerable because it has no defense mechanism in this stage. While to the outside world it looks as if nothing is happening, EVERYTHING is happening on the inside. EVERYTHING is changing on the inside. Once all the changes have taken place, it begins to break out of the chrysalis (the casing it was hanging out in).

BUTTERFLY

Once the butterfly breaks free from the chrysalis it rests for a bit. Their wings are close to their body, they don’t immediately fly…they adjust to their new form and surroundings. Eventually, their bodies begin pumping blood into their wings, strengthening them, getting ready for flight. Once they take off, they are experts at flying and their only mission is to product “fruit” (reproduce) and lay eggs on another plant so the cycle can begin all over again and new butterflies will emerge.

 

 

I know what God whispered to me this morning. I know His voice. I understand. I’ve understood all along but I’ve had my moments of panic and thrashing and trying to bust my way out of the things that He is having me shed. His grace and mercy are plentiful  and He’s good.

I’ve spent much of my time in prayer and in the Word, feeding on everything I can. Last night, I said to my husband, “I have been so hungry today, like I just can’t get enough food!”

It manifested in the physical. Today I woke up with peace. Today I transitioned into the pupa stage, the chrysalis. Everything I’ve munched on the past few weeks is changing all that is on the inside.

I find it interesting that butterflies go through a COMPLETE metamorphosis whereas dragonflies, another one of my favorite beings, undergo an INcomplete metamorphosis. They don’t have a pupal stage. They don’t have the stage where everything on the inside changes and is made new, different, preparing them for flight.

A dragonfly serves its purpose as does a butterfly but the butterfly completely changes from the inside out. There is an extra phase it goes through to perfect it. Let the process happen. Enjoy the journey and trust God knows what He is doing. He’s the mother butterfly, the plant, the source, the food, the blood that will pump through your wings, the leaf from which you will take flight.

 

Romans 12:2 (KJV)

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOCUS

FOCUS

Focus. FOCUS. focus.

Focus is one of those words that if you say it over and over again, it begins to sound very strange.

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, FOCUS means:

  1. a :  a point at which rays (as of light, heat, or sound) converge or from which they diverge or appear to diverge; specifically :  the point where the geometrical lines or their prolongations conforming to the rays diverging from or converging toward another point intersect and give rise to an image after reflection by a mirror or refraction by a lens or optical system

    b :  a point of convergence (see convergence 1) of a beam of particles (such as electrons)

  2. a :  focal length

    b :  adjustment for distinct vision; also :  the area that may be seen distinctly or resolved into a clear image

    c :  a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding • tried to bring the issues into focus

    d :  direction 6c •  the team lost focus

  3. one of the fixed points that with the corresponding directrix defines a conic section

  4. a localized area of disease or the chief site of a generalized disease or infection

  5. a :  a center of activity, attraction, or attention •  the focus of the meeting was drug abuse  •  put immigration into focus as a hot topic for commentators

    b :  a point of concentration

  6. the place of origin of an earthquake or moonquake

  7. directed attention :  emphasis   • The focus is on helping the homeless.

 

I personally like number 6…moonquake. So much fun I can have with my last name. I feel like I’ve been in a moonquake…being shaken and thrown all over the place, in and out of focus. All those rays of light mentioned in the first definition are hitting in the same place all at once burning a hole into the ground. This isn’t to say where I’ve been is a “bad place.” Where I have been is bringing me into perfect focus.

I haven’t been blogging much because my focus has been elsewhere. Blogging is not my first agenda. It’s part of my agenda but not the main focus, at least not for now. I think, at least for the next month or so, I’ll be posting once a week while I finish up some other projects. We’ll see.

I don’t even want to post this blog because I know there are those who immediately want to give their advice. I know they mean well, however, I’m not needing outside advice. I know the state of affairs I am in. I know the entire story which my husband and I have not been able to share openly yet. People have good intentions though and want to look at every thing through rose colored glasses and tell you what to do when your circumstances look bleak. If they don’t know the entire story, they can’t give you Godly advice!

