Monday, August 7, 2017

Mountains into Roads part 2

Here's the next part- I really wanted this mountain to have a post all of its own.  This was my most recent mountain and it is part of my current journey.




Back in January I posted this- Where I am going then in February Am I crazy

but then in February this happened: Quiet


Did you catch this at the end of that last post?  "Friday- I made the first payment for my training.  I have the extra money for the first few payments but from there- God is going to have to show up BIG time with that, the plane fare money in November, the purchase of the required reading and manuals, as well as the odds and ends that are part of the training.  And you know what- I have every faith in Him because I truly believe that this is of Him"


2 weeks ago I made the final payment.  I timed the payments with my paycheck.  Here's how it worked.  I did one fundraiser of shirts and that money paid for a total of about 75% + of one payment.  All other money- out of my paycheck.  I did change some spending habits and I had to dip into my savings twice but never for much.  It doesn't make sense- and yet, it does because of that last sentence in bold.  

My mountain was the money (and my own head) but money- whew- that's a big one. And, I know there are some going through training who are struggling finding the money to make the payments- it doesn't mean their faith is less than mine, it doesn't mean they aren't supposed to do it- it just means their journey is different than mine- their mountain turning into the road might take a bit longer or be a bit bumpier.  The only thing left to get is the air fare and I am just keeping an eye on prices and will hopefully bit that bullet in the next few weeks.  

But, guess what- I am in the midst of another mountain.  This one is a bit different.  This is the fact that school is starting and life starts getting crazy- and in 2 1/2 weeks I add in training and the work that goes with it.  This mountain consists of my head- the games and lies I have to fight through as He works to turn that mountain into the road.  The fact that I am not enough, not capable, I am not worthy of this calling, that I have issues with food and exercise to work through, that I give too many excuses, and so on.  I have been working on turning those lies into truth statements- I am not enough by myself but with Him- He is enough to take it.  I am capable and have the strength to push through because He gives me the strength. I am called because He has placed this on my heart. I do have issues with food and exercise but I believe this training is in my life to help me work through them.  

I mentioned in my previous post Part 1 about a chapter I read in Isaiah.  It's Isaiah 49 and so often we read verse 16 

and nothing else is mentioned much but this chapter is rich with truth and imagery. 

 I have been a bit "obsessed" with arrows on things- clothing, cards, rubber stamps, etc.  Which is a bit strange- I typically have never looked at them before but this summer I have started noticing them (and feathers) a bit more then I read this verse at the beginning of Isaiah 49 and my heart lifted.  


He has fashioned me into an arrow and placed me in His quiver.  And when the time is right He will load me up in the bow and shoot me out to share His love and light with others in this way He is leading me 


(that doesn't mean I don't share now- He's preparing me...)

So as God works to make my mountain of fear into a road I wait and I pray, I seek and I go, I train and I study, and I lift my eyes to the mountains because THAT is where my help comes from- He's there and He's working.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Mountains into Roads


Have you ever been hit over the head by a verse?  Then you go and read the whole chapter and know that it's the place to sit and meditate on for a while?  This happened to me this week.  I was reading in my Streams in the Desert devotional and came across this one on Wednesday- I have parked in Isaiah 49 for the current time.

Stream in the Desert- August 2

This devotion has this verse at the top and as the focus and as I really began to read through it I began to really take the words to heart and think maybe it's time to tell my story- in one place.  The thing about a story that hasn't been finished is that it's constantly evolving and being added on to.  It's been a while since I have told my story so it's time- sit back, grab a cup of coffee/water/tea/etc and take a gander at where I have been and where I am going and those mountains that have been turned into roads.




