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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

WORDS


WORDS...mine have been lacking lately. I haven't published a blog post in almost 6 weeks. That is not the best strategy for building a following. But sometimes I need to be quiet and listen instead of speaking and getting my point across.

Earlier today, I heard 2 songs that caught my attention. The 1st was "Words" by Hawk Nelson and the 2nd was "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United. I love the song "Oceans". You should see me or hear me when I belt it out in the car. It's been out awhile and can still almost bring me to tears. It is just powerful.

So what do the 2 songs have to do with each other? Well, I guess I just wrote it, power. Words are powerful. Hence songs are powerful. I don't want to write and post blogs just to push out content. There needs to be purpose and meaning. I was struck and humbled by the lyrics of both of these songs tonight and just wanted to share what is on my heart.


' Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.'


Proverbs 18:21




The 1st 2 phrases of the song "Words" by Hawk  Nelson are:

"They've made me feel like a prisoner
They've made me feel set free
They've made me feel like a criminal
Made me feel like a king
They've lifted my heart
To places I'd never been
And they've dragged me down
Back to where I began"

Does that resonate with you like it does me? Are you thinking of a time being in a new relationship or maybe an unhealthy parent/guardian situation? Or something you said yesterday at Christmas? Yes. Yes. And, yes. If I let the words get stuck in my head they make their way to my heart and can seep into the rest of my daily life. No thank you. God's Word has changed me and the way I handle the attacks of words on me or from me which can also boomerang and do double duty. 

How? 

Boundaries

It has been a long journey and one that I am still on but something that helps me is the awareness of boundaries. I need to have boundaries to stay emotionally healthy. 

Confession

If I am the one who said something wrong, then I need to confess that to God and maybe to someone as well. The most important thing I have to do is make peace with the fact that I can't take it back and to accept forgiveness, particularly from God. Satan has used guilt to trip me up for years. It would mess with relationships and cause a lot of overthinking. 

An example would be that I said something at Christmas, maybe overshared, it wasn't gossip and it wasn't specifically hurtful to anyone but when I look back on it, I wonder if there was any good of it. Ephesians 4:29 says to only speak what is good for building up. Did what I say bring grace or honor to anyone? Not so much. I felt a bit of shame and so instead of dwelling on it, I went to God in prayer and confessed my words and I took consideration for my motives of what was said. 





Next song I heard was "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) and there is a vulnerability about that entire song that I need and love. I want to have "trust without borders". I want to step out of the boat and walk with Jesus. But how? 

Be in the Word

I need to prioritize being in the Holy Word of God. In the moments of crisis and EVERYDAY. If I don't have that foundation, I'm going to crumble. For years, I was not in the Word daily and I wasn't growing much. For the last 2 years I have been following the First5 app from Proverbs 31 Ministries and it is daily during the week and has a weekend wrap up. That has been wonderful for me. 

Pray

Instead of running to a friend to vent, I have made a shift to run to God in prayer. I pray constantly even when I don't fit it into an official format. I believe that the Holy Spirit knows what I intend for God. When I am praying in a more structured manner, I make it a point to thank God for something before I complain. This has been for a few years and has really helped me to see how amazingly blessed I am. 

Praise

Worship. Go to church when you don't feel like it. Listen to Air1 or KLove in the car. SING. Let go of the control and let God have your heart. Pray. Read the Psalms. Serve. Give. Love. 

It's not fake. It's not a waste. You may be in the deepest scariest waters and you can't see your hand in front of you but reach out anyways. Reach out to God! He is there. 



So, maybe there is not a strong connection without a backstory but for me I guess it is simply that I want to use my words on this blog to be worthy of the calling of the best gift ever given, Jesus. 

We just celebrated Christmas and I've been loving how my 4 year old daughter has been speaking of the miracle and mystery of Jesus. She really understands Jesus is the reason for this season. I love it! If only I could stay focused on each day only using the words that matter. I don't need to muddy it up with Santa or Elf on the Shelf. I never really explained Santa, the world did that for me. I did however tell her that Santa is just trying to share gifts because it is Jesus's birthday. 




We don't have to have all the answers. As Hawk Nelson put it "God, Your voice is the only thing we need to hear".