That would be like me telling a brain surgeon how to rewire a person’s cognitive thinking. Can that even be done? See! I know nothing about it other than there is a brain, there are different areas of the brain and there are those that operate on the brain. I’m not qualified to give advice in those matters. I don’t know the entire story.

What is frustrating is God has not released me to share the entire story but I know why as well. Because if I could, I would. If I did, I would be seeking answers elsewhere and not from Him. I also know, when all of this is done and said, what a great testimony we are going to have from it and the glory and honor we will be able to give to God because of it.

I don’t need answers from anyone else other than God/Jesus/Holy Spirit right now. He WANTS me to seek Him in all things and seek Him FIRST. On top of that, we have Pastors who know the entire story and have spoken into our lives through the Holy Spirit. They are our covering and we reverence them and the words they speak into our lives. A good Pastor is your shepherd and there is a reason for it. Too many times I see people seeking answers from EVERYWHERE and jumping from one thing to the next because they follow whatever, whoever and don’t understand the orderly way God has called things to be done.

There have been questions the Holy Spirit has led me to ask openly and told me to pay attention to the way people answer. Notice I said the way they answer, not what their answer is.

I have learned a very important lesson in this. People avoid the question and put their own understanding on it. They will read more into the question than what it is. They will become so spiritual that they miss the point.

Here’s a very simple example. Pretend you are shopping with a friend for a new dress. Men, if you are reading this, pretend you are shopping for a dress shirt and apply the same circumstance. I have a feeling the men will understand this better than the women.

Q: What color dress looks better on me? Red or Blue?

A: Well, how does the red dress make you feel? What about the blue?  The red speaks spark! It’s fierce! The blue is moody. Do you want to be moody?

The question was what color looks better not how they made me feel.

It is a very simple question. It is not complicated. It is not about feelings.

The Bible is our two-edged sword. If we stick to the Word, we prevent ourselves from becoming overly spiritual and getting off in a ditch with our thinking and with our advice.

I had someone ask me a question, this was a year or two ago. The question was along the lines of what I do when I’m struggling with a situation. My answer: I seek God in prayer and in reading the Word. It has the answer for any and all situations.

They didn’t like that answer. They thought it was a cop-out. This wasn’t the first they had come to me with their troubles and asking for advice. Each time they asked, my answer was the same. Get in the Word. They eventually stopped coming to me for answers because they were not looking for God.

They were looking for everything else but God.

Back to the definition of focus…2b hits the nail on the head right now: adjustment for distinct vision; also :  the area that may be seen distinctly or resolved into a clear image.

When you are adjusting the lens of a camera, you twist it back and forth slowly and can watch the image go in and out of focus until you hit the exact spot where the lens creates the clearest image.

Better yet, think about the last eye exam you had and the part where they cover one eye and flip different lenses on the mechanism they have shoved onto your face. Then they do the other eye. Then they do them both together. It takes some time. It takes some flipping around, back and forth, seeing which combination works best so you have the absolute, most clear view of things before you.

I thank God for this time, this transition, this focusing, this point in time where all the rays of light from my upbringing, training, education, experiences are coming together to create that point of vision God has placed in my heart. Not only for me but for my husband. For both of us, together. He’s one eye, I’m the other. God is about to put both lenses in front of us and the focus will be so clear that we laugh and smile and thank Him for being able to see so far in front of us!

Definition 2c says “a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding • tried to bring the issues into focus”

Oh, how good God is! I don’t know what you have going on in your life. I don’t know what struggles you face. I don’t know what despair you have. I don’t know what mountains are before you. I do know this – get in the Word. Pray and seek Him. I promise there will be answers. I promise the joy will come. The rejoicing will happen. His glory and mercy will overcome. 

I also know how hard it is at times. I know the enemy (devil, satan, evilness, etc) will attack and try to drag you down. FIGHT! Fight back! Use the Word against those thoughts, doubts and fears. Put on the armor of God. Don’t give in! Ask God for help! Keep seeking Him! Please don’t give up. Tell yourself right now there is only one option in your situation, whatever situation that may be, and the option is VICTORY.

 

Matthew 6:33 (KJV)

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.