Thursday, August 20, 2015

Quit being Jonah and get back to work!

Life is hard. I get thrown off course, a lot. Good and bad things come in waves. But the Word, He tells us that it will be hard, but He will be with us and let me tell you, He keeps His word.

I pulled up this blog to write for you today. It is weird. It brings back so many memories. So many words typed on this keyboard. It actually makes me want to cry that it has been almost two years since I wrote last. I spent so many hours at this computer doing what I know, in my heart, God wanted me to do. Hours in classes, hours of planning, hours of writing and rewriting and hours of praying to make sure that what I write hit the screen of the person He wanted to talk to. Over two whole years of blatant silence on my part. So very sad.

God has been gently prodding me to begin again, but it is painful. Writing is painful. One of the first things I learned in my first North Texas Christian Writers conference was that writing is painful. You have to bleed on the page, pouring a piece of Him and yourself out on the page for the whole world to read. And guess what? That is hard.

Beginning in 2010, we hit a valley that stuck around for years. Long sickness' and death. Changes in our family, the Lord gives and the Lord takes, but through it all He was our constant. He was always there and never left. I knew that that pain would be well used in writing, but I couldn't write. It hurt too much. It was easier to stick my head in the sand and pretend that what was happening wasn't. I put on a fake smile and said the right words, but inside I was torn up. God walked with me. He held my hand. He taught me that no matter how much I plan and hold on, things won't always go or stay as I want them to. Plans get messed up. People pass away and people walk away. Before, I would get upset and frazzled. I wouldn't know where to go next. Frustrated at my lack of control, I felt helpless, hurt and worthless.

So, I ran from writing. I ran from home. I couldn't be at home. Too much time to think. I volunteered, anytime I could. I got offered a job and I loved it. I had writers block on the story that I had been working on for over a year, so having a job helped me not think about it. Having a job helped me not think about the sadness and memories that surrounded me at my house. Then I got offered an even better job that would allow me to be with my kids all the time, but I had to work full time. I loved it even more than the first one. It was full time and I hardly ever had to be home.

In the back of my head however, I longed to write. I longed to be home, cooking dinner, writing stories and blessing my family. I longed to be a stay at home mom again. Please don't misunderstand. I loved what I was doing, but I was not doing what God called me to do. He called me to be a wife and mom. He called me to love my family and to take good care of them. He called me to cook. I believe that it is a gift He gave me. I am good at it. I love it. Good food makes people feel better. He called me to write. Heartfelt words bind up broken hearts. They can take people to places that they can't go on their own. Those things are what God called me to do. Those are the places where I feel I make a difference.

During all that time, God let me do my own thing. I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off. My plate was full. All the while calling me to quit being Jonah. To get busy being about His business. He used it to teach me how to take one day at a time. Make my plans, but stay in the moment, knowing that at any moment, it may change and to be okay with that. He taught me that what is really important, in His plan for me, is to take care of my family. That it is okay for me to "just" be a mom. That being home affords me the ability to write, to cook and to take care of my home. He also taught me to appreciate the painful memories. To remember the good ones and use the hard ones to bless others going through those tough times too.

My friends, thank you for sticking around and waiting on me. If this is your first time reading my blog, please feel free to go back and check out the rest of the posts. Some of them were pretty good. I am out of practice now, so it will take some time to fine tune again, but I plan on doing just that. I have ideas fluttering around my mind. I am looking forward to moving forward again. Thank you Lord for loving me enough to whisper to my heart and put me back on track!

Be blessed, until we read again...

Friday, January 25, 2013

God's Creation

I'm just began a new journey to grow closer to God. I won't go into the details because they are not relevant to this post. I wanted to share a quick thought about one of the verses I read today. Especially, if you are feeling like you don't matter or aren't good enough. This is for you. "Psalm 139:13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Wow, just think about that for a minute. I copied it in my journal and it hit me like a ton of bricks. He took the time to KNIT us, stitch by stitch. Have you ever knitted before? It takes time. He thoughtfully counted each and every stitch it took to make us. He didn't swirl His hand and poof we were there. He knit us. He skipped a stitch for every hair follicle He made. Just think when you get done knitting something. It isn't perfect but you love it because you created it, flaws and missed stitches and everything. But God's creation, us, we were perfect, because He is perfect. So how can I look at myself (or not look at myself) in the mirror and think, oh my that is awful, put some clothes on! God looks and me and says, "Wow, she is fearfully and wonderfully made. Perfect, just like me." Who am I to argue with that. God loves me just the way I am. Now that is incentive to find a way to love myself, just the way I am and go from there to be better. Praise God! Be Blessed, Until we read again...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fatal Distractions