Mountain #1- We have to start the story by wandering back to November of 2008- Thanksgiving week I ended up sick and had an allergic reaction to a medication.  A week later I ended up with some horrific pain where I could barely drive.  It went away after several hours but I still pondered that pain.  It was the first time I had ever experienced that level of pain.  A week after that I had a routine dr appt for bloodwork and all that jazz.  I mentioned it to her and she ran some tests.  They concerned her enough she got me an appt for a CT scan because she thought I had had a kidney stone.  I went for the CT scan and one week before Christmas she brought me in and told me she was referring me to a urologist because in both of my kidneys were lots of stones.  She told me that she didn't know what he would want to do but there was a chance that I could lose a kidney- I was in denial pretty much all of Christmas break and then in January 2009  I went to that urologist and found out that he's a specialist for a reason 😉.  I was diagnosed with Medullary Sponge Kidney which basically means that my body makes stones in the spongey part of my kidney- sometimes they pass, sometimes they stay where they are.  And, if they pass I may not always realize it because of size.  It's fairly rare and supposedly I was born with it (there's not a LOT of research on it and there's a lot of conflicting information but what I can tell you is that I have it "easy" compared to others with this disease). So knowing that he wanted me to cut back on several foods including nuts and chocolate (boo).  I did well with this and had 2 more painful stones pass in 2010- one in June and one in December.

Road #1- I saw my body respond well to the change in diet except for the two stones and things went along well for a while.

Mountain #2- 2011-2012- in 2011 I had a bulging disc all summer and into the fall and then in 2012 Stress levels were high- so high the district I was in had the school nurse checking my blood pressure every week because it flagged at a school wellness thing they did.  My doctor kept an eye on it as well and in June 2012 I had a variety of things happen all at once.  I went hiking with a friend and saw pictures of myself.  I was so discouraged by what I saw that I knew it was time to make some changes.  At the same time my doctor finally told me it was time to go on blood pressure medicine.  I was discouraged and so frustrated by the whole thing that I began a new journey.

Road #2- this bp issue then led me to begin running, spinning, and taking my health serious (this is important to the future story). I began running 5K's and fell in love with exercising.  I made my health a priority- even after school started. This is big because in 2011 I had that bulging disc and I was told I would NEVER run.

Mountain #3- In 2013 I wanted to take my love of healthy living further and found The Institute for Integrative Nutrition but the cost was a HUGE mountain.

Road #3- BUT God- He provided through a generous gift from someone anonymously and I began studying in May 2013.


Mountain #4- it's strange to say but my mountain then sort of came about because of IIN- while I was learning and taking away so many things I also lost sight of what worked and weight started slowly coming back on- then I had some physical issues that were challenging and eventually led to sinus surgery in 2014.  That mountain is the weight that I have put on.

Road #4- While I would love to say that the mountain has completely become the road- it would be a lie- it's still an uphill battle with my weight day in and day out.  I know what worked for me before and you would think well it should be a no-brainer BUT I became a slave to calories and while physically I was healthier- it messed with my head so I have to approach it a bit different.

Mountain #5- Professional stress which took its toll physically (there's not a lot to say here so...)

Road #5- I moved- got a new job- still have some professional stress but it's different.

AND- since this has gone on long enough- I'm going to stop here and address Mountain #6 in my next post (and I'll write it right now).


Monday, July 10, 2017

Music for a Monday

Just putting this here because this song...

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

War of the Heart


I know the post has an odd title but hang in there- and this will be a LONG post so hang in there for that too.

Sunday was one of those a-ha days.  I have been reading the book You are Free by Rebekah Lyons and have found myself nodding my head, underlining and agreeing with things throughout the book such as: 

"This means that even in our feeble weakness, if we claim Christ and his resurrection, somehow we are God's agents who carry freedom to the world." (p. 21)

"Calling is where our talents and burdens collide.  Our talents are our birthright gifts, the gifts that make our hearts sing, come alive.  Our burdens are found in our stories, in what breaks our hearts.  God was inviting me to use the gifts that made me come alive, to redeem the things that broke my heart." (p. 50)

"We aren't responsible for the healing (or whatever seemingly impossible thing we are asking for); we're only responsible for the asking." (p. 93)

and finally:

"Sometimes we ask for a healing we can see, and God offers instead a heart-healing we can't see." (p.97)

Then I came to chapters 7 and 8 and I wanted to throw the book down because as I read it became very evident that God was using these 2 chapters to make something clear to me.

