My Heart

Shredded heart, ripped apart
By the war going on inside.
Gotta let go, release control,
and in You always abide.

Confident heart, set apart
For the purposes of God.
I’ve let it all go, released the control,
and in You will always abide.

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This is one of those poems that was written in pieces. The first stanza was probably written well over a year ago. There are many things that I struggle with, mentally, and the first stanza describes the warring feelings and struggles.

Though I will always have some kind of mental struggles – don’t we all? – running across a book by Renee Swope, “A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself and Live in the Security of God’s Promises,” caused me to add in the second stanza more recently.

I love how God can take the hopeless start to one of my poems and help me to write a hopeful end to it. This isn’t the first time, and won’t be the last, that I’ve added to a basic poem from some inspiration that God has planted within me. Sometimes I just start with one or two lines that I write into one of my “scratch” notebooks, and later — sometimes years later — those beginnings become something more.

If you’re someone who is looking to find your confidence in God, or maybe if you’re just curious about what that would look like in your life, I urge you to sign up for Renee’s online study, coming this January. Head over to her site today and sign up.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

For my kids, it always seems like they’re waiting for something. Waiting for their birthday party; waiting for Christmas. Kids have such short attention spans, that it’s a miracle they can wait for anything. I thought a few pictures of them waiting fit this theme just fine. 🙂

Waiting for ballet class to start
Waiting for a turn at mini golf
Excitedly waiting for a turn to hit the piñata

Today You’ll Find Me At…

HOME! What’s wrong with retailers these days? Are you kidding me!? Opening at 9 pm on Thanksgiving or midnight on Friday. Why can’t they stay closed on Thanksgiving, open at normal hours on Friday, and let their employees enjoy Thanksgiving with their families?

I’m sure they won’t miss my shopping dollars today, seeing as how there are other shoppers that were willing to miss Thanksgiving with their families and camp out at the stores.

It’s a shame that so many people are willing to skip right over Thanksgiving and head straight into the commercialization of Christmas.

Today, I’m at home, spending precious time with my kids, decorating our tree, and baking some cookies.

What about you? Are you crazy for all the early morning deals or do you prefer to relax at home and enjoy family?

I’m Thankful For…

Family and friends and a day off to spend with them. Over the years, Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday of the year. It’s the only holiday that is based solely on giving thanks to God for all his provisions and grace. I know that, for me, I get too busy with regular life to really stop and thank God for all that I have. This is a day for slowing down and really reflecting on all that I have been blessed with.

I hope that the lure of Black Friday does not overshadow your Thanksgiving and that you take time to reflect and thank God for all things, big and small, in your life. I pray that you don’t skip over this day and you count all your blessings.

God bless!

Shameless Plugs

I wanted to take a moment to put out a couple of shameless plugs for two friends of mine, who are venturing out as entrepreneurs.

Dr. Sachdeva was my personal doctor for many years, when she worked for Kaiser, but was my friend way before that. She is now getting a private practice up and running. If you live in her area, look her up. Information about her practice can be found here. She can even do home visits for those who aren’t able to go to her office.

My next friend, Susan, is getting started with an online gift basket & flower business. Check out her website. With Christmas fast approaching, this might be a great way to send something nice to a loved one far away. I sent a spa basket to my mom for her birthday and she loved it!

These two ladies are dear friends of mine and I wish them the best of success in their new ventures. Thanks for reading!

To Be [a Leader] or Not To Be (or Stop Running in the Wrong Direction)

As I was reflecting on a recent visit with my Team Leader, I thought I would write a bit about what I shared with her, so that I could share my experience with others and to remind myself, for those times when I feel inadequate.

Let me start by saying that I have never, ever, seen myself as a leader; no matter what part of my life we’re referring to (home, work, church, etc.). How am I supposed to lead others with all my shortcomings? There are a myriad of reasons I feel this way, but especially when it comes to being a leader in the church; the first of which is my abysmal, struggling prayer life. Also, I am a shy introvert who shares little of her heart with anyone, even those closest to me. I’m much more content to be a quiet follower. However, this time, God was not content to let me stay that way.

