In the social media world, I see posts all the time that “If you love Christ, copy and paste this post, and tag ten people”. Or, “I think you’re wonderful. Send this post back to… More
“Faith is not about everything turning out okay, faith is about being okay no matter how things turn out.” -Author Unknown
It is interesting to me that this is the ‘Fixed on Faith’ post that comes up this week. I originally wrote a quick post about this months ago when I had a Facebook page and am now just getting around to blogging about it. Just recently, my husband was telling me how challenging it is to have faith that God does knows all, sees all, and has His own timing. And in that timing of His, He wants us to trust. “It is one thing to trust God with my salvation, my health, and my life,” he shared, “but to get down to the nitty gritty details about scheduling of doctor appointments, do I trust Him that much?” In the last year, he has been tested for skin cancer, and thankfully, any sign of cancer was removed in the early stage. Now he is battling thyroid problems. There have been signs for nearly two years, but it has been more apparent in recent months that something is definitely ‘off’. John is scheduled to see an endocrinologist next week and we have been waiting for the days to go by for this appointment. What could be wrong? How serious is this? What is the next step? If he had his way, the appointment would have been scheduled weeks ago before Christmas break was over. He is going back to college and a big question was if he should even start classes this semester. It could be a simple ‘fix’, sure. But since the word ‘cancer’ has been thrown out there, even a small chance, it is still a concern. And trying to interpret blood work results can make your head spin! But the God who ensured that the doctors would see this through an MRI that was actually for shoulder pain, and the God who made it possible for him to go back to school, can He not oversee an appointment scheduled at the right time? We both agreed that, yes, He knew about the timing. We even tried to get an appointment sooner, but no openings were available. With His timing, His intention is always for us to trust Him. And we are going to be okay no matter what.
It seems as if life is full of detours. I had ideas of how I thought my life was going to turn out, and then reality hit and things changed. We have changed. Circumstances (health, of course, included) changed. But through everything, we can look back and say, “You know what? We are still okay.” And why can we be okay no matter how things turns out? Because..
“…we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39
In waiting with John for answers and praying for a time when he feels ‘decent’ (his words) again with health and energy, I have to take this personally as well -not just that we will be ok, but that I will be. Faith in Jesus Christ is personal after all.
Through Christ I can see clearly, live confidently, and be fixed on faith that not only we as a couple will be more than okay but that,
- I am more than able to overcome new territory/changes in direction.
- I am more than able to gain or acquire courageous faith, more strength.
- I am more than able to master obstacles and oppositions that come my way.
Questions, doubts, illness, trials, ‘nor things present, nor things to come’ – none of these are the victors. Nothing has more power than the bond we have in Christ through His love. When we are fixed (established, unmovable, settled) in our victorious faith, it is much easier to move forward with grace no matter how things turn out.
“Faith is like a radar that sees through the fog–the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see.” -Corrie ten Boom
Radar: definition- “a device for determining the presence and location of an object by measuring the time for the echo of a radio wave to return from it and the direction from which it return; a means or sense of awareness or perception”: synonyms- direction finding, tracking system, beacon, lighthouse, watchtower
Faith is the way to determine the presence and location of God no matter what the ‘weather’. It is a means or sense of awareness that He is always there, He always cares, and He always has a plan. When my confidence in His plan is being tested, where is my focus? When my hope that He will deliver, heal, and salvage wavers, do I walk away or do I trust in the ‘evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1b)?
- True faith does not worry or fret.
- True faith does not become preoccupied with problems in life.
- True faith sees any opportunity to witness the power and grace of God at work.
- True faith is not in a hurry and will wait on God.
- True faith keeps vision on the Source of life as He leads down “paths of righteousness for His name’s sake”(Psalm 23:3).
My hand hovered over my cell phone as I was just about to sign up for another blog post series. I had just yesterday lamented over how many e-mails I had that needed to be deleted. I have several e-mail accounts, seemingly unable to just stick to one. I deleted well over three hundred messages yesterday on one of the accounts and I have just about that much on another one. What I was about to sign up for wasn’t bad, it was actually about organization and how to simplify in the new year. I already ‘follow’ this person on Instagram who updates simplification suggestions each day, so why do I need to see it in my inbox as well?
In 2016, I wrote a three part series on “Finding Your Even Place” on my former blog. Life gets out of control, papers pile up, e-mails multiply, leaving us depressed and unable to cope with even simple tasks anymore. And I am finding myself in this position yet again facing 2018, thus the update of the series on my new blog. I need it!
“My foot standeth in an even place” -Psalm 26:11.
An “even place”: Balanced, steady, continuous, unwavering.
“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us”, Hebrews 12:1
I am finding that, for me, it’s not where to START, but better yet, what to STOP or lay aside. It is in finding space to breathe, to think, and to restore. And the things that are taking up space that take my breath away due to frustration, I need to clear. This week’s focus will be to clear out old e-mails and to unsubscribe from sites I hardly ever read. They may be all well and good, but they are not needful.
Happy New Year! If you are seeking for clarity in 2018, maybe instead of looking to start something new, consider stopping something first; something that may be hindering your focus on what really matters in your life. Take a step back. Evaluate what is important. Clear some space. Breathe.
Sometimes my faith falters, not in my salvation, but that God will provide, heal, salvage. In the next few years, our goal is to get out of debt, have a sizeable savings account, an emergency fund, cash to pay for things, and be able to give more to missions and to other causes we would love to help. We are dreaming big here. First things first, though, get out of debt. And with our truck in the shop needing repairs, it seems we just took two steps back! Frustrating. But I need to remember that God doesn’t work in ways we understand. He works when we become available to let Him provide without expectations of how it is to be done. I need to pray, confide, trust, and be willing to let God show up in unexpected ways.