I don't normally write devotionals about biblical passages, but something struck me when doing my bible reading today. I am a day behind in my study of Colossians, so this is about yesterdays verses. Colossians, 3:1-4 "Since then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ in your life appears, then you will also appear with Him in Glory." What struck me about this was it says to set your hearts AND minds on the things above. We have to turn all of ourselves towards Christ. We need to be mindful of where our hearts are and we need to be mindful of where our minds are. Our minds are processors, just like computers. We take in info and process it through our world eyes, which is what we have lived and learned, and come up with our thoughts and opinions about how we see this world. We are the only creation on earth that processes our world that we are surrounded by, in this way. We can choose to make the choice, good or bad. Each choice then leads to a consequence. Really, it is something that we teach our children from the very beginning. So, when we run into a situation that will affect it, our minds have to consider the different outcomes and then make the choice to do whichever we choose. It is beautiful. We get to choose. That is the freedom that the Lord granted us. For instance, I can look at that little Mazda 5 that will fit all six of us and no one and nothing else, but gets great gas mileage. I could sell my vehicle that seats 7 and has room for groceries and a dog too. I could spend hours of dreaming of a new vehicle and searching for good deals on the internet, trying to figure out how I would be able to talk my hubby into buying it for me. OR I could be content, that I have a vehicle that is in good shape, gets ok gas mileage, is already paid off and fits everything that I need. I could do either of these things. Sadly, I have been doing the first choice. I got so distracted that I obsessed about it. It was a distraction which keet me from things of above. Instead, I need to be attracted to the things of above. When you are attracted to something, it keeps your eyes from looking elsewhere. Got it? Are you still with me??? So, back on track, if we have made the choice to follow the Lord, Jesus Christ then, my sweet friends, our world has changed. We now have a filter named Christ. Our processor includes a built in feature. See, we live in a tangible world where the things of this world are in our faces. TV's, nice cars, big homes, commercials and magazines, they tell us we are not good enough the way we are. In order to make it through these attacks from the evil one, which they are, we have to USE THE FILTER of Jesus to tell us who we are. We have to make the effort to SET our hearts and minds on the things of above, towards Jesus. It takes effort. It is easy to sit and SEE and FEEL and HEAR and TASTE the things of this world because it is here. It is now. It is real. But our minds and hearts know different. Jesus is here and now. He lives in us. He is our filter. All the things we do go through Him and our choices and lives should reflect that. Truly, it's not about the things here and now, it is about Jesus and being a reflection of the above things and not the world things. We should be going into the world and showing Jesus to the lost. We should be a city on a hill, above this world. Not of it, but in it. If you are not using your filter to process your world, you should be. If you haven't accepted this filter, you need to. Your life will change and He wants to do it for you. He is reaching His hand out to bring you above this. All you have to do is reach out and take it and let Him. It is amazing what your life and world will look like with the filter of Jesus Christ to look through. If you want to and don't know what to do, ask a friend who does. If you don't have one or know one, send me an email or make a comment, I will help you. All you have to do is ask. Wow, that was a sermon! Sorry about just started flowing out. Hopefully, it touches someone out there. Praise God! Be Blessed, Until we read again. wt

Friday, October 12, 2012

What am I so afraid of?

Dear God, This may seem like a silly way to communicate with you. I am laying my heart on the line for all to see. What am I so afraid of? Why can't I sit down and just be with you? For days now, I have put other things in front of you. So many other things. I feel like I am almost doing it on purpose. I can hear so still, small voice in my head calling me, beckoning me back to the place you brought me to, just a few weeks ago. Am I so hard headed that I won't even answer? Have I turned and walked away, again? TV shows are so important that I can't even make 10 minutes for you to speak to me in your Word? No, Lord, let me check my email first, I don't want to miss anything. Let me go get my run in, first. Let me go feed the dogs, first. Let me go volunteer at my girl's school, first. Let me go grocery shopping, first. Oh Lord, the list goes on and on. I see you with the scroll of excuses in my head. I come. Lord, on bended knee, I come. I ask you to forgive me for my disobedience. I confess to you that I have deliberately not done what you have asked me to do. I am afraid of the place you want to take me. I don't know what it will look like or what you are going to lead me to do. I have fear of the unknown. I know you want to do a work in my heart. Cleanse me and make me whole so I can better go forward in the commands you are teaching me to do. Lord, you gave me so much at the retreat, just a few weeks ago. I could feel your Power. I could feel you tangibly close. It seems so far away now, but yet, I almost sense it is just one step of obedience away. Your Peace is just a hand held out, all I need to do is reach. Why won't I? What am I so afraid of? Lord, I need you. I can't walk this path alone. You are my Creator. I know you have what is best for me in mind. I know you want to use me to shine your Light. Your Goodness and Mercy follows me. Your Countenance is upon me. Your Spirit lives in me. Give me your Courage to take the step into the unknown because it IS known by you. Guide me in your footsteps that you have already laid the path for me. You have given me enough to make through today. Your promises shall suffice for tomorrow. I come to you in obedience to make you first in my life. I give my time to you. Praise you Jesus. Thank you for second chances. In your Jesus name, Amen. Be blessed, Until we read again...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Runnin' uphill