See- 2 years ago I moved from Knoxville, TN (my home of 15 years plus 5 years of college) to Spencer, IN.  With that move I gave up a lot.  I gained things too, but the last two years I have focused on what I gave up.  I was living and working here with one eye looking back to TN.  After my recent vacation where I traveled to TN and GA it's been forefront in my mind again as to wondering why God brought me HERE!.  Then, as I read chapters 7 and 8 (specifically the quotes in the picture below) conviction began to set in.


What did I realize? I realized that while I was living with one eye looking back to TN I wasn't truly living FULLY here.  I wasn't fully letting go and now it's time.  

It's time to realize that for this season of life I am in right now- Spencer, IN is where I live; Fairview in Bloomington is where I teach, OVCF is where I worship, and TN is in my rearview mirror.  For right now, TN is a vacation spot- it's a state full of people and places I love, and while it will always feel like home- it's not my home.  My home is where God has placed me- my home is where He is with me.  It's time to live eyes forward, always searching for where He wants me serving- even if that might mean a step out of my comfort zone.  It's time to let go of what was and embrace what is and give my full focus to the people and places in front of me until He tells me it's time to move on.



Thursday, June 8, 2017

ALL In


I have been participating in two different things this summer- the Bold in the Soul challenge through Revelation Wellness.  Here is their description of it: Rally yourself and your communities and share with us what makes YOU #boldinthesoul. This can be anything from a physical character trait about yourself, a soul trait that God has given you like integrity, generosity, optimism, OR you can simply share God’s truth. Be as creative as you like—get BOLD and let the world know what makes you, YOU!

 (Take a picture of yourself using your WARPAINT (a.k.a. sharpie marker, or whiteboard marker) to write, either on yourself or a piece of paper, your word(s) that share your #boldinthesoul statement for that day.)

and also I have just started an online study using Lysa Terkeurst's book Uninvited.  I have had the book for a while and had actually started it.  I was also reading another book so I put it down for a while and then this study came along.  

All that to say- since June 1 I have been putting on my warpaint on a daily basis- sometimes it's on my arm/hand and sometimes it's on a sheet of paper.  This morning as I was running I was thinking of words and then a song came on (at the end of post) and this phrase popped up- I'm all in.  And it hit me- that was my word for today- then I came home and started journaling and read Uninvited and also some scriptures about what that word meant to me. 


All In- Goes to the commandment to Love the Lord with ALL your heart, ALL your soul, ALL your mind, and ALL your strength.  Not a portion- but ALL!


ALL in exercise- I have always heard that you get out what you put in.  If I am putting in partial effort then I will get partial results.  If I go ALL in and put forth all of my effort then my results will show that.

ALL in relationships- If I am not fully invested in my relationships- whether family or friends- then I am not all in- and that can make or break that relationship.  It will either flourish and grow or it will die. 

ALL in Christ- To go along with my Uninvited study that talks about Living Loved- I can turn this into Always Living Loved in Christ.  This comes down to a simple truth.  Christ loves me- and I need to grasp the fullness of His love to truly grasp the fullness of God.  If am ALL in Christ then that will show in my words, my actions, my heart and my life.  


It's time to go ALL in!










Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Whispers of Rest

**I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review and as part of Bonnie's book launch team.  All opinions are mine.

Before I get started- you can find the book and all of the information HERE!  And as you are participating in the daily challenges don't forget to take pictures and #whispersofrest There will also be a book club starting in June!  This gives you time to get your book!


A few years ago I had the opportunity to preview and write about Bonnie Gray's book Finding Spiritual Whitespace.  So, when the opportunity presented itself to do the same with her newest book- Whispers of Rest- 40 Days of Love to Revitalize Your Soul- I jumped on it.  And when I said yes, I had no way of knowing how timely each chapter/day would end up being.  This book is about slowing down, rest, and finding God in those places.  This book was released yesterday and was started right in the middle of my busy season- the last month of school.  At the time I write this I have two more days- we are finished with all of the "big" stuff- it's time for the small stuff to end the year.