Proverbs 4:25, 26 “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.”
“Hear! hear!” screamed the jay from a neighboring tree, where I had heard a tittering for some time, “winter has a concentrated and nutty kernel, if you know where to look for it.” ~Henry David Thoreau, 28 November 1858 journal entry
Beauty is all around us, and we will see it if we are looking for it. Photo taken while my son and I were out for a walk around the neighborhood the other day.
(Trying a new ‘format’ out here that is labeled ‘status’. Since I am still figuring this new blog site out, I thought I would see what it looked like).
Wednesday. Hump Day. The middle of the week. Many are just trying to make it ’til the weekend. Surviving, not thriving. I get it. But I do not want to be counting my days like that and with the new year fast approaching, I would like to resolve to do more than ‘survive’ in 2018. On my former blog, I had started a section “Midweek Minutes” posted on Wednesdays on the topic of wisdom, and I hope to post here as I am able. One of the studies I had done was about listening. Not.an.easy.topic. Do I listen or talk more? Do I have an opinion formulated before the other person is done talking? Do I often interrupt? No comment. I will admit I need to work on a few areas. This week’s entry came from a quote about ‘listening skills’.
“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” -Doug Larson
I looked up a few synonyms for ‘listen’:
→ Take notice
→ Be on guard
There is more involved than just hearing when it comes to listening. It takes action, effort, discipline even…which sounds like work, doesn’t it?
“Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” Proverbs 19:20-21
This week’s concept is not about just listening to others in conversation (family, friends, co-workers), but about hearing counsel and receiving (accepting, acknowledging, deferring to) instruction. When I am given advice, how do I respond? Defensively? Most likely. There is no expiration date on this verse or an age limit. Wisdom is a journey, it seems, and a concept I wonder if I will ever grasp. When I think of a lifetime of listening, hearing counsel, receiving instruction, it can feel a bit overwhelming. “Practice makes progress”, I have been told. Wisdom is the reward when I remember to practice observing. Wisdom is the reward when I develop consideration. And wisdom comes when I am faithful to focus and wait on God to show me His direction.
We celebrated today the ‘dayspring from on high’, the dawn of our faith, the horizon where the Son of God visits us every single day. The magnitude of that takes my breath away. Every day, Christ shows up and is as dependable as the sunrise. He shows up to give light and to guide our path. May we never forget the tender mercies of our Lord and Savior and always look to the Light. Merry Christmas.
Luke 1: 76-78, “And thou, child [John the Baptist], shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring [Christ] from on high hath visited us.”
Let Every Day Be Christmas
by Norman Wesley Brooks, 1976
Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself.
Peace on Earth, good will to men,
kind thoughts and words of cheer,
are things we should use often
and not just once a year.
Remember too the Christ-child, grew up to be a man;
to hide him in a cradle, is not our dear Lord’s plan.
So keep the Christmas spirit, share it with others far and near,
from week to week and month to month, throughout the entire year!
Offer : (verb) present or proffer (something) for (someone) to accept or reject as so desired; (noun) an expression of readiness to do or give something if desired
There is nothing like being offered a hot cup of coffee in the morning, or help with the dishes after a meal, or a gift just because. It makes your day, doesn’t it? And I wonder if God feels this way when we willingly present a thankful heart to Him. It has been a frustrating few weeks for me and I will admit, it has been difficult to maintain a thankful heart. Traffic is starting to back up due to holiday shopping and I do not enjoy crowded places. Black Friday? Forget about it. After being in Walmart yesterday in the late afternoon, I realize that if I need to run any errands with some semblance of sanity, I need to do it in the morning hours. It can be easy lose the joy of the season when I focus on what is wrong with people ((seriously…we need traffic lanes in the grocery store)). Instead, I need to shift my focus on what is right in my world. Tonight, I will offer thanks that we have food in our pantry, a comfortable place to call home, and that my little family and I are all safe and together.
I am a list maker. If I do not have ‘it’ written down, I will forget. Even…to remember to evaluate the day. Sometimes, the days go by so fast, I really have no idea what happened or if I actually accomplished anything. How do I evaluate how a day went, though? What questions do I ask? At the end of the day, how do I ‘decompress’ and process the day’s events? Here is guideline of four things to consider:
#1) What happened today that caused me to feel G R A C E F U L?
Traffic was a bear today. There was a big accident on the way to taking my son to the community college. The right lane was blocked due to an overturned truck and emergency vehicles. While trying to get around the accident and into the left lane, someone kindly let me get over so I could keep moving. It’s not every day that traffic runs smoothly when there are roadblocks. I did roll down my window and wave a big ‘Thank you!’. It is a good reminder to be kind to someone else who is looking to get around an accident as well.
#2) What happened today that caused me to feel G R U M P Y?
Well, traffic. My dad and I went grocery shopping and stores were busy. I do not enjoy crowds (you will not see me participating in Black Friday)…I could have stopped to breathe and focus on the task and not get frustrated. I could have also packed a healthy snack so I would not feel so depleted at the end of the day. (I need to write that down somewhere —pack a snack!)
#3) What happened today that caused me to feel G I V I N G?
I noticed my Dad’s hands this morning. They were swollen and tight and I could tell by the look on his face that he was not feeling well. I offered to drive on our errands even though I knew there was a lot of traffic.
#4) What happened today that caused me to feel G O D in my life?
My dad bought me flowers today for going with him on all the errands. It was also through the giving of my husband. He has had a long week, he has a migraine due to the wind, and yet he offered to heat up soup for me because I was feeling tired. Kindness brings us to notice God’s work in others as they seek to be a blessing.
Four things to consider when ‘processing’ the day: What happened today that caused me to feel Graceful, Grumpy, Giving, and God? It might be a good conversation to have with family around the dinner table.