It all started when I clicked a link from one of my daily devotional emails. A new book by Renee Swope was due out in August titled “A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God’s Promises.” I downloaded the sample and, as I read it, became excited for the release of the book. I planned to buy it to read for myself.

Over the next few weeks, I began to feel the pull of leading a women’s group on this book. I could see, in my heart, a room of women all sharing and growing together. I tried to dismiss it because I didn’t feel qualified to teach on something such as confidence, especially since I have none of my own. I ignored the prompting, until I went to coffee with my friend, Angela.

For some reason I felt the need to share about the book and my group idea with her. She immediately began to encourage me to go ahead with it. I sent her a sample of the book and she continued to encourage me and even told other friends about the book and my group. Now, I had no choice to go ahead with the group because others I knew would make sure I did. I do believe God made sure we met for coffee that day, so that Angela could speak encouragement to me. We haven’t been able to get together since then, though I hope both our schedules will allow for some coffee time soon after the holidays.

When group leader signups began at church, I was the first to sign up for this trimester of Bible study groups. I wanted to make sure I didn’t talk myself out of it. I felt peace about it, at that point, and knew that God would send those ladies to me that could most use this study, though I was hoping it would be a small group of ladies. (I’m still an introvert, after all, and the thought of having a large group scared me.)

I have been leading this group now for about eight weeks, and after just the first few weeks, I knew that I was blessed by leading this study. I have a small group of ladies who feel comfortable sharing their lives and we are all encouraging one another. As I mentioned before, praying is a very weak area for me, but God included a couple of prayer warriors in the group, so I can have them pray when I’m not feeling confident enough.

I want to say that, no matter who you are or where you are in your walk with Christ, there is room to lead a Bible study. It does grow you in ways that couldn’t happen by any other means. With the next round of leader signups under way, it’s time for me to assess what my next step will be and if I  am supposed to continue leading a women’s group.

What about you? Is there something God is calling you to do today? Will you follow his prompting or will you try to run? I’d love to hear your comments.

A Light in the Darkness

Cat Jack-O-Lantern

Ah, the memories of Halloween. I enjoyed dressing up each year and going trick-or-treating. Living in a neighborhood with many kids and watchful parents, meant that we could all go as a big group and have a great time being out late at night, hanging out with all of our friends. My favorite costume from all the years was a pink Crayola crayon that mom made for me. I wish I had a picture of it to post here. Back then, I never thought much about the beginnings of Halloween or what it truly was celebrating.

After I became a Christian, I began to struggle with this holiday the most. I began to learn about its roots and I became uncomfortable celebrating or taking part in festivities. However, it’s hard to make any changes, especially when my husband doesn’t feel the same conviction and I have two young children who love the dressing up and candy as much as I did as a kid.

There have been a few times when I’ve had to dress up. Those few times, I’ve picked subversive characters. The idea being that if I had to dress up, then I was going to dress in a character that could portray light. One year, I dressed as Ruth. This year I dressed up as sheet music; a Christian song, of course. For the most part, though, I don’t bother with costumes.

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I’m at the point where I want to find ways to shine the light on this darkest of day. At work, I can’t openly proclaim The Message because they are afraid of lawsuits related to religious discrimination. I may not totally agree with that, but I respect the owner’s wishes and keep things low key and individualized. The owner hasn’t stopped me and others at work from having Bible studies during our lunches, so I count my blessings there. It was a Bible study at this job that led me back to Christ. I feel that by dressing in “characters of light” I am speaking softly to those around me.

Another way my family has begun to shine some light on this day is to give out full size candy bars with tract cards attached to them. We got the idea last year when our children received the same treat from someone else in our neighborhood. We prayed over the candy this evening and we will have faith that seeds will be planted where God wants them to grow. I am especially hopefully that the teens who have stopped by receive the Word on this night.

Sometimes we have to live in the dark, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use a flashlight to shine some light in the darkness.

I pray everyone has a safe Halloween and God blesses each person, whether they stopped at my door or not.

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Update, 11/1 – My mom found and sent me a picture of the pink crayon costume. Posted with the others in the slideshow.