Not only that- the book was timely in other areas as well.  I said Yes to God about a pretty big dream which I shared here.  Every once in a while I start to doubt myself.  I start to wonder if I can do this, or what am I thinking and then once again the day of whispers is so on target I have nothing to do but throw my hands up in surrender.  


This book is a 40 Day Journey through discovering (or rediscovering) God's love in order to revitalize and refresh your soul.  This book contains 6 parts and in each one Bonnie reminds the reader that they are the Beloved.  The 6 parts are: Being the Beloved, Choosing as the Beloved, Dreaming as the Beloved (this is the part I am in now), Healing as the Beloved, Daring as the Beloved and Shining as the Beloved.  Each day is not lengthy but it takes you through a personal anecdote, Reading God's Story (what He says in the Bible about a particular subject, God's Whispers from that Bible passage and going deeper, a Prayer for the day and then a chance for some personal reflection, praying and resting and ends with a challenge and a lot of those challenges are ones that allow you to slow down and take care of your physical, emotional, OR spiritual needs.  There's journaling, drinking more water, taking a bath, and so many more. 

The pictures you have seen throughout this post are ones that I have taken and incorporated them into the challenge.  I highly recommend this book- especially, if you are like me and needing to just slow down.

I leave you with this song- it's a few years old but I heard it the other day and felt it was appropriate.






Wednesday, May 10, 2017

May's Musings

Lots of random thoughts in this post- May is always busy with the end of school and I feel like I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off (one of these days I really want to see if that really does look the way I feel) but I keep telling myself the end is in sight.  As of today (Wednesday, May 10 when I am writing this) there are 12 more school days and that number keeps dwindling.  There's SO much to do in those 12 days that I am a bit overwhelmed with trying to figure out HOW in the world I am going to get it all done.


Thankfully, in this season of busyness, God brought a book into my life that is perfect. I get to be part of a book launch for Bonnie Gray's new book that comes out at the end of May.  It's called Whispers of Rest and it's a 40 Day journey to experiencing true rest that can only come from Him.  She is highlighting the first three chapters leading up to the release and this week is chapter 2.  The pictures below are from Chapter 1 (and hopefully early next week I can share Chapter 2's photos).


 

 



In some areas I have been struggling a bit- contentment is a big thing for me right now.  I don't know if I can even really call it a lack of contentment though.  Unsettled maybe?  Usually I am typically "okay" with my singleness and childlessness.  Even now I am still "okay" with my childlessness but the single part of my life- that seems to be where I am a bit unsettled.  I tend to get this way around the end of the school year.  May and June are (and have been in the past) pretty big months with Mother's Day, Memorial Day (the weekend of my sister's wedding anniversary), my birthday, etc. so I think that's a big trigger for me.  I had my music on shuffle and have all kinds of random songs in there and there's one that I heard at a friend's wedding and really liked it so I downloaded it.  I have listened to it before but it hasn't come up in the shuffle in a LONG time but today it did- it's Martina McBride's (and the guy from Train) song called Marry Me.  So I started thinking that maybe this is part of my trigger (even though I haven't heard it in MONTHS) and it ended and the very next song was Mercy Me's new song- Even If.  At that point I took a deep breath and just praised Jesus through that song because THAT is where I need to live and that is where I typically am living EXCEPT in that area.  I know it's something I have to keep letting go of and yet I don't- I give it up- feel like I am done with that and move on but then things start being planted in my mind and my heart about not being good enough, never going to find someone, and so much more and discontentment starts to take a hold before I realize it.  So- until I have no more breaths (or until Jesus comes) I will be daily lifting this particular struggle up.  And Even If....

I know You're able
And I know You can
Save through the fire
With Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Good thing
A little faith is all I have right now

But God when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Give me the strength
To be able to sing
It is well with my soul

I know the sorrow
I know the hurt
Would all go away
If You'd just say the word
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

You've been faithful
You've been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You're able
I know You can

It is well with my soul



I think that's probably enough for tonight- I have more I want  need to say but will save that for another post.