As some of you are aware, I have been running again. I started this summer with James in the evenings, running in the field. Did you know that summers in Texas are HOT!!?? Anyway, since school started for the T girls, I found a trail, concrete, to run on that is peaceful and well traveled by other folks, so I don't have to worry about stalkers or mass murderers. (very much) I enjoy running it for the most part, as much as one can enjoy running. It's good for me and makes me feel good, when I'm done. Get to the point, Wendy. I know, I'm a little bit off target right now. I have been pondering my run this morning and wanted to share a little glimpse of what the Lord shared with me. Let me start by saying, I hate running hills. There. I. Said. It. I hate running hills. It is hard. It is daunting. It hurts. It makes my lungs hurt. It makes my chest heave. You get the picture. All my running career, as on and off as it has been, I have hated hills. Most of the time, I would just walk the hill. It wouldn't matter where I was on my clock. (run a minute, walk a minute etc...) I would walk the hill. On this past Saturday, I did the Harvest Run here in town. All the profits go to a local non profit that I love, so I try to do it every year. There is a HUGE hill on it. Surprise, I never run it. But, this year, I wanted to see if I could do it. Let me step back in time to last January. I trained for and ran a whole 5k without stopping. I wanted to see if I could do it. I was running with a group from Fort Worth Running Company, Moms on the Run. It was awesome. One of the ladies in the group ran slow like me. The difference was, when she got tired, she kept running, she just slowed way down, so she wouldn't stop. I started running next to her and I did it! I ran a whole 5k. I know that may not be a big deal for some, but it was for me. Fast forward again till now. I decided to use my trick and instead of walking this daunting hill, I would run, but just slow down. Guess what? Yep, you are right, I ran it. It felt awesome. That sense of accomplishment was so good! Now, today, I was tired. I guess all the consistent running this past couple of weeks caught up with me. The trail that I run is mostly uphill. Obviously, there are downhills too, but the uphills are crazy! Usually, I can make it up one or two of them on the way out, but the backside of the hills going back are brutal. This time while running today, I was chugging up a hill. I remember looking at the top and thinking, "Is it further today than it was Monday?" Then, the Lord spoke to me and said, "Look at the square at your feet and take one step at a time. Don't look to the top." So, who am I to argue with that. I looked down at the cement square bounding before me. "Huh, if I just look at it, the ground doesn't look like it's going up." My eyes moved, to the next one and the next one. Then I glanced up and I was only two squares away from the peak. Wow. What a feeling. The downhill behind it led me to my 1.5 mile turnaround marker. Now I had to run back up the hill. Ugh. One square at a time. Then I was there again. At the top. I did that the whole way back as I pondered how often it is that when the Lord sets a path before us and it looks all up hill, how daunting the task seems to be. How is it that we always stare at how far away the journey is and how hard it will be to get there? Instead, we should be looking at the next step because it's only a step away. Geesh, we can do that! It doesn't look so daunting if you just look at the step before you. BUT, one caveat, we must always keep the prize in mind. Look up occasionally at your hill to make sure you are still on target is important. You can't just run blindly and hope to stay in a straight line. Mythbusters proved you can't do it. I saw it. Paul says in Philippians 3:14 "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." That is the ultimate journey. To press on toward wherever God is leading you. Good or bad, He's clearing the path. He never said it was going to be easy, He said He would be with you. If we keep our eyes on Jesus and our feet taking one step at a time, we can make it to the top of the hill. We can do it! I encourage you, don't give up. Take it one step at a time. Be blessed, Until we read again...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Getting fit both spiritually and physically

Got a little challenge I am doing starting today. I want to share. More than anything, for accountability. This is a 5 week challenge through called Living and Active. I will be checking in at least once a week to let you know how I did. The goal is to do a minimum of 4 workouts of at least 25 minutes each. Since I have been running again, that shouldn't be a problem. I run 3 miles and it takes WAY more than 25 minutes. Someday....maybe.... Ah-hem, stop dreaming. Anyway, I have to come up with a number 4 workout. James wants me to start doing some strength training, so I guess I can do that, but yuck. I guess it would help my flabby arms, right?? So, I say all this to let you know, that as I check in on at least Mondays, I will let you know, how many miles I ran, how much time it took me, what my extra workout was and I will also let you know how much Bible reading I did. Please drop me a word of encouragement if you have the time. I could use it. Be blessed. Until we read again...