 Dear God, Thank you for the power of the Holy Word, the gift of Jesus, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. You deserve all praise. God, help me to speak only what is good and useful to bring you praise and honor. Help me to be able to sit in silence and listen. I want to hear Your guiding wisdom and I tend to interrupt. Let this blog be a blessing to someone. Give me direction on how to proceed with the blog and writing. Thank you Jesus for living on this wretched earth to be with us. I'm sorry You had to die on the cross but I'm accepting of Your love and forgiveness. In Your name, amen.

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Thank you! God Bless!



Thursday, November 16, 2017

How do you "neighbor"?

As the Daniel Tiger song goes, "a neighbor is here to help, a neighbor is here to help". Coincidentally the episode all about ways to be a neighbor was on this morning. I love this show! How silly of me but it is truly my favorite kids show because I am learning too. Learning the little songs to help me in my many moments of parenting challenges. I even have the DT Parents app on my phone which features all the songs when you may need them on the go. 

Is being a good neighbor mowing the lawn on the same day everyone else does, keeping the bushes trimmed, and the mulch fresh? Is it waving hello and smiling when you see each other? Moving into a new neighborhood has sparked an awareness in me about neighboring.

Our real estate agent held an open house and pie event for the neighbors to come over about a month after we moved in. It was interesting because some of the people didn't know each well and this was a good opportunity to say hello and reconnect a neighborhood. If that hadn't happened, I don't know if the one neighbor would have left some of their surplus garden veggies for us this summer, which we loved. We had a garden at the old house but not yet here.

During the first week of moving in, there were a few people that really reached out to us. Homemade cookies were handed out, conversations were had, and a gift for the kids was left on the porch. It was so incredibly sweet. On trick or treating night, one couple gave each of the kids a super nice treat basket (with large chocolate bars) since they were not going to be handing out candy at their house. I guess there haven't been many young kids in the neighborhood lately and they seem to enjoy seeing and hearing them around. Its so nice to be thought of, especially for the kids. I'm doing my best to write down names and try to remember to use them when I see people.

My daughter is so amusing to me, mostly because she is not like I was as a child. She will go over to the fence and try to get someone's attention or yell out the window that some noise is too loud. It cracks me up because she is more gutsy than I am even now. She is actually very sweet with other people. I love her so much and she is growing up. She was a little bit older than 3 1/2 right when we moved in and started preschool in the Fall.


My daughter is a better neighbor than I am naturally. When I moved into the house we just got out of, I was single and young, age 23 to the day. I had no clue what I was getting into. Mowing the yard, maintaining the outside of the home, trimming the bushes, shoveling, these were all new to me. Most apartments took care of those things. I was awkward about these tasks and didn't like to ask for help. Self-sufficiency was a big hinderance on my walk with God and how I shared God's love through my life. For several years, I kept to myself and didn't interact or even smile or wave much. My neighbors probably thought I was stuck up or rude or maybe they didn't even care. How would I know?

When I had a bad situation come up and a cop car was in my driveway, one neighbor reached out. I was still a bit standoffish but it was nice to know someone cared. Years later when my husband moved in, he opened the lines of communication up with my other neighbors. There had been a silly misunderstanding about a property line that honestly looking back was so ridiculous on my part. Why do people let a strip of land destroy their lives?

My husband showed me the power of a wave, a simple hello, and smile. Eventually I think they warmed up to me too. There was even a couple times that our kids played together outside.


Right now we are entering into the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. These are times when many people are more friendly and giving and these are also times when people isolate and may seem cold. It is easy to react and think what is wrong with some people. Driving gets a little crazier when snow hits the road and now its getting dark earlier. Tempers flare up because we are all so busy, too busy. So how do you neighbor? Are you like my little girl who has a social friendly heart or like me who has to push herself outside of her comfort zone?

I'd love to hear your comments about what your favorite way to neighbor? Maybe we could give each other some new ideas.

God , Thank you for the growth in my ability to neighbor and see the value in everyday moments to share your love. Thank you for the seasons and times when we focus on giving. I know it is all because of your gift of Jesus but not everyone does. Help us to show that Jesus truly is the reason for the season. Help us to stay humble, gracious, and forgiving as the family dynamics and pressures to entertain may shift our attitudes. In your name, amen. 

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Thank you! God Bless