Friday, September 7, 2012

And the Lord is Faithful...

"Lord, if you don't want me to do this, you will have to stop this or bring me the children you want me to have." Little did I know when I woke up from my tubal ligation in January of 2004, that indeed, He would follow through, not once, but twice. On April 1, 2005, the Lord brought me 3 little girls to care for. My 3 nieces. It was a long, dramatic, Child Protective Services case. Without going through all the details, for the purpose of this post, the ending was June 26, 2006 with a judge granting the adoption of the youngest member or those girls, Miranda. That expanded our family of 4, to a family of 5. Fast forward two weeks to July 5, 2006. I was invited by my mother in law to go with her to the birth of little miss Claire. It was an amazing moment in my life. I saw her and knew that she would be with me. Three months later, she still was not. I pleaded and waited, but the most I got was a weekend here or there. I remember folding laundry that day and praying about her. I felt and overwhelming sense of peace come over me and the Lord said, "It's not time yet." From that moment, I waited. Watching the situation unfold. Time after time, I thought, this could be it, but it never came. Years rolled by and I watched other people get to see her first steps, hear her first word, get her first tooth, write her first word, draw her first picture. My heart broke. I threw my fist at God and said, "Why, Lord!" "It's not time yet." My mother in law was diagnosed with cancer in January of 2011. She had not been feeling well for many months prior to that. She had already sent Claire to live with my sister in law. She knew that we wanted her and have since the beginning, but chose to send her to my sister in law anyway. Doubts filled my head. Did I hear God wrong? Did I make it up? I was angry. At everyone. I felt like, for some reason (satan's lies) my mother in law and sister in law did not think I was a good enough mom and needed to keep her away from me. (again lies from the evil one.) I felt like, this precious child, whom I knew was supposed to be with me, was with someone else and that is where she was going to stay. My mom in law had already made her will and left her with my sister in law. Book closed, end of story. BUT, in the back of my head, I heard Him reminding me, that even when there seems to be no way anything can ever change, HE CAN ALWAYS MAKE A WAY. I held on. And HE did. On November 5th, 2011, my husband called me and said his sister called him and said that she couldn't keep Claire. Her hands were too full and Claire wasn't working well in their family. She was a nightmare at school, uncontrollable at home, acting out. She spent most of her time in time out and my sister in law said that that wasn't fair to her or anyone else. Could we take her? This was on my husband's birthday. What a perfect gift! I went and picked her up the next morning. Elated, that my last T Girl was finally coming home, where she belongs. I knew that my hands would be full, by hearing the stories of how horrible she had been, however anytime that we had ever had her, we didn't have any behavior issues or acting out. She wasn't an angel, but never like what I heard. She was a different child. In fact, I don't think anyone believed me when I would tell them that she was great with us. But, after a few weeks, my mother in law saw a change in Claire. At this point, my mother in law's condition had worsened to the point where my husband, sister in law and myself were taking weekly rotations staying with her to take care of her. On one of my shifts, of course Claire was with me, we were watching tv in the evening. She looked at me and Claire cuddling on the couch and said that she knew that Claire was where she was supposed to be. She said Claire always cuddles with her, but she looks so peaceful and content with me. She told me I was so good with her. The next week, she changed her will to leave sweet Claire with us. On February 6th, 2012 my mother in law passed away. I still miss her. We had had our rocky times, but God always brought us back together. I won't go there now, but I want you to know, she was a great Grandma to her babies and a great mom/provider for her children. So, I write all this to share with you that as of 9/6/2012, I am the mom to 4 beautiful T girls! The adoption is final. It has been a rocky road, (love some ice cream right now...) but with the Lord guiding us, we have made it. I encourage you with my testimony, if the Lord promises something, He WILL make it happen. Even when it looks hopeless in the worlds eyes, keep your eyes looking at Him. He will make a way. One funny thing to share. A quotable quote with me. James and I are doing a bible study with the girls last week. We were reading about when Jesus tells the parable of the talents and how when you are faithful with little, God will give you more. I piped up and said, "Well, I guess God saw us faithful with our two girls because He gave us two more!" Everyone thought that was funny, but it is true. God did answer my prayer that day before I had surgery. He wasn't done with our family, yet. Be blessed, Until we read again...

Faith Writers